Mandate and Responsibilities

The Toronto Licensing Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body that operates independently of the licensing and enforcement functions performed by City staff. Municipal Licensing and Standards (ML&S) staff administer and issue licences in accordance with City bylaws and thresholds established by City Council.

The Tribunal considers matters where the holder of a licence has violated certain threshold conditions. It also considers matters where an applicant disagrees with an ML&S decision. City lawyers prepare the case for the City in cooperation with ML&S staff, and present the City’s case at the hearing. Applicants or licensees may also be represented by their own legal counsel at the hearings.

The Tribunal is a local board of the City. It conducts itself in accordance with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, and is also governed by the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing, and a Council-approved Relationship Framework sets out Council’s delegation of authority, expectations and requirements for the Toronto Licensing Tribunal.

Tribunal members are organized into hearing Panels of three members to hear individual cases. The Panel Chair documents the panel’s decision in writing in a form that restates the salient evidence given at the hearing, provides a clear rationale for the decision, and references the bylaw articles applied.

This position requires a commitment from each member to spend the time needed for preparation and in-depth hearings. A single matter may require hearing testimony from not only the applicant or licensee, but also from a number of civilian and City staff witnesses, all of which is done under oath and is subject to cross-examination.

Duties of the Tribunal Chair include:

  • management of the hearing process including assignment of panels and oversight of the adjudicative process;
  • attending hearings when required;
  • review of decision documentation for consistency;
  • liaison with the City regarding both administration and policy issues;
  • ensuring that members attend the prescribed training program, and seek training opportunities for members to foster their adjudicative skills on an ongoing basis; and
  • representation of the Tribunal in the media and at public events.

Board Size and Composition

The Toronto Licensing Tribunal consists of 7 citizen members. The Tribunal is organized into two hearing Panels of 3 members each on a rotating basis.

Tribunal Chair

City Council appoints the Chair of the Toronto Licensing Tribunal.

Eligibility Requirements

Citizens are eligible for appointment, and eligible to remain on the Toronto Licensing Tribunal after being appointed, if they satisfy the eligibility requirements for appointment as set out in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.

All new members of the Tribunal are required to successfully complete a 5 day SOAR (Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators) training program within 6 months of being appointed, unless they have completed the program prior to being appointed.

Individuals are ineligible if they are current City licence-holders or are engaged in the business of a corporate licence-holder or do not pass the required written test.

Former Council Members who served in the immediately preceding term of Council are ineligible for appointment.


Toronto Licensing Tribunal members must demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the Toronto Licensing Tribunal’s mandate;
  • an understanding of the Licensing By-law and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act;
  • understanding of a field related to business licensing and sensitivity to the various interests and issues;
  • familiarity with the concepts of natural justice and fairness;
  • excellent listening skills, open-mindedness, sound judgement, and tact and the ability to mediate;
  • ability to organize and analyze written and oral evidence;
  • demonstrated ability to write a clear, well-reasoned decision that takes into account the evidence, the submissions, the law, and policy;
  • a commitment to public service and to upholding a high standard of ethics;
  • good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work in a team;
  • the ability to work under time pressures;
  • flexible work schedule to allow attendance at hearings and business meetings; and
  • willing and available to attend training programs once appointed.

Appointments Process – Citizen Members

Citizen members are recruited through a City-wide advertised recruitment process. The appointments process is conducted according to the policies and procedures in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.


Public hearings are held weekly on Thursdays by rotating panels of three members. Occasionally, there are special hearings and multi-day hearings.

The Tribunal is also required to hold two or more business meetings in a calendar year of the full Tribunal. Tribunal members are expected to attend these periodic business meetings of all Tribunal members to discuss their decision making protocols, issues that need to be brought to the attention of the City, and the content of their annual report.


Citizen Chair: annual honorarium of $18,000 plus a $350 per diem for attendance at business meetings and required training days.

Citizen Members: a $350 per diem for attending hearings, business meetings and required training days, plus a $50 fee for each written decision for any member (other than the Chair) who prepares and submits written decisions with reasons (excludes settlement decisions).