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If you live in the country, some aspects of farming may affect you and/or your property. The Ontario government has a conflict resolution process to help farmers and their neighbours solve conflicts and disagreements.
You can request a hearing in front of the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) if you are not satisfied with the conflict resolution process. Hearings are less formal than a provincial court trial; each party (the farmer, their neighbour and any third-parties involved) can represent themselves instead of hiring a lawyer if they wish.
- An NFPPB hearing has a number of court-like processes:
- A court reporter may be present
- Opening statements and closing arguments are made
- Witnesses give information ("testify") and are cross-examined
- You can submit materials ("exhibits") as evidence
- Any party can bring forward a motion (a written request asking for an interim decision from the board)
Review the hearing application and other information included in the board file (see below for more information on board files).
Think about the farm practice(s) that will be discussed during the hearing and prepare information for your case.
Prepare the following before the hearing:
- Your opening statement
- The evidence you want to submit
- The witness(es) you want to call
- A list of questions you want to ask your witness(es)
- A list of questions you want to ask the other party's witness(es)
- A list of questions you want to ask the board's witness(es), if any
- Your closing argument
In some cases, before a hearing, the parties and the board members may receive a board file related to the case. The board file contains the original application and any correspondence (emails, letters, etc.) between the parties and the board leading up to the hearing. It also includes a list of witnesses that will be called by both parties at the hearing. This ensures that all parties have the same information. Board files are often not necessary if both parties are represented by lawyers.
The board file is not used by the board to make a hearing decision. The board can only base its decision on information that is submitted as evidence during the hearing. Evidence can include exhibits, such as documents, photographs or maps, but all evidence must be submitted through witnesses.
The board tries to hold the hearing in the area where the complaint arose. Often, the board holds a hearing in the municipal chambers of the local municipality.
Please note: this page is not a substitute for legal advice or representation. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs accepts no responsibility or liability for the outcome of any hearing in which any party relies on this pamphlet.
Find out more about normal farm practices, the Farming and Food Production Protection Act and the NFPPB by reading our other pamphlets:
Read the Citizen's Guide to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board for more information on the normal farm practices conflict resolution process and the NFPPB hearing procedure.
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