Updated Notice No. 4 regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic (November 3 2020)
The Competition Tribunal continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and to take measures to protect the health and safety of employees, parties and the public. Given the current government and public health information, and the developments that have taken place since the Tribunal issued its Updated Notice No. 3 regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic on June 12, 2020, the Tribunal now puts in place the following revised measures with respect to hearings, effective immediately.
Competition Tribunal Offices
The Tribunal is fully operational but the Tribunal premises remain closed to the public. Tribunal Members and employees are equipped to work remotely and continue to provide services to the parties and the public.
The Tribunal can hold three types of hearings. First, the Tribunal can hear matters remotely by way of a videoconference or teleconference hearing. In this instance, all participants appear remotely and this has been so far the Tribunal’s practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, where appropriate, the Tribunal may proceed by way of a hybrid hearing, a hearing where some participants appear remotely, while others appear in person. At such a hearing, all the participants are connected via a videoconferencing platform. Third, where appropriate, the Tribunal may hold a hearing where all participants appear in person. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Tribunal strongly favors hearing matters remotely by way of either videoconference or teleconference. Whenever an in-person hearing will be considered, the COVID-19 restrictions will require that physical attendance at such hearing be restricted to those whose physical presence is deemed essential.
In all cases, the Tribunal retains the discretion over the format of the hearing. Counsel will be expected to address the format of the hearing at a case management conference and the Tribunal encourages counsel to work together to agree on the format. Where public health considerations make it necessary to convert a hybrid or in-person hearing to a remote hearing, parties should be prepared to proceed remotely on short notice.
For in-person hearings in Ottawa, the hearing will be held in the hearing room of the Tribunal, located at 90 Sparks. Various safety measures have been implemented in the hearing room. The layout of the hearing room ensures that there is a minimum of two-metres’ distance between the hearing participants. Where it is not possible to maintain such distance, plexiglass dividers have been installed in the least intrusive manner while ensuring adequate protection. Other measures, such as traffic flow signage, disinfection protocols and a screening site, have also been implemented. For more information on these measures, please contact the Deputy Registrar at (613) 954-0857.
Tribunal hearings are open to the public in accordance with Rules 29 and 30. The Tribunal remains committed to respecting the principle of open court proceedings, and members of the public (including the media) who wish to attend a hearing can do so remotely via the Zoom platform upon prior registration with the Tribunal Registry. Information about registration procedures and upcoming hearings can be found on the Tribunal website.
The Tribunal is committed to being flexible in assisting the parties and the public in dealing with this situation. If you require any additional information, you are invited to communicate with the Tribunal Registry.
Justice Denis Gascon