Preparing For Your Hearing Event
A Settlement Conference is an appearance before the Board prior to the scheduling of a hearing, where the Presiding Board Member will meet with the parties to review the issues in dispute, in order to clarify and attempt to resolve some or all of the issues. If the parties do not come to an agreement, the member may triage the appeal and determine next steps, either mediation or a full-hearing.
Mediation is an attempt by a Board Member to facilitate a resolution of the issues between the parties. The parties can advise the Board if they have a preference of which Member mediates a particular dispute. Mediation is confidential and the Board employs a number of mediation models. Like a settlement conference, a written brief must be submitted before a mediation. A mediation brief is a document setting out the issues in dispute, each party’s position on those issues, and the reasons for the party’s position.
It is important that you come prepared to your ARB hearing, mediation or settlement conference. Settlement conferences or mediation are an opportunity for the parties with an assigned member to try to resolve the appeal or settle some of the issues. The hearing is your opportunity to explain why you think your property assessment is wrong. Although it is MPAC’s responsibility to explain its valuation of your property, you should still bring evidence to back up your case. This evidence could include:
- Detailed property information such as location, lot size, square footage, age of building, and the number of rooms and stories;
- Detailed information, as above, on comparable properties in the same area as your property;
- Sales information on your property and comparable properties;
- Assessed values of your property and comparable properties;
- Photographs of your property and comparable properties;
- Any other evidence you think will help prove your case;
- Three extra copies of the documents (in addition to your own set) you plan on using as evidence at the hearing. These copies are for the ARB’s records, for MPAC and for the municipal representative (if one is there).
What Happens at an ARB Hearing Event?
The start time for a hearing event will be noted in your Notice. The ARB conducts its hearings either through Teleconference, Video Conference or in-person. It is important to arrive or log-in on time. If you (or your representative) are not there, the Board may dismiss your appeal.
At the beginning of the hearing, the ARB Member will explain the hearing event process. Once your appeal is called, the hearing will usually follow the process outlined below.
- MPAC will describe the property, explain how the assessment was made and present evidence.
- You may question MPAC about their evidence.
- You will have a chance to present your evidence and explain why you think the assessment is wrong.
- MPAC may question you or any of your witnesses.
- If the municipality is taking part in the hearing, its representative will also be given the opportunity to give evidence and question witnesses.
- You and MPAC will be asked to provide any other submissions and/or arguments.
- You and MPAC will summarize your case and give closing statements.
- The ARB will make a decision on your appeal OR reserve its decision for another day.
For more information, please see our “Preparing For Your Hearing” Information Sheet here.
An MPAC staff person will be at the ARB hearing event. This MPAC staff person will also bring evidence to support that MPAC’s assessment is right. You will have a chance to question them and their evidence during the hearing.
For more information on adjournments, withdrawing an appeal, mediations and other scheduling and hearing processes, please see our information sheets here.