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The Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) hears matters under several pieces of legislation. The legislation that applies to your situation states who may appeal and how appeals are to be made. The notice of decision from the local level usually tells you how to appeal. Appeals to the SMB are generally from decisions of a lower board, such as municipal boards of revision or development appeals boards. Each of the following working committees specifically deals with various types of appeals:

Assessment Appeals Committee
Planning Appeals Committee
Fire Prevention Appeals Committee

How formal is an appeal hearing?
Appeal hearings are less formal than a court proceeding but are more formal than a council meeting.

As explained earlier in the discussion about the board's mandate, hearings for the above mentioned committees are conducted under what is best described as a Hybrid Model, leaning more to the Adversarial Model.

Generally, argument is presented by one party in an effort to prove error on behalf of a local board, followed by argument of the other party that the local board did not err. During the hearing or other proceeding, committee members (hearing panel) will guide all parties through the appropriate procedures.

How should I prepare for a hearing?
Thoroughly review the evidence, argument and information (the record) of the lower board. Your role is to provide argument to show the SMB hearing panel where there is error in the decision of the lower board based upon the evidence that was before it. If you choose not to hire a lawyer, or an agent the SMB will expect you to:

  • Obtain or prepare any documents you may require to present your case;
  • Make copies for all parties (except of public documents like official plans); and
  • Present relevant facts and arguments in a clear and logical way in order to present your case to the SMB hearing panel.

Can I have someone else represent me at my hearing?
Yes. You can have legal counsel, a tax consultant or anyone you feel can adequately present your case.

Is a hearing open to the public?
Yes. Generally, all hearings are open to the public except in some cases where the committee decides that a matter should be heard in private.

Do I have to hire a lawyer?
Many municipalities and appellants are represented by lawyers, but there is no requirement that anyone be represented by a lawyer or other agent.

What happens at a hearing?
Hearings are conducted as follows:

  • Identify the record of the local board;
  • Address any issues of jurisdiction, which may prevent the committee from hearing the appeal;
  • Both parties may provide opening statements;
  • Parties speak one at a time, addressing all comments and questions through the chair;
  • Appellant proceeds with his/her case first followed by the respondent;
  • Where additional evidence has been allowed, both appellant and respondent can cross-examine and re-examine (if needed);
  • Where appropriate, both appellant and respondent can present summary argument;
  • Panel members may ask questions throughout the hearing.

Decisions are rendered, in writing, with reasons as soon as possible following the hearing.

Do I have to present evidence at the hearing?
When the appeal is based on the decision of the lower board, the committee is restricted to reviewing the record of the lower board for error and cannot accept new evidence, except in certain, limited circumstances. You must have previously presented a full case, including all evidence upon which you relied to make your appeal, to the local board. This evidence comes to the committee as part of the record of the local board.

When is new evidence allowed?
When an appeal is against the decision of a lower board, the committee may only allow new evidence, in very limited circumstances, where it is satisfied that:

  • The evidence is relevant;
  • Through no fault of a person seeking to call the new evidence, the written materials and transcript of the lower board are incomplete, unclear, or do not exist;
  • The lower board has omitted, neglected, or refused to make a decision; or
  • The appellant has established that the relevant information has come to his/her attention that was not obtainable or discoverable through the exercise of due diligence at the time of the lower board’s hearing.

What happens if I do not attend my hearing?
Parties are expected to appear and enter argument at a hearing or have an agent appear on their behalf. Adequate notice of hearings is given to the parties well in advance, so adjournments or postponements are not automatically granted. Requests for postponements should be made to the committee well in advance of the hearing. If a party does not appear at the hearing in person or by agent, the panel hearing the appeal, after consulting with the party in attendance, may:

  • adjourn the hearing to another date,
  • dismiss the appeal outright, or
  • proceed with the hearing in the party’s absence.

May hearings be recorded?
The SMB committees routinely audio record all hearings. No other person shall take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture, audio recording or other record capable of producing an oral or visual reproduction by electronic or other means at a hearing. Upon application, the committee can release its recording of the hearing to a transcriber approved by the committee to prepare a transcript of all or any part of the testimony recorded at the hearing at the applicant’s expense.

How does the committee give decisions?
After the hearing committee decisions are rendered in writing along with reasons.

Can I appeal an Assessment Appeals, Planning Appeals and/or Fire Prevention Appeals Committee decision to the court?
Any person affected by a decision of the Assessment Appeals, Planning Appeals and/or Fire Prevention Appeals committee of the SMB may appeal to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal on a leave to appeal basis on a question of law or jurisdiction. A leave application must be made within 30 days from the date of the decision. If the court grants leave, the matter is heard at a later date by a panel of the Court of Appeal judges. If the Court of Appeal finds that the SMB erred it will provide direction as to how the matter should be handled, such as rehearing or changing the SMB’s decision.

Can I appeal directly to the board or the Assessment Appeals and/or Planning Appeals Committee?
Yes under specific circumstances. Contact SMB staff for more information on the process for direct appeals.

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