The health and safety of everyone involved in the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) hearings is paramount. As such, this protocol sets out the measures put in place to maintain a safe and healthy environment following the COVID-19 pandemic and directives to support the return to in-person hearings during this transition period. For more information on CIRO’s practices for electronic proceedings, consult Best Practices for Electronic Proceedings.
This protocol is based on the current federal and provincial guidelines and may change over time. Please read them carefully and note that preventive measures and directives could differ in some cities or provinces depending on the local guidelines and legislation in effect at the time of your hearing.
All individuals attending CIRO hearings in-person should remain mindful and respectful of their own health and safety as well as other individuals involved. If you are not feeling well or have symptoms that have been linked with COVID-19 or other illnesses, do not attend hearings in- person (see below for information on safe alternatives). All participants should be prepared to switch from an in-person to a fully virtual or hybrid hearing format if necessary.
IN-PERSON and HYBRID HEARINGS
CIRO has developed a framework of control measures that can be adapted to their offices and other (third-party) locations where hearings will be held (e.g., court reporters’ offices, conference centres, hotels etc.) to support the safe restoration of in-person hearings in response to COVID-19 and ensure health and safety of all hearing participants as well as members of the community and the public.
Hearing participants in CIRO proceedings typically include Hearing Committee members (same as hearing panel members thereafter), administrative staff (including the National Hearing Officer (NHO) for hearings proceedings under the Investment Dealer and Partially Consolidated Rules and the Hearings Assistant for hearings proceeding under the Mutual Fund Dealer Rules, hearing registrars and court reporters), parties to the proceeding, witnesses and, if represented, their legal counsel. For the purposes of this document, hearing participants exclude observers, such as members of the public and the media.
In-person hearings entail personal attendance of the parties, their witnesses and legal counsel (if represented by a lawyer), in a physical hearing room, where the hearing is held in the presence of a hearing panel.
Hybrid hearings are those in which some participants attend in-person in the hearing room while others join remotely. Hearing rooms for in-person and hybrid hearings will be equipped with technology that permits the use of videoconferencing (e.g., Webex or another digital platform).
In all cases, a videoconferencing (Webex) link to a hearing may be used by:
- a hearing participant who elects to participate remotely, or
- any hearing participant who intended to attend the hearing in-person but, due to illness or some other circumstances, is unable to attend in-person and needs to switch to a remote appearance, and
- any observers, including members of the public and the media who wish to attend public hearings.
The following protocols apply when individuals attend in-person at either a fully in-person or a hybrid hearing.