We’ll give you the chance to work things out.
We know that a lot of people can resolve their dispute by talking it out. We’ll give you instructions, and we’ll be there to help if big problems come up.
What’s expected of me during negotiation?
You must treat the other parties and members of the CRT in a respectful manner at all times. This includes communicating respectfully both in writing and verbally.
The CRT does not allow abusive or unlawful behaviour. If you behave abusively, the CRT will ask you to stop. If you ignore warnings from the CRT, the CRT may impose restrictions on your ability to represent yourself, or even dismiss your claim. If you behave unlawfully, you will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
What is abusive behaviour?
Abusive behaviour is not permitted when using the CRT. Examples of abusive behaviour include:
- Verbal aggression or insults
- Calling someone derogatory names
- Physical aggression or threats
- Excessive, repeated communication, with no purpose other than to humiliate or intimidate
As long as the effect of your behaviour isn’t to humiliate or intimidate, abuse, and harass, it’s okay to:
- Make strong expressions of emotion
- Disagree, no matter how strongly or unpleasantly expressed
- Send or make repeated communications with a legitimate purpose
Sometimes whether or not a behaviour is abusive or disrespectful depends on the context.
Abusive: Swearing is abusive or disrespectful when it is directed at a specific person, or used to describe a specific person. It is also abusive or disrespectful when it is used frequently.
Not Abusive: Swearing is not abusive or disrespectful when it is infrequent, and is not directed at a specific person.
Abusive: Yelling is abusive or disrespectful when it is used to intimidate or talk over another person. It is also abusive or disrespectful if it occurs in person and is accompanied by aggressive body language such as pointing, clenched fists, or invading the personal space of another person.
Not Abusive: Yelling is not abusive or disrespectful when the person is yelling in excitement, frustration, or even anger if the volume is used to get a point across or to ensure that you are heard.
Abusive: Interrupting is abusive or disrespectful when it is repeated despite warnings, and the person being interrupted is unable to finish their statement without being cut off.
Not Abusive: Interrupting is not abusive or disrespectful when it only occurs occasionally and the party interrupts not to prevent the other from speaking, but to provide their own opinion.
Demeaning or insulting language
Abusive: Demeaning or insulting language will always be considered abusive and disrespectful.
Not Abusive: Never.
What will happen if the Civil Resolution Tribunal decides that my behaviour is abusive?
The Civil Resolution Tribunal will:
- Give a warning. We’ll remind you of the fact that you’re expected to behave respectfully to others. We’ll let you know what’s wrong with the way that you’re behaving, so that you have a chance to fix it.
- Implement safeguards. If you don’t adjust your behaviour after receiving a warning, or if your behaviour poses a risk to the CRT or the other parties, we’ll take steps to put an end to your behaviour. For example, we might prohibit you from communicating with the CRT or other parties without using a representative. You would have to pay for a representative, which could be very expensive. Or we might end the facilitation process early, and send your dispute straight to adjudication, so you won’t be able to negotiate with the other parties.
- Dismiss your dispute. If you’re abusive towards the CRT, we might also put an end to your dispute and dismiss it. This would mean that you would lose any fees you had paid to use the CRT up to that point.
When is abusive behaviour also unlawful?
If abusive behaviour is unlawful, we will report it to the appropriate law enforcement such as the police, RCMP, or other government agency.
In some cases, it depends on the context. For example, threatening is both abusive and unlawful if the threat promises:
- Physical violence towards the CRT staff member, another party, or their friends or family.
- Damage to the property of the CRT staff member, another party or their friends or family.
- Illegal activity such as stalking, a false police report, or criminal or civil defamation.
Harassment is unlawful if it is repeated and excessive and has the effect of intimidating or humiliating the recipient, regardless of whether the actor intended to intimidate or humiliate. Harassment may include appearances at a person’s home or place of work, physical or virtual stalking, emails, texts, or other forms of communication.
If your behaviour is unlawful, we will report you to any other government agencies that we think should know about your behaviour. For example, if you are uttering threats, we would likely end your CRT dispute and notify authorities such as police or RCMP as well as any other relevant government agencies.
What happens if another party is abusive during negotiations?
We know it’s upsetting to have a dispute. But we still want people to behave and communicate in a respectful way. It’s not okay to be abusive towards staff, members, or other people in the dispute. We’ll provide a way for you to report abusive behaviour during negotiation. If it happens, negotiation will stop while we come in to help.