What is evidence?

Evidence is material that is relevant to your claim, or to your response to a claim.

Evidence includes materials that support the other side’s position, too. You are required to disclose evidence even if it doesn’t help your position.

Evidence helps a tribunal member understand the facts in a dispute.

Why evidence is important

  • Why do I need evidence?

    Independent CRT members make decisions based on the facts and evidence from both sides of a dispute. Just giving your side of the story might not be enough to prove it.

    You should provide all relevant evidence, even if it might hurt your case.

  • What kind of evidence should I give?

    Evidence needs to be relevant to your claim and what you’re asking for, or relevant to what’s being claimed against you. Keep it focused on the facts of the dispute.

    Submitting irrelevant or non-specific evidence could delay resolution of your dispute. It could also result in the dispute not being resolved to your satisfaction, if you weren’t able to prove your side of the story.

    Under the CRT Rules, all participants in the dispute must disclose all relevant evidence, even if it might hurt their case.

    Evidence can include things like:

    • Contracts or emails that show an agreement
    • Invoices that show an outstanding debt or what was paid
    • Work orders and time records
    • Medical records about a physical or emotional injury
    • Proof of wage loss or lost income, such as T4 slips, payroll records, or month-end reporting comparisons
    • Photos or videos with descriptions
    • Invoices, receipts, or quotes for repairs or reimbursement
    • Statements from qualified experts. We’ll tell you more about this below.
    • Witness statements
    • Accounting records
    • Minutes from strata council meetings or annual general meetings
  • What are some common kinds of evidence?

    All Disputes

    • Photos – photos help the CRT understand your dispute. Photos are particularly helpful in showing damage, physical layouts, or things that are difficult to describe. Please submit clear photos with a high resolution. Include a description of what is shown in the photo, and the date the photo was taken.
    • Contracts – provide a copy of the contract. Also include communications related to your contract.
    • Correspondence – letters, emails or other correspondence about the dispute. Make sure you don’t submit multiple copies of the same correspondence. For example, an e-mail chain that includes multiple copies of the same e-mail.
    • Statements – this can include written statements from a witness or expert. Witness or expert statements should be signed, dated, and sent to the person requesting the statement. The person requesting an expert statement or opinion must submit a copy to the CRT and to the other parties in the dispute. They must also provide:
      • The letter from the party to the expert requesting the expert statement or opinion, and
      • Information about the expert’s experience and background to explain what makes the person an expert

    Motor Vehicle Injury Disputes

    • You may want to provide medical information to support your claim. Medical information can include things like reports and assessments completed by medical practitioners, receipts for medical information, and other items.
    • The CRT has rules specific to parties who want to submit expert evidence. There are limits on the amount of expert evidence that can be submitted, and limits on the amount the CRT can order one party to pay for reimbursement of fees and expenses in a motor vehicle injury dispute.
    • Learn more about expert evidence and reimbursement of expenses for motor vehicle injury disputes.

    Strata Disputes

    • Minutes – copies of strata meeting meetings that relate to your dispute. For example, strata council meetings, or strata AGMs.  Make sure the minutes include the date of the meeting.
    • Complaint letters – if there is a complaint by or to a strata, a copy of the complaint letter, as well as any response.
    • Bylaw infraction letters – if you have received or sent a bylaw infraction letter, a copy of the notice of bylaw infraction that was sent to the owner, as well as any response.

    Personal Injury Claims

    • You should provide medical information to support the damages in your claim. Medical information can include things like reports and assessments completed by medical practitioners, receipts for medical services, and other items.

    Debt

    • Agreement – a copy of the contract or agreement for the amount owed.
    • Payment records – this is evidence about which party made payments, for how much, and on what date.
    • Demand letter – A “demand letter” is a letter sent from the creditor (the person who lent money) to the debtor (the person who owes money), asking that the debt be repaid. You should also include any response to the “demand letter”, for example, correspondence saying they will or won’t pay.
  • Can the CRT give me advice about evidence?

    No. The CRT is an independent, neutral decision maker. Our staff can’t provide legal advice or tell you what evidence would support your side.

    If you’re not sure about what evidence to provide, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer or legal services provider.

About submitting evidence

  • When should I submit evidence?

    Don’t submit evidence until the CRT asks for it.

    Generally, evidence is not required during the facilitation stage. But if your case manager thinks it will help settlement discussions, they may ask you to submit it.

    Before your dispute is assigned to an independent CRT member for a decision, the CRT will ask you and the other party to submit your evidence. This happens during the Tribunal Decision Process preparation phase.

  • How do I submit evidence?

    You must submit your evidence online. Log in to your dispute and go to the “Evidence” tab. We’ll tell you when to do this.

    If you have trouble submitting your evidence online, contact your case manager.

  • Do I have to submit originals, or just a copy?

    Digital copies are best, such as a Word or PDF document, photo file, or video file.

    You can scan an original document or photo. If you don’t have a scanner, most public libraries and stores with photocopying services can scan documents for a small fee.

    If your case manager or the CRT member assigned to your dispute decides they want to see an original or better copy of digital evidence you created, they might ask you for it later.

    If you can’t create a digital copy of your evidence, submit a description saying that you have the evidence but couldn’t create a digital copy. Your case manager will talk to you about this evidence if necessary. If your dispute is assigned to a CRT member for a decision, we may ask you to mail us the evidence.

  • Am I allowed to alter evidence by highlighting paragraphs, circling something in a photo, etc?

    Yes. But if you upload altered evidence, add a description of what you altered. For example, “I highlighted the part about the contract” or “I circled the damaged area on the bicycle”.

About fairness and privacy

  • Who can see my evidence?

    Evidence can be seen by the CRT and other participants in your dispute.

    A member of the public may ask for permission to see the evidence. The CRT will decide if the request meets our policy for public access to evidence.

  • Do I have to provide evidence, even if it might hurt my case?

    Yes. Under the CRT Rules, all participants in the dispute must disclose all relevant evidence, even if it might hurt their case.

    It’s an offence under the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act to provide false or misleading information to the CRT.

  • Can I force someone to provide evidence or a statement?

    Your first step is to ask them for the evidence or statement. If they refuse, your case manager can give you an official Summons form that asks the person for their evidence or statement.

    If they still won’t give the evidence or statement, an independent CRT member can order them to provide it. Contact your case manager for more information.

  • What if I have privacy concerns about evidence?

    To help protect the privacy of others, please don’t give evidence about someone else unless it explains the facts in your dispute.

    The CRT usually identifies people who are not parties or representatives by their initials only, to help protect their privacy.

    The CRT must balance the need to protect participants’ sensitive information with the need for the public to see how the CRT makes its decisions. If you have privacy concerns about your evidence, please discuss this with your case manager.

    In certain circumstances, the CRT may decide not to release information publicly, depending on the potential harm to the affected person.

  • What if I want to submit a witness statement, but the witness wants to stay anonymous?

    Independent CRT members consider each piece of evidence, how convincing it is, and how it supports the arguments in the dispute. An anonymous statement might not be as convincing as a statement by someone who identified themselves by name.

    Witness statements are often more persuasive if they are signed and dated.

    If your witness won’t agree to being identified, you can submit the anonymous statement, but you could explain in your written submissions why they will not identify themselves. The independent CRT member will consider your explanation when they consider the evidence.

About expert evidence

  • What is expert evidence, and how is it different from other evidence?

    Expert evidence is from someone neutral (not involved in the dispute). They must not advocate for anyone involved in the dispute.

    An expert opinion can be necessary to show what is wrong, how something happened, what might happen if a problem isn’t fixed, or how it could best be fixed.

    An expert is more convincing if they are licensed or certified and have experience with the specific problem in your dispute. If they aren’t, the tribunal may decide not to accept their evidence as expert evidence.

    Sometimes, each participant will have their own expert. But if you can agree on a single expert, it can help focus on the problem and how to best resolve it. This might be appropriate if the participants agree that a problem exists but can’t agree on other issues, like how it happened. Sharing an expert could also reduce costs.

  • When can expert evidence be helpful?

    Sometimes, presenting your own opinion about a claim may not be enough evidence to prove it. Before you submit evidence, consider what you are trying to prove, and whether expert evidence would be appropriate to help prove it.

    Expert evidence can help the tribunal member determine things like:

    • The presence of damage, defects or injuries
    • Cause of damage or other problems
    • Impact of the damage or injury
    • Options to resolve the damage
    • Cost of resolving the problem
  • What form should expert evidence be in?

    Usually, expert evidence will be a written opinion or statement by someone who has relevant education, training, or experience.

    For example, if you are claiming damages for an injury or emotional distress, a doctor could provide a written opinion about the cause of the injury and the impact it’s had on your life.

    If your dispute is about mechanical or structural defects or damage, a certified mechanic or a structural engineer could provide a written opinion about the cause of the damage and the estimated cost to repair it.

    When you submit expert evidence, you must also submit any correspondence that you had with that expert about the requested opinion.

  • How do I choose an expert?

    Expert evidence should be:

    • Independent: The expert providing the opinion should not be a party to the dispute, nor a close friend or family member of a party to the dispute. The expert should provide an objective opinion and should not advocate for any party.
    • Qualified: Make sure to choose an expert who has the appropriate qualifications to produce a reliable report. As part of their written opinion, the expert must state what training or experience they have that makes them qualified to give an opinion on the issue.
    • Relevant: The expert’s opinion should be directly related to the dispute and the expert’s field of work. For example, you wouldn’t ask your doctor to provide expert evidence on the cause of damage to your vehicle.
    • Specific: General evidence can be helpful, but evidence will typically be more persuasive if it relates to your specific situation. For example, it’s more helpful for your mechanic to examine your vehicle and give an opinion about it than to give general evidence about common problems with that make and model of vehicle.

    There are timelines for submitting evidence. If you have several equally qualified experts, consider choosing the one who can do the expert evidence faster. Make sure to tell your expert when you need the evidence by before you hire them.

  • Who pays for expert evidence?

    You must pay your own expenses for getting expert evidence. These expenses could include expert reports, independent examinations, and legal fees.

    If you want to ask for reimbursement of these expenses, you must submit proof of what you paid as evidence. You must also provide a copy of your request to the expert for an opinion. The tribunal may not reimburse fees if it considers them to be excessive or unreasonable.

  • Can I be reimbursed for expert evidence?

    You may be reimbursed if your claim is successful. But there are strict limits. An expert’s fees could be more than the CRT can order another party to pay.

    If you want to ask for reimbursement of these expenses, you must submit proof of what you paid as evidence.