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Appeal-Judicial Review - Reasons - Inadequate Time to Write

. Township of Oro-Medonte v. Oro-Medonte Association for Responsible STRS

In Township of Oro-Medonte v. Oro-Medonte Association for Responsible STRS (Div Court, 2024) the Divisional Court dismissed an appeal (filed with leave) of a ruling of the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), which itself repealed an amending bylaw to a municipality's zoning by-law. The issue of concern was "disruptive short-term rentals" (Airbnbs).

Here the court considers an argument that the reasons issued by the OLT were time-pressured, and thus ill-considered:
[3] Following a six-day hearing, the Tribunal gave an oral decision on March 22, 2022 granting the appeal and repealing By-law 2020-073. The Tribunal released written reasons on August 24, 2022. The Tribunal found that By-law 2020-073 did not represent good planning and was not in the public interest.

....

[27] The Township and the Good Neighbours’ Alliance argue the Tribunal breached its duty of procedural fairness because the Tribunal gave a brief oral decision within ten minutes of the hearing ending, suggesting that the Tribunal did not fully consider the evidence and arguments presented. They also argue the written reasons, which were released several months later, fail to demonstrate that the Tribunal considered the evidence and arguments presented at the hearing.

....

[29] The length of time between the end of the hearing and the oral decision does not, on its own, establish there was procedural unfairness in this case. There is no recording of the oral decision. However, the written reasons refer to the Tribunal having read and heard all the evidence. The written reasons also identify the concerns expressed by the Tribunal in the oral decision about By-law 2020-073, which broadly reflect the issues raised by the parties at the hearing.

[30] Detailed written reasons are not required for all administrative decisions. The duty of procedural fairness in administrative law is variable, flexible and context specific: Vavilov, at para. 77. Nonetheless, the Tribunal provided reasons for its decision. So even if the Tribunal was required to give reasons as a matter of procedural fairness, the Tribunal complied with its obligation. ...
. Toscani and Holland v. AGCO

In Toscani and Holland v. AGCO (Div Court, 2024) the Divisional Court dismissed a JR of "the decision of the Horse Racing Appeal Panel (“HRAP”) which dismissed their appeal from rulings by the Registrar, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“Registrar”) that they had violated the Rules of Standardbred Racing (“RSR”) established under the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015".

Here the court excuses 'inadequate reasons' due to lack of time in the course of rushed proceedings:
A. Sufficiency of the oral reasons for disclosure

[32] The Applicants submit that they were denied procedural fairness because the HRAP did not explain its rationale for denying in part the disclosure motion.

[33] I would not give effect to this submission for the following reasons. The timing of the motion, which was within the Applicants’ control was brought one business day prior to the scheduled hearing. The HRAP was required to make swift rulings, particularly since no party was seeking to adjourn the start of the hearing. In such a context, it is important not to apply a standard of perfection, and the context in which the decision is made is relevant: Vavilov at paras. 91 and 94.



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Last modified: 28-03-24
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