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Administrative Law

1. General
2. Fairness
3. Natural Justice
4. Reasons for Decision
5. Time Limits
6. Standard of Review
7. Representation


1. General

Administrative law is something that sounds very boring, and no doubt for some it is, but as time goes by more and more legal issues that matter to people are consumed by it. Residential landlord & tenant, social assistance, employment, WSIB and many other varied and important areas of law are all administrative.

While generally governed by the Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA) [the subject of it's own Isthatlegal Administrative Law (SPPA) Legal Guide], each of these areas of 'admin' law is unique and must be studied thoroughly when used. Most of that study focusses on the statutes, regulations and any number of rules, interpretation guidelines - and even forms. Here however in the 'The Latest Word' the focus is on the 'common law' of admin law, in particular administrative 'fairness' and 'natural justice'. There are several Isthatlegal Legal Guides focussed on particular admin topics, and reference should be made to the guides as necessary.

2. Fairness

. Green v Law Society of Manitoba

In Green v. Law Society of Manitoba (SCC, 2017) the Supreme Court clarifies that the common law administrative duty of fairness exists independent from any delegated rule regime, and can operate to supplement such regimes (eg. to require a hearing where the regime does not expressly do so):
[53] The common law duty of procedural fairness does not reside in a set of enacted rules. As Brown and Evans explain, “delegated legislation that apparently permits a fundamental breach of the duty of fairness will not normally be found to be exhaustive of procedural rights”: Judicial Review of Administrative Action in Canada (loose-leaf), at topic 7:1512. A statutory decision-maker can always provide for procedures in addition to those set out in a rule in order to ensure that the dictates of procedural fairness are met: see Culligan v. Miller, J. (1996), 1996 CanLII 11286 (NB QB), 178 N.B.R. (2d) 321 (Q.B.), at paras. 23-24; Shewchuk-Dann v. Assn. of Social Workers (Alberta) (1996), 38 Admin. L.R. (2d) 19 (C.A.); Laferrière v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 FC 612, at paras. 13-14 (CanLII); Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396 (CanLII), 609 A.R. 299, at paras. 58 and 63. However, the common law duty of fairness “supplements existing statutory duties and fills the gap” where procedures are not provided for explicitly: G. Huscroft, “From Natural Justice to Fairness: Thresholds, Content, and the Role of Judicial Review” in C. M. Flood and L. Sossin, eds., Administrative Law in Context (2nd ed. 2013) 147, at p. 152.
. Kachkar (Re)

In Kachkar (Re) (Ont CA, 2014) the Court of Appeal considered, but decided against, the proposition that the Crown was owed a duty of fairness within administrative proceedings (here Ontario Review Board proceedings to decide conditions to be placed on a person committed as 'not criminally responsible'). In the course of the reasons the court usefully reviews the law applicable to the duty of administrative fairness:
[39] In Cardinal v. Director of Kent Institution, 1985 CanLII 23 (SCC), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 643 at 653, Le Dain J. succinctly defined the circumstances in which the duty of procedural fairness arises:
This Court has affirmed that there is, as a general common law principle, a duty of procedural fairness lying on every public authority making an administrative decision which is not of a legislative nature and which affects the rights, privileges or interests of an individual.
[40] For the duty to arise, several criteria must be met. There can be no doubt that one of these is present here. The Board is clearly a public authority making an administrative decision when it makes its disposition concerning the respondent.

[41] However, for the purposes of the duty of procedural fairness analysis, I do not think that the Crown can be said to be an individual, nor to have a right, privilege or interest that is affected by the Board’s disposition.

[42] In my view, the duty of fairness extends to those impacted by the administrative decision-making process in the sense that they have a right, privilege or interest that they can claim as their own that is affected, usually adversely, by the decision. While the jurisprudence has increasingly extended this notion to include, for example, corporations either private or public, see D. Brown and J.M. Evans, Judicial Review of Administrative Action in Canada, vol. 2, looseleaf at p. 7-54, the Attorney General representing the Crown sits uncomfortably in this company. Even with an expanded definition, the Crown cannot be described as an individual.

[43] Nor do I think that the Attorney General can be said to be advancing a right, privilege or interest that the Crown can claim as its own. Indeed, the Attorney General does not purport to rely on a Crown right or privilege to trigger the duty of procedural fairness. Rather, the Attorney General argues that the Crown is owed procedural fairness because of its interest in ensuring as far as possible a Board disposition that is least onerous and least restrictive to the respondent consistent with public safety. In other words, the Crown’s interest is in ensuring compliance with s. 672.54 of the Criminal Code. That is the interest that is said to trigger its entitlement to procedural fairness.

[44] In my view, the Attorney General does not advance an interest that the Crown can claim as its own. What is being asserted is the public interest, not a private interest. This is to be contrasted with the respondent’s liberty interest, which is clearly his own and equally clearly affected by the Board’s disposition.

[45] Nor can it be argued that the interest asserted by the Crown is adversely affected by the Board’s disposition. The Criminal Code requires the Board to comply with s. 672.54. It must ensure that its disposition is least onerous and least restrictive to the respondent while protecting public safety. The Crown can hardly claim that a disposition that does so adversely affects the interest the Crown advances so as to trigger an entitlement to procedural fairness. If the Crown considers that a disposition does not do so, its right is to appeal on the grounds of unreasonableness rather than assert a breach of procedural fairness.

[46] To summarize, I do not think that the circumstances of this case place on the Board a common law duty of procedural fairness to the Crown. What remains to the Crown are the procedural protections offered to the Attorney General by the provisions of the Criminal Code.

[47] If I am wrong, and the Crown is owed a duty of procedural fairness by the Board, the content of that duty must be determined in the context of this case. In Congrégation des témoins de Jéhovah de St-Jérôme-Lafontaine v. Lafontaine (Village), 2004 SCC 48 (CanLII), 2004 SCC 48, [2004] 2 S.C.R. 650 at para. 5, McLachlin C.J. said this:
The content of the duty of fairness on a public body varies according to five factors: (1) the nature of the decision and the decision-making process employed by the public organ; (2) the nature of the statutory scheme and the precise statutory provisions pursuant to which the public body operates; (3) the importance of the decision to the individuals affected; (4) the legitimate expectations of the party challenging the decision; and (5) the nature of the deference accorded to the body: Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 1999 CanLII 699 (SCC), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817.
[48] In my view, the decisive factor in these circumstances is the third one, the importance of the decision to the individuals affected. In the words of McLachlin C.J. at para. 9, “[t]he stringency of procedural protection is directly proportional to the importance of the decision to the lives of those affected and the nature of its impact on them.”

[49] The importance of the Board’s decision to the Crown relates directly to its interest in ensuring so far as possible that the disposition is least onerous and least restrictive to the respondent consistent with public safety. However, that interest is fully protected by according to the Attorney General the opportunity to urge upon the Board the disposition that the Attorney General says will achieve this result. The Attorney General had that opportunity in this case. Procedural fairness requires no more. Protection of the interest advanced by the Attorney General does not require that the Attorney General be given the right to make submissions about the community access condition before the Board attaches it to the disposition. That would not enhance protection of the interest relied on by the Crown. Thus, even if the Crown is owed a duty of procedural fairness by the Board in the circumstances of this case, I would conclude that the duty was met.

[50] In short, even though it might have been desirable for the Board to offer a more fulsome explanation of why it went beyond the joint submission, I conclude that the Crown’s procedural fairness argument fails.

3. Natural Justice

Natural justice is relevant to admin law, though it was born within court-based law. It's hard to find a natural justice issue that does not have a counterpart issue under the heading of administrative 'fairness'. Generally though, natural justice is more advanced than 'fairness'.

. McGregor v. Pitawanakwat

In McGregor v. Pitawanakwat (Ont CA, 2017) the court noted the useful point that a violation of natural justice in a hearing is appealable regardless of whether the violation influenced the outcome:
[12] A final preliminary point is that the denial of a fair hearing is a free-standing ground of review. A correct decision cannot cure an unfair hearing, because the unfairness would taint the entire proceedings: see R. v. S. (R.D.), 1997 CanLII 324 (SCC), [1997] 3 S.C.R. 484, at para. 100.

4. Reasons for Decision

. Esgin (Re)

In Esgin (Re) (Ont CA, 2019) the Court of Appeal heard an appeal from a finding that the appellant was not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder before the Ontario Review Board:
[23] In my view, the reasons of the Board are inadequate and did not permit meaningful appellate review. Decision makers must give reasons for their decisions that display the qualities of accountability, intelligibility, adequacy and transparency, and that are responsive to the live issues. See R. v. Sheppard, 2002 SCC 26 (CanLII), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 869 per Binnie J. at para. 55. See also Clifford v. OMERS, 2009 ONCA 670 (CanLII); Vancouver International Airport Authority v. Public Service Alliance of Canada, 2010 FCA 158 (CanLII), at para. 16.

5. Time Limits

. Wall v. Office of the Independent Police Review Director

The case of Wall v. Office of the Independent Police Review Director (Ont CA, 2014) considered the interesting issue of when and if the limitations principle of 'discoverability' applies to the many and varied timelines set out in administrative law statutes. Here the context was a provision in the Police Services Act which read [s.60(2-3)]:
The Independent Police Review Director may decide not to deal with a complaint made by a member of the public if the complaint is made more than six months after the facts on which it is based occurred.

(3) In making a determination under subsection (2), the Independent Police Review Director shall consider,
(a) whether the complainant is a minor or is under a disability within the meaning of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;

(b) whether the complainant is or was subject to criminal proceedings in respect of the events underlying the complaint; and

(c) whether, having regard to all the circumstances, it is in the public interest for the complaint to be dealt with.
The Director had refused a complaint that was past this six month mark without giving any discernible reasons. While making it plain that each case where the issue arose would turn on the specific wording of the timeline provision and the purpose of the legislation, the court held in this case that discoverability did play a role in the Director's consideration under both the general s.60(2) provision and the s.60(3) public interest consideration.

The court stated:
[28] As explained below, I am persuaded that the Director is required by the scheme and language of the Police Services Act and principles of fairness to take into account discoverability principles when exercising his s. 60 function.

[29] “Discoverability” is the term used – usually in the limitation period context – to describe the principle that a time limit ought not to begin to run against a complainant until the moment when the complainant knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that he or she had the basis for a complaint. In essence, it is a fairness principle, designed to balance the need for finality against exposure to liability by potential defendants, and the need to avoid an injustice to the individual seeking to assert legitimate claims that were unknown to him or her before the time expired.

[30] The Director argues that the Divisional Court erred by incorporating this concept into the operation of s. 60(2) of the Police Services Act.

[31] I disagree. There are three principal reasons why the timing of when a complainant knew (or ought reasonably to have known) that there was a basis for a complaint is a factor the Director is required to consider when exercising his functions under s. 60(2) of the Act. First, there is nothing in the Act that indicates discoverability is excluded from the Director’s consideration. Secondly, the overall scheme of Part V of the Act favours the notion that complaints are generally to be dealt with. Thirdly, s. 60(3) of the Act requires the Director to consider the public interest.

[32] The view that discoverability must be taken into account is consistent with the scheme set out in Part V of the Act. Part V provides for the supervision and treatment of complaints made to the Director by members of the public concerning police policies, services or conduct, and the disciplinary proceedings that may or may not flow from those complaints. Section 26.2(a) of the Act mandates the Director “to manage complaints made to him or her by members of the public”. Part V lays down the procedure for doing so.

[33] Any member of the public may make a complaint to the Director under Part V about the policies of or services provided by a police force, or about the conduct of a police officer: s. 58(1). Sections 59 and 60 of the Act set out the parameters of the Director’s review of such complaints. Their full text is attached as an appendix to these reasons.

[34] In brief, however, the Director is required by s. 59 to review every complaint made, to classify it (as a complaint about policies or services or the conduct of a police officer), and to ensure that it is dealt with in accordance with the mechanisms set out in ss. 61 and following.[3]

[35] However, to shield the police against an avalanche of frivolous or improper complaints, s. 60(1) provides that the Director “may, in accordance with this section, decide not to deal with a complaint made to him or her by a member of the public under this Part” (emphasis added). Under s. 60(4), the Director may decide not to deal with a complaint if it is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith, could more appropriately be dealt with under another statute, or if in the circumstances, dealing with the complaint would not be in the public interest. The Director also has the discretion to decide not to deal with a complaint in cases where, generally speaking, the complainant is not directly affected by the police policy, services or conduct: s. 60(5)-(6).

[36] Section 60(2), discussed above, enables the Director to decide not to deal with a complaint “made more than six months after the facts on which it is based occurred”. The Director is required by the terms of s. 60(3) to consider a number of factors when deciding not to deal with a complaint filed after the six-month period. The Director must consider whether the complainant is a minor or a person with a disability, whether the complainant is or was subject to criminal proceedings relating to the events forming the basis for the complaint, and whether in the circumstances it would not be in the public interest to deal with the complaint.

[37] As these provisions indicate, the default scenario under the Act is that the Director is obligated to screen in a complaint for review and to have it dealt with in accordance with Part V unless one of the saving factors in s. 60 applies. The Director “shall ensure that every complaint reviewed … is referred or retained and dealt with”: s. 59(2) (emphasis added). But the Director “may, in accordance with [s. 60], decide not to deal with a complaint”: s. 60(1) (emphasis added). This default paradigm is significant, in my view, in determining whether and, if so, to what extent, “discoverability” factors into the exercise of the Director’s discretion not to proceed with a complaint. It also bears on the scope of the requirement to give reasons, which I deal with below.

[38] Although the six-month period provided for in s. 60(2) is often loosely referred to as a “limitation period”, the parties all agree that it is not a limitation period in the formal legal sense. The Divisional Court adopted that interpretation as well, stating, at para. 35:
The six month period referred to in s. 60(2) is not a limitation period, but rather a guideline – a point in time at which the Director may wish to consider not dealing with the complaint, depending on various factors including the reasonableness of the delay and the specific factors the Director is directed to take into account under s. 60(3). All counsel at the hearing essentially agreed with that interpretation.
[39] Although the parties agree that s. 60(2) does not contain a limitation period, they have differing views on where that interpretation leads them. Mr. Wall argues that the six-month period is “a presumptive period that must yield to the interests of justice and the public interest.” The Director says it is not a limitation period, but “simply provides the Director with the discretion to screen in a complaint that has been received by his office six months after the facts on which the complaint was based occurred.” The Director submits that he is not mandated to take into account notions of discoverability in exercising his discretion not to screen in the complaint. In doing so, he adopts an analysis that leans towards treating s. 60(2) as a limitation period.

[40] The Director submits that nothing in the language of s. 60(2) or in the provisions of s. 60(3) outlining the factors the Director is to consider in exercising his discretion to screen in the complaint or not to do so, mandates that he take into account whether or not six months have elapsed since the complainant knew or ought to have known that he or she had grounds for a complaint. He concedes, however, that he has discretion to consider whether discoverability in that sense is a factor in the appropriate case.

[41] The Director seeks to rely on the principle of implied exclusion to argue that if the legislature had intended discoverability to apply, it would have said so expressly. That principle is explained by Ruth Sullivan in Sullivan on the Construction of Statutes, 6th ed. (Markham: LexisNexis Canada, 2014), at § 8.90, as follows:
An implied exclusion argument lies whenever there is reason to believe that if the legislature had meant to include a particular thing within its legislation, it would have referred to that thing expressly. Because of this expectation, the legislature’s failure to mention the thing becomes grounds for inferring that it was deliberately excluded. Although there is no express exclusion, exclusion is implied. … The force of the implication depends on the strength and legitimacy of the expectation of express reference. The better the reason for anticipating express reference to a thing, the more telling the silence of the legislature.
[42] In this vein, the Director points out that s. 4(1) of the Limitations Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 24, Sched. B, expressly states that “a proceeding shall not be commenced in respect of a claim after the second anniversary of the day on which the claim was discovered.” Counsel points to s. 96 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41, in support of the argument that where discoverability was not meant to apply, the legislature did not include it.

[43] The Director also relies on the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Engel v. da Costa et al., 2008 ABCA 152 (CanLII), 429 A.R. 184, leave to appeal to S.C.C. refused, 460 A.R. 400 (note). There the Court considered a provision in the Alberta Police Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-17, s. 43(11), dealing with complaints made more than one year after the events on which they were based. The Court concluded, at para. 31, that “[d]iscoverability is not a principle which must necessarily apply to complaints under s. 43 of the Police Act.”

[44] I do not find these submissions persuasive in the context of the Ontario legislation. First, it is agreed that s. 60(1) of the Police Services Act, does not provide for a limitation period. It is therefore unnecessary to be as concerned with shoring up the goals of finality underpinning limitation period legislation. Second, s. 60(2) expressly provides the Director with discretion – the Director “may decide not to deal with a complaint” – which implies in itself a more flexible approach to screening post-six month complaints in or out (emphasis added). The legislation considered in Engel is quite different: it requires the decision maker to dismiss a late complaint – “shall dismiss any complaint that is made [outside of the time period]” (emphasis added). Third, even if the principle of implied exclusion is applicable, I am satisfied, for the reasons outlined below, that the language of the Act gives rise to little expectation that discoverability principles were to be excluded by implication.

[45] It is true that s. 60(3), prescribing the factors the Director is to consider when exercising his or her discretion to screen in a complaint post-six months, does not specifically refer to discoverability principles. However, it would be odd – given that s. 60(2) does not provide for “a limitation period”, and given the default paradigm in the scheme favouring complaints being dealt with – if the Legislature intended to exclude discoverability principles from the Director’s consideration. In my view, there is nothing expressed or implied in the language of the Act to support such an intention. Indeed, s. 60(3)(c) requires the Director to consider “whether, having regard to all the circumstances, it is in the public interest for the complaint to be dealt with”. The Director has a discretion, but it is not an unfettered discretion. To the contrary, it is a discretion to be exercised within the confines of the factors set out in s. 60(3) and the bounds of procedural fairness.

[46] Complaints regarding police misconduct raise issues that are important to society, both from the perspective of the complainant and that of the police services. It is generally in the public interest that complaints which are not frivolous or vexatious or made in bad faith – grounds upon which any complaint, timely or not, may be screened out – be reviewed. I am satisfied that the “public interest” factor the Director is required to consider under s. 60(3)(c) of the Act encompasses an obligation to consider discoverability issues in deciding whether or not to deal with a post-six month complaint under s. 60(2).

[47] For these reasons, I would not give effect to the Director’s argument that the Divisional Court erred by importing notions of “discoverability” as a factor to be considered in the discretionary s.60(2) exercise.

6. Standard of Review

. Canadian National Railway Co. v. Canada (Attorney General)

In Canadian National Railway Co. v. Canada (Attorney General) (SCC, 2014) the Supreme Court of Canada clarifies that the Dunsmuir principles that determine the standard of review in judicial reviews apply to both decisions of administrative tribunals and decisions of administrators generally:
[53] Dunsmuir is not limited to judicial review of tribunal decisions (paras. 27-28; Public Mobile, at para. 30). Rather, in Dunsmuir, the standard of review analysis was discussed in the context of “various administrative bodies”, “all exercises of public authority”, “those who exercise statutory powers”, and “administrative decision makers” (paras. 27, 28 and 49).

[54] This Court has applied the Dunsmuir framework to a variety of administrative bodies (see, for example, Catalyst Paper Corp. v. North Cowichan (District), 2012 SCC 2 (CanLII), 2012 SCC 2, [2012] 1 S.C.R. 5, at paras. 13 and 35, per McLachlin C.J.). The precedents instruct that the Dunsmuir framework applies to administrative decision-makers generally and not just to administrative tribunals. The Dunsmuir framework thus is applicable to adjudicative decisions of the Governor in Council.

7. Representation

. R v Allahyar

In R. v. Allahyar (Ont CA, 2017) the Court of Appeal considered an appeal of a decision of an Ontario Court of Justice judge to refuse a person (the defendant's brother-in-law) not licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada (ie. neither a lawyer nor a paralegal) to represent a person appealing the judgment of a justice of the peace respecting a charge under the Highway Traffic Act. The court usefully canvasses the issue expressly in the context of the fact that the brother-in-law was not a LSUC licensee, and the principles are extendable to other situations, such as non-licensee representation before administrative tribunals, where the competency or propriety of similar representation is an issue:
(1) The Relevant Principles

[11] As a general rule, a representative is permitted to represent a defendant in certain proceedings in the OCJ. Section 50 of the POA provides for a defendant to appear and act personally or by representative at trial in provincial offences matters, while s. 118 provides for an appellant or respondent in appeals of Part III matters to appear and act personally or by representative. A “representative” is defined in s. 1(1) as “a person authorized under the Law Society Act to represent a person in that proceeding”.
The POA does not stipulate who may appear or act on behalf of an appellant in an appeal of a proceeding commenced (as here) under Part I of the POA. However, the combined effect of ss. 1 and 26.1 of the Law Society Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.8, s. 62; and ss. 6 and 30 of By-Law 4 of the By-Laws of the Law Society of Upper Canada, is that, in addition to a lawyer or paralegal holding a Class P1 license, a non-licensed family member or friend who does not expect or receive compensation for the provision of legal services, is authorized to represent a defendant in any proceedings under the POA before the OCJ.[1]
The right of a representative to appear is subject to the court’s authority to control its own process.[2] The leading case is R. v. Romanowicz (1999), 1999 CanLII 1315 (ON CA), 45 O.R. (3d) 506 (C.A.). In Romanowicz, an accused was represented in summary conviction proceedings by an agent who was alleged to have provided ineffective assistance. The court considered whether and on what basis the court could preclude an agent who was not a lawyer from representing an accused person in a summary conviction proceeding.[3]

[12] In concluding that a trial judge has the authority to refuse to permit an agent who is not a lawyer to represent an accused person in summary conviction proceedings, the court in Romanowicz explained that “[s]everal provincial statutes that provide for representation by agents before various tribunals recognize the tribunal’s power to exclude agents” (at para. 54). As an example, this court referred to s. 50(3) of the POA, which, at the time, stated:

[13] 50(3) The court may bar any person from appearing as an agent who is not a barrister and solicitor entitled to practise in Ontario if the court finds that the person is not competent properly to represent or advise the person for whom he or she appears as agent or does not understand and comply with the duties and responsibilities of an agent.

[14] Section 50(3) continues to apply to proceedings commenced under the POA in the trial context. However, in 2006, with the coming into force of Bill 14, the Access to Justice Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 21, Sched. C (which provided for, among other things, the licensing of paralegals by the Law Society), the section was amended to read:

[15] 50(3) The court may bar any person, other than a person who is licensed under the Law Society Act, from appearing as a representative if the court finds that the person is not competent properly to represent or advise the person for whom he or she appears, or does not understand and comply with the duties and responsibilities of a representative.

[16] In Romanowicz, this court held that, although the Criminal Code does not expressly give the trial judge power to prohibit a specific agent (which it defined at para. 24 as meaning a “representative”) from appearing in a particular case, the court was “satisfied that the power to do so along the lines found in the provincial legislation exists by virtue of the court’s power to control its own process in order to maintain the integrity of that process” (at paras. 53, 58).

[17] The court set out the procedure to be followed when a party attends with an agent as representative. The court should first determine whether the defendant has made an informed choice to be represented by the agent (at paras. 41-44). In appropriate cases, the court may also inquire into the propriety of the representation. After providing examples of circumstances that could result in an order disqualifying an agent (questions of competence, discreditable conduct, conflict of interest and a demonstrated intention not to be bound by the rules and procedures governing criminal trials), the court stated at para. 76:
[D]isqualification is justified only where representation would clearly be inconsistent with the proper administration of justice. It is not enough that the trial judge believes that the accused would be better off with other representation or that the process would operate more smoothly and effectively if the accused were represented by someone else. Disqualification of an accused’s chosen representative is a serious matter and is warranted only where it is necessary to protect the proper administration of justice. [Emphasis added.]
[18] The court cautioned against adopting an arbitrary rule and emphasized the need to review the particular circumstances of the case, stating at para. 77:
The power to disqualify agents, like any other facet of the court’s power to control its processes, must be exercised judicially on the basis of the circumstances present in a given case. Those circumstances may include the seriousness of the charge and the complexity of the issues raised in a particular case. A presumption, however, that all agents are incompetent to represent accused persons charged with certain summary conviction offences is not a proper basis on which to exercise that discretion.
[19] In Romanowicz, the agent in question was a paralegal who provided legal services at a time before paralegals could be licensed in Ontario. Questions respecting the standard of competence required of licensed paralegals have been addressed in recent cases such as R. v. Khan, 2015 ONCJ 221 (CanLII), [2015] O.J. No. 2096 and R. v. Bilinski, 2013 ONSC 2824 (CanLII), [2013] O.J. No. 2984. Nothing in this decision is intended to address representation by licensed paralegals in provincial offence matters. The test in Romanowicz, however, is clearly applicable in cases where a person seeks to be represented in such matters by an unpaid family member or friend.

Cases to be integrated

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