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Judicial Review - Limitation - Post-8 July 2020 Amendments

. Blot Interactive Inc. v. Ontario Media Development Corporation

In Blot Interactive Inc. v. Ontario Media Development Corporation (Div Court, 2022) a single judge of the Divisional Court issued a ruling that puzzles me profoundly. Despite the 08 July 2020 amendment that brought in a JR limitation of 30 days [JRPA 5(1-3)], the court considered a motion to 'extend time' from a matter that started running over four years ago. And, instead of applying the present JR limitation law, it applied a combination of the standard 30-day appeal limitation extension [Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. v. Froese (Ont CA, 2013) and the old laches six-month timeline. On top of this, the court granted the motion to extend time (over four years).

From all appearance everybody in this file (judge and three counsel) thinks that JR limitations still use laches, and they allowed an extension eight times the standard old laches time. Am I missing something?

. Belyavsky v. Walsh

In Belyavsky v. Walsh (Div Ct, 2022) the Divisional Court considered extending the 30-day judicial review time limitations of JRPA s.5(1):
[7] Subsection 5(1) of the Judicial Review Procedures Act requires that an application for judicial review be made within 30 days of the impugned decision. Subsection 5(2) allows for an extension of time to bring an application for judicial review if the Court is “satisfied that there are apparent grounds for relief and that no substantial prejudice or hardship will result to any person affected by reason of the delay.”

[8] An applicant is under an obligation to commence and perfect their judicial review application in a timely manner. Judicial review is an equitable and discretionary remedy that can be denied on the basis of excessive delay, regardless of the merits of the case (Ransom v. Ontario, 2010 ONSC 3156at para. 4; affirmed 2011 ONSC 5594 (Div. Ct.).

[9] In exercising its discretion to dismiss an application for judicial review, the court will consider the following factors:
(a) The length of delay;

(b) The reasonableness of any explanation offered for the delay; and

(c) Any prejudice suffered by the respondent as a result of that delay.

Canadian Chiropractic Association v. McLellan, 2011 ONSC 6014 (Div. Ct.), at para. 15.
. Sobczyk v. Ontario

In Sobczyk v. Ontario (Div Ct, 2021) the Divisional Court applied the new (2020) JR limitation period in an uncontentious case:
1. Should the Application be Dismissed for Delay?

[21] Subsection 5(1) of the Judicial Review Procedure Act provides that an application for judicial review shall be made no later than 30 days after the date of the decision or matter for which judicial review is being sought is made or occurred. An extension of time may be granted by the court if it is satisfied that (a) there are apparent grounds for relief; and (b) that no substantial prejudice or hardship would occur as a result of the delay.

[22] The Applicant first received notice of the decision on June 17, 2021. He took prompt steps to retain counsel and the Ministry was provided with written notice of his intention to apply for review of the decision on July 6, 2021. Subsequent delay was largely attributed to his counsel being diagnosed with COVID.

[23] I am satisfied there are apparent grounds for the relief sought in the Notice of Application and there is no substantial prejudice or hardship to the Ministry as a result of the delay. The required extension of time for the filing of this Notice of Application is granted.
. Walia v. College of Veterinarians of Ontario

In Walia v. College of Veterinarians of Ontario (Div Ct, 2020) the Divisional Court noted a statutory change to the JRPA on 08 July 2020 that shortens the normal common law limitation (of six months) for judicial reviews to 30 days, subject to an extension as set out in the Act:
Judicial Review Procedures Act

Time for bringing application

5 (1) Unless another Act provides otherwise, an application for judicial review shall be made no later than 30 days after the date the decision or matter for which judicial review is being sought was made or occurred, subject to subsection (2).

Extension

(2) The court may, on such terms as it considers proper, extend the time for making an application for judicial review if it is satisfied that there are apparent grounds for relief and that no substantial prejudice or hardship will result to any person affected by reason of the delay.

Same, other Acts

(3) Subsection (2) applies with respect to any limitation of time for the bringing of an application for judicial review under any other Act, unless that Act expressly provides otherwise.

Transition

(4) Subsection (1) applies with respect to the judicial review of a decision that is made or of a matter that occurs on or after the day section 2 of Schedule 10 to the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2020 comes into force.
The court stated on the issue:
[36] By this point, it is too late to bring an application to judicially review the Complaints Committee’s referral of the complaint to the Discipline Committee. The timelines for doing so have long passed. The Divisional Court has consistently held that judicial review "is an extraordinary equitable and discretionary remedy which can be denied in the face of excessive delay": see, for example, The Canadian Chiropractic Association v. Dr. Barry McLellan, Coroner, 2011 ONSC 6014 (Div. Ct.), at para. 14. The Court has also held that a delay of more than six months in commencing an application for judicial review is excessive: De Pelham v. Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, 2011 ONSC 7006 (Div. Ct.), at para. 14. In addition, in accordance with section 5 of the Judicial Review Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. J.1, since July 2020, applications for judicial review must be brought within 30 days of the decision being challenged unless the Court is satisfied there is merit to the application and no prejudice in granting an extension. In this case, the referral occurred in May 2016, which is over four years ago.


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