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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW | SPPA / Fairness (Administrative)

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SPPA - 'Tribunal' Definition

. Desjardins General Insurance Group v. Campbell

In Desjardins General Insurance Group v. Campbell (Ont CA, 2022) the Court of Appeal held that an insurance appraisal under s.128 of the Insurance Act was not an administrative tribunal hearing:
[44] I conclude that the application judge erred in finding that the appraisal process was an administrative tribunal. This issue was raised by the panel in the course of the oral hearing.

[45] Before the application judge, the respondent argued that the appraisal process is not an administrative tribunal. The application judge rejected this submission and determined that “[o]nce the appraisers and umpire have been appointed, an administrative tribunal has been created for the limited purposes of establishing the value of the loss. It removes the quantification of the loss from the Court.” However, he did not provide any reasons in support of this determination.

[46] With respect, the application judge erred in classifying the appraisal process as a tribunal. Tribunals are quasi-judicial decision-making bodies tasked with determining issues on the facts and law in each case that comes before them: Prince Edward County Field Naturalists v. Ontario (Environment and Climate Change) (2016), 2 C.E.L.R. (4th) 140 (Ont. Environmental Review Trib.), at para. 42, per Gibbs and Wright (Vice Chairs).

[47] There is no indication in the Act that the appraisal mechanism is an administrative tribunal. The appraisal process under the Act is not adjudicative or quasi-judicial in nature but is rather based on discussion and on the sharing of expertise in valuation: Birmingham Business Centre Inc. v. Intact Insurance Company, 2018 ONSC 6174 (Div. Ct.), at para. 5; Madhani, at para. 42. It is not an arbitration: Madhani, at para. 40. Appraisal does not require a hearing, consideration of evidence, or reasons: Madhani, at paras. 40-41. Appraisers and the umpire do not determine legal questions: Madhani, at para. 30.

[48] Moreover, while the process contemplates a valuation process that is comprised of the appraisers and the umpire, the ultimate decision maker if the parties are unable to agree is the umpire and not the appraisers. The fact that the umpire chooses one party’s appraisal over another does not change this. Seen in the context of the process as a whole and its purpose, this reflects the premium put on collaboration and efficient process because, as discussed earlier, the process creates incentive for the parties to present reasonable valuations to the umpire to maximize the prospect that theirs will be chosen.


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