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Appeal-Judicial Review - Fairness - Baker - Importance of Decision

Brown v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration)

In Brown v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) (Fed CA, 2020) the Federal Court of Appeal comments on administrative procedural fairness in the immigration detention context:
[136] Where a decision affects the rights, privileges or interests of an individual, the common law duty of fairness is triggered (see, e.g., Cardinal v. Director of Kent Institution, 1985 CanLII 23 (SCC), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 643, 24 D.L.R. (4th) 44 at 653; Baker at para. 20). The greater the effect a decision has on the life of an individual, the more robust will be the procedural protections required to fulfill the duty of fairness and the requirements of fundamental justice under section 7 of the Charter (Charkaoui at para. 25, quoting Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship & Immigration), 2002 SCC 1, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 3 at para. 118). At a minimum, the duty of fairness requires that the affected person know the case they have to meet and have an adequate opportunity to respond. The procedural rights afforded under section 7 of the Charter provide the same protection for detainees (Charkaoui at paras. 28-29, 53).

[137] Although the content of the duty of fairness varies with the context within which it is applied, proceedings with stakes analogous to those in criminal proceedings "“will merit greater vigilance by the courts”" (Charkaoui at para. 25, quoting Dehghani v. Canada (Minister of Employment & Immigration), 1993 CanLII 128 (SCC), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 1053, 101 D.L.R. (4th) 654 at 1077). Because the liberty of the subject is involved, such is the case here.

[138] Administrative bodies enjoy the autonomy to control their own procedures, but they must nonetheless observe procedural fairness. Only statutory language or necessary implication can displace the duty of procedural fairness (Ocean Port Hotel Ltd. v. British Columbia (General Manager, Liquor Control and Licensing Branch), 2001 SCC 52, [2001] 2 S.C.R. 781 at para. 22; Kane v. Bd. of Governors of U.B.C., 1980 CanLII 10 (SCC), [1980] 1 S.C.R. 1105, 110 D.L.R. (3d) 311 at 1113). There is no statutory language in the immigration detention scheme of the IRPA that ousts procedural fairness. The rules respecting disclosure in detention reviews are thus supplemented by the requirement for procedural fairness imposed by the common law.
. Dr. Rajiv Maini v. HPARB et al.

In Dr. Rajiv Maini v. HPARB et al. (Div Court, 2022) the Divisional Court in a judicial review considered that the degree of procedural fairness varies with the circumstances of the issue:
[24] The content of the duty of fairness applicable to any given set of circumstances is flexible and variable and will depend on the context. In the investigative context, the duty of fairness does not impose the same obligations as it does at a hearing stage, where the rights of a party are finally determined, and sanctions are potentially imposed. As the Supreme Court of Canada set out in Irvine v. Canada (Restrictive Trade Practices Commission), 1987 CanLII 81 (SCC), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 181, paragraphs 78 and 87.
Fairness is a flexible concept whose content varies depending on the nature of the inquiry and the consequences for the individuals involved ...

Courts must, in the exercise of this discretion, remain alert to the danger of unduly burdening and complicating the law enforcement investigative process. Where that process is in embryonic form engaged in the gathering of the raw material for further consideration, the inclination of the courts is away from intervention.


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