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Appeal-Judicial Review - Fairness - Reasons

. Scott v. Toronto (City)

In Scott v. Toronto (City) (Div Ct, 2021) the Divisional Court considered a judicial review of a 'parking pad' permit denial by a municipal 'Community Council'. The court agreed that reasons for decision where not necessary as an aspect of procedural fairness:
No Duty to Provide Reasons

[47] The applicants argue that the Community Council had a duty to provide reasons as part of procedural fairness. I do not agree. Written reasons for decisions are not mandatory for all administrative decisions.

[48] The Community Council exercises powers delegated to it by City Council. It is comprised solely of elected Toronto city councillors. The City’s Procedure by-law does not require reasons. The larger context of the appeal, including the burden and impossibility of requiring elected representatives to provide reasons for the hundreds of items before a Community Council meeting, does not attract an obligation to provide written reasons. The Community Council’s decision-making process is not one that lends itself to producing a single set of reasons: Vavilov at para. 137

[49] A reviewing court must look to the record as a whole to understand the decision. Here, there is a clear rationale for the decision. Two councillors articulated their reasons. The Staff Report provided two bases for their recommendation, grounded in the regulatory scheme. Neighbours both opposed and supported the appeal. The Staff Report, the by-law, public deputations, submissions and the councillors’ duties informed their votes. The Court can discern a basis for the decision in the record. Procedural fairness does not require written reasons in the circumstances.



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