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Appeal-Judicial Review - Reasons - Adequate Reasons (4)

. R. v. A.B.

In R. v. A.B. (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal characterizes requirements of criminal reasons for decision:
[16] This ground of appeal is an argument that the trial judge’s reasons were insufficient. In considering an argument of insufficiency of reasons, it is important to bear in mind what is, and is not, required for reasons for judgment to be sufficient to fulfill the functions of explaining why an accused was convicted or acquitted, providing public accountability, and permitting effective appellate review. Reasons for judgment must explain what the trial judge has decided and why. However, a trial judge is not required to expressly address every purported inconsistency in a complainant’s evidence or respond to every argument raised by counsel: R. v. R.E.M., 2008 SCC 51, [2008] 3 S.C.R. 3, at paras. 15-18, 32, and 64; R. v. O.M., 2014 ONCA 503, 313 C.C.C. (3d) 5, at paras. 22, 28; R. v. Vuradin, 2013 SCC 38, [2013] 2 S.C.R. 639, at para. 17; R. v. Dinardo, 2008 SCC 24, [2008] 1 S.C.R. 788, at para. 30.
. R. v. T.O.

In R. v. T.O. (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal states the deference accorded to a trial judge on an appeal, both with respect to credibility findings and with the assessment of reasons for decision:
[29] A trial judge is owed very significant deference with respect to findings of credibility and reliability of witnesses: R. v. G.F., 2021 SCC 20, 459 D.L.R. (4th) 375, at para. 81; R. v. Slatter, 2019 ONCA 807, 148 O.R. (3d) 81, at para. 18, per Pepall J.A. (dissenting; adopted in 2020 SCC 36, 452 D.L.R. (4th) 1). In addition, courts of appeal are instructed not to parse the reasons of the trial judge looking for error. Instead, as the Supreme Court of Canada directed in G.F., “Their task is much narrower: they must assess whether the reasons, read in context and as a whole, in light of the live issues at trial, explain what the trial judge decided and why they decided that way in a manner that permits effective appellate review”: at para. 69.
. Westdale Properties v. Reisher

In Westdale Properties v. Reisher (Div Court, 2023) the Divisional Court considered, and dismissed, a landlord's motion to quash an RTA s.210 appeal on being of "devoid of merit", in part because of inadequate reasons (here regarding the LTB's treatment of the RTA 83(1) 'unfairness' discretionary dismissal, which is a mandatory consideration):
[36] I disagree. The LTB speaks through its reasons. The reasons are the place where parties may expect to see the important issues and relevant legal tests applied, and explained meaningfully, particularly in matters of significance, such as in eviction cases. While the transcript may go some way to demonstrating that the LTB was alive to the issues, it is the process of explanation and elucidation in reasons which puts on record how those issues were balanced and determined. Here, the reasons from the Hearing Decision do not discuss the impact on Ms. Reisher or any of the evidence from her support team. The reasons include only a one-line, conclusory sentence without any explanation of the circumstances and the requirements found in s. 83. I therefore find that there is an arguable point that the LTB erred in law by not meaningfully considering s. 83, an important provision in the overall scheme of the RTA.
. DeJong (Re)

In DeJong (Re) (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considers the adequacy of reasons for decision, here in a criminal context:
[1] The appellant submits that the reasons of the Board are inadequate and fail to contain any analysis of the relevant evidence, or any explanation for the Board’s conclusions, or the order made by the Board. The adequacy of reasons must be considered, having regard to the entirety of the record, the specific issues raised, and the arguments made: R. v. G.F., 2021 SCC 20, 459 D.L.R. (4th) 375, at para. 69. Viewed from that perspective, the Board’s reasons, while no doubt brief, are adequate.
. McDonald v. Toronto-Dominion Bank

In McDonald v. Toronto-Dominion Bank (Ont CA, 2022) the Court of Appeal states briefly the 'reasons' for providing reasons for decision:
[123] Trial judges have an obligation to provide reasons. Reasons provide a level of accountability for all judicial decisions. They serve to justify the result, explain how the result was achieved, tell the party that lost why they lost, allow for informed consideration as to whether an appeal should be taken, and allow for effective appellate review: R. v. Sheppard, 2002 SCC 26, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 869, at para. 55; R. v. M. (R.E.), 2008 SCC 51, [2008] 3 S.C.R. 3, at paras. 11, 35.
. Caron v. Canada (Attorney General)

In Caron v. Canada (Attorney General) (Fed CA, 2022) the Federal Court of Appeal considered adequacy of reasons for a decision:
[45] Next, it is well-established law that the Board "“need not refer in its reasons to each and every piece of evidence before it, but is presumed to have considered all of the evidence. […] [A]ssigning weight to evidence, whether oral or written, is the province of the trier of fact”" (Simpson v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 FCA 82, 213 A.C.W.S. (3d) 223 at para. 10). Here, the adjudicator heard twenty-two days of oral testimony, including cross-examinations, and considered several volumes of written evidence and written submissions. I cannot substitute my own views of the evidence for that of the Board’s because I might have weighed the evidence differently.
. BCE Inc. v. Québecor Média Inc.

In BCE Inc. v. Québecor Média Inc. (Fed CA, 2022) the Federal Court of Appeal considered the role of a tribunal's expertise in assessing reasonableness in a JR, how that expertise may alleviate the detail required by reasons for decision:
[61] The Supreme Court emphasized the use of specialized knowledge by decision makers, as demonstrated in their reasons. Sensitivity to a tribunal’s demonstrated expertise may reveal to a reviewing court that conclusions (or reasoning) that are puzzling or counterintuitive on their face may nevertheless accord with the purposes and practical realities of the relevant administrative regime. This demonstrated experience and expertise may also explain why a given issue is treated in less detail than it would perhaps be in a judicial decision.


[63] All of this to say that the Commission’s decisions are not to be read without reference to the Commission’s practices and procedural guidelines. It is also worth noting that the Commission often deals with sophisticated litigants, like Bell and Québecor, who are very knowledgeable with respect to its policies and procedures. In this case, the Commission has a Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2013-637 which deals with "“Practices and procedures for staff-assisted mediation, final offer arbitration and expedited hearings”". Similarly, the Wholesale Code deals with the factors which assist in the determination of the fair market value of a service. These documents shed light on the Commission’s analysis. The conclusion to be drawn from the Supreme Court’s comments about tribunal reasons is that they cannot be read as though all relevant considerations must be addressed within the four corners of the decision itself.

[64] In particular, the Commission does not have to explain to the parties what they already know. For that reason, the Commission’s decisions in these cases were brief. The Commission’s reasons reflect the fact that it is writing for sophisticated parties who have access to its procedural and substantive documentation.


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