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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW | SPPA / Fairness (Administrative)

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Appeal-Judicial Review - Reasons - Proportionate to Importance of Issue to Party

. De Rose v. Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board

In De Rose v. Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (Div Court, 2022) the Divisional Court considered a JR of an HRTO decision to stay a complaint as an abuse of process. In this quote the court cites Vavilov on the point that the thoroughness of the reasons for decision, like the degree of administrative fairness, is higher when the matter is of more significance to the applicant:
[83] The Applicant argues that the Vice-Chair did not properly consider her responsibilities given the significance of the case to the Applicant. In support of this argument, counsel points to paragraphs 133 to 135 of Vavilov, supra. Those paragraphs state:
[133] It is well established that individuals are entitled to greater procedural protection when the decision in question involves the potential for significant personal impact or harm: Baker, at para. 25. However, this principle also has implications for how a court conducts reasonableness review. Central to the necessity of adequate justification is the perspective of the individual or party over whom authority is being exercised. Where the impact of a decision on an individual’s rights and interests is severe, the reasons provided to that individual must reflect the stakes. The principle of responsive justification means that if a decision has particularly harsh consequences for the affected individual, the decision maker must explain why its decision best reflects the legislature’s intention. This includes decisions with consequences that threaten an individual’s life, liberty, dignity or livelihood.

[134] Moreover, concerns regarding arbitrariness will generally be more acute in cases where the consequences of the decision for the affected party are particularly severe or harsh, and a failure to grapple with such consequences may well be unreasonable. For example, this Court has held that the Immigration Appeal Division should, when exercising its equitable jurisdiction to stay a removal order under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, consider the potential foreign hardship a deported person would face: Chieu v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2002 SCC 3, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 84.

[135] Many administrative decision makers are entrusted with an extraordinary degree of power over the lives of ordinary people, including the most vulnerable among us. The corollary to that power is a heightened responsibility on the part of administrative decision makers to ensure that their reasons demonstrate that they have considered the consequences of a decision and that those consequences are justified in light of the facts and law.


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