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Appeals - Leave to Appeal - No Reasons Given

There is an odd - and in my view unpersuasive - doctrine in leave to appeal law that the considering court need not give reasons for it's decision.

. Shieff v. Toronto (City)

In Shieff v. Toronto (City) (Div Ct, 2022) the Divisional Court stated the court's practice of not giving reasons when deciding leave to appeal motions:
[2] As I explained to Mr Shieff during the hearing, this court does not give reasons for decisions on motions for leave to appeal: Westhaver Boutique Residences Inc. v. Toronto, 2020 ONSC 3949 (D.L. Corbett J.); Action Champlain c. Colacem Canada Inc., 2021 ONCS 4690 (Boucher J.); Craft Acquisitions Corp. v. P.I.T.S. Development Inc., 2020 ONSC 7174 (Favreau J. (as she then was)). There is no reason to depart from this practice in this case.
. County of Wellington v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Region No. 22

In County of Wellington v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Region No. 22 (Div Ct, 2022) the Divisional Court stated the court's practice regarding reasons for leave to appeal decisions:
[2] Consistent with usual practice in this court, there shall be no reasons for this leave decision: Westhaver Boutique Residences Inc. v. Toronto, 2020 ONSC 3949 (D.L. Corbett J.); ABC Residents Association v. Yonge & Scollard Developments Inc., 2020 ONSC 4280 (D.L. Corbett J.); Action Champlain c. Colacem Canada Inc., 2021 ONCS 4690 (Boucher J.); Craft Acquisitions Corp. v. P.I.T.S. Development Inc., 2020 ONSC 7174 (Favreau J. (as she then was)); HarbourEdge Realty Administration Corp. v. Kingston (City), 2020 ONSC 7048 (Mew J.).
. Westhaver Boutique Residences Inc. v. Toronto

In Westhaver Boutique Residences Inc. v. Toronto (Div Ct, 2020) the Divisional Court explains why, in case you've ever wondered, you never see reasons for a motion for leave to appeal - good to know:
[2] This court does not ordinarily give reasons on motions for leave to appeal, mirroring the practice in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada: Lokhandwala v. Khan, 2019 ONSC 6346. The court’s practice not to give reasons when granting or refusing leave to appeal is rooted in common appellate practice for sound reasons of principle. See Silver v. IMAX Corp., 2011 ONSC 1035, 105 OR (3d) 212. These principles apply equally to motions for leave to appeal in the Divisional Court argued before a single judge and motions for leave to appeal heard in writing by a panel of three judges.

[3] Of course, it is in the discretion of a judge deciding a motion for leave to appeal to give reasons. However, in my view this discretion ought to be exercised sparingly for all the reasons that decisions on motions for leave to appeal before a Divisional Court panel, in the Court of Appeal, and in the Supreme Court of Canada, are rendered without reasons.

[4] In addition to the policy reasons for not providing reasons on motions for leave to appeal, in this case it seems likely that there will be further administrative proceedings and potentially litigation respecting the underlying issue of using residential premises for certain kinds of short-term rentals. It would not be helpful to those potential proceedings for this court to provide a gloss on the decision below in the course of providing unnecessary reasons for denying leave to appeal.
. The Regional Municipality of Waterloo

In The Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Div Ct, 2020) the Divisional Court gave reasons for dismissing leave to appeal, which is unusual:
Exercise of Discretion to Give Reasons

[6] I am cognizant of the general practice of the Divisional Court not to give reasons when granting or refusing leave to appeal.

[7] The reasons behind the practice were recently reviewed by Corbett J. in the case of Westhaver Boutique Residences Inc. v. Toronto, 2020 ONSC 3949, applying his earlier decision in Silver v. Imax, 2011 ONSC 1035, 105 O.R. (3d) 212. (See also Lokhandwala v. Khan, 2019 ONSC 6346, 34 R.F.L. (8th) 139)

[8] Corbett J. noted in Westhaver that the practice in the Divisional Court not to give reasons mirrors the practice in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada on motions for leave and is rooted in sound reasons of principle. The principles apply equally to motions for leave to appeal in the Divisional Court argued before a single judge and motions for leave to appeal heard in writing by a panel of three judges (see para. 2).

[9] Corbett J. offered three reasons supporting the practice not to give reasons:
(a) decisions on motions for leave to appeal before the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada are (almost always) rendered without reasons. The Divisional Court mirrors this common appellate practice;

(b) when leave is not granted, reasons that call into question some aspect of the decision below may increase uncertainty in the law and, in interlocutory matters, cause difficulties for the parties as the case moves forward. In any event, the parties already have reasons from the court below and no purpose is served by giving them a second set of reasons coming to the same conclusion;

(c) where leave is granted, the court granting leave should not constitute itself an additional member of the appeal panel, weighing in, in detail, on the merits of the appeal. Rather, the appeal panel will provide reasons on the appeal itself, and thus, little purpose is served by providing elaborate reasons on leave decisions.
[10] At paragraph 4 of Westhaver Corbett J. confirmed that it is ultimately in the discretion of a Divisional Court judge deciding a motion for leave to appeal to give reasons for her or his decision, but he noted that this discretion ought to be exercised sparingly.

[11] For the following two reasons, I have determined that it is desirable under the present circumstances to give reasons for dismissing the motion for leave to appeal:
(a) the Decision from which leave to appeal is sought is a final decision. Thus, unlike in the case of the dismissal of a motion for leave from an interlocutory order, there is little or no potential for reasons to cause difficulty for the parties moving forward;

(b) The Decision concerns a question involving the collection of public revenue and is not a private dispute. The ratepayers and residents of the Region, through their elected Council, would benefit from an understanding of the reasons for denial of the opportunity to take the issue involving the applicable development charge rate to an appeal before the Divisional Court.


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