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Bias - Evidence

. Reflection Productions v. Ontario Media Dev. Corp.

In Reflection Productions v. Ontario Media Dev. Corp. (Div Ct, 2021) the Divisional Court considered evidence that may or may not be used in a bias allegation (here anti-Christian bias):
[68] The applicant’s concerns about anti-evangelical Christian bias are founded upon Mr. Harilaid’s interpretation of statements allegedly made by OMDC representatives. It bears repeating that a decision-maker is presumed to be impartial and that party’s interpretation of a decision-maker’s tone of voice, facial expressions and body language are insufficient to overcome the presumption of impartiality: Beard Winter LLP v. Shekhdar, 2016 ONCA 493 at para 12; Ramirez v. Canada, 2012 FC 809 at paras. 22 and 23; SMR v. Children’s Aid Society of Oxford County, 2003 CanLII 2421 (ON SC), [2003] OJ No. 2568 (Ont. S.C.) at paras 23 – 25. The nature of the concerns raised by the applicant are thus not capable of overcoming the high hurdle required to show bias.

[69] Finally, the statements made by people other than a decision-maker are not proof of the decision-maker’s state of mind: Elson v. Canada, 2017 FC 459 at paras. 146 – 149. Any statements made during the October 7, 2019 conversation between the applicant and representatives of the OMDC, even were the court to accept that the statements were made and that they evidence some form of bias as against evangelical Christians, are not evidence of potential bias held by the director, who was not present for that call.


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