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Residential Landlord and Tenant Law (Ontario)
(15 August 2015)

Chapter 13 - General Board Procedures


  1. Procedural Source Law
    (a) General
    (b) The Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA)
    (c) Board "Rules of Practice"
    . Overview
    . Interpreting the Rules of Practice
    . Waiver of Rules
    (d) Board "Interpretation Guidelines"
    . Overview
    . Comment Re "Interpretation Guidelines"
    (e) Resolving Conflicts between Legal Sources
  2. Landlord and Tenant Board
    (a) Overview
    (b) Members and Staff
    (c) Administrative Board
    (d) Presiding Board
    . Quorums and Panels
    . Conflict of Interest, Bias and Member Conduct
    . Expiry of Member's Term During Proceeding and Incapacity of a Member
    (e) Dealing with the Board
    (f) Hearing Officers
  3. Board Jurisdiction
    (a) Overview
    (b) Parties
    . Overview
    . Jurisdictional Effect of Tenant's Loss of Possession
    . Effect of Default in Payment of "Fine, Fee or Costs" to the Board
    (c) Subject-Matter
    . Overview
    . Legislative Provisions
    . Exception
    (d) Law
    (e) Geographical Jurisdiction
    (f) Time and Jurisdiction
    (g) Remedies
    . Overview
    . Termination
    . Eviction
    . Monetary Compensation
  4. General Application Procedures
    (a) Overview
    (b) Board Discretion Regarding Procedure
    (c) French Language Services
    (d) Initiation and Service of Notice of Application and Related Documents
    . Initiation of Application and Required Documentation
    . Service of the Notice of Application and Related Materials
    . Timelines for Service of Application and Materials Where Service Performed by Applicant
    . Special Rules for Written and Electronic Hearings
    (e) Combination, Joinder and Severance
    . Overview
    . Combination and Joinder
    . Severance
    (f) Amendment of Applications
    . Overview
    . Party-Initiated Amendments
    . Board-Initiated Amendments
    (g) Withdrawal of Applications
  5. Legal Representation
    (a) Overview
    (b) Contingency Fees by Non-Lawyers
    (c) Contingency Fees by Lawyers
  6. Payments to the Board
    (a) Overview
    (b) Non-payment of Rent Terminations
    (c) Rent Payments to Board During Tenant Repair Application
    (d) Other Payments
    (e) Payment Procedures
  7. Forms, Fees and Documents
    (a) Mandatory Form Use
    (b) Contents
    (c) Electronic Filings
    (d) Fees and Fee Waivers
  8. Service and Filing of Documents
    (a) Overview
    (b) Service on Parties
    . All Documents
    . Notice of Entry [24-hour Notice]
    . To Representative
    . As Per Board Direction
    . Proving Earlier Service
    . Validating Service
    . Waiver of Service
    (c) Proving Service
    . Certificate of Service
    . Filing Certificates of Service
    . Alternative Proof of Service
    (d) Filing with the Board
  9. Calculation of Time
    (a) Overview
    (b) General Rule
    (c) Service
    . Overview
    . Service Example
    (d) Filing
    . Overview
    . Non-Business Days (Holidays)
    . Filing Example
    (e) Where Board May Not Extend and Shorten Time
    (f) Where Board May Extend and Shorten Time
    . Timelines Which May be Changed
    . Procedures
    . Board Criteria for Extending or Shortening Timelines
  10. Summary Dismissal
    (a) Overview
    (b) Summary Refusal and Dismissal of Applications for Cause
    . Overview
    . Frivolous and Vexatious
    . Bad Faith
    . Disclosing No Reasonable Cause of Action
    (c) Additional Summary Dismissal: False or Misleading Documentation
    (d) Documents Late or Inadequate Content
    (e) Non-Payment of Fine, Fees or Costs
    (f) Comment
  11. Document Disclosure
    (a) Overview
    (b) Case-by-Case Disclosure
    (c) Mandatory Disclosure
  12. Pre-Hearing Conferences
    (a) Overview
    (b) Pre-Hearing Conference
  13. Motions and Interim Orders
    (a) Overview
    (b) Motion Procedures
  14. Adjournments and Scheduling
    (a) Overview
    (b) Procedures
________________________________________


Note Re: Special and Exempt Premises:

Some residential rental premises - such as care homes, mobile home parks, land lease communities, student accomodation, superintendent's premises, social housing, premises under mortgage proceedings - and others - may be exempt from all or part of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), or may be subject to special RTA provisions. Readers may want to review Ch.2: "Special and Exempt Premises" to check if this is the case for their specific premises.

Note Re: Offences

Many breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act are also prosecutable offences. Readers may want to review Ch.17: "Offences" regarding specific breaches.

1. Procedural Source Law

(a) General

Analyzing the procedural rules which govern the conduct of any particular Ontario administrative Tribunal can be a challenging task. Sadly, the situation with the Landlord and Tenant Board (the "Board") is no exception. The Board's procedures are generated from sometimes intricate interactions between any and all of the following primary legal sources:
  • the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA);

  • the General Regulation under the RTA;

  • the Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA);

  • Board-made "Rules of Practice [issued under both SPPA and RTA s.176(2) authority];

  • Board-made "Interpretation Guidelines".
Adding to this complexity, though less frequently, are additional sources which may also become involved:
  • Board-made information packages;

  • Board-made forms (eg. Notices of Termination and Notices of Application, with embedded "advisory" notes);

  • Ontario Human Rights Code;

  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It is one of the primary goals of this and all Isthatlegal.ca Legal Guides to bring functional coherence to these varied sources of law in one single, topically organized and link-enriched online form. This is the task of this chapter, at least as all these sources bear on the procedural aspects of residential landlord and tenant practice in Ontario.

(b) The Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA)

The most influential non-RTA legal source is the Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA). This is a sort of "minimum standards" procedural code which applies to most Ontario administrative tribunals which hold hearings involving "statutory powers of decision" (ie. decisions governed or mandated by provincial legislation) where the law requires that a "hearing" (oral, written or electronic) be held. The SPPA is the subject of its own Isthatlegal.ca Legal Guide:

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA) Legal Guide

Unless expressly overridden by other legislation (particularly the RTA), the procedures and rules set out in the SPPA are the Board's procedures.

In addition, the SPPA establishes significant "rule-making" powers which tribunals can use to actually expand their procedural jurisdiction over such things as: written hearings, electronic hearings, alternative dispute resolution, pre-hearing conferences, legal costs and other issues - by the very act of making rules on those subjects. Most of the available rule-making authorities have been used by the Landlord and Tenant Board in the making of its "Rules of Practice" (next discussed).

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.10: Tribunal Rule-Making Authority: Overview

(c) Board "Rules of Practice"

. Overview

As noted below, the SPPA - in addition to establishing minimum procedural standards - also grants additional (specific and general) rule-making authorities to the tribunals which it governs, thus creating a non-legislative fourth category of legal document that must be taken into account (after the RTA, the RTA General Regulation, and the SPPA). This "rule-making" role of the Board is also expressly mandated in the RTA [s.176(2)].

Taking this authority up enthusiastically, the Board has enacted 36 separate "Rules of Practice".

LTB Rules of Practice

. Interpreting the Rules of Practice

As noted above [Rule 1.2], in the event of conflict, legislation prevails over the Rules.

Further, the Rules themselves [Rule 1.1] provide that they shall be interpreted "broadly to produce the fairest and most expeditious resolution of the application", and that "where something is not provided for in these Rules, the practice may be decided by referring to a similar provision in these Rules" [Rule 1.3].

. Waiver of Rules

The Board may waive the application of a Rule in any given situation, with reasons - unless the specific Rule states that it may not be waived [Rule 1.5]

(d) Board "Interpretation Guidelines"

. Overview

Finally - just to add spice to an otherwise unchallenging task - the Board has created a separate class of 21 "Interpretation Guidelines" which set out its perspective on the substantive (ie. non-procedural) legal issues that it faces in day-to-day adjudication.

Thankfully, such adopted guidelines are publically-available [Act s.176(5)]:

Board Interpretation Guidelines

Express legal authority for the creation of these "Interpretation Guidelines" is located in the RTA [s.176(3)].

. Comment Re "Interpretation Guidelines"

Very unlike courts, the "administrative" L&T Board (ie. the Chair and Board committees) can - through its' "Interpretation Guidelines" - influence the outcomes of individual cases before presiding Boards (ie. individual members hearing cases before them) by the adoption of standard legal positions on various issues that occur or are anticipated to occur before it.

A similar effect can be achieved alternately by virtue of the opinion of the Board's legal counsel, who presiding members may also consult from time to time [Act s.179].

There is a tension between the existence and application of the Interpretation Guidelines and a common law administrative principle called "fettering discretion". Conventionally, "fettering" occurs where any administrative or adjudicative decision-maker adopts fixed positions on legal or factual issues over which it otherwise has an element of discretion in making. The idea is that any discretion, while it must always be exercised 'reasonably in the circumstances', must always be considered afresh in each situation where it arises (for otherwise you do not have "discretion" - but simply another rule).

The adoption of the Interpretation Guidelines by the administrative Board, for no reason other than use by the presiding Board, is then plainly at odds with the principle against fettering discretion. While the legislation attempts to ameliorate (or insulate from judicial review) the impact of this obvious attempt to fetter discretion by making such guidelines "non-binding" - and while no sanctions should befall a member who strays from their 'suggestions' - such guidelines do have the obvious practical "fettering" effect sought.

Note that when a member choses to stray from the Board Guidelines they are expected to prepare written reasons justifying this variance, regardless of whether such has been requested by a party (the normal practice) [Rule 26.3]. In other words, if a Board member is going to vary from the Interpretation Guidelines, they better have a good reason and not only be prepared to explain themselves, but to actually do so in detail each and every time they vary from accepted wisdom. This 'written reason' requirement is not for the benefit of the parties before the Board, rather it is a tactic in the little-recognized administrative law struggle between the administrative and presiding forms of all modern administrative tribunals.

It will however be a hardy and independent Board member, or perhaps one particularly careless of their chances of re-appointment, that adopts an interpretative stance unpopular with the Chair. In my view the development of such devices as "interpretive guidelines" is a worrisome degradation of the already blurring lines between the legislative and the administrative.

(e) Resolving Conflicts between Legal Sources

Thankfully - for the time being at least - the legislation (Acts and Regulations) is still legally paramount in the event of conflict with the L&T Board Rules of Practice. Thankfully, this point is confirmed (at least in some cases) in Board Rule 1.2:
Rule 1.2
Where a provision of the RTA or the SPPA, or of a regulation under either of them, applies directly to a particular issue, that provision will determine the issue, regardless of any Rule to the contrary.
As to conflicts between the legislation, this issue can be quite complex, as is discussed at this Isthatlegal.ca link:

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA) Legal Guide: Ch.1, s.4: Tribunals and Their Rules: Conflict Between Rules


2. Landlord and Tenant Board

(a) Overview

The Landlord and Tenant Board (hereafter the "Board" or "L&T Board") has primary adjudicative responsibility for matters governed under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act("RTA"). In that sense it is like a court - indeed until about 2000 all non-"rent regulation" L&T matters were still heard by the main trial court level in Ontario - then the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division).

The role of modern Ontario administrative tribunals (which includes the L&T Board) is discussed further at this Isthatlegal.ca link:

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.3: Tribunals

Unlike courts, "administrative tribunals" such as the Board have additional non-adjudicative administrative functions [see (c) below]. For instance, the L&T Board extends it's reach into the residential L&T relationship even prior to disputes by the mandatory use of its several Board-approved forms for "Notices of Termination" - and Board-approved, legally-mandated "information" sheets and packages that must be given by landlords to tenants at various times.

As well [as per s.1 above], the Board establishes its own Rules of Practice (hereafter the "Rules") respecting general L&T and adjudicative procedures, and "Interpretation Guidelines", respecting the more substantive aspects of the law.

For purposes of analysis, I separate the "administrative" role (the "administrative Board") of the Board from it's more traditional and primary adjudicative role (the "presiding Board") of individual members sitting in judgment over specific cases and parties before it.

(b) Members and Staff

As with most administrative tribunals, members are political appointees by the "Lieutenant Governor in Council" (effectively, the provincial Cabinet of the party in power) [Act s.169(1)]. Such members are commonly - but not always -unsuccessful candidates from the party in power or members coming from other similar tribunals such as the Ontario Municipal Board or the Social Benefits Tribunal. Generally, they are politically connected to the party in power at the time of their initial appointment though there is a good deal of cross-party "professionalization" through the larger tribunal "system".

There is a Chairperson, and any number of vice-chairs, also politically appointed [Act s.170(1)]. The Chair acts as chief executive officer of the Board [Act s.170(3)]. The Chair may appoint vice-chairs to act during their absence or incapacity [Act s.170(2)].

The bulk of the "behind the scenes" work is done by paid staff appointed under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 [Act s.178]. The Board may also engage non-staff "professional, technical, administrative or other assistance" from time to time - and on such terms - as it shall offer [Act s.179].

(c) Administrative Board

The administrative tasks of the Board are several, and centrally focus on the Chairperson. They include:
  • the establishment of a "Rules and Guidelines Committee" amongst the members, headed by the Chair, that shall prepare and adopt rules [the "Rules of Practice"] and guidelines [the "Interpretation Guidelines"] [Act s.2(1), s.176(1)(2)] by a majority vote of members of the Committe, subject to veto by the Chair of any individual proposed rule or guideline [Act s.176(4)]. Such Rules and Guidelines shall be (and are) publically-available. [Act s.176(5)].

  • the Chair establishing "conflict of interest guidelines or rules of conduct" used to assess potential conflict situations of members regarding particular applications before the Board [Act s.172];

  • producing an annual report, and any additional reports or information requested by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; any such reports shall be filed with the Minister who shall present them to Cabinet and to the legislature [Act s.180];

  • where required under the RTA, to "provide information to landlords and tenants about their rights and obligations under this Act." [Act s.177] [see Ch.3, s.2(b): Tenant Rights, Responsibilities and Remedies: General Rights and Responsibilities: Documentation on Commencement of Tenancy"];

  • the establishment of publically-available fee schedules, approved by the Minister, for Board services respecting [Act s.181]:

    - filing applications and reviews;

    - copying file and other materials held by the Board;

    - "other services provided by the Board".
As well of course, it is the responsibility of the administrative Board to maintain case files of applications filed with it [SPPA s.20].

(d) Presiding Board

. Quorums and Panels

Application hearings may be conducted by one or more members of the Board (one is typical) [Act s.171].

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.3: General SPPA Rules: Tribunals
[see s.4 "Quorum" and s.5 "Constitution of Panels"]

. Conflict of Interest, Bias and Member Conduct

A "conflict of interest" is where a Board member has a personal interest in the subject-matter of the proceedings, typically a financial or familial relationship.

In case an application arises that could involve a member in a conflict of interest, they are required to "file with the Board a written declaration of any interests they have in residential rental property". Any such situations will be assessed by the Chair under the "conflict of interest guidelines or rules of conduct" that they may establish (above) [Act s.172]. Where a "conflict of interest" is deemed to be present, that member will not be assigned to the particular case.

The LTB is one of several tribunals included in the overarching Social Justice Tribunal (SJT). The SJT has established a complaint process: SJT Complaint Process.

If a conflict is discovered after the proceeding commences, the matter should be re-heard afresh before a different member or members.

"Bias" refers to more general (almost political) pre-existing inclinations of Board members. For instance, if a Board member made a disparaging remark about welfare recipients (as a class) in past, and faces an application where they must assess the credibility of a party involving their welfare income status, that is good evidence of "bias". The standard for requiring reconsideration of a Decision for "bias" is lower than for conflict of interest. A Decision may be sent back to be re-done if only the "appearance" of bias is present. This standard reflects a policy of wanting fairness not only to be served, but to be seen to be served.

. Expiry of Member's Term During Proceeding and Incapacity of a Member

If a member's term of office expires before a decision is made in a particular case, their office is deemed to extend for four weeks, but only so they can complete hearing and deciding the case [Act s.173]. Note that this provision expressly overrides a similar provision in the SPPA [s.4.3] that does the same, but without the 4 week restriction.

Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA): Ch.3, s.7: Tribunals: Incapacity of a Member

(e) Dealing with the Board

It is a basic rule of legal adjudication that - unless otherwise directly invited by the Board to do so - no communications should be made directly to the presiding Board unless made in the presence of all the other parties (ie. during a hearing).

Even communications regarding procedural matters, such as adjournment requests, should only be sent to the administrative Board (ie. the Chairperson) - and as well served on all the other parties at that time.

Rule 3: Communications with the Board

(f) Hearing Officers

With amendments made in 2011, a category of quasi-adjudicative staff was created: the 'hearing officer'. Unlike board members, hearing officers are Board employees, not Cabinet appointees [Act 206.1(1)]. Hearings officers, acting within the below-described circumstances, are acting as delegates of the Board [Act 206.1(3)]:
  • where "the respondent does not appear at the time scheduled for the hearing";

  • with respect to any application where the Rules of Practice ("Rules") authorize them to act.
Note:
As of 10 April 2015, the Rules authorize hearing officers to act in the following circumstances:
  • pre-hearing conferences [Rule 20.1(e)] [see s.12 below];

  • signing of summonses [Rule 23.1] [see Ch.14, s.5(i)];

  • case management hearings [Rule 36.1].
Note that while the Act [s.206.1(3) authorizes hearing officers to exercise Board powers in "(a)n application specified in the Rules", the Board has in fact delegated to them the above functions within any applications. That is, rather than delegate them powers by the type of application, which the Act clearly anticipates, hearing officers are being used by the Board as general quasi-adjudicatives functionaries. In my opinion this is a questionable Board practice that may be vulnerable to legal challenge.
When acting in these circumstances hearing officers have the usual powers of Board members, including the power to hold hearings and make orders [Act 206.1(2,4)]. Such powers may be limited by regulation [Act 241(1)(68.1)] but as of 10 April 2015 no such regulations have been made.


3. Board Jurisdiction

(a) Overview

"Jurisdiction" has several aspects. Essentially though it delineates a legal entity's decision-making authority over: parties, subject-matter, law, geography (venue), timeframes, and remedies. These are - roughly - the legal versions of "who, what, why, where, when and how"), and they are discussed in turn below.

Where matters are not within the Board's jurisdiction they may fall into the "plenary" (full) jurisdiction of the common law courts - an issue which largely depends on the precise wording of the involved legislative provisions. This issue is also discussed extensively in Ch.16: "Civil Remedies".

(b) Parties

. Overview

The primary legal process of the Board is the "application". The "parties" in most applications before the Board will be a landlord and a tenant, but they can also include any "other persons directly affected by the application" [Act s.187(1)]. In various circumstances additional parties might include sub-tenants or assignees [see Ch.1, s.5], spouses of tenants [see Ch.1, s.4], executors and administrators of the estates of deceased tenants, and (non-tenant) "occupants" of the premises [see Ch.1, s.5(f)].

Generally (not always), "parties" are entitled to: notice of the proceedings, the rights to call evidence and cross-examine opposing witnesses, and the making of legal submissions summarizing the case from their perspective.

The Board has a general power to "add or remove parties" from an application as it "considers appropriate". Use of this authority should be based on the common law principle that persons should be parties to a matter if they have a significant interest in it (and not if they don't). Note that this power is distinct from (but can be very similar in effect to) the joining of one or more tenants (or landlords) within one application as is discussed in s.4(f): "Combination, Joinder and Severance", below.

. Jurisdictional Effect of Tenant's Loss of Possession

One aspect of the Board's 'party' jurisdiction over tenants is that when a tenant moves out of the subject premises (by whatever means), then by that act they are no longer 'tenants' and (generally) the Board loses jurisdiction over them.

Exceptions to this rule are where the RTA expressly refers to "former tenants", as is the case in the following situations (there are several more not listed here):
  • tenant rights applications [Act s.29; see Ch.3: "Tenant Rights, Responsibilities and Remedies"];

  • landlord duties with respect to abandoned chattel property [Act s.41; see Ch.8, s.4: "Other Terminations Procedures: Tenant Property"];

  • former tenant applications where Notice of Termination alleged to have been given in bad faith [Act s.57; see Ch.5: "Regular Landlord Terminations"];

  • tenant application where landlord unreasonably withheld consent to assignment or sublet [Act s.98; see Ch.1, s.5: "Fundamentals: Subletting, Assignment and Similar Arrangements"].
. Effect of Default in Payment of "Fine, Fee or Costs" to the Board

In some cases the Board has authority to order administrative "fines" against parties [eg. Act s.31(1)(d)], the payment of another party's filing fees (to the Board), and legal costs against a party [see Ch.14, s.6(d): "Hearings, Orders and Enforcement: Decisions, Reasons and Final Orders: Final Orders"]. The Board has jurisdiction - to be exercised in a manner codified in the Rules - to refuse or suspend applications filed by parties who have been ordered by the Board to pay to the board (not amongst parties) "fine, fee or costs" - and who are in default of payment of such amounts [Act s.196(1)]:

Rule 9: Refusing to Accept or Proceed with an Application

Note that such amounts do not include monies ordered paid in trust to the Board, held as potential later payouts to a party when the matter is resolved [Act s.196(2)].

The wording of this Act provision suggests that the Board will not itself "police" such default: ie. "(u)pon receiving information that an applicant owes money to the Board" [Act s.196(1)]. Therefore this is a tactical oppourtunity by any party who has knowledge of such default. The availability of this tactic is limited by the Board's policy of refusing general public access to its case files [Rule 24].

Different consequences (as governed by the Rules) apply depending on when in the Application process information regarding the default comes to the attention of the Board, as follows:
  • if information received before or on day of Application: refusal of the Application for filing;

  • if information received after the Application is filed but before "a hearing is held" [the following provision makes it clear this means after a "hearing is started"]: a stay (suspension) or discontinuance (the distinction between a "stay" and a "discontinuance" is not immediately apparent to me, but a "stay" can be temporary and allow for the proceedings to resume) of the proceeding;

  • if information received after a hearing has begun: the Board shall hold it's Order in abeyance or discontinue the proceedings.
Clearing of the problem arrears lifts these restrictions immediately. However any delay caused by these provisions will apparently count against the applicant for reasons of limitation periods.

(c) Subject-Matter

. Overview

Just as the old Tenant Protection Act 'hived off' most jurisdiction over residential L&T matters from the courts, similar re-allocations of jurisdiction from the courts to tribunals have occured over the last century in numerous other areas (auto insurance, WSIB, employment). This has compelled the higher courts to "line-draw" between court versus tribunal subject-matter jurisdictions.

In this task, a "mutually exclusive" tendency reached its zenith with the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Weber v Ontario Hydro [discussed in Ch.16], where the court barred any employment-related civil court remedy from an employee who was under a collective agreement. All such cases were to be in the exclusive jurisdiction of the appropriate Labour Relations Board.

Under this harsher 'mutually exclusive' principle, courts will not be held to have concurrent (simultaneous) jurisdiction over subject-matter governed by an administrative tribunal regime - which the RTA surely is.
Note:
A happy compromise may however be available in the form a "complementary jurisdiction" approach, which I discuss extensively in Ch.16: "Civil Remedies".
. Legislative Provisions

Weber's 'mutually exclusive' tendency is confirmed in the RTA itself:
s.168(2)
The Board has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all applications under this Act and with respect to all matters in which jurisdiction is conferred on it by this Act.
Thankfully though, when dealing with subject-matter governed by the RTA, the Board does have broad authority to consider all required law and fact to make a just resolution of the matter (including human rights law, a much-vexed issue before other tribunals):
s.174
The Board has authority to hear and determine all questions of law and fact with respect to all matters within its jurisdiction under this Act.
. Exception

One exception to this broadly exclusive jurisdiction is the determination of eligibility for or amount of rent subsidy in social housing situations. The previous Rental Housing Tribunal and courts before it were regularly faced with applications to terminate and evict for non-payment of rent in situations where rent-geared-to-income" (RGI) amounts were determined outside of normal rent controls. This brought them into complex and often policy-driven areas (discretionary to the public-housing provider) that they were uncomfortable with.

Now, jurisdiction to determine eligibility for public housing - and eligibility for or the amount of such RGI (or similar) amounts - in such applications is removed from the Board [Act s.203], and it appears that they are expected simply accept the rent stated to them by the landlord as 'lawful' (although a close reading of s.203 appears to bar this as well). How this prohibition will be reconciled with the continuing necessity to adjudicate non-payment of rent situations in social housing rental units is yet to be seen [see on related issues Ch.5, s.5: "Regular Landlord Terminations: Ineligibility for Social Housing" and Ch.6, s.7: "Early Termination for Cause: Social Housing Income Misrepresentation"].

Note as well that public housing providers have 'internal review' procedures governing these issues, which will ultimately be governed by judicial review procedures in the courts [see Ch.15: "Reviews and Court Appeals"].

(d) Law

It may seem self-evident that any adjudicative body in the country is bound to interpret and apply all the laws of the land in its decisions, but that is not always the case.

The Supreme Court of Canada - in a case involving the Board's sister tribunal, the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT), Tranchemontagne v Ontario (Director, Disability Support Program) [2006] 1 SCR 513 - recently and finally resolved a long-standing interpretive restriction on the SBT's authority to consider and apply the substantive law of the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC). That prohibition had been consistently upheld by the SBT and lower courts for years, to the great detriment of impoverished social assistance-recipient applicants who faced both the expense of additional legal proceedings, a travesty compounded by the near-complete paralysis of the Human Rights Commission caused by decades of mismanagement.

Thankfully, the Landlord and Tenant Board appears free from such artificial and obstructionist prohibitions (as noted above, but repeated here):
s.174
The Board has authority to hear and determine all questions of law and fact with respect to all matters within its jurisdiction under this Act.
This jurisdiction is broad enough to encompass both Human Rights Code law and all-important Charter of Rights and Freedoms law as well. There is little doubt that the Board will be held under conventional Charter doctrine to be a "court of competent jurisdiction" as required by Charter s.24(1).

(e) Geographical Jurisdiction

Given the legislative competence of the Ontario legislature, it is implicit that the Board may hear any matters before it where the subject premises are located in Ontario.

Local office jurisdiction is similarly geographically defined by Ontario regions:

LTB Office Locations

(f) Time and Jurisdiction

The temporal form of a jurisdictional limit is a "limitation period".

Scattered throughout the legislation (and the Legal Guide) by topic are various "limitation periods" - which condition the availability of applications to the Board. For example - generally - all applications to terminate and evict must be brought to the Board within 30 days after the date of termination specified in the Notice of Termination [Act s.69(2) [except for non-payment of rent terminations: Act s.69(3)]. After that time - generally - the landlord will (if they still can) have to issue a new Notice of Termination, significantly delaying proceedings.

Some time limits are subject to modification (extension or shortening) by the Board [Act s.190(1); see s.9(e-f): "Calculation of Time" below re extending and shortening timeframes].

Parties seeking a monetary remedy which is barred by a limitation period should also review Ch.16: "Civil Remedies", to see if there is any potential to seek remedies in the regular civil courts. It is not certain (but highly likely) that non-monetary remedies (ie. termination and eviction) are not available through the civil courts if the landlord has missed an RTA limitation period.

(g) Remedies

. Overview

The RTA establishes a broad and variable range of "remedies" which it may order on the Application of a party. These are scattered throughout the legislation (and the program) in relation to the various topics to which they relate, and must be reviewed carefully as per your individual fact situation.

The most typical Board orders are those for termination of a tenancy, eviction, and monetary compensation - however the Board has broad authority to "include in an order whatever conditions it considers fair in the circumstances". [Act s.204(1)]

The topic of remedial jurisdiction is closely associated with that of "orders", which readers should review below [s.14, s.6: "Hearings, Orders and Enforcement: Decisions, Reasons and Final Orders"]. Specific topics such as costs, interest, instalments payments etc are discussed there.

As well, Ch.16 "Civil Remedies" necessarily involves a detailed contrast of the remedial Board's jurisdiction versus that of the civil courts.

. Termination

The remedy of "termination" is what - in the civil courts - would be called a "declaration" of rights, or more specifically a legal declaration that the tenancy agreement is "terminated" (as are any further responsibilities under it by the parties, similar to 'rescission' of a contract). That is why - when a landlord makes an application to 'get rid of' an "unauthorized occupant" (for example, an unconsented-to 'assignee'), the only Board order needed is one for "eviction": as there never was a tenancy agreement in the first place, there is no need to "terminate" it [see Ch.8, s.1: "Other Termination Procedures: Unauthorized Occupancy".]
Case Note: Fraser v Beach (Ont CA, 2005)

Fraser v Beach (Ont CA, 2005) was decided under the old Tenant Protection Act (TPA), though it's principles are equally applicable under the RTA. The court was faced with an appeal by tenants of an illegal rooming house of a Superior Court injunction against it's operators to close it down. The tenants were not party to the original proceedings but a subsequent Tribunal application brought against them to terminate and evict was dismissed. The neighbours, the moving parties in the original injunction, then sought and obtained an order within the original Superior Court proceedings - and on notice to the tenants - that the tenants must vacate. It was this order that the tenant's appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal granted to tenant's appeal, citing numerous TPA provisions that the Board had exclusive jurisdiction to terminate and evict tenants. These provisions are quoted below, as their currrent RTA counterparts:
TPA 39(1) [now RTA 37(1)]
A tenancy may be terminated only in accordance with this Act.

TPA 41(b) [now RTA 39(b)]
A landlord shall not recover possession of a rental unit subject to a tenancy unless, ....

(b) an order of the Tribunal evicting the tenant has authorized the possession.

TPA 157(2) [now RTA 168(2)]
The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to determine all applications under this Act and with respect to all matters in which jurisdiction is conferred on it by this Act.

TPA 2(1) [now RTA 3(1)]
This Act applies with respect to rental units in residential complexes, despite any other Act and despite any agreement or waiver to the contrary.
The court suggested that the neighbours' remedy lay in pressing the landlords to retry their Tribunal application, and that their failure to actively and in good faith do this could be deal with as a contempt issue within the injunction proceedings. The court further suggested that the neighbours seek nuisance remedies targetted at specific problematic behaviour.

Note that this case did not involve an appeal of a Board order, so that the TPA 196 (4) [now RTA 210(5)] - which would have granted the court termination and eviction jurisdiction - was not engaged.

. Eviction

An order for "eviction" (as it is now called) has been known for well over a hundred years as a "writ of possession", an historic form of enforcement proceeding. The shift to modern language is welcome, although actual enforcement proceedings still use the older language [Act s.85].

An eviction order, when properly filed with the sheriff, legally authorizes them to physicially remove the tenant from the premises. Eviction enforcement procedures are discussed in Ch.14, s.7(c): "Hearings, Orders and Enforcement: Enforcement and Stays of Enforcement: Eviction".

. Monetary Compensation

The Board's monetary compensation jurisdiction is limited to the greater of $10,000 or the Small Claims Court monetary jurisdiction limit (which at 01 January 2010 was increased to $25,000) [Act s.207(1)].

Where monetary compensation above that amount is sought, the party must proceed through the regular courts [Act s.207(2)] [see Ch.16: "Civil Remedies"]. However a party cannot "split" a claim between both the Board and the court - so when the Board issues a monetary compensation order for one cause of action, recourse to the court for that same cause for any additional amounts is barred [Act s.207(3)].

If the Board finds that the value of a claim is less than $5.00 no order will be made [Act s.207(4); Reg s.58].

The Board, when ordering monetary compensation, is also required to "set out in the order the principal sum, and if interest is payable, the rate of interest and the date from which it is to be calculated". [SPPA s.17(2)].

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