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Insurance - Appeals - Standard of Review (SOR)

. SIR Corp. v. Aviva Insurance Company of Canada

In SIR Corp. v. Aviva Insurance Company of Canada (Ont CA, 2023) the Court of Appeal considers a business insurance policy that the insured claimed was triggered by provincial EMCPA COVID orders.

In these quotes, the court considers the appellate SOR for contracts - both standard form and customized, here in an insurance policy context:
(1) Standard of review

[33] As a general rule, contractual interpretation is a question of mixed fact and law subject to deferential review on appeal: Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp., 2014 SCC 53, [2014] 2 S.C.R. 633, at paras. 50-52; Ledcor Construction Ltd. v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co., 2016 SCC 37, [2016] 2 S.C.R. 23, at para. 24. An exception to that rule has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ledcor, at para. 24:
[W]here an appeal involves the interpretation of a standard form contract, the interpretation at issue is of precedential value, and there is no meaningful factual matrix that is specific to the parties to assist the interpretation process, this interpretation is better characterized as a question of law subject to correctness review.
[34] In this case, that exception does not apply. This is a broker-worded manuscript policy, not a standard form agreement, and there is a meaningful factual matrix specific to the parties.

[35] Accordingly, it is not open for this court to intervene unless the application judge made a palpable and overriding error in her interpretation of the Policy or an extricable error of law, in which case the standard of review is correctness: Sattva, at para. 53; Ledcor, at para. 21.


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Last modified: 24-11-23
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