Rarotonga, 2010


Online Lawyer

Most Popular
Contracts / Torts / Evidence / Limitations / Tenant Plus / welfare (ontario works) / odsp / human rights / employment / consumer / COVID Litigation

home / about / Little Friends Lefkada (Greece) / testimonials / E-Colleagues / Conditions of Use

Civil and

Beta Website

Canadian Animal Law

Standing - Public Interest Standing

. Carroll v. Toronto-Dominion Bank

In Carroll v. Toronto-Dominion Bank (Ont CA, 2021) the Court of Appeal considered an interesting 'whistleblower' standing case where a former bank employee sought an application for various remedies that were directed at exposing the bank's breach of fiduciary duty to investors. The court contrasted private interest and public interest standing [para 32-43].

. Know Your City Inc. v. The Corporation of the City of Brantford

In Know Your City Inc. v. The Corporation of the City of Brantford (Div Ct, 2021) the Divisional Court considers public interest standing:
[30] KYC asserts that, as a concerned citizen, it is entitled to a form of “public interest” standing to pursue this litigation. It relies on the decision of the Supreme Court in Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society, 2012 SCC 45, [2012] 2 S.C.R. 524. In Downtown Eastside, Cromwell J., writing for the Court, begins the decision by discussing the law of standing and the role of public interest standing as follows:
This is appeal is concerned with the law of public interest standing in constitutional cases. The law of standing answers the question of who is entitled to bring a case to court for a decision. Of course it would be intolerable if everyone had standing to sue for everything, no matter how limited a personal stake they had in the matter. Limitations on standing are necessary to ensure that courts do not become hopelessly overburdened with marginal or redundant cases, to screen out the mere “busybody” litigant, to ensure that courts have the benefit of contending points of view of those most directly affected and to ensure that courts play their proper role within our democratic system of government. The traditional approach was to limit standing to persons whose private rights were at stake or who were specially affected by the issue. In public law cases, however, Canadian courts have relaxed these limitations on standing and have taken a flexible, discretionary approach to public interest standing, guided by the purposes which underlie the traditional limitations. [Citations omitted.]
[31] Justice Cromwell goes to outline, at para. 2, the three factors that the courts have weighed in deciding whether a party should be granted public interest standing: (1) Does the case raise a “serious justiciable issue”?; (2) Does the party bringing the proceeding have “a real stake or a genuine interest in its outcome’? and (3) “[W]hether, having regard to a number of factors, the proposed suit is a reasonable and effective means to bring the case to court”.
. Democracy Watch v. Ontario Integrity Commissioner

In Democracy Watch v. Ontario Integrity Commissioner (Div Ct, 2020) the Divisional Court cites the leading public interest standing case as follow:
27. The parties agree that the governing test for public interest standing is set forth in Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society.[11]

28. The court is required to consider three factors, namely:
a. whether there is a serious justiciable issue raised;

b. whether the Applicant has a real stake or a genuine interest in the outcome; and

c. whether, in all the circumstances, the proceeding is a reasonable and effective way to bring the issue before the courts.
. Ontario (Attorney General) v. Bogaerts

In Ontario (Attorney General) v. Bogaerts (Ont CA, 2019) the Court of Appeal commented on the need for an evidentiary context when granting public interest standing:
[33] I would, however, point out that the combined effect of the order granting the respondent public interest standing and striking out the affidavits providing specific instances of the infringement of Charter rights resulted in this court having a less than satisfactory record. In Downtown Eastside Sex Workers, the case recognizing generous scope for public interest standing, the Supreme Court noted, at para. 74, that there was a substantial record of affidavit evidence as to the operation and impact of the challenged legislation, to “provide a concrete factual background” for the challenge. By contrast, on this application and appeal, the constitutional arguments were advanced in the abstract without a proper factual foundation. In my view, it would have been preferable had this challenge come before the court either on the application of an individual who had been subjected to the challenged statutory powers, or upon some other proper record, to provide a concrete factual context for the consideration of the constitutional issues raised.
. Alford v. Canada (Attorney General)

In Alford v. Canada (Attorney General) (Ont CA, 2019) the Court of Appeal held that public interest standing supported an application by a law professor to challenge a provision of a federal security statute that he alleged violated parliamentary privilege:
[4] In our view, Mr. Alford’s public interest standing should be recognized. A balancing of the factors identified in Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society v. Canada (Attorney General) 2012 SCC 45 (CanLII), [2012] 2 S.C.R. 524, supports this conclusion. Mr. Alford raises a serious issue, suitable for adjudication. He has demonstrated a genuine interest in this issue, having published on the topic and having participated in committee hearings relating to the legislation. The challenge he wishes to bring is a reasonable and effective way to bring the matter before the court. He is highly competent and able to represent the constitutional issues at stake, and clearly motivated to do so. There can be no concern that he is a busybody or that his interest is purely academic. He sees this challenge as an issue of public importance impacting on fundamental principles of democracy.


The author has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this Isthatlegal.ca webpage.