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Statutory Interpretation - Ejusdem Generis

. County of Lambton Community Development Corporation v Municipal Property Assessment Corporation et al.

In County of Lambton Community Development Corporation v Municipal Property Assessment Corporation et al. (Div Court, 2023) the Divisional Court considered the statutory interpretation principle of "ejusdem generis", here where deciding whether a municipal corporation was a "local board":
[14] In concluding that the CLCDC is not a “local board” as defined in s. 1 of the Municipal Affairs Act and therefore not exempt from taxation as prescribed in s. 3(1)(9) of the Assessment Act, the application judge applied the ejusdem generis principle of statutory interpretation to s. 1 of the Municipal Act. Pursuant to this principle of statutory interpretation, where a class of things is modified by general wording that expands the class, the general wording is usually restricted to things of the same type as the listed items.

[15] The application judge held, at para. 69 of the Decision, that CLCDC’s interpretation of s. 1 of the Municipal Affairs Act, as it applied to the term “local board”, incorrectly disregarded the entities listed at the beginning of the definition of “local board”, which entities are dissimilar to the CLCDC.

[16] At para. 71 of the Decision, the application judge also found, “in addition to the principle of ejusdem generis”, that the 29 exempted entities listed under s. 3(1) of the Assessment Act are “clearly and specifically defined” and that “there is no wording that expands the definition of the exemption beyond the referenced heading”. The application judge concluded, at para 72 of the Decision, that “the interpretation suggested by [the CLCDC] would effectively rewrite the legislation as it would create a 30th category of exemption”.

....

[26] At para. 9 of Ontario Ombudsman, quoted by the application judge at para. 65 of the Decision, the Court stated as follows:
The Ombudsman’s submissions would have considerable force if the general language at the end of the definition of “local board” stood alone. It does not. That general language follows the identification of several specific entities as “local boards”. As this court recently observed in Schnarr v. Blue Mountain Resorts Limited, 2018 ONCA 313, at para. 52:
Where a class of things is modified by general wording that expands the class, the general wording is usually restricted to things of the same type as the listed items (ejusdem generis).
[27] In applying this principle, the Court in Ontario Ombudsman, at paras. 10 and 13, held that:
[10] All of the named entities in the definition of “local board” provide services which are integral to the day-to-day operation of the business of municipalities. Neither the Audit Committee nor the Standards Committee provide the same type of services.




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Last modified: 07-06-23
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