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Administrative Law (Ontario)(SPPA) Guide
(15 July 2020)

Chapter 20 - Tribunal Rule-Making Authority:
Summary Dismissal for Cause

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An SPPA-governed tribunal may make rules under s.25.1 regarding summary dismissal of proceedings for cause. Grounds for such summary dismissal may include [SPPA s.4.6(1)(6)]:
  • the proceeding is frivolous, vexatious or is commenced in bad faith;

  • the subject-matter of the proceeding is beyond the jurisdiction of the tribunal; or

  • some statutory prerequisite for bringing the proceeding has not been met.
These grounds are closely related to the 'abuse of process' jurisdiction granted to tribunals under SPPA s.23(1). That authority is discussed in more detail in Ch.10, s.5 ["Abuse of Process"].

The rules shall include provisions for notice to the party of a tribunal's intention to summarily dismiss the proceeding, the right to make submissions on the issue by the party, and the time within which submissions must be made [SPPA s.4.6(6)]. No summary dismissal may be made until notice has been given and any filed responding submissions have been considered [SPPA s.4.6(5)].

Where the reason given for dismissal is lack of jurisdiction, notice of the intention to summarily dismiss shall be given to all parties but if it is based on any of the other grounds it shall only be given to the party that commenced the proceeding [SPPA s.4.6(2)]. The Notice shall set out the reasons for the intended summary dismissal "and inform the parties of their right to make written submissions to the tribunal with respect to the dismissal within the time specified in the notice" [SPPA s.4.6(3)]. The party served may then make submissions within the timeline stated in the Notice [SPPA s.4.6(4)].

This s.25.1 rule-making authority does not override or diminish any similar authority to summarily dismiss a proceeding for cause that a tribunal may have from any other Act in force on 14 February 2000 [SPPA s.4.6(7)]. This is a "grandparenting" clause, preserving pre-existing powers, but asserting the dominance of newer s.25.1 SPPA-made powers if and when those older powers are repealed.
Case Note: Chapman v. The Corporation of the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin
In Chapman v. The Corporation of the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin (Div Ct, 2021) the Divisional Court considered the SPPA's grant of rule-making authority to tribunals under s.4.6 (summary dismissal for causes):
[2] Section 4.6(1)(c) of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S. 22 provides that a tribunal may (on its own motion) dismiss a proceeding without a hearing if “some aspect of the statutory requirements for bringing the proceeding has not been met”. However, s. 4.6 (2) requires that “before dismissing a proceeding under this section”, the tribunal must give notice of its intention to dismiss the proceeding and s. 4.6(3) requires that the “notice of intention to dismiss a proceeding shall set out the reasons for the dismissal”. The Tribunal never provided Mr. Chapman with notice that it was intending to dismiss his proceeding on the basis of s. 4.6(1)(c). The first time that s. 4.6(1)(c) was ever referred to in the proceedings was in the decision of the Tribunal that is under appeal. If Mr. Chapman had received notice of the Tribunal’s intention to dismiss his proceeding under s. 4.6(1)(c) he could have considered whether to withdraw or reconstitute his proceeding once construction was complete.

[3] On this basis the decision of the Tribunal must be set aside.


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The author has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to
Administrative Law (Ontario) (Statutory Powers Procedure Act) (July 2020 edition).