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Caselaw is a weekly summary of notable civil and criminal court decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada and all Ontario courts.

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Coroners

INQUEST

Balance of convenience was in favour of completing inquest

Application to stay inquest pending determination of judicial review of decision by coroner refusing to expand scope of inquest or to grant leave for certain witnesses to be called. Mother and her two children died in fire in their home. Apartment that deceased lived in was owned and operated by community housing corporation. Fire was determined to have been caused by children who were playing with lighter. Mother was asleep at time. Mother’s body was found to have high blood alcohol content, and it was determined that she had consumed both cocaine and marijuana at earlier time. Provincial Advocate and deceased’s family’s application to expand scope of inquest to examine services provided to family was dismissed. Provincial Advocate’s request to call certain witnesses was refused. Motion dismissed. Test for stay was not met. Judicial reviews did not raise serious issue. No irreparable harm would result if stay was denied. Balance of convenience was in favour of completing inquest.

Ontario (Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth) v. Ontario (Coroner)
(June 3, 2011, Ont. S.C.J. (Div. Ct.), Lederer J., File No. 255/11; 257/11) 203 A.C.W.S. (3d) 64 (13 pp.).

Civil Procedure

DISCOVERY

Information sought only relevant to merits of claim, not to certification motion

Motion by plaintiff for disclosure of information on motion for certification of proposed class under Class Proceedings Act, 1992 (Ont.). Plaintiff commenced action against city for various relief because on-street parking machines use by city allegedly malfunctioned during winter ice storms. Parking machines were owned by corporation owned by city. Plaintiff sought production of information from manufacturer and corporation. Motion dismissed. Information sought was not relevant to certification motion. Information sought was only relevant to merits of claim.

Arenson v. Toronto (City) (May 31, 2011, Ont. S.C.J., Perell J., File No. 08-CV-348329CP) 203 A.C.W.S. (3d) 16 (5 pp.).

Human Rights Legislation

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Employee failed to establish either incompetence or miscarriage of justice

Application by employee for judicial review of decision of Canadian Human Rights Tribunal awarding employee modest damages and costs. Employee was federal civil servant who applied for administrative position with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”). Employee was initially told she was successful candidate. Employee authorized RCMP to access her personnel leave file, which documented significant leave due to two motor vehicle accidents. Employee was then informed she was no longer being considered for position. Employee suffered panic attack and went on long-term disability. Employee filed complaint of discrimination. RCMP admitted liability and offered employee position. Employee accepted position and was awarded $4,000 for damages plus $5,814 for costs. Application dismissed. Employee failed to establish any reviewable errors. Allegation that tribunal unreasonably refused to postpone hearing could not be considered due to lack of evidence. Employee could have brought motion for order compelling tribunal to produce transcript but failed to do so. Tribunal had not erred in focusing on remedy rather than conducting complete hearing. Employee had not raised any concerns at hearing while represented by counsel. More importantly, RCMP had admitted liability so there was no need to address liability. Employee provided no evidence in support of allegation that her counsel was incompetent. Employee failed to establish either incompetence or miscarriage of justice. Tribunal provided clear and intelligible reasons for its assessment of damages and its decision was reasonable.

Berberi v. Canada (Human Rights Tribunal) (Apr. 21, 2011, F.C., Heneghan J., File No. T-1433-09) 203 A.C.W.S. (3d) 143 (22 pp.).

Citizenship

QUALIFICATIONS

Citizenship judge failed to indicate method and criterion used

Appellant sought revision of decision that granted citizenship to respondent. Appellant claimed that judge erred in considering that respondent fulfilled his obligation of residence. Appeal allowed. Court affirmed that citizenship judge failed to indicate method and criterion used to determine whether respondent had fulfilled obligation to reside. Court reversed decision on the grounds that decision was not sufficiently motivated and lacked transparency.

Canada (Ministre de la Citoyennete et de L’immigration) v. Baron
(Apr. 20, 2011, F.C., Bedard J., File No. T-1500-10) Reasons in French. 203 A.C.W.S. (3d) 14 (12 pp.).
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