On appeal to the court for a judicial review of an Appeal Commission decision under the Workers Compensation Act, R.S.M. 1987, c. W200, the standard of review is patent unreasonableness. The Commission’s decision not to read in words to section 1(3) and to decline to pierce the corporate veil was not patently unreasonable.
Administrative law – Workers compensation – Worker – definition – Piercing corporate veil – Judicial review – Standard of review – Patent unreasonableness
Poulin v. Manitoba (Workers’ Compensation Board),  M.J. No. 341, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, August 13, 2002, McKelvey J.
The Applicant was the sole shareholder, director and president of NL Poulin Ltd.
The Applicant made an application to the Appeal Commission pursuant to section 68(4), for determination as to whether the Board’s right of action to sue him was removed by the Act and, in this context, urged the Board to pierce the corporate veil.
The Appeal Commission dismissed this application and the Applicant sought judicial review on the grounds the decision was patently unreasonable.
With respect to the appropriate standard of review, the court noted the Appeal Commission is given exclusive jurisdiction to determine all matters and questions with respect to determinations under section 68(4). The Commission has a unique and specialized expertise. The Commission’s decisions are mandated to be final and conclusive and not open to question or review in any court. Despite a statutory privative clause, the Court is entitled to intervene where an administrative tribunal has exceeded its jurisdiction, where it has made a patently unreasonable decision, or where the process violates the rules of natural justice.
On appeal before the court, it was held that the lifting of the corporate veil is a discretionary decision and, based upon the facts of this case, to refuse to do so was not clearly irrational but open to determination based upon logical reasoning. Therefore, it was not a patently unreasonable approach in this matter to refuse to pierce the corporate veil. The Court dismissed the application.
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