Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – License Appeal Tribunal – Judicial review – Bias – Procedural requirements and fairness – Standard of review – Correctness – Motor vehicle accidents
Warren v. Ontario (Licence Appeal Tribunal),  O.J. No. 2897, 2022 ONSC 3741, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, June 24, 2022, F.E. McWatt, F. Kristjanson and L.G. Favreau JJ.
The appellant brought two appeals from five decisions of the License Appeal Tribunal (LAT). In the first appeal, the issue was whether a reconsideration of a decision by the same member is procedurally unfair. The issue on the second appeal was whether the LAT created a reasonable apprehension of bias or breached rules of procedural fairness.
The appellant was in a motor vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, the appellant was a self-employed real estate agent and was insured for accident benefits by the insurer-respondent. The appellant applied to the LAT for unreasonable delay of insurance payments. The LAT ordered the respondent to pay a certain amount of benefits and denied a claim for other benefits. On reconsideration, the same adjudicator affirmed their original decision.
The facts of the second appeal related to the appellant’s motion seeking a compliance order that the respondent pay benefits and an award for the delay. The appellant was permitted to cross-examine a representative of the respondent who acknowledged that the payments were sent to the wrong address. The LAT Vice Chair presided over the cross-examination; however, the LAT released a decision from an adjudicator who was not present during the oral evidence at cross-examination. The LAT withdrew its decision, and the presiding LAT Vice Chair, who was present at the cross-examination, rendered a new decision.
The appellant appealed the reconsideration decision on the basis that she was denied procedural fairness when the adjudicator reconsidered their own decision. After reviewing jurisprudence relating to other administrative tribunals, the Court concluded that having members reconsider their own decisions does not undermine the principles of procedural fairness when the reconsideration is not a hearing de novo or an appeal. Indeed, the Court observed that having members reconsider their own decisions contributes to the goal of efficiency and expeditiousness.
The appellant appealed the LAT’s withdrawn decision on the basis that it raised a reasonable apprehension of bias or breached procedural fairness. The Court held that the LAT appropriately recognized that it would have been an error to allow the decision rendered by the adjudicator who did not hear the oral evidence to stand. The Court concluded that the LAT proceeded in a manner which was efficient, responsive, and proportional. The Court held that the correction of an administrative error does not raise a reasonable apprehension of bias.
The court dismissed both appeals, without costs.
This case was digested by Jackson C. Doyle, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter. If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Jackson C. Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To stay current with the new case law and emerging legal issues in this area, subscribe here.