Focus On

CROWN - Government boards and commissions - Jurisdiction to review - Legislation

Thursday, May 28, 2020 @ 9:18 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by the Attorney General of Canada from a Federal Court judgment that granted the respondent’s judicial review application and set aside a decision of the Commissioner of Lobbying not to conduct an investigation under the Lobbying Act. In 2017, the media reported the prime minister and his family were gifted a vacation from Aga Khan IV. A private citizen filed a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, asserting the gift violated the Lobbying Act. The commissioner determined that as the Aga Khan was not remunerated from his work with Aga Khan Foundation Canada, he was not engaged in registrable lobbying activity during the vacation. The Federal Court held the commissioner’s decision that an investigation was not necessary to ensure compliance with the Act was subject to judicial review and was unreasonable.

HELD: Appeal allowed. It was not an error of law for the Federal Court to consider whether a right of judicial review arose under the Lobbying Act on its own merits. The Lobbying Act did not create a right for a member of the public to have a complaint investigated. Neither the purpose of the Act, nor the language in the introduction to the Lobbyists’ Code, was sufficient to justify the reading in of a public complaints process. The commissioner’s decision not to investigate the complaint brought by a member of the public was not a decision subject to judicial review.

Democracy Watch v. Canada (Attorney General), [2020] F.C.J. No. 498, Federal Court of Appeal, W.W. Webb, D.J. Rennie and A.L. Mactavish JJ.A., April 1, 2020. Digest No. TLD-May252020008