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UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES - Use of property

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 9:00 AM  


Appeal by the Students’ Association of Saskatchewan Polytechnic Regina from a decision granting a writ of possession in favour of Saskatchewan Polytechnic. In 2010, the school entered a master agreement with the student associations, including the appellant, at several of its locations. In 2012, a campus partnership agreement contemplated by the master agreement addressed matters specific to the appellant. Similar agreements were reached on other campuses. The campus agreement provided for allocation of space for the appellant's use in a school building, with the relationship being that of landlord and tenant, governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act. In 2015, the school issued a letter to the appellant and other associations advising of a need to negotiate new agreements to govern their relationship. The appellant regarded the letter as an invitation to negotiate revisions to the master agreement, whereas the school regarded the letter as termination of all existing agreements. The parties were unable to negotiate a revised agreement. The appellant refused to accept a short-term service agreement proposed by the school. The school made a formal demand for possession of the appellant's premises. The appellant refused. The school obtained a writ of possession pursuant to s. 50(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act. The appellant appealed.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The chambers judge did not err in failing to set a viva voce hearing to address the parties' contradictory affidavit evidence, as the evidence was capable of sustaining the judge's findings of fact. The chambers judge did not err in finding the school could unilaterally terminate the master agreement with appropriate prior notice, as the agreement clearly contemplated a single partner's withdrawal. The judge did not err in interpreting the agreement to find that the withdrawal of the school terminated the whole of the agreement by necessity. The evidence of the nature of the parties' relationship and their dealings supported the judge's finding that the school gave appropriate notice of eight months, and the master agreement was thus terminated. A longer notice period would have required the school to bear risks for an undue length of time. The judge did not err in finding termination of the master agreement necessarily terminated the campus agreement, as established principles of contractual interpretation directed that the two agreements be read together.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic v. Students' Association, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Regina Inc., [2017] S.J. No. 41, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, P.A. Whitmore J.A., February 13, 2017. Digest No. 3642-007