Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Pension Appeals Board – Judicial review application – Jurisdiction – Issue estoppel – Workers compensation – Pension benefits

Chartrand v. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), [2021] O.J. No. 4550, 2021 ONSC 5840, Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court, September 2, 2021, K.E. Swinton J.

The applicant, Joan Chartrand, is the named beneficiary for the respondent, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (“HOPP”). The applicant’s niece, Miranda Tabi, was a member of the pension plan. Ms. Tabi passed away and the HOPP determined that survivor benefits were payable to Ms. Tabi’s common-law spouse, Mr. Ebokem.

The applicant objected to the payment and commenced a civil action against HOPP and Mr. Ebokem. The court dismissed the civil action on a preliminary motion in April 2020. In doing so, the judge said that an application for judicial review was the proper venue.

The applicant next brought an application for judicial review against HOPP to challenge its decision. HOPP brought a motion to quash the application for judicial review because it claims the relief sought is not available under the Judicial Review Procedure Act (JRPA) because HOPP is a private entity; not a public body. A single judge of the Divisional Court can quash an application for judicial review where it is plain and obvious that the Court does not have jurisdiction.

The applicant argued that the previous judge’s comments about judicial review meant that issue estoppel precluded the Divisional Court from now determining whether the Divisional Court has jurisdiction to hear the application for judicial review. The judge decided that issue estoppel did not apply. The issue being addressed in the civil action was different than in the application for judicial review.

The judge decided it was plain and obvious that the Divisional Court did not have jurisdiction to grant judicial review against HOPP. HOPP was not exercising a statutory power when making a decision about survivor benefits.

The judge granted HOPP’s motion and quashed the applicant’s application for judicial review.

The judge awarded $10,000 in costs to HOPP for the motion.

This case was digested by Scott J. Marcinkow, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter.