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Our Expertise

Public and Administrative Law

The firm is widely viewed as a leader in the areas of public and administrative law, and is experienced with matters involving wide range of provincial and federal administrative tribunals.

We have acted both before and on behalf of such tribunals in judicial review proceedings, administrative appeals, and constitutional challenges. Our lawyers have appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and have argued some of Canada’s leading public and administrative law cases. Our lawyers have also written extensively on a vast array of public and administrative law issues, and are frequently asked to speak on the latest developments in their respective areas of expertise.

Representative Work

  • The CCLA intervened in the Supreme Court of Canada in December 2019, adding its voice to the appellant and those of other civil liberties organizations, lawyers’, and advocacy groups who drew attention to the broader systemic issues arising from bail practices in Canada.

    The CCLA submitted that a purposive, policy-driven interpretation of s. 145(3), which aligns with the Supreme Court’s holding that breach of recognizance, requires subjective mens rea.  The CCLA highlighted the unique impact of overly expansive or restrictive conditions on marginalized people, who are criminalized at disproportionate rates.
    The appeal was allowed in a unanimous decision written by Martin J. on June 18, 2020.  In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court relied on the findings of the CCLA’s 2014 report, “Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pre-Trial Detention.” In line with the CCLA’s findings in that report, the Court highlighted that many bail orders contain release conditions that are often not tailored to individual risk assessments, and that broadening the scope of criminal liability to include objective fault for breach of conditions would unduly criminalize people who have the right to be presumed innocent of their initial charges, and who are engaging in conduct that absent a court order is a lawful exercise of personal freedom.
  • Rob Centa, Emily Lawrence and Alysha Shore successfully represented the University of Toronto in responding to a motion for an interim injunction. The applicant sought to enjoin the University from reporting the unsuccessful results of her final assessment to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (“CPSO”) pending the outcome of her judicial review. In applying the RJR-MacDonald test, the court found that there was no irreparable harm to the applicant and the balance of convenience favoured the University given its statutory reporting obligations to the CPSO and the broad mandate of protecting the public. The motion for an interim injunction was dismissed.

    Mehar v. The University of Toronto, 2020 ONSC 1293:

  • Chris Paliare, Richard Stephenson and Dan Rosenbluth acted successfully on behalf of a Niagara On The Lake residents’ group, the SORE Association. SORE opposed a proceeding by a developer which sought to quash Notices of Intention to Designate issued by the Town under the Ontario Heritage Act. Justice Walters dismissed the application, in its entirety. This result will help to protect an important heritage property in the town of Niagara On The Lake.

  • Rob Centa and Glynnis Hawe represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in C.M. v. York Regional Police, 2019 ONSC 7220. The court accepted Rob and Glynnis’s submissions that the over-policing of marginalized and racialized persons bolsters the importance of providing a transparent and fair process for persons seeking and challenging the content of a police Vulnerable Sector Check.

    C.M. v York Regional Police, 2019 ONSC 7220 (CanLII), <>

  • Jodi Martin and Elizabeth Rathbone acted for the Ontario Association of Child Protection Lawyers in Hunt v. Worrod, 2019 ONCA 540. The issue in the appeal was the award of significant costs against Legal Aid Ontario for providing funding in an estates litigation matter. The Association intervened to provide the Court of Appeal with submissions concerning the implication of the costs award for access to justice in child protection matters, and the impact on solicitor client privilege for litigants who rely on legal aid certificates. The appeal was allowed.

  • Andrew Lokan and Lorne Waldman of Waldman and Associates successfully represented Kazakh businessman Rustem Tursunbayev in securing the Federal Court’s largest-ever costs award in an immigration matter, after the Federal Court found that the Attorney General had unreasonably opposed Mr. Tursunbayev’s request for a stay of deportation proceedings against him, based on his claim that Canadian officials had committed an abuse of process in seeking his deportation to a country that uses torture.

    More details can be found here:

  • Spence v. University of Toronto, 2019 ONSC 1085 (CanLII), <>,

    Rob Centa and Emily Home successfully represented the University of Toronto in an application for judicial review brought by a graduate of the University. The Divisional Court dismissed the application and held that there was no violation of procedural fairness and the penalty of the revocation of his doctoral degree for plagiarism was reasonable.

  • Christopher Spence v. University of Toronto 2019 ONSC 1085 (CanLII):

    Rob Centa and Emily Home successfully represented the University of Toronto in an application for judicial review of a complex academic discipline decision. The court held that there was no violation of procedural fairness. See:

  • Quadrangle Group LLC, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, 2019 ONSC 1478 (CanLII).

    Rob Centa successfully represented Obelysk Media Inc. and established that the Canada’s discovery representative was demonstrably unsatisfactory and must be replaced. See:

  • Rabi v. University of Toronto 2019 HRTO 358 (CanLII)

    Rob Centa obtained an order from the Tribunal deferring consideration of the application pending the outcome of a parallel court application. See:

  • Zeng v. The Governing Council of the University of Toronto – Robert Centa – 2018 CarswellOnt 14162 (Div. Ct.) – Public Law/Judicial Review – Fact member of committee found in favour of applicant in past did not constitute reasonable apprehension of bias when viewed from perspective of reasonable person cognizant of all relevant facts, and nothing in conduct of hearing met test for reasonable apprehension of bias — Applicant did not ask member to recuse herself and was barred from raising issue of reasonable apprehension of bias — Applicant had not shown denial of procedural fairness, as he was represented at hearing and received legal advice throughout — Committee was alive to existence of applicant’s disability issues and gave consideration to whether they should impact result — There was no error of fact or law that rendered committee’s decision unreasonable.

  • Ombudsman of Ontario v. Hamilton (City) – Robert Centa and Denise Cooney 2018 CarswellOnt 8627 (ONCA)  – Public Law/Judicial review Respondent city was subject of appellant provincial ombudsman’s report — Ombudsman challenged city boards’ private deliberations and issuing of reasons in private, after holding public hearings — Ombudsman issued complaint, and prepared report — City applied for judicial review of report, seeking declaratory relief — Application was granted in part — Reviewing court found that city boards were not local boards under law, and were outside ombudsman’s jurisdiction — Reviewing court did not grant broader declaratory relief, as to ombudsman’s jurisdiction — Ombudsman claimed reviewing court was in error, on issue of what was local board — City claimed that even if boards were considered local, deliberations were exempt from being made public — Ombudsman appealed from reviewing court’s judgment — City cross-appealed — Appeal dismissed; no judgment made as to cross-appeal — City boards did not provide essential services, as to day-to-day operation of city — As investigative and adjudicative bodies, city boards’ function was different than those identified as local boards — Ombudsman did not have jurisdiction to investigate alleged non-compliance.

  • Rob Centa and Denise Cooney represented the Ombudsman of Ontario before the Divisional Court and Court of Appeal on an application regarding the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to investigate the deliberations of the City of Hamilton’s committees and local boards.

  • Rob Centa and Michael Fenrick represented a major federal political party on an application for judicial review regarding whether or not the party’s decisions rejecting the applicant’s candidacy for the leadership of the party  are properly the subject of judicial review under the Judicial Review Procedure Act.  Graff v New Democratic Party, 2017 ONSC 3578 (CanLII),

  • Don Eady, Nini Jones, Jodi Martin, Emily Home and Glynnis Hawe represented a group of intervenors who challenged the right of the Provincial Government to change the City of Toronto election ward boundaries in the midst of an election campaign.  They were successful at the first instance.  See That decision was stayed by the Court of Appeal.  See  The appeal before the Court of Appeal is ongoing and will be heard by a 5 member panel of the Court of Appeal on June 10 and 11, 2019.  Paliare Roland represented the intervenors on a pro bono basis.

  • Megan Shortreed and Michael Fenrick acted for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in a case that determined that the Board has standing to bring a motion to quash an appeal from its own decision, and that no appeal lies from an interlocutory decision of the Board:  Sazant v. R.M. and C.I.C.B.2010 ONSC 4273.

  • At the Supreme Court of Canada, Richard Stephenson, Danny Kastner and Jodi Martin successfully represented the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), acting in support of the Consumers Association of Canada and the National Anti-Poverty Organization in Bell Canada v. Bell Aliant Regional Communications2009 SCC 40. The court agreed with PIAC’s position that telecommunications service providers had overcharged telephone customers in the amount of approximately $300 million. The court ordered the amount rebated to customers.

  • Chris Paliare and Andrew Lokan (together with Ecojustice) in Friends of the Earth v. Canada (Governor in Council)2008 FC 1183 represented Friends of the Earth in a judicial review application in the Federal Court to compel the federal government to comply with the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, requiring the government to develop and implement a plan to achieve compliance with Canada’s obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

  • Linda Rothstein and Megan Shortreed acted for the College of Nurses on a case which resolved important issues with respect to the interpretation of the Personal Health Information Protection Act (“PHIPA”) – in particular whether occupational health records of an employee who is a member of the College may be disclosed to the College and used in the course of a discipline investigation when the employee has not given consent to the disclosure: Hooper v. College of Nurses of Ontario 2006 CanLII 22656 (Ont. Div. Ct.).

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Our Expertise

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Public and Administrative Law Lawsuits