SCC confirms statutory right of appeal does not automatically preclude judicial review

In Yatar v. TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, 2024 SCC 8, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) confirmed that a statutory right of appeal does not prevent an individual from seeking judicial review on questions that can not be dealt with by way of appeal. The matter involved a proceeding before the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) regarding the denial of benefits for an injury caused by a car accident.

The Supreme Court of Canada. In Yatar v. TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, 2024 SCC 8, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) confirmed that a statutory right of appeal does not prevent an individual from seeking judicial review on questions that can not be dealt with by way of appeal.

The LAT considers Yatar’s case

The Licence Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999, S.O. 1999, c. 12, Sch. G (LATA) provides a right to appeal a LAT decision but that right is limited only to questions of law, meaning the appeal can only consider whether the LAT applied the appropriate legal test. An appeal cannot be filed on a question of fact, which would relate to the conclusion reached by the LAT on the facts of the case.

Yatar’ s LAT application was dismissed for being filed late. The question of whether Yatar’s application was out of time was a question of mixed fact and law, which was outside the scope of the right of appeal set out in LATA.

Yatar files an appeal and also a judicial review

In an attempt to challenge the dismissal of her application, Yatar filed both an appeal, and an application for judicial review: a process that allows for the consideration of questions of fact or mixed fact and law. Yatar’s appeal was dismissed because there was no error of law in the LAT’s decision. With respect to Yatar’s application for judicial review, the Court noted that judicial review is discretionary and should only be granted in “exceptional circumstances” where there is an existing statutory right of appeal. Finding no such circumstances, the Court dismissed the application for judicial review. This decision was upheld on appeal.

SCC ruling

The SCC allowed Yatar’s appeal, finding the lower Courts erred in failing to consider that the right of appeal offered by LATA was a limited one, restricted only to questions of law. It was an error to find that such a limited statutory right of appeal would automatically not allow judicial review on issues outside the scope of the appeal. The SCC ultimately found the LAT’s decision was unreasonable based on the facts and remitted the matter back to the LAT for reconsideration.