Complaint process

Procedural fairness

Last updated: January 16, 2024

The Tribunal must:

Under s. 59(5) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, the court considers whether the tribunal has breached the “common law rules of natural justice and procedural fairness.” It asks whether, in all of the circumstances, the tribunal acted fairly.

The courts have said that the “common law” cases apply – that means the cases that the courts have already decided about what fairness means:

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation v. Asad, 2010 BCSC 33 at paras. 24-25

Tribunal process

Tribunal process for applications to dismiss procedurally fair

  • Singh v. Kane Shannon & Weiler Management Corp., 2014 BCSC 1043
  • Gichuru v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal), 2010 BCCA 191, leave to appeal denied, [2010] SCCA No. 217
  • Evans v. University of British Columbia, 2008 BCSC 1026, para. 29
  • Rojas v. EaglePicher Energy Products, 2006 BCSC 1101

Section 27(1)(c) process respecting document disclosure: Kirk v. Burnaby (City), 2014 BCSC 155 (breach where unequal access to document disclosure before a decision under s. 27(1)(c); not permitting additional late submissions once documents disclosed; not permitting a reply to the submission that additional late submissions should not be permitted)

Hearing process (adjournment, adding a party, document production, summonses, use of interpreter, order regarding structuring of evidence, witness testifying by telephone and/or recording the hearing)

Hearing process (hours of hearing): C.S. v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2017 BCSC 1268, paras. 125-147

Delay: Quackenbush v. Purves Ritchie Equipment Ltd., 2006 BCSC 246

Notice of hearing (substitutional service): Moody v. Scott, 2012 BCSC 657 (Petitioner did not challenge decision declining to re-open hearing)

Be impartial (no bias)

Right to be heard

Opportunity to provide submissions

  • Morgan -Hung v. B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (17 Juneย  2010) New West. S124628 (S.C.) at paras. 25-26 (under appeal), rev’d on other grounds 2011 BCCA 122
  • Rimex Supply Ltd. v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2011 BCSC 1410

Right to be heard on remedy: Foglia v. Edwards, 2007 BCSC 861

Opportunity to make arguments on factors forming the basis of a dismissal: Overwaitea Food Group LP v. Bates, 2006 BCSC 1201

Amendment of complaint without opportunity to respond and failure to consider s. 27(1)(b) application: Goddard v. Dixon, 2012 BCSC 161 at paras. 178-185

Reliance on cases to which parties did not refer: Gichuru v. The Law Society of British Columbia, 2014 BCCA 396 (no breach)


*In Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses’ Union v. Newfoundland and Labrador (Treasury Board)2011 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada said that the adequacy of reasons is no longer a matter of fairness but is considered in deciding whether a decision is reasonable.

However, the Tribunal must provide enough reasons to allow for judicial review. The BC courts have considered the question of reasons in several cases.