Allegations of bias arising from bonus scheme for port authority’s key employees would be of little precedential value

Federal appeal | Administrative Law | Judicial review | Where issue becoming academic or moot

Port authority, after environmental assessment, granted approval to proponent to construct and operate transfer facility to bring coal by rail into terminal and to load it onto ocean-going vessels. Application by applicant community groups and individual applicants for judicial review was dismissed. Applicants appealed. Appeal dismissed. As port authority had recently cancelled permit allowing coal transfer facility due to proponent’s non-compliance with basic conditions of permit, appeal was moot. It was clear that there was no longer adversarial relationship since applicants had achieved result they were seeking. Decision on merits would have no practical use to parties, as proponent had declined to judicial review revocation of permit and indicated that it currently had no interest in submitting new application. Decision dealing with applicants’ allegations of bias arising from bonus scheme for port authority’s key employees would be of little precedential value, as such determinations were heavily fact dependent. Given volume of port authority’s decision making on project permits and number of other such entities making regulatory decisions against backdrop of similar compensation scheme, there would be ample opportunity for future judicial view on these types of issues.

Communities and Coal Society v. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (2019), 2019 CarswellNat 1248, 2019 FCA 94, J.D. Denis Pelletier J.A., Yves de Montigny J.A., and Mary J.L. Gleason J.A. (F.C.A.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellNat 116, 2018 CarswellNat 510, 2018 FC 35, 2018 CF 35, James W. O'Reilly J. (F.C.).

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