Yatar v. TD Insurance Meloche Monnex – SCC Confirms that Claimants have Expanded Access to Judicial Review

By: Michael Blinick, Partner & Dylan Zamani, Articling Student

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a ruling of significant importance for parties who handle disputes relating to entitlement to accident benefits following motor vehicle accidents. The decision addresses a Claimant’s right to seek judicial review of the decision by the License Appeal Tribunal (“LAT”) where there is no statutory right of appeal.


The claimant commenced a proceeding to contest a denial of her insurance benefits following an accident in 2010. The LAT dismissed her application in 2019 due to being time-barred, and a request for reconsideration of the LAT’s decision was dismissed.

Legislation limited the claimant’s right of appeal from the LAT reconsideration decision to questions of law, pursuant to s. 11(6) of the Licence Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999. The Claimant pursued this right of appeal (on a question of law) while simultaneously seeking judicial review regarding questions of fact or mixed fact and law. The Divisional Court dismissed both the appeal and application for judicial review, stating no errors of law were made by the adjudicator and that there were no exceptional circumstances that would justify granting judicial review. The Court of Appeal agreed with the Divisional Court’s decision, holding that it would only be in “rare” cases that the remedy of judicial review would be exercised when the legislation provides for a limited statutory right of appeal.

The claimant further appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the Court unanimously ruled that the limited right of appeal from LAT decisions to only pure questions of law does not reflect the legislature’s intention to restrict recourse to judicial review on other questions arising from the LAT’s administrative decision.


As was stated in this Court’s ruling in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65 (“Vavilov”), a statutory right of appeal does not prevent an individual from seeking judicial review to deal with questions not addressed in the appeal. While the questions of law being appealed are subject to review on a standard of correctness, the questions of fact and mixed fact and law on judicial review are subject to review on a standard of reasonableness and only rebutted in exceptional and narrowly defined circumstances.

The right to seek judicial review is also subject to the judge performing the judicial review deciding whether to exercise his or her discretion to grant relief. This discretion, however, does not extend to declining to consider the application for judicial review.

Justice Rowe, writing for the Court, stated that the existence of a limited right of appeal to questions of law alone does not, on its own, preclude an applicant from bringing an application for judicial review on other matters from administrative decision makers. The Court of Appeal was found to have erred by holding that the limited right of appeal was a reflection of the legislative intention to restrict recourse to the courts on other questions arising from the administrative decision, thus making judicial review rare.

The Supreme Court stated that the idea that the LAT should not be subject to judicial review as to questions of facts and mixed facts and law, in addition to an appeal on a question of law, could not be inferred from this statutory interpretation. Proceeding with judicial review of questions of fact or questions of mixed fact and law respects the legislature’s institutional design choices if review of these questions is not available under the statutory right of appeal.

As such, the Supreme Court concluded that the elements of the reconsideration decision that are not covered by the limited right of appeal should be judicially reviewed.

Lastly, the Supreme Court found that the LAT’s reconsideration decision was unreasonable, as it failed to have regard to the effect of the reinstatement of the IRBs on the validity of the initial denial. This appeal was allowed, and the matter referred back to the LAT for reconsideration.

Anticipated Implications of this Decision

We anticipate that motor vehicle insurers will see more of their insureds advancing applications for judicial review if they are unsuccessful in first instance at the LAT. These applications for judicial review are different from appeals on questions of law as a different standard will apply when considering whether to perform judicial review.

Upon an Application for judicial review, the Divisional Court will review the decisions made by the administrative body (the LAT) to make sure that the tribunal has upheld procedural fairness, and that the decision is reasonable in light of the law and the facts of the case. For all judicial review applications, there is a presumption that the standard of review is reasonableness and will only be rebutted in exceptional and narrowly defined circumstances.

A court will find that a decision is unreasonable if there are any fatal flaws in the decision’s logic, or if it does not respect the factual and legal constraints on the decision (i.e., the evidence, the relevant law, the issues before the court as framed by the parties, the parties’ arguments, past practices, and the effect of the decision). If a decision is found to not be reasonable, the matter should be sent back to the decision-maker for another look.

Judicial review challenging the procedural fairness of a process or hearing will require the court to determine what level of procedural fairness is appropriate given the circumstances of the case, and whether that level has been satisfied. The Court will consider the nature of the decision being made, the process followed in making the decision, the nature of the statutory scheme / the terms of the statute pursuant to which the body operates, the importance of the decision to the individual, and the legitimate expectations of the person challenging the decision, amongst other things.

Parties should note that the Judicial Review Procedure Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. J.1) states that an application for judicial review shall be made no later than 30 days after the date the decision or matter for which judicial review is being sought was made or occurred. The Court may extend the time for making an application for judicial review on such terms as it considers proper if it is satisfied that there are apparent grounds for relief and that there will be no substantial prejudice by reason of the delay.