Skip to main content

Court of Appeal Justice Calls for Legislative Reform on Appeal Routes

In 1476335 Ontario Inc. v. Frezza, 2021 ONCA 732, Justice Brown of the Ontario Court of Appeal noted that confusion frequently arises on the correct appeal route. Justice Brown called on the Ontario Legislature to create a simple test for when an appeal lies to the Divisional Court or when it lies to the Court of Appeal. He stated:

[15]       I conclude by observing that one of the great on-going failures of the Ontario civil justice system is the confusion entrenched in the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43 concerning appeal routes from orders made by judges of the Superior Court of Justice: Does the appeal lie with leave to the Divisional Court or as of right to this court? Such confusion inflicts unnecessary legal costs on parties, delays the resolution of appeals on their merits and, as this case illustrates, sows uncertainty about how a party can attempt to protect its rights pending an appeal.

[16]       There is absolutely no excuse for such confusion to continue. Simple “bright line” appeal route solutions are available. I would hope that at some point in the near future the Ontario Legislature will awake and address this far-too-long-outstanding stain on our civil justice system. In my respectful view, the Legislature needs to enact legislation that creates an unambiguous “bright line” explaining when an appeal lies to the Divisional Court and when it lies to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The current final/interlocutory dividing line is an expensive, time-wasting anachronism. Implementing a “bright line” solution is not a hard task: all it needs is a bit of creativity, political will, and concern for the health of our ailing civil justice system.