Where One Door Opens, Another Stays Open: Parallel Statutory Rights of Appeal and Judicial Reviews in Yatar v TD Insurance Meloche Monnex

  • April 19, 2024
  • Alexander Evangelista

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its highly anticipated decision in Yatar v. TD Insurance Meloche Monnex,[1] providing its latest substantial commentary on judicial review in Canada. The Court endorsed the opportunity for parties to proceed with parallel statutory rights of appeal and judicial review. Despite recent pronouncements about the importance of upholding judicial economy and avoiding multiplicities of proceedings, Yatar leaves the door open for litigants to "fight on two fronts" against administrative decisions in limited circumstances.

The Facts  

Ummugulsum Yatar was injured in a car accident in 2010 and sought statutory accident benefits from her insurer, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex. Although TD initially provided Ms. Yatar with benefits, they subsequently proceeded to deny benefits over the course of three letters in 2011.[2]

In 2014, Ms. Yatar applied for mandatory mediation to dispute TD's denial of her benefits. At the time of her accident, the Ontario Insurance Act contemplated a two-year limitation period for contesting a denial of benefits, which was extended by 90 days after the mediator provided a report. Ms. Yatar commenced her application before the License Appeal Tribunal (the “LAT”) in March 2018.[3] The LAT adjudicator dismissed her application on the basis that it was time-barred and further dismissed her request for reconsideration.[4]

Procedural History

Following the LAT’s dismissal, Ms. Yatar exercised her statutory right of appeal to the Divisional Court under the Ontario License Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999, which right of appeal was restricted to questions of law. She also applied to the Court for judicial review on questions of fact or mixed fact and law.[5]

The Divisional Court dismissed Ms. Yatar's appeal, holding that she had not demonstrated any errors of law on the part of the LAT adjudicator. It also dismissed Ms. Yatar's application for judicial review, ruling that, although the limited right of appeal under the License Appeal Tribunal Act did not preclude reviewing other issues from the adjudicator's decision, there were no exceptional circumstances here to warrant such review.[6]

Ms. Yatar further appealed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, ruling that the remedy of judicial review would only be available in rare cases, given the legislative scheme for the resolution of such disputes and the fact that Ms. Yatar had an appropriate alternative remedy. It also noted that, even if the application ought to have been considered, it would have been denied on the basis that the LAT adjudicator's decision was reasonable.[7] Ms. Yatar finally appealed to the Supreme Court.