The BC Court of Appeal released its decision in The Redeemed Christian Church of God v. New Westminster (City), 2022 BCCA 224. The decision clarifies a number of important procedural questions in respect of civil Charter proceedings.
First, neither s. 24(1) of the Charter nor Rules 1-2(4) and (5) of the Supreme Court Rules authorize a claim for Charter relief to be brought by petition.
Second, it is an error in principle to address a narrow issue such as standing in circumstances where the Charter claim cannot be adjudicated. The issue of severing and then deciding a single issue (such as standing) apart from the numerous other issues that are raised by a claim should be considered with reference to the factors articulated in the context of summary trial applications brought under Rule 9-7:
a) whether the court can find the facts necessary to decide the issues of fact or law;
b) whether it would be unjust to decide the issues by way of summary trial, considering amongst other things:
i. the implications of determining only some of the issues in the litigation, which requires consideration of such things as:
(1) the potential for duplication or inconsistent findings, which relates to whether the issues are intertwined with issues remaining for trial;
(2) the potential for multiple appeals; and
(3) the novelty of the issues to be determined;
ii. the amount involved;
iii. the complexity of the matter;
iv. its urgency;
v. any prejudice likely to arise by reason of delay; and
vi. the cost of a conventional trial in relation to the amount involved.
The proper test to apply to analyze whether a government’s exercise of a contractual right constitutes a “reasonable limit prescribed by law” under the Charter remains complex and novel and will be determined in a future case.
The reasons for judgment are available here.