Shane Rayman and Conner Harris are successful at the Ontario Municipal Board on behalf of the Claimants in William R. Hume, Marlene Hume and Gord Hume Inc. v. the Ministry of Transportation.
The motion sought an order from the Board directing it to fix the reasonable costs incurred by the Claimants in pursuing their claim for compensation arising from an expropriation by the Ministry of Transportation, rather than referring those costs to an Assessment before the Superior Court of Justice. The claim was settled in September 2015, but the parties did not agree as to costs. The Ministry of Transportation sought to have the matter referred to an Assessment Officer of the Superior Court. The Board has discretion pursuant to Section 32 of the Expropriations Act to fix the costs of a claim for compensation, or to refer the matter to an Assessment. This is the first instance in which the Board dealt with a dispute over whether costs should be fixed by the Board or referred to an Assessment following a settlement, and provides important guidance on the Board’s exercise of discretion pursuant to section 32 of the Expropriations Act. The Board determined that the matters at issue in the proceeding, for which a number of expert witnesses were retained, are matters in which it has an extensive expertise and which do not routinely come before the Superior Court in the course of litigation in that forum. The Board found that it should exercise its discretion to fix costs, and that there were no exceptional circumstances justifying the reference of costs to an Assessment Officer. The Board emphasized that it should consider the most simple, effective and expeditious manner of resolving a dispute over costs when determining whether or not to exercise its discretion to fix the costs of a proceeding before it. The Claimants were successful in having the Board exercise its discretion to fix the costs of the Claimants and a hearing date was set for that purpose.