Alberta – No set aside for document disclosure complaints – #633

In ENMAX Energy Corporation v. TransAlta Generation Partnership et al, 2022 ABCA 206, the Alberta Court of Appeal (Paperny, Rowbotham, and Strekaf, JJA) upheld the chambers justice’s decision to refuse to set aside an arbitral award (the “Award”) under section 45(1)(f) of the Alberta Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c A-43 (the “Act“). It agreed that the (“Tribunal”) document disclosure rulings of the arbitral tribunal (“Tribunal”) in relation to a narrow sub-issue did not prevent the Appellants from making their case, nor did it result in manifest unfairness. Among other things, the Court of Appeal found that the Tribunal did not foreclose the possibility of further document production, but that it was the Appellants who opted not to apply for the records whose absence they now complained about. The Court also held that, when viewed in context, the Tribunal relied on other evidence to reach its conclusion and the absence of the records sought by the Appellants did not preclude them from presenting their case.

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Ontario: Award set aside for “trickery and injustice” – #624

In Campbell v. Toronto Standard Condominium Corp. No. 2600, 2022 ONSC 2805, Justice Perell of the Ontario Super Court of Justice set aside an arbitral award for “constructive fraud” pursuant to s. 46(1), para. 9 of the Ontario Arbitration Act, 1991. The arbitral award ordered the Campbells, who were condominium owners (the “Owners”), to pay $30,641.72 to the Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2600 (the “Condo Corp.”), which represented the costs of their arbitration. The matter began as a dispute regarding the Owners’ alleged non-compliance with the rules of the Condo Corp, including noise complaints and short-term rentals. However, the Owners were led to believe that the arbitration would be limited to the reasonableness of Condo Corp.’s legal costs in enforcing compliance up to and including the arbitration. Justice Perell held that the Owners were “tricked” intothe arbitration because it was actually an arbitration on the non-compliance issues.While Justice Perell found that the Condo Corp. was not deceitful, he found that “[2] it misled, outmanoeuvred, and outsmarted the [Owners]” such that “[t]he court should not countenance the trickery and the injustice.” As a result, the arbitral award was set aside.

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Ontario – Standard of review: set aside for applicant’s “inability to present his case” – #596

In Nelson v The Government of the United Mexican States, 2022 ONSC 1193, Justice Penny dismissed Nelson’s application to set aside the award of a three-member tribunal constituted under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). Nelson relied upon Article 34(2)(a)(ii) of the Model Law, which allows the court to set aside an award on the basis that the applicant was, “otherwise unable to present his case”. Justice Penny relied upon the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision of Consolidated Contractors Group S.A.L. (Offshore) v. Ambatovy Minerals S.A., 2017 ONCA 939, at para. 65, leave to appeal refused, 2018 CarswellOnt 17927 (S.C.C), which held that the standard of review for setting aside an award under Article 34(2)(a)(ii) is whether the tribunal’s conduct is “sufficiently serious to offend our most basic notions of morality and justice” and “that it cannot be condoned under the law of the enforcing State”.

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Ontario – Fresh evidence test the same on set aside applications on fairness grounds and judicial review applications – #572

In Vento Motorcycles Inc. v United Mexican States, 2021 ONSC 7913, Justice Vermette set out the test for when fresh evidence may be adduced to support a set aside application on lack of fairness or natural justice grounds. The test is the same as that which applies on a judicial review;  the record is restricted to what was before the decision-maker, except where there are natural justice or fairness issues raised that cannot be proven by reference to the existing record and that could not have been raised before the decision-maker.

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B.C. – Award challenged for legal error, denial of natural justice after baseball arbitration – #552

In 1150 Alberni Limited Partnership v Northwest Community Enterprises Ltd., 2021 BCSC 2053, Justice Groves heard a petition to set aside an arbitral award or, in the alternative, for leave to appeal the award, as well as a cross-petition to enforce the award. The award arose out of a final offer selection arbitration, which required the arbitrator to accept one party’s submission in its entirety and provide reasons. Justice Groves dismissed the set aside and leave to appeal petitions. The arbitrator had not erred in law or in denying the petitioner natural justice; the losing party was simply re-arguing its case. Justice Groves granted an order enforcing the award.

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Ontario – “Cumulative series of events” complaint does not extend deadline for raising arbitrator bias – #527

In Spivak v. Hirsch, 2021 ONSC 5464, Justice Jarvis heard a motion to remove an arbitrator pursuant to sections 13 and 15(1) of the Arbitration Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 17 on the basis that the arbitrator demonstrated a reasonable apprehension of bias, actual bias and had not treated the applicant fairly and equally. The applicant raised concerns which she said, cumulatively, constituted bias. Essentially, the applicant argued bias on the basis of awards issued against her and that she was not being afforded the same litigation latitude as the respondent. The court dismissed the application. A reasonable person, when considering the applicant’s concerns in the context of the entirety of the arbitration proceedings, would not think this amounted to bias. In any event, the applicant was out of time. Section 13 of the Arbitration Act makes it mandatory that a person who wishes to challenge an arbitrator must do so within 15 days of becoming aware of the grounds for challenge. There is no discretion to extend the time to take into account earlier incidents of alleged bias.

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