1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
1.3: General authority of the Court to provide remedies
1.5: Rule contravention, non-compliance and irregularities

Case Summary

The Director of Alberta Environment & Parks (“Director”) applied to the Provincial Court for an Order authorizing entry on to private lands owned by the Respondents for the purposes of carrying out outstanding remediation work, pursuant to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c E-12 (“EPEA”). The Respondents opposed the Application for access and cross-applied for an Order requiring the parties to submit to mediation.

The Director argued that the Provincial Court Judge did not have the jurisdiction to order the parties to mediation. However, the Judge concluded that the Provincial Court had inherent authority to assist parties in resolving their disputes through appropriate directions, pursuant to Rules 1.2 and 1.3, and granted the Order directing the parties to mediate. The Director then applied for Judicial Review of the mediation Order, alleging that it was ultra vires. The Respondents argued that the Application was a nullity, because the appropriate challenge should be brought by way of Appeal, not Judicial Review. Justice Jeffrey held that the challenge was properly brought by way of Judicial Review, as the Appeal provisions for Provincial Court apply only to Civil Claims, not access Applications under the EPEA. Further, the Court has broad curative powers to remedy procedural irregularities under Rule 1.5 and s. 8 of the Judicature Act, RSA 2000, c J-2.

Justice Jeffrey held that the Provincial Court had exceeded its jurisdiction as the mediation Order: (i) encroached on the Director’s exclusive statutory jurisdiction; (ii) constituted a collateral attack on the remediation Orders; and (iii) required the expenditure of funds by the Provincial government without any statutory power to do so. The mediation Order was therefore quashed.

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