Moen j

1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
7.1: Application to resolve particular questions or issues

Case Summary

The City of Edmonton applied to sever one of two questions in a Judicial Review of the City’s decision to reject a Petition. The subject matter of the Petition was the closure of the Edmonton City Centre Airport, and the City Clerk reviewed the Petition and rejected it on two grounds: that it was filed outside the time limits specified by the Municipal Government Act and that it was not signed by the required number of electors.

The new Rules applied at the date of the severance Application, and the Court considered whether the new Rules changed the law with respect to severance, such that a new test should apply to whether severance should be granted or whether the “exceptional case” test applicable under “old” Rule 221 continued to apply. The Court found that a significant change between the “old” Rules and the new Rules is that the new Rules add grounds for severance, while the “old” Rules authorized the Court to grant severance without setting out the specific grounds. The Court found that the differences between the “old” and new Rules were too stark to find that new Rule 7.1(1)(a) is a straightforward codification of the “old” Rule 221 “exceptional case” test.

The Court found that what should be considered in a severance application are the grounds and considerations actually laid out in Rule 7.1(1)(a), interpreted through the lens of Rule 1.2. While some factors are consistently relevant to the issue of severance, there is no defined list of which factors must be considered, and factors may be given less or more weight depending on the context of the case. The Court concluded that the “exceptional case” test is no longer the test in Alberta. Rather, the Court must view each Application for severance by first analyzing the three parts to the test in Rule 7.1(1)(a). If one of those tests is answered affirmatively, then the Court must determine if severance will meet the objectives of Rule 1.2. In carrying out its analysis, the Court must balance the ultimate goals as expressed in the Foundational Rules and determine if the remedy of severance is proportional. The Court allowed the Application by the City of Edmonton to sever the issues before the Court.

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