Restoring a Citizen’s Right to Sue Government for Corrupt Practices
The Ford government has passed new legislation that strips private individuals of their access to courts, robbing them of the right to seek legal recourse for injuries caused by government officials. This legislation, the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, 2019 (“the Act”), was passed as part of an omnibus bill focused on budgetary cuts, and came into force on July 1, 2019.
Brad Blair, former Deputy Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (“OPP”), is tackling this legislation head on. He has brought an application asking the Superior Court of Justice to declare specific provisions of the Act unconstitutional and of no force and effect.
The new Government immunity law is a transparent effort to shield the Ford Government from legitimate and credible allegations of corruption. Brad Blair is seeking a court order that his law suit can proceed without having to navigate the obstacles imposed by the new legislation for those seeking to hold government officials accountable for corrupt acts.
The new legislation is an attempt to insulate government actors from liability for intentional and bad faith conduct. It also creates a complete shield for government officials for a broad range of negligent acts.
Specifically, the new legislation requires a potential plaintiff seeking to advance a claim that a government has engaged in intentional, bad faith conduct which has harmed the plaintiff (misfeasance in office) to successfully navigate a costly screening process before the Court. In navigating this process the plaintiff is required to produce all the documents in their possession related to the case, file an affidavit and be cross-examined by the government. Of course, the government is not subject to these same requirements.
Mr. Blair is asking the Court to find that these provisions infringe the Charter protected right of Ontarians to access the Courts to seek legal redress for wrongs committed against them by public officials.