Illegal Bullying By Conservation Authorities Castigated By High Court by Gord Turcotte

Published February 1, 2016

“[It] is not akin to studying the impact of fluttering butterfly wings in Mongolia on flooding in [Ontario]” – Superior Court of Justice

Alex and Tania Gilmor of Shelburne, Ontario are heroes. They are heroes because they maintained the fortitude and wherewithal to battle the unjust persecutions that many Ontario residents and businesses now suffer at the hands of our current government.

The now regimented clerics of our Conservation Authorities continue to sow religious persecutions across the province to the detriment of people like the Gilmors and all Ontarians. However, with the conclusion of this case we may all owe the Gilmors a great deal of gratitude.

Over the past six years, the Gilmor’s file wound its way through the legal system to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court). Once there, the higher Court was decisive in granting their appeal. The high Court reversed a previous decision by the Mining and Lands Commissioner (Tribunal Court) to uphold an earlier decision by the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) to deny the Gilmors permission to build a home on their land. After six long years and thousands of dollars wasted, the Gilmors are now free and clear of the clutches and zealous ilk of the Conservation Authority (regardless, they must still complete the building permit process).

This is a landmark case not only because it was decided in Superior Court, but also for several notable reasons. First, the Gilmors did not back down from the initial denials because they knew that the NVCA was operating outside of the law and the Tribunal erred in law and that error could only be corrected at Superior Court. This is notably important because many people do not understand the differences between the levels of our Court system until they are caught up in it.

Most cases between landowners and Conservation Authorities are heard in Provincial Offences Court. These cases stem from charges laid by a Conservation Authority for infractions under its own published ‘regulations’ that are ‘committed’ by the landowner.

However, these regulations are intended for the Conservation Authorities own statutory ‘objects’, much like an Ontario Corporation sets its own bylaws and policies under the Corporations Act to manage its own business affairs.

At Provincial Offences Court, a Justice of the Peace (JP) examines the published regulations and compares them with the facts at hand (amongst other considerations). It is important to point out that a JP is not a trained lawyer or Judge and he or she makes decisions based on the criteria before the Court. In this setting, these rulings will generally favour the Conservation Authority.

Discouraged and disenfranchised at trial, the landowner accepts the lower Court’s decision, believing it has moral authority and force of law. Thus, the case goes no further and this process generates a growing body of jurisprudence for all Conservation Authorities. Here’s where things get legally challenging.

Provincial Offences Court does not have the power and authority (the legal jurisdiction) to review or rule on whether or not the regulations themselves are ‘correct, appropriate or reasonable’ (points of law).

However, the Superior Court makes no mistake:

“…the Tribunal erred in interpreting the regulatory framework under which it was operating. I have found the decisions both incorrect and unreasonable…”

Given the lower Court’s narrow jurisdiction, naivety of the landowner and growing jurisprudence, the Conservation Authorities utilize this system to expand their own powers and authority. And as is now exposed by the Gilmor case, all Conservation Authorities have been expanding their powers and authorities beyond what is legislated by statute in the Conservation Authorities Act (CAA) and other legislation. Embezzlement can only be dealt with in a Court of law before a Judge. The Gilmors pursued this.

This is also a landmark decision for what is contained in the Court’s reasons for allowing the appeal. Littered throughout the evidence and proceedings, the Superior Court uncovered a regime of taxpayer-funded bullies running around Ontario “expropriating” property rights from otherwise law-abiding Ontarians. The methodology used by the Authority is covert: deny permission to the landowner to develop his/her property for reasons other than what is provided for by statute. For instance, in a case cited in Gilmor, the Superior Court previously discovered that:

“The Tribunal itself has on different occasion characterized this as a “subtle form of expropriation”’ – (Junker v. Grand River Conservation Authority)

Although the CAA does contain provisions for powers to expropriate title to land, those powers are subject to the Expropriations Act, which first requires statutory consent from the governing body. Make no mistake, a Conservation Authority is not the government nor is it an agency thereof. It is now an independent service provider.

Regardless, these “subtle expropriations” are not over title to land, but to the rights to use of it. This illegal bullying is condoned through the PPS (Provincial Policy Statement) and mandated by zealot administrators within government and the Conservation Authorities. However, these are administrative policies, not laws.

In Junker v. Grand River Conservation Authority, the Superior Court states:

“…Government policies are not, however, law. By adopting these policies, an authority cannot acquire a jurisdiction greater than it is given by statute. Nor can an authority use the policy statements to expand on its objectives as set out by legislation…”

And in the Gilmor case, the Court confirms that:
“… Provincial and NVCA policy statements…do not have the force of law…”
And if ‘illegal expropriation’ of property rights was not enough, the Superior Court further found that:

“Authorities have been taking risk of life into account in refusing permission to build. This is beyond their authority. That all authorities seem, without challenge, to use concern for risk of life as a reason for refusing permission is amazing. They, clearly, do so without authority…In this case…safety was used…to impose a blanket ban on development…that is itself without statutory mandate…”

In other words, our current government, deploying the clergy of the Conservation Authorities, use any means necessary to ‘expropriate’ use of land. Except that, under the Expropriations Act, compensation at marketable value must be given to the expropriated party. And again, make no mistake – the marketable value of any land is its use. Here, the Court notes:

“…Land use restrictions of the sort imposed by the NVCA Regulation can impair or even sterilize land from most uses.”

However, this government offers no compensation to the affected Ontarians and adds insult to injury by using the landowner’s own tax dollars to mount these illegal cases that are in fact not expropriations, but extortions. This behaviour has become the de facto standard in our new and improved Ontario. In Junker the Court concluded:

“…there is reason to be vigilant that such a significant impairment of property rights is carefully exercised within the bounds of proper statutory authority.”

Further on in the Court’s examination of the Gilmor case, a mandate to prohibit landowners from exercising their rights to their land became clear:

“To the extent that there was any discussion by either the Tribunal…or the NVCA’s expert…that the present case would set a bad precedent for future developments…”

Obviously, there is some administrative policy at play that is hidden from public scrutiny. The Court goes on to conclude:

“This is a far cry from studying the actual impact of this actual development…The only expert who actually did site-specific measurements was the Gilmor’s and his evidence was not contradicted…Had there been a bona fide concern…The NVCA did not pursue the matter.”

So, regardless of any evidence at hand, any proposed solution or anything else, the Conservation Authority will deny permission because that’s what they now do.

In a nutshell, not only does this government extort property rights, but it also extorts the economic benefits our communities and families would receive from what the Court classified as “benign” developments, such as building a home.

Finally, this decision is precedent setting because the Gilmors were awarded costs by the Divisional Court. Interestingly, the Court acknowledged the award at the higher end of the spectrum for a total of $33,175. The awarding of costs becomes even more significant considering the Conservation Authority was denied costs at both the Tribunal Court and again at Divisional Court. Regardless, this decision and award should instruct all Conservation Authorities to purge themselves of all self-serving fanatics on their payrolls and get back to the basics of science, managing their statutory objects and respecting the taxpayers they serve.

Going forward, the award of costs in this case may prove to be the most significant tool for landowners. This is because Ontario now has a binding decision instructing the Conservation Authorities to bear the costs of their own administrative behaviours and policy misinterpretations:

“…the Tribunal’s reasons indicate that it did indeed proceed from an unreasonable and fundamentally erroneous interpretation of the governing NVCA Regulation.”

These costs will in turn get passed back to the taxpayer, which in turn should instruct the government to curtail municipal funding of Conservation Authorities.

However, there is one disturbing caveat. The Wynne government is currently reviewing the Conservation Authorities Act with the goal of “updating and enhancing” it. Given their track record of administrative policy and of producing more legislation than any other government in history, this likely means that they intend to legalize the extortion of property rights in a revised Conservation Authorities Act. We can only hope I am wrong about this, but as the Superior Court instructed, we need to stay vigilant.

The important thing to remember is that the Conservation Authorities are no longer the government, nor are they an agency thereof. They are now an independent service provider similar to Ducks Unlimited. However, as a legacy agency of the Ministry of Natural Resources, they continue to be mandated by the Provincial Policy Statement and funded by the taxpayer.

It’s no wonder they are so fundamentally screwed up. In effect, Conservation Authorities are now a political arm of the governing Liberal Party of Ontario, paid for by all of us.

11 Responses to “Illegal Bullying By Conservation Authorities Castigated By High Court by Gord Turcotte”

  1. Delmer O. B. Martin February 22, 2016

    The Conservation Authorities and all related regulations are all a part of the “Agenda 21” of the United Nations that is running things from the “bottom up” The elitists are using the dumb politicians and the individual socialists/communists in most ALL our communities who stupidly and naively think that those with power will share the spoils with them.

    The Elite under Agenda 21 etc. are working to gain control of all our valuable properties and resources without ever paying for any of them. Have a look at this website and you will see who just some of our enemies are;

    http://www.greenbeltalliance.ca/members

    Your local Municipal Planning staff are educated by an educational system that is controlled by elitists and these planners are not working for you, or on behalf of your valuable property AND chances are your local municipal/City staff are all members of OPPI Ontario Public Planners Institute and probably C.I.O.F. as well as the A.M.C.T.O. (PS: they recently removed their membership list off their website but I note that some of us made copies and took screenshots first fortunately). Truth = FREEDOM

  2. edward kennedy February 9, 2016

    Over the last several years I have utilized accurate info provided me by insiders and computer experts to identify, track and record details of their history, their lack of qualifications and their incompetence in their bureaucratic/government positions. Spend a few bucks, even on a PI and it will be worth it to demolish any fool with a tin badge on who tries to make life difficult for you. You will find that many higher level bureaucrats are not qualified for their positions, especially the ones appointed by “lieberal” authorities.

  3. Adam February 6, 2016

    I have news for you people. You do not own land “in Canada”. You do not own land “in Ontario”. The court said so – “the marketable value of any land is its use”. You pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that is evidence of your right to use the property, not own it. If you own it no one can tax or take your property, nor tell you what to do with it. Were you told prior to signing mortgage documents that you do not own the property but have use = tenant, not owner? There is a way to own the land and other property free of government control and regulation and no lawyer can help you. A lawyers first duty is to the Queen, not you. Canadians are governed in the name of the Queen. If you would like more information send an email to bb@trytel.net, Adam

  4. Mike February 4, 2016

    The decision is on Canlii. Here’s the link:

    https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onscdc/doc/2015/2015onsc5327/2015onsc5327.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAJYm91Y2hlbGV2AAAAAAE&resultIndex=5

    The lawyer’s name is Arkadi Bouchelev.

  5. Grace Joubarne February 1, 2016

    It would be so awesome if the case titles or better still, a link to the case and Decision were installed in these articles. I have been trying to raise this on the Internet and get nothing.

    If anyone has the link to the actual case, and especially to the last Decision, it would be most appreciated if it could be sent to graceplacewellness@gmail.com. Thank you!

  6. Bob Marcellus February 1, 2016

    Congratulations Alex and Tania Gilmor .

    Well Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have been in court for the last 1.5 years with 6 appearances. looks like I have another 4.5 years left.

    Mr. Turcotte your article is well put together. Thanks,

  7. martin February 1, 2016

    do you have the lawyers name,,, i looked it up on canlii,,, but its not there yet…
    i have an appeal on a similar matter due feb 29th.. this would bode well for my case.
    martin whyte

  8. Pierre Desmarais February 1, 2016

    This articles is such an eye opener to me and my family. ” they say jump!, we say how high”
    We own 5 acre on waterfront, about 1 acre is our main dwelling, about 3 acre is a mountain, another acre is at the entrance and would be an awesome place for our son to build his first home.

    But the authority says it cannot be develop as it is a natural buffer, yet two lots down the road there is homes built.
    This article just gave me the back bone I needed to go forward. Now direction on the process I need to go would be helpful.

    Again thanks for this article

  9. janice February 1, 2016

    I’ve been well aware of the fact that most of these organizations are in fact private corporations that impose their own corporate policy’s on individual’s that are unaware they are being tricked into consent and contract. The government of Ontario and Canada are both private corporations that impose statutes over us in much the same way. It is color of law but it is not law.

    I have a very simple tactic that I use when confronted by one of these parasites. I hand them a notice and a fee schedule. If they want to talk to me it will cost them. I go after the order taker and not the corporation itself. This way they are held personally responsible for the choices they make. They will think twice when it affects their bank account.

    One can always post a notice on their property. No solicitations of any kind and post a fee schedule. If they so much as step on your property it will cost them. Then invoice them. When they default you can file a claim. They will always default.

    It’s time people understood what kind of games are being played here in order to disenfranchise the people. In the end, it’s all fraud.

    Go and watch “The Magnificent Deception” on you tube. Meet your strawman and the Nature of the Cage. All good videos that will help you to understand the grand illusion we are in and how to take back your power.

    God bless all

  10. HENRY MORASH February 1, 2016

    WHEN WILL CANADIANS STAND UP FOR THEIR “RIGHTS ?”. IT IS ABOUT TIME THEY DO SO, AND DO SO FORCEFULLY THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM.
    CONGRAT’S TO THE ALEX & TANIA GILMOR..

  11. Ken Conrad February 1, 2016

    This goes to show how bureaucratic overreach is proving itself to be an ongoing problem. Thankfully, due to the fortitude of this determined couple, the Conservation Authority bureaucrats weren’t able to have it their way. Restoring accountability to the provincial and municipal government’s overly large, growing, fiscally draining, and oppressive regulatory agencies is long overdue.

    I’ve had first hand experience with some of the example provided in this article with respect to government extortion tactics. Indeed, rather then go through the expropriation process and have to pay fair market value for land, a government body choose to use coercion as a tool to assume legal ownership of the land at the owners expense.


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