Providence Bay local food advocate denied chicken appeal

TORONTO—A Providence Bay bed and breakfast operator and local food advocate, Glenn Black, had his appeal before the Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal of the 300 chicken limit placed on farmers without chicken quota under the supply management system dashed with cold water, when Glenn Walker, vice-chairman of the Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Appeal Tribunal, announced in a December 23 decision that a request for a reconsideration of a previous Tribunal decision on an application by Mr. Black was rejected because the request was “frivolous, or vexatious or made in bad faith.” Mr. Walker went to say Mr. Black’s request for reconsideration “can be rejected on any one of those reasons.”

Mr. Black was essentially seeking to have the quota-exempt limit on raising chickens raised to 2,000 birds per year per farm, or in the alternative, to 1,295 birds per year per farm, but there were 14 orders sought in his original application, including a request for lost business and incurred legal expenses.

According to a previous finding of the Tribunal outlined in Mr. Walker’s published decision, the Tribunal first considered Mr. Black’s appeal at a May 14, 2014 motion hearing. That motion, made by the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFO), sought to dismiss or limit Mr. Black’s appeal.

Rather than dismiss the appeal outright, the Tribunal, in its decision of May 21, 2014, “struck Mr. Black’s Appeal Notice and provided leave to re-file the appeal within 60 days of the decision with a direction that Mr. Black’s appeal be restricted to CFO Regulation No. 2425-2013 and a CFO policy known as the 300 bird exemption policy.”

According to a backgrounder provided with the most recent announcement, “the Tribunal gave that direction to Mr. Black in a decision that explained in detail the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and how most of what Mr. Black sought in his initial appeal was not justiciable before the Tribunal.”

Following that earlier decision, Mr. Black filed a 98-page Revised Notice of Appeal (RNOA). The initial Appeal Notice itself apparently comprised 21 pages. After filing the 98-page RNOA, Mr. Black then sent the Tribunal a two-page Notice of Appeal and incorporated into his written submissions another Notice of Appeal of just over two pages.

The Tribunal then received a request from CFO to schedule another motion to dismiss Mr. Black’s appeal, but rather than schedule the requested motion the Tribunal on its own initiative issued a Notice of Intention to Refuse to Hear Appeal to the parties and provided Mr. Black and CFO an opportunity to file written submissions.

In the Notice of Intention, the Tribunal cautioned Mr. Black he had one last opportunity to persuade the Tribunal that the appeal was not “frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith.” The Tribunal then directed Mr. Black to provide written submissions dealing with whether the Tribunal has jurisdiction to grant the relief as set out in section 11 (Requested Orders) of the RNOA.

According to the backgrounder included in the tribunal decision, Mr. Black was seeking a request for review of the decision to deny his application citing the following reasons:

“He feels he has been denied fundamental justice by having his appeal summarily dismissed without just cause; he feels there are significant adverse consequences to him and the general public as a result of the dismissal of his appeal before a hearing of the matters raised in the appeal; his efforts and costs in preparing, filing and advancing his appeal will be wasted if his appeal and the issues raised are summarily dismissed and not heard; he feels there is no other adequate, timely, and affordable forum for his appeal to be addressed; he feels that it is against the public’s best interest and public policy for his appeal to be dismissed without a public hearing of the issues raised in the appeal; he believes he has reasonable and probable grounds to believe the Tribunal made a material error of law and/or fact in its decision; he believes the Tribunal did not receive, or did not correctly apprehend, or did not adequately consider all of the submissions and evidence put before the Tribunal; he believes the Tribunal did not decide on all of the issues properly before the Tribunal; he feels the Tribunal has not yet provided full and comprehensive reasons for its decision; he feels the Tribunal’s decision contains: errors of law; errors of fact; errors of both law and fact; misapprehension of the evidence before it; erroneous and unsupported assumptions; findings of facts and resulting decisions that are not adequately supported nor logically derived from the evidence before it; and other good and sufficient reasons.”

But Mr. Walker wrote in his December 23 ruling that “I am convinced that his intention is, as stated by the Tribunal’s (September) decision, to use the 300 bird exemption to gain a ‘toe-hold’ and then to advance and debate his own personal political agenda.  I find that to be not only an abuse of the process of the Tribunal but to be in bad faith.  I am not convinced that Mr. Black has made an arguable case that the Tribunal committed an error of law in determining that it should refuse to hear his appeal on those grounds.”

Mr. Walker also dismissed the claims for recompense on the basis that had Mr. Black followed the earlier instruction of the Tribunal in submitting his appeal he would have largely been spared the expenses for which he was seeking redress.

Mr. Black was unavailable for comment prior to press time Monday.