Thank you to delegates and speakers for
two very successful days of learning and networking!


The Canadian Institute’s
15th Annual Advanced Administrative Law and Practice conference was held on October 27-28, 2015 at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel.

This informative, engaging, and invaluable program was once again co-chaired by program favorites Freya Kristjanson (Counsel- Wardle Daley Bernstein Bieber LLP) and Nicholas McHaffie (Partner- Stikeman Elliot LLP) and covered a broad range of issues critically important to administrative law practitioners including duty of fairness, public authority liability, a status update on the ATSSC, expert evidence, and standards of review.

Multiple delegates stated that they always appreciate the level of expertise of speakers, the timeliness of the topics, and the comprehensive content and a large proportion have said that they attend every year as an important part of their professional development, making this the “go to” event in this space.


The conference kicked off with an excellent, in depth refresher on Fundamentals of Administrative Law masterfully presented by Emily Lawrence (Partner- Paliare Roland). This comprehensive and well-run session explored recent trends and caselaw and provided delegates with a thorough overview of important essentials.


An informative “year in review” led by Stephen Aylward (Stockwoods LLP) who undertook a detailed caselaw update and covered such issues as procedural fairness as well as challenges and considerations for AMP organizations.

This engaging and educational session was followed by an in-depth and well-rounded review of the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC) led by Justice Harry Slade (Chairperson- Specific Claims Tribunal Canada), David Yazbeck (Partner- Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne and Yazbeck LLP), and Edith Bramwell (Coordinator, Representation Section Collective Bargaining Branch, Public Service Alliance of Canada). This frank group discussion outlined how the ATSSC has been functioning in the year after its initial introduction and addressed diverse matters such as judicial independence and institutional bias, and also made predictions for the future. 

The morning continued with an comprehensive overview of public authority liability in tort by Alexander Pless (Regional Manager and Senior Counsel- Commercial Law Directorate, Department of Justice, Quebec Regional Office), including a review of the Paradis Honey decision, as well as other recent cases.

The highlight of the luncheon on Day 1 was a keynote address from The Honourable Paul Crampton (Chief Justice, Federal Court), who provided key insights “from the bench” including how to craft persuasive arguments as an advocate, and how to write effective decisions as an adjudicator.

The afternoon kicked off with an instructive and thorough overview on expert evidence by Freya Kristjanson (Counsel- Wardle Daley Bernstein Bieber LLP) who addressed crucial matters such as the gatekeeper function of tribunals, the Mohan framework, principles governing communications with experts, as well as a fulsome caselaw overview and predictions for going forward.

Day 1 ended with an important panel discussion on Charter values as raised in recent administrative jurisprudence by Guy Regimbald (Partner, Gowlings) and Pascale-Catherine Guay (Justice Canada, Quebec Regional Office).  This session included an incredibly thorough synopsis and analysis of relevant and timely cases as well as discussion of the Dore framework, balancing of rights, and projections for what future issues may arise in the Charter arena.

Couldn’t be there in person? We’ve got you covered!
Click here
for our archived webcast and
experience the sessions virtually.


An interactive session on ethics whereby delegates were presented with a series of challenging hypothetical multiple choice scenarios. The audience was asked to weigh in on these scenarios in real time using “voting” technology, and the immediate results of each scenario were subsequently discussed by the panel consisting of Julianne C. Dunbar (General Counsel- Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada), Michael Gottheil  (Executive Chair- Social Justice Tribunals Ontario), and Freya Kristjanson (Counsel- Wardle Daley Bernstein Bieber LLP). This session generated a lot of  audience participation and high-level debate and discussion of best practices.

The morning continued with further in-depth and expert perspectives, this time on best practices of diversity in proceedings. This insightful session was moderated by Susheel Gupta (Vice-Chairperson- Canadian Human Rights Tribunal) with panelists Alisa Lombard (Legal Counsel- Specific Claims Tribunal) and Gary Dukeshire (Senior Counsel- immigration and Refugee Board of Canada). The panel provided unique first hand perspectives on cultural sensitivity, accommodating diversity, as well as the need to reconcile the prior experience of applicants, complainants, and other participants in administrative processes.

After lunch, Nicholas McHaffie provided a masterful and technical update on standards of review, including a thorough discussion of the “margin of appreciation”, statutory interpretation, as well as recent jurisprudence, providing clarity on this often complex facet of the law.

The conference culminated with  a session on advanced decision writing presented by Shelley Appleby-Ostroff (Legal Writing Specialist, SAO Legal Writing), who led the audience through a practical, step-by-step session on best practices in drafting decisions. This interactive session included many helpful examples and expert guidance, and was a great, interactive finale to this year’s program.

Thank you to each and every member of our speaker faculty for sharing their knowledge and expertise. All speakers were superb and we were delighted to have covered so many important issues over the course of our two day program. We very much look forward to another fantastic program next year.

Kamila B. Polus, J.D., Conference Producer, The Canadian Institute     


Sheraton Ottawa Hotel