The Gilmor Case by Tom Black

Tom Black

A couple of years ago, a young lawyer, by the name of Arkadi Bouchelev came to the Ontario Landowners with a case he had won in the Ontario Superior court of Justice. The case was what became known in our circles as “the Gilmor case”, and came about when the Gilmor family asked for a building permit to build a house on a ten acre lot that they bought in 2008. The lot had been severed several years before, along with nine others from a one hundred acre property. All of the other nine lots already had houses built on them, and the Gilmors assumed there would be no issue with theirs. They were wrong and the Nottawasaga conservation Authorities told them that they could not build on the property because of safety issues that may occur with a 100 year flood scenario. They suggested that emergency vehicles would not be able to get down the road to come to their rescue.

So the Gilmors went through many levels of appeals plus the Mining and Lands commission with no help. They then hired Arkadi Bouchelev and went to Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court. The result was a unanimous decision from three judges, explaining that the Nottawasaga Conservation Authority had overstepped their mandate, which did not give them authority over personal safety issues. They instructed them to give the Gilmors their building permit.

This was a most important win for all of Ontario citizens even those that don’t own property, because it recognized the importance of individual rights and freedoms as opposed to the right of the state to impose their will. However, it was not to be, because it would have forced all government departments to go back to their mandate in the law and not infringe on private citizens rights. So the Ministry of Natural Resources appealed the decision to the Ontario Superior Court of Appeal. They also funded appeals for Conservation Ontario and the Nottawasaga Conservation Authorities.

The Gilmors felt that the Justice system in Ontario failed them and decided not to retain a lawyer to defend the win. Arkadi Bouchelev searched around for someone to intervene on behalf of the case, and approached the OLA to do so. We agreed to act as intervenors and hired Arkadi to do it. Our application was rejected. David Medhurst then applied to be intervenor with his group. They were denied. David Guergis then applied and was denied. How come the MNR and Conservation Ontario were allowed to be intervenors on behalf of the Nottawasaga Conservation against the Gilmors?

In the end three judges from the Court of Appeal of Ontario, overturned the verdict of three other judges, without allowing a well-informed intervenor to defend the case. You would think that the optics of this massive response by government departments to secure their power and control over a private citizen of this country, would be an obvious abuse of the taxpayers dollar, and a misuse of the justice system, by all agents of government including the justice system.

The judgment referred to words like “reasonableness & appropriateness” ignoring the laws of the land, that are supposed to be what superior court judges are required to base their judgment on.

The only thing left now is for the Gilmors to appeal to the Supreme Court to get resolution. This solution is virtually out of reach for any average citizen and thus, justice is not served.