Municipal Meets Employment Law

Posted by Johannes Schenk on March 29th, 2007 — Posted in Employment Law, Municipal Law

Martin v. The City of Vancouver, 2006 BCSC 1260, concerns a judicial review of the City of Vancouver’s decision to sack the members of its Board of Variance.

The petitioners, former board members, challenged their termination on the basis that the decision to terminate the Board was based on improper motives, namely that the City’s intention was to replace the Board with a more compliant decision making body. The petitioners also argued that the City owed a duty of procedural fairness to the Board members that was not met. The basic argument put forth was that the Board was an independent body that could not be dismissed and that a dismissal had to be for some cause. Board members should have had the opportunity to challenge the termination decision.

The Court held that section 572(2.1) of the Vancouver Charter makes the Board members “at pleasure” appointees and that the City could rescind their appointments without cause. The power to rescind the appointments was only constrained by an absence of bad faith on the part of the City. There was no bad faith in this case.

In addition, on the facts of the case there was no duty of procedural fairness owed to the Board members.