Chandler v. Architects Assoc. (1989), 101 A.R. 321 (SCC)

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[French language version follows English language version]

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Sheldon Harvey Chandler, S.H. Chandler Architect Ltd., Gordon Gerald Kennedy, G.G. Kennedy Architect Ltd., Brian William Kilpatrick, Brian W. Kilpatrick Architect Ltd., Peter Juergen Dandyk and Peter J. Dandyk Architect Ltd. (appellants) v. The Alberta Association of Architects, The Practice Review Board of the Alberta Association of Architects, Trevor H. Edwards, James P.M. Waugh and Mary K. Green (respondents)


Indexed As: Chandler v. Alberta Association of Architects

Supreme Court of Canada

Dickson, C.J.C., Wilson, La Forest,

L’Heureux-Dubé and Sopinka, JJ.

October 12, 1989.


After a firm of architects went bankrupt the Practice Review Board of the Alberta Association of Architects served notice on the architects of an intended review of their practice. At the hearing the chairman specifically stated that there were no allegations against the architects and that the hearing was merely to explore the situation and obtain information. However, the Board made findings against the architects, levied fines totalling $127,500 and ordered them to pay $200,000 costs.

The architects’ application for certiorari was allowed by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench on the ground that the Practice Review Board violated the principles of natural justice. The Board appealed.

The Alberta Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 62 A.R. 72, dismissed the appeal and held that the Board lacked jurisdiction to make findings or orders relating to discipline or costs.

Subsequently the Practice Review Board notified the parties that it would meet to consider whether to recommend to the governing council or Complaint Review Committee that disciplinary proceedings be launched against the architects. The architects applied for an order prohibiting the Board from taking further steps against them.

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted the prohibition order on the ground that the Board was functus officio. The Board appealed.

The Alberta Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 67 A.R. 255, allowed the appeal. The architects appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, L’Heureux-Dubé and La Forest, JJ., dissenting, dismissed the appeal.

Administrative Law – Topic 554

The hearing and decision – Decisions of the tribunal – Finality – Power of tribunal to amend or reopen decision – The Supreme Court of Canada stated that once an administrative tribunal “has reached a final decision in respect to the matter that is before it in accordance with its enabling statute, that decision cannot be revisited because the tribunal has changed its mind, made an error within jurisdiction or because there has been a change of circumstances. It can only do so if authorized by statute or if there has been a slip or error within the exceptions enunciated in Paper Machinery Ltd. v. J.O. Ross Engineering Corp.” – See paragraph 20.

Professional Occupations – Topic 3523

Architects – Disciplinary proceedings – Jurisdiction – Functus officio – Section 39(3) of the Architects Act limited the jurisdiction of the Practice Review Board of the Alberta Association of Architects to inquiring into a member’s practice and reporting to the council with any appropriate recommendations – Disciplinary powers were reserved to the Complaint Review Committee – The Board conducted a valid hearing, but acted ultra vires by making a disciplinary order instead of determining whether to make a recommendation – The Board’s decision was quashed – The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that the Board could continue the inquiry to complete its statutory duty to determine whether to make a recommendation – The Board was not functus officio – The Board’s decision was a nullity; it failed to consider disposition on a proper basis and should be entitled to do so.

Cases Noticed:

In re St. Nazaire Co. (1879), 12 Ch. D. 88, refd to. [para. 19].

Paper Machinery Ltd. v. J.O. Ross Engineering Corp., [1934] S.C.R. 186, refd to. [para. 19].

Grillas v. Minister of Manpower and Immigration, [1972] S.C.R. 577, refd to. [para. 19].

Huneault v. Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. (1981), 41 N.R. 214 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

Trizec Equities Ltd. and Area Assessor Burnaby-New Westminster, Re (1983), 147 D.L.R.(3d) 637 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 24].

Lange v. Board of School Trustees of School District No. 42 (Maple Ridge) (1978), 9 B.C.L.R. 232 (S.C., refd to. [para. 25].

Posluns v. Toronto Stock Exchange et al.,[1968] S.C.R. 330; 67 D.L.R.(2d) 165, refd to. [para. 25].

Ridge v. Baldwin, [1964] A.C. 40, refd to. [para. 25].

V.G.M. Holdings Ltd., Re, [1941] 3 All E.R. 417 (Ch. D.), refd to. [para. 37].

Nelsons Laundries Ltd. and Laundry, Dry Cleaning and Dye House Workers’ International Union, Local No. 292, Re, (1964), 44 D.L.R.(2d) 463 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 40].

Lewis v. Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Co. (1913), 13 D.L.R. 152 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 41].

M. Hodge and Sons Ltd. v. Monaghan (1983), 43 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 162; 127 A.P.R. 162 (Nfld. C.A.), refd to. [para. 41].

Lodger’s International Ltd. v. O’Brien (1983), 45 N.B.R.(2d) 342; 118 A.P.R. 342 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 47].

Davidson v. Slaight Communications Inc., [1985] 1 F.C. 253; 58 N.R. 150 (C.A.), affd. [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1038; 93 N.R. 183, refd to. [para. 48].

Cité de Jonquière v. Munger, [1964] S.C.R. 45, refd to. [para. 50].

Canadian Industries Ltd. v. Development Appeal Board of Edmonton (1969), 71 W.W.R.(N.S.) 635 (Alta. C.A.), refd to. [para. 63].

Karavos v. Toronto, [1948] 3 D.L.R. 294 (Ont. C.A.), refd to. [para. 67].

Statutes Noticed:

Architects Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. A-44.1, sect. 9(1)(j.1) [para. 11]; sect. 39 [para. 10]; sect. 50, sect. 51, sect. 52, sect. 53 [para. 14]; sect. 55 [para. 4].

Architects Act Regulations, Regulation 175/83, sect. 11(1) [para. 12].

Labour Relations Code, S.A. 1988, c. L-1.2, sect. 11(4) [para. 9].

National Telecommunications Powers and Procedures Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-20, sect. 66 [para. 9].

Ontario Municipal Board Act, R.S.O. 1980, c. 347, sect. 42 [para. 9].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Black’s Law Dictionary (5th Ed. 1979) [para. 39].

Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law (2nd Ed. 1977) [para. 37].

Pépin and Ouellette, Principes de contentieux administratif, 2e éd., 1982, p. 221 [para. 42].


W.E. Code, Q.C., and B.G. Kapusianyk, for the appellants;

No one appeared for the respondents.

This appeal was heard on January 30, 1989, before Dickson, C.J.C., Wilson, La Forest, L’Heureux-Dubé and Sopinka, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On October 12, 1989, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered in both official languages and the following opinions were filed:

Sopinka, J. (Dickson, C.J.C., and Wilson, J., concurring) – see paragraphs 1 to 28;

L’Heureux-Dubé, J. (La Forest, J., concurring), dissenting – see paragraphs 29 to 70.


Chandler v. Alberta Association of Architects

(1989), 101 A.R. 321 (SCC)

Supreme Court of Canada
Reading Time:
27 minutes
L’Heureux-Dubé and Sopinka, JJ., Sopinka 

Sopinka, J.
: The issue in this appeal is whether the Practice Review Board of the Alberta Association of Architects was functus officio after delivering a report on the practices leading to the bankruptcy of the Chandler Kennedy Architectural Group. The Alberta Court of Appeal allowed an appeal from the decision of the Alberta Queen’s Bench granting the appellants’ application for an order prohibiting the Practice Review Board from proceeding on the grounds that the Board no longer had jurisdiction to deal with the matter and was functus officio.


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