WeirFoulds partner Raj Anand provided comment to The Toronto Star on a recent order issued by adjudicator Shannon Kieken who was presiding over a virtual hearing between Pinedale Properites and a member of a largely immigrant, working-class tenant’s union, the East York 50. The lawyer for Pinedale Properties works for a firm where Kiekans had worked as a paralegal for 20 years.
Kiekens admitted to being in conflict of interest, despite which she issued an interim order that advocates say weakened the legal position of the tenant facing eviction.
“If you have a potential conflict, you can’t make any decision of any kind”, Raj explained.
Kiekens imposed the interim order that the tenant continue to pay his full rent anyway, reasoning that neither the tenant nor Pinedale Properties would be unfairly disadvantaged if the tenant could not pay his rent due to the second lockdown and breached the order, since a new adjudicator would be presiding over the next hearing.
Raj counters that the tenant would be unfairly disadvantaged. Kiekens’s decision to make an interim order while in a conflict of interest is glaringly procedurally unfair, he said, and “I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s a disadvantage to the tenant.
“The landlord’s one step ahead,” Raj further clarified. “If the tenant doesn’t pay his rent going forward, and asks for more time when he comes before the next adjudicator, the landlord will have an extra argument: the tenant has breached the board’s order. So he’s ‘behind the eight ball.’”