Canada: Complying with notice provisions
02 December 2014
Posted by: Author: Lily Nguyen
Author: Lily Nguyen (Field LLP)
Cwalina Estate v. Parkland (County), 2013 ABCA 343 (Alberta Court of Appeal)
This case deals with a sale of land for property tax arrears. It discusses issues with notice that have potential application to the professional regulatory context. The plaintiffs sued Parkland County for selling land in which they had a registered interest. The plaintiffs hadn't received notice of the arrears and sale. The plaintiffs had corresponded with Parkland County using their current addresses, but had stopped updating their address with the Land Titles Office many years prior. As a result, notices sent to the address in the records of the Land Titles Office bounced back.
Parkland County argued that they had provided notice in accordance with their statute, the Municipal Government Act, which required that "notice must be sent to the address shown in the records of the Land Titles Office." Both the Trial Court and the Court of Appeal agreed and found for the County. The Court of Appeal held that the plain meaning was clear, that notice need only be sent to the address in the records of the Land Titles Office, and Parkland County was neither under obligation to ensure receipt, nor to locate the plaintiffs' actual, current addresses, especially considering that the plaintiffs were under statutory obligation to update their addresses at the Land Titles Office.
As with the MGA, a number of professional regulatory statutes impose an obligation on the member to update their address in the Register, and also contain a provision stating notice is considered effected when sent to the current address in the Register. Although each case turns on its specific facts and the precise wording of the statue, this case suggests that where regulators have complied with their statute and made all reasonable attempts to provide notice, they may proceed.
This article first appeared on mondaq.com.