Jan 20, 2012

Section 106 of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, as amended, provides the statutory authority to either a party, a non-party, or the court itself, sua sponte, to stay any proceeding. This section reads, in its entirety, as follows: “A court, on its own initiative or on motion by any person, whether or not a party, may stay any proceeding in the court on such terms as are considered just.” The Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in the decision of Ravelston Corporation Limited (Re), 2007 CanLII 24091 (ON S.C.), outlined the applicable legal principles to be considered in granted such a stay pending the resolution of a foreign proceeding. The court therein (per Cumming, J.) stated the following (at para. 29):


Mr. Justice Farley of this Court in an earlier proceeding involving Ravelston, Sun-Times and Hollinger, has commented upon the framework for determining when a temporary stay is appropriate. In Hollinger International Inc. v. Hollinger Inc. at p. 248, he stated:


It appears that temporary stays pending resolution of a foreign proceeding are typically granted when the foreign proceeding would “substantially reduce the issues to be determined” or if success in the foreign proceeding could render the local proceeding “substantially moot” or otherwise have a “material” impact on the outstanding issues in the case. Courts have considered the following issues in deciding to exercise their discretion in issuing a temporary stay pending the resolution of another proceeding:


  1. whether there is substantial overlap of issues in the two proceedings;


  1. whether the two cases share the same factual background;


  1. whether issuing a temporary stay will prevent unnecessary and costly duplication of judicial and legal resources; and


  1. whether the temporary stay will result in an injustice to the party resisting the stay.


[Citations omitted.]


Accordingly, as is evident therein, the court's discretion to either grant or refuse to grant the stay is fact-based, and driven largely by the need to save on scarce judicial resources.


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