In R. v. Conway, the Supreme Court of Canada reformulated and simplified the test for when an administrative tribunal is a court of competent jurisdiction for the purposes of considering constitutional questions and ordering Charter remedies. Previously, there were two different tests for when a tribunal was a court of competent jurisdiction: one for when an administrative tribunal was considering whether a legislative provision was constitutional, and a second when it was considering whether it had jurisdiction to grant a Charter remedy. Conway amalgamated and simplified the tests. In so doing, the Supreme Court made clear that administrative tribunals should play a primary role in determining Charter issues and that the fundamental issue is whether a tribunal can consider questions of law. It is possible, under Conway, that many more tribunals will be considered courts of competent jurisdiction. However, as the powers of tribunals are constrained by the legislative scheme, in practice the change may not be as significant as initially thought.
Bredt, Christopher D. and Krajewska, Ewa.
"R. v. Conway: UnChartered Territory for Administrative Tribunals."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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