This case was heard in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
Ms. Pinsonnault-Flinn purchased a property in 1999 and soon afterwards learned that the property was severely contaminated. When the situation came to the attention of the Department of Environment and Labour, the Minister of Environment and Labour issued a Ministerial Order requiring Ms. Pinsonnault-Flinn to pay for the necessary remediation.
Ms. Pinsonnault-Flinn appealed the Ministerial Order. The Court determined that the standard of review was the standard of patent unreasonableness, and it held that the Minister’s decision had indeed been patently unreasonable. The evidence presented to the Court made it clear that not only were the previous owners of the property responsible for the contamination, but the Department of Environment and Labour itself had signed off on the insufficient remediation work that had been carried out on the property before it was purchased by Ms. Pinsonnault-Flinn.
The Court held that the Minister had exercised his administrative discretion unlawfully, had failed to consider relevant factors, and had acted unreasonably. The Court therefore set aside the Ministerial Order.