Nickolas Leblovic wanted 15 minutes to explains to Council what he said and why he said it - they gave him 5 minutes

By Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2023



Nickolas Leblovic explained to city Council:

I’m here today to address the integrity commissioner’s report related to a Committee of Adjustment meeting on December 12, 2022, related to the proposed conversion of a garage in a historical Burlington home into a secondary dwelling unit.

Following the hearing the owner of the home filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner stating that during the hearing I’d made a statement to the effect that she had an undocumented rental unit in her basement.

Nicholas Leblovic addressing city council

I categorically deny that I made that statement and advised the Integrity Commissioner accordingly. What I said was that a house that had five bedrooms already and was increasing it to six could in fact, by a future owner, be converted into a multi residential unit or an Airbnb if you want to use the vernacular.

I’m certain that this matter could have been resolved easily through an informal resolution process specified in the code of conduct. Unfortunately, the matter did not end there.

Because the Integrity Commissioner decided on his own and without any outside complaint, which is required by the code of conduct, to review my entire involvement in the hearing. As a result of this review, he unilaterally, and in my view, improperly expanded the scope of the complaint to include the manner in which I can question the applicant’s representative at the hearing.

Dianne Leblovic listening intently as her husband addresses city council.

The issue arose because of a discrepancy between the description of the basement in site plans tabled by the planners who were representing the applicant and a description in a heritage impact study prepared for an earlier meeting of the Burlington Heritage Committee.

Specifically, the heritage impact study described living facilities in the basement which the site plans did not. In my opinion the material was material to the application.

On the first issue, the planner was clearly unfamiliar with the heritage impact study. Even though her firm had represented the property owner at the heritage committee. Based on my own experience as a lawyer, I believe that my questioning of the planner and my comments on our responses was entirely consistent with what in similar circumstances would have come from a judge or commissioner in a judicial or quasi judicial proceedings.

The Committee of Adjustment is a quasi judicial committee. In addition, I would note that the chair of the meeting, who has the control over the protocol at the meeting, did not raise any objection to the questioning.

On the second issue, the Integrity Commissioner concluded that much of the information and documentation that I had, referred to in my questions was constituted hearsay evidence, and was therefore inadmissible. It should be noted that this opinion was not supported by any citation of applicable case law statute or learned article. I have separately concluded that under Ontario law, hearsay evidence is in fact acceptable in proceedings or quasi-judicial bodies, in contrast to the unsupported opinion of the Integrity Commissioner on this issue,

I’ve included in the material filed with my delegation, which is what Councillor Bentivegna referred to is both statute, the Statutory Powers Procedures Act and a learned article on the issue which conclude that in fact, hearsay evidence is acceptable in statute in what’s called local boards, and statutory committees.

I’ve also took the trouble of getting a separate opinion from an individual who is also an Integrity Commissioner, and a senior partner of Fasken, a Toronto law firm, which further confirms my position.

In light of the above I submit that the Integrity Commissioner is wrong on the issue of hearsay evidence, and as a result his allegations concerning this issue are not supportable.

At this point Nick Leblovic had used up his five minutes. Questions were then put to him by members of Council.


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