Political Control of Independent Administrative Agencies

Ottawa, ON, Canada: Law Reform Commission of Canada, 190 pages (1979)
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This work examines the development and performance of federal independent regulatory bodies in Canada in the period up to 1979, with particular attention to the operation of legislative schemes that include executive review and appeal powers. The author assesses the impact of the exercise of these powers on the administrative law process, and proposes new models for the generation, interpretation, implementation, review, and enforcement of regulatory policy. The study includes a series of representative case studies based on documentation and extensive interviews with individuals drawn from government, agencies, and other parties, including counsel for public interest groups. This enables author, writing from her experience as a participant-observer embedded in the public interest legal sector, to draw on the experiences and perspectives of a broad range of participants in the regulatory process, including but not limited to those dealing with the regulated energy, transportation, communications, and foreign investment sectors. Legal principles identified as emergent in leading judicial decisions in administrative law are used to assess the powers and practices used in executive reviews and appeals. The author finds those powers and practices to be flawed and proposes changes. The proposed models are designed to accord with emerging legal principles and avoid flaws of the types identified in the review and appeal provisions. This work, written under contract with the Administrative Law Project of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, formed one part of a comprehensive study of administrative law at the federal level in Canada.
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