GTAA v. City of Mississauga

On November 3, 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeal released a major constitutional decision in the ongoing dispute between the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and the City of Mississauga involving jurisdiction over the redevelopment of Pearson Airport. At issue was whether the GTAA, the private not-for-profit corporation that has operated the airport since 1996 under a long-term lease from the Federal Government, and Nav Canada, the operator of Canada’s civil air navigation system, were required to apply to the City of Mississauga for municipal building permits and to pay Mississauga close to $48 million in provincial and municipal development charges.

In a comprehensive decision by Mr. Justice Laskin, the Court of Appeal considered three significant constitutional division of powers grounds. The Court ruled that Parliament’s exclusive legislative authority over aeronautics, federal undertakings and federal Crown property precluded Mississauga from regulating the construction of new buildings at the airport.

The City of Mississauga was represented by counsel for the City, Michael Kyne, and by Thomas Heintzman, Q.C., John Brown and Joseph Colangelo of McCarthy Tétrault. The GTAA was represented by Brian Morgan and Mahmud Jamal of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Nav Canada was represented by Chris Paliare and Andrew Lokan of Gowlings., and the Attorney General of Canada was represented by Peter Southey and Shelley Quinn.