The City of Cornwall and two employees, Acting Chief Administrative Officer, Mark Boileau and Chief Building Official, Charles Bray, have been sued by Rothmar Holdings Inc. and affiliated companies (“Rothmar”). Rothmar alleges that the defendants have breached duties owed to Rothmar in connection with properties it owns in Cornwall. The claim arises from Rothmar’s applications for five building permits related to four properties. Rothmar previously issued four Applications in the Superior Court of Justice (“Applications”) against the City in connection with the same permits. The City has responded to the Applications. The building permits were refused by the City on the basis that the applications did not meet the Building Code. Those four Applications are scheduled to be heard on January 9, 2024.
The issuance of building permits is covered by the Ontario Building Code Act, 1992 (“Act”). In considering an application for a permit, the chief building official must comply with the Act and the Building Code. The conversion of commercial properties to residential uses requires compliance with minimum provisions of the Building Code intended to address matters such as fire protection, accessibility and structural sufficiency. These are matters of public safety. Building officials are required to refuse to issue building permits where they determine that proposed construction will not meet these requirements. The City’s building officials provide reasons for any refusal to issue a building permit. The Act establishes a process for resolving disputes relating to the application of the Building Code. When an applicant does not agree with a decision by the chief building official in connection with an application for a building permit, the person may apply to the Building Code Commission to resolve the issue, or the person may appeal the decision to the Superior Court of Justice. Rothmar has elected to pursue the latter route.
The City will not be commenting further on the allegations in the Statement of Claim at this time, other than to say the City disputes the allegations. The City will be delivering a Statement of Defence in due course.