Public Health Appeal Board

image of PHAB logoThe Public Health Appeal Board (the Board) is a quasi-judicial board that consists of up to 5 members of the public appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to hear appeals from decisions made under the Public Health Act.

The Board functions independent of government departments to ensure fairness and impartiality when hearing appeals of decisions made under the Public Health Act (Part 1, Sections 3–7).

Making an appeal to the Public Health Appeal Board

Contact the Board

If you or your legal counsel have any questions concerning the Public Health Appeal Board, contact the Board at:

What can be appealed?

  1. An order issued under Section 62 of the Public Health Act:
    • Order of an Executive Officer Unfit for Human Habitation Order to Vacate
    • Order of an Executive Officer Closure Order
    • Order of an Executive Officer Work Order
  2. A decision to issue or to cancel, suspend or refuse to issue a license, permit or other approval provided for in the regulations under the Public Health Act.
  3. Any other decision in respect of which an appeal to the Board is permitted under the regulations.

Who can appeal?

A person who is directly affected by a decision (see above for decisions that can be appealed) and who considers himself or herself to have been aggrieved. The person who appeals a decision is referred to as the appellant. (See section 5(2), Public Health Act)

Begin an appeal

Complete and deliver the Notice of Appeal form

Complete, date and sign a Notice of Appeal formPDF icon , and send it to Alberta Health Services or to the Public Health Appeal Board by fax, mail, email or hand delivered (see section 5(3), Public Health Act).

The Public Health Appeal Board
c/o Central Reception
Main Floor, ATB Place North Tower
10025 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 1S6
Phone: 780-222-5186
Fax: 780-422-0914
Email: HealthAppealBoard@gov.ab.ca

Alberta Health Services
Suite 104, Main Floor, West Tower
14310-111 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5M 3Z7

Timing to begin an appeal

The Notice of Appeal must be received by the Board within 10 days after receiving notice of the decision that is being appealed. The Board may extend the 10-day appeal period if it considers it appropriate to do so (see sections 5(3) and (9), Public Health Act)

Timing of the appeal hearing

The Public Health Act requires the Board to hear the appeal within 30 days after receiving the Notice of Appeal form. However, the Board may extend the time for hearing the appeal if it considers it appropriate to do so (see sections 5(4) and (9), Public Health Act).

  • Also read about Adjournments in the Appeal hearing process section below

Location of hearing

Generally, the hearing will be held at a location that is convenient to the appellant.

Stay applications

A stay suspends the enforcement of the order or decision that is being appealed until the Board hears and decides on the appeal. Simply appealing the decision or order does not act as a stay of the order being appealed. The order or decision continues to be in effect if no stay of the order is granted by the Chair or Vice Chair of the Board.

An appellant may apply for a stay prior to the appeal hearing. A stay hearing is generally held by way of a telephone conference call or written submissions prior to the appeal hearing.

An appellant may wish to contact Alberta Health Services prior to the stay hearing to determine if they will agree to a stay of the order prior to the stay hearing. The Chair or Vice Chair of the Board will decide whether to grant a stay after reviewing the submissions (verbal or written) from the appellant and Alberta Health Services which may include any agreement reached by the parties (see section 6, Public Health Act).

Preparing for the appeal

Prepare for the appeal by first determining what decision you want the Board to make with respect to the order or decision you are appealing.

  1. Gather all the information that supports the decision you want the Board to make. The information could include documents, verbal evidence, objects, photographs, articles, previous cases, experts or technical information.
  2. Organize the information to make it as easy as possible for the Board to understand your position.
  3. Review sections in the Public Health Act or its regulations that apply to your appeal and reference them in the appeal hearing.
  4. Organize any witnesses you want to have attend the hearing on your behalf.
  5. Ensure you have prepared your opening statement, closing statement/submissions, questions you may want to ask of any witnesses attending on your behalf, questions you may want to ask the Executive Officer or other witnesses giving evidence.

Legal representation

Typically Alberta Health Services will be represented by legal counsel at the hearing.

The appellant(s) may also retain legal counsel or have another person such as an advocate, friend or family member, assist them at the hearing.

Witnesses

Although not mandatory, Alberta Health Services and the appellant may have witnesses at the hearing. A witness typically provides information to the Board that assists in making an informed decision.

Each party is responsible for arranging the attendance of any witnesses he or she wishes to provide evidence at the hearing.

Appeal hearing process

The Board will typically employ the following procedure at the appeal hearing –

Opening

The Chair will:

  • introduce the members of the Board
  • have the parties introduce themselves and their witnesses or observers
  • identify and confirm the decision being appealed
  • ask the parties whether they have any objection to the constitution and jurisdiction of the Board to hear the appeal
  • provide an overview of the hearing process, and
  • deal with the timing of the appeal if it was served on the Board outside of the 10 day appeal period.

Opening statements

Each party may give an opening statement to the Board. The opening statement should briefly identify the items in the order or decision that are disputed and what decision they wish the Board to make with respect to those items.

Presentation of evidence

Each party is given an opportunity to present information to the Board that supports the position they are advancing. Generally, the appellant begins and provides any of the following:

  • verbal evidence from the appellant and/or witnesses
  • written evidence such as documents, case law, written submissions, photographs, etc.

It may be helpful to ask your witnesses questions when they are giving evidence to ensure they provide all the information you want the Board to hear.

The opposing party and the Board may ask questions of any person providing verbal evidence.

Closing summation

Each party summarizes the evidence that has been provided to the Board and uses that evidence to support their position and persuade the Board to find in their favour. This is sometimes referred to as submissions. It is helpful to restate the decision that you want the Board to make in the appeal.

Closing the hearing

The Chair of the Board will close the hearing.

The Board’s decision

The Board will strive to provide a written decision to both parties within 30 days of the hearing.

The Board can decide to vary, reverse or confirm the order or decision that is being appealed. It also has the option to refer the case back to Alberta Health Services for further consideration.

Adjournments

An adjournment means that the hearing has been postponed to a future date. There may be instances where one party requests an adjournment of the hearing. In those instances, the Board will hear the request for an adjournment and the other party will have an opportunity to respond to the request as well. The Board will decide whether to grant the request for an adjournment. Requests for an adjournment must be in writing and forwarded to the Board.

Appealing the Board’s decision

There is no appeal from a decision of the Board. If a party is not satisfied with the hearing process or the decision of the Public Health Appeal Board he or she may apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a judicial review of the decision. The time limit to apply for a judicial review is 6 months from the date of the Board’s decision.

An appellant may also file a complaint with the provincial Ombudsman if they believe the hearing process or decision was unfair.

Relevant cases from the Court of Queen’s Bench

Board decisions reviewed by Court of Queen's Bench

  1. Calgary (City) v. Alberta (Public Health Advisory and Appeal Board), 1986 CanLII 1620 (AB QB) 1986-02-25
  2. Calgary (City) v. Browning-Ferris Industries Limited, 1987 ABCA 96 (CanLII) 1987-05-13
  3. Friends of the Athabasca Environmental Association v. Public Health Advisory & Appeal Board, 1994 CanLII 8931 (AB QB) 1994-04-14
  4. Friends of Athabasca Environmental Association v. Public Health Advisory and Appeal Board, 1996 ABCA 11 (CanLII)1996-01-24
  5. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 30 v. WMI Waste Management of Canada Inc., 1996 ABCA 6 (CanLII) 1996-01-24
  6. Boardwalk Equities Inc. v. Capital Health Authority, 2005 ABQB 34 (CanLII) 2005-01-18

Other relevant case law

  1. Society of Concerned Citizens of Pine Lake v. Red Deer Regional Health Unit, 1993 CanLII 7075 (AB QB) 1993-05-19
  2. Capital Health v. Gaida, 2004 ABQB 768 2004-10-26
  3. BPCL Holdings Inc. v. Alberta, 2008 ABCA 153 (CanLII) 2008-04-28
  4. Alberta Health Services v Kneehill Animal Control and Rehabilitation Centre Ltd, 2015 ABCA 67 (CanLII) 2015-03-23