August 20th/21st, 2018: ‘Friends of Toronto Public Cemeteries’ went to court to get a legal interpretation of the legislation governing the public trust - now known as 'Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries.'
Here are the major points from the Court hearing on these two days:
1. Shortly after the hearing began, Mr. Justice Sean Dunphy suggested we discontinue against the Respondent the Ministry of the Attorney General, as it had delegated carriage of the matter to the Respondent Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT). We agreed.
2. The PGT's position was in agreement with all the Declarations we are asking for, with the exception of the request for a public investigation. The PGT did acknowledge however that he found a number of Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries’ (MPGC) activities irregular under their mandate.
3. The judge appeared to take interest in the areas of commonality we shared with the PGT regarding the Declarations as follows: that MPGC is a charitable trust under the supervisory jurisdiction of the PGT; that the original legislation is still valid; and that none of the current ‘directors’ has been properly elected.
The judge noted he has the authority to appoint a new board so as not to leave a vacuum, and that he wanted to focus on the governance issues, leaving investigation into activities such as the operation of visitation centres and crematoria for later.
He has, not surprisingly, reserved his decision, so we may not know for a number of weeks. Justice Dunphy is highly knowledgeable in companies law, and appeared to have an interest in early Ontario history. He was very interested in the case, and quite forthright about his view on the law as he believed it applied. It is because of this that we are able to share these observations with you.
It has been a very long slog and we deeply appreciate your support!
"A big win this week for a group of citizens fighting to reclaim over 500 hectares of public cemetery space.."
- CBC NEWS VIDEO (segment begins at 7:30 minutes in video), January 4, 2019
"Toronto residents are now owners of 1,222 acres of cemetery land after court ruling"
- CBC, Julia Knope, January 4, 2019
"Court rules public has right to oversee Mount Pleasant and other GTA cemeteries"
- Toronto Star, David Rider, January 3, 2019
"Group of Toronto residents heads to court in dispute with Mount Pleasant Group of Cemetries"
- Genealogy a la carte, Gail Denver, August 24, 2018
"Mount Pleasant Cemetery Group is a public trust – but it's being run like a private corporation."
- Financial Post, Diane Francis, April 27, 2018
"Neighbours launch legal battle against Mount Pleasant Cemetery over who really owns the land."
- Toronto Star, Samantha Beattie, April 21, 2018
"Grave concerns: Is Mount Pleasant cemetery group Ontario's ‘lost’ crown corporation?"
- National Post, Tom Blackwell, May 5, 2012
"Residents challenge cemetery status - Group hopes ancient legislation will make corporation public"
- Post City Toronto, Bree Rodymantha, August 29, 2013
John Tory - CFRB 1010, The Live Drive - "Who owns Mt. Pleasant Group of Cemeteries?"
- Dec 16, 2010