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On Feb 8th the Ontario Divisional Court held a hearing on our judicial review (JR) the stop the province’s proposed prison construction on prime agricultural land of the former Kemptville Agricultural College. The court was supposed to hear both the province’s Motion to Dismiss the case (MTD) and the JR together, so that the panel of three judges could get the whole picture of what has happened to date in Kemptville.

But because of technical problems, including a Zoom bombing of the online hearing, it took about 2.5 hours for the hearing to start. This caused the panel to decide to adjourn the hearing to Feb 16th when they would hear oral submissions on the JR

However, to everyone’s surprise, the panel went ahead and ruled on the MTD on Feb. 14th without hearing the JR submissions. And they supported the province’s MTD, dismissing our case before reconvening on Feb. 16th as planned. Based on this and factual errors in the panel’s ruling, we have applied to the Ontario Court of Appeal for that court’s permission to appeal the panel’s ruling.

Summary of the Judicial Review so far:

Victor Lachance and Kirk Albert, Kemptville residents and members of CAPP and JOG launched a judicial review process (JR) back in August 2022 that, if successful, will stop the prison project and save the farmland. See below for the full story.

First we got the court to have Victor and Kirk recognized as public interest litigants, meaning that the court sees us as acting in the Kemptville community’s interest.

Next we fought and won against the province’s attempt to have the case dismissed. In rejecting the province’s motion to dismiss, Justice Robert Smith noted that we had grounds to pursue the JR, and therefore the case would move forward.

When the province produced its records for the court, we found that it was incomplete. We filed a motion to compel the production of more records. Justice Ryan Bell sided with the province who wanted to keep the information secret. While we disagree with the judge’s reasoning, her ruling established that as far as the province was concerned, there are no additional records for the court. That should help our case. Not satisfied in succeeding at keeping the information we sought a secret, the Ministry of the Solicitor General turned vindictive and is going after Victor and Kirk to make them pay for trying to save the farmland and stop the prison project. The Ministry wants them to pay $15,000 in legal costs. We’re fighting them on this right now.

You can join the fight by making a donation. The money raised so far has gone to the cost of launching the JR, becoming public interest litigants, winning the Motion to Dismiss and filing the Motion to Compel. Now we need to fight off their attempt to make us pay for trying to stop the prison and save the farmland, and to fight their prison plan in Court.

Please donate today!

The Full Story:

In August of 2020 the Ford government announced its decision to build a 235-bed prison on prime agricultural land of the former Kemptville Agricultural College. It came as a complete surprise to the Municipality of North Grenville/Kemptville because, contrary to the Planning Act, the province did not consult before making its selection of Kemptville as the site for their prison project. For more information, visit:

CAPP (Coalition Against the Proposed Prison) and JOG (Jail Opposition Group) are pursuing a ground-breaking and precedent-setting Judicial Review (JR) of the province’s decision to build in Kemptville

The specific grounds for the Judicial Review are that the provincial government broke the law by not abiding by its own Provincial Policy Statements related to agricultural lands, and failed to have regard for the local Official Plan, as it is obliged to do under the Planning Act. The province also failed to consult prior to making and announcing its decision. That’s why we’re challenging the legality of the decision to build a prison in Kemptville and we’re seeking a Prohibition Order which will save the farmland and stop the prison construction

Victor Lachance, a member of CAPP and Kirk Albert, a member of JOG have been recognized by the court as public interest litigants, meaning that the court considers them to be acting in the interests of Kemptville residents, the community, and agri-food groups who share the frustration caused by the Province’s lack of transparency, lack of consultation, lack of information on its site selection process, stonewalling of Freedom of Information requests, and its failure to address the need to preserve farmland.

We’ve already won an important battle against the province’s attempt to have the Judicial Review dismissed, and we are now in the thick of the court battle.

A successful legal action will establish a precedent for challenging other undemocratic and damaging infrastructure projects from being built on lands designated for other uses and ensuring that obligations that explicitly bind Ministers of the Crown are appropriately considered and adhered to.

Like any legal proceeding, the Judicial Review is costing a lot of money, but we think it’s worth it.

If the Province decides to stop its farmland-destroying, prison-building plan during the course of the Judicial Review process, any surplus money will be used to press the North Grenville Municipality to re-zone the farmland to protect it for future generations and to register the farmland under the Ontario Farmland Trust to protect it from development in perpetuity. From there, the local community could decide the best use(s) for the valuable farmland, such as sustainable community farm models and/or support land back initiatives led by Indigenous peoples.

A victory in Kemptville will be a victory for everyone working to save precious land that can be used for agricultural and other life-nourishing purposes.

Please donate today towards the legal costs of this important initiative.

We appreciate your support.



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CAPP (Coalition Against the Proposed Prison)
Kemptville, ON

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