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This Week at the SCC (15/11/2013)

A Commentary on Recent Legal Developments by the Opinions Group of McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Posted in This Week at the SCC
Anthony Alexander

The Supreme Court of Canada released one judgment, and denied leave to appeal in three other cases, likely to be of interest to Canadian business this week.

In Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, a unanimous Court issued a declaration of invalidity (suspended for 12 months) applicable to the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act (the “PIPA”).  It was determined that the PIPA‘s prohibition on striking union members videotaping and photographing individuals crossing a picket line interfered with the union’s freedom of expression rights under s-s. 2(b) of the Charter.  The violation could not be saved under s. 1.

A more detailed analysis of the case can be found here, in a separate report prepared by my colleagues.

The Supreme Court refused leave to appeal from the ruling of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Samson Management & Solutions Ltd., Jason Brasseur, Cheryl Cusack v. Royal Bank of Canada, 2013 ONCA 313. The Court of Appeal had ruled that the personal guarantee, given by a wife for the debts of her husband’s business, was enforceable despite the fact that, following the giving of the guarantee, there had been material changes in the terms of the bank’s loan to the husband’s business.

The Court also refused leave to appeal from the ruling of the Québec Court of Appeal in Dupuis Paquin, Attorneys-at-Law & Business Counselors Inc. v. Agence du revenu du Québec, 2013 QCCA 637.  The Court of Appeal had affirmed the trial court’s finding that a purported assignment — from a taxpayer to the taxpayer’s counsel — of the proceeds of the taxpayer’s claim against the provincial taxation authority was null and void as an improper transfer of litigation rights.

The Supreme Court also refused leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal’s ruling in Joey Boudreau v. Bank of Montreal, 2013 ONCA 211.  The Court of Appeal had affirmed the motion judge’s striking of the plaintiff’s statement of claim in an action flowing from a catastrophic injury suffered at a yourth soccer game.  The claim alleged that the Ontario Soccer Association had breached a legal duty to the injured player by carrying inadequate insurance and that the Association’s corporate sponsors had breached a separate duty by failing to ensure that the Association carried adequate insurance.

The McCarthy Tétrault Opinions Group consists of members of the firm’s litigation department whose practices focus on written advocacy and the provision of strategic advice and opinions in the context of complex business disputes and transactions. The members of the Opinions Group are Anthony Alexander, Martin Boodman, Brandon Kain, Hovsep Afarian and Kirsten Thompson.