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Category Archives: Case Comments

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The Supreme Court clarifies the role and nature of the “prudence” test in Canadian utility regulation

Posted in Case Comments, Energy


The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its highly anticipated decisions on utility regulation in Ontario Energy Board v. Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2015 SCC 44 (noted as an Appeal to Watch in 2015 here) and ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd. v. Alberta (Utilities Commission), 2015 SCC 45 . These regulatory decisions analyzed a utility’s ability to recover operating and capital costs from consumers through rate-setting, and the methodology to be used in approving rate increases.

The Ontario Power Generation Decision

In Ontario (Energy Board) v. Ontario Power Generation Inc., the Supreme Court reviewed the Ontario Energy … Continue Reading

Can you be contractually bound to another party forever?

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts

In Uniprix v. Gestion Gosselin et Bérubé Inc., 2015 QCCA 1427, the Quebec Court of Appeal addressed the previously unanswered question of whether the non-renewal clause in a fixed term contract may be stipulated to be for the benefit only of one of the contracting parties, such that in the eyes of the other contracting party the contract may in effect become perpetual.… Continue Reading

Defamation Law – Quebec Court of Appeal Reiterates the Fine Line Between Defamatory and Reasonably Fair Comments

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Labour and Employment

Today we comment on a recent judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal adding to the infinite quest for a fair balance between freedom of speech and protection of reputation. This case reiterates the fine line between a reasonably fair and a defamatory comment. Clients questioning the appropriateness of comments they are about to make in the public sphere are welcome to seek our opinion. As one of the parties in this case submitted a leave application to the Supreme Court of Canada, this case is being closely monitored.… Continue Reading

Waiver of Privilege: The Danger of Pleading Lack of Informed Consent

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence

In a case that highlights the importance of carefully drafted pleadings, the Alberta Court of Appeal recently split over the question of whether pleading a lack of informed consent to an agreement resulted in the waiver of privilege over legal advice received during the negotiation of that agreement.  In Goodswimmer v Canada (Attorney General), the majority of the Court of Appeal found that the appellant had waived solicitor-client privilege by voluntarily placing its reliance on legal advice into issue in its Statement of Claim and by selectively disclosing certain privileged communications.  The dissenting Justice engaged in an interesting analysis … Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Citruses: BCCA weighs in on when an abuse of process claim is ripe for determination

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Litigation, Intellectual Property

When will seeking injunctive relief against a non-party amount to abuse of process? At what stage in a proceeding should that determination be made? The British Columbia Court of Appeal addressed these questions in Tangerine Financial Products Limited Parternship v. The Reeves Family Trust, the result being that it is easier, both substantively and procedurally, for non-parties to oppose such remedies on a preliminary basis.… Continue Reading

ABCA Cements Limitation Period for Third Party Contribution Claims and Weighs in on Still Unsettled Test for Summary Dismissal

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Litigation

There has been a longstanding dispute, or at least uncertainty, about the limitation period for third party claims for contribution in Alberta stemming back over 40 years or so, despite numerous efforts of the courts and the Alberta legislature to remedy it. The judgment in Whitecourt Power Limited Partnership v Elliott Turbomachinery Canada Inc, has ended all uncertainty, hopefully for good. This decision affects litigation of all variety and is very important as it provides firm confirmation of the limitation period for third party claims for contribution, which are common and important to many actions.

The Court in this … Continue Reading

Chevron Corp v. Yaiguaje: SCC Decision Highlights Increased Litigation Risk for Canadian Companies for Misdeeds of their Foreign Affiliates

Posted in Case Comments, International rights

The Supreme Court of Canada’s most recent decision in Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje has significantly increased the litigation risk for companies with assets in Canada from plaintiffs seeking to enforce foreign judgments obtained against the foreign affiliates of such companies. The SCC decision in Chevron will have significant cross-border implications, as enforcement in Canada can now be pursued against foreign companies and their Canadian affiliates even if neither party to the original dispute has a “real and substantial” connection to Canada.… Continue Reading

You Only Get to Eat What You Kill: Real Estate Brokers as Hunters and Brokerage Contracts as Hunting Licences

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Litigation, Real Property

Anyone involved or interested in commercial real estate should be aware of the relatively recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Société en commandite Place Mullins v Services immobiliers Diane Bisson inc, mentioned briefly in two prior blog posts, here and here. Although the Supreme Court reviewed a decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal involving a standard brokerage agreement in Quebec, the decision may arguably have wider application, including in Alberta.

In a unanimous decision authored by Wagner J. the Court explains well what constitutes an “agreement to sell” in the context of a … Continue Reading

What’s the “Connection”? Ontario Court of Appeal Confirms Continuing Divide Between Jurisdiction and Choice of Law

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts

Two companies based in different provinces enter into a contract. One company sues the other for breach of that contract. If the contract does not say which province’s laws govern the agreement, how does a court determine which law to apply? The Ontario Court of Appeal recently addressed this question – the choice of law rule for contracts – in Lilydale Cooperative Limited v. Meyn Canada Inc. (“Lilydale”).[1]

Fire in A Poultry PlantContinue Reading

More Than One Way To Skin A Privacy Breach: The Ontario Court of Appeal ‘s Decision in Hopkins v. Kay

Posted in Case Comments, Privacy


Earlier this year, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Hopkins v. Kay, 2015 ONCA 112, in which it held that the mere existence of a legislative scheme to address privacy-related breaches of personal health information does not preclude a private action from being brought to address said breaches.… Continue Reading

Liability for Opinions: Omnicare’s Lessons for Canadian Securities Lawyers

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Litigation, Securities

When might a wrong opinion give rise to prospectus misrepresentation? The U.S. Supreme Court recently addressed this question in its much-anticipated decision in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund.[1] Its answer provides a useful point of comparison and discussion for Canadian securities lawyers.… Continue Reading

“I don’t wanna hear it!” Supreme Court affirms Federal Court’s refusal to exercise jurisdiction in Strickland v Canada (Attorney General)

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence

Parliament created the Federal Courts system in 1970 to consolidate judicial supervision of federal boards, commissions and tribunals. The goal was to reduce the multiplicity of inconsistent judicial review rulings in provincial superior courts across the country. The Federal Courts Act hence gives the Federal Courts “exclusive original jurisdiction” to grant judicial review remedies against federal boards, commissions and tribunals (e.g., quashing a Minister’s decision). But can superior courts grant such remedies too? And if so, how is a litigant to know when to go to the Federal Court, and when to go to a superior court? The Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Have Mercy! Supreme Court Clarifies Mercy Power under Criminal Code

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments, Criminal

In “Burning Love”, Elvis pleaded with the Lord to have mercy. It was coming closer. The flames were lickin’ his body. He felt like he was slipping away. It was hard to breathe. His chest was a heavy. He was burning a hole where he lay. Burning a hole with burning love. In short, Elvis was just a hunk. A hunk of burning love.[1]Continue Reading

The Ontario Court of Appeal Finds Franchise Disclosure Document Fatally Deficient

Posted in Case Comments, Franchise and Distribution

On McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Consumer & Retail Advisor blog, Helen Fotinos, Sam Khajeei and Adam Ship recently published a helpful discussion of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in 2240802 Ontario Inc. v Springdale Pizza Depot Ltd., which will be of interest to readers of the Canadian Appeals Monitor.… Continue Reading

More Oil for a Slippery Slope: Quebec Court of Appeal Authorizes Class Action Against the Vehicle Manufacturer KIA

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Litigation, Class Actions, Manufacturing, Quebec Court of Appeal

On June 12th, in Martel c. KIA Canada inc. (2015 QCCA 1033), the Quebec Court of Appeal reversed a ruling of the Superior Court which had refused to authorize a class action against the vehicle manufacturer, KIA, for allegedly misrepresenting the frequency of servicing necessary for the proper maintenance of its vehicles. Looking for an economical vehicle, the Petitioner, Thérèse Martel, had purchased a KIA based on representations made in its official manual that servicing would be required only every 12,000 km. Having brought her vehicle in for its first inspection, however, Ms. Martel was informed by the dealer … Continue Reading

Melting Pot or Mosaic? The Ongoing Culture Shift since Hryniak

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence, Procedural Rights, Procedure

Over the past year, courts across Canada have responded to the Supreme Court of Canada’s clarion call in Hryniak v Mauldin (“Hryniak”) for a culture shift to promote access to justice including through summary judgment.[1] The latest word on this front has come from the Alberta Court of Appeal in two recent decisions which seemingly conflict on the threshold to be applied to summary judgment applications.[2] The inherent tension created by Hryniak in Alberta is that the summary judgment rule (Rule 7.3) reflects the 2006 views of the Supreme Court of Canada: that such applications should be used … Continue Reading

What Lies Beneath: The Unexpected Reach of Litigation Privilege

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence

In an interesting decision clarifying the reach of litigation privilege, the British Columbia Court of Appeal in No Limits Sportswear Inc. v. 0912139 B.C. Ltd., 2015 BCCA 193, has recently held that litigation privilege extends to communications between formerly adverse parties who have settled their dispute and are cooperating against a remaining co-defendant, even where the pleadings have not yet been amended to reflect this new reality.

BackgroundContinue Reading

The “Bright Line” Rule is dimmed by the Alberta Court of Appeal in Statesman

Posted in Case Comments, Construction and Real Estate, Corporate Law, Professions

Joint retainers are common in modern legal practice. But what happens when a dispute is brewing between two parties represented by the same law firm? How is a lawyer to know when the “bright line” of conflict of interest has been crossed? And when the duty of loyalty to a client is breached, when is disqualification of the law firm an appropriate remedy? The Alberta Court of Appeal addressed these issues in Statesman Master Builders Inc v Bennett Jones LLP, 2015 ABCA 142 (“Statesman”).Continue Reading

Solicitor-Client Privilege Wins Again Court of Appeal Endorses Restrictive Statutory Interpretation in University of Calgary v JR

Posted in Case Comments, Solicitor-Client Privilege

The privileged position that solicitor-client privilege occupies in our legal system was recently reiterated and reinforced in the context of access to information requests in University of Calgary v JR. On April 2, 2015, the Alberta Court of Appeal considered the authority delegated to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (“OIPC”) as it went head to head against solicitor-client privilege.[1]

OverviewContinue Reading

To Comply or Not to Comply? When Experts Fall Outside the Scope of Rule 53.03

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence

On March 26, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Westerhof v. Gee Estate concurrently with its companion case McCallum v. Baker[1]. Both decisions were heard at the same time as Moore v. Getahun[2] and, together, form what has been referred to as the Expert Evidence Trilogy (“Trilogy”).

There was an exceptional degree of interest by the Ontario bar in the Trilogy, with six parties intervening in the appeals: The Advocates’ Society; The Holland Group; the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association; the Canadian Defence Lawyers Association; the Canadian Institute of Continue Reading