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Category Archives: Case Comments

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Screening Secondary Market Liability Actions: the Supreme Court Raises the Bar for Plaintiffs

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions, Securities

On April 17, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) rendered its opinion in Theratechnologies inc. v. 121851 Canada inc., 2015 SCC 18 (Theratechnologies), its first decision on the Quebec statutory secondary market liability regime adopted in 2007 pursuant to a reform of the Quebec Securities Act (QSA).  Like its sister statutes in other provinces, although the QSA regime facilitates a plaintiff’s burden, mostly by presuming that variation in market price is linked to a misinformation or omission, it also imposes an authorization process under which a claimant must establish that its action is brought in good … Continue Reading

Negligence of Public Authorities – “We have been using a screwdriver to turn a bolt”, Federal Court of Appeal says

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments

The majority decision (Stratas and Nadon, J.A.) of the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) in Paradis Honey Ltd. v. Canada, 2015 FCA 89 calls for a complete overhaul of the law governing public authority liability. In a surprising obiter, the Court expressed its view that the well-known analytical framework used for negligence is an anomaly when applied to public authorities, and that the last decades of case law using private law tools to solve public law problems should be revisited. The case can be seen as an open invitation for the Supreme Court of Canada to grant leave … Continue Reading

Like a prayer: How the Supreme Court’s freedom of religion decision in Saguenay affects administrative law and the admissibility of expert evidence

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City), 2015 SCC 16 (“Saguenay”) is undoubtedly of interest to all Canadians with respect to the Court’s conclusion ordering a municipality and its mayor to cease the recitation of a prayer at city council meetings, on the basis that it breached the state’s duty of neutrality and was thus a discriminatory interference with an individual’s freedom of conscience and religion.

However, Canadian lawyers and legal observers will likely find the decision to be of particular interest in light of the way this conclusion was … Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal Again Narrowly Interprets the Resale Exemption in Ontario’s Franchise Legislation

Posted in Case Comments, Franchise and Distribution

The following post by Adam Ship and Brooke MacKenzie on our Consumer & Retail Advisor Blog may be of interest to our readers: Ontario Court of Appeal Again Narrowly Interprets the Resale Exemption in Ontario’s Franchise Legislation.

The post addresses the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in 2147191 Ontario Inc. v. Springdale Pizza Depot Ltd., 2015 ONCA 116, upholding a finding on summary judgment that a franchisor could not rely on the “resale exemption” from the disclosure requirements found in Ontario’s franchise legislation, the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000, SO 2000, c 3.… Continue Reading

The B.C. Court of Appeal on Implied Waiver of Privilege: Do Process LP v. Infokey Software Inc., 2015 BCCA 52

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence

This post by OnPoint Legal Research may be of interest to readers of this blog. The article addresses the B.C. Court of Appeal’s recent decision, Do Process LP v. Infokey Software Inc., 2015 BCCA 52, which established an important point of law – namely, an affirmative plea of an absence of legal advice made in conjunction with a plea of duress, which is said to render an agreement unenforceable, constitutes an implied waiver of privilege over legal advice previously received on the subject of the agreement. This article also includes comments from counsel on both sides of the appeal, … Continue Reading

BC Court of Appeal Rules Bhasin Framework is Distinct from Implication of Contract Terms for Business Efficacy

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts

A few months ago, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Bhasin v Hrynew, a precedent-setting judgment, recognizing a general organizing principle of good faith in contract law.[1] More recently, the BC Court of Appeal in Moulton Contracting Limited v. British Columbia,[2] considered and elaborated upon Justice Cromwell’s discussion in Bhasin about the doctrines of good faith and implied contractual terms for “business efficacy,” clarifying that the two frameworks are distinct and not to be conflated.… Continue Reading

Two Big Wins for Unions at the SCC

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

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a pair of big wins to Canadian unions. Both judgments relate to public sector unions, but may have important implications for labour law more generally. In both cases, the Court has undermined its own precedent.

Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney General)Continue Reading

The Court as tie-breaker: Atomic Energy and how “persistent discord” begets a correctness standard of review

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments

In its recent decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 2015 FCA 17, the Federal Court of Appeal held that the rule of law can require the Court to apply a correctness standard of review to administrative decisions concerning the interpretation of the governing statute in certain cases, such as where adjudicators have long held conflicting interpretations of a particular provision.

Acknowledging that a labour adjudicator’s interpretation of a labour statute would be typically subject to a reasonableness review, the Court held that, where adjudicators have disagreed on a point of statutory interpretation for many years, the … Continue Reading

Advocacy, Incivility and Professional Misconduct: Groia v The Law Society of Upper Canada

Posted in Case Comments, Professions

Are the legal profession’s rules regarding civility at odds with a lawyer’s duty to zealously advocate on behalf of his or her client? Debate on this point has recently focused on the Law Society of Upper Canada’s discipline of Toronto lawyer Joseph Groia for uncivil conduct during his defence of former Bre-X mining officer John Felderhof. The Ontario Divisional Court grappled with this question, and on February 2, 2015, upheld the Law Society’s finding that Mr. Groia’s conduct amounted to professional misconduct.… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Overrules Rodriguez; Physician-Assisted Death Legal in Canada

Posted in Case Comments, Supreme Court of Canada

Physician-assisted death is permissible in Canada, for competent adults who: (1) clearly consent to the termination of life; and (2) have a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of their condition. In Carter v. Canada (Attorney General),[1] a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada overruled its 1993 decision in Rodriguez v. British Columbia,[2] in which a majority of the Court upheld the blanket prohibition on assisted suicide.… Continue Reading

SCC Undoes the Competition Tribunal and FCA Decisions in Tervita

Confirms Tribunal Cannot Try to Predict the Future or Weigh Undetermined Effects to Prevent Competition

Posted in Case Comments, Competition

The highly anticipated judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Tervita Corporation, et al v Commissioner of Competition is finally here (leave was granted back in July 2013 and argument heard in March 2014; reported on previously here and here).  Many expressed concerns about potential problems arising from the Tribunal and Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) decisions in this case, including greater complications and less predictability in merger assessment and the reach of the Bureau, regardless of the size of the merger.  The SCC decision seems to have brought some clarity and addresses the central problematic aspects … Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal Confirms Privilege Over Counsel and Expert Communications

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Procedure/Evidence

A little over one year ago, the Ontario Superior Court’s decision in Moore v. Getahun sent a chill through the litigation bar in Ontario. During a medical negligence trial, the trial judge criticized an expert witness for discussing a draft expert report with counsel and required disclosure of all his drafts and notes of his communications with counsel during the course of the trial.[1] The Court of Appeal’s decision has been among the most eagerly anticipated appellate decisions of this year. The decision, released on January 29th, confirms and clarifies the law prior to the trial … Continue Reading

The Ontario Court of Appeal Confirms Scrutiny for Leave in Securities Class Actions

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions, Securities

At the end of 2005, Ontario legislation came into effect which enabled aggrieved shareholders to bring a statutory action for secondary market misrepresentation against issuers and their directors and officers (and others) without the requirement to establish individual reliance. In order to commence such an action, however, a shareholder must first obtain leave from the Superior Court. Much of the jurisprudence in secondary market securities class actions has been devoted to examining the standard for leave.… Continue Reading

10 Most Important Appeals of 2014

Posted in Case Comments, Features

The Appeals Monitor is pleased to present our annual review of the most significant appeals of the past year that can be expected to impact Canadian businesses for years to come.

In Kaynes v BP, PLC, 2014 ONCA 580 (previously discussed here), the Court of Appeal for Ontario stayed a proposed secondary market securities class action due to forum non conveniens. Although the Court held that Ontario could assume jurisdiction over claims by Canadian residents who had purchased securities on foreign exchanges, it held Ontario should nonetheless decline jurisdiction as foreign courts were “clearly more appropriate” venues.… Continue Reading

Ontario Court of Appeal Clarifies Test To Be Applied At Rule 48.14 Status Hearings

Posted in Case Comments, Procedure

In Kara v. Arnold, 2014 ONCA 871, the Ontario Court of Appeal seized an opportunity to revisit its recent jurisprudence regarding status hearings and to clarify the interrelation between its recent status hearing decisions (i.e., 1196158 Ontario Inc.[1] and Faris[2]) and the line of jurisprudential authority stemming from motions to set aside registrar’s dismissals for delay (i.e. Scaini [3]) which call for an overarching “contextual approach” to determine what outcome is just in the circumstances.… Continue Reading

Apprehending Reasonable Apprehension of Bias

Three Recent Reasonable Apprehension of Bias Findings by the Ontario Court of Appeal

Posted in Case Comments

Careful observers may have noticed that the Ontario Court of Appeal has allowed three civil appeals on the basis of reasonable apprehension of bias in the last few months.  This presents an opportunity to reflect on what conduct constitutes reasonable apprehension of bias and what it means for an appeal court to make such a finding.

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The U.K. Supreme Court revisits equitable compensation in commercial transactions

Posted in Bankruptcy and Debt, Case Comments, Contracts, Corporate Law, Financial Services

Trusts are widely used in commercial transactions. But, as creatures of equity, trusts raise issues that may not be immediately familiar to everyone who relies on them in the commercial world. Indeed, the interrelationship between equitable doctrines and remedies and common law principles and remedies is complicated. Fortunately, the U.K. Supreme Court has revisited the issue in its recent decision in AIB Group (UK) Plc v. Mark Redler & Co Solicitors, [2014] UKSC 58.

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Can I Sue the Federal Government? If so, in What Court and Where?

Posted in Case Comments

The forum in which to litigate is a difficult decision in any case that crosses provincial or national borders. It is even more complicated in claims against the federal government. The Federal Court has exclusive jurisdiction in some cases; in others, the Federal Court and the provincial Superior Court in which the claim “arises” have concurrent jurisdiction. Where the jurisdiction is concurrent and the plaintiff elects to sue in Superior rather than Federal Court, the question becomes: in which province does the claim “arise”?

The question is further complicated where there are multiple causes of action asserted. One claim may … Continue Reading

Illegal Contracts Does Not Preclude Discrimination Claims

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts

In Hounga v Allen, the U.K. Supreme Court addressed an issue that has not received much attention from the courts recently: the defence of illegality, also called the “ex turpi causa” doctrine. The U.K. Supreme Court had the opportunity to shed light on this defense in the context of employment discrimination towards an illegal immigrant.

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What’s “New” and What to Do About it? Supreme Court Sets High Bar to Appellate Courts Exercising Discretion to Raise New Issues

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Criminal, Procedure

In R. v. Mian, the Supreme Court provided extensive comment on when an “appellate court can disrupt the adversarial system and raise a ground of appeal on its own” initiative.

The Court established a new test for the exercise of appellate courts’ discretion to raise a new issue on appeal. Appellate court judges will now ask themselves three questions when deciding whether to raise a new issue: 1) is the issue actually “new”?; 2) would failing to raise the issue “risk an injustice”?; and 3) can the new issue be raised in a way that will be fair to … Continue Reading

Dead Again: Court of Appeal makes Clear that Certification of Misclassification Overtime Class Actions Remains as Hard as Ever

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions

Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Brown v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, upholding the Divisional Court’s decision affirming the dismissal of a certification motion in a proposed “misclassification” overtime class action (previously blogged about in the spring and fall of 2013). The appeal decision is of particular interest as “misclassification” overtime class actions (i.e. class actions alleging that an employer has misclassified employees and managers to avoid overtime pay obligations) were thought, by many observers, to have already been dealt a fatal blow by the Court in its prior decision in McCracken v. Continue Reading

This Week at the SCC (03/10/2014)

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

Posted in Case Comments, This Week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada issued a judgment in one case and denied leave to appeal in another case of interest to Canadian businesses and professions.

In Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia v. British Columbia (Attorney General), a majority of the Court ruled that a provincial rule requiring the payment of court hearing fees, with limited exemptions, was unconstitutional, as it infringed litigants’ right to access to justice.  The majority of the Court ruled that, in order to pass constitutional muster, such fees cannot be so high as to cause litigants to “sacrifice reasonable expenses in order to … Continue Reading

Preliminary Dismissal of Meritless Case: A Second Message of Encouragement from the Supreme Court

Posted in Case Comments, Procedure

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released an important decision regarding the preliminary dismissal of cases, this time through the doctrine of stare decisis, which dictates that a precedent case rendered by a higher court binds a lower court’s decision.  In Attorney General of Canada v. Confédération des syndicats nationaux, 2014 SCC 49 (“CSN 2014”), Justices Lebel and Wagner, writing for a unanimous Court, confirmed that the action of the plaintiffs unions had no reasonable chance of success and should be dismissed based on stare decisis.  The Court’s decision, in a case originating from Quebec, … Continue Reading

Insider Trading: Securities Commission to Think Twice About Excessive Sanctions and Speculation

Posted in Case Comments, Securities

In a rare appellate court decision, the Court of Appeal in Walton v. Alberta (Securities Commission), 2014 ABCA 273, has set aside a decision by the Alberta Securities Commission and has held that any monetary penalties levied must be proportionate to the circumstances of the offender and supported by reasons. The Court also held that findings cannot be based upon speculation and that the Commission had improperly interpreted the “recommending or encouraging” provisions of the Alberta Securities Act (the “Act”) in a decision that is certain to give pause to Securities Commissions across Canada.

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