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Category Archives: Constitutional

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Die Another Day: SCC Adjourns Appeal of National Class Actions Decision Sine Die

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional

Followers of Canadian class actions law will have longer to wait for a decision in the much anticipated appeal from the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s decision in Meeking v. Cash Store Inc. et al., 2013 MBCA 81. The appeal, which was scheduled to be heard on January 12, 2015 and expected to bring clarity on the issue of “national” class actions in Canada, was recently adjourned sine die.… Continue Reading

Multi-Jurisdictional Class Actions: The Creation of Barriers by the BC Court of Appeal

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions, Constitutional

In a surprise decision, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has broken with the superior courts of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec by holding that constitutional limits prevent a superior court judge from sitting outside of his own province. The Court of Appeal’s decision suggests limits to the inherent jurisdiction and discretion of superior courts and will have profound effects upon the ease and efficiency with which judges can hear multi-jurisdictional matters, in particular class actions. Decisions by the Court of Appeal in Ontario and Quebec  on the same issue are pending.

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Withholding its assessment: the Federal Court of Appeal clarifies the narrow limits on judicial review in the tax context

Posted in Administrative, Civil Litigation, Constitutional

The Federal Court of Appeal has issued its decision in The Minister of National Revenue and Canada Revenue Agency v. JP Morgan Asset Management (Canada) Inc., 2013 FCA 250. The case concerns the scope of administrative law remedies and the essence of an administrative “decision.”

Background

The case arose out of a “withholding tax” assessment by the Minister of National Revenue of JP Morgan (Canada) Inc. (“JP Morgan”) for fees paid by JP Morgan to a private Hong Kong corporation, its client. JP Morgan challenged the assessment by applying to the Federal Court for judicial review. The Crown moved … Continue Reading

“The digital and Internet age meets the law of search and seizure” as the SCC clarifies the law on search warrants and computers in R v. Vu

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

Overview

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released a unanimous judgment in R. v. Vu, 2013 SCC 60, in which it ruled that authorities must obtain specific authorization in a search warrant in order to search computers located on premises covered by the warrant. In this case, the police collected incriminating evidence against Mr. Thanh Long Vu from two laptops and a cellular phone on the basis of a search warrant that did not specify that the police had authority to search these devices.… Continue Reading

Federal Court of Appeal affirms that the Federal Court has limited jurisdiction over the province of Alberta

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional, Procedure

Generally speaking, the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction over the provincial Crown. Confusion arises when the subject matter of a claim is within the realm of the Federal Court and the claim is an in personam. The recent Federal Court of Appeal decision of Canada v. Toney, 2013 FCA 217 affirms that there remain limited instances where the Federal Court has jurisdiction over a province, even if other factors suggest that a claim would be properly put before the Federal Court.

Background

The Toney family experienced a boating malfunction when sailing in Alberta. The rescue vehicle, which

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Craig and Prokofiew — A Tale of Two Cases: The SCC Considers the Precedential Effect of its Obiter Dicta

Posted in Case Comments, Constitutional, Criminal

As discussed in a previous post, the Supreme Court of Canada, in Canada v. Craig, overruled one of its own precedents, on the basis that there were compelling reasons indicating that the precedent’s interpretation of a provision of the Income Tax Act was incorrect. This interpretation was part of the precedent’s ratio decidendi and not obiter. At the same time, the Supreme Court in Craig held that the lower courts were bound by this interpretation and were not at liberty to depart from it.

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Close, But Not Too Close to Call: Ted Opitz’s Narrow Victories in the Federal Election and the Supreme Court

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Constitutional

Introduction

On May 2, 2011, Canadians voted in the 41st federal election. Voters in the riding of Etobicoke Centre elected Ted Opitz to represent them in Parliament. The race was hotly contested. So too was the result.

A judicial recount showed that Mr. Opitz won by a plurality of just 26 votes. Boris Wrzesnewskyj, the runner-up, applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under s. 524(1)(b) of the Canada Elections Act (the “Act”) to annul the election based on “irregularities … that affected the result of the election”.

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Order in the Court? The Van Breda Trilogy – Part V – Constitutional Issues

Posted in Conflict of Laws, Constitutional, Features, Media, Procedure, Torts, Van Breda Trilogy

The constitutionalization of private international law has been one of the major projects of the Supreme Court of Canada since the decision in Morguard. However, the precise relationship between the Constitution, and the “real and substantial connection” test, has yet to be fully defined. In the Van Breda Trilogy, the Supreme Court returned to this issue, and sought to provide private international law with a clearer constitutional foundation. Paradoxically, the result is a new approach to the role of superior courts and provincial legislatures in the Canadian federation, which raises more questions than it answers.

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SCC Addresses Test for “Federal Undertakings” under the Constitution

Posted in Case Comments, Constitutional, Labour and Employment

When do parties qualify as federal transportation undertakings for purpose of s. 92(10) of the Constitution Act, 1867? This question arose in Tessier v. Québec (Commission de la santé et sécurité du travail), the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision rendered on May 17, 2012.

This case differs from those previously decided by the SCC, in that it is the first time the SCC had the opportunity to assess the constitutional implications which arise when the employees performing the work do not form a discrete unit and are instead fully integrated into the related operation.

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Order in the Court? The Van Breda Trilogy – Part I – An Overview

Posted in Conflict of Laws, Constitutional, Features, Procedure, Torts, Van Breda Trilogy

Order in the Court? The Van Breda Trilogy – Part I – An Overview

In three cases released on April 18, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada substantially reformulated the common law principles of private international law. In the coming weeks, Canadian Appeals Monitor will provide in-depth coverage of the Court’s judgments in Van Breda, Black, and Éditions Écosociété (the “Van Breda Trilogy”), addressing the implications of these judgments for jurisdiction simpliciter, forum non conveniens, choice of law and constitutional principles regarding the territorial jurisdiction of the superior courts and provincial legislatures. In this post

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Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun: ONCA Allows Securities Act Claims Against Foreign-Listed Issuers in Canadian Solar

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional, Securities

In a recent judgment that is sure to become a landmark in the growing field of Canadian securities class actions, the Ontario Court of Appeal has confirmed that the statutory cause of action for secondary market misrepresentations can be asserted against issuers whose shares are listed solely on a foreign exchange.  The ruling in Abdula v. Canadian Solar opens a deep gap between the Canadian and American approaches to the extraterritorial limits of such claims, and is likely to solidify Ontario’s reputation as the new ”hot spot” for securities class actions.

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B.C. Court of Appeal Considers Extraterritorial Reach of Securities Act

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments, Constitutional, Securities

In an interesting new judgment - Torudag - the British Columbia Court of Appeal has held that the B.C. Securities Commission may assert regulatory jurisdiction over residents of other provinces, who engage in insider trading through a stock exchange in Ontario.  The Torudag Court arrived at this conclusion despite extraterritoriality arguments about the constitutional applicability of the B.C. Securities Act.

The Decision

The Torudag case arose on appeal from a preliminary decision of the B.C. Securities Commission.  In that decision, the Commission found that it possessed jurisdiction to consider whether the appellant violated the insider trading provisions then in force

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SCC to Determine Whether an Order to Clean is a Claim under the CCAA

Posted in Bankruptcy and Debt, Case Previews, Constitutional, Energy

On November 16, 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case challenging the constitutionality and applicability of several sections of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) to provincial environmental statutes. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador (the “Province”) compels AbitibiBowater Inc. to clean up industrial sites that the company once owned and operated in the province.

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BCCA Asked to Review Advance Costs Made Against Private Litigants in Charter Litigation

Posted in Case Comments, Charter of Rights, Communications, Constitutional, Procedure

In Dish Network L.L.C. v. Rex, the Supreme Court of British Columbia took the rare step of ordering advance costs in a constitutional challenge. More surprisingly, the court ordered three private litigants to pay 50% of those costs. This case is now headed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia.

Mr. Rex sold satellite receivers to Canadian residents and, using false U.S. addresses, arranged subscriptions for them from American signal providers. Two American providers and one Canadian provider sued Mr. Rex under the Radiocommunication Act and at common law. In his defence, Mr. Rex alleged that aspects of

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SCC to Address Test for “Federal Undertakings” Under the Constitution

Posted in Case Previews, Communications, Constitutional, Labour and Employment, Transportation

When do parties qualify as federal transportation undertakings for purpose of s. 92(10) of the Constitution Act, 1867?  The Supreme Court of Canada will answer this question in the Tessier case, for which it recently granted leave to appeal.

Decisions Below

The appeal comes before the Supreme Court from the ruling of the Quebec Court of Appeal in Tessier ltée c. Québec (Commission des lésions professionnelles). The applicant carried on the business of renting cranes for various purposes within Quebec, including the loading and unloading of ships, along with road transportation and maintaining and repairing equipment. A small

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