Is a $5 million fine a less severe punishment than a night in jail? Are hefty financial penalties for quasi-criminal or regulatory offences able to trigger the procedural protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when combined with the threat of imprisonment? The Supreme Court of Canada had the opportunity to address these questions when it recently released the twin decisions of R v Peers, 2017 SCC 13 and R v Aitkens, 2017 SCC 14.… Continue Reading
The Supreme Court of Canada released its administrative law decision in Edmonton (City) v. Edmonton East (Capilano) Shopping Centres Ltd., 2016 SCC 47 (“Edmonton East”) in late 2016. The decision was one of our Top Ten Appeals of 2016. It marked a significant shift in how courts determine the standard of review for questions of law on judicial review. The result is that it will be more difficult for individuals and companies to challenge the acts and decisions of government actors, even if the government actors have stepped outside of their legislated authority.… Continue Reading
In response to Canada Post’s announcement that it was restructuring its mail delivery and doing away with home delivery services, the City of Hamilton passed a by-law giving the City control over the installation of equipment on municipal roads, including Canada Post’s community mailbox (“CMB”) delivery systems. Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that the by-law was constitutionally inoperative to Canada Post since it conflicted with the federal Canada Post Corporation Act and the Mail Receptacles Regulations. The Court of Appeal’s decision highlights a tension in the pith and substance jurisprudence between the principle of … Continue Reading
We may be into the lazy days of midsummer, but the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) has been busy, releasing a number of important decisions in the areas of insurance, contract, labour & employment, constitutional, property, evidence and administrative law.
Since our last SCC Monitor post, the SCC has released the following judgments of interest:… Continue Reading
In a decision of interest to barristers, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that the Law Society of Upper Canada is entitled to deference when regulating a lawyer’s in-court conduct in Groia v The Law Society of Upper Canada, 2016 ONCA 471 (“Groia”). The Court of Appeal affirmed the Law Society’s holding that it is professional misconduct to make allegations of prosecutorial misconduct or that impugn the integrity of opposing counsel, unless the allegations are made in good faith and with a reasonable basis.
Joseph Groia defended John Felderhof against securities charges brought by the Ontario … Continue Reading
Authorities must relinquish their broad compulsory auditing powers when engaging in an adversarial determination of penal liability or, as stated by the Supreme Court in R. v. Jarvis,  3 SCR 757  when they “cross the Rubicon”. This flows from the protection against self-incrimination enshrined under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, a protection which, traditionally, only benefits individuals. However, according to a recent Court of Québec decision in Agence du revenu du Québec c. BT Céramiques inc., 2015 QCCQ 14534  the protection of the Rubicon is not exclusive to … Continue Reading
Does s. 24(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms authorize a court of competent jurisdiction to award damages against the Crown for prosecutorial misconduct absent proof of malice?… Continue Reading
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
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
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.
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.”
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 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
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.
The Toney family experienced a boating malfunction when sailing in Alberta. The rescue vehicle, which… Continue Reading
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.… Continue Reading
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”.
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.
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.
… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
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.
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 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
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.
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… Continue Reading
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.
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