The appellants exported carrots from the U.S. to Canadian
retailors. As a result of a negligent inspection by the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency ("CFIA"), the
CFIA erroneously concluded that the carrots might be contaminated
which caused the appellants to recall the carrots from retail
stores and to destroy their inventory. The appellants sued the CFIA
for the resulting economic losses.
The B.C. Court of Appeal confirmed the first instance judgment
to the effect that the CFIA did not owe a private law duty of care
to the sellers of food products. Applying the Anns/Cooper proximity
analysis, the B.C. Court of Appeal indicated that the food
inspection regulatory regime was intended to protect the public,
rather than the economic interests of food suppliers whom they
inspect. Neither the legislative scheme nor the conduct of the CFIA
created a relationship of sufficient proximity to create a private
law duty of care. In particular, the CFIA was merely acting in
accordance with its statutory powers to protect the public when
inspecting, albeit negligently, the appellants' produce.
Further, the conduct of the CFIA did not fall within the recognized
categories in which a private law duty of care had previously been
While the B.C. Court of Appeal decision does not really clarify
the notion of "proximity", dismissal of the application
for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada confirms that a
private law tort duty will not be imposed on a public regulator
such as the CFIA merely on the basis of negligence. A claimant must
establish that the regulatory scheme was intended to protect its
interests, rather than those of the public at large, or that the
conduct of the regulator exceeded mere interaction in carrying out
its statutory mandate so as to create a close and direct
relationship required for a duty of care.
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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