last update, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to nine
cases, heard one of the most highly anticipated cases of the year,
and released a judgment that impacts lawyers across the
In Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law
Societies of Canada the Supreme Court ended a 15 year
legal battle between the federal government and the various
Canadian Law Societies. At issue was whether certain anti-money
laundering legislation was unconstitutional to the extent it
applied to lawyers and documents in the hands of legal counsel. The
majority of the court held that ss. 62, 63, 63.1 and 64 of the
Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing
Act infringe on s. 8 of the Charter.
Given that even asserting privilege over records would result in
a breach of privilege, the Court held that allowing the powers in
ss. 62, 63, and 63.1 to be applied to lawyers is presumptively
unreasonable and would constitute a significant limitation on the
right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. Similarly,
s. 11.1 of the Regulations to the Act was found to
infringe on s. 7 of the Charter; requiring a lawyer to
gather significant extra information on their client undermines the
lawyer's duty of commitment and zealous representation. None of
these violations were held to be justified by s. 1 as other less
invasive options are available. The Court's decision reaffirms
the importance of privilege and of lawyers' duties to their
On February 9, the Court heard a highly anticipated trilogy of
cases in Green v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Silver v.
IMAX Corp, and Trustees of the Millwright Regional Council
of Ontario Pension Trust Fund v. Celestica Inc. (blogged about
in our appeals to watch in 2015). The trilogy
centres on two key issues in Ontario securities class actions that
demand clarity in class actions for damages for alleged secondary
market misrepresentations. The first issue is whether the
limitations period for commencing such a claim. There is a tension
between this requirement and the suspension of a limitations period
required by the Securities Act under the Ontario Class
Proceedings Act which suspends a limitation period once a
clause of action is "asserted". The key question is
whether a cause of action is "asserted" when the
statement of claim is issued, or when the court grants leave under
the Securities Act. In 2012, the Ontario Court of Appeal
held that a claim is only "asserted" when leave is
granted; only to have a five-judge panel unanimously reverse course
in 2014 in the Green decision.
The second issue to be determined is what standard will be
required for a court to grant a plaintiff leave to proceed with a
claim for damages in a secondary market misrepresentation claim
under the Securities Act. How the Court handles this issue
will have a significant impact on the ability of issuers to get in
front of a claim and defeat it at an early stage.
Finally, on February 19, the Court denied leave
to nine separate cases in a single day, two of which are of
interest to Canadian business:
Provigo Québec inc. v. Syndicat des travailleuses et
travailleurs de Provigo, entrepôt
Armand-Viau: the applicant was an employer that had locked out
its unionized workforce and then unilaterally sent out termination
notices. The applicant claimed that a grievance arbitrator held no
jurisdiction as the lockout terminated the collective agreement
under which the arbitration was heard. The arbitrator deemed they
had jurisdiction; a ruling which was upheld on judicial review and
appeal to the Quebec Court of Appeal.
Wood-Fired v Gas-Fired v Commercial Crematoria: a
crematorium in an area zoned for "Parks and
Institutional" was denied a license to operate as it was not a
permitted use under that zoning code. The crematorium owners
petitioned for a writ of mandamus compelling the
municipality to provide the documentation. The writ was denied at
the BC Supreme Court; however, that decision was overturned by the
Court of Appeal and an order of mandamus was granted.
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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