The key decision of the week was Reference re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, in which the Court found the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the "Act") to be constitutional. The Act puts a price on carbon pollution in order to reduce greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions and to encourage innovation and the use of clean technologies. It places a fuel charge on certain producers, distributors, and importers who produce carbon-based fuels. It also establishes emissions limits for large industrial emitters of GHGs. The Act serves as a backstop and applies in provinces and territories that have not adopted sufficiently stringent carbon pricing mechanisms. The Province of Ontario asked the Court of Appeal to determine whether the Act is unconstitutional. It argued that Parliament does not have the power under the Constitution to enact the Act and that the charges the Act imposes are unconstitutional taxes. The Court determined that the main thrust of the Act was to establish minimal national standards to reduce GHG emissions. Further, the Court held that the Act properly falls within Parliament's power to legislate on matters of national concern for the peace, order, and good government of Canada. The Act leaves ample opportunity for provinces to pass legislation on other aspects of GHG regulation, and the charges it imposes are not unconstitutional regulatory charges.
The jurisdiction of a court to make an order for costs against a non-party in litigation, specifically Legal Aid Ontario ("LAO"), was considered in Hunt v Worrod. The Court began by stating that courts have inherent jurisdiction to make an order for costs against a non-party in cases where there is an abuse of process. However, the Court emphasized that without conduct amounting to bad faith or an improper purpose, a finding of abuse of process cannot be made against LAO. LAO's statutory mandate is to fund litigation for low-income individuals. As an independent, publicly accountable, and non-profit organization, LAO is not required to undertake legal and factual analyses of the cases it funds to determine merit. The Court also found that there is no leave requirement for an appeal against a costs award that was made pursuant to a court's inherent jurisdiction.
In SFC Litigation Trust v. Chan, the Court of Appeal dealt with several issues relating to a Litigation Trust suing the former director of Sino-Forest for frauds committed against the corporation and its shareholders. Among the issues were the interpretation of an insolvency plan under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA"), the factors to consider when awarding damages in such a case, and the doctrine of election. The Court ultimately determined that the claim was not barred by the terms of the CCAA plan, and that the trial judge considered the appropriate factors and made sound findings of fact when arriving at the damages award.
There were also some family law decisions dealing with variation of support and with custody.
Table of Contents
Keywords: Torts, Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty Contracts, Interpretation, Standard of Review, Corporations, Doctrine of Separate Identity of Corporate Personality, Causation, Damages, Double Recovery, Doctrine of Election, Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, RSC 1985, c. C-36, Clements v Clements, 2012 SCC 32; Hercules Management Ltd. v. Ernst and Young,  2 SCR 165, Bilta (UK) Ltd v. Nazir (No. 2), 2015 UKSC 23
Keywords: Family Law, Marriage Contracts, Separation Agreements, Equalization of Net Family Property, Civil Procedure, Leave to Appeal, Costs, Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, s. 133(b)
Keywords: Civil Procedure, Costs, Costs Against Non-Party, Inherent Jurisdiction, Abuse Of Process, Appeals, Leave To Appeal, Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, ss. 131(1), 133(b), Legal Aid Services Act, 1998, SO 1998, c. 26, ss. 89, 99, 1318847 Ontario Limited v. Laval Tool & Mould Ltd., 2017 ONCA 184
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