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Case Law is a sample selection from the weekly summaries of notable unreported civil and criminal court decisions published in Law Times newspaper.

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Industrial and Intellectual Property

Patents

Prothonotary’s conclusion that strong possibility of infringement was present could not be characterized as an error

Defendant brought motion to appeal order of prothonotary in which she declined to strike out plaintiffs’ statement of claim in its entirety. Statement of claim alleged infringement of patent. Although prothonotary struck some of plaintiffs’ pleadings, she allowed action to continue on basis of amended allegations of likely future infringement. Defendant contended that aspect of decision was made in error and that action should be dismissed in its entirety. Motion dismissed. Defendant had declared clear intention to come to market with its competing version of plaintiffs’ product as soon as it could obtain notice of compliance. That could occur if court invalidated patent following impeachment trial. Prothonotary drew inference that defendant’s abbreviated new drug submission had been approved by Minister and was on patent hold. That inference was unassailable. Conclusion that strong possibility of infringement was present could not be characterized as error, let alone palpable and overriding error.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Teva Canada Ltd. (Mar. 21, 2016, F.C., R.L. Barnes J., T-1888-15) 264 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1015.


Constitutional Law

Charter of Rights

Claims of economic “think tank” against Crown disclosed no reasonable cause of action

Plaintiff Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) was economic “think tank” and individual plaintiffs were members of COMER. Amended statement of claim sought declarations relating to assertions that Bank of Canada Act (BCA) provided for interest-free loans to governments for purposes of “human capital expenditures,” and defendants failed to fulfill their legal duties to ensure such loans were made, resulting in lower human capital expenditures by governments to detriment of all Canadians. Plaintiffs asserted that these harms were result of Canadian fiscal and monetary policy. Plaintiff sought declaration that taxes imposed to pay for interest on deficit and debt to private bankers were illegal and unconstitutional. Plaintiffs asserted defendants breached Constitution Act, 1867 (Can.) and s. 3 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Plaintiffs sought damages. Defendants brought motion to strike amended statement of claim. Motion granted. It was plain and obvious that claims disclosed no reasonable cause of action and had no reasonable prospect of success. Taxation issues raised were not justiciable. No constitutional principle was breached or principle of taxation without representation. No facts were pleaded to support allegation that MPs were voting blind and were hoodwinked by Minister of Finance. There was nothing in facts as pleaded in amended claim to suggest that Parliament was not fully aware of criticisms levelled by plaintiffs against Minister of Finance and that parliamentarians were not free to question and debate any budget presented from perspective of those criticisms. Plaintiffs were attacking Parliamentary process and jurisprudence was clear that court could not interfere with way Parliament went about its business. COMER as unincorporated association had no electoral rights. There were no material facts in amended claim that linked impugned legislative scheme embodied in BCA to effect on plaintiffs. Plaintiffs were asking court for advisory opinion in form of declarations that their view of way BCA and Constitution should be read was correct. Court was not to declare law generally or to give advisory opinion, but was to decide and declare contested legal rights.
Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) v. R. (Feb. 8, 2016, F.C., James Russell J., T-2010-11) 264 A.C.W.S. (3d) 381.


Administrative Law

Remedies

Application to compel processing of permanent residence applications under federal skilled workers class was dismissed

Applicants’ applications for permanent residence under foreign skilled workers (FSW) class were terminated by s. 87.4 of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Can.), which eliminated backlog of FSW applications by cancelling those made prior to specified date where no selection decision was made before set date. Protocol was prepared under lead case to promote expediency and better organize litigation. Applicants brought application to compel respondent to process applicants’ permanent residence applications under FSW class. Application dismissed. There was no basis on which court could order mandamus based on Protocol alone. Applicants had no vested rights to enforce. Protocol clearly contemplated that disposition of their applicants might not be possible. Protocol said nothing specific about what was to happen if law applicable to applicants’ FSW applications changed before they could be dealt with. Undertaking to be “guided by” decisions in representative cases did not include promise to process applications even if they were validly terminated by Parliament. Section 87.4(2) did not exempt applicants from s. 87.4(1). Applications were terminated by operation of law and court could not order mandamus. Protocol was not final determination of application and it contemplated possible disposition of remaining cases. There was nothing to suggest that Bill C-38 or Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Can.) were not enacted in accordance with normal legislative procedures and safeguards. Doctrine of legitimate expectations did not arise. Language of s. 87.4 clearly displaced any legitimate expectation that applications would be processed to completion. Protocol contemplated that it might not be possible to process applications to completion. Public policy considerations were not humanitarian and compassionate considerations and court was in no position to second guess or order minister to do anything on basis of public policy. Applicants’ arguments with respect to breach of constitutional rights were already dealt with. Applicants’ constitutional and judicial independence arguments were masking their real arguments, which were that, in deciding these mandamus applications, court was to ignore impact of s. 87.4. Much of what applicants alleged as abuse of process was no more than assertion that protocol should prevail over s. 87.4, humanitarian and compassionate factors should have been applied to avoid impact of s. 87.4 in their FSW applications, and that overall result was simply unfair to them.
Gong v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (Feb. 29, 2016, F.C., James Russell J., IMM-6828-12, IMM-1-13) 264 A.C.W.S. (3d) 471.


Evidence

Opinion evidence

First Nations granted leave to file expert report and call expert as witness

First Nations commenced action against federal government in 1992 for relief for breach of fiduciary duty in making certain treaties in 1923. Federal government commenced third-party claim against provincial government. Parties engaged in negotiations until 2000. First Nations hired expert S to interview First Nations’ members to assist in identifying potential witnesses. Expert S interviewed 174 members of First Nations and began drafting expert report on First Nations’ oral history of treaties based on these interviews. Report was not completed, and First Nations indicated in 2007 that they would not rely on it. Expert passed away in 2012. Trial commenced some weeks later. First Nations’ oral history of events became relevant in 2013 when anomalies were discovered in original treaties. First Nations hired expert M to prepare expert report based on expert S’s work. First Nations brought motion for leave to file expert M’s report and to call him as expert witness. Motion granted on terms. Comprehensive order was made regarding conduct of trial, including how expert M’s evidence was to be addressed. First Nations’ oral narratives recorded by expert S and analysed by expert M constituted both oral history evidence and hearsay evidence on treaties. Expert M was anthropologist who could be expected to provide expert evidence in his field of expertise. Interviews might be hearsay, but expert M’s report was not. Expert M’s report was relevant and necessary. Preliminary findings about admissibility were not findings of fact, which were made only when evidence was complete at end of trial. Since expert S engaged in research using academically accepted approach, and since expert M was available for cross-examination, reliability and trustworthiness of expert S’s work could be assessed through expert M’s expert testimony. Some First Nation interviewees would be available to testify and be cross-examined. In addition, federal and provincial governments identified archival oral history recordings that were also available for comparison. Various mitigative measures would adequately address much prejudice arising from late filing of expert M’s report.
Alderville Indian Band v. R. (Jul. 28, 2015, F.C., Leonard S. Mandamin J., T-195-92) 264 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1.


Privacy Legislation

GENERAL

Conclusions in report of Office of Privacy Commissioner were reasonable

Applicant complained that Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) improperly collected personal information from her employer in connection with its Targeted Wage Subsidy Program. Office of Privacy Commissioner (“OPC”) commenced formal investigation and advised applicant of investigation and invited her to submit additional information, which she did. HRSDC also made submissions, including fact it was unsuccessful in finding any files pertaining to applicant, and time for file retention had expired. Individuals interviewed by investigator had no recollection of events. Report concluded applicant’s name, phone number and SIN were collected, and this constituted personal information under s. 3 of Privacy Act (Can.), and Department had collected information as part of its mandate, but it could not conclude whether collection was without applicant’s consent given 12 years has passed and program no longer existed. Application for judicial review of report issued. Application dismissed. OPC’s operation as ombudsman, issuance of non-binding reports and master of own procedure militated against highly formal proceedings. Applicant had ample opportunity to make submissions and did so, and there was no indication of bias or reasonable apprehension thereof. Given investigators findings and numerous unsuccessful attempts to obtain information from HRSDC, the report’s conclusions were reasonable and the reasons were justified, transparent and intelligible.
W. (E.) v. Canada (Privacy Commissioner) (Dec. 24, 2015, F.C., Alan S. Diner J., T-125-13) 263 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1062.


Planning

Planning authority

Superintendent of national park could consider concept proposal that did not comply with current management plan

Superintendent of Jasper National Park approved for further consideration in development review process concept proposal of MTL to develop 10 to 15 tent cabins under new license of occupation at lake subject to park management plan amendment. Applicants asserted tent cabin element of concept proposal was not permissible under management plan, which prohibits release of new land for overnight commercial accommodation outside community of Jasper. Applicants sought judicial review. Application dismissed. Applicants wished to ensure that no amendments to management plan were made that would permit MTL’s proposal to proceed, but there was no basis to believe that such amendment would not be lawfully enacted. There was no reason why Parks Canada could not invite MTL to proceed with phase two of concept review on contingency basis set out in Superintendent’s decision. For purpose of simply deciding that further consideration should be given to proposal, decision was reasonable. Applicants were seeking to make management plan legally binding documents in strict and specific sense that was at odds with purpose as general guideline that provided long-term strategic direction. There was nothing in management plan, legislation or any jurisprudence to support proposition that Superintendent could not consider concept proposal that did not comply with current management plan. Decision made it clear that Superintendent did not approve tent cabin element of concept proposal and recognized that amendment to management plan would be required. Decision was no more than consent to proceed to phase two of review process, subject to overriding consideration of amendment to management plan. Amendments to Management Plan had their own process and, as yet, there was no reason to think that any proposed amendments would not be legitimate and made in accordance with that process. There was simply no evidence o support accusations that Superintendent was seeking amendments to management plan to accommodate MTL.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society v. Maligne Tours Ltd. (Feb. 8, 2016, F.C., James Russell J., T-1808-14) 263 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1058.


Constitutional Law

Charter of Rights

Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (Can.) infringed s. 7 and not justified under s. 1

Plaintiffs each had medical requirement for marihuana. Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (Can.) (MMPR) control use of marihuana for medical purposes. They limit patient to single government-approved contractor and eliminate ability to grow one’s own marihuana or to engage one’s own designated producer. Plaintiffs challenged MMPR, claiming that restrictions they impose on access to marihuana for medical purposes violates their s. 7 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. MMPR declared invalid as contrary to s. 7 of Charter. Prohibition against marihuana engages s. 7 liberty interests in two distinct ways: right not to have one’s physical liberty endangered by risk of imprisonment and right to make decisions of fundamental personal importance. Choice of medication, including cannabis, to alleviate effects of illness with life-threatening consequences is decision of fundamental personal importance. Security of person is engaged by establishment of regulatory regime that restricts access to marihuana. Security of person encompasses personal autonomy involving control over one’s bodily integrity and being free from state interference. MMPR prohibit cultivation of marihuana for oneself or purchase from supplier not registered as licensed producer (LP). If one cannot access LP for any reason, that person’s security is engaged as there would be no access to medication, resulting in physical or psychological suffering. Limitations imposed by MMPR are not in accordance with principles of fundamental justice. Objectives of MMPR are reduction of risk to public health and safety and to improve way in which person who needs marihuana gains access to cannabis. Restrictions in MMPR bear no connection to objectives. MMPR force plaintiffs to choose between medication and other basic necessities without rational connection to objectives. Government costs savings, while legitimate policy goal, could not trump plaintiffs’ Charter rights. Law is arbitrary and overbroad. Infringement of s. 7 not justified under s. 1. Plaintiffs demonstrated that cannabis can be produced safely and securely with limited risk to public safety and consistently with promotion of public health. There were simple measures that could be taken to minimally impact s. 7 interests. Operation of declaration of invalidity of MMPR suspended to permit Canada to enact new or parallel medical marihuana regime.
Allard v. Canada (Feb. 24, 2016, F.C., Michael L. Phelan J., T-2030-13) 263 A.C.W.S. (3d) 358
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