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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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Refugee status

Minister’s position would work against clearly stated policy of family unity

Foreign national was citizen of Iran who became permanent resident of Canada upon her arrival in country on June 13, 2006. Foreign national was dependent of her husband, who was determined to be Convention refugee by visa officer overseas as he had well-founded fear of persecution based on political opinion. Under policy of family unity, foreign national, her husband, and their son became members of Convention Refugees Abroad class and were accepted without assessment. Foreign national returned to Iran on two occasions and minister sought cessation of her Convention refugee status on basis of s. 108(1)(a) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for voluntarily re-availing herself of protection of Iran. Refugee Protection Division panel concluded that it did not have jurisdiction to consider minister’s application to cessate refugee status of respondent pursuant to s. 108 of protection act because panel found that foreign national was not Convention refugee as contemplated in s. 95(1)(a) of act. Minister applied for judicial review on threshold jurisdiction issue of whether phrase “has been determined to be Convention refugee” in s. 95(1)(a) of act applied to foreign national as only then would RPD have jurisdiction to cessate her refugee status under s. 108(1) of act. Minister contended that foreign national was deemed to have been so determined by virtue of her acceptance in Convention Refugee Abroad class. Application dismissed. Chapter 10.2 of Citizenship and Immigration Canada processing manual OP 5 states that family members accompanying principal applicant who has been determined to be Convention refugee “derive their refugee status” from principal applicant. However, OP 5 does not have force of law and merely suggests that foreign national has refugee status, and does not say she “has been determined to be Convention refugee” as required by s. 95(1)(a) of act. It would be nonsensical to consider change to foreign national’s status in Canada simply because she visited a country in which her husband was found to be in danger, but in which she never claimed to be in danger. If foreign national’s refugee status were cessated, she would face loss of her permanent resident status under s. 46(1)(c.1) of act with all of the consequences that could have on her and her family. Applicable statutory and regulatory provisions would have to be clearer in order for minister’s position to prevail. Minister’s position would work against clearly stated policy of family unity.
Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Esfand (Oct. 21, 2015, F.C., George R. Locke J., File No. IMM-1133-15) 259 A.C.W.S. (3d) 738.

Industrial and Intellectual Property


Minister implemented import ban motivated by improper purpose

Main applicant was largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in Canada and it purchased and imported into Canada active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage form pharmaceutical products from other applicants, affiliated Indian companies. United States Food and Drug Administration inspected Indian applicants’ facilities and found they were non-compliant with good manufacturing practices requirements and it issued import alert on all products coming from Indian applicants except for products that were medically necessary. Newspaper began publishing articles and editorials that were critical of Health Canada and respondent Minister of Health. Minister imposed import ban preventing importation of drug products into Canada from Indian applicants’ manufacturing facilities and it also amended main applicant’s establishment licences to prohibit import of all products except those deemed medically necessary. Applicants applied for judicial review. Application granted. Minister acted for improper purpose and did not act in accordance with duty of procedural fairness when import ban was implemented and establishment licences were amended. There was no evidence that minister was concerned with immediate health risks posed by products subject to ban or that situation was highly urgent such that level of procedural fairness should be less. Regulatory regime and circumstances suggested that procedural fairness should have been given prior to import ban being implemented. Minister failed to provide any notice and denied main applicant opportunity to be heard before unilaterally imposing import ban. Minister did not act in accordance with natural justice. Applicants had not met burden of proving that minister demonstrated reasonable apprehension of bias from lack of independence or impartiality. Minister’s actions were ultra vires. Minister used proper statutory provision to add terms and conditions to main applicant’s establishment licences but in circumstances provision should include procedural fairness granted to establishment licence holders throughout rest of regulatory scheme, which required notice and reasons for addition of terms and conditions. Section 2(e) of Canadian Bill of Rights did not apply in circumstances. As minister implemented import ban that was motivated by improper purpose and without providing main applicant with procedural protections required by law, decision was not reasonable or correct and it must be quashed. Minister acted without jurisdiction in releasing statements to media and statements were to be retracted.
Apotex Inc. v. Canada (Minister of Health) (Oct. 14, 2015, F.C., M.D. Manson J., File No. T-2223-14) 259 A.C.W.S. (3d) 580.

Human Rights Legislation


Tribunal had no jurisdiction to consider settlement between parties

In 2003, employee filed complaint with Canadian Human Rights Commission arguing Canadian International Development Agency’s practices regarding employment and harassment in workplace were discriminatory and violated s. 7 of Canadian Human Rights Act. In 2006, settlement occurred and hearing before tribunal was postponed indefinitely. In early 2007, commission sent letter to tribunal indicating that terms of settlement had been approved by commission pursuant to s. 48(1) of act. Tribunal then informed parties that file was closed. In 2010, commission applied to tribunal to start new mediation process as parties disagreed on interpretation to be given to settlement. In 2012, decision rendered by Federal Court held settlement was deemed to be order of Federal Court. Employee unsuccessfully brought motion before tribunal requesting that file be re-opened. Employee brought application for judicial review. Application dismissed. There was no jurisdiction. Employee wished to resolve ambiguity in settlement by statutory tribunal which was not party to settlement approved by commission, and was not party to order. Tribunal was statutory creature that had no jurisdiction to consider settlement between parties as administrative tribunal had no inherent jurisdiction, taking its existence and jurisdiction from act.
Rameau c. Canada (Procureur général) (Oct. 19, 2015, F.C., Yvan Roy J., File No. T-1992-14) 259 A.C.W.S. (3d) 534.

Aboriginal Peoples


Judicial review not appropriate course of action to determine whether treaty rights infringed

Respondent BC Hydro submitted project description, which initiated environmental assessment processes. Project was proposed dam and 1,100-megawatt generating station on Peace River, which would flood Peace River Valley if constructed. Joint review panel of British Columbia and federal governments and Minister of Environment determined that significant adverse environmental effects would likely result from construction of project. Governor in Council (GIC) decided that adverse environmental effects were justified in circumstances. Applicants were British Columbia Treaty 8 First Nations whose members exercised constitutionally protected treaty rights within project and surrounding area. First Nations applied for judicial review of GIC’s decision. Application dismissed. Decision of GIC was afforded considerable deference. Judicial review was not appropriate course of action to determine whether treaty rights had been infringed. Evidentiary record that was developed for an action was appropriate basis for court to determine issue of infringement of First Nations’ treaty rights. Infringement of important and fundamental treaty rights required complete evidentiary record to be fairly and reasonably determined. First Nations failed to establish that they had legitimate expectation that GIC would deal with issue of treaty infringement. Crown did not need to determine infringement of First Nations’ treaty rights but they did consider those rights. From beginning of environmental assessment process to its conclusion steps were built into process to ensure that decision-makers were provided with information they reasonably required to make decisions. BC Hydro consulted with First Nations extensively and in good faith. Duty to consult and accommodate First Nations was met and GIC’s decision was reasonable.
Prophet River First Nation v. Canada (Attorney General) (Aug. 28, 2015, F.C., Michael D. Manson J., File No. T-2292-14) 258 A.C.W.S. (3d) 651.



Commission’s denial of permission for prosecutor to seek nomination in federal election was upheld on appeal

Applicant’s request for permission and leave of absence to seek nomination in federal election denied by Public Service Commission. Applicant was prosecutor in Regulatory and Economic Prosecutions and Management Branch of Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Applicant’s supervisor claimed no concern if applicant returned to work if not elected but Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had concerns about impairment or perceived impairment of applicant’s ability to perform duties both before election and upon her return to work. DPP claimed that partisan political activities by prosecutors undermine prosecutorial function. Commission not satisfied that being candidate would not impair or be perceived as impairing applicant’s ability to perform duties in politically impartial manner. Applicant’s appeal dismissed. Charter rights engaged were right to run for office, freedom of expression and freedom of association. Issue was whether Commission’s decision reflected proportionate balancing of Charter rights in light of statutory objectives. Commission’s decision did not amount to blanket prohibition on all federal prosecutors but based on consideration of applicant’s specific duties. DPP clearly expressed view that political involvement not appropriate for federal prosecutors. Implicit in scheme of Public Service Employment Act that right to engage in political activity may have to give way to objective of ensuring employees perform duties in politically impartial manner. PSEA requires commission to recognize and balance employee’s right to engage in political activities and objective of maintaining principle of political impartiality in public service. Although commission did not identify rights at stake as Charter rights, decision and process reflected that commission considered all submissions and impact of refusal which would limit applicant’s rights. Commission understood factual context, recognizing that applicant had authority to exercise significant discretion relative to other public servants. Commission properly viewed exercise of discretion in context of government employees and reasonably found that applicant would have increased visibility as result of seeking candidacy. Commission entitled to attach more weight to submissions of DPP but considered other information. Commission concluded that no measures could address risk to political partiality or perception of political partiality. Commission’s decision reflected proportionate balancing and was reasonable.
Taman v. Canada (Attorney General) (Oct. 13, 2015, F.C., Catherine M. Kane J., File No. T-60-15) 258 A.C.W.S. (3d) 327.

Constitutional Law


Use of psychological risk assessment tools violated Aboriginal offender’s rights under s. 7 of Charter

Plaintiff was 53-year-old Aboriginal offender. Plaintiff was adopted by Caucasian family when he was six months old. Plaintiff was serving two life sentences for second degree murder and attempted murder, and was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment to be served concurrently for escape from lawful custody conviction. Plaintiff spent 30 years in federal correctional facilities. Plaintiff was eligible for full parole since 1999 but never had parole hearing. Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada used psychological risk assessment tools (“actuarial tests”) during plaintiff’s incarceration. Plaintiff waived his right to each parole hearing alleging he was unlikely to be granted parole because he was assessed as too great risk of reoffending in part due to results of actuarial tests. Actuarial tests were alleged to be unreliable in regard to Aboriginal prisoners and use of such tests resulted in significant adverse impact on plaintiff. Plaintiff asserted use of assessment tools violated his rights under s. 7 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Action allowed. Court intended to issue final order enjoining use of assessment tools in respect of plaintiff and other Aboriginal inmates until defendant conducted study confirming reliability of those tools in respect to adult Aboriginal offenders. In interim, defendant was enjoined from using results of assessment tools in regard to plaintiff. Use of assessment tools violated plaintiff’s rights under s. 7 of Charter without justification under s. 1. Continued use of assessment tools was overbroad of purpose and objective of the legislation and of CSC’s decision making responsibilities. Assessment tools were used without qualification or caution despite long-standing concerns about their reliability.
Ewert v. Canada (Sep. 18, 2015, F.C., Michael L. Phelan J., File No. T-1350-05) 258 A.C.W.S. (3d) 320.



Conservative Party of Canada was not legal entity that exercised powers by or under act of Parliament

In underlying proceeding applicant challenged decisions of respondent, Conservative Party of Canada, disqualifying him as candidate for nomination to run under Conservative Party banner in Kanata-Carleton riding. Applicant brought motion for order enjoining Conservative Party of Canada from conducting proposed candidate nomination meeting for federal riding of Kanata-Carleton. Motion dismissed. Federal Court’s jurisdiction to grant prerogative relief that applicant sought was limited to decisions made by federal board, commission or other tribunal. Political parties were voluntary associations. Conservative Party of Canada was not legal entity that exercised powers by or under act of Parliament. Decisions applicant sought to challenge were private matters that did not constitute decisions of federal board, commission or other tribunal. Federal Court had no jurisdiction to grant interim relief that was sought and it had no jurisdiction to deal with underlying application for judicial review.
Olumide v. Conservative Party of Canada (Jul. 22, 2015, F.C., R.L. Barnes J., File No. T-970-15) 258 A.C.W.S. (3d) 71.
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