Supreme Court


Judges and courts

Jurisdiction

Exchequer and Federal Courts

Federal Court did not have jurisdiction over claim

Applicant, which was incorporated by special Act of Parliament, An Act to incorporate The Canadian Transit Company (“CTC Act”), owned and operated Canadian half of Ambassador Bridge connecting respondent city and Detroit, Michigan. Applicant had purchased more than 100 residential properties in respondent city with intention of eventually demolishing homes and using land to facilitate maintenance and expansion of bridge and its facilities. Respondent city issued repair orders against properties pursuant to municipal bylaw. Applicant applied to Federal Court for declarations to effect that applicant had certain rights under CTC Act which superseded bylaw and any repair orders issued under it. Respondent city brought successful motion to strike applicant’s notice of application on ground that Federal Court lacked jurisdiction to hear application, and applicant successfully appealed. Respondent city appealed. Appeal allowed. Federal Court did not have jurisdiction to decide whether respondent city’s bylaws applied to applicant’s residential properties. In order to decide whether Federal Court had jurisdiction over claim, it was necessary to determine essential nature or character of that claim. Stated generally, issue was whether Federal Court had jurisdiction to decide claim that municipal bylaw was constitutionally inapplicable or inoperative in relation to federal undertaking. First part of three-part test for jurisdiction, which required that federal statute grant jurisdiction to Federal Court, was not met. Applicant was not seeking relief “under an Act of Parliament or otherwise” as required by s. 23(c) of Federal Courts Act, and s. 23(c) of Federal Courts Act therefore did not grant jurisdiction over this application to Federal Court.

Windsor (City) v. Canadian Transit Co. (2016), 2016 CarswellNat 6466, 2016 CarswellNat 6467, 2016 SCC 54, 2016 CSC 54, McLachlin C.J.C., Abella J., Cromwell J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Wagner J., Gascon J., Côté J., and Brown J. (S.C.C.); reversed (2015), 2015 CarswellNat 4835, 2015 CarswellNat 816, 2015 FCA 88, 2015 CAF 88, Eleanor R. Dawson J.A., David Stratas J.A., and A.F. Scott J.A. (F.C.A.).

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