S. 18(1) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act was not unconstitutional

Federal appeal | Constitutional Law

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Nature of rights and freedoms

S. 18(1) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act was not unconstitutional

Applicant was part of pork production conglomerate involved in production line, slaughter and transport of pigs. Applicant requested revision of 12 notices of violation issued by Canadian Food and Inspection Agency related to transportation of animals in manner that caused undue suffering during journey. Due to high fines in spite of all precautions taken during journey, applicant could not make ends meet. Applicant unsuccessfully challenged constitutionality of s. 18(1) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act on basis that it violated s. 7 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Applicant brought application for judicial review. Application dismissed. Purpose of Act was to ensure compliance with food legislation and did not aim to punish offenders. Applicant was not person charged under provision insofar as Act is not intended to right wrong done to society but to ensure implementation of regulation of activities in agriculture and agribusiness. It was not demonstrated that regime jeopardized applicant’s economic viability or plunged applicant into state of psychological distress related to fear for their health. Amount of fine was determined by taking into account history of each offender for previous violations or offenses, nature of negligence and harm done in accordance with regulations.
Mario Côté Inc. c. Canada (Procureur général) (2017), 2017 CarswellNat 517, 2017 CAF 36, Johanne Gauthier J.A., Yves de Montigny J.A., and Mary J.L. Gleason J.A. (F.C.A.).

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