Federal Court


Plaintiffs’ claim was in pith and substance based on federal law

Plaintiff RD was status Indian and partner of plaintiff R partnership that had federal licence to sell tobacco products on reserve and to First Nations on different reserves across Canada. RD was charged with violations of Ontario and Alberta Tobacco Tax Acts for failing to possess provincial tobacco permits and federal tobacco licence was not renewed. Plaintiffs brought action against federal Crown, Attorney General of Canada, Minister of National Revenue, RCMP, Commissioner of RCMP, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees, and RCMP officers. Prothonotary granted federal Crown’s motion and struck statement of claim against all defendants except federal Crown. Plaintiffs appealed in respect of CRA employees and RCMP officers (individual defendants). Appeal allowed. Individual defendants were re-added to style of cause. Prothonotary’s order was clearly wrong by incorporating new requirement of defendants’ presence being vital to final issue of case in test to support finding of jurisdiction in Federal Court. It was not plain and obvious that Federal Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain claims against individual defendants, as three-part test in jurisprudence was met. Section 17(5)(b) of Federal Courts Act (Can.) conferred jurisdiction to Federal Court over acts and omissions of officers, agents or servants of Crown. Federal legislation, being Excise Act, 2001 (Can.) (EA) and Indian Act (Can.) (IA), provided sufficiently detailed framework to nourish Federal Court’s jurisdiction. Plaintiffs’ claim was in pith and substance based on federal law and was governed by detailed federal statutory framework essential to outcome of case. EA and IA were federal legislation and clearly constituted “law of Canada” as used in s. 101 of Constitution Act, 1867 (Can.).

Dickson v. Canada (July 20, 2016, F.C., Sylvie E. Roussel J., T-2547-14) 268 A.C.W.S. (3d) 538.

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