This week at the SCC

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals, including that of a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin who was denied flight training in this country because of an allegedly discriminatory U.S. security assessment.

Jan. 19 – Manitoba – Stuart Olson Dominion Construction v. Structal Heavy Steel

Commercial law: Dominion was a contractor building the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium. It subcontracted out steel work to Structal. Structal claimed delays in payment and filed a builder’s lien against the stadium property for past due and future invoices, the statutory holdback and costs of delay. Dominion deposited a lien bond for the full amount of the claim. Structal then discharged its lien, but challenged Dominion’s ability to pay other creditors while its dispute was being heard. The motions judge sided with Dominion, ruling that the bond extinguished Dominion’s obligations under the trust provisions of Manitoba’s Builders’ Lien Act. The SCC will review the case on this point.

Read the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:
Winnipeg stadium contractor suing steel building company, CBC

Construction company sues over stadium delays, Winnipeg Free Press

Jan. 20 – Federal – Strickland v. Canada

Administrative law: The applicants in this case filed for judicial review in the Federal Court seeking to have the Federal Child Support Guidelines declared to be beyond the powers of the Divorce Act. The attorney general moved to dismiss on the grounds that all but one of the applicants lacked standing to seek a review. The Federal Court granted the motion, ruling that the application constituted an abuse of process and that family law disputes are better dealt with in the superior courts. The SCC will review whether courts designated by Parliament to answer a question can decline.

Read the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision

Jan. 21 – Yukon Territory – Yukon Francophone School Board v. Yukon Territory

Charter of Rights: The Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon brought an action against the Yukon government after it reallocated funds away from French-language education (to French-as-a-second-language education). CSFY argued that the Territory had failed to meet obligations under the Charter and had violated the Yukon Languages Act. The appeal court sided with the government, striking down a lower-court ruling on the basis that school boards were not afforded the same rights as individuals and that the judge in the trial was biased due to his involvement in the French community.

Read the Yukon Territory Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news stories:
Supreme Court to hear Yukon French school board case, CBC

Francophone board to take case to top court, Whitehorse Star

Jan. 23 – Quebec – Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse v. Bombardier

Human rights: The appellant filed a human-rights complaint against Bombardier on behalf of Javed Latif, a pilot of Pakistani origin who became a Canadian citizen in 2001. Latif applied for Bombardier’s training program in Texas, but was deemed a threat to U.S. national security and was denied entry. He then applied for the same training program in Bombardier’s Montreal facility but was again denied based on the U.S. assessment. The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal sided with Latif, finding U.S. screening practices to be discriminatory, and awarded punitive damages. The appeal court, however, found little evidence of discrimination or malice, and reversed the tribunal’s decision.

Read the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision

Related news story:
Supreme Court to hear appeal regarding alleged discrimination by Bombardier against Pakistani-Canadian pilot, Aviation Law Blog

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