This week at the SCC

This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear five appeals this week, including a faceoff between the attorneys general of Canada and Quebec over securities regulation. The remaining appeals concern a lawyer’s liability in giving a referral, an employee’s ability to sue a labour union local and its directors for wrongful dismissal, the right of expatriate Canadians to vote in Canadian elections and whether a trial judge correctly gave more weight to a complainant’s evidence in a sexual interference case.

March 19 – Quebec – Salomon v. Matte-Thompson
Law of professions: The respondents, Judith Matte-Thompson and 166376 Canada Inc., invested millions of dollars with a capital management company. The funds in which the respondents invested turned out to be a Ponzi scheme and the respondents lost their investments. They then sued the investment manager and his associate, as well as the applicants, Kenneth Salomon, Thompson’s lawyer who referred her to Papadopoulos, and his law firm, Sternthal Katznelson Montigny LLP.

Read the Quebec appellate court decision here.

Related news story:
SCC to hear lawyers’ liability case regarding non-legal referrals; Insurance Business magazine

Related legal brief:
Quebec: A warning on the scope of a lawyer’s duty to advise; Clyde & Co.

March 20 – Ontario – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. Lawrence

Civil procedure: After being terminated from her employment with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 773, Pamela Lawrence sought damages for wrongful dismissal, naming Local 773 as a defendant. Local 773 pleaded that, as a trade union, it could not be named as a party based on the Rights of Labour Act, but Lawrence succeeded in adding several directors of the local as defendants and amended her statement of claim to plead that they were jointly and severally liable for her claim. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed Lawrence’s motion to quash the applicants’ appeal for want of jurisdiction and the applicants’ appeal.

Read the Ontario appellate court decision here.

Related legal briefs:
Top 5 Civil Appeals from the Court of Appeal (May 2017); Lerners LLP

Ontario Court Of Appeal Summaries (April 18-21, 2017); Blaney McMurtry LLP

March 21  – Ontario – Frank v. Attorney General of Canada

Constitutional law: The applicants are Canadian citizens residing in the United States, who were refused voting ballots for the 2011 Canadian general election because they had been resident outside Canada for more than five years. They sought a declaration that certain provisions of the Canada Elections Act violated their Charter-protected right to vote. An Ontario Superior Court judge declared the impugned provisions of the act unconstitutional by reason of violating the applicants’ right to vote under s. 3 of the Charter. A majority of the Court of Appeal allowed the attorney general’s appeal, finding that the denial of the vote to non-resident citizens who have lived outside Canada for five years or more is saved by s. 1.

Read the Ontario appellate court decision here.

Related news stories:
Expats Will Get Chance To Win Back Voting Rights In Supreme Court Hearing; Huffington Post

Long-term Canadian expats lose right to vote, appeal court rules; Toronto Star

Canadian election: 1.4m expatriates barred from voting after court ruling; The Guardian

March 22 – Quebec – Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. Attorney General of Quebec
Constitutional law: Under Order in Council No. 642-2015 dated July 15, 2015, the Government of Quebec referred the following two questions to the Quebec Court of Appeal:

1. Does the Constitution of Canada authorize the implementation of pan-Canadian securities regulation under the authority of a single regulator, according to the model established by the most recent publication of the “Memorandum of Agreement regarding the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System”?

2. Does the most recent version of the draft of the federal “Capital Markets Stability Act” exceed the authority of the Parliament of Canada over the general branch of the trade and commerce power under s. 91(2) of the Constitution Act, 1867?

The majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal answered “no” to the first and second questions. Read its decision here.

Related legal brief:
Constitutional Turf Wars: A Quick Look at Federalism Issues in Securities Regulation; Kendrick Lo, CanLII Connects

March 23 – Ontario – R.A. v. R.
Criminal law: The appellant was convicted of sexual interference at trial by a judge sitting without a jury. The offence was committed against the young daughter of his then-girlfriend. The appellant appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial judge had failed to resolve an inconsistency in the complainant’s evidence or explain why he accepted the complainant’s evidence over the appellant’s. The majority in the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Trotter J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal, as in his opinion the inconsistency in the complainant’s evidence was significant.

Read the Ontario appellate court decision here.

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