This week at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week relating to labour relations (Quebec), a habeas corpus application in Alberta, a challenge in B.C. under the Official Languages Act and a tax preparer’s conviction of fraud in Toronto.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week relating to labour relations (Quebec), a habeas corpus application in Alberta, a challenge in B.C. under the Official Languages Act, and a tax preparer’s conviction of fraud in Toronto.

November 13 – QuebecModern Cleaning Concept Inc. v. Comité paritaire de l'entretien d'édifices publics de la région de Québec

Labour relations: Modern Cleaning Concept Inc. is a franchisor serving commercial, industrial and institutional customers in the Quebec City region. Francis Bourque was an independent contractor who had been operating his own cleaning business when he signed a franchise agreement with Modern in 2014; he terminated the franchise agreement several months later but continued cleaning for the same customers, including one in the public sector, through his personal business. The Comité paritaire de l’entretien d’édifices publics de la région de Québec then brought an action claiming wages from the appellant on the ground that Bourque and his spouse had been employees and not independent contractors.

Courts: The Immigration and Review Board held 12 reviews of the respondent Chhina’s immigration detention pending deportation from Canada and each time ordered continued detention. After 10 months, Chhina applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that his detention was lengthy and indeterminate, therefore illegal. The Court of Queen’s Bench declined to exercise jurisdiction to hear the habeas corpus application; the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal and remitted the application to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a rehearing on its merits.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related bulletins:
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness v Chhina: Can Immigration Detainees Access the Writ of Habeas Corpus? The Court.ca

November 15 – British Columbia – Bessette v. Attorney General of British Columbia

Official Languages Act, provincial offences: The appellant Bessette was charged with a provincial offence under the Motor Vehicle Act. Relying on the right of an accused to be tried in the official language of his or her choice, he sought an order from the British Columbia Provincial Court that his trial be conducted in French. He argued that s. 133 of B.C.’s Offence Act, which incorporates the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to offences punishable on summary conviction, makes ss. 530 to 533 of the Criminal Code applicable to the prosecution of provincial offences.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related news story:
B.C.'s highest court denies francophone's appeal for trial in French; The Georgia Straight

November 16 – Ontario – Ajise v. R.

Criminal law: David Ajise was convicted of fraud over $5,000 for filing false claims of charitable donations in his clients’ tax returns. He appealed his conviction on two grounds. First, he claimed the trial judge should not have admitted opinion evidence given by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency investigator because she was not qualified as an expert. Second, he argued the trial judge did not properly instruct the jury on the mental element of the offence and the use that could be made of certain prior inconsistent statements. The majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related news release:
Tax Preparer and Charity Director Convicted of Fraud; MarketWired (Canada Revenue Agency)


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