Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

On one Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe. It’s a summary of all appeals and leaves to appeal granted, so you know what the S.C.C. will soon be dealing with (March 11, 2016 – April 13, 2016 inclusive).


Administrative Law/Labour Law in Québec: Standard of Review
Commission scolaire de Laval v. Syndicat de l’enseignement de la région de Laval, 2016 SCC 8 (35898)

The principle that the motives of a legislative body are “unknowable” and “deliberative secrecy” do not apply to public employers, the School Board in this case, that decide to take disciplinary action against employees, even if an in camera meeting is ordered. The standard applicable to the arbitrator’s interlocutory decision is reasonableness, and whether the examination of the members of the Board’s executive committee should be allowed is ultimately an evidentiary issue. The arbitrator has exclusive jurisdiction over such matters.

Criminal Law: Infanticide
R. v. Borowiec, 2016 SCC 11 (36585)

The grammatical and ordinary sense of the words used in s. 233 of the Criminal Code supports the conclusion the legislator did not intend to restrict the availability of infanticide to situations where the psychological health of the woman was substantially compromised or where a mental disorder was established. The statutory language also shows there is no requirement for a causal connection between the disturbance of the accused’s mind and the act or omission causing the child’s death, but there is, however, a required link between the disturbance and having not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth to the child or of the effect of lactation consequent on the child’s birth—in either case the disturbance must be “by reason thereof”.

Oral Judgments on Leave

Criminal Law: Search & Seizure
Wu v. R., 2015 ONCA 667 (36744) Judgment rendered Mar. 21, 2016

“The oral hearing on leave application…is dismissed.”

Oral Judgment on Appeals

Criminal Law: Trafficking; Parties to an Offence
R. v. Knapczyk, 2016 SCC 10 (36612) (36613) Judgment rendered Mar. 23, 2016

The Chief Justice: “We are agreed that the appeals should be dismissed. We agree with the following statement of the Court of Appeal: On the correct application of the legal principles to the facts found by the trial judge, it is an inescapable conclusion that the respondents aided and abetted the offence of trafficking through distribution. Their acts prevented or hindered interference with the accomplishment of a criminal act. In this way, the respondents provided assistance and encouragement to Mr. Caines in the commission of the offence of trafficking. There is a clear link between the respondents’ acts and the commission of the offence. [para. 15] The appeals are dismissed and the order of the Court of Appeal affirmed.”

Leave to Appeal Granted

Aboriginal Law: Duty to Consult & Accommodate
Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2015 BCCA 352 (36664)
Does a loss of meaning to religious practices trigger a duty to consult/accommodate.

Corporate Law: Oppression
Wilson v. Alharayeri, 2015 QCCA 1350 (36689)
When can a private placement (here, of convertible secured notes) trigger an oppression remedy.

Criminal Law: Costs Payable by Lawyer
Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions v. Jodoin, 2015 QCCA 847 (36539)
Can a lawyer, in a criminal matter, be ordered to pay costs.

Criminal Law: DUI
R. v. Alex, 2015 BCCA 435 (36771)
Was there “reasonable suspicion” by the police officer, and does R. v. Rilling (S.C.C., 1976) still apply.

Criminal/Military Law: Prosecutorial Independence
R. v. Gagnon, 2015 CMAC 2 (36844)
Is s. 230.1 of the National Defence Act unconstitutional re prosecutorial independence.

Human Rights: Discrimination; Drug ‘Disability’
Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corporation, 2015 ABCA 225 (36636)
Is a drug addiction a disability, and what is reasonable accommodation therefor.

Real Property in Québec: Acquisitive Prescription
Ostiguy v. Allie, 2015 QCCA 1368 (36694)
Does the doctrine of acquisitive prescription apply to a parking space.

Workers Comp in Québec: Duty to Accommodate
Commission de la santé et de la sécurité au travail c. Caron, 2015 QCCA 1048 (36605)
Does the principle of reasonable accommodation apply to A.I.A.O.D. disputes.

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