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Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. UAlberta Pro-Life v Governors of the University of Alberta, 2020 ABCA 1 (CanLII)

[147] The reference to the Alberta Human Rights Act is interesting. It is not entirely obvious why that enactment’s existence should speak against recognizing a s 32 Charter application to freedom of expression exercised by students on a University campus. The rights and protections of that Act are not the same as those in the Charter.

[148] Tracking through all of the materials leads ultimately back to the crucial question, which is whether the University’s regulation of freedom of expression by students on University grounds should be considered to be a form of governmental action. In my view, this specific area of action should be found to be under s 32 of the Charter for five overlapping reasons…

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Dirk v Toews, 2020 ABQB 16 (CanLII)

[2] Costs are in the discretion of the trial judge but must be assessed on a principled basis. Relevant factors, as set out in r. 10.33 of the Alberta Rules of Court, AR 124/2010 include the degree of success of each party and the complexity of the action. As recently reiterated in Goldstick Estates (Re), 2019 ABCA 508 solicitor-client costs should only be awarded in “rare and exceptional circumstances”: para 24. Further, while enhanced costs can be awarded pursuant to the factors set out in r. 10.33(2) only intentional misconduct during the litigation can ground solicitor-client costs: Weatherford Canada Partnership v Artemis Kautschuk and Kunstoff-Technik GmbH, 2019 ABCA 92 at paragraphs 14-17.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. Ferrier, 2019 ONCA 1025

[60] While I reach that conclusion on a correctness standard, I add here that even if a reasonableness standard of review applies, I fail to see how a decision resulting from an unexplained refusal or failure to consider an applicable Charter right could be considered reasonable. This court’s application of s. 2(b) in Langenfeld means that the decision ordering a closed hearing, through no fault of the decision maker, failed to consider an applicable right protected by the Charter. That decision cannot survive scrutiny under the Vavilov test for reasonableness. The reasonableness standard requires “an internally coherent and rational chain of analysis and that is justified in relation to the facts and law that constrain the decision maker”; Vavilov, at para. 85. A decision that fails to consider an applicable Charter right cannot satisfy that standard or “the principle that the exercise of public power must be justified, intelligible and transparent”: Vavilov, at para. 95.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Canada (Ministre de la Citoyenneté et de l’Immigration) c. Vavilov, 2019 CSC 65

[1] Le présent pourvoi et les pourvois connexes (voir Bell Canada c. Canada (Procureur général), 2019 CSC 66), donnent à la Cour l’occasion de se pencher de nouveau sur sa façon d’aborder le contrôle judiciaire des décisions administratives.

[2] Dans les présents motifs, nous traitons de deux aspects clés de la jurisprudence actuelle en droit administratif qu’il est nécessaire de réexaminer et de clarifier. D’abord, nous traçons la nouvelle voie à suivre pour déterminer la norme de contrôle applicable lorsqu’une cour de justice contrôle une décision administrative au fond. Ensuite, nous donnons des indications additionnelles aux cours de révision qui procèdent au contrôle selon la norme de la décision raisonnable. Le cadre d’analyse révisé est encore guidé par les principes en matière de contrôle judiciaire qu’a énoncés la Cour dans l’arrêt Dunsmuir c. Nouveau‑Brunswick, 2008 CSC 9, [2008] 1 R.C.S. 190 : le contrôle judiciaire a pour fonction de préserver la primauté du droit tout en donnant effet à la volonté du législateur. Nous insistons également sur la nécessité de développer et de renforcer une culture de la justification au sein du processus décisionnel administratif.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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