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. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65

[1] This appeal and its companion cases (see Bell Canada v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 SCC 66 (CanLII)), provide this Court with an opportunity to re-examine its approach to judicial review of administrative decisions.

[2] In these reasons, we will address two key aspects of the current administrative law jurisprudence which require reconsideration and clarification. First, we will chart a new course forward for determining the standard of review that applies when a court reviews the merits of an administrative decision. Second, we will provide additional guidance for reviewing courts to follow when conducting reasonableness review. The revised framework will continue to be guided by the principles underlying judicial review that this Court articulated in Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9 (CanLII), [2008] 1 S.C.R. 190: that judicial review functions to maintain the rule of law while giving effect to legislative intent. We will also affirm the need to develop and strengthen a culture of justification in administrative decision making.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. MacLean v. Askew, 2021 ONSC 63 (CanLII)

[9] However, in any event, there is no merit to his motion to set aside. As the responding party properly points out, a motion pursuant to s. 21(5) is not a hearing de novo. The Court will not intervene unless there is an error of law or principle, or a palpable and overriding error of fact.

[10] The motion judge set out the correct test to be applied on a motion to extend the time for filing a notice of appeal, noting that a lack of merit in the proposed appeal can be a sufficient reason to refuse the motion (see, for example, 1250264 Ontario Inc. v. Pet Valu Canada Inc., 2015 ONCA 5 at paras. 6-7).

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Altius Royalty Corporation v Alberta, 2021 ABQB 3 (CanLII)

[40] One of the other distinguishable points here with respect to the taking cases was whether the benefit accruing to the taking authority needed to amount to a tangible financial benefit in the context of the two part test. The plaintiffs argue that the benefit can be more general, but they argue that in any event, there is a financial benefit in terms of the potential health benefits to society and reduction in healthcare costs to the government. I agree, and I think that normally would have been sufficient to meet the normal second branch of the taking test here. Having said that, however, in my view, the first branch of the traditional taking test is not met, namely that the taking parties acquire a beneficial interest in what was taken. On the facts of this case, Canada and Alberta did not acquire a beneficial interest in the coal or the royalty interest. Canada regulated the end user, and Alberta decided to compensate the plant owner and affected workers for the effects of the emission regulatory scheme. That does not create a cause of action for others who were not compensated.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Imperial Tobacco Canada ltée c. Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé, 2019 QCCA 358

[658] En conclusion de ce chapitre et à l’instar du juge de première instance, la Cour conclut que, pendant toute la période litigieuse, les appelantes ont failli au devoir de renseigner les usagers et futurs usagers des dangers et risques de la cigarette. Elles sont donc, a priori, responsables du préjudice que cause chez les membres du groupe la matérialisation de ce défaut de sécurité du bien qu’elles ont fabriqué. N’ayant pas réussi à prouver que les membres des groupes, aux dates pertinentes, connaissaient ce défaut ou étaient en mesure de le connaître ou de prévoir le préjudice, elles ne peuvent faire valoir le moyen d’exonération de l’article 1473 al. 1 C.c.Q., moyen que reconnaissait le droit antérieur et qui trouve son équivalent dans les règles de l’article 53 L.p.c.

[659] Il reste maintenant à voir si, comme elles le prétendent, elles peuvent néanmoins repousser cette responsabilité en établissant une faille au chapitre de la causalité.

(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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