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. Bernstein v. Poon, 2015 ONSC 155

[22] This dispute arises at one of the many intersections between business and profit on the one hand, and health and wellness on the other. Both the plaintiffs and the defendant are, financially, the beneficiaries of the burgeoning needs and demands of an increasingly obese population. While the plaintiffs are openly commercial and not dependent on public health care funding, the defendant, whose clinics see patients mainly on referral from other healthcare practitioners under the auspices of publicly funded healthcare, acknowledged that he has augmented the income from his medical practice through the sales of his books.

[23] Until this lawsuit brought them together, Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Poon had never met. Nor, other than through lawyers’ letters, had they ever communicated with each other. Dr. Bernstein had never heard of Dr. Poon until the patient alerted him to the references to the Bernstein Diet in Dr. Poon’s book.

2. R. v. Spencer, 2014 SCC 43

[1] The Internet raises a host of new and challenging questions about privacy. This appeal relates to one of them.

[2] The police identified the Internet Protocol (IP) address of a computer that someone had been using to access and store child pornography through an Internet file-sharing program. They then obtained from the Internet Service Provider (ISP), without prior judicial authorization, the subscriber information associated with that IP address. This led them to the appellant, Mr. Spencer. He had downloaded child pornography into a folder that was accessible to other Internet users using the same file-sharing program. He was charged and convicted at trial of possession of child pornography and acquitted on a charge of making it available.

3. Tervita Corp. v. Canada (Commissioner of Competition), 2015 SCC 3

[1] The appellant in this case, Tervita Corp., operates two hazardous waste secure landfills in British Columbia. In February 2010, Tervita Corp. acquired a company which held a permit for another secure landfill site. This transaction attracted the attention of the Commissioner of Competition, who initiated the merger review process under the Competition Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-34 (“Act”).

[2] The purpose of the Act is in part “to maintain and encourage competition in Canada in order to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy” (s. 1.1). It is within this context that merger reviews are conducted. This appeal provides this Court the opportunity to address two issues in merger review: the “prevention” branch of s. 92 and the s. 96 efficiencies defence.

The most-consulted French-language decision was Nadeau-Dubois c. Morasse, 2015 QCCA 78

[24] D’emblée, le juge constate que l’appelant n’est pas nommément visé par l’ordonnance d’injonction du 2 mai et conclut en conséquence que l’article 761 C.p.c. ne trouve pas application en l’espèce. Il considère néanmoins que le reproche adressé à l’appelant, soit d’avoir incité à contrevenir à cette ordonnance, est assujetti à l’article 50 C.p.c., dont il est fait mention expressément dans la citation à comparaître. Il y donc lieu, à son avis, « […] de déterminer si l’appelant a agi de manière à porter atteinte à l’autorité ou à la dignité du tribunal ».

[25] Puis, le juge aborde la question de la connaissance de l’Ordonnance. Bien que les règles relatives à l’outrage au tribunal soient d’application stricte, le juge rappelle qu’elles « […] ne doivent pas donner lieu à un formalisme excessif qui permettrait à une partie de faire fi d’une ordonnance ». À défaut d’une preuve directe de la connaissance, le juge conclut que l’appelant connaissait hors de tout doute raisonnable l’Ordonnance, en se fondant sur une preuve circonstancielle, dont il tire un certain nombre d’inférences. L’existence d’une « multitude de véhicules » ayant pu conduire à la connaissance de l’Ordonnance par la CLASSE et son porte-parole amène le Tribunal à conclure que la preuve de cette connaissance va au-delà du doute raisonnable. Le juge est satisfait que le demandeur s’est déchargé de son fardeau de preuve :

* 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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