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. Milne Estate (Re), 2019 ONSC 579

[22] Because a testator often executes their Last Will and Testament several years in advance of death, it is often not practical to provide a definitive list of assets which will require or do not require a Certificate of Appointment to be transferred or realized at the time the Primary and Secondary Wills are executed. To overcome this practical problem, estate planning lawyers often provide estate trustees with the power to determine whether a particular asset requires a Certificate of Appointment upon administering the will. These clauses are often referred to as allocation clauses. The use of allocation clauses is a common estate planning technique. See Martin Rochwerg, Miller Thomson on Estate Planning, (Toronto: Thomson Reuters Canada, 2018), at p. 2-57.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Orphan Well Association v. Grant Thornton Ltd., 2019 SCC 5

[1] The oil and gas industry is a lucrative and important component of Alberta’s and Canada’s economy. The industry also carries with it certain unavoidable environmental costs and consequences. To address them, Alberta has established a comprehensive cradle-to-grave licensing regime that is binding on companies active in the industry. A company will not be granted the licences that it needs to extract, process or transport oil and gas in Alberta unless it assumes end-of-life responsibilities for plugging and capping oil wells to prevent leaks, dismantling surface structures and restoring the surface to its previous condition. These obligations are known as “abandonment” and “reclamation” (Oil and Gas Conservation Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. O-6 (“OGCA”), s. 1(1)(a), and Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. E-12 (“EPEA”), s. 1(ddd)).

[2] The question in this appeal is what happens to these obligations when a company is bankrupt and a trustee in bankruptcy is charged with distributing its assets among various creditors according to the rules in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. B-3 (“BIA”). Redwater Energy Corporation (“Redwater”) is the bankrupt company at the centre of this appeal. Its principal assets are 127 oil and gas assets — wells, pipelines and facilities — and their corresponding licences. A few of Redwater’s licensed wells are still producing and profitable. The majority are spent and burdened with abandonment and reclamation liabilities that exceed their value.

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3. S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp., 2019 SCC 4

[1] At issue in this appeal is whether the interest that the appellant, S.A., has in a trust that was set up for her care and maintenance should be treated as an “asset”, which would negatively affect her eligibility to participate in a rental subsidy program offered by her landlord, the respondent, Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (“MVHC”).

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Langevin, 2012 QCCS 613

[1] Sylvio Langevin réclame la propriété de la planète Terre[1]. Dans un autre dossier entrepris le même jour, il réclame celle des planètes Mercure, Vénus, Jupiter, Saturne et Uranus, ainsi que des quatre grosses lunes de Jupiter[2].

[2] À l’audience, le requérant souhaite amender ce second recours pour y ajouter ses revendications sur Neptune et Pluton, ainsi que sur l’espace entre chaque planète, à la grandeur de la galaxie[3].

(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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