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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. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. v. Soost, 2010 ABCA 251 (CanLII)

[9] Under such contracts, the common terminology is sloppy, even misleading. We speak of “wrongful dismissal”, or damages for that. But there is no such thing there as wrongful dismissal (apart from federal legislation). Under such a contract, either side may validly end the contract at any time. The employee neither has tenure, nor is indentured. The employee and the employer both have the right to end the contract, and ending it is not a breach of contract, nor a tort: Wallace v. Utd. Grain Growers 1997 CanLII 332 (SCC), [1997] 3 S.C.R. 701, 735, 219 N.R. 161, 152 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 27-28 (paras. 75-76); Desforge v. E-D Roofing (#1) (2008) 2008 CanLII 48130 (ON SC), 69 C.C.E.L. (3d) 115 (Ont.) (para. 80); Marchen v. Dams Ford Lincoln Sales, 2010 BCCA 29, 282 B.C.A.C. 120, 315 D.L.R. (4th) 728 (para. 38). There is no right to be allowed to resign instead of being dismissed.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays, 2008 SCC 39 (CanLII), [2008] 2 SCR 362

[68] Even if I were to give deference to the trial judge on this issue, this Court has stated that punitive damages should “receive the most careful consideration and the discretion to award them should be most cautiously exercised” (Vorvis, at pp. 1104-5). Courts should only resort to punitive damages in exceptional cases (Whiten, at para. 69). The independent actionable wrong requirement is but one of many factors that merit careful consideration by the courts in allocating punitive damages. Another important thing to be considered is that conduct meriting punitive damages awards must be “harsh, vindictive, reprehensible and malicious”, as well as “extreme in its nature and such that by any reasonable standard it is deserving of full condemnation and punishment” (Vorvis, at p. 1108). The facts of this case demonstrate no such conduct. Creating a disability program such as the one under review in this case cannot be equated with a malicious intent to discriminate against persons with a particular affliction.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Intact Insurance Company v Parsons, 2021 ABCA 123 (CanLII)

[18] As stated in Vavilov at paras. 99, 102, review for reasonableness is not a “line-by-line treasure hunt for error”, but a review for justification, transparency and intelligibility. Reasonableness must be assessed having regard to the record before the umpire, and the issues that were raised. The decision that the umpire had to make was entirely factual in nature. The respondents presented evidence that their house had been damaged by the fire, either directly or through related chemical contamination. They also had some evidence of damage caused by water bombing. The appellant presented contradictory evidence. The umpire had to assign weight to the evidence, and decide whether the respondents had established their claim. As noted in Vavilov at para. 125:

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Pharmaciens (Ordre professionnel des) c. Grenier, 2021 QCCDPHA 18 (CanLII)

[33] La Cour d’appel du Québec, faisant siens les propos de la Cour d’appel de l’Alberta dans l’arrêt Belakziz[5], ajoute qu’en présence d’une recommandation conjointe, il est inapproprié de déterminer d’abord la sanction qui pourrait être imposée pour ensuite la comparer avec celle suggérée[6]. L’analyse doit plutôt porter sur les fondements de la recommandation conjointe, incluant les avantages importants pour l’administration de la justice, afin de déterminer si cette recommandation est contraire à l’intérêt public ou déconsidère l’administration de la justice.

(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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