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. David v. Loblaw, 2021 ONSC 7331

[1] Bread, according to the biblical Book of Prophets, is the staff of life: Isaiah 3:1. According to the Plaintiffs, it is also key to the Defendants’ book of profits.

[2] The Plaintiffs claim that a price fixing conspiracy among major players in the packaged bread market has allowed those producers and retailers, along with their parent companies and majority shareholders, to manipulate a $40 billion market and to accrue somewhere in the range of $5 billion in ill-gotten gains: Expert Report of Jeffrey Leitzinger, paras 80-81. Economists have described conspiracies of this nature and size as having a reverberating, pernicious effect on the market economy, with an even “greater adverse economic impact on society than…theft and fraud”: Canada v. Maxzone Auto Parts (Canada) Corp., 2012 FC 1117, at para 55.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Toronto Transit Commission v Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, 2022 CanLII 9 (ON LA)

Wage rates are the most significant economic issue in the dispute. Here too, the parties are far apart. The employer’s economic interests and challenges were generously described in its submissions about the municipal and provincial economies, debt and deficit spending, GDP growth and employment numbers, total compensation and recruitment and retention. To be sure, revenues have declined ­– resulting from reduced ridership and advertising, for example – while COVID-related expenses (health and safety for example) have increased although substantial government subsidies – enumerated in the union arbitration brief – have, at least temporarily, mitigated much of the overall negative impacts. To be sure, employment levels have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the employer’s capital projects continue to reflect anticipated ridership growth. However, the fiscal future is uncertain. What is clear is that the current situation is one of a kind, it is sui generis, and authorities commenting on earlier economic downturns are of no real assistance in determining the outstanding issues in this case.

(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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