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Case Law is a sample selection from the weekly summaries of notable unreported civil and criminal court decisions published in Law Times newspaper.

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Social Welfare


Board did not ask whether applicant capable of pursuing substantially gainful employment

Applicant was injured in motor vehicle accident and suffered soft tissue injuries, depression and myofascial pain syndrome. Applicant took yoga and was employed on minimal part-time basis as yoga instructor well after time of minimum qualifying period. Applicant’s application for disability pension under Canada Pension Plan was denied. Board dismissed appeal finding applicant’s disability was not severe because she was capable of substantially gainful employment. Applicant sought judicial review. Application granted. Social Security Tribunal was directed to grant appeal and to make order granting application for disability benefits. Decision was unreasonable. Board did not apply legal standards. Board latched onto Review Tribunal’s reasons rather than conducting de novo analysis as required. Board did not ask whether applicant was capable of regularly pursuing substantially gainful employment and did not assess whether applicant had severe and prolonged disability. Board failed to examine applicant’s condition at time of her minimum qualifying period and afterward, and looked only at her more recent condition. Board did not assess whether $75 per week was substantially gainful employment or if applicant could obtain other substantially gainful employment. Case was exceptional in that delay was substantial, record showed prejudice would be caused by further delay, and there was sparse evidence in support of outcome reached by board. Benefits were meant to address serious condition. Record showed applicant’s disability was severe at time of minimum qualifying period.
D’Errico v. Canada (Attorney General) (Apr. 10, 2014, F.C.A., Pierre Blais C.J., K. Sharlow J.A., and David Stratas J.A., File No. A-47-13) 239 A.C.W.S. (3d) 532.

Employment Insurance


Applicant’s decision to leave employment was personal and did not constitute just cause

Applicant was journeyman electrician who resided in Lockport, Manitoba. Applicant took employment in Weskwatim, Manitoba, from January to March 2012, and then left that employment. Applicant claimed he left employment due to family problems that resulted from him being out of town for work and only able to return home once per month. Employment insurance commission denied applicant’s claim for employment insurance benefits on basis that he voluntarily left his employment without just cause. Board of referees dismissed applicant’s appeal and umpire upheld board’s decision. Applicant applied for judicial review. Application dismissed. Record showed that applicant did not have alternative offer of employment when he left his employment. Umpire did not err in concluding that applicant’s decision to leave employment and return home was personal and that personal decision did not constitute just cause.
Andrade v. Canada (Attorney General) (Apr. 7, 2014, F.C.A., Marc Noël J.A., Eleanor R. Dawson J.A., and Wyman W. Webb J.A., File No. A-56-13) 239 A.C.W.S. (3d) 388.

Administrative Law


Administrative tribunal’s interpretation of own statute reviewable on standard of reasonableness

Section 16(1) of Canada Transportation Act (CTA) specified that, subject to Canadian Transportation Agency rules, two members constituted quorum. In 2013, respondent Canadian Transportation Agency amended own General Rules by adding Rule 2.1 stating that one member constituted quorum in all proceedings before agency. Appellant granted leave to appeal on question of law, whether respondent permitted to amend quorum rule without approval of Governor in Council (GIC). Appellant submitted that Rules were regulations within meaning of s. 36(1) of Act and, as such, could only be made with approval of GIC. Appellant also submitted that since Rules originally made with approval of GIC, they only be amended with approval of GIC. Respondent claimed authority to enact rule according to rule-making power in s. 17 of Act. Appeal dismissed. Administrative tribunal’s interpretation of own statute reviewable on standard of reasonableness. Under s. 17, respondent granted power to make rules respecting variety of matters, including number of members required to hear any matter or perform any function. Whether respondent required approval of GIC depended on interpretation of “regulation” in s. 36(1). While s. 2(1) of Interpretation Act (Can.), and s. 2(1) of Statutory Instruments Act (Can.), both provided that “regulation” included rule, definitions limited to only those statutes themselves. Contrary intention evidenced in CTA, which did not use words “regulation” or “rule” interchangeably. Act used “rule” only for internal procedural or non-adjudicative administrative matters, such as quorum. Interpreting s. 17 as granting power to make rules without approval of GIC reasonable on textual, contextual and purposive analysis.
Lukács v. Canadian Transportation Agency (Mar. 19, 2014, F.C.A., Eleanor R. Dawson J.A., Wyman W. Webb J.A., and Edmond P. Blanchard J.A. (ex officio), File No. A-279-13) 239 A.C.W.S. (3d) 2.



Information leading to suspension of security clearances could come from any source

Minister upheld cancellation of security clearance granted to individual under Marine Transportation Security Regulations (Can.). Individual was worker at port. On application for judicial review Federal Court quashed Minister’s decision finding it to be unreasonable. Federal Court concluded that evidence was not strong enough to warrant cancellation of security clearance. Federal Court also found Minister failed to give to individual procedures that he legitimately expected would be followed and found Minister’s reasons to be inadequate. Minister appealed. Appeal allowed. Federal Court erred in its interpretation of s. 509 of Regulations. Minister’s decision fell within ambit of s. 509 properly interpreted. Information leading to suspension of previously-granted security clearances could come from any source, not just from information supplied by applicant or from checks and verifications. Regulations did not say that requirements of verifiability and reliability applied to this sort of evidence. Reasonable grounds to suspect provided meaningful standard against arbitrary cancellation of security certificate. Requirements and verifiability and reliability applied only to this sort of evidence supplied during initial granting process. Federal Court erred and decision was reviewable on basis of reasonableness, not correctness. Decision was reasonable. Fact set out supported Minister’s conclusion that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that individual engaged in conducted described, and thus posed risk to security of marine transportation. Minister’s reasons were adequate. Ground of legitimate expectation that individual asserted did not arise in case. There was no breach of procedural fairness warranting quashing of Minister’s decision. Minister provided individual with opportunity to make case. Minister gave individual sufficient access to information to know case against him and to make meaningful response to it. Process was fair overall.
Canada (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities) v. Farwaha (Mar. 3, 2014, F.C.A., Johanne Trudel J.A., David Stratas J.A., and Robert M. Mainville J.A., File No. A-431-12) 238 A.C.W.S. (3d) 282.



No evidence confidential information actually used in preparation of notice of allegation

When appellant received notice of allegation, it was alarmed to see law firm of its predecessor, which had represented it in five proceedings respecting same medicinal ingredient, was representing respondent. As soon as appellant registered objection, firm resigned. However, appellant was still concerned about misuse of confidential information so applied for further relief. Federal Court granted order disqualifying respondent’s in-house counsel, who had previously been employed by firm in question, but found it did not have jurisdiction to declare respondent’s notice of allegation invalid. Cross-appeals by parties from Federal Court decision. Cross-appeals dismissed. Federal Court did not properly apply Martin test in relying on inference rather than actual evidence lawyer had received confidential information about medicinal ingredient in course of his previous employment. However, result was same, as this rendered lawyer’s disqualification automatic. Court could always consider conflicts of interest; however, there was no evidence appellant’s confidential information was actually used in preparation of notice of allegation, which consisted of objectively known facts and matters of law, so declaring it invalid could overshoot mark. Tests for disqualification did not even hint at this type of remedy so, while it was open that it may be appropriate in exceptional circumstances, evidence did not support it in this case.
Valeant Canada LP v. Canada (Minister of Health) (Feb. 24, 2014, F.C.A., John M. Evans J.A., Johanne Gauthier J.A., and David Stratas J.A., File No. A-221-13) 238 A.C.W.S. (3d) 495.



Inmates participating in work programs not employees

Applicant was member of Canadian Prisoners’ Labour Confederation (CPLC), which was organization of inmates of federal correctional institutions. Objective of CPLC was to compel Correctional Service of Canada to engage in collective bargaining with respect to terms and conditions under which inmates participated in institutional work programs. Officials of Correctional Service of Canada denied applicant and other organizers of CPLC right to sign up members at particular institution. Applicant submitted complaint to Public Services Labour Relations Board. Board concluded it had no jurisdiction to entertain complaint because inmates of federal correctional institution who participated in institutional work program were not employees as defined in s. 2(1) of Public Service Labour Relations Act (Can.), because they were not appointed by Public Services Commission to position created by Treasury Board. Board dismissed complaint without considering merits. Applicant applied for judicial review of board’s decision. Application dismissed. Board’s understanding of facts was open to it on evidence before it. Board’s analysis of jurisprudence and relevant statutory provisions was well explained and soundly reasoned. Inmates participating in work programs organized by Correctional Service of Canada had not been appointed to position in federal public service and were not employees within meaning of Act.
Jolivet v. Treasury Board (Correctional Service of Canada) (Jan. 7, 2014, F.C.A., K. Sharlow J.A., Mainville J.A., and Near J.A., File No. A-192-13) 236 A.C.W.S. (3d) 484.

Labour Relations


Appellants did not fall within definition for inclusion in standby pay

Appellants were members of R.C.M.P. emergency response team (“ERT”). Members of ERT were specially trained in use of various tactical procedures and weapons. Service on ERT was voluntary. Members of ERT were expected to be available to respond to emergency situations whenever they arose. Members were required to carry pager at all times and were not permitted to do anything that might impair their ability to respond to emergency situation. Members were not compensated for maintaining constant state of readiness. Appellants filed grievance seeking compensation for time spent on call. Adjudicator determined that appellants were not entitled to standby compensation for time spent on-call. Federal Court found that adjudicator’s decision was reasonable and dismissed application for judicial review. Appellants appealed. Appeal dismissed. Judge selected correct standard of review of reasonableness. Adjudicator had regard to applicable definition and reasonably applied it to appellants’ circumstances. It was open to adjudicator on record to have regard to applicable definition and to find that appellants did not fall within definition for inclusion in standby pay. Adjudicator’s decision was reasonable.
Irvine v. Canada (Attorney General) (Dec. 9, 2013, F.C.A., Pierre Blais C.J., Eleanor R. Dawson J.A., and James W. O’Reilly J.A. (ex officio), File No. A-43-13) Decision at 234 A.C.W.S. (3d) 514 was affirmed.  236 A.C.W.S. (3d) 210.
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