36504  Halifax Regional Municipality v. Northern Construction Enterprises Inc. (N.S.)

Municipal law — Bylaws — Validity

Northern Construction Enterprises Inc. wanted to open and operate a quarry within the airport industrial designation. The quarry was to be accompanied by crushing and screening equipment and other elements for processing of the extracted rock. Northern applied for a municipal development permit for the processing elements. Halifax refused Northern’s application on the basis that the proposed quarry comprised an “extractive facility” and was prohibited under s. 2.29 of the Land Use By-law for Planning Districts 14 and 17. Northern appealed that refusal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, which upheld Halifax’s interpretation of s. 2.29 and dismissed the appeal. The Board found that it did not have jurisdiction over whether passing the by-law was within Halifax’s jurisdiction. The by-law was found to be within Halifax’s jurisdiction by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The Court of Appeal concluded that that the province had retained control over the location of quarries and declared s. 2.29 of the municipal Charter invalid to the extent to that it trespassed into provincial jurisdiction.

36549    Dwight Ira Isenor, Staceylee Rudderham v. Halifax Regional Municipality, Northern Construction Enterprises Inc.(N.S.)

Municipal law — Bylaws — Validity

Northern Construction Enterprises Inc. wanted to open and operate a quarry within the airport industrial designation. The quarry was to be accompanied by crushing and screening equipment and other elements for processing of the extracted rock. Northern applied for a municipal development permit for the processing elements. Halifax refused Northern’s application on the basis that the proposed quarry comprised an “extractive facility” and was prohibited under s. 2.29 of the Land Use By-law for Planning Districts 14 and 17. Northern appealed that refusal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, which upheld Halifax’s interpretation of s. 2.29 and dismissed the appeal. The Board found that it did not have jurisdiction over whether passing the by-law was within Halifax’s jurisdiction. The by-law was found to be within Halifax’s jurisdiction by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The Court of Appeal concluded that that the province had retained control over the location of quarries and declared s. 2.29 of the municipal Charter invalid to the extent to that it trespassed into provincial jurisdiction.

36715  Darcy Allen v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta  (Alta.)

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Constitutional law – Health law

In 2007, the applicant dentist sustained a back injury playing hockey. His pain persisted despite various types of therapy, leading to a decision to undergo back surgery. In May 2009, surgery was scheduled for June 2011 in Alberta. The applicant’s pain became disabling and rendered him unable to work. In June 2009, he underwent an MRI at his own expense and it showed further degradation and herniation of his lumbar discs. In December 2009, he underwent surgery in Montana at his own expense ($77,000). The applicant submitted that s. 26(2) of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Actprohibited him from obtaining private health care insurance that would have allowed more timely access to the required surgery. He sought a declaration that s. 26(2) was unconstitutional on the basis that it breached his s. 7 Charter rights. The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta dismissed his application for declaration finding s. 26(2) of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Act unconstitutional. The Court of Appeal of Alberta dismissed the appeal.

36653   Denis Rancourt v. Joanne St. Lewis (Ont.)

Charter of Rights – Courts

The applicant maintained a personal blog that was often critical of the University of Ottawa. In two blog posts he referred to the respondent, a professor at the university, in terms that led her to sue in defamation. The case was tried before a jury. The jury found the blog posts to be defamatory and also found actual malice. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice allowed the Respondent’s action, and the applicant was ordered to pay general damages for defamation of $100,000 and aggravated damages for defamation of $250,000, with interest and costs. The Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed the appeal.

36607  Melville Burle Grosse v. Theresa Stephanie Grosse (Sask.)

Family law – Division of family property – Family trusts

The issue in this application is the division of a family trust in the context of a matrimonial dispute. During the marriage, the Grosses accumulated a significant number of revenue properties that were owned and managed by an incorporated investment company, with Mr. Grosse as sole shareholder and director. On December 22, 2006, the Grosse Family Trust Agreement was executed thereby creating the family trust in issue. The assets of the Trust consisted of shares of the incorporated investment company. Mr. Grosse, the parties’ two sons and any future grandchildren were named as beneficiaries. Ms. Grosse was not included as a beneficiary for income tax reasons. Mr. Grosse, in addition to being a beneficiary of the Trust, was also its sole trustee, having broad discretionary powers to manage the Trust; he had the ability to pay to himself all or any portion of the income and capital of the Trust, as well as the power to wind up the Trust. At trial, one of the principal issues for determination was whether Mr. Grosse’s interest in the trust constituted family property and, if so, the nature of that interest and how it should be valued and divided under The Family Property Act of Saskatchewan. The Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan equally divided the Applicant’s contingent beneficial interest in family trust. The Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan allowed the Respondent’s appeal.

36631  Sean Jensen v. Her Majesty the Queen (Ont.)

Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Constitutional law – Arbitrary detention

Ottawa police officers received a broadcast advising them to be vigilant with respect to sex trade workers due to recent violent crimes against them. An officer on patrol observed a known sex trade worker in a car driven by the applicant. There was nothing unusual about the applicant’s driving or the vehicle. The officer signalled the applicant to stop and the applicant stopped. The sex trade worker told the officer that the driver was a friend giving her a ride home. The officer twice asked the applicant for his license, insurance and ownership documentation. The applicant said: “Nope, I’m taking off” and drove away. The officer followed him to a parking lot. The sex trade worker was no longer in the vehicle. The officer and another police officer blocked the applicant’s exit from the lot and approached on foot. The applicant backed his vehicle up, causing both officers to draw their firearms. He was arrested. At trial, he was convicted of failing to stop for police. A summary conviction appeal was dismissed. The Court of Appeal dismissed an application for leave to appeal. 

36569   9221-2133 Québec Inc., operating as Centre Mécatech, Éric Cloutier v. Intact Insurance Company (formerly known as Intact Assurance inc.) (Que.)

Insurance – Property insurance

After the applicant had repeatedly refused to submit to being questioned about the circumstances of its vehicle theft insurance claim, the respondent determined that the applicant had failed to fulfil its obligation under article 2471 of the Civil Code of Québec to co-operate in the gathering of information. The respondent accordingly refused to indemnify the applicant for the loss resulting from the theft of its vehicle. The Court of Québec held that the respondent was under an obligation to indemnify the applicant. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and set aside the Court of Québec’s judgment.

36614   Michel G. Deschênes v. Her Majesty the Queen (FC)

Taxation – Income tax – Assessment

The appellant, Mr. Deschênes, appeals from an assessment of the Minister of National Revenue that disallowed a deduction of $21,609 he had claimed on his income tax return for the 2011 taxation year. Mr. Deschênes contends that the amount disbursed as legal fees is a deductible expense within the meaning of the Income Tax Act, given that it was paid in the context of a proceeding in the Superior Court that had been brought to preserve existing rights, that is, property within the meaning of s. 248 of the Act. The Tax Court of Canada dismissed the Appeal from assessment. The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

36708   Guillaume Gilbert v. Her Majesty the Queen (Que.)

Criminal law – Appeal

The applicant was charged with two offences, producing cannabis and possession of cannabis, in two separate cases. When police officers arrived at his home with an arrest warrant in connection with an investigation concerning the production of cannabis, they noticed narcotics in plain view, which led to the charge of simple possession of cannabis.

Originally, when the applicant was represented by counsel, it was agreed that the charges in both cases would be tried together in a single proceeding. The applicant represented himself at his trial. He was found guilty on both counts.

On appeal, the applicant submitted that the trial judge had erred in stating that if he decided to testify regarding the facts concerning one of the counts, he could be cross-examined on both counts. He argued that the judge confused the joinder of the two counts with a single count; he was thus faced with the choice of either presenting a defence on both counts or remaining silent and was therefore denied his right to make full answer and defence and his right to a fair trial because he was forced not to testify in one of the two cases for which he had a defence. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

36644   Sean Bonitto v. Halifax Regional School Board  (N.S.)

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Constitutional Law

The applicant, Mr. Bonitto, is a fundamentalist Christian. He distributed various gospel tracts to students and others on the premises of a public school during school hours. His children are students at the same school. The formal Policy adopted by the respondent, Halifax Regional School Board, requires the principal’s approval for the distribution of materials at the school. Another Policy states that religious instruction on school premises may only occur outside the regular school day. The school principal asked Mr. Bonitto to stop distributing the materials in question and denied Mr. Bonitto’s request to distribute same. Mr. Bonitto sued the School Board on the basis that the principal’s decision had infringed his freedom of religious expression guaranteed by ss. 2(a) and (b) of the Charter. The Nova Scotia Supreme Court  dismissed the action. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

36562   Syndicat des employées et employés professionnels-les et de bureau, section locale 574, SEPB, CTC-FTQ v. Yellow Pages Group Inc.  (Que.)

Administrative law – Judicial review

Following a restructuring, the respondent, now an independent publicly traded enterprise, began a review of its employees’ pension and benefits plans. This review process was governed by the terms of a letter of agreement incorporated into the collective agreement in force at that time. This letter preserved the employees’ rights with regard to the plans in place at the time of the restructuring, for the term of the collective agreement. After the review, the respondent proposed new plans to the applicant, which represents approximately 200 employees. The applicant objected to the implementation of these plans, which in its view represented a significant reduction in benefits for some employees. Despite several rounds of discussion, the parties were unable to resolve their dispute. Consequently, the applicant filed two successive grievances to challenge the changes and their implementation upon the expiration of the collective agreement. The Arbitration Tribunal allowed grievances in part. The Quebec Superior Court dismissed the motions for judicial review. The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the Appeal and Cross-Appeal.

36556   Michael Amar, Rajib Ullah v. Société des loteries du Québec  (Que.)

Contracts – Consumer Protection – Gaming and wagering

The Applicants discovered, in the summer of 2014, that the Respondent la Société des loteries du Québec was using an undisclosed computer parameter when operating its lottery scheme “the Extra”. They are suing the Respondent for unlawfully manipulating the game of chance and for a breach of their consumers’ rights.  The Superior Court of Quebec dismissed the Applicant’s Introductory Motion in damages. The Court of Appeal of Quebec dismissed the Appeal.

36733   Alan Peter Knapczyk v. Her Majesty the Queen  (Alta.)

Charter — Unreasonable delay — Wiretap searches

Following a RCMP drug investigation in British Columbia and Alberta and later a trial, the applicant, Mr. Knapczyk, was convicted of conspiracy to traffic cocaine and committing that offence for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization. He was acquitted of trafficking cocaine. Mr. Knapczyk appealed his convictions to the Alberta Court of Appeal, and the Crown appealed the acquittal. The Court of Appeal allowed the Crown’s appeal from the acquittal and substituted a conviction. Mr. Knapczyk has filed a Notice of Appeal from that judgment as of right to this Court (file number 36612). In addition, this leave application is related to the Alcantara leave application (number 36732), which itself is related to an appeal as of right (36613).

36732  John Reginald Alcantara v. Her Majesty the Queen (Alta.)

Charter — Stay of proceedings

A RCMP drug investigation in British Columbia and Alberta generated multiple prosecutions before the Alberta courts. The applicant, Mr. Alcantara, was convicted of conspiring to unlawfully traffic cocaine contrary to s. 465(1)(c) of the Criminal Code and of conspiracy to traffic cocaine in association with, and for the benefit of, a criminal organization contrary to s. 467.12. His appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeal was dismissed. In addition, in that same case, Mr. Alcantara was acquitted of trafficking in cocaine. The Crown’s subsequent appeal was allowed, the acquittal set aside and conviction entered for trafficking (2015 ABCA 258). Mr. Alcantara has filed a Notice of Appeal from that judgment as of right in this Court (number 36613). In addition, this leave application is related to the Knapczyk leave application (number 36733), which itself is related to an appeal as of right (36612).