Keatley Surveying LTD. v. Teranet Inc. - and - Attorney General of Ontario (Ont.)

Intellectual property – Copyright – Crown copyright

The respondent manages the Province of Ontario’s electronic land registry system (the “ELRS”). Documents that were prepared by land surveyors such as drawings, maps, charts and plans (collectively “plans of survey”) are registered in the ELRS. The public can obtain on-line copies of registered plans of survey through the respondent for a fee prescribed by statute, no part of which constitutes fees or royalties paid to the land surveyors who prepared them. The applicant is the representative plaintiff in a certified class action brought on behalf of approximately 350 land surveyors whose plans of survey were scanned and copied into the respondent’s digital database and made available on-line. The applicant claims that the respondent is in breach of copyright by reaping substantial profits at the expense of surveyors. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the applicant’s motion for summary judgment, granted the respondent’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the class action. The court found that as a result of the legislative regime requiring registration or deposit of the plans of survey in the land registry office, ownership in the property of the plans of survey, including copyright, is transferred to the province. They are then “published by or under the direction or control of Her Majesty” pursuant to s. 12 of the Copyright Act. The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, holding that provincial Crown copyright is by virtue of s. 12 of Copyright Act, not the provincial legislation.




Assessment Direct Inc., Universal Injury Rehabilitation Centre Inc., Osler Rehabilitation Centre Inc., Metro Rehabilitation Centre Inc., Rouge Valley Rehabilitation Centre Inc. and Publix Rehab Inc. v. Ontario Provincial Police, Her Majesty the Queen - and - Special Referee (Ont.)

Criminal law – Evidence – Privilege

The application judge held that the recorded statements that were seized by the police pursuant to a search warrant were not protected by litigation privilege. The applicants were ordered to release the audio recordings to the respondents pursuant to the search warrants under which they were seized.



Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Attorney General of Canada (F.C.)

Labour relations – Unfair labour practices

In late 2014 and early 2015, PSAC representatives tried to make arrangements to visit federal government worksites where their membership worked to conduct walkthroughs (during work hours), and hold meetings with their membership on-site during lunchtime (during off-hours). The employer, Treasury Board, refused these requests. PSAC complained to the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board that the employer had committed an unfair labour practice by interfering with the “administration of an employee organization” and “the representation of employees,” contrary to para. 186(1)(a) of the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

Following its own previous decision involving the same parties and similar issues, the Board concluded that the employer had engaged in an unfair labour practice in denying PSAC’s representatives access to workplaces and ordered that it cease doing so in the absence of compelling and justifiable business reasons. On judicial review, the FCA held that the Board not used the proper legal standard. It allowed the employer’s application for judicial review and remitted the matter to a different member of the Board for redetermination.



Alan MacPhee v. Karen Creighan, The Melvin & Camilla MacPhee Family Trust (P.E.I.)

Family law – Division of property – Family trust


When Mr. MacPhee and Ms. Creighan divorced in 2014, the issue of division of property was left to be determined at a later date. This application concerns an order that a family trust disclose financial documents to assist in determining the extent of Mr. MacPhee’s interest in the trust.

During Mr. MacPhee and Ms. Creighan marriage, Mr. MacPhee’s parents created a family trust which became the owner of two pre-existing companies, J.P. MacPhee & Co Ltd (JP), which operated a grocery store and shopping mall premises, and a holding company. Mr. MacPhee was one of the beneficiaries of the trust. During the marriage, Mr. MacPhee was an officer and director of JP, the company held by the trust. At the same time as the trust was created, Ms. Creighan purchased a company from Mr. MacPhee’s father. That company operated a Pharmasave store, which leased its premises from JP, the company held by the trust. Mr. MacPhee was also the president of another company which operated the Home Hardware Building Centre at the same retail complex as the IGA and Pharmasave.

To assist in determining the issue of division of property, Ms. Creighan brought a motion for disclosure of pre-separation financial documentation relating to the value of the family trust. The Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island ordered the family trust to disclose its financial documents to the parties. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.


City of Dieppe v. Noron Inc. (N.B.)


Noron Inc. owns land in the City of Dieppe. In 1996, it obtained a rezoning that permitted it to develop the first mini-home park in Dieppe, known as Dover Estates. Dover Estates remains a private project, where Noron Inc. (rather than the city) owns and maintains the streets, the fire hydrants, the piping for the sewage system, and the water system. Dover Estates’ water system is connected to the city water supply.

Dieppe billed Noron Inc. a user-charge for water and sewer services according to its by-law on the same basis as homeowners who were exclusively serviced by Dieppe and charged the same per unit amount as it does for other residential housing.

The trial judge declared that the city was entitled to use a fixed unit cost for billing Noron Inc. for water and sewer services at its mini-home park and found in favour of the City of Dieppe in the amount of $1,048,300 (plus costs, disbursements and interest).

The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge made an error with respect to his determination of the average consumption at the mini-homes at Dover Estates. It allowed Noron Inc.’s appeal in part and remitted the matter to the trial judge for determination of the assessment of user-charges.