Partners in Psychiatry (PP) and the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) got together in order to develop continuing professional development programmes for CPA members under the name CPA CPD Institute. The relationship fell apart in 2009. PP sought a declaration that it had been a partnership and its share of the Institute’s remaining assets.

The application judge correctly identified a partnership as a business carried on in common with a view to profit, and concluded the Institute was definitely a business. He then looked at the agreement between PP and CPA but failed to analyse its provisions in terms of the legal definition of partnership. Instead, he focused on elements of that relationship that were missing.

Wrong, said the Ontario Court of Appeal. The agreement included most, if not all of the classic indicia: both parties contributed money, knowledge and skill to the venture, and they shared responsibility for business operations and profits. The Institute was a partnership and PP was entitled to a share in its remaining assets.

Partners in Psychiatry v Canadian Psychiatric Association, 2011 ONCA 109 [Link available here]