This Week at the SCC (18/10/2013)

The Supreme Court of Canada released judgments in two cases, granted leave to appeal in one case and denied leave to appeal in three cases of interest to Canadian business and professions.

In Castonguay Blastings Ltd. v. Ontario (Minister of Environment), 2013 SCC 52, the Court adopted a purposive and expansive interpretation of the reporting obligations under Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act in upholding the conviction of a corporation which had failed to report the damage-causing propulsion of rock debris into the air.  The Court stated that “the Ministry of the Environment must be notified when there has been a discharge of a contaminant out of the normal course of events without waiting for proof that the natural environment has, in fact, been impaired.  In other words: when in doubt, report” (at para. 2).

In Cuthbertson v. Rasouli, 2013 SCC 53, the majority of the Court ruled that the withdrawal of life support is governed by the consent regime set out in Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act.

The Court granted leave to appeal in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, in which the question of whether the constitutional right to freedom of association extends to the right to the strike is going to be reconsidered by the Court.

The Court denied leave to appeal from the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Boyce v. Co-operators General Insurance Company, which as I addressed in an earlier post, deals with contracting out of the limitation period for initiating a legal proceeding in Ontario.

Leave to appeal was refused in Newfoundland Power Inc. v. City of St. John’s – a case dealing with the role to be played by the factual matrix and evidence of negotiations in the interpretation of contracts.

Leave to appeal was also denied in Jetha v. Chancery Estate Holdings Corp., a case involving the circumstances in which a business transaction between a lawyer and a client can give rise to a conflict of interest.

The McCarthy Tétrault Opinions Group consists of members of the firm’s litigation department whose practices focus on written advocacy and the provision of strategic advice and opinions in the context of complex business disputes and transactions.  The members of the Opinions Group are Anthony Alexander, Martin Boodman, Brandon Kain, Hovsep Afarian and Kirsten Thompson.

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