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Supreme Court of Canada releases much-anticipated decisions in three administrative law appeals

Date Closed

décembre 20, 2019

Lead Office


On December 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decisions in a trilogy of administrative law appeals: Bell Canada v. CanadaNational Football League, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, and Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov.

The first two cases arose out of the same administrative decision. In 2016, the CRTC banned simultaneous substitution (SimSub) exclusively for the Super Bowl. The appellants, Bell and the NFL, sought judicial review of the CRTC’s decision and argued for the re-instatement of SimSub during the Super Bowl, so that viewers watching the Canadian broadcast of the event would see Canadian advertisements rather than American.

The Vavliov case concerned Alexander Vavliov's claim to Canadian citizenship. Mr. Vavliov was born in Canada, but was the child of two Russian spies. Canada's Registrar of Citizenship did not originally grant him citizenship, citing an exception in the Citizenship Act. The Federal Court upheld the Registrar's decision on the standard of "correctness", however both the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court sided with Mr. Vavliov on the standard of "reasonableness".

Advocates for the Rule of Law (ARL) a non-profit Canadian think tank focused on promoting the rule of law and constitutionalism, acted as intervener in all three cases.

McCarthy Tétrault acted for ARL with a team led by Adam Goldenberg that included Jacob Klugsberg and Rachel Chan.