HomeCase Commentary

Case Commentary

Toronto v Ontario: Correcting Results-Oriented Reasoning

It is not often that I can write a post in full agreement with a judicial decision. Perhaps this says something about my constitution. No matter, the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s recent decision in Toronto v Ontario is an admirable decision that strikes all of the right notes when it comes to interpreting overlapping Charter rights and the use ...

Read More »

R. v. Stillman: A Missed Opportunity for Guidance on Stare Decisis

On July 26, 2019, in R. v. Stillman, 2019 SCC 40,the Supreme Court of Canada held by a 5-2 majority that a member of the Canadian Forces does not have the right to trial by jury for a “civilian” criminal offence for which they are charged under the National Defence Act (the “NDA”). Section 130(1)(a) of the NDA converts any ...

Read More »

Losing Rights in the Balance

Back in 2008, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) issued a new policy entitled “Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code.” That policy informed physicians that they should be prepared to “set aside their personal beliefs” in providing healthcare. It warned that the Human Rights Code has no defence for discriminatory refusals of medical services, “even if the refusal is ...

Read More »

The Political Consequences of Deference are not Always the Same

In my last post on this blog, I commented and mostly praised two recent blog posts at Double Aspect by Mark Mancini from earlier this month calling for less deference to administrators in judicial review, unless a statute explicitly calls for such deference. But after I began drafting my response, a new development arose that now calls for a brief ...

Read More »

The “Return” of “Textualism” at the SCC?

Under the so-called “modern approach” to statutory interpretation, courts are instructed to take into account the text, context, and purpose of a statute. But perhaps because the “text, context, and purpose” recital is so commonplace, other difficult interpretive questions are masked under its patina. For example, which takes priority—text or purpose? The Supreme Court has said that clear text is ...

Read More »

Ontario Court of Appeal Underscores the Importance of Adversarial Argument

Last week’s unusual Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Welsh v Ontario made headlines as the Court quashed an order that $1.5 Million dollars be paid to a charity. The facts of the case make the result a bitter pill to swallow. But despite this result, and the unusual statutory and factual matrix in which the case emerged, the decision ...

Read More »

A Matter of Deductions: Resolving Uncertainty in MVA Litigation

As any Ontario personal injury lawyer knows, the common law of damages has been modified significantly in the context of motor vehicle accidents, to the benefit of defendants and their insurers. The legislature has enacted various measures to limit the ability of plaintiffs to recover in tort. It has done so for two reasons: 1) to help limit the number ...

Read More »

Statutory Interpretation in Canadian Administrative Law

Over on Professor Daly’s blog Administrative Law Matters, Professor Audrey Macklin wrote what I would characterize as a confessional: an admission that the law of judicial review in Canada may be beyond repair. What Prof. Macklin proposes, in light of this realization, is a renewed focus on the principles of statutory interpretation, rather than a myopic focus on standard of ...

Read More »

The Administrative Law “Trilogy”: The Stare Decisis Trap

This week, the Supreme Court of Canada finally heard the consolidated appeals in Bell/NFL and Vavilov. ARL, expertly represented by Adam Goldenberg, put forward our submissions on the matter, which focus on a return to the basis of the law of judicial review: its statutory character. During the hearings, one particular line of questioning posed a problem for this  argument, ...

Read More »

Supreme Court Rejects a Legislative Duty to Consult in ARL’s First Intervention

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has ruled that there is no duty to consult Indigenous groups at any stage of the law-making process.  This is an important ruling as the recognition of a justiciable duty to consult in the legislative process would have had very significant implications for the ability of federal, provincial, and territorial governments to pass laws ...

Read More »