HomeTag Archives: purposivism

Tag Archives: purposivism

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 ...

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The Perils of the Purposive Approach

The Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly said that, in interpreting statutes, courts should undertake a unified textual, contextual and purposive approach. Under this approach “the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention ...

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The Need for Doctrine: Scalian Originalism and Canadian Purposivism

A legal lion passed away recently. One might argue that the death of Justice Antonin Scalia means much more for the American legal audience than the Canadian one. After all, Scalia’s death tossed the Supreme Court of the United States into the centre of an already contentious election season and brought to the forefront the divisively partisan tendencies of the ...

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The Ghosts of Nadon Haunt the Supreme Court

Is there any real distinction between the phrases “from the Bar” and “from among the advocates”? According to two recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions, the answer to that question must be an emphatic “yes”. The first decision is well-known to the legal community and to the public as a whole. In Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and ...

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‘Sprite Please’ vs. ‘7Up Se Il Vous Plaît’ – A Distinction Without a (Monetary) Difference

In a widely circulated decision, a 5-2 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on October 28, 2014 that an Ottawa couple was not entitled to financial compensation for Air Canada failing to provided services in French. Affidavit evidence that was before the court noted that Lynda Thibodeau asked in French for a 7Up, but the unilingual English-speaking flight ...

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Common Sense for Contracts but not for Statutes

The Supreme Court of Canada has reaffirmed an integral principle of contract law: the interpretation of contracts should be based on the text of the agreement, not the subjective intentions of the parties. Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp.1 involved the interpretation of a finder’s fee agreement in a mining property acquisition, and specifically what date ought to determine ...

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Supreme Court Alters the Balance of Power Between Labour and Business

On June 27, 2014, the Supreme Court released a decision that will affect every employment relationship across Canada.  In United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 503 v. Wal Mart Canada Corp., a 5-2 majority of the Court held that an employer – in this case Wal-Mart – is prohibited from permanently shutting down its business during the collective bargaining process, unless it ...

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