Supreme Court of Canada Hearings

Unedited English audio of oral arguments at the Supreme Court of Canada. Created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. Not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. Original archived webcasts can be found on the Court's website at scc-csc.ca. Feedback welcome: podcast at scchearings dot ca.

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Wednesday Jan 18, 2023

In 2017, the AMF brought an action before the FMAT alleging that the appellants participated in a transnational pump and dump scheme by improperly influencing or manipulating the price of a stock in contravention of the Quebec Securities Act, CQLR, c. V-1.1.According to the AMF, the appellants, who are residents of B.C., made financial transactions through offshore companies incorporated in several countries with bank accounts in Europe. AMF alleged that they acted in concert to acquire the shares of a Nevada company (Solo), give it a legitimate face and promote its business for the purpose of fraudulently increasing the value of its shares and then selling them for a profit, for distribution among themselves. Solo’s shares are traded on an over-the-counter market in New York. The AMF alleged that at all material times, Solo was under the direction of a Québec resident and was a reporting issuer in Québec with a business address in Montreal. It also alleged that the misleading press releases and promotional materials, a portion of which originated in Montreal, were accessible to Québec residents and that approximately fifteen investors in Québec lost a total of $5,000 as a result of the activities. AMF’s action sought to have the FMAT order the appellants to cease any activity in respect of a transaction in securities; prohibit them from acting as directors or officers of an issuer, dealer, adviser or investment fund manager for five years; and impose administrative penalties on them, all pursuant to ss. 265, 273.3, 195.2, 199.1(1) and 273.1 of the Securities Act.The appellants brought preliminary motions for declinatory exceptions arguing that the FMAT was without jurisdiction. The FMAT denied the appellants’ motions and confirmed its jurisdiction to hear the action. The Quebec Superior Court dismissed the application for judicial review, and the Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Argued Date 2023-01-18 Keywords Constitutional law - Private international law, Extraterritoriality, Legislation, Interpretation, Administrative law, Boards and tribunals, Jurisdiction - Constitutional law — Constitutional applicability — Private international law — Extraterritoriality — Jurisdiction of Québec Court — Legislation — Interpretation —Administrative law — Boards and Tribunals — Jurisdiction — Did the Court of Appeal err in deciding that the provisions of the C.C.Q. setting out the International Jurisdiction of Québec Authorities (articles 3134 to 3145) do not apply to administrative proceedings before the Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal (FMAT) — Did the Court of Appeal err in deciding that the FMAT can assert adjudicative jurisdiction over out-of-province defendants based on legislative or territorial jurisdiction — Did the Court of Appeal err in affirming the FMAT’s jurisdiction over the application by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) against Sharp — Are the provisions of the C.C.Q. governing the International Jurisdiction of Québec Authorities applicable to administrative proceedings before a Québec tribunal in the context of disputes relating to the implementation of provincial laws concerning property and civil rights — If the provisions of the C.C.Q. are not applicable, must the Court’s jurisdiction be founded on the presence of specific and predetermined presumptive connecting factors relating to the alleged violations or is it sufficient for the Court to find some form of connection deemed sufficient between Québec and the overall context within which the violations took place — Is the test met in the circumstances of this case — Can article 3148 C.C.Q. be applied by analogy to ground the jurisdiction of Québec courts and tribunals in proceedings of a different nature than a personal action of patrimonial nature — Can article 3136 C.C.Q. apply to the present action in the absence of a request to this effect before the FMAT and in the absence of any evidence as to the impossibility that the Appellants’ alleged conduct be adjudicated elsewhere. Notes (Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Tuesday Jan 17, 2023

In September 2017, the police commenced an investigation related to the purchase of virtual gift cards with fraudulent credit card information. The police was told that the fraudulent online transactions used two IP addresses. The police obtained warrants to search the two residences associated with the IP addresses. The appellant was arrested and charged with 33 offences relating to the possession and use of third parties’ credit cards and personal identification documents, and firearms. The appellant filed a notice alleging the breach of his rights under s. 8 of the Charter as well as other rights. The trial judge found that it was not objectively reasonable to recognize a subjective expectation of privacy in an IP address used by an individual. She concluded that there was no breach of s. 8. The appellant was eventually convicted of 13 of the original 33 counts, which he appealed. The majority of the Court of Appeal of Alberta dismissed the appeal. It found that the trial judge correctly interpreted the scope of the law that governed her s. 8 analysis. The majority concluded that she applied the correct interpretation to her factual findings, which reveal no palpable or overriding error. Veldhuis J.A., dissenting, would have allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. She found that the appellant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the IP addresses and that his s. 8 rights were violated. Argued Date 2023-01-17 Keywords Constitutional law - Canadian charter (Criminal), Search and seizure (s. 8) - Constitutional law — Charter of Rights — Search and seizure — Investigation related to purchase of virtual gift cards with fraudulent credit card information — Police obtaining internet protocol (“IP”) addresses to locate residences — Whether reasonable expectation of privacy attaches to IP address — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 8. Notes (Alberta) (Criminal) (As of Right) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Thursday Jan 12, 2023

The appellants, Mr. Ponce and Mr. Riopel, served as presidents of three companies grouped together under the name “Le Groupe Excellence” controlled by the respondent shareholders, Mr. Rhéaume and Mr. Beaulne. Rhéaume and Beaulne founded Excellence in the late 1970’s, but their working relationship ultimately broke down due to a revenue share dispute. A few years later, the appellants bought the respondents’ interests in Excellence. Rhéaume and Beaulne were unaware, however, that the appellants had been negotiating the sale of Excellence to a third party, Industrial Alliance. Shortly after acquiring the shares of Rhéaume and Beaulne, the appellants sold their interests in Excellence for a significant profit. The respondents allege that the sale of Excellence by the appellants stripped them of a business opportunity. They applied to the courts and claimed joint and several damages against the appellants. The Superior Court granted the respondents’ action in part. The court determined that the appellants used their roles to obtain information for their own benefit, and breached duties of good faith, integrity and loyalty owing to Rhéaume and Beaulne as shareholders. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appellants’ appeal. Although it found that the trial judge made an error in determining that the duty of loyalty was owed to the shareholders, as opposed to the corporation, this error was not determinative since the judge also relied on the obligation of good faith and the duty to inform to conclude that the appellants were at fault towards the respondents. Argued Date 2023-01-12 Keywords Civil liability - Commercial law - Civil liability — Duty to inform — Duty of good faith — Loss of chance — Commercial law — Corporations — Directors of corporation buying out controlling shareholders — Subsequent offers by third party to buy interests of directors of corporation — Interest of third party not made known to former controlling shareholders — Former controlling shareholders alleging improper appropriation of business opportunity by directors — Scope of duties owing to controlling shareholders — Given its distinction in Quebec civil law with the duty of loyalty, whether the duty to inform, deriving from the duty to act in good faith, places the responsibility on a prospective buyer to inform a prospective seller about the market for the sale — Whether the Court of Appeal of Quebec erred in upholding the award of disgorgement in the absence of a duty of loyalty — Whether the Court of Appeal of Quebec erred in awarding damages for a loss of chance to negotiate in the absence of a basis for disgorgement. Notes (Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Wednesday Jan 11, 2023

At trial before judge and jury, the appellant, Ahmed Abdullahi was convicted of various gun-related offences including one count of participation in the activities of a criminal organization for the purpose of trafficking weapons, contrary to s. 467.11 of the Criminal Code. The charges resulted from a police investigation dubbed “Project Traveller”.A majority of the Court of Appeal (per Brown J.A. with Trotter J.A. concurring) dismissed the three grounds the appellant raised pertaining to his conviction appeal. First, the majority rejected his argument that the trial judge erred in admitting the opinion evidence of the Somali-language translator regarding portions of intercepted communications. Second, the majority held that the trial judge did not err in failing to charge the jury adequately on the definition of “criminal organization” in s. 467.1(1) of the Criminal Code. The appellant had submitted on appeal that the charge did not provide guidance on the requisite degree of structure and continuity mentioned in R. v. Venneri, 2012 SCC 33, to constitute a criminal organization. On this point, the majority concluded that defence counsel’s lack of objection was indicative of the legal adequacy of the trial judge’s instructions on this definition given the evidence heard by the jury and the positions taken by the parties in closing submissions. Third, the majority held the trial judge did not err in charging the jury that they could consider certain after the fact conduct.In dissent, Paciocco J.A. only disagreed on one ground of the conviction appeal: he would have concluded that the trial judge erred by failing to adequately charge the jury on the “criminal organization” definition in s. 467.1(1) and would have therefore set aside the appellant’s conviction for the count setting out the offence at s. 467.11 of the Criminal Code of “participating in the activities of a criminal organization for the purpose of trafficking weapons” and ordered a new trial on that charge. Argued Date 2023-01-11 Keywords Criminal law - Charge to jury, Offences - Criminal law — Charge to jury — Offences — Definition — Participating in activities of criminal organization for purpose of trafficking weapons — What constitutes adequate jury instruction on definition of “criminal organization” under s. 467.1 (1) of Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, with respect to essential elements of structure and continuity? Notes (Ontario) (Criminal) (As of Right) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Thursday Dec 08, 2022

By Order in Council 1288 2019 of December 18, 2019, the Quebec government submitted the following question to the Quebec Court of Appeal:Is An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, S.C. 2019, c. 24, ultra vires the Parliament of Canada under the Constitution of Canada?The Court of Appeal answered that the Act, which came into force on January 1, 2020, is constitutional, except for ss. 21 and 22(3), which are not. It found that the pith and substance of the Act is to ensure the well being of Indigenous children by fostering culturally appropriate services that will reduce their over representation in provincial child welfare systems. The well being of Indigenous persons is part of the essence of the federal head of power set out in s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, and the national principles stated in general terms in the Act are compatible with Quebec’s child welfare legislation. The Court of Appeal also held that the right of self government in relation to child and family services falls within s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Examining the framework established by the Act for circumscribing the exercise of this generic Aboriginal right, the court found that the aim of s. 21 is to make the doctrine of federal paramountcy applicable to Indigenous laws. Because this alters the fundamental architecture of the Constitution, s. 21 is ultra vires. The same is true of s. 22(3), which provides that Indigenous laws prevail over any conflicting or inconsistent provisions of provincial legislation. Section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 does not authorize Parliament to give absolute priority to an Aboriginal right. Argued Date 2022-12-07 Keywords Constitutional law - Division of powers, Aboriginal peoples (s. 35), Aboriginal rights, Self-government - Constitutional law — Division of powers — Pith and substance — Aboriginal peoples — Aboriginal rights — Self government — Child and family services — Whether An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, S.C. 2019, c. 24, is ultra vires Parliament of Canada under Constitution of Canada — Constitution Act, 1867, s. 91(24) — Constitution Act, 1982, s. 35. Notes (Quebec) (Civil) (As of Right) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Tuesday Dec 06, 2022

After a trial in the Court of Québec, the appellant, Mikerlson Vernelus, was convicted of possession of a firearm and breach of a recognizance. A vehicle with the appellant and two other individuals in it had been stopped by the police and the appellant had been arrested for possession of cannabis. During the search incident to the arrest, the police had found a firearm in a bag belonging to the appellant. Testing of that weapon had found DNA only from the vehicle’s other occupant. The trial judge rejected the appellant’s testimony, as she did not find it credible. She then held that the defence as a whole did not raise any reasonable doubt as to knowledge, control and possession of the weapon found, including the appellant’s consent. The judge also noted that the fact that the appellant was calm when the weapon was found confirmed his knowledge that the weapon was hidden in his bag, which was under his control.The Quebec Court of Appeal, for the reasons given by Moore J.A. and concurred in by Pelletier J.A., dismissed the accused’s appeal based on the unreasonableness of the verdict. The majority explained that the offence of possession of a firearm is grounded in control and knowledge. The trial judge had found from the evidence that these elements were established beyond a reasonable doubt, and it was open to her to make such a finding. First, the bag in which the weapon was found was the appellant’s bag, the weapon was not visible from the outside and was in the centre of the bag with clothing around it, and the bag was close to the appellant. These facts established the appellant’s control of the weapon. Second, the judge could infer from these indicia that the appellant knew of the weapon’s presence and thus that he was guilty. The fact that the appellant had not placed the weapon in the bag himself did not matter. The prosecution could establish, and had established here, that the weapon had not been placed in the bag without the appellant’s knowledge. The majority explained that, at the third step of R. v. W.(D.), [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742, a possible, speculative inference that amounts to pure conjecture is not sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt.Schrager J.A., dissenting, would have set aside the judgment and substituted acquittals on the offences of possession of a firearm and breach of a recognizance. In his view, the verdict was unreasonable because the trial judge had misapplied the third step of R. v. W.(D.), [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742. In light of the possibility that the firearm had been placed in the bag without the appellant’s knowledge, which was a reasonable inference from the evidence, the appellant had not been given the benefit of the reasonable doubt to which he was entitled because the evidence did not reasonably support the guilty verdict. Argued Date 2022-12-06 Keywords Criminal law - Appeals, Evidence, Unreasonable verdict - Criminal law — Appeals — Evidence — Reasonable inference — Verdict — Unreasonable verdict — Whether majority of Quebec Court of Appeal erred in law in holding that trial judge had not made error and had not reached unreasonable verdict by finding that appellant had possession of firearm for which he was charged, even though that inference was not only reasonable one that could be drawn from evidence or from lack of evidence. Notes (Quebec) (Criminal) (As of Right) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Monday Dec 05, 2022

The parties were married for three years. Both parties came into the marriage with considerable assets, including houses, vehicles, items of personal property, RRSPs, savings and pensions. Shortly after the parties separated, the respondent invited the applicant to a reconciliation meeting with mutual friends. At the end of the meeting, the respondent presented the applicant with a separation agreement she had drawn up. Neither party received independent legal advice, but they both signed the agreement. The agreement did not deal with all the family property issues as the family home was not specifically dealt with in a final way. Shortly thereafter, the respondent’s counsel drafted a formal interspousal agreement but the applicant refused to sign it or engage in any discussion with the respondent. The respondent issued a petition seeking a divorce and costs in December 2015 and the applicant issued a counter petition in May 2017 claiming for the first time a family property division as well as occupational rent.The trial judge ordered that the respondent pay to the applicant the sum of $62,646.98 (this being the sum of the $70,646.98 equalization of non-taxable assets less the $8,000 equitable factor regarding the agreement), and either an RRSP rollover of $37,089.69 or a further cash payment of an additional $27,817.27. The Court of Appeal set aside the trial judgment and directed that the division of the family property should be made in accordance with the December 2015 values. The applicant was thus ordered to pay the sum of $4,914.95 to the respondent to equalize the distribution of their family property. Argued Date 2022-12-05 Keywords Family law - Family law — Division of property — Agreements — Whether an analysis under Miglin v. Miglin, 2003 SCC 24, [2003] 1 S.C.R. 303, should be applied when considering a non binding agreement — If the Miglin analysis is applied to a non binding agreement, whether it is open to the court to find the agreement is enforceable but depart from the terms of the agreement —Whether an appellate court must apply the correct standard of review. Notes (Saskatchewan) (Civil) (By Leave) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Friday Dec 02, 2022

The respondent, David Edward Furey, was convicted of breaking and entering into a dwelling, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, possession of a knife for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, and breach of an undertaking. At trial, the judge admitted, for the truth of its contents, a videotaped out of court statement given by one of the complainants, who subsequently died of unrelated causes. The statement was given to the police soon after the altercations.A majority of the Court of Appeal allowed Mr. Furey’s appeal from convictions, set aside the decision of the trial judge, including the voir dire decision regarding the admissibility of the complainant’s out-of-court statement, and ordered a new trial. The majority concluded that the trial judge applied an erroneous statement of the law — that where there is greater necessity, less reliability is acceptable. As a result of her reliance on this statement, the trial judge erred in admitting the complainant’s out of court statement for the truth of its contents: she permitted the admissibility of the hearsay evidence without requiring that the requisite degree of reliability be established. In dissent, Knickle J.A. would have dismissed the appeal. In her view, the trial judge committed no error in her application of the principled approach to the hearsay evidence, as she engaged in the skeptical and cautious analysis that was required before admitting the statement, including that the two criteria of necessity and reliability must be assessed in tandem and with flexibility. Argued Date 2022-12-02 Keywords Criminal law - Evidence, Admissibility, Hearsay - Criminal law — Evidence — Admissibility — Hearsay — Videotaped out of court statement given by complainant who died before trial — Whether the majority of the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal erred in law in allowing the appeal, setting aside the convictions and ordering a new trial because the trial judge failed to apply the correct legal principles in assessing the “threshold” admissibility of an out of court statement. Notes (Newfoundland & Labrador) (Criminal) (As of Right) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Thursday Dec 01, 2022

Before the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, the appellant, Ryan David Clark, was convicted by a jury of second degree murder. The main issue at trial was the identity of the person who had beaten the deceased to death.On appeal, Mr. Clark argued that the trial judge erred by failing to address the frailties of eyewitness evidence in his instructions to the jury, particularly with regard to in-court identification by two witnesses. He also argued that the trial judge erred by allowing other witnesses to provide bad character and post-offence conduct evidence and by failing to adequately caution the jury in relation to that testimony and that the verdict was unreasonable. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. The jury instructions properly equipped the jury to understand its task in evaluating all of the eyewitness identification evidence, including the in-court identification. It was adequately prepared to examine the frailties of the evidence of the two particular witnesses and to determine if it would accept their testimony as credible and reliable in accordance with the law. The trial judge also did not err in regard to post-offence conduct and bad character evidence and the verdict was not unreasonable.In dissent, Leurer J.A. would have allowed Mr. Clark’s appeal and ordered a new trial. In his view, the jury charge did not adequately equip the jurors to deal with the frailties of the in-court eyewitness identification evidence in this case. Argued Date 2022-11-30 Keywords Criminal law - Charge to jury - Criminal law — Charge to jury — Eyewitness evidence — Identification — In-court identification — Caution — Whether the trial judge erred in not providing an adequate jury instruction or caution alerting jurors that a witness’s testimony had limited value for the purposes of identifying the assailant who killed the victim, and that this witness’s in court identification of the appellant had no evidentiary value — Whether the trial judge erred in not providing an adequate jury instruction or caution on the problematic nature of another witness’s in-court identification of the appellant, and that it would be dangerous to attribute to this identification any degree of certainty greater than what she had communicated to police prior — Whether the majority of the Court of Appeal erred in law by concluding the instructions on eyewitness identification evidence did not give rise to reversible legal error. Notes (Saskatchewan) (Criminal) (As of Right) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

Thursday Dec 01, 2022

Section 34(1)(e) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (“IRPA”) provides that permanent residents or foreign nationals are “inadmissible on security grounds” for “engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada”. The Minister alleged that both appellants were foreign nationals who were inadmissible under s. 34(1)(e) of the IRPA.The issue before the Immigration Board and the Immigration Appeal Division was whether s. 34(1)(e) applied only where there is a connection to national security. Both agreed with the Minister that it did not. In their view, s. 34(1)(e) operates whether or not there is a connection to national security.On judicial review, the Federal Court quashed the decisions in the two cases.Both cases were heard together at the Federal Court of Appeal. It allowed the appeals, set aside the judgments of the Federal Court and dismissed the applications for judicial review. It found the administrative interpretation of s. 34(1)(e) was reasonable and answered the following certified question:Q.: Is it reasonable to interpret para. 34(1)(e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in a manner that does not require proof of conduct that has a nexus with “national security” or the “security of Canada”?A. Yes. Argued Date 2022-11-29 Keywords Immigration - Judicial review - Immigration — Inadmissibility on security grounds for “engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada” — Judicial review — Interpretation of s. 34(1)(e) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (IRPA) — Whether reasonable interpretation of s. 34(1)(e) of IRPA requires national security nexus — Whether s. 34(1)(e) of IRPA can apply to conduct that does not require a nexus to “national security” or “security of Canada” — How should reviewing courts determine whether a legislative provision can bear only one reasonable interpretation and what constraints will bear on this assessment — Whether Federal Court of Appeal erred in overturning Federal Court’s findings that tribunal decisions were unreasonable. Notes (Federal) (Civil) (By Leave) Disclaimers This podcast is created as a public service to promote public access and awareness of the workings of Canada's highest court. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Court. The original version of this hearing may be found on the Supreme Court of Canada's website. The above case summary was prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch).

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