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TORTS BY THE CROWN - Immunity - Negligence

Thursday, October 24, 2019 @ 9:10 AM  


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Appeal by the plaintiffs from the summary dismissal of their negligence action. The action arose from a decision by the respondent Canadian Food Inspection Agency to quarantine the appellants’ lands and destroy their seed potato crops after it discovered potato cyst nematode spores in soil samples from the appellants’ land. Subsequent lab tests were negative, and the fields were deregulated. The appellants received some compensation through a provincial government assistance program partially funded by the federal government. The chambers judge found s. 9 of the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act prohibited double recovery and provided the federal Crown with a complete defence to the action.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The chambers judge did not err in her interpretation or application of s. 9 of the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act. The payments received by the appellants were compensation to address expenses and losses directly and indirectly related to the Agency’s actions. The factual connection between the disaster assistance and the Agency’s actions was evident. The present negligence claims arose out of the same actions and their consequences. There was no error in the chambers judge’s conclusion that for the purposes of s. 9 of the Act, it was the source of the compensation that mattered and not the vehicle through which it was distributed. The chambers judge did not err in entertaining the summary judgment application.

North Bank Potato Farms Ltd. v. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, [2019] A.J. No. 1236, Alberta Court of Appeal, J.D.B. McDonald, M.G. Crighton and J. Antonio JJ.A., September 17, 2019. Digest No. TLD-October212019010