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SCC cancels scheduled spring session; appeal hearings might still proceed in June

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 @ 4:45 PM | By Cristin Schmitz

Citing the risks posed by COVID-19, the Supreme Court of Canada has cancelled all the hearings it had scheduled for April and May, and is tentatively rescheduling those appeals to June 2020.

The news follows Chief Justice Richard Wagner’s announcement March 16 that the court was tentatively postponing to June, the hearing of three appeals scheduled for this month, including two high-profile provincial challenges to the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax. 

The upshot is that 11 appeals have now been tentatively adjourned to June.

The appeals to be postponed from the spring session include the far-reaching case of Conférence des juges de la Cour du Québec v. Chief Justice, in which the province of Quebec is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a successful constitutional challenge by the judges of the Quebec Superior Court to the province’s power to raise from $70,000 to just below $85,000 the exclusive monetary jurisdiction of Quebec’s provincial court — a move which the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled unconstitutionally trenches on the superior court’s core general jurisdiction to resolve “substantial” civil disputes under s. 96 of the Constitution Act, 1867

Another postponed appeal is A.G. Ontario v. Clark, an appeal by the attorney general of Ontario from a groundbreaking ruling that Crown attorneys are not immune from being sued for misfeasance in public office.

The top court said in its news release that it will continue to issue judgments on applications for leave, and on appeal, “for the time being.”

“We again thank everyone for their co-operation during this challenging period,” the statement says.

The court advised that physical access to the Supreme Court’s building in Ottawa remains restricted to persons necessary to the proceedings before the court. Court documents must be filed by e-mail.

Further information about modified filing requirements for Supreme Court documents, and other measures taken in response to Covid-19, can be found here.