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TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS - Practice and procedure - Limitation periods 

Monday, August 10, 2020 @ 9:06 AM  

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Motion by the plaintiffs for declarations that Ontario did not benefit from the doctrine of Crown immunity and that limitations legislation did not apply. The plaintiffs, who claimed that the Robinson treaties imposed a fiduciary obligation on Ontario to increase annuities when economic circumstances warranted, sought equitable compensation for breach of fiduciary duty and damages for breach of treaty. Ontario argued that Crown immunity shielded it from claims for breach of fiduciary duty based on any facts that existed as of 1963, when the Proceedings Against the Crown Act came into force, and that the claim for breach of treaty was defeated by the 1990 Limitations Act because treaties were contracts.

HELD: Motion allowed. Equitable claims against the Crown could be pursued by way of petition of right before 1963 and therefore all the claims for breach of fiduciary duty were captured by s. 29(1) of the 1970 Proceedings Against the Crown Act and not subject to Crown immunity. There was no limitation period for claims for breach of treaty. The limitation periods in the 1990 Limitations Act for breach of contract did not capture a claim for breach of treaty. The treaties were unique agreements whose long-term goal was peaceful and respectful co-existence in a shared territory.

Restoule v. Canada (Attorney General), [2020] O.J. No. 2881, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, P.C. Hennessy J., June 26, 2020. Digest No. TLD-August102020001