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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Striking out pleadings or allegations - Grounds

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 @ 8:18 AM  


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Appeal by the Crown from the dismissal of its motion to strike out the respondent’s amended claim in its entirety challenging the constitutionality of provisions in the Cannabis Regulations imposing a 150-gram cap on possessing and shipping cannabis marijuana. The respondent alleged the provisions violated rights of individuals with large prescriptions for medical cannabis under ss. 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). The motions judge declined to find that the respondent’s claim attempted to relitigate previous issues and disagreed that he was bound by the previous jurisprudence to affirm the constitutionality of the possession limits.  

HELD: Appeal allowed. The Federal Court made palpable and overriding errors in finding that the respondent pleaded sufficient facts to support either his s. 7 or s. 15 Charter claim. The statement of claim failed to disclose sufficient facts to support that the law deprived individuals with large prescriptions of their liberty or security interests, that any deprivation of these rights under s. 7 was not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice, or that the impugned provisions created a distinction based on disability, and that distinction was discriminatory such that s. 15 was engaged. There was very little in the amended statement of claim on which the Federal Court could reasonably assess whether a deprivation could be made out. The Federal Court further erred when it failed to consider whether the respondent pleaded sufficient facts to support the claim that any deprivation was not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. The respondent did not provide sufficient support for his claim that the law deprived individuals with large prescriptions for medical cannabis of their liberty or security of the person, nor that any such deprivation offended the principles of fundamental justice. Without these elements, his claim could not proceed. The Federal Court also erred in finding there were sufficient facts to show that the possession and shipping limits drew a distinction based on disability or that the limits were discriminatory.

Canada v. Harris, [2020] F.C.J. No. 793, Federal Court of Appeal, J.D.D. Pelletier, J. Gauthier and J.M. Woods JJ.A., July 21, 2020. Digest No. TLD-August242020006