Focus On

Highlights of top court's winter docket

Thursday, January 12, 2017 @ 7:00 PM | By Cristin Schmitz

Highlights of the Supreme Court’s winter session include:

The interpretation of the test for inadmissibility of non-citizens due to serious criminality in s. 36(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and whether a conditional sentence amounts to a “term of imprisonment” — one of the prerequisites triggering an admissibility hearing: Tran v. Minister of Public Safety (Jan. 13).

Are anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers shielded by privilege: Durham Regional Crime Stoppers Inc. v. The Queen (Jan. 20)?

Do trial judges have discretion to award damages for psychological injuries — absent a specific medical diagnosis — if the trial judge finds, based on testimonial evidence, that a plaintiff has suffered a psychological injury due to the defendant’s negligence: Saadati v. Moorhead (Jan. 16)?

Does an auditor’s duty of care include the duty to resign when it loses trust in its client — the appellant is on the hook for some $130 million in negligence damages to its ex-client, Livent Inc., whose directing minds, Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb, were later convicted of fraud: Livent Inc. v. Deloitte & Touche (Feb. 15).

Has the Ontario Court of Appeal revised the rules governing the assignment of the risk of cheque fraud, as it exists between Canadian banks and drawer companies, by introducing a defence of drawer’s negligence into the strict liability tort of conversion? The appellant was defrauded of $5.5 million by its employee who requisitioned (and cashed) dozens of company cheques to illegitimate payees, some with names similar to the company’s real customers and suppliers. The cheques were cashed by the respondent banks, which were not held liable: Teva Canada v. TD Canada Trust (Feb. 24).

What is the appropriate remedy when the Crown breaches its obligation in respect to a joint process established under a modern treaty — in this case in the context of establishing a regional land use plan involving the Peel River watershed in northeast Yukon: First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon (March 22)?

What is the appropriate standard of review for former Minister of Justice Peter MacKay’s decision to accept diplomatic assurances from an extradition partner — in this case India —that two ailing and elderly Indo-Canadians accused of arranging the murder in Punjab of their daughter/niece for marrying against their wishes won’t be tortured or denied medical treatment in that country’s prisons — which have a record of human rights abuses: AG Canada v. Badesha (March 24)?

n Is an employee’s human rights protection from discrimination “regarding employment” — in this case racist, anti-Muslim and anti-gay slurs uttered by an employee’s co-worker — confined to employer or employer-like relationships marked by a power imbalance? Or does it hold to account any person — in this case the former employee of a contractor hired by the complainant’s employer — as long it is uttered in the workplace: B.C. Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk (March 28)?

n At press time, the court was considering a contested motion by the federal Liberal government to adjourn the scheduled Feb. 16 hearing of a novel s. 3 Charter-right-to-vote challenge to 1993 Canada Elections Act reforms barring an estimated million-plus citizens temporarily resident abroad for five years or more from voting in federal elections. On Nov. 24, 2016, the government tabled Bill C-33, which would remove the voting limitations that non-resident electors must have been residing outside Canada for less than five consecutive years and must intend to return to Canada to resume residence in the future: Frank v. A.G. Canada.