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Friday Brief

The Friday Brief

Friday, July 28, 2017 @ 3:28 PM | By Matthew Grace

Matthew Grace %>
Matthew Grace
Today, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that perpetual obligations are enforceable under Quebec civil law in a 6-3 judgment that requires the Quebec pharmacy chain Uniprix to stick to its contract of affiliation entitling a member drug store to unilaterally automatically renew its agreement every five years. The top court dismissed Uniprix’s appeal from decisions by the Quebec courts below declaring that the company’s contract with two pharmacists who co-own a Saint‑Lambert‑de‑Lauzon, Que., drug store is renewed for the five-year period ending July 28, 2018: Uniprix Inc. v. Gestion Gosselin et Bérubé Inc. 2017 SCC 43.

Chief Justice Paul Crampton says the Federal Court might be forced to shutter its courtrooms at least one day a week in response to the Trudeau government’s failure to adequately fund the national trial court handling the bulk of litigation against the federal government. In an exclusive interview with The Lawyer's Daily Ottawa Bureau Chief Cristin Schmitz, the chief justice said restricting the sitting days of his 40-member itinerant court is something he is only reluctantly considering, as a last resort, to deal with a long-standing multimillion-dollar annual “structural” funding shortfall (and consequential severe staff shortages) that began under the predecessor Conservative government and has worsened under the Liberals.

Heaping fuel on a long-simmering administrative law debate, the Supreme Court has divided over standards of review and questions of jurisdiction, arbitrability and standing raised by its judgment that deems reasonable an arbitrator’s refusal to hear a Quebec radiologist’s complaint that his lab did not get enough special government compensation for updating its imaging equipment. Reversing the Quebec courts below, on July 27 the top court split 6-1 to restore a 2013 arbitration ruling: Quebec (A.G.) v. Guérin 2017 SCC 42.

The Supreme Court of Canada has shed new light on the Crown’s duty to consult with Indigenous groups prior to the National Energy Board (NEB), or other regulatory agency, approving resource developments that could affect treaty or Indigenous rights. In companion 9-0 rulings handed down July 26, the top court delivered mixed results to Inuit and First Nations groups who separately challenged NEB decisions greenlighting proposed oil and gas developments the appellants argued violated their treaty and Indigenous rights.

Ian Burns reports that the Ontario government's new regulations on condominium governance are being called a "good start," but some in the area of real estate law say more needs to be done in terms of regulating the fast-growing condo market. Tracy MacCharles, Ontario’s minister of Government and Consumer Services, announced the regulations on July 25. She said they address the “growing needs of condominium communities across the province.”

In Julius Melnitzer’s latest column he writes that “the current debate about paralegal representation in Ontario’s family courts, and the degree of opposition to it in the bar and judiciary, exemplify just how far the profession is removed from reality.”

Matthew Grace is the Managing Editor of The Lawyer's Daily.