Insights

Wrongly Obtained Injunction Leads to an Award of Solicitor and Client Costs

Barton v Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc was concerned with an appeal which determined damages payable pursuant to an undertaking in damages given to obtain an interlocutory injunction. Briefly, the injunction in question was obtained by PCS in 1993 and dissolved in 2003 with minimal steps taken in the litigation. The Honourable Mr. Justice Ottenbreit, for a unanimous Court on this point, upheld an award of solicitor-client costs against PCS. His Lordship noted that since PCS had discontinued the action proper, it had no right to argue that the injunction had been properly obtained. ..

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Efficiency, Timeliness and Cost will Influence the Scope of Discovery

In July of 2013 the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench adopted new Rules of Court, and a recent decision provides some guidance regarding the practical application of the new Rules regarding discovery. This guidance will be particularly helpful to parties to current or future litigation in Saskatchewan. Under the old Rules of Court, the “broad relevance” test was used to determine the scope of production of documents and questioning. The new Rules of Court set out a test of just “relevance”. ..

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Employee Dismissal Damages and Defined Benefits Pension Plans

A recent decision from the Supreme Court of Canada has provided some clarity regarding the sum an employee may be entitled to if he or she is awarded damages in a claim for wrongful dismissal. In Waterman v. IBM Canada Ltd. the Court held that if an employee is entitled to defined pension plan benefits, that amount of those benefits should not be deducted from an award for damages for payment in lieu of notice. The Court reasoned that defined pension plan benefits are not a replacement of lost wages, as the employee contributed to the plan throughout his or her years of service. ..

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Occupational Health and Safety Officers May Now Initiate Proceedings by Issuing a Ticket

Initiating proceedings with respect to offences committed under The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1991 (“OHSA”) has been made simpler due to recent amendments to The Summary Procedure Offences Regulations, 1991. In late 2013, The Summary Procedure Offences Regulations, 1991 were amended to include occupational health officers appointed pursuant to OHSA in the definition of “peace officer” when enforcing the provisions of OHSA. As peace officers, occupational health officers are now able to commence proceedings for offences committed under OHSA by issuing the offender a summons ticket. Further amendments to The Summary Procedure Offences Regulations, 1991 also permit any offence tickets issued by a peace officer to be completed, signed and filed electronically. ..

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Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Upholds Labour Reform Legislation

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has upheld the sweeping labour reforms introduced by the Public Service Essential Services Act (“PSESA”) and the Trade Union Amendment Act (“TUAA”), finding that both acts are constitutional. Specifically, the court upheld the TUAA’s increased requirements for union certification and lowered threshold for decertification, along with its easing of restrictions on employer communications with employees. The court also held that the PSESA’s limitations on public sector employees’ right to strike are constitutional, on the ground that Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not guarantee an employee’s right to strike. ..

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Unsigned Beneficiary Designations May Still Be Enforced

If the beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy is unsigned or incomplete, it may still be enforceable in certain circumstances. Where the deceased had clearly intended to change the beneficiary on his life insurance policy but failed to sign or properly complete a beneficiary change form, and where the insurer had accepted the incomplete form and led the deceased to believe that it was good enough, the court ordered that the insurance proceeds be distributed as the deceased intended. ..

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Lack of Response in Family Law Proceedings May Influence Costs Award

The respondent in a family law matter did not respond to the proceedings, failing to file any materials or appear at trial. The judge made an order of solicitor-client costs against him on the grounds that his refusal to file financial information may have robbed the petitioner and their children of property and support that they were entitled to receive. The judge also commented that if the respondent was disadvantaged by the lack of evidence in his favour, it was his own fault.  ..

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Purpose of The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2002 Clarified

In the context of a dispute regarding the removal of vegetation and addition of sand to a lake bank, the court found that the purpose of the Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2002 (the "Act") is to protect and preserve the existing ecological environment. As a result, any alteration of the existing natural state may be an "adverse effect" for the purposes of the Act. The Minister can issue an environmental protection order wherever he or she is of the opinion that such an adverse effect has taken place. ..

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If a Miscellaneous Interest Lapses, a Claimant may still be Entitled to Register a Builders’ Lien

Where a party registers a miscellaneous interest against a property based on work done on that property, and that interest is lapsed, the party may still be entitled to register a valid builders’ lien against the property based on the same fact situation. However, there is no valid builders’ lien if there is no direct or indirect contractual relationship between the registrant and the owner or if the owner has not requested any improvements to the property. ..

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Standard of Review for a Decision Taken by the Minister of Energy and Resources is one of Reasonableness

In the context of a comprehensive and technically complex scheme for the determination of royalties pursuant to The Crown Mineral Royalty Schedule 1986, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal held that a decision of the Minster of Energy and Resources regarding the average sale price of all arm’s length sales of uranium was to be held to a standard of reasonableness on appeal, rather than a standard of correctness. ..

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