New decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada

The following decisions were released on the Supreme Court of Canada Judgments website since the last InForum. The subject headings and summaries have been prepared by the Supreme Court of Canada. This notice has been prepared by Society staff in Library & Information Services.

 

November 6, 2014
R. v. Dunn
Neutral Citation: 2014 SCC 69 (CanLII)
File No.: 35599
2014: November 6
Present: McLachlin, Beverley; Abella, Rosalie Silberman; Cromwell, Thomas Albert; Moldaver, Michael J.; Karakatsanis, Andromache; Wagner, Richard

On Appeal from the Court of Appeal for Ontario

The appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Number C54975, 2013 ONCA 539, dated September 4, 2013, was heard on November 5, 2014, and the Court on that day delivered the following judgment orally:

The Chief Justice — For the reasons of Justice Rosenberg in the Court of Appeal, we are all of the view that the appeal should be dismissed.

C.J.C.

 

October 30, 2014
Febles v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration)
Neutral Citation:  2014 SCC 68 (CanLII)
File No.: 35215.
2014: March 25; 2014: October 30.
Present: McLachlin C.J. and LeBel, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Moldaver and Wagner JJ.

On Appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal

Immigration law — Convention refugees — Exclusion based on commission of serious crime prior to admission to country of refuge — Cuban national seeking refugee protection in Canada — Immigration and Refugee Board rejecting claim for refugee protection on grounds that claimant committed serious crimes prior to admission to Canada — Whether consideration of grounds for exclusion should include matters or events after commission of crime, such as whether claimant is fugitive from justice or unmeritorious or dangerous at the time of the application for refugee protection — Whether claimant who has committed serious crime in the past may nevertheless qualify for refugee protection because he or she has served sentence or because of redeeming conduct in the interim — Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 , s. 98  — United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Can. T.S. 1969 No. 6, art. 1F (b).

Febles was admitted to the United States as a refugee from Cuba. While living in the United States, he was convicted and served time in prison for two assaults with a deadly weapon — in the first case he struck a roommate on the head with a hammer, and in the second, he threatened to kill a roommate’s girlfriend at knifepoint. The U.S. revoked his refugee status and issued a removal warrant. Febles subsequently fled to Canada and sought Canadian refugee protection.

Refugee protection claims in Canada are governed by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA ”). Section 98  of the IRPA excludes from refugee protection in Canada all persons referred to in Article 1F(b) of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (“Refugee Convention”). Article 1F(b) of the Refugee Convention excludes from refugee protection all persons who have committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to admission to that country as a refugee. Refugee protection claims in Canada are adjudicated by the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (“Board”). In deciding Febles’ refugee protection claim, the Board concluded that Febles was among the persons referred to by Article 1F(b) of the Refugee Convention, and therefore ineligible for refugee protection in Canada pursuant to s. 98  of the IRPA . Both the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Febles’ application for judicial review.

Held (Abella and Cromwell JJ. dissenting): The appeal should be dismissed.

 

October 28, 2014
Thibodeau v. Air Canada
Neutral Citation: 2014 SCC 67 (CanLII)
File No.: 35100.
2014: March 26; 2014: October 28.
Present: McLachlin C.J. and LeBel, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Karakatsanis and Wagner JJ.

On Appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal

Official languages — Breach of language rights during international carriage by air — Airline failing to provide services in French on international flights — Passengers applying to Federal Court for damages and a structural order under Official Languages Act — Whether award of damages barred by limitation of damages liability set out in the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (“Montreal Convention”) — Whether structural order appropriate — Official Languages Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp .), s. 77(4)  — Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, 2242 U.N.T.S. 350, Article 29 .

Legislation — Interpretation — Conflicting legislation — Airline breaching passengers’ right to services in French under Official Languages Act by failing to provide services in French on international flights — Passengers applying to Federal Court for damages under Official Languages Act — Whether award of damages barred by limitation of damages liability set out in Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (“Montreal Convention”) — Whether Official Languages Act and Montreal Convention conflict or overlap — Official Languages Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp .), s. 77(4)  — Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, 2242 U.N.T.S. 350, Article 29 .

In 2009, on three international flights operated by the airline and in an airport, the passengers did not receive services in the French language. They filed several complaints with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages against the airline, four of which were upheld. There is no dispute that the airline breached its obligations to supply services in French under s. 22  of the Official Languages Act (the “OLA ”) on the occasions giving rise to those four complaints. The passengers applied to the Federal Court under s. 77  of the OLA for damages and for structural orders in relation to the airline’s breaches of their right to services in French. The airline defended against the claims for damages by relying on the limitation on damages liability set out in the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (the “Montreal Convention”), which restricts the types and the amount of claims for damages that may be made against international air carriers. The Federal Court found that the passengers were entitled to both damages and a structural order, holding that although there was a conflict between the limitation on damages in the Montreal Convention and the power under the OLA to award damages, the latter prevailed. The Federal Court of Appeal set aside the award of damages for the three complaints about events that took place on board the flights as well as the structural order. It held that the Montreal Convention precluded the damages remedy and that a structural order was not appropriate.

Held (Abella and Wagner JJ. dissenting): The appeals should be dismissed.

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