Barrie Public Utilities et al. v. Canadian Cable Television Association et al., (2003) 304 N.R. 1 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Gonthier, Major, Bastarache, Arbour, LeBel and Deschamps, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMay 16, 2003
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2003), 304 N.R. 1 (SCC);2003 SCC 28;[2003] SCJ No 27 (QL);[2003] FCJ No 27 (QL);304 NR 1;[2003] ACS no 27;49 Admin LR (3d) 161;225 DLR (4th) 206;[2003] 1 SCR 476;JE 2003-967;122 ACWS (3d) 606

Barrie Public Utilities v. Cdn. Cable (2003), 304 N.R. 1 (SCC)

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[French language version follows English language version]

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....................

Temp. Cite: [2003] N.R. TBEd. MY.026

Canadian Cable Television Association (appellant) v. Barrie Public Utilities, Essex Public Utilities Commission, Guelph Hydro, Innisfil Hydro, Leamington Public Utilities Commission, Markham Hydro Electric Commission, Mississauga Hydro Electric Commission, Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro Electric Commission, the Hydro Electric Commission of North Bay, Oakville Hydro, Orillia Water, Light and Power, Perth Public Utilities Commission, Richmond Hill Hydro Electric Commission, Shelburne Hydro, Stoney Creek Hydro-Electric Commission, Stratford Public Utility Commission, Toronto Hydro-Electric Commission (formerly Hydro Electric Commission of the City of North York and the Public Utilities Commission of the City of Scarborough), Waterloo North Hydro and Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro (respondents) and Attorney General of Canada, Attorney General of Ontario, Attorney General of Quebec, Attorney General of New Brunswick, Attorney General of Manitoba, Attorney General of British Columbia, Attorney General of Saskatchewan, Attorney General of Alberta, Saskatchewan Power Corporation, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, GT Group Telecom Services Corp., Aliant Telecom Inc., AT & T Canada, Bell Canada, Bell West Inc., MTS Communications Inc. and TELUS Communications Inc. (interveners)

(28826; 2003 SCC 28; 2003 CSC 28)

Indexed As: Barrie Public Utilities et al. v. Canadian Cable Television Association et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Gonthier, Major, Bastarache, Arbour, LeBel and Deschamps, JJ.

May 16, 2003.

Summary:

Television cable companies applied under s. 43(5) of the Telecommunications Act for an order giving them access to poles owned by provincially regulated electric power utilities in Ontario.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Tele­communications Commission allowed the application. The power utilities appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 273 N.R. 291, allowed the appeal and dismissed the cable companies' applica­tion. The cable companies appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, Bastarache, J., dissenting, dismissed the appeal.

Administrative Law - Topic 9058

Boards and tribunals - Jurisdiction of particular boards and tribunals - Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission - [See Administrative Law - Topic 9102 and Telecommunications - Topic 6473 ].

Administrative Law - Topic 9102

Boards and tribunals - Judicial review - Standard of review - Section 43(5) of the Telecommunications Act provided: "Where a person who provides services to the public cannot, on terms acceptable to that person, gain access to the supporting struc­ture of a transmission line constructed on a highway or other public place, that per­son may apply" to the CRTC for access - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the standard of review of a CRTC decision under s. 43(5) was correctness where: (1) there was a statutory right of appeal; (2) the proper interpretation of the phrase "the supporting structure of a transmission line" was a "purely legal question" and did not engage the CRTC's special expertise; and (3) at issue was whether s. 43(5), properly construed, gave the CRTC jurisdiction to hear the parties' dispute - See paragraphs 9 to 19.

Statutes - Topic 516

Interpretation - General principles - Ordi­nary meaning of words - [See Telecom­munications - Topic 6473 ].

Statutes - Topic 2603

Interpretation - Interpretation of words and phrases - Interpretation by context (incl. "modern" rule") - Intention from whole of section or statute - [See Telecommunica­tions - Topic 6473 ].

Statutes - Topic 2614

Interpretation - Interpretation of words and phrases - Interpretation by context (incl. "modern" rule") - Legislative context - [See Telecommunications - Topic 6473 ].

Telecommunications - Topic 6473

Commissions - Regulation - Powers - Transmission lines - Section 43(5) of the Telecommunications Act provided: "Where a person who provides services to the public cannot, on terms acceptable to that person, gain access to the supporting struc­ture of a transmission line constructed on a highway or other public place, that per­son may apply" to the CRTC for access - Cable television companies sought an order giving them access to poles owned by provincially regulated electric power util­ities in Ontario - The poles were erected on both public and private property and were "distribution lines" rather than "trans­mission lines" - The CRTC allowed the application, holding that the phrase "the supporting structure of a transmission line", read in context and in the light of telecommunications and broadcasting policy objectives, was broad enough to include the utilities' power poles - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the reversal of this decision - Applying the "modern approach" to statutory interpreta­tion, the court held: (1) the grammatical and ordinary meaning of s. 43(5) was that the CRTC could not grant access to sup­porting structures located on private land and to "distribution lines"; (2) for s. 43(5) to encompass power poles would be a surprising departure from the otherwise harmonious meaning of the section as a whole, which dealt mainly with construc­tion, maintenance and operation of trans­mission lines; and (3) the CRTC mistaken­ly relied on policy objectives to set aside Parliament's discernable intent as revealed by the plain meaning of s. 43(5), s. 43 generally and the Act as a whole - See paragraphs 20 to 45.

Cases Noticed:

Pushpanathan v. Canada (Minister of Citi­zenship and Immigration), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 982; 226 N.R. 201, addendum [1998] 1 S.C.R. 1222, refd to. [paras. 10, 66].

Dr. Q. v. College of Physicians and Sur­geons (B.C.) - see Dr. Q., Re.

Dr. Q., Re (2003), 302 N.R. 34; 179 B.C.A.C. 170; 295 W.A.C. 170 (S.C.C.), refd to. [paras. 10, 66].

Minister of National Revenue (Customs and Excise) v. Mattel Canada Inc., [2001] 2 S.C.R. 100; 270 N.R. 153, consd. [paras. 11, 77].

British Columbia Telephone Co. v. Shaw Cable Systems (B.C.) Ltd., [1995] 2 S.C.R. 739; 183 N.R. 184, consd. [paras. 13, 70].

Ross v. New Brunswick School District No. 15 - see Attis v. Board of Education of District No. 15 et al.

Attis v. Board of Education of District No. 15 et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 825; 195 N.R. 81; 171 N.B.R.(2d) 321; 437 A.P.R. 321, refd to. [paras. 16, 66].

Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership v. Rex et al. (2002), 287 N.R. 248; 166 B.C.A.C. 1; 271 W.A.C. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [paras. 20, 86].

Westcoast Energy Inc. v. National Energy Board et al., [1998] 1 S.C.R. 322; 223 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 66].

United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1518 v. KMart Canada Ltd., [1999] 2 S.C.R. 1083; 245 N.R. 1; 128 B.C.A.C. 1; 208 W.A.C. 1, consd. [para. 66].

Cooper v. Canadian Human Rights Com­mission, [1996] 3 S.C.R. 854; 204 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 66].

Tétrault-Gadoury v. Canada Employment and Immigration Commission, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 22; 126 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 66].

Cuddy Chicks Ltd. v. Labour Relations Board (Ont.) et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5; 122 N.R. 361; 47 O.A.C. 271, refd to. [para. 66].

Douglas/Kwantlen Faculty Association v. Douglas College, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 570; 118 N.R. 340, refd to. [para. 66].

Davidson v. Slaight Communications Inc., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1038; 93 N.R. 183, refd to. [para. 66].

Moreau-Bérubé v. New Brunswick (Judi­cial Council) - see Conseil de la magistrature (N.-B.) v. Moreau-Bérubé.

Conseil de la magistrature (N.-B.) v. Mo­reau-Bérubé, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 249; 281 N.R. 201; 245 N.B.R.(2d) 201; 636 A.P.R. 201, refd to. [para. 69].

Director of Investigation and Research, Competition Act v. Southam Inc. et al., [1997] 1 S.C.R. 748; 209 N.R. 20, refd to. [para. 69].

Bell Canada v. Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1722; 97 N.R. 15, consd. [para. 70].

Federation of Canadian Municipalities v. Canadian Radio-Television and Tele-communications Commission (2002), 299 N.R. 165 (F.C.A.), consd. [para. 70].

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 301 v. Montreal (City) - see Syn­dicat canadien de la fonction publique, section locale 301 v. Montréal (Ville).

Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique, section locale 301 v. Montréal (Ville), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 793; 210 N.R. 101, consd. [para. 73].

Royal Oak Mines Inc. v. Canada Labour Relations Board et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 369; 193 N.R. 81, consd. [para. 73].

Pezim v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Brokers) - see Pezim v. British Columbia Securities Commission et al.

Pezim v. British Columbia Securities Com­mission et al., [1994] 2 S.C.R. 557; 168 N.R. 321; 46 B.C.A.C. 1; 75 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 74].

National Corn Growers' Association et al. v. Canadian Import Tribunal, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1324; 114 N.R. 81, consd. [para. 77].

Société Radio-Canada v. Métromédia CMR Montréal Inc. et al. (1999), 254 N.R. 266 (F.C.A.), consd. [para. 77].

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 963 v. New Brunswick Liquor Corp., [1979] 2 S.C.R. 227; 26 N.R. 341; 25 N.B.R.(2d) 237; 51 A.P.R. 237, consd. [para. 78].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Mossop, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 554; 149 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 79].

Bibeault - see Syndicat national des em­ployés de la Commission scolaire ré­gionale de l'Outaouais (CSN) v. Union des employés de service, local 298 (FTQ).

U.E.S., Local 298 v. Bibeault - see Union des employés de service.

Union des employés de service, local 298 v. Bibeault - see Syndicat national des employés de la Commission scolaire régionale de l'Outaouais (CSN) v. Union des employés de service, local 298 (FTQ).

Syndicat national des employés de la Com­mission scolaire régionale de l'Outaouais (CSN) v. Union des employés de service, local 298 (FTQ), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 1048; 95 N.R. 161; 24 Q.A.C. 244, refd to. [para. 82].

Ivanhoe Inc. et al. v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 500 et al., [2002] 2 S.C.R. 565; 272 N.R. 201, refd to. [para. 82].

Sept-Iles (City) v. Quebec (Labour Court) - see Sept-Iles (Ville) v. Syndicat cana­dien de la fonction publique, section locale 2589 et al.

Sept-Iles (Ville) v. Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique, section locale 2589 et al., [2001] 2 S.C.R. 67; 272 N.R. 327, refd to. [para. 82].

Board of Education of Toronto Catholic District v. Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (Toronto Elemen­tary Unit) et al. (2001), 149 O.A.C. 328; 55 O.R.(3d) 737 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused (2002), 294 N.R. 396; 170 O.A.C. 400 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 82].

Gould v. Yukon Order of Pioneers, Daw­son Lodge No. 1 et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 571; 194 N.R. 81; 72 B.C.A.C. 1; 119 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 85].

University of British Columbia v. Berg, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 353; 152 N.R. 99; 26 B.C.A.C. 241; 44 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 85].

Human Rights Commission (Ont.) and Bates v. Zurich Insurance Co., [1992] 2 S.C.R. 321; 138 N.R. 1; 55 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 85].

Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes Ltd. (Bankrupt), Re, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 27; 221 N.R. 241; 106 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 86].

Chieu v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 84; 280 N.R. 268, refd to. [para. 88].

Pasiechnyk et al. v. Procrane Inc. et al., [1997] 2 S.C.R. 890; 216 N.R. 1; 158 Sask.R. 81; 153 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 93].

Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817; 243 N.R. 22, refd to. [para. 95].

Ward v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., [2002] 1 S.C.R. 569; 283 N.R. 201; 211 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 125; 633 A.P.R. 125, refd to. [para. 104].

Reference Re Firearms Act (Can.), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 783; 254 N.R. 201; 161 A.R. 201; 225 W.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. 104].

Global Securities Corp. v. British Colum­bia Securities Commission et al., [2000] 1 S.C.R. 494; 252 N.R. 290; 134 B.C.A.C. 207; 219 W.A.C. 207, refd to. [para. 104].

City National Leasing Ltd. v. General Motors of Canada Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 641; 93 N.R. 326; 32 O.A.C. 332, refd to. [para. 104].

Saumur v. Quebec (City), [1953] 2 S.C.R. 299, refd to. [para. 105].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1993] 3 S.C.R. 463; 157 N.R. 97; 125 N.S.R.(2d) 81; 349 A.P.R. 81, refd to. [para. 105].

Alberta (Attorney General) v. Canada (Attorney General), [1939] A.C. 117 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 105].

Toronto (City) v. Bell Telephone Co. of Canada, [1905] A.C. 52 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 108].

British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Canadian Pacific Railway Co., [1906] A.C. 204 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 108].

Toronto (City) v. Grand Trunk Railway Co. of Canada (1906), 37 S.C.R. 232, refd to. [para. 108].

Friends of the Oldman River Society v. Canada (Minister of Transport and Min­ister of Fisheries and Oceans), [1992] 1 S.C.R. 3; 132 N.R. 321, refd to. [para. 110].

Alberta Government Telephones and Al­ber­ta (Attorney General) v. Canada La­bour Relations Board and International Bro­ther­wood of Electrical Workers, Lo­cal 348 - see CNCP Telecommunica­tions v. Alberta Government Telephones and CRTC.

CNCP Telecommunica­tions v. Alberta Gov­ernment Telephones and CRTC, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 225; 98 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 110].

Ryan v. Law Society of New Brunswick (2003), 302 N.R. 1 ; 257 N.B.R.(2d) 207; 257 R.N.-B.(2e) 207; 674 A.P.R. 207 (S.C.C.), consd. [para. 113].

Domtar Inc. v. Commission d'appel en matière de lésions professionnelles et autres, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 756; 154 N.R. 104; 55 Q.A.C. 241, consd. [para. 128].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Public Ser­vice Alliance of Canada, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 941; 150 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 128].

Fraser v. Public Service Staff Relations Board (Can.), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 455; 63 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 128].

Committee for the Equal Treatment of Asbestos Minority Shareholders v. Ontario (Securities Commission) - see Asbestos Corp., Société nationale de l'Amiante and Quebec (Province), Re.

Asbestos Corp., Société nationale de l'Amiante and Quebec (Province), Re, [2001] 2 S.C.R. 132; 269 N.R. 311; 146 O.A.C 201, refd to. [para. 129].

Trinity Western University et al. v. Col­lege of Teachers (B.C.) et al., [2001] 1 S.C.R. 772; 269 N.R. 1; 151 B.C.A.C. 161; 249 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 129].

Statutes Noticed:

Broadcasting Act, S.C. 1991, c. 11, sect. 2(1) [para. 8]; sect. 3(1)(t)(ii) [para. 39]; sect. 7 [para. 38].

Interpretation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21, sect. 12 [para. 20].

Telecommunications Act, S.C. 1993, c. 38, sect. 2(1), sect. 43, sect. 45, sect. 64(1) [para. 8].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Driedger, Elmer A., Construction of Stat­utes (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 87 [paras. 20, 86].

Driedger, Elmer A., Construc­tion of Stat­utes (3rd Ed. 1994), p. 322 [para. 99].

Dyzenhaus, David, The Politics of Defer­ence: Judicial Review and Democracy (1997), The Province of Administrative Law, p. 279 [para. 85].

Harvison Young, Alison, Human Rights Tribunals and the Supreme Court of Canada: Reformulating Deference (1993), 13 Admin. L.R.(2d) 206, gen­erally [para. 85].

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (1992), (Looseleaf Ed.) (Updated 2002, release 1), vol. 1, pp. 15 to 34 [para. 110].

Macdonald, Roderick A., On the Adminis­tration of Statutes (1987), 12 Queen L.J. 488, generally [para. 78].

Ryder, Bruce, Family Status, Sexuality and "The Province of the Judiciary": The Implications of Mossop v. A.-G. Canada (1993), 13 Windsor Y.B. Access Just. 3, generally [para. 85].

Counsel:

Neil Finkelstein and Catherine Beagan Flood, for the appellant;

Alan Mark and Peter Ruby, for the respon­dents;

Brian J. Saunders and Peter Southey, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Canada;

Michel Y. Hélie, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Ontario;

Alain Gingras, for the intervener, the At­tor­ney General of Quebec;

Gaétan Migneault, for the intervener, the Attorney General of New Brunswick;

Cynthia Devine, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Manitoba;

Nancy E. Brown, for the intervener, the Attorney General of British Columbia;

Robert G. Richards, Q.C., for the intervener, the Attorney General of Saskatchewan;

Roderick S. Wiltshire, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Alberta;

Written submissions only by Robert G. Richards, Q.C., for the intervener, Saskatchewan Power Corporation;

Written submissions only by Christian S. Tacit, for the intervener, Federation of Canadian Municipalities;

Written submissions only by Seumas Woods and Charlotte Kanya-Forstner, for the intervener, GT Group Telecom Ser­vices Corp.;

Written submissions only by Thomas G. Heintzman, Q.C., Susan L. Gratton and Genevieve Currie, for the interveners, Aliant Telecom Inc., AT & T Canada, Bell Canada, Bell West Inc., MTS Com­munications Inc. and TELUS Communi­cations Inc.

Solicitors of Record:

Blake, Cassels & Graydon, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellant;

Ogilvy Renault, Toronto; Goodmans, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondents;

The Deputy Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Canada;

The Attorney General of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Ontario;

The Department of Justice, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Quebec;

The Attorney General of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, for the intervener, the Attorney General of New Brunswick;

The Department of Justice, Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the intervener, the Attor­ney General of Manitoba;

The Attorney General of British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Brit­ish Columbia;

MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman, Regina, Saskatchewan, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Saskatchewan;

Alberta Justice, Edmonton, Alberta, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Alberta;

MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman, Regina, Saskatchewan, for the intervener, Saskatchewan Power Corporation ;

Nelligan O'Brien Payne, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervener, Federation of Cana­dian Municipalities;

Blake, Cassels & Graydon, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener, GT Group Telecom Services Corp.;

McCarthy Tétrault, Toronto, Ontario, for the interveners, Aliant Telecom Inc., AT & T Canada, Bell Canada, Bell West Inc., MTS Communications Inc. and TELUS Communications Inc.

This appeal was heard on February 19, 2003, by McLachlin, C.J.C., Gonthier, Major, Bastarache, Arbour, Lebel and Des­champs, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The judgment of the Supreme Court was delivered in both official languages on May 16, 2003, and the following reasons were filed:

Gonthier, J. (McLachlin, C.J.C., Major, Arbour, LeBel and Deschamps, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 45;

Bastarache, J., dissenting - see para­graphs 46 to 131.

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