Burns Bog Conservation Society v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., (2014) 464 N.R. 187 (FCA)

JudgeDawson, Gauthier and Trudel, JJ.A.
CourtFederal Court of Appeal (Canada)
Case DateMay 05, 2014
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2014), 464 N.R. 187 (FCA);2014 FCA 170

Burns Bog Conservation Soc. v. Can. (A.G.) (2014), 464 N.R. 187 (FCA)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

Temp. Cite: [2014] N.R. TBEd. JL.008

Burns Bog Conservation Society (appellant) v. Her Majesty the Queen (respondent)

(A-418-12; 2014 FCA 170; 2014 CAF 170)

Indexed As: Burns Bog Conservation Society v. Canada (Attorney General) et al.

Federal Court of Appeal

Dawson, Gauthier and Trudel, JJ.A.

June 27, 2014.

Summary:

Two municipalities and the Province of British Columbia, the owners of Burns Bog, one of the largest peat bogs in the world, entered into conservation and management agreements with the federal government respecting the bog. Thereafter, the federal government and British Columbia agreed to build the South Fraser Perimeter Road which was to run adjacent to Burns Bog. The Burns Bog Conservation Society, a non-profit society dedicated to preserving the bog and raising public awareness of its ecological significance, filed a statement of claim compelling the defendants (collectively Canada) to protect Burns Bog. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was no legal basis for the Society's claim.

The Federal Court, in a decision reported 417 F.T.R. 98, granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed the Society's claim. The Society appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Equity - Topic 3606

Fiduciary or confidential relationships - General principles - What constitutes a fiduciary relationship - [See Equity - Topic 3611 ].

Equity - Topic 3611

Fiduciary or confidential relationships - General principles - Crown - Two municipalities and British Columbia, the owners of a large peat bog, entered into conservation and management agreements with the federal government respecting the bog - Thereafter, Canada and British Columbia agreed to build a road adjacent to the bog - A conservation society filed a statement of claim compelling the defendants (collectively Canada) to protect the bog on the basis of fiduciary duty - The defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the action - The Federal Court granted the motion - Canada did not owe a fiduciary duty to the public at large, nor to the bog itself - The society's relationship with Canada did not fall into any of the recognized categories of fiduciary relationship - Therefore, to succeed, the society would have to demonstrate an ad hoc fiduciary relationship, which it could not - The society appealed - The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal - See paragraphs 31 to 50.

Pollution Control - Topic 8006

Land - Conservation of land - Duty of Crown - [See Equity - Topic 3611 , Practice - Topic 5702 , Trusts - Topic 104 , and Trusts - Topic 424 ].

Practice - Topic 5702

Judgments and orders - Summary judgments - Jurisdiction or when available or when appropriate - Two municipalities and British Columbia, the owners of a large peat bog, entered into conservation and management agreements with the federal government respecting the bog - Thereafter, Canada and British Columbia agreed to build a road adjacent to the bog - A conservation society filed a statement of claim, asserting that Canada had contractual, trust (environmental and public trust), fiduciary and statutory obligations to protect the bog - The defendants moved for summary judgment - The Federal Court held that none of the sources of duty relied on by the society was a valid basis for any obligation on Canada to protect the bog - There were no contested facts and the claim had no chance of success - The court, therefore, granted summary judgment dismissing the society's claim - The society appealed - The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal - See paragraphs 31 to 50.

Practice - Topic 5719

Judgments and orders - Summary judgments - To dismiss action - [See Practice - Topic 5702 ].

Trusts - Topic 104

General principles - General - Public trust (incl. environmental trust) - Two municipalities and British Columbia, the owners of a large peat bog, entered into conservation and management agreements with the federal government respecting the bog - Thereafter, Canada and British Columbia agreed to build a road adjacent to the bog - A conservation society filed a statement of claim compelling the defendants (collectively Canada) to protect the bog - The society argued that, regardless of whether Canada owned the bog, the bog was subject to a public trust created by operation of Canadian environmental law - The defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the action - The Federal Court granted the defendants' motion - No Canadian courts had recognized a public trust duty requiring the Crown to take positive steps to protect the environment generally or a specific property - Here, Canada did not own the bog - There was no basis in law or equity for the imposition of such a duty on Canada in this case - The society appealed - The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal - See paragraphs 31 to 50.

Trusts - Topic 424

Creation of trust - Transfer of property to trustee - Requirement of - Two municipalities and British Columbia, the owners of a large peat bog, entered into conservation and management agreements with the federal government respecting the bog - Thereafter, Canada and British Columbia agreed to build a road adjacent to the bog - A conservation society filed a statement of claim compelling the defendants (collectively Canada) to protect the bog - The society argued that Canada had a duty to protect the bog because of trust obligations - The defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the action - The Federal Court granted the defendants' motion - There was no trust with respect to the bog - Canada (alleged trustee) did not own the bog (i.e., the property was not vested in the trustee) - The society appealed - The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal - See paragraphs 31 to 50.

Cases Noticed:

British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd., [2004] 2 S.C.R. 74; 321 N.R. 1; 198 B.C.A.C. 1; 324 W.A.C. 1; 2004 SCC 38, refd to. [para. 21].

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society et al. v. Alberta et al., [2011] 2 S.C.R. 261; 416 N.R. 198; 499 A.R. 345; 514 W.A.C. 345; 2011 SCC 24, refd to. [para. 22].

Housen v. Nikolaisen et al., [2002] 2 S.C.R. 235; 286 N.R. 1; 219 Sask.R. 1; 272 W.A.C. 1; 2002 SCC 33, refd to. [para. 31].

MacNeil et al. v. Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development), [2004] 3 F.C.R. 3; 316 N.R. 349; 2004 FCA 50, refd to. [para. 34].

Hryniak v. Mauldin (2014), 453 N.R. 51; 2014 SCC 7, refd to. [para. 21].

Counsel:

James L. Straith and K. Joseph Spears, for the appellant;

Sheri Vigneau and Oliver Pulleyblank, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

Straith Litigation Chambers, West Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

William F. Pentney, Deputy Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard in Vancouver, B.C., on May 5, 2014, before Dawson, Gauthier and Trudel, JJ.A., of the Federal Court of Appeal. The following judgment was delivered by Gauthier, J.A., for the court, in Ottawa, Ontario, on June 27, 2014.

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26 practice notes
  • Samson Indian Band v. Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) et al., [2015] F.T.R. TBEd. JL.031
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Federal Court (Canada)
    • July 9, 2015
    ...in Rule 3, are consistent with the values and principles expressed in Hryniak . In the words of Burns Bog Conservation Society v. Canada , 2014 FCA 170, there is "no genuine issue" if there is "no legal basis" to the claim based on the law or the evidence brought forward (at paragraphs 35-3......
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    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • February 6, 2019
    ...“proportionality” in civil procedure recognized by R. 1.2 of the Alberta Rules of Court: Burns Bog Conservation Society v Canada (A. G.), 2014 FCA 170 at para. 42, 83 CELR (3d) 1. All procedures for resolving civil disputes, including summary dispositions, should be timely, cost-effective, ......
  • Hannam v Medicine Hat School District No. 76, 2020 ABCA 343
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • September 25, 2020
    ...summary judgment if the court is satisfied there is no genuine issue requiring a trial”) & Burns Bog Conservation Society v. Canada, 2014 FCA 170, ¶ 43 (“this is a clear case where the appellant’s claim must be weeded out because it is bound to [161] Swain v. Hillman, [2001] 1 All E.R. ......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Land-use Planning
    • June 23, 2017
    ...353, 305 LAND-USE PLANNING 612 Burns Bog Conservation Society v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 FC 1024, aff’d 2014 FCA 170 ................................................................431 Burns Lake (Village) v Krause, 2007 BCSC 730 ................................................ 104 C......
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21 cases
  • Samson Indian Band v. Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) et al., [2015] F.T.R. TBEd. JL.031
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Federal Court (Canada)
    • July 9, 2015
    ...in Rule 3, are consistent with the values and principles expressed in Hryniak . In the words of Burns Bog Conservation Society v. Canada , 2014 FCA 170, there is "no genuine issue" if there is "no legal basis" to the claim based on the law or the evidence brought forward (at paragraphs 35-3......
  • Weir-Jones Technical Services Incorporated v Purolator Courier Ltd, 2019 ABCA 49
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • February 6, 2019
    ...“proportionality” in civil procedure recognized by R. 1.2 of the Alberta Rules of Court: Burns Bog Conservation Society v Canada (A. G.), 2014 FCA 170 at para. 42, 83 CELR (3d) 1. All procedures for resolving civil disputes, including summary dispositions, should be timely, cost-effective, ......
  • Hannam v Medicine Hat School District No. 76, 2020 ABCA 343
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Alberta)
    • September 25, 2020
    ...summary judgment if the court is satisfied there is no genuine issue requiring a trial”) & Burns Bog Conservation Society v. Canada, 2014 FCA 170, ¶ 43 (“this is a clear case where the appellant’s claim must be weeded out because it is bound to [161] Swain v. Hillman, [2001] 1 All E.R. ......
  • La Rose v. Canada, 2023 FCA 241
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Canada)
    • December 13, 2023
    ...British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd., 2004 SCC 38, [2004] 2 S.C.R. 74 [Canfor] and Burns Bog Conservation Society v. Canada, 2014 FCA 170, 464 N.R. 187 [Burns Bog], which the youth appellants argued showed the possibility that a public trust doctrine may exist at common law, bu......
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7 books & journal articles
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Land-use Planning
    • June 23, 2017
    ...353, 305 LAND-USE PLANNING 612 Burns Bog Conservation Society v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 FC 1024, aff’d 2014 FCA 170 ................................................................431 Burns Lake (Village) v Krause, 2007 BCSC 730 ................................................ 104 C......
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    • May 8, 2020
    ...251 Burnaby (City) v Trans Mountain Pipeline UCL, 2015 BCSC 2140, aff’d 2017 BCCA 132 ...... 278 Burns Bog Conservation Society v Canada, 2014 FCA 170, 464 NR 187 ................ 241, 621 Caddy Lake Cottagers Assn v Florence-Nora Access Road Inc, 1998 CanLII 6302, 126 Man R (2d) 230 (CA) .......
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    • May 8, 2021
    ...492 Burns v The Queen , 2006 TCC 309, 60 DTC 3383 ..................................... 470 Burns Bog Conservation Society v Canada , 2014 FCA 170 .............................. 565 Buschau v Rogers Communications Inc (SCC), 2006 SCC 28, [2006] 1 SCR 973 ............ 133 Buschau v Rogers Co......
  • Public Participation and Fairness
    • Canada
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    • June 23, 2017
    ...the federal government. 160 Canadian Forest Products , above note 158 at paras 81–82 [emphasis in original]. 161 2014 FC 1024, aff’d 2014 FCA 170. intner, “Trees Left Standing: A Case Comment on British Columbia v Canadian Forest Products Ltd ” (2003) 49 Canadian Environmental Law Reports (......
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