Canada Post Corp. v. Lépine, (2009) 387 N.R. 91 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateNovember 17, 2008
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2009), 387 N.R. 91 (SCC);2009 SCC 16;EYB 2009-156806;387 NR 91;JE 2009-620;[2009] 1 SCR 549;304 DLR (4th) 539;[2009] SCJ No 16 (QL)

Can. Post Corp. v. Lépine (2009), 387 N.R. 91 (SCC)

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: [2009] N.R. TBEd. AP.007

Canada Post Corporation (appellant) v. Michel Lépine (respondent) and Attorney General of Canada and Cybersurf Corp. (intervenors)

(32299; 2009 SCC 16; 2009 CSC 16)

Indexed As: Canada Post Corp. v. Lépine

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.

April 2, 2009.

Summary:

On December 22, 2003, the Ontario Superior Court issued a judgment which, simultaneously, certified a class action against Canada Post and approved a settlement of the claim against it. The claim was for compensation for Canada Post's allegedly wrongful discontinuance of an Internet service. The Ontario judgment covered all Canadian residents except those of British Columbia. On December 23, 2003, in a proceeding that was commenced before the Ontario proceeding, the Quebec Superior Court granted a Quebec plaintiff authorization to institute a class action against Canada Post in Quebec, also in relation to the discontinuance of the Internet service. Canada Post applied to have the Ontario judgment recognized in Quebec.

The Quebec Superior Court, in a decision reported J.E. 2005-1631, [2005] SOQUIJ AZ-503256321; 2005 CarswellQue 5457; 2005 CanLII 26419, dismissed the application. Canada Post appealed.

The Quebec Court of Appeal, in a decision reported [2007] R.J.Q. 1920, [2007] SOQUIJ AZ-50446058; 2007 CarswellQue 7329, dismissed the appeal. Canada Post appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal.

Conflict of Laws - Topic 6605

Foreign judgments - General - Recognition of judgments of another province - On December 22, 2003, the Ontario Superior Court issued a judgment which, simultaneously, certified a class action against Canada Post and approved a settlement of the claim against it - The claim was for compensation for Canada Post's allegedly wrongful discontinuance of an Internet service - The Ontario judgment covered all Canadian residents except those of British Columbia - On December 23, 2003, in a proceeding that was commenced before the Ontario proceeding, the Quebec Superior Court granted a Quebec plaintiff authorization to institute a class action against Canada Post in Quebec, also in relation to the discontinuance of the Internet service - Canada Post applied to have the Ontario judgment recognized in Quebec - The Supreme Court of Canada, after discussing the rules governing the recognition of external judgments by Quebec courts under the Civil Code of Québec, affirmed the dismissal of the recognition application on the following grounds: (1) lis pendens (art. 3155(4) of the Civil Code of Québec), and (2) violation of the fundamental principles of procedure (art. 3155(3)), because the notices given pursuant to the Ontario Superior Court judgment did not properly explain the impact of the judgment certifying the class proceeding on Quebec members of the national class established by the Ontario Superior Court - It could have led those who read it in Quebec to conclude that it simply did not concern them - See paragraphs 18 to 27, 39 to 55.

Conflict of Laws - Topic 6606

Foreign judgments - General - Recognition of judgment of foreign state - [See Conflict of Laws - Topic 6605 ].

Quebec Civil Law - Topic 9323

Conflict of laws - Procedure - Recognition and enforcement of foreign decisions - [See Conflict of Laws - Topic 6605 ].

Quebec Civil Law - Topic 9323

Conflict of laws - Procedure - Recognition and enforcement of foreign decisions - On December 22, 2003, the Ontario Superior Court issued a judgment which, simultaneously, certified a class action against Canada Post and approved a settlement of the claim against it - The Ontario judgment covered all Canadian residents except those of British Columbia - On December 23, 2003, the Quebec Superior Court granted a Quebec plaintiff authorization to institute a class action against Canada Post in Quebec - Canada Post applied to have the Ontario judgment recognized in Quebec - The application was dismissed - The Quebec Court of Appeal held that, while the Ontario Superior Court had jurisdiction over the subject matter in the usual sense of the term, that court should have applied the doctrine of forum non conveniens and excluded Quebec residents from the class in the class proceeding it was certifying - The Ontario Superior Court should have recognized that it was not the most appropriate forum with respect to this class of claimants, and thus deferred to the jurisdiction of the Quebec Superior Court - The Supreme Court of Canada disagreed with the Quebec Court of Appeal respecting forum non conveniens - Enforcement by the Quebec courts depended on whether the foreign court had jurisdiction, not on how that jurisdiction was exercised, apart from the exceptions provided for in the Civil Code of Québec - To apply forum non conveniens in this context would be to overlook the basic distinction between the establishment of jurisdiction as such and the exercise of jurisdiction - It would accordingly have been sufficient had the Quebec authorities asked whether the Ontario Superior Court had jurisdiction, in the strict sense, over the dispute - If it did, their next step would have been to determine whether the plaintiff had established that there were other obstacles to the recognition of the Ontario judgment, as indeed the Quebec Court of Appeal found that he had - See paragraphs 18 to 37.

Words and Phrases

Dispute - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the word "dispute" found in the English version of art. 3155(4) of the Civil Code of Québec, S.Q. 1991, c. 64 - See paragraphs 53 and 54.

Words and Phrases

Litige - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the word "litige" found in the French version of art. 3155(4) of the Civil Code of Québec, S.Q. 1991, c. 64 - See paragraphs 53 and 54.

Cases Noticed:

Spar Aerospace Ltd. v. American Mobile Satellite Corp. et al., [2002] 4 S.C.R. 205; 297 N.R. 83; 2002 SCC 78, refd to. [para. 19].

Hocking v. Haziza, [2008] R.J.Q. 1189; 2008 QCCA 800, refd to. [para. 33].

Currie v. McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd. et al. (2005), 195 O.A.C. 244; 74 O.R.(3d) 321 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 43].

Birdsall Inc. v. In Any Event Inc., [1999] R.J.Q. 1344 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 50].

Rocois Construction Inc. v. Dominion Ready Mix Inc. et al., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 440; 112 N.R. 241; 31 Q.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 51].

Thompson v. Masson, [1993] R.J.Q. 69 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 53].

Hotte v. Servier Canada inc., [1999] R.J.Q. 2598 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 55].

Dorion v. Roberge et autres, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 374; 124 N.R. 1; 39 Q.A.C. 81; 78 D.L.R.(4th) 666, refd to. [para. 55].

Statutes Noticed:

Civil Code of Québec, S.Q. 1991, c. 64, art. 3137 [para. 48]; art. 3155 [para. 22]; art. 3158 [para. 23]; art. 3164 [para. 25].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Glenn, H. Patrick, Droit international privé, in La réforme du Code civil (1993), vol. 3, pp. 763, 764 [para. 50]; 770, 771, 772 [para. 30].

Goldstein, Gérald, and Groffier, Ethel, Droit international privé, Théorie générale (1998), vol. 1, pp. 325, 326 [para. 52]; 384 [para. 54]; 416 [paras. 25, 28]; 417 [para. 30].

Royer, Jean-Claude, La preuve civile (4th Ed. 2008), p. 635 [para. 51].

Saumier, Geneviève, The Recognition of Foreign Judgments in Quebec - The Mirror Crack'd? (2002), 81 Can. Bar Rev. 677, pp. 691 to 694 [para. 32].

Talpis, Jeffrey A., If I am from Grand-Mère, Why Am I Being Sued in  Texas?: Respond-

ing to Inappropriate Foreign Jurisdiction in Quebec-United States Crossborder Litigation (2001), p. 109 [para. 33].

Counsel:

Serge Gaudet, Gary D.D. Morrison and Frédéric Massé, for the appellant;

François Lebeau and Jacques Larochelle, for the respondent;

Alain Préfontaine, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Canada;

No one has appeared for the intervenor, Cybersurf Corp.

Solicitors of Record :

Heenan Blaikie, Montreal, Quebec, for the appellant;

Unterberg, Labelle, Lebeau, Montreal, Quebec, for the respondent;

Deputy Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Canada.

This appeal was heard on November 17, 2008, by McLachlin, C.J.C., Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Charron and Rothstein, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The following decision of the Supreme Court was delivered in both official languages by LeBel, J., on April 2, 2009.

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