CanadianOxy Chemicals Ltd. et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., (1998) 237 N.R. 373 (SCC)

JudgeCory, Iacobucci, Major and Binnie, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateDecember 10, 1998
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1998), 237 N.R. 373 (SCC);41 WCB (2d) 411;122 BCAC 1;1999 CanLII 680 (SCC);237 NR 373;133 CCC (3d) 426;171 DLR (4th) 733;23 CR (5th) 259;29 CELR (2d) 1;[1998] SCJ No 87 (QL);[1999] CarswellBC 777;[1999] 1 SCR 743;200 WAC 1;JE 99-861

CanadianOxy Chemicals v. Can. (A.G.) (1998), 237 N.R. 373 (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: [1999] N.R. TBEd. AP.020

The Attorney General of Canada (appellant) v. CanadianOxy Chemicals Ltd., CanadianOxy Industrial Chemicals Limited Partnership and Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd. (respondents) and the Attorney General for Ontario (intervener)

(25944)

Indexed As: CanadianOxy Chemicals Ltd. et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier,

Cory, Iacobucci, Major and Binnie, JJ.

December 10, 1998.

Summary:

During a power outage, an industrial plant discharged a quantity of chlorine into a near­by inlet, killing a number of fish. The oper­ators of the plant reported the discharge. A Fisheries officer investigated. The officer subsequently obtained a search warrant under s. 487(1)(b) of the Criminal Code to search for various documents. The operators were charged with offences under the Fisheries Act and the Waste Management Act. The oper­ators petitioned for certiorari to quash the search warrant. A Chambers judge allowed the petition. The Crown appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, Southin, J.A., dissenting, in a decision re­ported 90 B.C.A.C. 126; 147 W.A.C. 126, dismissed the appeal. The Crown appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal.

Criminal Law - Topic 3045

Special powers - Search warrants - Scope of - [See Criminal Law - Topic 3148 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 3148

Special powers - Power of search - Scope of power - Section 487(1)(b) of the Crim­inal Code authorized the issuance of a warrant to search for "evidence with respect to the commission of an offence" - The Supreme Court of Canada held that warrants issued under s. 487(1)(b) author­ized investi­gators to search for and seize evidence that may relate to potential de­fences, such as due diligence - The court stated that "evidence with respect to the commission of an offence" encompassed all materials which might shed light on the circumstances of an event which appears to constitute an offence - Anything rel­evant or rationally connected to the inci­dent under investigation, the parties involved, and their potential culpability fell within the scope of the warrant - It was in the public interest that all relevant infor­mation and evidence be located and pre­served as soon as possible - Further, fairness de­manded that the Crown be able to fairly seek and obtain evidence rebut­ting an accused's defences.

Criminal Law - Topic 3163

Special powers - Power of seizure - Extent of power - [See Criminal Law - Topic 3148 ].

Statutes - Topic 516

Interpretation - General principles - Ordi­nary meaning of words - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "[s]tatutory provisions should be read to give the words their most obvious ordinary mean­ing which accords with the context and pur­pose of the enactment in which they occur; ... It is only when genuine ambi­guity arises between two or more plausible readings, each equally in accordance with the inten­tions of the statute, that the courts need to resort to external interpretive aids." - See paragraph 14.

Statutes - Topic 1414

Interpretation - Construction where mean­ing is not plain - Ambiguity - [See Stat­utes - Topic 516 ].

Statutes - Topic 1601

Interpretation - Extrinsic aids - General - [See Statutes - Topic 516 ].

Words and Phrases

Evidence with respect to the commission of an offence - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of this phrase, as found in s. 487(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46.

Cases Noticed:

Domtar Inc., Re (1995), 18 C.E.L.R.(N.S.) 106 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 11].

Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes Ltd. (Bankrupt), Re, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 27; 221 N.R. 241; 106 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 14].

Nowegijick v. Minister of National Rev­enue et al., [1983] 1 S.C.R. 29; 46 N.R. 41; 83 D.T.C. 5041; 144 D.L.R.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. McIntosh (B.B.), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 686; 178 N.R. 161; 79 O.A.C. 81; 95 C.C.C.(3d) 481, refd to. [para. 18].

R. v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Zaharia (1987), 18 O.A.C. 321; 31 C.C.C.(3d) 449 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Storrey, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 241; 105 N.R. 81; 37 O.A.C. 161; 53 C.C.C.(3d) 316, refd to. [para. 23].

Nelles v. Ontario et al., [1989] 2 S.C.R. 170; 98 N.R. 321; 35 O.A.C. 161; 60 D.L.R.(4th) 609; 49 C.C.L.T. 217, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Levogiannis, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 475; 160 N.R. 371; 67 O.A.C. 321; 25 C.R.(4th) 325; 85 C.C.C.(3d) 327; 18 C.R.R.(2d) 242, refd to. [para. 27].

Southam Inc. v. Hunter, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291; 9 C.R.R. 355; 14 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 41 C.R.(3d) 97; [1984] 6 W.W.R. 577; 33 Alta. L.R.(2d) 193; 27 B.L.R. 297; 84 D.T.C. 6467; 2 C.P.R.(3d) 1; 11 D.L.R.(4th) 641, refd to. [para. 28].

Descôteaux et al. v. Mierzwinski et al., [1982] 1 S.C.R. 860; 44 N.R. 462; 141 D.L.R.(3d) 590; 70 C.C.C.(2d) 385, refd to. [para. 28].

Thomson Newspapers Ltd. v. Director of Investigation and Research, Combines Investigation Act et al., [1990] 1 S.C.R. 425; 106 N.R. 161; 39 O.A.C. 161; 54 C.C.C.(3d) 417; 76 C.R.(3d) 129; 67 D.L.R.(4th) 161; 29 C.P.R.(3d) 97; 47 C.R.R. 1, refd to. [para. 28].

Baron et al. v. Minister of National Rev­enue et al., [1993] 1 S.C.R. 416; 146 N.R. 270; 78 C.C.C.(3d) 510; 18 C.R.(4th) 274, refd to. [para. 28].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 487(1)(b) [para. 13].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Kaufman Report - see Ontario, Attorney General Report, The Commission on Proceedings Involving Guy Paul Morin.

Ontario, Attorney General Report, The Commission on Proceedings Involving Guy Paul Morin (Kaufman Report) (1998), vol. 1, pp. 479 to 482 [para. 24].

Counsel:

S. David Frankel, Q.C., and Kenneth Yule, for the appellant;

Gary A. Letcher, Jonathan S. McLean and Eric B. Miller, for the respondents;

Michal Fairburn, for the intervener.

Solicitors of Record:

Attorney General of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

Edwards, Kenny & Bray, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the respondents;

Attorney General of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener.

This appeal was heard on December 10, 1998, by Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory, Iacobucci, Major and Binnie, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. On December 10, 1998, Major, J., rendered oral judgment for the Court and the following written reasons were released in both official languages on April 23, 1999.

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