Canadian Council of Churches v. Canada et al., (1992) 132 N.R. 241 (SCC)

JudgeStevenson and Iacobucci, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateOctober 11, 1991
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1992), 132 N.R. 241 (SCC);5 CPC (3d) 20;2 Admin LR (2d) 229;49 FTR 160;8 CRR (2d) 145;[1992] 1 SCR 236;31 ACWS (3d) 214;88 DLR (4th) 193;[1992] ACS no 5;[1992] SCJ No 5 (QL);JE 92-198;132 NR 241;1992 CanLII 116 (SCC);16 Imm LR (2d) 161

Cdn. Council of Churches v. Can. (1992), 132 N.R. 241 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

The Canadian Council of Churches (appellant) v. Her Majesty the Queen and The Minister of Employment and Immigration (respondents) and Coalition of the Provincial Organizations of the Handicapped, The Quebec Multi Ethnic Association for the Integration of Handicapped People, League for Human Rights of B'Nai Brith Canada, Women's Legal Education and Action (LEAF) and Canadian Disability Rights Council (CDRC) (intervenors)

(No. 21946)

Indexed As: Canadian Council of Churches v. Canada et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé,

Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory,

Stevenson and Iacobucci, JJ.

January 23, 1992.

Summary:

The Canadian Council of Churches com­menced an action against the federal Crown, challenging the constitutional validity of numerous provisions of the Immigration Act 1976, as amended. The Council alleged that the provisions violated the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Crown applied to strike out the Council's statement of claim on the ground that the Council lacked standing and that its pleadings disclosed no reasonable cause of action.

The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Divi­sion, in a judgment reported 27 F.T.R. 129, dismissed the application to strike. The Crown appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 106 N.R. 61, allowed the appeal in part. The court held that the Council had standing to challenge the constitutionality of the provisions, but only for four of the matters in its statement of claim relating to the Charter. The Coun­cil appealed, seeking to have the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal set aside, and the Crown cross-appealed, seek­ing to have the remaining portions of the statement of claim struck out.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Council's appeal and allowed the Crown's cross-appeal. The court held that the Council lacked standing to mount its constitutional challenge.

Civil Rights - Topic 8583

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Practice - Who may raise Charter issues - [See second Practice - Topic 219 ].

Practice - Topic 219

Persons who can sue and be sued - Indi­viduals and corporations - Status or stand­ing - Validity of legislation - The Supreme Court of Canada refused to extend the principles for granting public standing as set forth by the court in Thorson v. Attorney General of Canada, McNeil v. Nova Scotia Board of Censors, Borowski v. Minister of Justice and Finlay v. Canada - See paragraphs 35, 36.

Practice - Topic 219

Persons who can sue and be sued - Indi­viduals and corporations - Status or stand­ing - Validity of legislation - The Cana­dian Council of Churches challenged the constitutional validity of numerous provi­sions of the Immigration Act 1976, as amended, respecting Convention refugees - The Council alleged that the provisions were contrary to the Charter - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Council lacked standing to bring its chal­lenge because there were other reasonable methods of bringing the matter to court (i.e., by individual refugee claimants) - The court therefore, struck out the Coun­cil's statement of claim.

Practice - Topic 2230

Pleadings - Striking out pleadings - Grounds - Failure to disclose cause of action - The Supreme Court of Canada reiterated the principles to be used when considering whether a reasonable cause of action has been disclosed by a statement of claim - See paragraph 44.

Cases Notice d:

Gouriet v. Union of Post Office Workers, [1978] A.C. 435, refd to. [para. 15].

Australian Conservation Foundation Inc. v. Commonwealth of Australia (1980), 28 A.L.R. 257 (H.C.), refd to. [para. 19].

Thorson v. Attorney General of Canada, [1975] 1 S.C.R. 138; 1 N.R. 225; 43 D.L.R.(3d) 1, refd to. [paras. 21, 30].

Valley Forge Christian College v. Ameri­cans United for Separation of Church and State Inc. (1982), 454 U.S. 464, refd to. [para. 24].

McNeil v. Nova Scotia Board of Censors, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 265; 5 N.R. 43; 12 N.S.R.(2d) 85; 6 A.P.R. 85; 55 D.L.R.(3d) 632; 32 C.R.N.S. 376, refd to. [para. 30].

Borowski v. Minister of Justice and Min­ister of Finance of Canada, [1981] 2 S.C.R. 575; 39 N.R. 331; 12 Sask.R. 420; [1982] 1 W.W.R. 97; 24 C.R.(3d) 352; 24 C.P.C. 62; 64 C.C.C.(2d) 97; 130 D.L.R.(3d) 588, refd to. [para. 30].

Finlay v. Canada, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 607; 71 N.R. 338, refd to. [paras. 33, 38].

Toth v. Minister of Employment and Im­migration, [1989] 1 F.C. 535; 86 N.R. 302 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 41].

Hunt v. T & N plc et al., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 959; 117 N.R. 321; 74 D.L.R.(4th) 321, refd to. [para. 44].

Hunt v. Carey Canada Inc. - see Hunt v. T & N plc et al.

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, preamble [para. 32].

Constitution Act, 1982, sect. 52(1) [para. 32].

Immigration Act, S.C. 1976-77, c. 52.

United States Constitution, article III, sect. 2(1) [para. 23].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Australia, Australian Law Reform Com­mission, Discussion Paper No. 4, Access to the Courts-I Public Interest Suits (1977), generally [para. 17].

Canada, Auditor General, Report on the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, Fiscal Year Ended 31 March 1990, pp. 352, 353, para. 14.43 [para. 41].

Tribe, Laurence H., American Constitu­tional Law (2nd Ed. 1988), p. 110 [para. 26].

Counsel:

Steven M. Barrett, Barb Jackman and Ethan Podkanzer, for the appellant;

Graham R. Garton, for the respondents;

Anne M. Molloy, for the intervenors, the Coalition of Provincial Organizations of the Handicapped and the Quebec Multi Ethnic Association for the Integration of Handicapped People;

David Matas and Marvin Kurz, for the intervenor League for Human Rights of B'Nai Brith Canada;

Mary Eberts and Dulcie McCallum,. for the intervenors Women's Legal Educa­tion and Action (L.E.A.F.) and Canadian Disability Rights Council (C.D.R.C.).

Solicitors of Record:

Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellants;

John C. Tait, Q.C., Deputy Attorney Gen­eral of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondents;

Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handi­capped, Toronto, Ontario, for the Coali­tion of Provincial Organizations of the Handicapped and the Quebec Multi Ethnic Association for the Integration of Handicapped People;

David Matas, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Dale Streiman and Kruz, Brampton, Ontario, for the intervenor League for Human Rights of B'Nai Brith Canada;

Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington, Toronto, Ontario, and Dulcie McCallum, Victoria, British Columbia, for the intervenors Women's Legal Education and Action (L.E.A.F.) and Canadian Disability Rights Council (C.D.R.C.).

This appeal was heard on October 11, 1991, before La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, Stevenson and Iacobucci, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The decision of the court was delivered on January 23, 1992, in both official languages, by Cory, J.

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