Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Common Jail of the City of Montreal et al., (1976) 8 N.R. 361 (SCC)

JudgeLaskin, C.J.C., Martland, Judson, Ritchie, Spence, Pigeon, Dickson, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateApril 01, 1976
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1976), 8 N.R. 361 (SCC);73 DLR (3d) 491;33 CCC (2d) 289;8 NR 361;[1978] 1 SCR 152;[1976] SCJ No 113 (QL);1976 CanLII 1 (SCC)

Di Iorio v. Common Jail Warden (1976), 8 N.R. 361 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Common Jail of the City of Montreal et al.

Indexed As: Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Common Jail of the City of Montreal et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

Laskin, C.J.C., Martland, Judson, Ritchie, Spence, Pigeon, Dickson, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ.

April 1, 1976.

Summary:

This case arose out of the creation by the Province of Quebec of a commission to inquire into organized crime in the Province of Quebec. The commission was to report to the Quebec Attorney General. A witness appearing before the commission refused to testify. The commission found the witness guilty of contempt and sentenced the witness to one year in jail pursuant to the provisions of the Quebec Code of Civil Procedure. The witness applied to the Court of Queen's Bench for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the creation of the commission and his committal to jail were unconstitutional, as being criminal in nature. The "Criminal Law" is a legislative power exclusively assigned to the federal government. The Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the petition of the witness.

On appeal to the Quebec Court of Appeal the appeal was dismissed and the judgment of the Court of Queen's Bench was affirmed.

On appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the appeal was dismissed and the judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal was affirmed. The Supreme Court of Canada held that the creation of the commission and the committal of the witness to jail were not criminal matters but fell within the provincial power, "administration of justice in the province" assigned to the provinces under s. 92(14) of the British North America Act. The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "justice" in s. 92(14) includes both civil and criminal justice - see paragraphs 17 and 24. The Supreme Court of Canada stated that s. 92(14) is not limited to the setting up of courts - see paragraph 44. The Supreme Court of Canada stated that an inquiry which deals to some degree with criminal matters is not a matter of "criminal law" - see paragraph 73. The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the phrase "administration of justice" is a free standing and independent source of provincial power - see paragraph 57.

The Supreme Court of Canada stated that any abridgment of the right to protection against self-incrimination is legislation in relation to criminal law and procedure in criminal matters and is within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada - see paragraph 9. The Supreme Court of Canada stated that a person subpoenaed by a provincial authority can claim the protection of s. 5 of the Canada Evidence Act - see paragraph 79.

Laskin, C.J.C. and de Grandpré, J., dissenting, in the Supreme Court of Canada, would have allowed the appeal and would have declared s. 19 of the Quebec Police Act invalid along with any delegated legislation made pursuant to s. 19 of the Quebec Police Act. Laskin, C.J.C., stated that s. 92(14) and the words "administration of justice" do not include the administration of criminal justice. Laskin, C.J.C., stated that the creation of the commission by the Province of Quebec interfered with the exclusive federal power in relation to criminal law and procedure in criminal matters - see paragraphs 139 and 140.

Constitutional Law - Topic 7402

Enumeration in s. 92 of the British North America Act - Section 92(14) - Provincial powers - Administration of justice - Powers of provincial inquiries - The Province of Quebec established the Quebec Police Commission to inquire into organized crime and report to the Attorney General - The Commission committed a witness to jail for contempt for a refusal to testify - The witness alleged that the inquiry and his committal to jail were unconstitutional as being criminal in nature - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the inquiry and the committal of the witness to jail were not criminal matters but fell within the "administration of justice in the Province" under s. 92(14) of the British North America Act - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "justice" in s. 92(14) includes both civil and criminal justice - See paragraphs 17 and 24 - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that s. 92(14) is not limited to the setting up of courts - See paragraph 44 - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that an inquiry which deals to some degree with criminal matters is not a matter of "criminal law" - See paragraph 73.

Constitutional Law - Topic 7405

Enumeration in s. 92 of the British North America Act - Section 92(14) - Provincial powers - Administration of justice - Jurisdiction of the provincial courts - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the jurisdiction of provincial courts to declare invalid provincial legislation which dealt with criminal matters - See paragraph 22.

Constitutional Law - Topic 7400

Enumeration in s. 92 of the British North America Act - Section 92(14) - Provincial powers - Administration of justice - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the phrase "administration of justice" is a free standing and independent source of provincial power - See paragraph 57.

Constitutional Law - Topic 6473

Enumeration in s. 91 of the British North America Act - Procedure in criminal matters - Protection against self-incrimination - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that any abridgment of the right of protection against self-incrimination is legislation in relation to criminal law and procedure in criminal matters and is within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada - See paragraph 9.

Constitutional Law - Topic 7474

Enumeration in s. 92 of the British North America Act - Section 92(15) - Provincial powers - Punishment - Extent of the power to impose punishments - A provincial commission inquiring into organized crime committed a witness to jail for contempt for refusal to testify - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the provincial power to punish for a violation of provincial laws is unrestricted - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the commitment of the witness by the Provincial Commission was coercive and not punitive in nature and was not a "criminal matter" - See paragraphs 20 and 21.

Criminal Law - Topic 59

Protection against self-incrimination - Application of the protection of s. 5 of the Canada Evidence Act - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the protection granted to witnesses under the Canada Evidence Act respecting incriminating answers extends to questions put to a witness by a provincial authority - See paragraphs 18 and 74 to 77 and 98 - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that a person who is subpoenaed by a provincial inquiry can claim the protection of s. 5 of the Canada Evidence Act - See paragraph 79.

Crown - Topic 768

Duty of ministers - Duty of an Attorney General - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the duties of a provincial Attorney General and to the duties to the Attorney General of Canada - See paragraphs 46 and 47.

Statutes - Topic 1641

Interpretation - Extrinsic aids - Legislative history - General principles - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that history, legislative history and governmental attitudes can be helpful guides to interpretation - See paragraph 48.

Constitutional Law - Topic 1003

Interpretation - General principles - Division of legislative powers - Purpose of legislation - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that matters in one aspect and for one purpose may fall under a head of legislative power and the same matters in another aspect and for another purpose may fall under another head of legislative power - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that one should not expect to be able to draw a fine line between two heads of legislative power - See paragraph 49.

Statutes - Topic 1644

Interpretation - Extrinsic aids - Legislative history - Legislative debates - The Supreme Court of Canada in a case concerning the interpretation of the British North America Act referred to the debates of the British Parliament on February 19, 1867 - See paragraph 32.

Statutes - Topic 2267

Interpretation - Presumptions and rules in aid - Presumption in favour of validity of a statute - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the rule that where a statute is ambiguous a court should choose a construction which will result in the validity of the statute - See paragraph 33.

Statutes - Topic 1621

Interpretation - Extrinsic aids - Other statutes - Whether a provincial inquiry into organized crime was within the legislative competence of the Province of Quebec - The Supreme Court of Canada while interpreting s. 92(14), "administration of justice in the Province", referred to similar provincial statutes enacted before and after 1867 - See paragraph 37.

Words and Phrases

Witness - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the word "witness" as found in s. 5 of the Canada Evidence Act - See paragraph 79.

Words and Phrases

Including - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the word "including" as found in s. 92(14) of the British North America Act - See paragraph 44.

Words and Phrases

Justice - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the word "justice" as found in s. 92(14) of the British North America Act - See paragraph 24.

Words and Phrases

Criminal procedure - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the words "criminal procedure" as found in s. 91(27) of the British North America Act - See paragraphs 52 to 56.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Coote (1873), L.R. 4 App. Cas. 599, folld. [paras. 6, 58]; refd to. [para. 118].

Public Enquiries Act, 48 D.L.R. 237, folld. [para. 7].

Re Adoption Act, [1938] S.C.R. 398, folld. [para. 8]; refd to. [paras. 64, 111].

Batary v. Attorney General for Saskatchewan, [1965] S.C.R. 465, folld. [para. 9]; refd to. [para. 67]; dist. [para. 118].

R. v. Coroner of Langley, 67 D.L.R.(2d) 541, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. MacDonald (1969), 2 D.L.R.(3d) 298, refd to. [para. 10].

Faber v. The Queen (1975), 6 N.R. 1; 8 N.R. 29, folld. [para. 11]; refd to. [para. 67]; dist. [para. 118].

Wolfe v. Robinson, [1962] O.R. 132, folld. [para. 13].

Minister of National Revenue v. Lafleur, [1964] S.C.R. 412, folld. [paras. 16, 104].

In re Storgoff, [1945] S.C.R. 526, folld. [paras. 16, 104].

Canadian Pacific Wine Co. v. Tuley, [1921] 2 A.C. 417, folld. [para. 20].

Re Poje, [1953] 1 S.C.R. 516, dist. [para. 21].

Re Armstrong, [1892] 1 Q.B. 327, folld. [para. 21].

Birks v. City of Montreal, [1955] S.C.R. 799, folld. [para. 22].

Switzman v. Elbling, [1957] S.C.R. 285, folld. [para. 22]; refd to. [para. 111].

McKay et al. v. The Queen, [1965] S.C.R. 798, folld. [para. 33].

R. v. Pelletier (1974), 4 O.R.(2d) 677, refd to. [para. 38].

Proprietary Articles Trade Association v. A-G. Can., [1931] A.C. 310, folld. [paras. 48, 91].

Reference of the Combines Investigation Act and of s. 498 of the Criminal Code, [1929] S.C.R. 409, folld. [paras. 49, 137]; refd to. [para. 62].

A.G. Que. v. A.G. Can., [1945] S.C.R. 600, folld. [paras. 53, 89].

In re Public Inquiries Act: In re Clement, [1919] 3 W.W.R. 115; 33 C.C.C. 119, folld. [para. 53]; refd to. [para. 118].

In re Prohibitory Liquor Laws (1895), 24 S.C.R. 170, folld. [para. 60].

Valin v. Langlois (1897), 3 S.C.R. 1, refd to. [para. 61]; folld. [para. 108].

A.C. Ont. v. Hamilton Street Railway Company, [1903] A.C. 524, refd to. [para. 62]; folld. [para. 137].

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. The Queen, [1956] S.C.R. 303, refd to. [para. 62]; folld. [para. 138].

Kalick v. The King (1920), 61 S.C.R. 175, refd to. [para. 65].

Bedard v. Dawson, [1923] S.C.R. 681, refd to. [paras. 65, 112].

Re Wilson Inquest (1968), 66 W.W.R. 522, folld. [para. 68].

Harrison v. The King, [1925] 2 W.W.R. 407 (Alta. C.A.), refd to. [para. 79].

Webster & Kirkness v. Solloway Mills & Co., Ltd., [1930] 3 W.W.R. 445 (Alta. C.A.), refd to. [para. 79].

Staples v. Isaacs, [1940] 2 W.W.R. 657 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 79].

Klein v. Bell, [1955] S.C.R. 309, refd to. [para. 79].

Labour Relations Board of Saskatchewan v. John East Iron Works Ltd., [1949] A.C. 134, folld. [para. 103].

Tomko v. Labour Relations Board (Nova Scotia), 7 N.R. 317, folld. [para. 103].

Dupont v. Inglis, [1958] S.C.R. 235, folld. [para. 103].

Board v. Board, [1919] A.C. 95, folld. [para. 103].

Hellens v. Densmore, [1957] S.C.R. 768, folld. [para. 103].

Pringle v. Fraser, [1972] S.C.R. 821, folld. [para. 103].

Attorney General of British Columbia v. McKenzie, [1965] S.C.R. 490, folld. [para. 103].

R. v. Bush (1888), 15 O.R. 398, folld. [para. 108].

Reference re Divorce Court Act (P.E.I.), [1952] 2 D.L.R. 513, folld. [para. 103].

Johnson v. Attorney General of Alberta, [1954] S.C.R. 127, refd to. [para. 111]; folld. [para. 139].

Attorney General of Ontario v. Canada Temperance Federation, [1946] A.C. 193, refd to. [para. 111].

In re Vancini (1904), 34 S.C.R. 621; folld. [para. 114].

Prince Edward Island Marketing Board v. H.B. Willis Inc., [1952] 2 S.C.R. 392, folld. [para. 114].

Registrar of Motor Vehicles v. Canadian American Transfer Ltd., [1972] S.C.R. 811, folld. [para. 114].

Coughlin v. Ontario Highway Transport Board, [1968] S.C.R. 569, folld. [para. 114].

Reference re Adoption Act, [1938] S.C.R. 100, refd to. [para. 120].

Gold Seal Ltd. v. Dominion Express Co. and Attorney General of Alberta (1919), 62 S.C.R. 424, refd to. [para. 124].

Attorney General of Ontario v. Attorney General of Canada, [1896] A.C. 348, refd to. [para. 124].

Russell v. The Queen (1882), 7 App. Cas. 829, folld. [para. 125].

Attorney General of Ontario v. Canada Temperance Federation, [1946] A.C. 193, folld. [para. 125].

Provincial Secretary of P.E.I. v. Egan, [1941] S.C.R. 396, folld. [para. 137].

Attorney General of British Columbia v. Smith, [1967] S.C.R. 702, folld. [para. 138].

Statutes Noticed:

Police Act, S.Q. 1968, c. 17, sect. 19 [para. 2].

British North America Act 1867, sect. 91(27) [para. 4]; sect. 92(14), sect. 92(15) [para. 5].

Canada Evidence Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. E-10, sect. 2, sect. 5 [para. 18].

Quebec Code of Civil Procedure, art. 851 [para. 22].

Public Inquiry Commission Act, R.S.Q. 1964, c. 11, sect. 1 [para. 116].

Counsel:

Rene Maranda, for the appellants;

Philippe Landry, for intervenant the Attorney General for Canada;

Gerald Tremblay, Roger Thibaudeau, Q.C., Jacques Richard and Olivier Prat, for the respondents;

M. Manning, for intervenant the Attorney General for Ontario;

W. Henkel, for intervenant the Attorney General of Alberta;

F.A. Melvin and N.J. Prelypchan, for intervenant the Attorney General for British Columbia;

Hazen Strange and B.A. Crane, for intervenant the Attorney General for New Brunswick.

This appeal was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada at Ottawa, Ontario on November 18, 19 and 20, 1975. Judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court of Canada on April 1, 1976 and the following opinions were filed:

PIGEON, J. - see paragraphs 1 to 23.

DICKSON, J. - see paragraphs 24 to 82.

BEETZ, J. - see paragraphs 83 to 99.

LASKIN, C.J.C. - dissenting, see paragraphs 100 to 144.

MARTLAND and RITCHIE, JJ., concurred with PIGEON, J.

MARTLAND, JUDSON, RITCHIE, and SPENCE, JJ., concurred with DICKSON, J.

de GRANDPRE, J., concurred with LASKIN, C.J.C.

To continue reading

Request your trial
123 practice notes
  • Thomson Newspapers Ltd. v. Director of Investigation and Research, Combines Investigation Act et al., (1990) 106 N.R. 161 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • November 1, 1988
    ...la Reine et al., [1976] 2 S.C.R. 9; 6 N.R. 1, refd to. [paras. 118, 135, 136]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Montreal Jail, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, refd to. [paras. 118, 135, 136, Keable and Attorney General of the Province of Quebec v. Attorney General of Canada et al., [......
  • R. v. Demers (R.), (2004) 323 N.R. 201 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • June 30, 2004
    ...R. v. Hydro-Québec, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 213; 217 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 72]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Common Jail of Montreal (City), [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, consd. [para. R. v. Ritcey et al., [1980] 1 S.C.R. 1077; 30 N.R. 442; 37 N.S.R.(2d) 68; 67 A.P.R. 68, consd. [para. 73]. Good......
  • R. v. Russel (W.I.), (2013) 447 N.R. 111 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • August 1, 2013
    ...[1981] 1 S.C.R. 714; 37 N.R. 158, refd to. [para. 32]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Common Jail of Montreal (City) et al., [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, refd to. [para. Criminal Code, In re (1910), 43 S.C.R. 434, refd to. [para. 35]. R. v. Peterman (B.) (2004), 186 O.A.C. 83; 7......
  • Phillips et al. v. Richard, J., (1995) 180 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • May 4, 1995
    ...General), [1965] S.C.R. 465, refd to. [para. 50]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Common Jail of Montreal (City) et al., [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, refd to. [para. R. v. M.B.P., [1994] 1 S.C.R. 555; 165 N.R. 321; 70 O.A.C. 161; 89 C.C.C.(3d) 289, refd to. [para. 54]. R. v. Jone......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
113 cases
  • Thomson Newspapers Ltd. v. Director of Investigation and Research, Combines Investigation Act et al., (1990) 106 N.R. 161 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • November 1, 1988
    ...la Reine et al., [1976] 2 S.C.R. 9; 6 N.R. 1, refd to. [paras. 118, 135, 136]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Montreal Jail, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, refd to. [paras. 118, 135, 136, Keable and Attorney General of the Province of Quebec v. Attorney General of Canada et al., [......
  • R. v. Demers (R.), (2004) 323 N.R. 201 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • June 30, 2004
    ...R. v. Hydro-Québec, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 213; 217 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 72]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Common Jail of Montreal (City), [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, consd. [para. R. v. Ritcey et al., [1980] 1 S.C.R. 1077; 30 N.R. 442; 37 N.S.R.(2d) 68; 67 A.P.R. 68, consd. [para. 73]. Good......
  • R. v. Russel (W.I.), (2013) 447 N.R. 111 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • August 1, 2013
    ...[1981] 1 S.C.R. 714; 37 N.R. 158, refd to. [para. 32]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Common Jail of Montreal (City) et al., [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, refd to. [para. Criminal Code, In re (1910), 43 S.C.R. 434, refd to. [para. 35]. R. v. Peterman (B.) (2004), 186 O.A.C. 83; 7......
  • Phillips et al. v. Richard, J., (1995) 180 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • May 4, 1995
    ...General), [1965] S.C.R. 465, refd to. [para. 50]. Di Iorio and Fontaine v. Warden of the Common Jail of Montreal (City) et al., [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152; 8 N.R. 361, refd to. [para. R. v. M.B.P., [1994] 1 S.C.R. 555; 165 N.R. 321; 70 O.A.C. 161; 89 C.C.C.(3d) 289, refd to. [para. 54]. R. v. Jone......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Conduct of Public Inquiries: Law, Policy, and Practice
    • June 16, 2009
    ...(4th) 12, [1994] S.C.J. No. 104.............................. 303, 331–33, 336, 347 Di Iorio v. Warden of the Montreal Jail (1976), [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152, 73 D.L.R. (3d) 491, [1976] S.C.J. No. 113 ............................................. 87, 89–94, 263 Diamond and Ontario Municipal Board......
  • Healing, not squealing: recent amendments to Alberta's Health Information Act.
    • Canada
    • Health Law Review Vol. 15 No. 2, December 2007
    • December 22, 2007
    ...See A.G. Que. and Keable v. A.G. Can., [1979] 1 S.C.R. 218, 90 D.L.R. (3d) 161 [Keable]; Di Iorio v. Montreal (City) Common Jail, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152, 73 D.L.R. (3d) 491 [Di Iorio]; Starr v. Houlden, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1366, 68 D.L.R. (4th) 641 (44.) See Faber v. The Queen, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 9, ......
  • Wither the Divisional Court? Looking at the Past, Analyzing the Present, and Querying the Future of Ontario's Intermediary Appellate Court.
    • Canada
    • Ottawa Law Review Vol. 53 No. 1, December 2022
    • December 22, 2022
    ...W Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, 5th ed (Toronto: Thomson Reuters, 2016) at 7-1 to 7-3; Constitution Act, 1867, supra note 3. (56) [1978] 1 SCR 152 at 160-61, 73 DLR (3d) 491 [citations (57) See The Honourable Louise Charron, "An Interview with the Honourable Louis Charron" (2012) 43:2......
  • The Legal Framework
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Conduct of Public Inquiries: Law, Policy, and Practice
    • June 16, 2009
    ...made were fatal to the validity of the terms of reference. 2 1 This line of cases includes: Di Iorio v. Warden of the Montreal Jail , [1978] 1 S.C.R. 152 [ Di Iorio ]; Quebec (Attorney General) v. Canada (Attorney General) , [1979] 1 S.C.R. 218 [ Keable ]; Re Nelles and Grange (1984), 46 O.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT