Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale And Department Store Union, Local 580, Peterson And Alexander, (1986) 71 N.R. 83 (SCC)

JudgeDickson, C.J.C., Beetz, Estey, McIntyre, Chouinard, Wilson and Le Dain, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateDecember 18, 1986
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1986), 71 N.R. 83 (SCC);[1987] 1 WWR 577;[1986] ACS no 75;25 CRR 321;9 BCLR (2d) 273;[1986] 2 SCR 573;38 CCLT 184;2 ACWS (3d) 243;1986 CanLII 5 (SCC);71 NR 83;JE 87-81;[1986] SCJ No 75 (QL);33 DLR (4th) 174

Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. RWDSU (1986), 71 N.R. 83 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 580, Al Peterson and Donna Alexander v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd. and Attorney General of Canada, Attorney General of British Columbia, Attorney General of Alberta and Attorney General of Newfoundland

(No. 18720)

Indexed As: Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale And Department Store Union, Local 580, Peterson And Alexander

Supreme Court of Canada

Dickson, C.J.C., Beetz, Estey, McIntyre, Chouinard, Wilson and Le Dain, JJ.

December 18, 1986.

Summary:

Dolphin Delivery Ltd. carried on a courier business in British Columbia. Dolphin did business with Purolator Courier Inc., making deliveries for Purolator. Purolator's employees were represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 580 (the union) and were locked-out by Purolator. Dolphin continued to make similar deliveries for Supercourier Ltd., a company allegedly in some way connected with Purolator. Union members advised Dolphin that the union would picket Dolphin's business premises, unless Dolphin ceased doing business with Supercourier. Dolphin applied for a quia timet injunction to restrain the picketing. (The issue of secondary picketing was to be determined under the basis of the common law because the Canada Labour Code which applied to Purolator's relationship with its employees was silent with respect to picketing).

The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported [1983] B.C.W. L.D. 100, granted the injunction restraining the picketing pending trial. The union appealed, arguing that the common law principles adopted by the trial judge had the effect of infringing the union's freedom of expression (Charter, s. 2(b)).

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, in a decision reported at paragraphs 50 to 111 below, and [1984] 3 W.W.R. 481; 52 B.C.L.R. 1; 84 C.L.L.C. 14036, dismissed the appeal. The union appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal. McIntyre, J., (Dickson, C. J.C., Estey, Chouinard and Le Dain, JJ., concurring), held that the secondary picketing sought to be restrained involved the exercise of the right of freedom of expression. Notwithstanding this, the court held that the Charter did not apply to the case. The court held that the Charter applied to the common law, but not to litigation between purely private parties, where there was no exercise of or reliance on government action which would invoke the Charter. The court noted that here, there was no offending statute, but rather a common law rule which rendered secondary picketing tortious and subject to injunctive restraint, on the basis that it induced a breach of contract. The court stated further that had the Charter been applicable, the injunction would have been a reasonable interference with the exercise of the right of freedom of expression justifiable under s. 1 of the Charter.

Beetz, J., agreed with the majority of the British Columbia Court of Appeal that the picketing in this case was not a form of expression and therefore no question of an infringement of s. 2(b) of the Charter arose. Otherwise, Beetz, J., agreed with the reasons of McIntyre, J.

Wilson, J., agreed with the reasons of McIntyre, J., except with respect to his reasons dealing with s. 1 of the Charter.

Civil Rights - Topic 1802

Freedom of expression - What constitutes - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the concept of "freedom of expression" as it existed in Canada in 1986 - See paragraphs 12 to 16.

Civil Rights - Topic 1850

Freedom of expression - Limitations on - Picketing - Secondary picketing - A union intended to establish secondary pickets at the business premises of a third party - The third party obtained an injunction - The union applied to set aside the injunction, alleging an infringement of the right of freedom of expression (Charter, s. 2(b)) - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "the picketing sought to be restrained involved the exercise of the right of freedom of expression" - See paragraphs 12 to 20 - The court held however that the Charter was inapplicable because of the purely private nature of the litigation - See paragraphs 26 to 41 - The court commented however that had the Charter applied, the injunction would be a reasonable limit on the freedom of expression, pursuant to s. 1 of the Charter - See paragraphs 21 to 24.

Civil Rights - Topic 8304

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - General - Meaning of "government" in s. 32(1) - S. 32(1) provided that the Charter applied to the "Parliament and government of Canada" and to the "legislature and government of each province" - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the word "government" used in this context referred to the executive government of Canada and the provinces - See paragraph 33.

Civil Rights - Topic 8306.1

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Common law - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Charter applies to the common law (Constitution Act, 1982, s. 52(1)) - See paragraph 25 - The court stated however that the Charter does not apply to private litigation divorced completely from any connection with government - See paragraphs 25 to 33 - The court then discussed the actors to whom the Charter would apply - See paragraphs 34 to 41.

Civil Rights - Topic 8311

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Non-governmental or private interference - Picketing governed by the common law - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1850 above].

Civil Rights - Topic 8312

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Court orders - The Supreme Court of Canada held that for Charter purposes an order of a court could not be equated with governmental action - See paragraph 36.

Civil Rights - Topic 8350

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Matters of purely private nature - Picketing governed by the common law - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1850 above].

Labour Law - Topic 8164

Industrial relations - Picketing - Secondary picketing - [See Civil Rights - Topic 1850 above].

Words and Phrases

Government - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the meaning of the word "government" as it appeared in s. 32(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - See paragraph 33.

Cases Noticed:

Abrams v. United States (1919), 250 U.S. 616, refd to. [para. 14].

Boucher v. The King, [1951] S.C.R. 265, refd to. [para. 15].

Switzman v. Elbling, [1957] S.C.R. 285, refd to. [para. 15].

Reference re Alberta Statutes, [1938] S.C.R. 100, refd to. [para. 15].

Thornhill v. Alabama (1940), 310 U.S. 88, refd to. [para. 18].

Milk Wagon Drivers Union v. Meadowmoor Dairies (1941), 312 U.S. 287, refd to. [para. 18].

Channel Seven Television Ltd. v. National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, [1971] 5 W. W.R. 328; 21 D.L.R.(3d) 424 (Man. C.A.), refd to. [paras. 18, 60].

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. 22].

R. v. Big M. Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481; 18 C.C.C. (3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321, refd to. [paras. 22, 46].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 35; 26 D.L.R.(4th) 200; 50 C.R.(3d) 1; 24 C.C.C.(3d) 321, refd to. [paras. 22, 46].

Blainey v. Ontario Hockey Association (1986), 14 O.A.C. 194; 26 D.L. R.(4th) 728; 54 O.R.(2d) 513, consd. [paras. 30, 37, 40].

Cat Productions Ltd. v. Macedo, [1985] 1 F.C. 269, refd to. [para. 30].

R. v. Lerke (1984), 55 A.R. 216; 11 D.L.R.(4th) 185 (Alta. Q.B.), refd to. [para. 30].

B.C. Ferry Corp. v. Telecommunications Wkrs. Union; Fording Coal Ltd. v. Telecommunications Wkrs. Union, [1981] 6 W.W.R. 715; 31 B.C.L.R. 247; 128 D.L.R.(3d) 307, refd to. [paras. 56, 76].

Re Service Employees' Int. Union, Loc. 204 and Broadway Manor Nursing Home (1983), 44 O.R.(2d) 392, consd. [para. 83].

Jones v. D.P.P., [1962] A.C. 635; [1962] 2 W.L.R. 575; [1962] 1 All E. R. 569 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 86].

Min. of Home Affairs v. Fisher, [1980] A.C. 319; [1979] 2 W.L.R. 889; [1979] 3 All E.R. 21, refd to. [para. 88].

Collymore v. A.G., [1970] A.C. 538; [1970] 2 W.L.R. 233; [1969] 1 All E. R. 1207, refd to. [para. 93].

Thornhill v. Alabama (1940), 310 U.S. 88; 84 L. Ed. 1093; 60 S.C. 736, refd to. [para. 97].

Koss v. Konn (1961), 36 W.W.R.(N.S.) 100; 30 D.L.R.(2d) 242, refd to. [para. 101].

Statutes Noticed:

Canada Labour Code, R.S.C. 1970, c. L-1 [paras. 21, 50].

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, sect. 1 [paras. 21-24, 45-48]; sect. 2(b) [para. 1 et seq.]; sect. 2(d) [paras. 5-7, 67, 81-94]; sect. 15(1) [para. 37]; sect. 32(1) [para. 33].

Constitution Act, 1867, sect. 12, sect. 16, sect. 132 [para. 33].

Constitution Act, 1982, sect. 52(1) [para. 25].

Human Rights Code, 1981, S.O. 1981, c. 53, sect. 19(2) [para. 37].

Labour Code, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 212, generally [paras. 3, 21, 51]; sect. 85(3), sect. 88 [para. 24].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Arthurs, H.W., Tort Liability for Strikes in Canada; Some Problems of Judicial Workmanship (1960), 38 Can. Bar Rev. 346, p. 362 [para. 62].

Emerson, Thomas, The Systems of Freedom of Expression (1970), p. 444 [para. 98]; 445 [paras. 58, 98].

Gibson, Dale, The Charter of Rights and the Private Sector (1982), 12 Man. L.J. 213 [para. 32].

Gibson, Dale, Distinguishing the Governors from the Governed: The Meaning of Government under Section 32 (1) of the Charter (1983), 13 Man. L.J. 505 [para. 32].

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (2nd Ed. 1985), generally [para. 16]; pp. 670-678 [paras. 27, 28]; 677 [paras. 35, 38]; 678 [para. 35].

Manning, Morris, Rights, Freedoms and the Courts (1983) [para. 32].

Mill, John Stuart, "On Liberty", in On Liberty and Considerations on Representative Government, Edited by R.B. McCallum (1946), pp. 14, 16 [para. 13].

Milton, John, Areopagitica; A Speech of Mr. John Milton For the Liberty of Unlicenc'd Printing, to the Parliament of England (1644) [para. 13].

McLellan A. Anne, and Bruce P. Elman, To Whom Does the Charter Apply? Some Recent Cases on Section 32 (1986), 24 Alta. L. Rev. 361, p. 367 [para. 31].

Scott, M.A., The Invisible Hand and The Clenched Fist: Is There a Safe Way to Picket Under the First Amendment? (1974), 26 Hastings L.J. 167, generally [para. 97]; p. 188 [para. 58].

Swinton, Katherine, "Application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms", in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Commentary (W.S. Tarnopolsky and G.A. Beaudoin, eds.) (1982), generally [para. 27]; pp. 44, 45 [para. 30]; 47, 48 [para. 29].

Tarnopolsky, Walter S., "The Equality Rights", in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Commentary (W. S. Tarnopolsky and G.A. Beaudoin eds.) (1982), pp. 422-423 [para. 30].

Tarnopolsky, Walter S., and G.A. Beaudoin, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Commentary [paras. 27, 29, 30].

Weiler, Paul C., Reconcilable Differences (1980), pp. 64, 65 [para. 23]; 79 [paras. 58, 98]; 80 [paras. 23, 106].

Counsel:

F. Schroeder, for the appellants;

Peter Gall and Donald Jordan, for the respondent;

James M. Mabbutt and Peter K. Doody, for the intervener the Attorney General of Canada;

Jack Giles, Q.C., and Robert McDonell, for the intervener the Attorney General of British Columbia;

Brian R. Burrows, for the intervener the Attorney General for Alberta;

James L. Thistle and Deborah E. Fry, for the intervener the Attorney General of Newfoundland.

Solicitors of Record:

Laxton, Pidgeon, Vancouver, for the appellants;

Jordan and Gall, Vancouver, for the respondent;

R. Tasse, Ottawa, for the intervener the Attorney General of Canada;

Attorney General of British Columbia, Victoria, for the intervener the Attorney General of British Columbia;

McLennan, Ross, Edmonton, for the intervener the Attorney General for Alberta;

Attorney General of Newfoundland, St. John's, for the intervener the Attorney General of Newfoundland.

This appeal was heard on December 6 and 7, 1984, before Dickson, C.J.C., Beetz, Estey, McIntyre, Chouinard, Wilson and Le Dain, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The following judgment of the court was rendered on December 18, 1986, including the following opinions:

McIntyre, J. (Dickson, C.J.C., Estey, Chouinard and Le Dain, JJ. concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 41;

Beetz, J., concurring - see paragraphs 42 to 44;

Wilson, J., concurring - see paragraphs 45 to 49.

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