Fontaine et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., 2015 SKQB 220

Judge:Gabrielson, J.
Court:Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan
Case Date:July 16, 2015
Jurisdiction:Saskatchewan
Citations:2015 SKQB 220;(2015), 482 Sask.R. 43 (QB)
 
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Fontaine v. Can. (A.G.) (2015), 482 Sask.R. 43 (QB)

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Temp. Cite: [2015] Sask.R. TBEd. OC.003

Larry Philip Fontaine in His Personal Capacity and in His Capacity as the Executor of the Estate of Agnes Mary Fontaine, Deceased, Michelline Ammaq, Percy Archie, Charles Baxter Sr., Elijah Baxter, Evelyn Baxter, Donald BelCourt, Nora Bernard, John Bosum, Janet Brewster, Rhonda Buffalo, Ernestine Caibaiosai-gidmark, Michael Carpan, Brenda Cyr, Deanna Cyr, Malcolm Dawson, Ann Dene, Benny Doctor, Lucy Doctor, James Fontaine in His Personal Capacity and in His Capacity as the Executor of the Estate of Agnes Mary Fontaine, Deceased, Vincent Bradley Fontaine, Dana Eva Marie Francey, Peggy Good, Fred Kelly, Rosemarie Kuptana, Elizabeth Kusiak, Theresa Larocque, Jane Mccullum, Cornelius Mccomber, Veronica Marten, Stanley Thomas Nepetaypo, Flora Northwest, Norman Pauchey, Camble Quatell, Alvin Barney Saulteaux, Christine Semple, Dennis Smokeyday, Kenneth Sparvier, Edward Tapiatic, Helen Winderman and Adrian Yellowknee, (plaintiffs) v. the Attorney General of Canada, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, the Board of Home Missions of the United Church of Canada, the Women's Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church in Canada, Board of Home Missions and Social Services of the Presbyterian Church in Bay, the Canada Impact North Ministries of the Company for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England (also known as the New England Company), the Diocese of Saskatchewan, the Diocese of the Synod of Cariboo, the Foreign Mission of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Huron, the Methodist Church of Canada, the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Missionary Society of the Methodist Church of Canada (also known as the Methodist Missionary Society of Canada), the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Algoma, the Synod of the Anglican Church of the Diocese of Quebec, the Synod of the Diocese of Athabasca, the Synod of the Diocese of Brandon, the Anglican Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia, the Synod of the Diocese of Calgary, the Synod of the Diocese of Keewatin, the Synod of the Diocese of Qu'appelle, the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminister, the Synod of the Diocese of Yukon, the Trustee Board of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Board of Home Missions and Social Service of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, the Women's Missionary Society of the United Church of Canada, Sisters of Charity, a Body Corporate Also Known as Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul, Halifax, Also Known as Sisters of Charity Halifax, Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax, Les Soeurs de Notre Dame-Auxiliatrice, Les Soeurs de St. Francois D'assise, Institut des Soeurs du Bon Conseil, Les Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Saint-Hyancithe, Les Soeurs de Jesus-Marie, Les Soeurs de l'Assomption de la Sainte Vierge, Les Soeurs de l'Assomption de la Saint Vierge de l'Alberta, Les Soeurs de la Charite de St.-Hyacinthe, Les Oeuvres Oblates de l'Ontario, Les Residences Oblates du Quebec, La Corporation Episcopale Catholique Romaine de la Baie James (The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of James Bay), the Catholic Diocese of Moosonee, Soeurs Grises De Montréal/Grey Nuns of Montreal, Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns) of Alberta, Les Soeurs de la Charité des T.N.O., Hotel-Dieu de Nicolet, the Grey Nuns of Manitoba Inc.-Les Soeurs Grises du Manitoba Inc., La Corporation Episcopale Catholique Romaine de la Baie d'Hudson - the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Hudson's Bay, Missionary Oblates - Grandin Province, Les Oblats de Marie Immaculee du Manitoba, the Archiepiscopal Corporation of Regina, the Sisters of the Presentation, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault St. Marie, Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, Oblates of Mary Immaculate-St. Peter's Province, the Sisters of Saint Ann, Sisters of Instruction of the Child Jesus, the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel Oregon, Les Peres Montfortains, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Kamloops Corporation Sole, the Bishop of Victoria, Corporation Sole, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Nelson, Corporation Sole, Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the Province of British Columbia, the Sisters of Charity of Providence of Western Canada, La Corporation Episcopale Catholique Romaine de Grouard, Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Keewatin, La Corporation Archiépiscopale Catholique Romaine de St. Boniface, Les Missionnaires Oblates Sisters de St. Boniface-The Missionary Oblates Sisters of St. Boniface, Roman Catholic Archiepiscopal Corporation of Winnipeg, La Corporation Episcopale Catholique Romaine de Prince Albert, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Thunder Bay, Immaculate Heart Community of Los Angeles Ca, Archdiocese of Vancouver - the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, Roman Catholic Diocese of Whitehorse, the Catholic Episcopale Corporation of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Prince Rupert, Episcopal Corporation of Saskatoon, Omi Lacombe Canada Inc. and Mt. Angel Abbey Inc. (defendants)

(2005 Q.B.G. No. 816; 2015 SKQB 220)

Indexed As: Fontaine et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al.

Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench

Judicial Centre of Regina

Gabrielson, J.

July 16, 2015.

Summary:

Under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (the agreement), Canada provided compensation to individuals affected by the residential school system. Disputes concerning rights and obligations created by the agreement were determined through requests for direction (RFDs). The narrow issue on this RFD was whether the applicant corporation of "Catholic Entities" and Canada had entered into an enforceable settlement of all issues relating to the Catholic Entities' obligations under the agreement.

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench found that an enforceable settlement had been entered into by the parties.

Barristers and Solicitors - Topic 1164

Authority - Extent of - Respecting settlements - [See Practice - Topic 9854 ].

Contracts - Topic 1503

Formation of contract - Consensus or agreement - What constitutes a consensus necessary for a binding contract - [See Practice - Topic 9854 ].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4806

Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement - Request for direction from the supervising judge - [See Practice - Topic 9854 ].

Practice - Topic 9852

Settlements - What constitutes a settlement - [See Practice - Topic 9854 ].

Practice - Topic 9854

Settlements - Enforceability - General - Under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (the agreement), Canada provided compensation to individuals affected by the residential school system - Disputes concerning rights and obligations created by the agreement were determined through requests for direction (RFDs) - The narrow issue on this RFD was whether the applicant corporation of "Catholic Entities" and Canada had entered into an enforceable settlement of all issues relating to the Catholic Entities' obligations under the agreement - The dispute centred on the settlement's scope - Both parties acknowledged that the Catholic Entities were to pay $1.2 million - The Catholic Entities asserted that this was in exchange for broad releases and indemnities under ss. 4.5 and 4.6 of Schedule O-3 to the agreement - Canada's position was that the parties were to deal "with quantum first and terms second" - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench found that there was a binding agreement between the parties that, on payment of $1.2 million, the Catholic Entities were entitled to releases and indemnities in accordance with ss. 4.5 and 4.6 of Schedule O-3 without restriction - Canada's interpretation of the negotiations was not reasonable - It was not logical to say that the quantum was agreed to while the settlement's fundamental scope was not - There was consensus on the essential terms - The settlement was not conditional on the execution of a formal document - On the issue of whether counsel's authority to settle was qualified, a reasonable bystander would have understood that the agreement of counsel was not subject to approval by others at Canada - Such a restriction was not reasonable in these circumstances.

Counsel:

James S. Ehmann, Q.C., for CCEPIRSS and the Catholic Entities;

Wayne M. Schafer, Q.C., for the Attorney General of Canada.

This application was heard by Gabrielson, J., of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, Judicial Centre of Regina, who delivered the following decision on July 16, 2015.

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