Mentuck v. Canada, (1986) 3 F.T.R. 80 (TD)

JudgeMcNair, J.
CourtFederal Court (Canada)
Case DateJune 05, 1985
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1986), 3 F.T.R. 80 (TD)

Mentuck v. Can. (1986), 3 F.T.R. 80 (TD)

MLB headnote and full text

Joseph Charles Gabriel Mentuck, farmer, Theresa Mentuck, wife of Joseph Charles Gabriel Mentuck, Terry Lynn Mentuck, student, Ivan Arnold James Mentuck, farmer, Linda Mae Mentuck, wife of Ivan Arnold James Mentuck, Christopher Charles Mentuck, truck driver, Rita Mary Mentuck, wife of Christopher Charles Mentuck, and Gaylene Bogoslowski, daughter of Joseph Charles Gabriel Mentuck, all of the City of Winnipeg, in Manitoba v. Her Majesty The Queen

(T-3340-81)

Indexed As: Mentuck v. Canada

Federal Court of Canada

Trial Division

McNair, J.

May 12, 1986.

Summary:

An Indian moved off a reserve after he was led to believe by a representative of the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs that he would be compensated by the federal Crown for his relocation costs and the cost of reestablishing his farming operation. The Crown refused to pay. The Indian commenced an action against the Crown for damages for breach of trust to fully compensate him for his relocation, and alternatively, for damages for breach of the Crown's contractual agreement to compensate him. The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, held that there was no breach of trust because there was no fiduciary duty owed to the Indian by the Crown. The court held, however, that there was a completed contract between the Crown and the Indian which the Crown breached when it refused to compensate him. The court assessed damages accordingly.

Contracts - Topic 1444

Formation - Agreements which are not contracts - Agreements to agree - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, discussed the principles applicable in determining whether an agreement between parties is a concluded contract or whether it is conditional or dependant on some further written document - The court held that where an agreement is conditional, there is no enforceable contract - See paragraphs 36 to 43.

Contracts - Topic 9911

Promissory estoppel - Where applicable - General - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, discussed the doctrine of promissory estoppel and whether the doctrine applied to Crown agreements (ie. where the Crown after leading an Indian to believe that he would be compensated for his move off a reserve, refused to pay) - See paragraphs 44 to 60.

Crown - Topic 655

Ministers - Authority of - To enter agreements on behalf of Crown - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, stated that "the Crown is bound by contractual obligations in the same manner as an individual and the ordinary principles of agency apply to government contracts so that a contract made by a Minister of the Crown under his general or apparent mandate of authority or one made by an agent on his behalf acting within the scope of his ostensible authority is binding on the Crown, even though made without specific statutory authorization, in the absence of any inescapable statutory restriction to the contrary" - See paragraph 57.

Crown - Topic 1002

Contracts with Crown - Crown bound by its contracts - After negotiating with an emissary of the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, an Indian moved off a reserve on the understanding that he would be compensated for the relocation and have his farming operation restored - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, examined the circumstances surrounding the negotiations and held that the Indian and the Crown had a completed contract which the Crown breached when it failed to compensate the Indian for the move.

Equity - Topic 3606

Fiduciary relationship - What constitutes - An Indian relocated off the reserve on the understanding that the Crown had agreed to compensate him for the relocation and re-establishment of his farming operation - The Crown subsequently refused to pay, arguing that it had no contractual obligation to the Indian - The Indian argued that the Crown owed a fiduciary duty to the Indian which it breached - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, rejected this argument and held that there was no fiduciary relationship between the parties - See paragraph 57.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 5501

Lands - Reserves - Compensation for leaving reserve - After negotiating with an emissary of the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, an Indian moved off a reserve on the understanding that he would be compensated for the relocation and have his farming operation re-established - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, examined the circumstances surrounding the negotiations and held that the Indian and the Crown had a completed contract which the Crown breached when it failed to compensate the Indian - The court held that the Crown was liable to compensate the Indian as promised.

Practice - Topic 1619

Pleadings - Defence - Pleading statutes - The Crown as defendant raised a defence in argument based on two particular sections of two statutes - The defence was not pleaded - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, held that the Crown could not raise the defence for the first time in argument because it was not properly pleaded - The court stated that a party relying on a statute must plead the facts necessary to bring his claim within the particular section relied on - See paragraphs 55, 56.

Cases Noticed:

Mentuck v. Valley River Band No. 63A et al., [1976] 4 W.W.R. 543, affd. [1977] 2 W.W.R. 309 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 8].

Tanner v. Tanner, [1975] 3 All E.R. 776 (C.A.), consd. [para. 38].

Re Dominion Stores Ltd. and United Trust Co. Ltd. (1974), 42 D.L.R.(3d) 523 (Ont. H.C.), affd. 52 D.L.R.(3d) 327 (C.A.), affd. 11 N.R. 97; 71 D.L.R.(3d) 72 (S.C.C.), consd. [para. 39].

Calvan Consol. Oil & Gas v. Manning, [1959] S.C.R. 253; 17 D.L.R.(2d) 1, consd. [paras. 40, 64].

Von Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg v. Alexander, [1912] 1 Ch. 284, refd to. [para. 41].

Hillas & Co., Ltd. v. Arcos, Ltd., [1932] 1 All E.R. Rep. 494 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 42, 43].

Kelly v. Watson (1921), 61 S.C.R. 482; 57 D.L.R. 363, refd to. [para. 45].

Courtney v. Tolaini, [1975] 1 All E.R. 716 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 43].

F. & G. Sykes (Wessex), Ltd. v. Fine Fare, Ltd., [1967] 1 Ll. R. 53 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 43].

Hughes v. Metropolitan Railway Co. (1877), 2 App. Cas. 439 (H.L.) refd to. [para. 45].

Central London Property Trust Ltd. v. High Trees House Ltd., [1947] K.B. 130, refd to. [para. 46].

Robertson v. Minister of Pensions, [1949] 1 K.B. 227, refd to. [para. 46].

Combe v. Combe, [1951] 2 K.B. 215, consd. [paras. 46, 47].

Ajayi v. R.T. Briscoe (Nigeria) Ltd., [1964] 1 W.L.R. 1326; [1964] 3 All E.R. 556 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 46].

Conwest Exploration Co. Ltd. v. Letain, [1964] S.C.R. 20; 41 D.L.R.(2d) 198, refd to. [para. 49].

John Burrows Ltd. v. Subsurface Surveys Ltd. et al., [1968] S.C.R. 607; 68 D.L.R.(2d) 354, refd to. [para. 49].

Canadian Superior Oil Ltd. v. Paddon-Hughes Development Co. Ltd., [1970] S.C.R. 932; 12 D.L.R.(3d) 247, refd to. [para. 49].

Wauchope v. Maida (1971), 22 D.L.R.(3d) 142 (Ont. C.A.), consd. [paras. 50, 52].

Re Tudale Explorations Ltd. and Bruce et al. (1978), 22 O.R.(2d) 593; 88 D.L.R.(3d) 584 (Div. Ct.), refd to. [para. 50].

Edwards v. Harris-Intertype (Canada) Ltd. (1983), 40 O.R.(2d) 558 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [para. 50].

Evenden v. Guildford Football Club, [1975] 1 Q.B. 917 (C.A.), consd. [paras. 50, 51].

Grant v. Province of New Brunswick (1973), 6 N.B.R.(2d) 95; 35 D.L.R.(3d) 141, consd. [para. 54].

J.E. Verrault & Fils Ltee v. A.-G. Que, [1977] S.C.R. 41; 57 D.L.R.(3d) 403, refd. to. [para. 57].

Bank of Montreal v. A.-G. Que, [1979] S.C.R. 565; 96 D.L.R.(3d) 586, refd to. [para. 57].

CAE Industries Ltd. and CAE Aircraft v. Canada (1985), 61 N.R. 19; 20 D.L.R.(4th) 347 (F.C.A.), affg. [1983] 2 F.C. 616, refd to. [paras. 57, 81].

Guerin v. Canada, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 351; 55 N.R. 161; 13 D.L.R. (4th) 321; [1984] 6 W.W. 481, not appld. [para. 59].

Parsons Ltd. v. Uttley Ingham & Co., [1978] 1 Q.B. 791 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 73].

Nowegijick v. Minister of Revenue, [1983] 1 S.C.R. 29; 46 N.R. 41; 83 D.T.C. 5041, refd to. [para. 76].

Authors and Works Noticed:

American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law of Contracts, s. 90 [para. 63].

Cheshire and Fifoot, The Law of Contracts (6th Ed.), p. 34 [para. 36].

Odgers on Pleadings and Practice (17th Ed.), p. 95 [para. 56].

Waddams, The Law of Contracts, pp. 30 [para. 43]; 31 [paras. 37, 43]; 32 [para. 37].

Williston and Rolls, The Law of Civil Procedure, vol. 2, pp. 641, 642, 692, 693 [para. 56].

Counsel:

Morris Kaufman and Kenneth Zaifman, for the plaintiffs;

Craig Henderson and Barbara Shields, for the defendant.

Solicitors of Record:

Margolis, Kaufman, Cassidy, Zaifman, Swartz, Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the plaintiffs;

Frank Iacobucci, Q.C., Deputy Attorney General of Canada, for the defendant.

This case was heard in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on October 15, 18, 19, 22 to 25, 1984, June 5, 1985 and October 21, 1985, before McNair, J., of the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, who delivered the following decision on May 12, 1986:

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7 cases
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    ...Ltd. and CAE Aircraft Ltd. v. Canada (1985), 61 N.R. 19 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 117]. Mentuck v. Canada, [1986] 3 F.C. 249 ; 3 F.T.R. 80 (T.D.), refd to. [para. Grant v. New Brunswick (1973), 6 N.B.R.(2d) 95 ; 35 D.L.R.(3d) 141 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 118]. Sirros v. Moore, [1974] ......
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