New Brunswick (Board of Management) v. Dunsmuir, (2008) 329 N.B.R.(2d) 1 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMay 15, 2007
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2008), 329 N.B.R.(2d) 1 (SCC);2008 SCC 9;164 ACWS (3d) 727;372 NR 1;[2008] CarswellNB 124;JE 2008-547;DTE 2008T-223;291 DLR (4th) 577;844 APR 1;[2008] SCJ No 9 (QL);AZ-50478101;EYB 2008-130674;69 Imm LR (3d) 1;[2008] ACS no 9;170 LAC (4th) 1;229 NBR (2d) 1;95 LCR 65;[2008] 1 SCR 190;69 Admin LR (4th) 1;64 CCEL (3d) 1

N.B. v. Dunsmuir (2008), 329 N.B.R.(2d) 1 (SCC);

      329 R.N.-B.(2e) 1; 844 A.P.R. 1

MLB headnote and full text

Sommaire et texte intégral

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Temp. Cite: [2008] N.B.R.(2d) TBEd. MR.050

Renvoi temp.: [2008] N.B.R.(2d) TBEd. MR.050

David Dunsmuir (appellant) v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of New Brunswick as represented by Board of Management (respondent)

(31459; 2008 SCC 9; 2008 CSC 9)

Indexed As: New Brunswick (Board of Management) v. Dunsmuir

Répertorié: New Brunswick (Board of Management) v. Dunsmuir

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron and Rothstein, JJ.

March 7, 2008.

Summary:

Résumé:

A New Brunswick Public Service non-unionized employee was dismissed on reasonable notice pursuant to s. 20 of the Civil Service Act. No cause was given. The employee received four and one half months of pay in lieu of notice. He initiated a grievance pursuant to s. 100.1 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

The adjudicator made a preliminary statutory interpretation ruling that he had jurisdiction to determine if the employee's termination was in fact for cause. The adjudicator then allowed the grievance and ordered that the employee be reinstated. The adjudicator made a provisional finding that the employee was entitled to eight months' notice. The Province applied for judicial review.

The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, in a decision reported 293 N.B.R.(2d) 5; 762 A.P.R. 5, allowed the application. The adjudicator's decisions were quashed except for the ruling that the employee was entitled to eight months' notice. The employee appealed.

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal, in a decision reported 297 N.B.R.(2d) 151; 771 A.P.R. 151, dismissed the appeal. The employee appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal. The court took the opportunity to re-examine the foundations of judicial review and the standards of review applicable in various situations. The court held that the two variants of reasonableness review, reasonableness simpliciter and patent unreasonableness, should be collapsed into a single form of "reasonableness" review. The result was a system of judicial review comprising two standards: correctness and reasonableness.

Administrative Law - Topic 2270

Natural justice - The duty of fairness - Circumstances or powers to which duty does not apply - [See Labour Law - Topic 9353 ].

Administrative Law - Topic 3202

Judicial review - General - Scope or standard of review - The Supreme Court of Canada re-examined the foundations of judicial review and the standards of review applicable in various situations - The court held that the two variants of reasonableness review, reasonableness simpliciter and patent unreasonableness, should be collapsed into a single form of "reasonableness" review - The result was a system of judicial review comprising two standards: correctness and reasonableness - Reasonableness depended on the context - It had to be calibrated to fit the circumstances - A decision-maker should be given deference and a reasonableness test applied given the following factors: (a) a privative clause; (b) a discrete and special administrative regime in which the decision-maker had special expertise (labour relations for instance); and (c) the nature of the question of law: a question of law that was of "central importance to the legal system ... and outside the ... specialized area of expertise" of the administrative decision maker would always attract a correctness standard but a question of law that did not rise to this level could be compatible with a reasonableness standard where the two above factors so indicated - See paragraphs 24 to 64, 119 to 155, 158 to 167.

Administrative Law - Topic 9102

Boards and tribunals - Judicial review - Standard of review - [See Administrative Law - Topic 3202 ].

Crown - Topic 5127

Officials and employees - Appointment and employment - Appointment at pleasure - Termination of - [See Labour Law - Topic 9353 ].

Labour Law - Topic 9128

Public service labour relations - Adjudication of grievances - Jurisdiction of adjudicators or boards - [See Labour Law - Topic 9353 ].

Labour Law - Topic 9130

Public service labour relations - Adjudication of grievances - Preliminary finding of jurisdiction - [See Labour Law - Topic 9353 ].

Labour Law - Topic 9160

Public service labour relations - Discipline and dismissal of civil or public servants - Dismissal - Procedure - Natural justice - [See Labour Law - Topic 9353 ].

Labour Law - Topic 9165

Public service labour relations - Discipline and dismissal of civil or public servants - Remedies for wrongful dismissal or suspension - [See Labour Law - Topic 9353 ].

Labour Law - Topic 9353

Public service labour relations - Judicial review - Decisions of adjudicators, arbitrators or grievance appeals boards - Scope of review (incl. standard) - A non-unionized employee holding an "at pleasure" position with the New Brunswick Public Service was dismissed with four months' notice but with no cause alleged, pursuant to s. 20 of the Civil Service Act, which made the ordinary rules of contract applicable to such dismissal - The employee grieved, pursuant to the Public Service Labour Relations Act (N.B.) (PSLRA) - Section 97(2.1) of the PSLRA provided that the adjudicator could substitute a penalty when a unionized employee was discharged for cause and a collective agreement or arbitral award did not contain a specific penalty for the offending event - Section 100.1(5) provided that s. 97 applied mutatis mutandis to a grieving non-unionized employee - The adjudicator made a preliminary statutory interpretation ruling that he had jurisdiction to (a) determine, pursuant to s. 97(2.1) of the PSLRA, whether a non-unionized employee was discharged or otherwise disciplined for cause, and (b) substitute his own penalty for dismissal for cause - As for the merits, the adjudicator ruled that the decision to terminate was based on the employer's concerns about the employee's work performance and his suitability for the positions he held - The adjudicator concluded that the employee was denied procedural fairness because he was not granted a hearing - The adjudicator ordered reinstatement and made a provisional ruling that the notice of dismissal should have been eight months - The Supreme Court of Canada, after ruling that the applicable standard on the statutory interpretation issue was reasonableness, affirmed a reviewing judge's decision to quash both the adjudicator's preliminary ruling and his ruling on the merits - The adjudicator's interpretation of the PSLRA created a requirement that the employer show cause before dismissal - No reasonable interpretation could lead to that result - As for the merits, it was unnecessary here to consider any public law duty of procedural fairness - The employer was fully within its rights to dismiss the employee with pay in lieu of notice without affording him a hearing - The employee's remedies lay in contract - See paragraphs 65 to 118, 157.

Cases Noticed:

Chalmers (Dr. Everett) Hospital v. Mills (1989), 102 N.B.R.(2d) 1; 256 A.P.R. 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 11].

Knight v. Board of Education of Indian Head School Division No. 19, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 653; 106 N.R. 17; 83 Sask.R. 81, consd. [para. 15].

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees et al. v. Lethbridge Community College, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 727; 319 N.R. 201; 348 A.R. 1; 321 W.A.C. 1; 2004 SCC 28, refd to. [para. 21].

Crevier v. Quebec (Attorney General) and Aubry; Crevier v. Quebec (Attorney General) and Cofsky and Alberta (Attorney General), [1981] 2 S.C.R. 220; 38 N.R. 541, refd to. [para. 29].

Dr. Q., Re, [2003] 1 S.C.R. 226; 302 N.R. 34; 179 B.C.A.C. 170; 295 W.A.C. 170; 2003 SCC 19, refd to. [para. 29].

Woodward Estate v. British Columbia (Minister of Finance), [1973] S.C.R. 120, refd to. [para. 31].

Syndicat national des employés de la Commission scolaire régionale de l'Outaouais (CSN) v. Union des employés de service, Local 298 (FTQ), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 1048; 95 N.R. 161; 24 Q.A.C. 244, consd. [paras. 31, 131].

Union des employés de service, local 298 v. Bibeault - see Syndicat national des employés de la commission scolaire régionale de l'Outaouais (CSN) v. Union des employés de service, local 298 (FTQ).

Bibeault - see Syndicat national des employés de la commission scolaire régionale de l'Outaouais (CSN) v. Union des employés de service, local 298 (FTQ).

U.E.S., Local 298 v. Bibeault - see Union des employés de service.

Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817; 243 N.R. 22, refd to. [paras. 33, 131].

Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 3; 281 N.R. 1; 2002 SCC 1, refd to. [paras. 33, 136].

Mount Sinai Hospital Center et al. v. Quebec (Minister of Health and Social Services), [2001] 2 S.C.R. 281; 271 N.R. 104; 2001 SCC 41, refd to. [paras. 33, 131].

Canadian Union of Public Employees et al. v. Ontario (Minister of Labour), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 539; 304 N.R. 76; 173 O.A.C. 38; 2003 SCC 29, refd to. [paras. 33, 148].

Chamberlain et al. v. Board of Education of School District No. 36 (Surrey), [2002] 4 S.C.R. 710; 299 N.R. 1; 175 B.C.A.C. 161; 289 W.A.C. 161; 2002 SCC 86, consd. [para. 33].

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 963 v. New Brunswick Liquor Corp., [1979] 2 S.C.R. 227; 26 N.R. 341; 25 N.B.R.(2d) 237; 51 A.P.R. 237, consd. [para. 35, 122].

Director of Investigation and Research, Competition Act v. Southam Inc. et al., [1997] 1 S.C.R. 748; 209 N.R. 20, consd. [para. 37].

Pushpanathan v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 982, addendum [1998] 1 S.C.R. 1222; 226 N.R. 201, consd. [para. 38].

Toronto (City) v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 79 et al., [2003] 3 S.C.R. 77; 311 N.R. 201; 179 O.A.C. 291; 2003 SCC 63, consd. [paras. 40, 167].

Ryan v. Law Society of New Brunswick, [2003] 1 S.C.R. 247; 302 N.R. 1; 257 N.B.R.(2d) 207; 674 A.P.R. 207; 2003 SCC 20, consd. [paras. 40, 137].

Council of Canadians with Disabilities v. Via Rail Canada Inc. - see VIA Rail Canada Inc. v. Canadian Transportation Agency et al.

VIA Rail Canada Inc. v. Canadian Transportation Agency et al., [2007] 1 S.C.R. 650; 360 N.R. 1; 2007 SCC 15, consd. [para. 41].

Voice Construction Ltd. v. Construction and General Workers' Union, Local 92, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 609; 318 N.R. 332; 346 A.R. 201; 320 W.A.C. 201; 2004 SCC 23, consd. [para. 42].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Mossop, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 554; 149 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 53].

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Canada Labour Relations Board et al., [1995] 1 S.C.R. 157; 177 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 54].

Board of Education of Toronto v. Ontario Secondary Teachers' Federation District No. 15 et al., [1997] 1 S.C.R. 487; 208 N.R. 245; 98 O.A.C. 241; 144 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 54].

McLeod et al. v. Egan et al., [1975] 1 S.C.R. 517; 2 N.R. 443, refd to. [para. 54].

Cartaway Resources Corp. et al., Re, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 672; 319 N.R. 1; 195 B.C.A.C. 161; 319 W.A.C. 161; 2004 SCC 26, refd to. [para. 57].

Westcoast Energy Inc. v. National Energy Board et al., [1998] 1 S.C.R. 322; 223 N.R. 241, refd to. [paras. 58, 137].

Workers' Compensation Board (N.S.) v. Martin et al., [2003] 2 S.C.R. 504; 310 N.R. 22; 17 N.S.R.(2d) 301; 683 A.P.R. 301; 2003 SCC 54, refd to. [para. 58].

United Taxi Drivers' Fellowship of Southern Alberta et al. v. Calgary (City), [2004] 1 S.C.R. 485; 318 N.R. 170; 346 A.R. 4; 320 W.A.C. 4; 2004 SCC 190, consd. [para. 59].

Regina Police Association Inc. and Shotton v. Board of Police Commissioners of Regina, [2000] 1 S.C.R. 360; 251 N.R. 16; 189 Sask.R. 23; 216 W.A.C. 23; 2000 SCC 14, refd to. [para. 61].

Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Que.) v. Quebec (Attorney General) et al., [2004] 2 S.C.R. 185; 321 N.R. 290; 2004 SCC 39, refd to. [para. 61].

Canada Safeway Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 454, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 1079; 226 N.R. 319; 165 W.A.C. 104; 173 W.A.C. 104, refd to. [para. 68].

Conseil de la magistrature (N.-B.) v. Moreau-Bérubé, [2002] 1 S.C.R. 249; 281 N.R. 201; 245 N.B.R.(2d) 201; 636 A.P.R. 201; 2002 SCC 11, refd to. [paras. 79, 142].

Ridge v. Baldwin, [1964] A.C. 40; [1963] 2 All E.R. 66 (H.L.), consd. [para. 85].

Nicholson v. Haldimand-Norfolk Regional Board of Commissioners of Police and Ontario (Attorney General), [1979] 1 S.C.R. 311; 23 N.R. 410, consd. [para. 86].

Martineau v. Matsqui Institution Disciplinary Board, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 602; 30 N.R. 119, refd to. [para. 87].

Kane v. University of British Columbia, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 1105; 31 N.R. 214, refd to. [para. 87].

Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and National Anti-Poverty Organization v. Canada (Attorney General), [1980] 2 S.C.R. 735; 33 N.R. 304, refd to. [paras. 87, 136].

Cardinal and Oswald v. Kent Institution (Director), [1985] 2 S.C.R. 643; 63 N.R. 353, consd. [para. 87].

Reglin v. Creston (Town) et al., [2004] B.C.T.C. 790; 34 C.C.E.L.(3d) 123; 2004 BCSC 790, refd to. [para. 91].

Gismondi v. Toronto (City) (2003), 171 O.A.C. 1; 64 O.R.(3d) 688 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 91].

Seshia v. Health Sciences Centre et al. (2001), 160 Man.R.(2d) 41; 262 W.A.C. 41; 2001 MBCA 151, refd to. [para. 91].

Rosen v. Saskatoon District Health Board (2001), 213 Sask.R. 61; 260 W.A.C. 61; 202 D.L.R.(4th) 35; 2001 SKCA 83, refd to. [para. 91].

Hanis v. Teevan et al. (1998), 111 O.A.C. 91 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 91].

Gerrard v. Sackville (Town) (1992), 124 N.B.R.(2d) 70; 312 A.P.R. 70 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 91].

Malloch v. Aberdeen Corp., [1971] 2 All E.R. 1278 (H.L.), consd. [para. 93].

Hughes v. Moncton (City) (1991), 111 N.B.R.(2d) 184; 277 A.P.R. 184 (Q.B.), affd. (1991), 118 N.B.R.(2d) 306; 296 A.P.R. 306 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 94].

Rosen v. Saskatoon District Health Board, [2000] 4 W.W.R. 606; 190 Sask.R. 161; 2000 SKQB 40, refd to. [para. 94].

Wells v. Newfoundland and Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (Nfld.), [1999] 3 S.C.R. 199; 245 N.R. 275; 180 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 269; 548 A.P.R. 269, consd. [para. 95].

School District No. 5 (Southeast Kootenay) and B.C.T.F. (Yellowaga), Re (2000), 94 L.A.C.(4th) 56, refd to. [para. 104].

Wallace v. United Grain Growers Ltd., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 701; 219 N.R. 161; 123 Man.R.(2d) 1; 159 W.A.C. 1, consd. [para. 105].

Cooper v. Wandsworth Board of Works (1863), 14 C.B.(N.S.) 180; 143 E.R. 414 (C.P.), consd. [para. 129].

Ocean Port Hotel Ltd. v. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (B.C.), [2001] 2 S.C.R. 781; 274 N.R. 116; 155 B.C.A.C. 193; 254 W.A.C. 193; 2001 SCC 52, refd to. [para. 129].

Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corp., [1947] 2 All E.R. 680 (C.A.), consd. [para. 131].

Idziak v. Canada (Minister of Justice), [1992] 3 S.C.R. 631; 144 N.R. 327; 59 O.A.C. 241, consd. [para. 136].

Operation Dismantle Inc. et al. v. Canada et al., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 441; 59 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 136].

Roncarelli v. Duplessis, [1959] S.C.R. 121, consd. [para. 151].

H.L. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., [2005] 1 S.C.R. 401; 333 N.R. 1; 262 Sask.R. 1; 347 W.A.C. 1; 2005 SCC 25, refd to. [para. 161].

Statutes Noticed:

Civil Service Act, S.N.B. 1984, c. C-5.1, sect. 20 [Appendix].

Public Service Labour Relations Act, R.S.N.B. 1973, c. P-25, sect. 92(1), sect. 97(2.1), sect. 100.1(2), sect. 100.1(3), sect. 100.1(5), sect. 101(1), sect. 101(2) [Appendix].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Brown, Donald J.M., and Evans, John M., Judicial Review of Administrative Action in Canada (1998) (2007 Looseleaf Update), pp. 7-3 [para. 90]; 7-5 to 7-9 [para. 86]; 7-19 [para. 94]; 14-3 to 14-6 [para. 59]; para. 14:2210 [para. 124].

Canadian Bar Association - Ontario, Taking the Tribunal to Court: A Practical Guide for Administrative Law Practitioners (2000), p. 25 [para. 41].

Cromwell, Thomas A., Appellate Review: Policy and Pragmatism, in 2006 Isaac Pitblado Lectures, Appellate Courts: Policy, Law and Practice (2006), p. V-12 [para. 30].

de Smith, Stanley Alexander, Woolf, Harry, and Jowell, Jeffrey L., Judicial Review of Administrative Action (5th Ed. 1995), p. 187 [para. 108]; para. 13-003 [para. 148].

Dyzenhaus, David, The Politics of Deference: Judicial Review and Democracy, in Taggart, Michael, The Province of Administrative Law (1997), p. 286 [para. 48].

England, Geoffrey, Wood, Roderick, and Christie, Innis, Employment Law in Canada (4th Ed. 2005) (2007 Looseleaf Update, Release 10), paras. 13.3 [para. 105]; 17.224 [para. 108].

Hogg, Peter W., and Monahan, Patrick J., Liability of the Crown (3rd Ed. 2000), p. 240 [para. 97].

Mullan, David J., Administrative Law (2001), pp. 50 [para. 31]; 60 [para. 58].

Mullan, David J., Establishing the Standard of Review: The Struggle for Complexity? (2004), 17 C.J.A.L.P. 59, p. 93 [para. 49].

Mullan David J., Recent Developments in Standard Review, in Canadian Bar Association - Ontario, Taking the Tribunal to Court: A Practical Guide for Administrative Law Practitioners (2000), p. 25 [para. 41].

Shakespeare, William, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 1 [para. 121].

Sossin, Lorne, and Flood, Colleen M., The Contextual Turn: Iacobucci's Legacy and the Standard of Review in Administrative Law (2007), 57 U.T.L.J. 581, generally [para. 44].

Taggart, Michael, The Province of Administrative Law (1997), p. 286 [para. 48].

Wade, Henry William, and Forsyth, Christopher F., Administrative Law (8th Ed. 2000), pp. 438 [para. 85]; 531 [para. 99]; 532 [paras. 92, 99]; 533 [para. 92]; 536, 537 [para. 101].

Counsel:

Avocats:

J. Gordon Petrie, Q.C., and Clarence L. Bennett, for the appellant;

C. Clyde Spinney, Q.C., and Keith P. Mullin, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record :

Stewart McKelvey, Fredericton, New Brunswick, for the appellant;

Attorney General of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on May 15, 2007, by McLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charon and Rothstein, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The following decision of the Supreme Court was delivered in both official languages on March 7, 2008, and the following reasons were filed:

Bastarache and LeBel, JJ. (McLachlin, C.J.C., Fish and Abella, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 118;

Binnie, J. - see paragraphs 119 to 157;

Deschamps, J. (Charron and Rothstein, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 158 to 173.

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    • Mondaq Canada
    • April 30, 2019
    ...of Information, Procedural and Natural Justice, Sufficiency of Reasons, Standard of Review, Reasonableness, Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9, Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union v. Newfoundland and Labrador (Treasury Board), 2011 SCC 62, Municipal Freedom of Information and Protect......
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367 books & journal articles
  • Digest: City Centre Equities Inc. v Regina (City), 2018 SKCA 43
    • Canada
    • Saskatchewan Law Society Case Digests
    • June 18, 2018
    ...(City), [2003] SMBAACD No. 84 Deer Lodge Hotels Ltd. v Saskatoon (City), 2016 SKCA 119, 407 DLR (4th) 340 Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9, [2008] 1 SCR 190, 291 DLR (4th) 577, 229 NBR (2d) 1, 64 CCEL (3d) 1, 69 Admin LR (4th) 1 Edmonton (City) v Edmonton East (Capilano) Shopping Centre......
  • The Federal Courts and Administrative Law
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. 50 Years of History
    • October 4, 2021
    ...Brown & Evans, above note 3 at para 2:4310; Innu Nation , above note 77 at para 12. 79 See, for example, Dunsmuir v New Brunswick , [2008] 1 SCR 190 at paras 77–117, Bastarache and LeBel JJ [ Dunsmuir ]; Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec v Cyr , [2008] 1 SCR 338 at paras 35–51, Ba......
  • Mental Disorder 2023 Criminal Code of Canada Annotations (Part XX.1)
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The 2023 Annotated Mental Health Provisions of the Criminal Code, Part XX.1
    • March 2, 2023
    ...(Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65 at para. 126. 166 Ibid. at para. 86, citing Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9. 167 The court cites R. v. M. (R.E.), 2008 SCC 51 at paras. 16 and Criminal Code s 672.78 36 Deference will generally be accorded to a tribunal......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Public Lands and Resources Law in Canada Preliminary Sections
    • June 23, 2016
    ...2006 FC 1354................................................................................................. 84 Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9 ........................................... 180–81, 182 Earthroots Coalition v Ontario (Minister of Natural Resources) (2003), 175 OAC 219, 3......
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