R. v. Morgentaler, (1993) 157 N.R. 97 (SCC)

JudgeIacobucci and Major, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateSeptember 30, 1993
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1993), 157 N.R. 97 (SCC);JE 93-1654;107 DLR (4th) 537;1993 CanLII 74 (SCC);20 WCB (2d) 585;85 CCC (3d) 118;[1993] 3 SCR 463;[1993] SCJ No 95 (QL);157 NR 97;25 CR (4th) 179;349 APR 81;125 NSR (2d) 81

R. v. Morgentaler (1993), 157 N.R. 97 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Her Majesty The Queen (appellant) v. Henry Morgentaler (respondent) and The Attorney General of Canada, The Attorney General of New Brunswick, R.E.A.L. Women of Canada and Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (intervenors)

(22578)

Indexed As: R. v. Morgentaler

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé,

Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin,

Iacobucci and Major, JJ.

September 30, 1993.

Summary:

The Medical Services Designation Regula­tion under the Medical Services Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 281, prohibited certain medical services outside a hospital, including abortions. Morgentaler was charged under the Act with performing therapeutic abor­tions in Nova Scotia. Morgentaler claimed the Act and Regulation were unconstitu­tional.

The Nova Scotia Provincial Court, in a judgment reported 99 N.S.R.(2d) 293; 270 A.P.R. 293, acquitted Morgentaler on the ground that the Act and Regulation were an invalid invasion of the federal criminal law power, because they were directed at the prevention of Morgentaler's clinic. The Crown appealed.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Appeal Division, Jones, J.A., dissenting, in a judg­ment reported 104 N.S.R.(2d) 361; 283 A.P.R. 361, dismissed the appeal. The Crown appealed. The following constitu­tional questions were stated: "(1) Is the Medical Services Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 281, ultra vires the legislature of the Province of Nova Scotia on the ground that the Act is legislation in relation to criminal law falling within the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada under s. 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867? and (2) Is the Medical Services Designation Regulation, N.S. Reg. 152/89, ... ultra vires the Lieuten­ant Governor-in-Council on the ground the Regulation was made pursuant to legislation in relation to criminal law falling within the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the Par­liament of Canada under s. 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867?".

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal, answering the stated questions affirmatively. The court stated that the Med­ical Services Act and the Medical Services Designation Regulation were criminal law in pith and substance and consequently ultra vires the province.

Constitutional Law - Topic 2502

Determination of validity of statutes - Aim or purpose of statute - At issue was whether the Medical Services Designation Regulation, pursuant to the Medical Ser­vices Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 281, was ultra vires the Province of Nova Scotia as being in pith and substance criminal law, a mat­ter of federal jurisdiction - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the considera­tions in determining the purpose and effect of the legislation - See paragraphs 25 to 33.

Constitutional Law - Topic 2950

Determination of validity of statutes - Pith and substance - General - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "there is no single test for a law's pith and substance. The approach must be flexible and a tech­nical, formalistic approach is to be avoided. ... While both the purpose and effect of the law are relevant considera­tions in the process of characterization ... it is often the case that the legislation's dominant purpose or aim is the key to constitutional validity". - See paragraph 24.

Constitutional Law - Topic 6493

Federal jurisdiction - Criminal law - Abortion - The Medical Services Desig­nation Regulation, pursuant to the Medical Services Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 281, pro­hibited certain medical services, including abortions outside of hospitals - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that the Act and Regulation were in pith and sub­stance criminal law and, consequently, ultra vires the province - The legislation's central purpose and dominant characteristic was the restriction of abortion as a socially undesirable practice which should be a suppressed or punished, a subject falling under the federal criminal power - Any concern with the safety and security of pregnant women or with health care pol­icy, hospitals or the regulation of the medical profession was merely ancillary.

Criminal Law - Topic 1456

Offences against person and reputation - Abortion - General - [See Constitutional Law - Topic 6493 ].

Statutes - Topic 1644

Interpretation - Extrinsic aids - Legislat­ive history - Legislative debates - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that in determining the background, context and purpose of challenged legislation, the court is entitled to refer to extrinsic evidence of various kinds provided it is relevant and not inherently unreliable - This included related legislation and evidence of the "mischief" at which the legislation was directed - It also included legislative history, in the sense of the events that occurred during drafting and enactment - The court stated that "provided that the court remains mindful of the limited relia­bility and weight of Hansard evidence, it should be admitted as relevant to both the background and the purpose of legislation" - See paragraphs 28 to 29.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Morgentaler, Smoling and Scott, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; 82 N.R. 1; 26 O.A.C. 1; 44 D.L.R.(4th) 385; 31 C.R.R. 1; 37 C.C.C.(3d) 449; 62 C.R.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 3].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1976] 1 S.C.R. 616; 4 N.R. 277, refd to. [para. 3].

Canadian Abortion Rights Action League Inc. et al. v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General) (1990), 96 N.S.R.(2d) 284; 253 A.P.R. 284 (C.A.); affing. (1989) 93 N.S.R.(2d) 197; 242 A.P.R. 197 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 5].

Nova Scotia (Attorney General) v. Mor­gentaler (1989), 93 N.S.R.(2d) 202; 242 A.P.R. 202; 64 D.L.R.(4th) 297 (T.D.); affd. (1990), 96 N.S.R.(2d) 54; 253 A.P.R. 54; 69 D.L.R.(4th) 559 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 7].

R. v. Morgentaler, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 462, refd to. [para. 18].

Texada Mines Ltd. v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1960] S.C.R. 713, refd to. [para. 21].

Union Colliery Co. of British Columbia v. Bryden, [1899] A.C. 580 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 24].

Whitbread v. Walley et al., [1990] 3 S.C.R. 1273; 120 N.R. 109; 77 D.L.R.(4th) 25 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 24].

Alberta (Attorney General) v. Canada (Attorney General), [1939] A.C. 117 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 24].

Starr et al. v. Houlden, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1366; 110 N.R. 81; 41 O.A.C. 16, refd to. [para. 24].

Switzman v. Elbling, [1957] S.C.R. 285, refd to. [para. 24].

Carnation Co. v. Quebec Agricultural Marketing Board, [1968] S.C.R. 238, refd to. [para. 24].

Canadian Indemnity Co. et al. v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1977] 2 S.C.R. 504; 11 N.R. 466, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321; 37 Alta. L.R.(2d) 97; 85 C.L.L.C. 14,023; 13 C.R.R. 64, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd. - see R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al.

R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 713; 71 N.R. 161; 19 O.A.C. 239; 30 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 55 C.R.(3d) 193; 35 D.L.R.(4th) 1; 28 C.R.R. 1, refd to. [para. 24].

Alberta (Attorney General) v. Canada (Attorney General), [1947] A.C. 503, refd to. [para. 25].

Saumur v. Quebec (City), [1953] 2 S.C.R. 299 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 25].

Anti-Inflation Act, Re, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 373; 9 N.R. 541, refd to. [para. 26].

Residential Tenancies Act of Ontario, Re, [1981] 1 S.C.R. 714; 37 N.R. 158; 123 D.L.R.(3d) 554, refd to. [para. 27].

Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act, 1980, Re, [1984] 1 S.C.R. 297; 53 N.R. 268; 47 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 125; 139 A.P.R. 125, refd to. [para. 28].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd., [1961] S.C.R. 775, refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Whyte, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 3; 86 N.R. 328; 64 C.R.(3d) 123; 6 M.V.R.(2d) 138; [1988] 5 W.W.R. 26; 42 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 29 B.C.L.R.(2d) 273; 51 D.L.R.(4th) 481; 35 C.R.R. 1, refd to. [para. 28].

Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Quebec (Attorney Gen­eral), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927; 94 N.R. 167; 24 Q.A.C. 2; 58 D.L.R.(4th) 577; 25 C.P.R.(3d) 417, refd to. [para. 28].

Mecure v. Saskatchewan, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 234; 83 N.R. 81; 65 Sask.R. 1; [1988] 2 W.W.R. 577; 39 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 48 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 28].

Saskatchewan (Attorney General) v. Canada (Attorney General), [1949] A.C. 110 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 31].

Hodge v. R. (1883), 9 App. Cas. 117 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 31].

Bell Canada v. Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (Que.) and Bilo­deau et al., [1988] 1 S.C.R. 749; 85 N.R. 295; 15 Q.A.C. 217, refd to. [para. 31].

Walter v. Alberta (Attorney General), [1969] S.C.R. 383, refd to. [para. 32].

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Hamilton Street Railway Co., [1903] A.C. 524 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 35].

Proprietary Articles Trade Association v. Canada (Attorney General), [1931] A.C. 310 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 35].

Reference Re Validity of Section 5(a) of the Dairy Industry Act (Margarine Case), [1949] S.C.R. 1; [1949] 1 D.L.R. 433, affd. [1950] 4 D.L.R. 689 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 35].

Lord's Day Alliance of Canada v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1959] S.C.R. 497, refd to. [para. 36].

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. of Canada v. R., [1956] S.C.R. 303, refd to. [para. 36].

R. v. Boggs, [1981] 1 S.C.R. 49; 34 N.R. 520, refd to. [para. 36].

Schneider v. British Columbia, Canada (Attorney General), Manitoba (Attorney General) and Alberta (Attorney General), [1982] 1 S.C.R. 112; 43 N.R. 91, refd to. [para. 37].

Scowby et al. v. Glendinning et al., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 226; 70 N.R. 241; 51 Sask.R. 208, refd to. [para. 46].

R. v. Westendorp, [1983] 1 S.C.R. 43; 46 N.R. 30; 41 A.R. 306, refd to. [para. 46].

Rio Hotel Ltd. v. Liquor Licensing Board (N.B.), New Brunswick (Attorney Gen­eral) and Saskatchewan (Attorney Gen­eral), [1987] 2 S.C.R. 59; 77 N.R. 104; 81 N.B.R.(2d) 328; 205 A.P.R. 328, refd to. [para. 46].

Ladore v. Bennett, [1939] A.C. 468 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 47].

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Reciprocal Insurers, [1924] A.C. 328 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 48].

Central Canada Potash Co. and Canada (Attorney General) v. Saskatchewan, [1979] 1 S.C.R. 42; 23 N.R. 481; 88 D.L.R.(3d) 609, refd to. [para. 48].

McNeil v. Nova Scotia Board of Censors, [1978] 2 S.C.R. 662; 19 N.R. 570; 25 N.S.R.(2d) 128; 36 A.P.R. 128; 84 D.L.R.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 50].

O'Grady v. Sparling, [1960] S.C.R. 804, refd to. [para. 50].

Smith v. R., [1960] S.C.R. 776, refd to. [para. 50].

Stephens v. R. , [1960] S.C.R. 823, refd to. [para. 50].

R. v. Chiasson (1982), 39 N.B.R.(2d) 631; 103 A.P.R. 631 (C.A.), affd. [1984] 1 S.C.R. 266; 77 N.B.R.(2d) 179; 195 A.P.R. 179, refd to. [para. 50].

Reference Re Freedom of Informed Choice (Abortions) Act (1985), 44 Sask.R. 104 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 51].

Dupond v. Montreal (City), [1978] 2 S.C.R. 770; 19 N.R. 478, refd to. [para. 61].

Jabour v. Law Society of British Columbia et al., [1982] 2 S.C.R. 307; 43 N.R. 451, 137 D.L.R.(3d) 1; [1982] 5 W.W.R. 289, refd to. [para. 61].

Attorney General of Canada v. Law Society of British Columbia - see Jabour v. Law Society of British Columbia.

Johnson v. Alberta (Attorney General), [1954] S.C.R. 127, refd to. [para. 62].

Reference Re Alberta Legislation, [1938] S.C.R. 100, refd to. [para. 78].

Statutes Noticed:

Constitution Act, 1867, sect. 91(27) [para. 16]; sect. 92(7), sect. 92(13), sect. 92(16) [para. 19]; sect. 92(15) [para. 77].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, sect. 251 [para. 12].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 121(b) [para. 36]; sect. 287 [para. 12].

Criminal Law Amendment Act, S.C. 1969, c. 38, sect. 18 [para. 39].

Health Act Regulations (N.S.), Reg. 33/89, generally [para. 4].

Health Services and Insurance Act Regu­lations (N.S.), Reg. 32/89 [para. 4].

Hospitals Act Regulations (N.S.), Reg. 34/89, generally [para. 4].

Lord Ellenborough's Act (U.K.), 43 Geo. 3, c. 58, generally [para. 39].

Medical Services Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 281, sect. 2, sect. 3(a), sect. 4, sect. 5, sect. 6(1), sect. 7, sect. 8(1)(a) [para. 6].

Medical Services Act Regulations (N.S.), Medical Services Designation Regula­tion, Regs. 149/89, 150/89, 151/89, 152/89 [para. 6].

Medical Services Designation Regulation - see Medical Services Act Regulations (N.S.).

Authors and Works Noticed:

Abel, Albert S., The Neglected Logic of 91 and 92 (1969), 19 U.T.L.J. 487, p. 494 [para. 48].

Hansard - see Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings.

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (3rd Ed. 1992), pp. 15-13 [para. 24]; 15-21 [para. 82].

Laskin, Bora, Tests for the Validity of Legislation: What's the 'Matter'? (1955), 11 U.T.L.J. 114, p. 127 [para. 23].

Lederman, W.R., The Balanced Interpreta­tion of the Federal Distribution of Legis­lative Powers in Canada (1965), in Led­erman, W.R., Continuing Canadian Con­stitutional Dilemmas (1981), p. 282 [para. 48].

McConnell, M.L., and L. Clark, Abortion Law in Canada: A Matter of National Concern (1991), 14 Dal. L.J. 81, gen­erally [para. 18].

McConnell, M.L., "Even by Commonsense Morality": Morgentaler, Borowski and the Constitution of Canada (1989), 68 Can. Bar Rev. 765, p. 766 [para. 63].

Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings (March 16, 1989), p. 1008 [para. 54].

Pepin, René, Le pouvoir des provinces canadiennes de légiférer sur la moralité publique (1988), 19 R.G.D. 865, refd to. [para. 61].

Scott, F.R., Civil Liberties and Canadian Federalism (1959), pp. 26, 27 [para. 23].

Counsel:

Marian F.H. Tyson and Louise Walsh Poirier, for the appellant;

Anne S. Derrick and Jacqueline Mullenger, for the respondent;

Edward R. Sojonky, Q.C., and Yvonne E. Milosevic, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Canada;

Bruce Judah, for the intervenor, Attorney General for New Brunswick;

Angela M. Costigan and Lynn Kirwin, for the intervenor, R.E.A.L. Women of Canada;

Mary Eberts and Ian Godfrey, for the intervenor, Canadian Abortion Rights Action League.

Solicitors of Record:

Marian F.H. Tyson and Louise Walsh Poirier, Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the appellant;

Buchan, Derrick & Ring, Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the respondent;

John C. Tait, Q.C., Deputy Attorney Gen­eral of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Canada;

Paul M. Breton, Fredericton, New Bruns­wick, for the intervenor, Attorney Gen­eral of New Brunswick;

Angela M. Costigan, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, R.E.A.L. Women of Canada;

Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, Canadian Abortion Rights Action League.

This appeal was heard on February 4, 1993, before Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On September 30, 1993, Sopinka, J., delivered the judgment of the court in both official languages.

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