Unifund Assurance Co. v. ICBC, (2003) 306 N.R. 201 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel and Deschamps, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateDecember 12, 2002
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2003), 306 N.R. 201 (SCC);2003 SCC 40;[2003] SCJ No 39 (QL);16 BCLR (4th) 1;[2003] 9 WWR 1;227 DLR (4th) 402;306 NR 201;JE 2003-1355;176 OAC 1;124 ACWS (3d) 61;[2003] 2 SCR 63

Unifund Assurance Co. v. ICBC (2003), 306 N.R. 201 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Temp. Cite: [2003] N.R. TBEd. JL.024

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (appellant) v. Unifund Assurance Company (respondent)

(28745; 2003 SCC 40; 2003 CSC 40)

Indexed As: Unifund Assurance Co. v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel and Deschamps, JJ.

July 17, 2003.

Summary:

Section 275 of the Ontario Insurance Act provided for indemnification of a no-fault insurer in certain cases and for dispute arbi­tration. Unifund Assurance Co. (Unifund) applied for an order appointing an arbitrator pursuant to the Ontario Insurance and Arbi­tration Acts. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) moved for an order staying the application on the basis that the Ontario Insurance Act and its procedure did not apply to the parties in this case, British Columbia law applied and, alternatively, the British Columbia court and not the Ontario court was the proper forum to decide the choice of law issue.

The Ontario Superior Court, in a decision reported at [2000] O.T.C. 552, applied forum non conveniens principles and stayed the Ontario arbitration. Unifund appealed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a decision reported at 146 O.A.C. 162, allowed the appeal. The court held that the application judge should have declined to hear the motion and proceeded with the appointment of the arbitrator who could then deal with any issues of jurisdiction and law, including forum non conveniens. ICBC appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, Major, Bastarache and Deschamps, JJ., dissenting, allowed the appeal. On the procedural issue, the court held that ICBC ought not to be ordered to appear before an arbitrator appointed under the Ontario Act unless and until it was first determined that ICBC was subject to the Ontario Act with respect to the matters in dispute. On the substantive issue, the court held that Unifund was seeking to give the Ontario statute impermissible extra­territorial effect.

Arbitration - Topic 102

Right to arbitration - What matters arbitrable - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "when the authority of a court is invoked to appoint an arbitrator under a statute which one of the parties contends cannot constitutionally apply to it, the court should deal with the challenge." - See paragraph 43.

Arbitration - Topic 102

Right to arbitration - What matters arbitrable - A serious motor vehicle acci­dent occurred in British Columbia - A British Columbia insurer (ICBC) responded there on behalf of the defendants - The injured plaintiffs returned to Ontario and collected statutory no-fault benefits from Unifund, an Ontario insurer - Unifund sought reimbursement by subjecting ICBC to the loss transfer provisions of the Ontario Insurance Act, which provided for dispute arbitration - The Supreme Court of Canada held that Unifund was seeking to give the Ontario statute impermissible extraterritorial effect - The Ontario insur­ance scheme was wholly inapplicable to ICBC on the facts - Thus, an arbitrator appointed under the Ontario Act was with­out any statutory or other authority to decide anything in the case, including the objection to its jurisdiction - See para­graphs 16, 17 and 35 to 49.

Conflict of Laws - Topic 603

Jurisdiction - General principles - Jurisdic­tion simpliciter - [See Constitu­tional Law - Topic 7286 ].

Conflict of Laws - Topic 648

Jurisdiction - Submission to jurisdiction - Implied submission - [See Consti­tutional Law - Topic 7286 ].

Conflict of Laws - Topic 7245

Contracts - Choice of law - Insurance contracts - [See second Arbitration - Topic 102 ].

Constitutional Law - Topic 7286

Provincial jurisdiction (s. 92) - Property and civil rights - Regulatory statutes - Insurance business - A serious motor vehicle accident occurred in British Col­umbia - A British Columbia insurer (ICBC) responded there on behalf of the defendants - The injured plaintiffs returned to Ontario and collected statutory no-fault benefits from Unifund, an Ontario insurer -Unifund sought reimbursement by subject­ing ICBC to the loss transfer provisions of the Ontario Insurance Act, which provided for dispute arbitration - All Canadian provinces were signatories to a Power of Attorney and Undertaking (PAU), which was part of a "reciprocal scheme for the enforcement of motor vehicle liability insurance policies in Canadian provinces and territories" - Unifund submitted that the Ontario Insurance Act was constitu­tionally applicable to ICBC on the basis of a "real and substantial connection" between ICBC and Ontario, and/or ICBC's obliga­tions under the PAU (attornment) - The Supreme Court of Canada rejected the submissions - Unifund was seeking to give the Ontario statute impermissible extraterri­torial effect - There was no statutory cause of action available to Unifund to sue upon in Ontario or British Columbia - See para­graphs 50 to 106.

Insurance - Topic 5010.6

Automobile insurance - Compulsory gov­ernment schemes - Reciprocal schemes - [See Constitutional Law - Topic 7286 ].

Insurance - Topic 5010.6

Automobile insurance - Compulsory gov­ernment schemes - Reciprocal schemes - A serious motor vehicle accident occurred in British Columbia - A British Columbia insurer (ICBC) responded there on behalf of the defendants - The injured plaintiffs returned to Ontario and collected statutory no-fault benefits from Unifund, an Ontario insurer - Unifund sought reimbursement by subjecting ICBC to the loss transfer provi­sions of the Ontario Insurance Act - All Canadian provinces were signatories to a Power of Attorney and Undertaking (PAU), which was part of a "reciprocal scheme for the enforcement of motor vehicle liability insurance policies in Cana­dian provinces and territories" - Unifund submitted that the Ontario Insurance Act was constitutionally applicable to ICBC on the basis of, inter alia, its obligations under the PAU - The Supreme Court of Canada rejected the submission - The court stated that "The PAU is about enforcement of insurance policies , not about helping insur­ance companies, which have been paid a premium for the no-fault coverage, to seek to recover in their home jurisdictions their losses from other insurance companies located in a different jurisdiction when the accident took place in that other jurisdic­tion, and where the claims arising out of the accident were litigated there." - See paragraph 100.

Insurance - Topic 5246

Automobile insurance - Compulsory gov­ernment schemes - Subrogation or indem­nity - Arbitration - [See second Arbitra­tion - Topic 102 ].

Cases Noticed:

Brennan v. Singh et al. (2000), 139 B.C.A.C. 170; 227 W.A.C. 170; 75 B.C.L.R.(3d) 93 (C.A.), affing. (1999), 6 B.C.T.C. 81; 70 B.C.L.R.(3d) 342 (S.C.), refd to. [paras. 11, 112].

Ruckheim v. Robinson et al. (1995), 54 B.C.A.C. 189; 88 W.A.C. 189; 1 B.C.L.R.(3d) 46 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 11].

Potts v. Gluckstein et al. (1992), 56 O.A.C. 290; 8 O.R.(3d) 556 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 18].

Citizens Insurance Co. of Canada v. Par­sons (1881), 7 App. Cas. 96, refd to. [para. 23].

Tolofson v. Jensen and Tolofson, [1994] 3 S.C.R. 1022; 175 N.R. 161; 77 O.A.C. 81; 51 B.C.A.C. 241; 84 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [paras. 25, 119].

Douglas/Kwantlen Faculty Association v. Douglas College, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 570; 118 N.R. 340, refd to. [para. 37].

Cuddy Chicks Ltd. v. Labour Relations Board (Ont.) et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5; 122 N.R. 361; 47 O.A.C. 271, refd to. [para. 37].

Cooper v. Canadian Human Rights Com­mission, [1996] 3 S.C.R. 854; 204 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 37].

St. Anne Nackawic Pulp & Paper Co. v. Canadian Paper Workers Union, Local 219, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 704; 68 N.R. 112; 73 N.B.R.(2d) 236; 184 A.P.R. 236, refd to. [para. 39].

Weber v. Ontario Hydro, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 929; 183 N.R. 241; 82 O.A.C. 321, refd to. [para. 39].

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, refd to. [para. 39].

Jevco Insurance Co. v. Continental Insur­ance Co. of Canada (2000), 132 O.A.C. 379 (C.A.), affing. (1999), 98 O.T.C. 81 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 42].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Law Society of British Columbia - see Jabour v. Law Society of British Columbia et al.

Jabour v. Law Society of British Columbia et al., [1982] 2 S.C.R. 307; 43 N.R. 451, refd to. [para. 43].

Northern Telecom Canada Ltd. et al. v. Communication Workers of Canada et al., [1983] 1 S.C.R. 733; 48 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 43].

Royal Bank of Canada v. R., [1913] A.C. 283, refd to. [para. 50].

Gray v. Kerslake, [1958] S.C.R. 3, refd to. [para. 50].

Morguard Investments Ltd. et al. v. De Savoye, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 1077; 122 N.R. 81, refd to. [paras. 54, 110].

Hunt v. T & N plc - see Hunt v. Lac d'Amiante du Québec Ltée et al.

Hunt v. Lac d'Amiante du Québec Ltée et al., [1993] 4 S.C.R. 289; 161 N.R. 81; 37 B.C.A.C. 161; 60 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [paras. 54, 119].

Holt Cargo Systems Inc. v. ABC Contain­erline N.V. (Bankrupt) et al., [2001] 3 S.C.R. 907; 280 N.R. 1, refd to. [paras. 54, 137].

Spar Aerospace Ltd. v. American Mobile Satellite Corp. et al. (2002), 297 N.R. 83 (S.C.C.), refd to. [paras. 54, 110].

R. v. Jameson, [1896] 2 Q.B. 425, refd to. [para. 60].

Pennoyer v. Neff (1877), 95 U.S. 714, refd to. [para. 61].

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Scott, [1956] S.C.R. 137, refd to. [para. 62].

R. v. Interprovincial Co-Operative Ltd. and Dryden Chemicals Ltd., [1976] 1 S.C.R. 477; 4 N.R. 231, refd to. [para. 62].

Credit Foncier Franco-Canadien v. Ross, [1937] 3 D.L.R. 365 (Alta. C.A.), refd to. [para. 62].

Beauharnois Light, Heat and Power Co. v. Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, [1937] O.R. 796 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 62].

Broken Hill South Ltd. v. Commissioner of Taxation (N.S.W.) (1937), 56 C.L.R. 337 (Aus. H.C.), refd to. [para. 63].

Kalenczuk v. Kalenczuk (1920), 52 D.L.R. 406 (Sask. C.A.), refd to. [para. 65].

Manitoba v. Air Canada and Canada (Attorney General) et al., [1980] 2 S.C.R. 303; 32 N.R. 244; 4 Man.R.(2d) 278, refd to. [para. 65].

Moran v. Pyle National (Canada) Ltd., [1975] 1 S.C.R. 393; 1 N.R. 122, refd to. [paras. 65, 124].

R. v. Thomas Equipment Ltd., [1979] 2 S.C.R. 529; 26 N.R. 499; 15 A.R. 413, refd to. [para. 65].

Ladore v. Bennett, [1939] A.C. 468, refd to. [para. 66].

Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. et al. v. Newfoundland (Attorney General) et al. -see Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act, 1980, Re; Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. et al. v. Newfoundland (Attorney General) et al.

Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act, 1980, Re; Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. et al. v. Newfoundland (Attorney General) et al., [1984] 1 S.C.R. 297; 53 N.R. 268; 47 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 125; 139 A.P.R. 125, refd to. [paras. 66, 140].

Union Steamship Co. of Australia Propri­etary Ltd. v. King (1988), 166 C.L.R. 1 (Aus. H.C.), refd to. [para. 73].

International Shoe Co. v. Washington (State) (1945), 326 U.S. 310 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 74].

Allstate Insurance Co. v. Hague (1981), 449 U.S. 302, refd to. [para. 74].

Global Securities Corp. v. British Colum­bia Securities Commission et al., [2000] 1 S.C.R. 494; 252 N.R. 290; 134 B.C.A.C. 207; 219 W.A.C. 207, refd to. [para. 85].

Ratych v. Bloomer, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 940; 107 N.R. 335; 39 O.A.C. 103, refd to. [para. 88].

Cunningham v. Wheeler - see Cooper v. Miller (No. 1).

Cooper v. Miller (No. 1), [1994] 1 S.C.R. 359; 164 N.R. 81; 41 B.C.A.C. 1; 66 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 88].

Insurance Corp. of British Columbia v. Royal Insurance Co. of Canada, [1999] I.L.R. I-3705; 119 O.A.C. 360 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 89, 133].

MacDonald v. Proctor (1977), 86 D.L.R.(3d) 455 (Ont. C.A.), affd. [1979] 2 S.C.R. 153, refd to. [para. 98].

Healy v. Interboro Mutual Indemnity Insurance Co. et al. (1999), 119 O.A.C. 354; 44 O.R.(3d) 404 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused [2000] 1 S.C.R. xiii; 256 N.R. 199; 138 O.A.C. 199, refd to. [paras. 99, 101].

Corbett and Nash v. Co-operative Fire and Casualty Co. (1984), 56 A.R. 60; 14 D.L.R.(4th) 531 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 101].

Brennan v. Singh, [2001] B.C.T.C. 1812; 15 C.P.C.(5th) 17 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 112].

Canada Labour Relations Board and Canada (Attorney General) v. L'Anglais (Paul) Inc., J.P.L. Productions Inc. and Canada Union of Public Employees et al., [1983] 1 S.C.R. 147; 47 N.R. 351, refd to. [para. 123].

Muscutt et al. v. Courcelles et al. (2002), 160 O.A.C. 1; 60 O.R.(3d) 20 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 125].

Long v. Citi Club, [1995] O.J. No. 1411 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 126].

Brookville Transport Ltd. et al. v. Maine et al. (1997), 189 N.B.R.(2d) 142; 482 A.P.R. 142 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 126].

Negrych v. Campbell's Cabins (1987) Ltd. et al., [1997] 8 W.W.R. 270; 119 Man.R.(2d) 216 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 126].

McNichol Estate v. Woldnik et al. (2001), 150 O.A.C. 68 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 126].

Oakley v. Barry et al. (1998), 166 N.S.R.(2d) 282; 498 A.P.R. 282; 158 D.L.R.(4th) 679 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 126].

O'Brien v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. (2002), 201 N.S.R.(2d) 338; 629 A.P.R. 338; 210 D.L.R.(4th) 668 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 126].

Pacific International Securities Inc. v. Drake Capital Securities Inc. et al. (2000), 145 B.C.A.C. 221; 237 W.A.C. 221; 194 D.L.R.(4th) 716 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 126].

Cook et al. v. Parcel, Mauro, Hultin & Spaanstra, P.C. (1997), 87 B.C.A.C. 97; 143 W.A.C. 97; 143 D.L.R.(4th) 213 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 126].

Berg v. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. (2000), 135 O.A.C. 135; 50 O.R.(3d) 109 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 133].

Amchem Products Inc. et al. v. Workers' Compensation Board (B.C.), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 897; 150 N.R. 321; 23 B.C.A.C. 1; 39 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 137].

Avenue Properties Ltd. v. First City Devel­opment Corp. (1986), 32 D.L.R.(4th) 40 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 138].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Black, Vaughan, Interprovincial Inter-Insurer Interactions: Unifund v. I.C.B.C. (2002), 36 Can. Bus. L.J. 436, p. 444 [para. 100].

Castel, Jean-Gabriel and Walker, Janet, Canadian Conflict of Laws (5th Ed. 2002) (Looseleaf updated December 2002, Issue 3), p. 2.1 [paras. 58, 140].

Fortier, L. Yves, Delimiting the Spheres of Judicial and Arbitral Power: "Beware, My Lord, of Jealousy" (2001), 80 Can. Bar Rev. 143, p. 145 [para. 36].

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (Looseleaf Ed. 1997), (Updated 2002, release 1), vol. 1, pp. 13-4 to 13-25 [para. 50].

Sullivan, Ruth E., Interpreting the Terri­torial Limitations on the Provinces (1985), 7 Supreme Ct. L.R. 511, p. 531 [para. 50].

Tribe, Laurence H., American Constitu­tional Law (3rd Ed. 2000), vol. 1, p. 1292 [para. 74].

Watson, Garry D., and Au, Frank, Consti­tutional Limits on Service Ex Juris: Unanswered Questions from Morguard (2000), 23 Advocates' Q. 167, generally [para. 126].

Counsel:

Avon M. Mersey, Alan L.W. D'Silva, Michael Sobkin and Sophie Vlahakis, for the appellant;

Leah Price and Gerald George, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

Fogler Rubinoff, Toronto, Ontario and Samis & Company, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on December 12, 2002, by McLachlin, C.J.C. and Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel and Deschamps, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The court delivered its decision in both official languages on July 17, 2003, when the following opinions were filed:

Binnie, J. (McLachlin, C.J.C., Iacobucci and LeBel, JJ., concurring) - see para­graphs 1 to 108;

Bastarache, J., dissenting (Major and Deschamps, JJ., concurring) - see para­graphs 109 to 141.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT