Québec – Intervention by appointing authority not permitted on challenge to decision – #613

In Mullen v. Nakisa inc., 2022 QCCS 1164, Justice Lacoste rejected a request that the Canadian Commercial Arbitration Centre (the “CCAC”), an appointing institution, be permitted to intervene in an appeal of a decision by an arbitrator appointed by it. Applying the higher threshold for interventions in private litigation, Justice Lacoste held that there was no reason to permit the CCAC to intervene as it would not add any substance to the arguments on appeal.

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Saskatchewan – Judicial review available only when arbitration agreement provides – #594

In Ministry of Highways for the Province of Saskatchewan v. West-Can Seal Coating Inc. et al, 2022 SKQB 43, Justice Currie heard, and rejected, all grounds pursued by the applicant, Ministry of Highways (the “Ministry”), to set aside a decision arising from an arbitration conducted pursuant to the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (“NWPTA”), a trade agreement among the four western Canadian provinces. Justice Currie confirmed that, unless contracted for by the parties, there is no role for judicial review of an arbitration award. The options are appeal (if applicable) and set aside. Set aside applications are also limited to issues of procedural fairness, and not whether the decision is correct on its merits.

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Ontario – tolling agreement from arbitration overcomes limitation defence at pleadings amendment stage – #574

In Vale Canada Limited v. Solway Investment Group Limited et al, 2021 ONSC 7562, Justice Koehnen considered, in the context of a motion to amend a Statement of Claim,  the impact of a tolling agreement made in respect of claims made in arbitrations that had been commenced and concluded five years previous. In a decision that canvasses the law on the interaction of motions to strike and motions to amend, Justice Koehnen ultimately permitted the amendments, without prejudice to the defendants to plead a limitation defence and to bring a motion to strike.

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Ontario – Motion to quash appeal dismissed in light of conflicting policy implications – #558

In considering whether to grant a motion to quash an appeal in Leon v. Dealnet, 2021 ONSC 7192, Justice Kristjanson of the Ontario Divisional Court was faced with two conflicting policy concerns: respect for and giving effect to arbitration agreements and protecting vulnerable workers by ensuring that  the arbitration agreement did not constitute a contracting out of an employee’s statutory rights

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Manitoba – Broad arbitration clause in one agreement required stay of action based on related employment contract – #535

Relying on the growing body of arbitration-friendly jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of Canada and provincial appellate courts, the Manitoba Queens Bench in Wardrop v. Ericsson Canada Inc., 2021 MBQB 183 re-affirmed the importance of the court’s adherence to the stay provisions in s. 7 of The Arbitration Act, C.C.S.M. c. A120 (the “Act”).  Justice Rempel held that an action for wrongful dismissal must be stayed. The key issue concerned the plaintiff employee’s entitlement in the severance period to bonuses made available pursuant to an agreement which contained a broad clause in favour of arbitration. That agreement was separate from the written employment agreement which the plaintiff employee alleged was breached and which did not contain an arbitration clause.  However, the damages sought by the plaintiff related to the bonuses. Justice Rempel granted the defendant employer’s motion for a stay in light of the broad arbitration clause in one of the agreements. Further, in finding that there was no basis to refuse the stay under s. 7(2) of the Act, Justice Rempel narrowly interpreted the provision permitting a refusal of the stay where the matter was a proper one for summary judgment.  The plaintiff employee did not satisfy the court that this exception, or any of the other bases for refusing a stay, was applicable.

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