Québec – Arbitration clause interpreted liberally; ambiguity resolved using regular contract interpretation principles – #551

In 9369-1426 Québec Inc. DBA Restaurant Bâton Rouge v. Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company, 2021 QCCA 1594, the parties disagreed about whether the plaintiff could bring a class action to resolve a coverage dispute or whether the dispute was required to go to arbitration. The policy contained both a stepped arbitration clause and a clause that said that the courts in the Court District in which the insured was located shall have exclusive jurisdiction in case of a coverage dispute. The Québec Court of Appeal confirmed that arbitration clauses should be interpreted in a large and liberal manner. If there is ambiguity, the usual principles of contractual interpretation apply without regard to any presumption that ambiguities are to be resolved to preserve a plaintiff’s right to resort to courts. The court found that the proper interpretation of the policy required coverage disputes to be arbitrated.

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Québec – Consideration of scope and applicability of arbitration clause – #545

In Dr. Catherine Morin-Houde Dentist Inc. v. Dr. Marie-Ève Costisella Inc., 2021 QCCS 4109, Justice Faullem of the Québec Superior Court reviewed the applicability of an arbitration clause and in doing so set out a number of principles relevant to an understanding of the scope of arbitration clauses and the assessment of arbitral jurisdiction. 

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B.C. – Court outlines reasoning process to be followed by arbitrator in interpreting agreement on re-hearing – #521

In Belmont Properties v. Swan, 2021 BCCA 265, the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a decision of the BC Supreme Court setting aside an arbitrator’s decision and remitting the dispute for a new hearing. In doing so, the Court of Appeal provided guidance as to the reasoning process to be followed by the arbitrator in interpreting the agreement at issue on the re-hearing.

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