Ontario – Limitations defence not a matter of arbitral jurisdiction – #674

In Cruickshank Construction Ltd. v The Corporation of the City of Kingston, 2022 ONSC 5704, Justice Myers allowed an application to appoint an arbitrator, providing his views on the method for that appointment. He also dismissed the Respondent’s cross-application for a declaration that the notice of arbitration was limitation-barred and that the Applicant had not complied with preconditions to arbitration in the parties’ agreement. Justice Myers held that there was no basis in the Ontario Arbitration Act, 1991, SO 1991, c 17 (“Arbitration Act”) to permit the court to grant the cross-application and the grounds raised were not matters of arbitral jurisdiction.

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Québec – Interests of justice require closely linked disputes to be arbitrated – #664

In Tessier v 2428-8516 Québec inc., 2002 QCCS 3159, Justice Dufresne granted an application for a declinatory exception in respect of  an originating application, and referred two disputes involving ownership of two closely connected companies to arbitration where the shareholders of only one of the two companies involved in the disputes were subject to an arbitration agreement. Justice Dufresne found that the disputes were linked. He relied upon the interests of justice and the principle of proportionality and  found that [informal translation]“rather than depriving the shareholders of the first [company] of the effects of the arbitration clause, the shareholders of the second [company] should be ordered to be subject to it.”

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Québec – Court prevents “improper attempt to circumvent” final ICC award – #634

In Eurobank Ergasias v. Bombardier inc., 2022 QCCA 802, a majority of the Québec Court of Appeal (Mainville and Baudouin, JJ.A.): (1) confirmed the homologation of an ICC Arbitral Tribunal Final Award (“Final Award”); (2) confirmed the trial judge’s decision that a Québec bank did not have to pay under a Letter of Counter-Guarantee that was called upon, the purpose of which was the evasion of the binding ICC arbitration process; and (3) overturned the trial judge’s decision to direct the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence (“HMOD”), a branch of the Greek government,  to comply with the Final Award because HMOD was not an entity domiciled in Québec and homologation is for the purpose of rendering the Final Award legally binding in Québec, not in Greece.

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Ontario – Set- aside application failed; dispute covered by arbitration agreement, no objection to jurisdiction – #616

In Baffinland v Tower-EBC, 2022 ONSC 1900, Justice Pattillo dismissed both: (1) an application to set aside an award from a majority of an arbitral tribunal (the “Majority Award”) under section 46 of the Arbitration Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 17 (the “Act”); and (2) an application for an order granting leave to appeal the Majority Award and Costs Award under section 45(1) of the Act. Justice Pattillo found there were no grounds upon which to set aside the Majority Award; there was no lack of jurisdiction or failure to be treated equally and fairly. Nor could leave to appeal be granted under section 45(1) of the Act because the arbitration agreement precluded an appeal.

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Québec – Delay in raising arbitration provision fatal to application to amend class – #595

In 9238-0831 Québec inc. v Télébec and Vidéotron senc, 2022 QCCS 183 Justice Lussier dismissed defendant Vidéotron’s request to modify the definition of the plaintiff group in a class action to exclude customers who had signed a contract containing an arbitration clause. Vidéotron changed the relevant contracts to add the arbitration clause after the plaintiff’s application to authorize institution of the class action but before that application was decided. However, its application to modify the plaintiff group was brought outside of 45 days from the originating application in the litigation, as required by article 622 of the Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR c C-25.01. Vidéotron had participated in the judicial process for years before bringing its application and offered no explanation for its delay.

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Saskatchewan – Waiver of arbitration in joint venture agreement read strictly – #576

In Beauchamp v Beauchamp, 2021 SKCA 148, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from a case management judge’s decision, which provided for how farming operations would be conducted for the following year, on an interim basis, until a dispute involving a Joint Venture Agreement (“JVA”) governing those operations was finally resolved. The appellant alleged that the judge misinterpreted his waiver of the right to arbitrate contained in the JVA. This waiver was provided on three occasions, in his agreement to put matters to the case management judge for the sake of expediency and urgency and in two written briefs, each using slightly different language. In these, the appellant agreed: 1) the case management judge could “make an order providing for how this grain farm is [to be] operated for the 2021 to 2022 crop year”; 2) he “will waive his reliance on the arbitration clause if” the judge was distributing the farming equipment or dividing the farming operation on an interim basis, but would not waive these rights if the judge were to order the entirety of the farming operation be divided exclusively among the only the other parties in the dispute; and 3) he “will waive his reliance on the arbitration clause if the Court’s authority to distribute the equipment of New Age Farms on an interim basis is an issue to the extent necessary to effect the dividing of the farm operation.” The Court of Appeal found that because the case management judge did not order the farming operation be exclusively undertaken by the other parties, and directed on an interim basis only how farming operations were to proceed, the judge did not violate the terms of the waiver. Indeed the case management judge had expressly held that the jurisdiction issue raised by the appellant needed to be resolved before the underlying litigation could proceed.

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