Aug 18, 2016
Every year, Listed identifies the six most significant Canadian high court decisions from the year before. The list is based on an informal survey of leading Canadian lawyers and those with eyes on the industry, and overviews the cases that could have the greatest influence on Canadian listed companies.
Listed’s Jim Middlemiss covers this year’s roundup, which “reflect[s] a more subtle and outward-focused caseload” than last year’s compilation focused on the “bread and butter of business” – competition law, contracts, arbitration and the like. Case matters range from intellectual property protections to securities class actions with half, according to Jim, addressing the evolving legal difficulties that are emerging under globalization.
Osler’s Jennifer Fairfax, a Toronto-based partner practicing litigation and regulatory and environmental law, commented on case number six – the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Midwest Properties Ltd. v. Thordarson. At issue was liability for environmental contamination – the article reports that Midwest was the first case in which the Court was “asked to deal with the compensation provisions for a spill under section 99 of the province’s Environmental Protection Act (EPA).” Applying a “broad interpretation” of the EPA’s compensation provision, the appeal court overturned a lower court ruling and awarded Midwest $1.3 million, as well as $50,000 in punitive damages.
According to Jennifer, the finding is pertinent to “everybody involved in the ownership or potential purchase of contaminated land.” Due to the court’s wide interpretation of the compensation provision, she anticipates more statutory claims. “Companies need to be mindful…[of ] the potential for increased liability,” said Jennifer.
For more information on Midwest Properties Ltd. v. Thordarson and other significant cases, read Jim Middlemiss’s article “Now heed this!” published in the August edition of Listed magazine.