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Contra Proferentum

. 2041219 Ontario Limited v. The Business Risk Management Review Committee

In 2041219 Ontario Limited v. The Business Risk Management Review Committee (Div Ct, 2021) the Divisional Court addressed an attempt to import the contractual doctrine of contra proferentum into an administrative context (it failed):
[48] I also do not accept the applicant’s argument in its factum that the doctrine of contra proferentum applies. Again, the Court’s role is not to consider this argument afresh but to decide whether the decision below was reasonable. In this case, the Commission considered this argument and found that the doctrine did not apply because the Program was not established by contract but rather by the OIC. As stated by the Committee and accepted by Agricorp, “contra proferentum is a principle of contract interpretation and is not a principle applicable to the interpretation of an Order-in-Council”. This conclusion is consistent with the case law on this issue (see McClelland & Stewart Ltd. v. Mutual Life, 1981 CanLII 53 (SCC), [1981] 2 SCR 6, at p. 15), and is therefore reasonable.
. 2249778 Ontario Inc. v Smith (Fratburger)

In 2249778 Ontario Inc. v Smith (Fratburger) (Ont CA, 2014) the Court of Appeal stated with respect to the rule that an ambiguous contract provision shall be read against the one who drafted it:
[22] Finally, the rule of contra proferentum applies in cases where the contractual terms are ambiguous: Consolidated-Bathurst Export Ltd. v. Mutual Boiler and Machinery Insurance Co., 1979 CanLII 10 (SCC), [1980] 1 S.C.R. 888, at p. 900 and Manulife Bank of Canada v. Conlin, 1996 CanLII 182 (SCC), [1996] 3 S.C.R. 415, at pp. 425-426.


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