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Statutory Interpretation - Relation to Common Law

. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. Association of Professionals and Supervisors

In Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. Association of Professionals and Supervisors (Div Ct, 2020) the Divisional Court considers an interpretive provision of the federal Interpretation Act that allows reference to applicable provincial common law and equity:
[43] The Employer argues that, in these circumstances, s. 8.1 of the Interpretation Act of Canada, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21 required the Arbitrator to refer to Ontario law in determining the damages to which the Grievor was entitled. Section 8.1 reads as follows:
Both the common law and the civil law are equally authoritative and recognized sources of law of property and civil rights in Canada and, unless provided by law, if in interpreting an enactment it is necessary to refer to a province’s rules, principles or concepts forming part of the law of property or civil rights, reference must be made to the rules, principles and concepts in force in the province at the time the enactment is being applied.
[44] In Quebec (Attorney General) v. Canada (Human Resources and Social Development), 2011 SCC 60, at para. 27, the Supreme Court summarized the effect of s. 8.1: “if in interpreting a federal provision it is necessary to refer to private law concepts, reference must be made to the law of the province in which the provision is to be applied”.
. Owners, Strata Plan LMS 3905 v. Crystal Square Parking Corp.

In Owners, Strata Plan LMS 3905 v. Crystal Square Parking Corp. (SCC, 2020) the Supreme Court of Canada comments on the relation between statutes and the common law:
[39] The common law forms part of the context in which a legislature enacts statutes, and the legislature is presumed not to have intended to alter or extinguish common law rules in doing so: Parry Sound (District) Social Services Administration Board v. O.P.S.E.U., Local 324, 2003 SCC 42, [2003] 2 S.C.R. 157, at para. 39. In addition, when the legislature uses a term that has an established legal meaning, it is presumed to have given the term that meaning in the statute in question: R. v. D.L.W., 2016 SCC 22, [2016] 1 S.C.R. 402, at para. 20. ...

[40] These presumptions can be rebutted only by establishing a clear expression of legislative intent to the contrary: Heritage Capital, at paras. 30-31; D.L.W., at paras. 18-20. ...


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