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Statutory Interpretation - Interjurisdictional Immunity

. Sharp v. Autorité des marchés financiers

In Sharp v. Autorité des marchés financiers (SCC, 2023) the Supreme Court of Canada considered a province's administrative extra-provincial jurisdiction issue (aka 'prescriptive legislative jurisdiction'), here being the application of a Quebec securities tribunal (FMAT) to four BC residents "who are alleged to have contravened the Quebec Securities Act". Here the courts have applied the 'real and substantial connection' standard - from the Van Breda PRIL venue doctrine (which determines which geographical jurisdiction hears a multi-geographical case) - to which extra-geographical parties a local tribunal has jurisdiction over (this was done in the case of Unifund).

In this quote the court analogizes the Unifund doctrine to interjurisdictional immunity:
[113] Second, like the doctrine of interjurisdictional immunity in constitutional law, the Unifund test functions as a principle of statutory interpretation. As noted by Professors Peter W. Hogg and Wade K. Wright, under the doctrine of interjurisdictional immunity, a broadly framed provincial or federal law that is valid in most of its applications “should be interpreted so as not to apply to the matter that is outside the jurisdiction of the enacting body” (Constitutional Law of Canada (5th ed. Supp.), at § 15:16 (emphasis added)). The enacting legislative body “is presumed to have meant to enact provisions which do not transgress the limits of its constitutional powers; general language which appears to transgress the limits must therefore be ‘read down’ so that it is confined within the limits” (§ 15:15; see also H. Brun, G. Tremblay and E. Brouillet, Droit constitutionnel (6th ed. 2014), at para. VI-2.56). “Reading down is simply a canon of construction (or interpretation)” (Hogg and Wright, at § 15:15).


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Last modified: 20-11-23
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