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Statutory Interpretation - Marginal Notes and Headings

. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) v. Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers

In Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) v. Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (Fed CA, 2024) the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal of a JR, here where the successful JR applicant argued that immigration inadmissibility [under IRPA, s.34(1)(a) and (f) - 'Inadmissibility - Security'] required that the applicant was a member of an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged or will engage in espionage "contrary to Canada’s interests", and that such espionage have a Canadian nexus.

Here the court considers the statutory interpretation role of 'marginal notes and headings' within legislation:
[95] As noted earlier, the heading for section 34 states that the section relates to inadmissibility for "“Security”" reasons [my emphasis]. This suggests that the Canadian interests at stake in paragraph 34(1)(a) are Canada’s national security or security interests.

[96] I recognize that in accordance with section 14 of the Interpretation Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. I-21, marginal notes and headings do not form part of a statute, and are inserted only for ease of reference. That said, it is nevertheless permissible to consider them as part of the interpretative process, although they may be accorded lesser weight than other interpretive aids: Corbett v. Canada, 1996 CanLII 3849 (FCA), [1997] 1 F.C. 386 (F.C.A.), [1997] 1 C.T.C. 2 at para. 13.



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Last modified: 19-04-24
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