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Statutory Interpretation - Noscitur a Sociis

. Canada v. Bowker

In Canada v. Bowker (Fed CA, 2023) the Federal Court of Appeal considered a Crown appeal from a Tax Court cost award. In this quote the court considers the statutory interpretation doctrine of 'noscitur a sociis':
[48] The question which arises is why a penalty of very broad application (assuming the interpretation proposed by the respondent) would be tucked away in a paragraph within a subsection dealing with a specific failure to file certain documents. This question can be answered in part by reference to the canon of construction known as noscitur a sociis:
Counsel for the respondent submits that this finding can be justified by the rule of interpretation noscitur a sociis. According to that rule, “[a]n expression's meaning may be revealed by its association with others” and where general and specific words are associated together and are capable of analogous meaning, the general words should be restricted to the specific meaning unless this would be contrary to the clear intention of Parliament.
Vancouver Art Metal Works Ltd v. Canada (C.A.), 1993 CanLII 2930 (FCA), [1993] 2 F.C. 179 at 185. See also McDiarmid Lumber Ltd. v. God's Lake First Nation, 2006 SCC 58, [2006] 2 S.C.R. 846 at para. 30



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Last modified: 10-06-23
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