BenchPress - Vol 42-1 - LawNow Magazine

BenchPress – Vol 42-1

  1. Bribery Law in Canada is No Joking Matter

The Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) has shown that the bribery laws in Canada are nothing to scoff at. The ONCA upheld the trial decision convicting Nazir Karigar for agreeing to bribe a foreign official contrary to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. Karigar was sentenced to three years in prison. In making this decision, the Court noted that a person can be convicted of direct or indirect agreement to bribery even if there was no bribe paid and the foreign official was never approached with the bribe or aware of it.

R v Karigar, 2017 ONCA 576 (CanLII)2

    2. Duty to Consult is Not a Veto

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released a decision reviewing the National Energy Board (NEB)’s approval of a pipeline project proposed by Enbridge Pipelines Inc. The proposed project would modify a pipeline to reverse its flow, increase its capacity, and allow it to carry heavy crude.
The NEB approved the project even after having consulted the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (Chippewas). The Chippewas were concerned that the project would increase pipeline ruptures and spills and could adversely impact their use of the land. However, the NEB found that the impacts to Indigenous groups would be minimal and appropriately mitigated. The Chippewas’ appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal was dismissed.
The Chippewas then appealed to the SCC, where their claim was dismissed again. The SCC found that the NEB, acting on behalf of the Crown, had fulfilled its duty to consult to the Chippewas. The SCC highlighted that the duty to consult “is not the vehicle to address historical grievances” and “does not provide Indigenous groups with a ‘veto’ over final Crown decisions.”

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v Enbridge Pipelines Inc., 2017 SCC 41 (CanLII)

  1. Google Search

The SCC upheld a novel injunction order against Google, who found itself to be an unwilling third party in an intellectual property dispute. An injunction is an order that restrains a party from beginning or continuing specific acts.

The defendant “D”, previously a distributor for the plaintiff “E”, re-labelled and sold E’s inventory as its own and used E’s intellectual property and trade secrets to its advantage. The British Columbia Supreme Court ordered D to halt its activities to avoid any potential further harm to E. In contravention of this order, D continued the sale of product and use of intellectual property through the internet. D and its suppliers could not be located. As a result, Google was approached by the E to block the websites from showing up in Google’s search results (also known as de-indexing) D’s websites to prevent harm, but Google refused. Subsequently, after discussions, Google appeared in Court with E and agreed to remove specific pages pursuant to a court order prohibiting D from carrying on business on the internet. However, E found out that Google de-indexed only some of D’s websites, not all of them, which allowed D to circumvent the court orders by selling product through the websites that were not de-indexed. As such, E sought, and was a granted, an interim injunction to prevent Google from displaying any part of D’s websites on any of its search results worldwide. In upholding the injunction, the SCC noted that without this global order, E could continue to be irreparably harmed.

The novelty in this landmark decision is that the Order applied worldwide. Notably, Canadian courts do not often issue orders that apply outside of Canada to avoid impinging on the authority of foreign nations or their courts. In making this unique decision, the SCC noted that: “[t]he Internet has no borders – its natural habitat is global.”

Google Inc. v Equustek Solutions Inc., 2017 SCC 34 (CanLII)

  1. Edmonton Police Association Loses Defamation Lawsuit

Tom Engel won a $50,000 defamation lawsuit against the Edmonton Police Association. Tom Engel is a criminal lawyer in Edmonton who has taken a special interest in policing issues. At the heart of the case was an article written by a member of the Edmonton Police Service, which was published on the Edmonton Police Association website. The article claimed that Engel was incompetent and dishonest. It also implied that Engel had ulterior motives in pursuing cases against the police. The Court found that the article was defamatory in fact, opinion, and tone. The Court also noted that reputation is “the cornerstone of a lawyer’s professional life.”

Engel v Edmonton Police Association, 2017 ABQB 495 (CanLII)



Aaida Peerani
Aaida Peerani is Staff Lawyer and Editor for LawNow Magazine at the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.

A Publication of CPLEA

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