Saskatchewan – arbitrator’s mentions of “in my experience” insignificant and raise no question of law

In Graham Design Builders LP v. Black & McDonald Limited, 2019 SKQB 161, Mr. Justice G.M. Currie denied leave to appeal on a question of law because the arbitrator’s repeat mention of “in my experience” did not qualify as taking arbitral notice of a practice in the relevant market.  Rather, the remarks were “mere passing comments” which did not affect the award based on the factual matrix in evidence and relevant contractual provisions.  In a subsidiary analysis, Currie J. did accept that, had one of the challenges qualified as a question of law, he would have considered it important enough to grant leave to appeal by applying a $1 million threshold he identified as ‘significant’ in his one of his earlier decisions.

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Ontario – no forgiving liability or forgetting facts when counsel apologizes in court on client’s behalf

In Pollard Windows Inc. v. 1736106 Ontario Inc., 2019 ONSC 4859, Ontario’s Divisional Court held a litigant to submissions made by its counsel in court, determining that the provisions of Ontario’s Apology Act, 2009, SO 2009, c 3 did not serve to exclude the apology and admission of liability.  Because the Apology Act expressly stipulates that it applies to arbitration, the Court’s reasons regarding the combined effect of counsel’s ostensible authority and the characteristics of an apology apply to arbitration as well.

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Alberta – couple unable to litigate property dispute they agreed to delegate to parents

In Mahajan v. Mahajan, 2019 ABQB 495, Mr. Justice Michael J. Lema stayed a divorce proceeding to provide time for the couple’s four (4) parents to resolve a property dispute delegated to them by the couple in their post-separation agreement.  Lema J. held that no uncertainty existed regarding who would resolve the dispute but only uncertainty as to how they would do so. 

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Québec – distinctions for service and notice to banks offers guidance for arbitral practice

In 1068754 Alberta Ltd. v. Québec (Agence du revenu), 2019 SCC 37, on appeal from Québec, the Supreme Court of Canada distinguished between two (2) provisions of the Bank Act, SC 1991, c 46 which stipulate how to effectively serve banks with legal proceedings and provide notice.

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Ontario – pleading to action insufficient to qualify as waiver to request stay

In Khomovych v. Bomar 2 Inc. o/a Colony Park Homes, 2019 ONSC 3982, Madam Justice Mary E. Vallee stayed the action despite Defendant having pleaded to it and Plaintiff’s request for an adjournment so that it could present its motion for summary judgment under section 7(2)5 of Ontario’s Arbitration Act, 1991, SO 1991, c 17.  Vallee J. determined that the parties were bound to undertake arbitration imposed by legislation applicable to new home warranties.

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