AGRIUM v ORBIS ENGINEERING FIELD SERVICES, 2022 ABCA 266
WAKELING, CRIGHTON AND HO JJA
6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order
The issue on appeal was whether a decision of a Master in Chambers to stay proceedings under the Arbitration Act (“AA”) is barred from an appeal to a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench by s. 7(6). Stay decisions under the AA are not appealable to the Court of Appeal by virtue of s. 7(6) of the AA.
In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal held that s. 7(6) does not bar the appeal of a Master’s decision to stay proceedings under the AA to a Justice.
Section 12 of the Court of Queen’s Bench Act (“CQBA”) expressly stipulates that an appeal of a Master’s decision lies to a Justice. Rule 6.14 also captures this legislative right of appeal. Further, the majority of the Court of Appeal held that there was no inconsistency between s. 7 of the AA, s. 12 of the CQBA, and the Interpretation Act.
The majority of the Court of Appeal relied on Professor Sullivan’s work in Sullivan on the Construction of Statutes to explain that there is a presumption of coherence and consistency that applies to Acts and bodies of law. Strategies such as “the specific overrides the general” or “reading legislation down in certain situations and liberally in others” must be avoided unless a clear conflict arises. Here, there was no conflict between the two levels of statutory decision making within the Court of Queen’s Bench and the lack of appeal of a stay decision under the AA.
However, Wakeling JA dissented on the basis that a decision of a Master in Chambers is nonetheless a decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Section 7(6) of the AA expressly prohibits appeals of stay decisions granted by the court, including the Court of Queen’s Bench.View CanLII Details