HARPER v CANADA (AG), 2021 ABQB 233
6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)
This was an Appeal from Master Schulz’ Decision to dismiss a paragraph of the Appellant’s Amended Statement of Claim pursuant to a Summary Dismissal Application filed by the Respondent Attorney General of Canada.
The original Amended Statement of Claim alleged that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the “RCMP”) wrongfully arrested and assaulted the Appellant. The Appellant also alleged that the Respondent was responsible for his alleged mistreatment at the Edmonton Remand Centre (the “ERC”).
The Court confirmed that Rule 6.14(3) provides that an Appeal from a Master, in addition to being an Appeal on the record, may also be based on new evidence that is relevant and material. The Court also reviewed Rule 7.3(1)(b) and confirmed that a Defendant may apply for an Action to be summarily dismissed if there is no merit to a claim or part of it.
With respect to Summary Dismissal Application, the Court cited Weir-Jones Technical Services Incorporated v Purolator Courier Ltd., 2019 ABCA 49, and noted that in assessing a Summary Dismissal Application, a Court must first determine whether it is possible to fairly resolve the dispute on a summary basis or whether uncertainties exist in the facts, record, or law that reveal a genuine issue requiring Trial. Next, a Court must determine whether the moving party has met its burden to show that the Action is meritless or has no defence. Lastly, if the moving party has met its burden, the resisting party must put its best foot forward and demonstrate from the record that there is a genuine issue requiring a Trial.
After conducting an analysis of the facts, Rules and case law, the Court dismissed the Appeal from the Master’s Decision and struck out the impugned paragraph in accordance with the Respondent’s initial Application for three reasons. First, the Court found that the Federal Crown cannot be responsible for the actions of the employees of the Provincial Government of Alberta. Second, the Court found that the Appellant’s detention at the ERC was as a result of an intervening judicial act by a Justice of the Peace and Canada. Lastly, the Court concluded that no duty of care is owed by Canada to the Appellant with respect to his alleged treatment at the ERC. In sum, the Court found the claims in the impugned paragraph to be meritless.View CanLII Details