RECYCLING WORX SOLUTIONS INC v HUNTER, 2018 ABQB 395
9.12: Correcting mistakes or errors
9.16: By whom applications are to be decided
10.52: Declaration of civil contempt
The Applicant, Recycling Worx Solutions Inc. (“Recycling Worx”), applied to have the Respondent, Hunter, held in contempt of Court for breaching a Court Order. Hunter had been briefly contracted to work for Recycling Worx before the relationship broke down and resulted in litigation. Hunter then picketed at various building sites where Recycling Worx was engaged and harassed its employees. Recycling Worx applied for and obtained a number of Orders against Hunter culminating in an injunction restraining Hunter from picketing or harassing Recycling Worx, or distributing materials to third parties regarding Recycling Worx or its customers. Eamon J. noted that Hunter had raised the issue of the wording of the Order, contending that it did not reflect the intention of Anderson J. who pronounced it; however, Eamon J. also noted that the Order had been approved by counsel for both parties and signed by Anderson J. Furthermore, Hunter had never applied to correct any alleged mistake as permitted by Rule 9.12, or to obtain direction as to whether the Judge who gave the Order should hear the Application as permitted by Rule 9.16.
In regards to the contempt Application, Eamon J. confirmed that further to the definition of civil contempt in Rule 10.52, one type of civil contempt is breaching a Court Order without reasonable excuse. Eamon J. referred to recent jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of Canada stating that contempt requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that: the Court Order allegedly breached is clear as to what should or should not be done; the party alleged to have breached the Order had actual or inferred knowledge of the Order; and the party alleged to have breached the Order must have intentionally done or failed to do what the Order compels.
Eamon J. applied these factors to the facts and held that the Order restraining Hunter from harassing Recycling Worx was clear as to what Hunter could and could not do. Hunter did not dispute that he had actual notice of the Order, but even if he had, Justice Eamon stated that knowledge of the Order could be inferred as Hunter’s counsel was present when the Order was pronounced and also approved its wording. Finally, the Court found that Hunter intentionally breached the Order. Hunter admitted to continued picketing of building sites where Recycling Worx was active and even administered a website and published flyers disparaging Recycling Worx and its frequent customer homebuilder, Mattamy. The Application for contempt was granted.View CanLII Details