Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. Daniel Thouin, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)

(Sealing order)


Civil procedure - Immunity.


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Civil procedure - Examination on discovery - Immunity of federal Crown - Motion for permission to examine Competition Bureau’s chief investigator in connection with civil liability action - Whether federal Crown, in proceedings to which it is not party, enjoys common law immunity allowing it to refuse to submit to examination on discovery - If not, whether examination on discovery must be refused - Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR c. C-25, art. 398(3) - Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-50, s. 27.

In 2004, the Competition Bureau launched an investigation following allegations of a conspiracy by oil companies and retailers to fix the price of gasoline at the pump in certain areas of Quebec. The investigation was codenamed “Octane”. In the course of the investigation, the Bureau obtained judicial authorizations to intercept and record over 220,000 private conversations, to seize thousands of paper and electronic documents and to take numerous statements. In the aftermath of the investigation, two class actions were instituted against the oil companies, distributors and retailers that had allegedly conspired to agree on a sale price for gasoline at the pump, including the action of the respondents, Daniel Thouin and the Automobile Protection Association. For the purposes of that class action, the respondents filed a motion in the Superior Court seeking permission to summon the Competition Bureau’s chief investigator to be examined on discovery on all facts relevant to the case that related to the Octane investigation, as well as permission to ask for disclosure of the recordings made and the documents obtained during that investigation.