Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. Attorney General of Quebec

(Quebec) (Civil) (As of Right)


Constitutional law - Division of powers - Trade and commerce - Securities - Reference - Constitution Act, 1867, s. 91(2).


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Under Order in Council No. 642-2015 dated July 15, 2015, the Government of Quebec referred the following two questions to the Quebec Court of Appeal:

1. Does the Constitution of Canada authorize the implementation of pan-Canadian securities regulation under the authority of a single regulator, according to the model established by the most recent publication of the “Memorandum of Agreement regarding the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System”?

2. Does the most recent version of the draft of the federal “Capital Markets Stability Act” exceed the authority of the Parliament of Canada over the general branch of the trade and commerce power under subsection 91(2) of the Constitution Act, 1867?

The majority of the Court of Appeal answered “no” to the first question, finding that the Constitution of Canada does not authorize the implementation of the regulation at issue under that model. It also answered “no” to the second question, as it was of the view that the most recent version of the draft of the legislation is not beyond the jurisdiction of Parliament, except with respect to its sections 76 to 79 concerning the role and powers of the Council of Ministers which, if not removed, render the act unconstitutional as a whole.

Lower Court Rulings

May 10, 2017
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Montréal)

2017 QCCA 756, 500-09-025430-158
Questions submitted by the Government of Quebec by reference pursuant to Order in Council no. 642-2015 answered