Summary

40195

Attorney General of Canada v. Attorney General of Alberta

(Alberta) (Civil) (As of Right)

Keywords

Constitutional law — Division of powers — Environment — Whether Part 1 of An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, S.C. 2019, c. 28 (“IAA”), is intra vires the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada under the Constitution Act, 1867 — Whether the Physical Activities Regulations, SOR/2019 285 (“Regulations”), are intra vires the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada under the Constitution Act, 1867 — Whether the Court of Appeal of Alberta erred in its characterization of the pith and substance of the IAA and Regulations — Whether the Court of Appeal of Alberta erred in its classification of the IAA and Regulations — Whether the Court of Appeal of Alberta erred in its application of the doctrine of interjurisdictional immunity to disapply the IAA and Regulations.

Summary

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The Government of Alberta sought the Court of Appeal of Alberta’s opinion on the constitutionality of the Impact Assessment Act, S.C. 2019, c. 28, s. 1 (“IAA”) (found in Part 1 of Bill C 69, entitled An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, S.C. 2019, c. 28) and one of its associated regulations, the Physical Activities Regulations, SOR/2019 285 (“Regulations”). The questions posed via Order in Council 160/2019 were as follows:

1. Is Part 1 of An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, S.C. 2019, c. 28, unconstitutional in whole or in part, as being beyond the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada under the Constitution of Canada?

2. Is the Physical Activities Regulations, SOR/2019 285, unconstitutional in whole or in part by virtue of purporting to apply to certain activities listed in Schedule 2 thereof that relate to matters entirely within the legislative authority of the Provinces under the Constitution of Canada?

The majority of the Court of Appeal of Alberta was of the opinion that the IAA is ultra vires Parliament, and that the IAA and Regulations are unconstitutional. Greckol J.A., dissenting, was of the opinion that the IAA and Regulations are a valid exercise of Parliament’s authority to legislate on the matter of the environment.

Lower Court Rulings

May 10, 2022
Court of Appeal of Alberta (Calgary)

1901-0276AC, 2022 ABCA 165
The Impact Assessment Act, S.C. 2019, c. 28, s. 1, and the Physical Activities Regulations, SOR/2019-285, are unconstitutional.