2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Saskatchewan lawsuit against CWB moved to Manitoba

In December, I wrote about a Saskatchewan farm, Hudye Farms of Norquay, SK, suing the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) for loss of income, breach of fiduciary duty and defamation: SK farmer sues CWB.  In response to the suit, the CWB made a motion to the Court of Queen's Bench for the following relief:
1. Challenging the Saskatchewan Court’s territorial competence over the Canadian Wheat Board or these proceedings under The Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, S.S. 1997, c. C-41.1 as am. (“CJPTA”);
2. In the alternative, the defendant Canadian Wheat Board asked the court to decline to exercise any territorial competence pursuant to Rule 99 of the Queen’s Bench Rules and ss. 10(1) of the CJPTA on the basis that the courts of Manitoba are a more appropriate forum in which to hear these proceedings;
3. An order pursuant to ss. 12(1) of the CJPTA transferring the proceedings to the courts of Manitoba; and

4. For costs on a solicitor client basis.
The plaintiffs and the CWB agreed that they were contractually bound as producer and marketing board. Much of the argument and dialogue therefore focused around defining the contract, the role of Cargill Limited as the producer’s agent, and, the effect of a term in the contract which provides that the law of Manitoba will apply to any disputes and that the courts of Manitoba shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any proceedings arising out of the commercial contract and relations created by the contract.
The Court was left to decide whether the Saskatchewan action should be stayed because the proper forum for the lawsuit was Manitoba:
It is undisputed law that Hudye Farms Inc. bears the onus and burden of proving strong cause as to why a stay should be denied the Canadian Wheat Board in the face of the forum and choice of law clause. The language of the forum and law selection clause is clear and unambiguous. Refer again to the quotation from E.K. Motors at paragraph 13, quoted earlier. Then consider further Barclay J.’s three step analysis in the Willick decision also quoted earlier. If the Manitoba courts have jurisdiction over these disputes/proceedings, should this Saskatchewan action be struck, stayed or transferred to the Manitoba courts? If Manitoba courts do not have exclusive jurisdiction, should this action be transferred to the Manitoba courts pursuant to the CJPTA?
In the end, the Court found that the proper forum based on the contract was Manitoba, and so an order has been made transferring the case to the Manitoba courts.

Read the decision at: Hudye Farms Inc. v. Canadian Wheat Board.