2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quebec farmer wins appeal against fines for exceeding poultry quota

Ferme Avicole Rodier Bombardier Inc. and Rock Bombardier have successfully challenged quota penalties imposed by the "Éleveurs de volailles du Québec" (the poultry marketing board in Quebec) in the Quebec Court of Appeal.  Bombardier was charged penalties for having exceeded chicken quota production levels by producing chickens for export from Quebec without a purchase contract in place.  In other words, with no contract in place, all of the production was counted against the quota and resulted in over-production in the eyes of the marketing board.

Bombardier contested the allegations on the basis that there was an export contract in place with a company called Volaille Giannone Inc.  Before the marketing tribunal in Quebec, Bombardier sought to have Giannone added to the case (interpleaded) to exercise a "recourse in warranty" against Giannone.  The Tribunal rejected this request and rejected a request by Bombardier to have the penalties dismissed on the basis that they were imposed outside of the applicable limitation period.  Bombardier argued that the penalty imposed falls under the authority of the Penal Code of Procedure in Quebec (rather than the Civil Code of Procedure) so that the limitation period is one year.

The Quebec Court of Appeal has found that the marketing tribunal (la Regie) was not expressly authorized by its constituting statute (the Act of the Legislature that creates the tribunal and delegates to the tribunal its powers) to impose a penalty set by the marketing board.  It did not have authority to be seized of the board's claim for a penalty.  Neither could the tribunal be seized of the producers' claim that they had a valid contract with Giannone.  On this basis, the Court of Appeal allowed the application for judicial review and overturned the decision of the Quebec Superior Court that upheld the penalties imposed by the tribunal.

However, the Court of Appeal declined to award costs to any party of the appeal/judicial review.  The Court rejected the primary argument of the producers that the fines were a penal matter that had to be addressed according to Quebec's Penal Code of Procedure (and, therefore, the board would be out of time to impose the penalties).  In the Court's view, the cost of making this argument did not facilitate the Court's study of the case. 

The decision in French is available at: Bombardier c. Éleveurs de volailles du Québec.