The Impact of a Dower Act Life Estate on the Valuation and Distribution of Intestate Estates

By: Jonnette Watson Hamilton

PDF Version: The Impact of a Dower Act Life Estate on the Valuation and Distribution of Intestate Estates

Case Commented On: Estate of Johnson, Rick Allen (Re), 2017 ABQB 399 (CanLII)

The deceased, Rick Allen Johnson, died intestate–i.e., without a will–in February 2013. He was survived by a spouse and by two children of a previous marriage. The years of aggravation, frustration, hostilities and legal fees that is foretold by those two short sentences will be obvious to the many individuals who have found themselves in a similar situation. The particular issue in this case was how much of the deceased’s property his children inherited, if any, given the life estate in the deceased’s house granted to his surviving spouse by the Dower Act, RSA 2000, c D-15, and the preferential share of an intestate estate given to the surviving spouse by the Wills and Succession Act, SA 2010, c W-12.2.  Specifically, the question was: Should the present value of the wife’s Dower Act life estate be deducted from the value of the deceased’s house for the purpose of distributing his estate between his surviving spouse and his children? Justice John W. Hopkins answered that question with a “no”, holding that the value of the deceased’s house for the purposes of the distribution of his estate under the Wills and Succession Act was the full value of the house, with no deduction for the life estate. I think his answer is wrong. Continue reading

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The Federal Response to the Report of the Expert Panel on the Modernization of the National Energy Board

By: Nigel Bankes

PDF Version: The Federal Response to the Report of the Expert Panel on the Modernization of the National Energy Board

Document Commented On: Environmental and Regulatory Reviews, Discussion Paper, Government of Canada, June 2017

Professor Mascher has provided an overview of this Discussion Paper. This post highlights how the Discussion Paper responds to the Report of the Expert Panel on the Modernization of the National Energy Board. This is not a straightforward task for two reasons. First, while the Discussion Paper contains one page that is devoted to “modern energy regulation” (at 20) there are references throughout the document that are perhaps also relevant to the National Energy Board (NEB) as well as the other regulatory processes that are under review. Second, and more importantly (and as has already been highlighted by Professor Mascher), the Discussion Paper is not directly responsive to the Report of the Expert Panel. While there are a few quotations from the Expert Panel Report (and from the other review processes) scattered through the Discussion Paper there is no systematic tabulation of Expert Panel recommendations against the responses of the Government of Canada with perhaps (no doubt wishful thinking on my part) some supporting reasoning. Instead, all that we have is a set of high level proposals. Continue reading

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An Overview of the Environmental and Regulatory Reviews Discussion Paper – Let the Discussion Begin

By: Sharon Mascher

PDF Version: An Overview of the Environmental and Regulatory Reviews Discussion Paper – Let the Discussion Begin

Document Commented On: Environmental and Regulatory Reviews Discussion Paper, Government of Canada, June 2017

On June 29, 2017, the Government of Canada released a Discussion Paper outlining a series of “system-wide changes” the Government “is considering to strengthen Canada’s environmental assessment and regulatory processes”. The changes are directed at the Government’s commitment to “deliver environmental assessment and regulatory processes that regain public trust, protect the environment, introduce modern safeguards, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, ensure good projects go ahead, and resources get to market” (at 3). Continue reading

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Chronicles of the Canadian High Court of Environmental Justice: Wildlands League v Ontario (Natural Resources and Forestry)

By: Shaun Fluker

PDF Version: Chronicles of the Canadian High Court of Environmental Justice: Wildlands League v Ontario (Natural Resources and Forestry)

Case Commented On: Wildlands League v Ontario (Natural Resources and Forestry), 2016 ONCA 741 (CanLII) (leave denied, [2016] SCCA No 549)

In a decision issued May 4, 2017 the Supreme Court of Canada denied the Wildlands League and Federation of Ontario Naturalists leave to appeal a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissing their application for judicial review on the vires of regulations enacted by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under the Ontario Endangered Species Act 2007, SO 2007, c 6 [Ontario ESA]. The Supreme Court did not provide reasons for denying leave. The applicants seek a declaration from this Court that the regulations are ultra vires the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the ground that the regulations defeat the purpose of the Ontario ESA to facilitate the protection and recovery of endangered species in Ontario. Continue reading

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Court of Appeal Confirms that Summary Judgement Not Available in a Factually Complex Oil and Gas Case

By: Nigel Bankes

PDF Version: Court of Appeal Confirms that Summary Judgement Not Available in a Factually Complex Oil and Gas Case

Case Commented On: Talisman Energy Inc v Questerre Energy Corporation, 2017 ABCA 218 (CanLII)

The Court of Appeal has concluded that summary judgement will not be available for monies owing based upon the liquidated demand clause in the 1990 CAPL Operating Agreement where the matter involves the existence of an alleged additional or collateral agreement that, if proven, may vary the terms or application of the Operating Agreement on which the claim depends. Continue reading

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