Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union v. Hughes 2012 MBCA 16
Practice - Appeals - Stated case - General
The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union was a party in an Inquiry into the death of a young child and the handling of her case by the child welfare system. The Union questioned the Inquiry’s validity and the jurisdiction of the Commissioner appointed under s. 83(1) of the Manitoba Evidence Act (the Act). Under s. 83(1), an inquiry could only be established to inquire into certain matters “if the inquiry is not otherwise regulated”. The Union submitted that the Inquiry’s subject matter was “otherwise regulated” by the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) and the Fatality Inquiries Act (FIA). The Commissioner refused the Union’s request to state a case on the matter to the Court of Appeal.That request was based on s. 95(1) of the Act. The Union moved for an order requiring the Commissioner to state a case. The issues were: (1) whether the Attorney General had status on the motion; (2) the meaning of “shall” in the phrase “the commissioners … shall state a case” in s. 95(1); (3) the role of a judge under s. 95(2); and (4) had the Union met the applicable standard entitling it to an order.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal, per Freedman, J.A., dismissed the motion. The Inquiry’s subject-matter was not “otherwise regulated” by either the CFSA or the FIA. Thus, while the Union had shown that the requested stated case was of sufficient importance (s. 83 had received no prior judicial consideration), it did not raise an arguable case and had no reasonable prospect of success.