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Bell Canada v Quebec, [1988] 1 SCR 749

Facts:

Dealt w/ application of prov health and safety laws to fed undertakings. Law gave protective reassignment to a pregnant worker.
Bell 1 – prov min wage law was valid, but couldn’t apply to Bell Telephone – this valid prov law affected management and operation of Bell, which were vital parts of this fed undertaking
**Result created a legislative vacuum – bc at time there was no fed min wage law

Ratio:

Scope of IJI doctrine limited to the “basic, minimum and unassailable content”, the core

Analysis:

Propositions:
1. Health belongs to the prov - 92(16)
2. Labour relations and working conditions fall w/in the jurisdiction of the prov leg – 92(13)
3. Parl vested w/ exclusive jurisdiction over labour relations and working conditions when the jurisdiction is an integral part of its primary and exclusive jurisdiction over another class of subjects – 91(29) and 92(10)
4. Provincial workmen’s compensation schemes were applicable to fed undertaking
5. Double aspect theory – ought to applied w/ caution (AG for Canada v AG for AB)

Provincial laws of general application can apply to “federal railways, things, [Indian lands], and persons, such as Indians.” But provincial laws can’t apply to federal works, undertakings, persons in ways that would “bear upon those subjects in what makes them specifically of federal jurisdiction”.

Decision in Bell Canada 1996 is correct:
*The Bell 66 test – does the provincial legislation affect a vital part of the undertaking?
**For inter-jurisdictional immunity, it doesn’t matter if the legislation would impair the operation or not – do not need to prove sterilization or impairment of status and capacity

Holding:

Prov law had to be read down so as not to apply to federally regulated undertakings

Comments:

IJI if evoked reads down prov law – so it still applies to everything else, just not this particular part relating to a vital/core element of fed undertaking
*With paramountcy the prov law becomes inoperative (suspended) – means that it no longer applies to anything (until or unless the fed law is amended or appealed, then prov law can come back into force)


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