July 20, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)

CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I desire to move an amendment to this section, I might point out that the purpose of this section, as I explained when introducing the Bill, is to rectify the consequences of the interpretation that has been placed upon the subsection of the present Exchequer. Court Act. The section, as it stands, gives the Exchequer Court jurisdiction in respect of every claim against the Crown arising out of any death or injury to the person, or to property on any public work, resulting from the negligence of any officer or servant of the Crown, while acting within the scope of -his duties or employment. That section -has been interpreted-and I think the wording fully justifies the interpretation-as limiting the liability of the Crown under it to the case where the death of or the injury to any person or property occurs on the public work; that is to say, all cases where the individual who is injured or killed is at the moment actually on the public work, or to cases where the property damaged is, at the time that it is damaged, actually on the public work. Giving it that interpretation, it has produced this result: that you may have two persons, one of them standing actually on the public work, the other one standing, say, on an adjoining street. By some negligence of the employee, the officer or servant of the Crown working upon that public work, say, for instance, handling explosives, injury is caused to these two people. The one who is standing actually on the public work will, under the section as presently interpreted, have a right of action against the Grown. The other one, because he wa>s standing on an adjoining street, perhaps ten feet away, and receives much more rerious injury, has no recourse, because he was not injured on the public work. While I think this interpretation is a perfectly proper one of the section as it now stands, I do not think that the intention of the law is thereby realized, and the present amendment leave-s the law as it stands, except that we do away with

the requirement, where the injury is the result of the fault or negligence of the officer or servant of the Crown actually within the scope of his duties on a public work, that the victim should also actually be on the public work-the victim himself, where it is a matter of personal ' injury, or the property itself, where it is a matter of damage to property. The wording, perhaps, goe-s a little further than the intention; at all events, it is subject to the criticism that more words are used than are necessary. I beg to' move to amend section 2 of the Bill by striking out the words "during the course of his employment on any public work," in lines 3 and 4 of paragraph (c) of clause 2, and adding the words "upon any public work" at the end of the paragraph. The section [DOT]sought to be substituted for the present provision of the Exchequer Court Act would then read:
Every claim against the Crown arising out of any death or injury to the person or to property resulting from the negligence of any officer or servant of the Crown while acting within the scope of his duties or employment on any public work.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT AND EXCHEQUER COURT ACTS AMENDMENT.
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