Canadian Bijuralism at a Crossroad? Impact of Section 8.1 of the Interpretation Act
Osgoode Hall Law Journal 51:2, Forthcoming
37 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2014 Last revised: 17 Feb 2014
Date Written: January 1, 2014
Section 8.1 of the Interpretation Act affirms the equal authority of the common law and civil law in the field of property and civil rights and states, subject to two exceptions, that federal enactments based on rules and concepts that are part of the law of property and civil rights are to be interpreted in accordance with these rules and concepts.
Prior to the enactment of this section in 2001, courts had a tendency to opt for a uniform application of federal legislation based on common law concepts, with often negative results for Quebec civil law. Since then, the Supreme Court of Canada has had a number of opportunities to interpret federal legislation in light of section 8.1.
Following an analysis of the court’s decisions, the author emphasizes that section 8.1 has the potential to promote exchanges between Quebec civil law and Canadian common law and submits proposals in this regard.
Keywords: bijuralism, federal legislation, Québec civil law, statutory interpretation
JEL Classification: K10, K11, K12, K13, K29, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation