- Multiple Access Ltd. v. McCutcheon
Multiple Access Ltd. v. McCutcheon Hearing: November 25, 26, 1981
Judgment: August 9, 1982
Full case name: Multiple Access Limited, by The Ontario Securities Commission v. John O. McCutcheon, David K. Lowry, John Craig, Fred W. Gibbs and Dickson Jarvis Citations:  2 S.C.R. 161 Ruling: Multiple Access appeal allowed Court membership Reasons given
Majority by: Dickson J.
Joined by: Laskin C.J. and Martland, Ritchie, McIntyre and Lamer JJ.
Concurrence/dissent by: Estey J.
Joined by: Beetz and Chouinard JJ.
Multiple Access Ltd. v. McCutcheon,  2 S.C.R. 161 is a leading constitutional decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the resolution of overlapping federal and provincial laws under the doctrine of double aspect.
A company incorporated under the federal Canada Corporations Act was charged with insider trading under the Ontario Securities Act.
In its defence, the company argued that the provisions of the provincial securities Act were inoperative under the paramountcy doctrine as it overlapped with insider trading provisions in the federal Competition Act.
The issues before the Supreme Court were:
- whether ss. 100.4 and 100.5 of the Canada Corporations Act are ultra vires Parliament;
- whether ss. 113 and 114 of The Securities Act are ultra vires the Ontario Legistature, and
- if both are intra vires, whether ss. 113 and 114 of the Ontario Act are suspended and inoperative by reason of the doctrine of paramountcy.
Reasons of the court
Justice Dickson wrote for the majority and held that the Acts were valid and the doctrine of paramountcy did not apply.
Dickson first considered the definition of paramountcy. It first requires that each law be valid and second, that the laws be inconsistent with each other.
Dickson examined the Securities Act using the Lederman Approach of judicial review. He found that the Act was valid under the provincial authority over matters of "property and civil rights" under section 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867. He then considered the federal Competition Act which he found to be valid under the "trade and commerce" power of the federal government as well as the federal peace, order and good government power.
Dickson then considered whether there was a conflict between the two Acts. He found that there was no conflict. The laws duplicated each other and had the same legislative objective. There is no problem with laws operating concurrently, Dickson argued. Instead, there must be an actual conflict between the laws where compliance with one law will necessarily violate the other. However, any claimant seeking action under the Securities Act will be able to successfully use only one.
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