The Queen v. Will

In Constitutional Issues in Maritime Law on (Updated )

At issue in this case was the constitutional validity of a regulation passed pursuant the Provincial Parks Act of Ontario requiring visitors to provincial parks to purchase a $10 permit to stay in the park overnight. The accused anchored his boat in Echo Bay on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. Echo Bay was within the boundaries of a provincial park. The accused, however, refused to purchase the $10 permit and was charged. The accused argued that the regulation was constitutionally inapplicable. The Justice of the Peace that heard the case at first instance (reported at [1998] O.J. 5922) held that the Federal Government had exclusive power to legislate in respect of navigation and shipping and that this included the right to anchor without charge. He held that only the Federal Government may interfere with navigation. He further held that "a province cannot justify even a slight interference with navigation". Accordingly, the Justice of the Peace found the impugned regulation to be constitutionally not applicable to the accused. The court on appeal agreed with the Justice of the Peace.