Jones Marine Group Ltd. v. Canada (Transport, Infrastructure and Communities)

In Salvage and Wrecks on (Updated )

Précis: The Federal Court refused to set aside an order for the removal of a sunken tug boat.

Facts: Jones Marine Group Ltd sought judicial review of the then acting Regional Manager of Transport Canada’s decision to order the removal of a sunken tugboat owned by Jones Marine, the “Samantha J”, from Northumberland Channel, near Nanaimo, B.C. The tugboat sank on October 6, 2014 at an anchorage location used by the Nanaimo Port Authourity for vessels up to 225 meters in length. BC Coast Pilots had refused to anchor vessels in that location due to the presence of the sunken tug, citing risks to navigation. On January 6, 2015 a notice to remove was issued and the sunken tug was to be removed no later than March 16, 2015. A second notice was issued on October 6, 2015 for a removal by December 31, 2015. A third notice was issued on November 9 2016 for removal by December 31, 2016.

Decision: Application dismissed. The decision to issue the notice was reasonable.

Held: The court applied the Dunsmuir correctness standard of review for procedural fairness and denied Jones’ claim for legitimate expectation, concluding that there was no breach of procedural fairness in making the decision to issue the notices and that the decision overall was reasonable. Justice Phelan, writing for the court, found that the evidentiary factors supporting the decision, which included the limitation on anchoring, fouling of the wreck, and the BC Coast Pilots refusals to use the anchorage, was “more than sufficient justification” for the decision.