In October, the Federal Court struck down a wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed by a former employee against the National Arts Centre Corporation.
The decision was based on the court’s lack of jurisdiction to hear the case, marking an end to the plaintiff’s claim for damages following his employment termination.
The worker, KR, initiated the legal action on Jan. 25, 2023, seeking $57,000 in damages for what he claimed was wrongful dismissal from his short stint of employment from July 18, 2022, to Sept. 1, 2022.
However, the National Arts Centre Corporation filed a motion to strike the Statement of Claim, arguing that the Federal Court did not have jurisdiction over the matter.
The court’s decision hinged on the legal principle that a claim can only be struck if it is clear and obvious that the court lacks jurisdiction, or that the claim has no reasonable prospect of success. This principle, established by the Supreme Court of Canada, requires the Federal Court to determine the essential nature or character of a claim and whether it falls within the court’s jurisdiction as conferred by statute.
In KR’s case, the court found that his claim did not relate to any subject matter within the Federal Court’s jurisdiction, which is limited to specific areas such as bills of exchange, aeronautics, and interprovincial works and undertakings. Since his claim for wrongful dismissal based on a breach of an employment contract did not fall into these categories, the court concluded it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute.
The court also considered whether KR could amend his Statement of Claim to fit within the court’s jurisdiction. However, it was determined that the defect of lacking jurisdiction was incurable, meaning no amendment could resolve the issue.
For more information, see Rowe v. National Arts Centre Corporation, 2023 FC 1347 (CanLII)