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Chapter 2 The Canadian Legal System
1. Which of the following best describes the paramount function of Canadian constitutional law?
a. It sets a parliamentary code of ethics.
b. It creates structure for ceremonial policy.
c. It establishes Canada’s deference to British Parliament.
d. It establishes Canada’s structure of legal authority.
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23
2. Which of the following is an example of why monitoring government policy is important to business?
a. Rules and regulations are periodically revised.
b. It is the machinery that regulates government.
c. It provides rulings that resolve existing disputes.
d. It can be overwhelming and very technical.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 23
3. The government enacted a policy change requiring retailers to include new details in firearm sales
reports. Loxy’s Rifles Inc., unaware of the new requirements, was fined for noncompliance and
immediately paid a $5,000 fine. Which of the following best describes the reason Loxy received and
promptly paid the fine?
a. Opposition to the change of law led to the fine; paying the fine saved interest.
b. Loxy’s is lobbying the government and must pay the fine to attend meetings.
c. Loxy’s is not concerned with compliance; fines are tax-deductible.
d. Ignorance of the law led to the fine; ignoring fines leads to harsher penalties.
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23
4. Which of the following would a law professor most likely say correctly identifies the legislature
allowed to determine laws that involve the illegal use of firearms in Canada?
a. The federal legislature has sole jurisdiction to create criminal law.
b. The municipal and provincial legislatures share concurrent jurisdiction.
c. The municipal governments receive delegated jurisdiction.
d. The provincial legislatures have exclusive jurisdiction.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 25|26|27
5. The Province of Newfoundland enacted new regulations to better control hazardous waste disposal
throughout the province. What type of law should specialized waste control businesses operating in
Newfoundland refer to in order to ensure their commercial activities are legally compliant?
a. civil law
b. statute law
c. private law
d. common law
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 25
6. The House of Commons and the Senate are defining characteristics of which legislative body in
a. the Parliament of Canada
b. the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia
c. the Supreme Court of Canada
d. the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 26
7. The Senate of one of Canada’s legislatures has traditionally become known as the chamber of sober
second thought. Which of the following legislatures is distinguished by being the lower chamber to
a. the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
b. the Parliament of Canada
c. the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia
d. the House of Commons
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 26
8. In circumstances where conflicting federal and provincial laws cannot be reconciled, which of the
following outcomes is dictated by the doctrine of paramountcy?
a. The federal law prevails, except in Quebec.
b. The superior law prevails.
c. Concurrent provincial law prevails.
d. The provincial law prevails.
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 27
9. In determining a constitutional challenge, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the federal
government’s bilingual language rights legislation. Which of the following exemplifies the reason for
the Court’s decision?
a. The Supreme Court’s decision follows the doctrine of paramountcy.
b. The Court’s decision does not apply in the province of Quebec.
c. Regulating language law falls within federal government jurisdiction.
d. The Supreme Court’s decisions must uphold the public interest.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 27
10. Which of the following denotes a required element in the procedure followed for passing federal
legislation through Parliament?
a. majority vote by Commons committee and approval by Senate
b. quorum vote in the House of Commons and by the Senate
c. majority vote of the members in the House of Commons and in the Senate.
d. approval of the House of Commons and by the Senate committee
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 25
11. The delegation of authority to make law within Canada assigns jurisdiction to regulate business
activities primarily to which of the following governing bodies?
a. the federal and municipal governments
b. the Senates of the federal and provincial governments
c. the federal and provincial governments
d. the provincial and municipal governments
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 28
12. Which of the following would a politician identify as areas where the federal government is given
exclusive jurisdiction to make law by the Canadian Constitution?
a. currency, trade, national defence
b. administration of justice, trade, national defence
c. interprovincial trade and commerce, highway regulation, licensing
d. criminal law, administration of justice, hospitals
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 26
13. Groups launching lobbying efforts directed at the federal government to voice opposition to proposed
legislation affecting property laws have been advised that the matter lies outside federal jurisdiction.
What government possesses the required constitutional jurisdiction to change laws affecting property?
a. federal; paramount jurisdiction
b. provincial; exclusive jurisdiction
c. municipal; concurrent jurisdiction
d. provincial; delegated jurisdiction
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 27
14. Which of the following exemplifies the powers granted to a government with jurisdictional authority
to regulate crime?
a. regulate criminal justice in the provinces
b. define crimes, establish precedents, and set penalties
c. define crimes, establish laws, and set penalties
d. regulate criminal sanctions in the Civil Code of Quebec
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 27
15. Which of the following correctly describes the required steps involved to pass a bill into final law in
the federal Parliament’s legislative process?
a. passage by House of Commons; approval by Senate; royal assent.
b. passage by House of Commons; approval by Senate; royal consent
c. Senate approval; passage by the House of Commons
d. motion to House Committee; motion to Senate for approval
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 30
16. The Canadian legal system operates within a prescribed structure as provided by law. What is the
source of the law that governs the Canadian legal system?
a. parliamentary bills
b. constitutional law
c. the Civil Code
d. constitutional conventions
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 43
17. The Provincial Office has advised that it does not have jurisdiction to deal with an application for a
property zoning variance from J Tap Corp. Which of the following correctly identifies where the
application must be redirected to and why?
a. municipal government; direct constitutional jurisdiction
b. municipal government; concurrent constitutional jurisdiction
c. municipal government; provincial constitutional delegation of authority
d. federal government; exclusive jurisdiction to regulate zoning
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 44
18. Who of the following would immediately be recognized as the constitutional head of the Canadian
a. the governor general of Canada
b. the reigning British monarch
c. the governor general in council
d. the prime minister of Canada
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 30
19. Of the following, who would be recognized as the members of the legislative body formally known as
the governor general in council when it enacts regulations?
a. the prime minister and the premiers of the provinces and territories
b. the prime minister together with the premiers of the provinces
c. the ministers of the various federal government departments
d. the prime minister and ministers of federal government departments.
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 30
20. Which of the following individuals holds the office of chief executive of the federal government?
a. the appointed governor general
b. Elizabeth II, as reigning Queen of England
c. the duly elected prime minister of Canada
d. the appointed chief senatorial officer
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 30
21. Which of the following correctly denotes the composition of the judicial branch of government in
a. the system of various levels of courts in Canada
b. the judiciary and the system of various levels of courts
c. a judiciary appointed by the governor general.
d. the judiciary and federal and provincial prosecutors
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 31
22. Lexie McTaggert’s position with the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench often requires her to refer
to the judiciary for guidance. Which of the following describes the judiciary Lexie refers to?
a. collective of appointed judges
b. judicial common law
c. set of judicial regulations
d. collection of judge-made decisions
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 31
23. An accomplished lawyer accepted an appointment by the Justice Minister to the position of judge in
the Provincial Judges Court of Manitoba. Which of the following explains the minister’s authority to
appoint this court’s judges?
a. Provinces have jurisdiction to appoint judges to superior courts.
b. The province can use parliarmentary perogative to appoint judges.
c. Provinces have jurisdiction to appoint judges to inferior courts.
d. Canada’s governments share concurrent jurisdiction to appoint judges.
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 31
24. Which of the following would a judge most likely identify as the basic levels of courts that make up
the Canadian court system?
a. trial, informal appeal, and final appeal courts
b. trial, intermediate appeal, and final court of appeal
c. informal trial, formal trial, and final appeal courts
d. pre-trial, trial, and appeal courts
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 31|32
25. Canadian environmental activitists are often charged with offences for actions taken while expressing
their protests, despite the protection of freedom of expression provided by the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms. Which of the following would immediately indicate the inability of the Charter
to protect these individuals?
a. Freedom of association is excluded.
b. The Charter excludes freedom of action.
c. The Charter excludes freedom to protest.
d. Freedom of action is restricted..
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 32|33
26. What is the least likely source of law in Canada?
a. common law
b. public opinion
c. Civil Code
d. royal prerogative
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 38|39|40
27. In Canada, royal perogative signifies the Crown’s exclusive right to perform which of the following
a. to give politicians immunity
b. to overrule laws enacted by Parliament
c. to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court
d. to declare war on enemies of the state
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 38
28. Which of the following is a distinguishing characteristic of the principle of precedent law?
a. Private law is based on a Civil Code.
b. It only applies in Quebec courts.
c. Individual freedoms are valued.
d. Like cases should be treated alike.
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 39
29. A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada established a new ground of entitlement to spousal
support under the federal Divorce Act. Which of the following describes the affect the decision will
have on provincial family law courts determining spousal support cases under the federal act?
a. Provincial courts will seek exemption under the “notwithstanding clause.”
b. The decision only applies to support cases outside of the province of Quebec.
c. Superior court decisions must be followed and applied by all inferior courts.
d. Courts apply the new law if it complies with the parties’ religious convictions.
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 32
30. Rules of equity focus on what would be fair given the specific circumstances of the case, as opposed to
which of the following?
a. what the strict rules of common law might dictate
b. law that governs relations between states
c. the internal set of laws of a given country
d. law governing agreements between states
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 39|40
31. Which of the following is a distinguishing characteristic of a treaty?
a. A treaty is the sole law governing relations between nations.
b. A treaty is a set of coded laws to regulate relations.
c. A treaty governs relationships between Canada’s provinces.
d. A treaty can exist between nations governed by international law.
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 30
32. Britain negotiated treaties with many Aboriginal peoples, some of whom sought to have their treaties
recognised by the United Nations. Which of the following explains the benefit recognition by the
United Nations would confer to Canada’s Aboriginal treaty people?
a. lawyers with international litigation experience
b. international aid to pay for litigation costs
c. international legal status for Aboriginal treaties
d. negotiators for international dispute resolution
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 30
33. Which of the following attributes distinguishes substantive law from other forms of law?
a. It defines rights, duties, and liabilities.
b. It defines international legal status.
c. It defines the relationship between governments.
d. It defines procedures under the Charter.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 40
34. Which of the following is the defining characteristic of procedural law?
a. It is a set of law defining individual rights, duties, and liabilities.
b. It regulates the relationship between persons and governments.
c. It governs procedure for enforcement of rights, duties, and liabilities.
d. It governs procedure for enforcement of the Civil Code.
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 40
35. Which of the following would a lawyer most likely say describes the defining characteristics of public
a. It regulates relationships between governments and individuals.
b. It provides rules concerning rights and obligations of business.
c. It focuses on fairness according to strict rules of common law.
d. It contains the rules of law in the Civil Code of Quebec.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 40
36. Quest Electricial Engineers Inc. contractually committed to provide specialized services to a
construction project with specified deadlines for completion. Quest has to meet deadlines or face
penalties. Which of the following would a court most likely indicate as the type of law governing the
relationship and conduct of the parties to this contract?
a. common law
b. corporate law
c. public law
d. private law
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 40|41
37. Which of the following describes the form of private law that is applied in Quebec courts?
a. the Civic Code of Quebec
b. the Quebec Civil Code
c. the Quebec Civil Law Code
d. the Civil Law Code
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 41
38. Which of the following is the characteristic that distinguishes Quebec’s civil law from Canada’s
a. Civil law courts are not bound by earlier interpretations of the code.
b. Civil law courts hear only matters of public law disputes.
c. Civil law judges are provincially elected for one five-year term.
d. Civil law courts do not have to consider legislation.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 41
39. A hospital board of directors granted absolute authority to physicians to arbitrarily withdraw life
support from patients. The board’s authority to grant such power was quickly challenged and
overturned in the courts. Which of the following types of law had to be applied to constrain the
hospital board’s authority?
a. criminal law
b. constitutional law
c. administrative law
d. equity law
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 43|44
40. Which of the following is an example of a federal administrative body that plays a role in regulating
a. the Securities Commission
b. the Board of Health
c. the Wheat Board
d. the Liquor Control Board
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 44
41. Which of the following is an example of a provincially appointed administrative body?
a. the Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission
b. the Securities Commission
c. the Food and Drug Agency
d. the Atomic Energy Commission
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 44
42. Which of the following best reflects the high value Canadians place on the political philosophy of
a. Canada regulates privacy with laws restricting government access to persons and property.
b. Canadians have elected more majority Liberal governments than NDP or Conservative.
c. Public outcry forced the Green Party leader’s acceptance in federal election debates.
d. Governments willingly and promptly comply with access to information requests.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23
43. Which of the following correctly identifies the government Nantucket Sleigh Rides Inc. would lobby
for regulated roadway access to sell horse-drawn sleigh rides to patrons of downtown business
establishments from December through February?
a. provincial government
b. federal government
c. municipal government
d. federal and provincial governments
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 26
44. A province wants to challenge an appeal court’s decision regarding prevention of continued ground
water contamination now posing significant health risk to people, wildlife, and plants living in the
ecosystem to the Supreme Court. Which of the following would immediately signify the Supreme
Court’s agreement to hear the challenge and why it would consider this appeal?
a. leave to appeal; significant or national concern
b. consent to appeal; provincial challenges
c. consent to appeal; jurisdiction
d. permission to appeal; national public concern
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 32
45. Which of the following is the name given to the document used in Canada’s common law court system
to set out the basis of a legal dispute?
a. statement of code infraction
b. statement of complaint
c. statement of claim
d. statement of dispute
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23
46. Which of the following would a law professor indicate as being the three branches of government
provided for by the Canadian Constitution?
a. legislative, executive, judicial
b. federal, provincial, municipal
c. legislative, executive, representative
d. legislative, representative, judicial
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 25
1. The rights and authority of municipal governments are protected by the Constitution Act.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 25|26|27
2. The Constitution Act makes the provincial governments subordinate to the federal government.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23|24|25
3. The legislative branch of government is the source of statute law.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 30
4. Canada’s federal Parliament is composed of the House of Commons and the Senate.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 26
5. All municipalities in Canada are created by provincial legislation.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 26
6. The judicial branch of government includes the courts and the legislatures.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 31|32
7. The judges in Canada’s higher courts are appointed and those in the lower courts are elected.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 31
8. There are no limits on the guarantees of rights and freedoms established by the Charter of Rights and
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 32|33|34|35
9. Public law deals with the regulation of relationships between individuals and government.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 40|41
10. Federal and provincial legislatures are constitutionally provided with authority to appoint judges
within specified judicial jurisdictions.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 31
11. A federal bill must be approved by a vote in the House of Commons in order to pass first reading.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 25
12. The new Criminal Code of Newfoundland would be enforced by the courts because it would not be
contrary to the Canadian Constitution to do so.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 27
13. A provincial government cannot enact environmental legislation that would conflict with federal
environmental legislation because it is an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 27
14. Public health and the environment are constitutionally undefined as areas of concurrent jurisdiction
shared between the federal and provincial governments.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 27
15. In circumstances of alleged conflict between federal and provincial legislation, the doctrine of
paramountcy generally would not be applicable where an individual or business is able to simply obey
the stricter law and thereby comply with both pieces of legislation.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 27
16. Municipal legislation compelling the annual payment of a fee pertaining to the licensing of dog
ownership requires the enactment of a by-law.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 28
17. A bill put before a legislative body represents a proposed piece of legislation that a political party
wants to make into law.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 37
18. The principle of precedent holds that all precedents are not of equal value, meaning the higher the level
of court that created the precedent, the less weight it brings to bear on the common law system.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 39
19. The early English court of equity established rules that focus on what would be fair given the specific
circumstances of a case, as opposed to what the a strict application of the common law might dictate.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 39
20. Substantive law is the internal law of a given country, which includes both statute and case law.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 40
1. Briefly describe the circumstances under which the guarantee of Canadian’s rights and freedoms
provided under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is permitted to be limited.
Limitation of the guarantee of Canada’s Charter rights and freedoms is allowed when the limitation is
demonstrated to be justified and by the use of the notwithstanding clause contained in section 33 of the
PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 35 MSC: Remember
2. Briefly describe the benefits to be derived by businesses being aware of government policy and the
status of regulations affecting their operations, as well as the consequences of being unaware of the
Businesses need to actively monitor government policy and regulations that affect how businesses are
permitted to operate because either may be changed periodically. Awareness allows business to
comply with laws and to attempt to influence development of policies and regulations to favour and
further business interests. Being unaware of changes would result in noncompliance with regulations,
levy of fines, or even closure of a business. Lack of awareness of government policy may also result in
a missed opportunity to lobby government to change law or to take advantage of favourable change in
PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23 MSC: Remember
3. Briefly describe what is meant by the statement “Canada has a federal form of government.”
It means that governmental power is split between the central, national authority and regional
authorities. In Canada, the national authority is the federal government and the regional authorities are
the provinces. Territories are provided with a form of limited self-government. Each authority is
empowered to legislate within constitutionally defined jurisdictions and matters.
PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 25|26 MSC: Remember
4. Name the branches that make up the Canadian government, describe their function, and specifically
identify the body that represents each branch and carries out its function.
The Canadian government consists of three branches, legislative, executive, and judicial. The
executive branch formulates and implements government policy, the legislative branch creates law in
the form of statues and regulations, and the judicial branch provides rulings to resolve existing legal
conflicts. The legislative branch of the Canadian government is the Canadian Parliament, the executive
branch is the federal cabinet, and the Supreme Court heads the judicial branch.
PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23|25|30|32 MSC: Remember
5. Briefly describe the origins of the common law system and the civil law system as they exist in Canada
and the comparable and contrasting characteristics of each system of law.
The Quebec civil law system originated from the French legal system and was brought to Quebec by
the French when they colonized the region. The Canadian common law system is rooted in England’s
legal system, which was established in all provinces excluding Quebec by the British when they
conquered and colonized the Canadian regions of North America.
The key principle of common law is that laws are interpreted and applied in decisions of the court
known as judgments. Judgments become precedents, which form the body of case law that must be
referred to and applied by every judge hearing a similar matter when making a legal determination in a
similar dispute involving the same laws.
The key principle of the civil law system is that the Quebec legislature makes civil law, and those laws
are codified or compiled in one source known as a Civil Code. The judges’ task in the civil code
system is to find the specific provision in the code that applies to the case at hand, and to apply it to
resolve the dispute. Civil code judges do not refer to past decisions at all.
Both systems are designed to deliver constant, consistent justice.
PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 39|40|41|42 MSC: Remember
6. Identify the nature of the question that Rothmans would use to challenge Saskatchewan’s power wall
ban under its Tobacco Control Act. Briefly explain how the government of Sasktachewan would be
required to respond to such a challenge. Identify and briefly explain what actions the Supreme Court of
Canada would take and the source of its authority to do so in the event that a Rothmans challenge was
able to demonstrate that Saskatchewan’s Tobacco Control Act violated a Charter provision and the
provincial government failed to prove its legislation met the standard set by s. 1 of the Charter.
A challenge of the Saskatchewan legislation banning use of the power wall to advertise cigarette
brands by Rothmans would involve the question of whether the provincial legislation violated the
Charter’s guarantee of freedom of expression. The Saskatchewan government would respond by
arguing that such a violation is justified under s. 1 of the Charter due to both the provincial and federal
governments pressing and substantial purpose, which is to prevent young people from becoming
addicted to the drugs contained in cigarettes.
If Rothmans were able to demonstrate that Saskatchewan’s Tobacco Control Act violated a Charter
provision and the government failed to prove that its legislation met the standard set by s. 1, the court
would be entitled to strike down the province’s legislation by declaring it to be of no force and effect
because it is unconstitutional. The court’s authority to order such a powerful remedy is set out s. 24
and s. 52 of the Charter.
PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 34 MSC: Remember
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7. Identify and briefly describe the statement made by Madam Justice Wilson with respect to the
Supreme Court of Canada’s view that in Canadian society, a liberal and democratic system of
government is not just about majority rule
Madam Justice Wilson of the Supreme Court of Canada stated that the Charter recognizes that an
individual is not totally independent from society, nor just a body in an impersonal system where
individual values, goals, and aspirations are subordinate to the collectivity. In Canada, the Charter
leaves a wide range of activities and decisions open to legitimate government control while placing
limits on the proper scope of that control. Thus, the rights guaranteed in the Charter erect around each
individual an invisible fence over which the state will not be allowed to trespass. The role of the courts
is to map out, piece by piece, the parameters of the fence.
PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 35 MSC: Remember