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Chapter 2 The Canadian Legal System
1. What is 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: 25
2. Why is it important for businesses to monitor government policy?
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: 24
3. The government enacted new legislation prohibiting retailers from displaying tobacco
products except at the moment of sale at the till. Which of the following best describes the
legal basis for a business to challenge the new law?
a. The new law is a violation of the commercial freedom of businesses and is
b. The new law interferes with freedom of expression, which is protected under
section 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
c. The new law is likely to be ineffective in reducing the number of people who
smoke or take up smoking.
d. The government has no legal right to control how businesses choose to display a
legal product, because such matters are private law, not public law.
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 32
4. Which of the following is a possible legal justification for upholding a provincial law that
prohibits the display of tobacco products in retail outlets?
a. If the government can show that the law reduces the incidence of smoking, the law
may constitute a reasonable limit on freedom of expression.
b. The provincial government has sole jurisdiction over business activity.
c. The provincial governments have delegated jurisdiction.
d. The new tobacco law is constitutional because it protects health, and health
concerns always override business concerns.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 33
5. The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador enacted new regulations to better control
hazardous waste disposal throughout the province. What type of law should specialized waste
control businesses operating in Newfoundland and Labrador refer to in order to ensure their
commercial activities are legally compliant?
a. civil law
b. statute law
c. equitable law
d. common law
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 26
6. Which legislative body in Canada is composed of the House of Commons and the Senate?
a. the Parliament of Canada
b. the House of Assembly
c. the Supreme Court of Canada
d. the Legislative Assembly
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 26
7. Which legislature is the lower chamber to the Senate?
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. Which of the following outcomes is dictated by the doctrine of paramountcy in circumstances
where conflicting federal and provincial laws cannot be reconciled?
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: 28
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: 28
10. Which of the following is a required element in the procedure for passing federal legislation
a. a majority vote by Commons committee and approval by Senate
b. a quorum vote in the House of Commons and by the Senate
c. a majority vote of the members in the House of Commons and in the Senate
d. an approval by the House of Commons and by the Senate committee
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 27
11. Which governing bodies are the primary regulators of business activities in Canada?
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: 26
12. In which areas is the federal government given exclusive jurisdiction to make law by the
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. What level of government possesses the required constitutional jurisdiction to change laws
that affect property?
a. federal; paramount jurisdiction
b. provincial; exclusive jurisdiction
c. municipal; concurrent jurisdiction
d. provincial; delegated jurisdiction
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 26
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. What classification of law would a provincial statute restricting the display of tobacco
products in retail outlets fall under?
a. private law
b. public and domestic law
c. common law and private law
d. procedural law
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 42
16. What is the source of the law that governs lawmaking authority within the Canadian legal
a. parliamentary bills
b. constitutional law
c. the Civil Code
d. constitutional conventions
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 26
17. To which level of government would a business make an application for a property zoning
variance, 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: 26
18. What is the legal status of the office of prime minister in Canada?
a. The office of prime minister is an example of a constitutional convention.
b. The office of prime minister does not really exist.
c. The office of prime minister is set out in the Constitution Act, 1867.
d. The office of prime minister is set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 25
19. Of the following statements, which is most accurate regarding the executive branch of
a. The executive branch of government consists of the prime minister and the
premiers of the provinces and territories.
b. The executive branch of government provides rulings to resolve existing legal
c. The executive branch of government passes laws that impact business operations.
d. The executive branch of government includes the formal executive and the
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 29
20. Who 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. What is the judicial branch of government in Canada composed of?
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: 30
22. The decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada are best described as:
a. binding on all other courts in all Canadian jurisdictions
b. limited to constitutional matters
c. binding only on the government
d. always appeals from the Federal Court of Canada
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 31
23. An accomplished lawyer accepts an appointment by the justice minister to the position of
judge in the Provincial Court of Manitoba. What gives the minister authority to appoint this
a. Provinces have jurisdiction to appoint judges to superior courts.
b. The province can use parliamentary prerogative 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. What are 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
25. Canadian environmental activists are sometimes charged with offences for actions taken
during their protests. Which of the following might constitute a basis for activists to challenge
convictions arising out of their protest activities?
a. the Charter rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association
b. the doctrine of paramountcy
c. the common law right to freedom of expression
d. the notwithstanding clause
ANS: A 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: All
27. Which of the following actions does royal prerogative give the Crown an exclusive right to
perform in Canada?
a. give politicians immunity
b. overrule laws enacted by Parliament
c. overturn decisions of the Supreme Court
d. declare war on enemies of the state
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 38
28. What is a distinguishing characteristic of the principle of precedent law?
a. It is based on a Civil Code.
b. It applies only 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 effect the
decision will have on provincial family law courts determining spousal support cases?
a. Provincial courts will seek exemption under the “notwithstanding clause.”
b. The decision applies only 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: 39
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
31. What 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: 29
32. What attribute 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
33. What is the defining characteristic of procedural law?
a. It is a set of laws defining individual rights, duties, and liabilities.
b. It regulates the relationship between persons and governments.
c. It governs procedure for the enforcement of rights, duties, and liabilities.
d. It governs procedure for the enforcement of the Civil Code.
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 40
34. Which of the following best describes the defining characteristics of public law?
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
35. Quest Electrical 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. What type of law governs the relationship and conduct of the parties to this
a. common law
b. corporate law
c. public law
d. private law
ANS: D PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 40
36. What form of private law is applied in Quebec courts?
a. the Civic Code of Quebec
b. the Civil Code of Quebec
c. the Quebec Civil Law Code
d. the Civil Law Code
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 41
37. What characteristic distinguishes Quebec’s civil law from Canada’s common law?
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
38. 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. What type of law had to be applied to constrain the hospital
a. criminal law
b. constitutional law
c. administrative law
d. equity law
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Challenging REF: 43|44
39. Which of the following is an example of a federal administrative body that plays a role in
a. the Securities Commission
b. the Board of Health
c. the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
d. the Liquor Control Board
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 43
40. Which of the following is an example of a provincially appointed administrative body?
a. the Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
b. the Securities Commission
c. the Food and Drug Agency
d. the Atomic Energy Commission
ANS: B PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 43
41. Which of the following best reflects the high value Canadians place on the political
philosophy of liberalism?
a. Canada regulates privacy with laws restricting government access to persons and
b. Canadians have elected more majority Liberal governments than NDP or
c. Public outcry forced the Green Party leader’s acceptance in federal election
d. Governments willingly and promptly comply with access to information requests.
ANS: A PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23
42. Which level of government should Nantucket Sleigh Rides, Inc., 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: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 26
43. A province wants to challenge an appeal court’s decision regarding the prevention of
continued ground water contamination now posing a 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: 31
44. What are the rules of equity?
a. rules that set out the correct procedures to follow in court
b. rules that require wrongdoers to compensate their victims for losses
c. rules that focus on what would be fair given the specific circumstances of the case
d. strict rules that dictate the outcome of particular disputes
ANS: C PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 39
45. What are 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: 38
1. The rights and authority of municipal governments are protected by the Constitution Act.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 26
2. The Constitution Act makes the provincial governments subordinate to the federal government
in cases of overlapping jurisdiction.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 28
3. The legislative branch of government is the source of statute law.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 24
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: 30/31
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: 30
8. There are no limits on the guarantees of rights and freedoms established by the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 33
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 the authority to appoint
judges within specified judicial jurisdictions.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 30
11. A federal bill must be approved by a vote in the House of Commons in order to pass the first
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 36
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: 28
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: 28
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: 28
16. Municipal legislation compelling the annual payment of a fee pertaining to the licensing of
dog ownership requires the enactment of a bylaw.
ANS: T PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 29
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: 36
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
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
ANS: F PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 40
1. Briefly describe the circumstances under which the guarantee of Canadians’ rights and
freedoms provided under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is permitted to be
Limitation of the guarantee of Canada’s Charter rights and freedoms is allowed when the
limitation is demonstrated to be justified under section 1 and by the use of the notwithstanding
clause contained in section 33 of the Charter.
PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 33 BLM: 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 same.
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 law.
PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 24 BLM: 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
PTS: 1 DIF: Easy REF: 26 BLM: 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
PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 23 BLM: 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 the 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
Both systems are designed to deliver constant, consistent justice.
PTS: 1 DIF: Medium REF: 41 BLM: 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
Saskatchewan 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: 33 BLM: Remember
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 BLM: Remember