On 16 February 2015, the Federal Court denied Centre du Droit de l’Environnement du Québec and France Lamonde’s (the applicants’) request for an order temporarily suspending the NEB’s deadlines for applying to participate or applying for participant funding for the Energy East Project.
In their motion filed on 4 February 2015, the applicants requested that the Court suspend these deadlines until either the report from the Commissioner of Official Languages is issued or an official NEB translated French version of the Energy East application is published on the NEB website. The Board had previously denied requests for translated materials and a postponement of the deadlines, as well as a request for the Board to review that decision, in its Rulings dated 6 January 2015 and 3 February 2015.
The Federal Court found that it was not the appropriate court to hear this matter, and that the applicants should have challenged the Board’s Rulings, denying their requests for translation, with the Federal Court of Appeal. While there was a Court Rule that could allow Court intervention in exceptional circumstances, the Court stated that the applicants had not persuaded the Court that it was urgent and necessary for the Federal Court to intervene to protect the rights of parties to present their views to the Board in this case.
Despite this finding, the Federal Court went on to discuss whether the applicants had met the test to obtain this type of remedy. Generally, to obtain this type of remedy, an applicant must show that there is a serious issue to be tried, that the applicant will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted, and that the applicant will suffer the greater harm from refusing the remedy (often called “balance of convenience”). The Court ruled that even if it could hear the applicants’ request for an injunction, the injunction request would be denied on the basis that the criteria for this remedy were not met.
Adapted from press release by Hannah Priestley-Eaton