Thursday, December 13, 2012

Legislative intent enables interpretation but does not grant jurisdiction

Reference re Broadcasting Regulation 2012 SCC 68 dealt with CRTC jurisdiction. It holds that a declaration of legislative intent does not grant jurisdiction:

 [32]                          This interpretation is consistent with a reading of the Act in its entire context.  The Broadcasting Act has a primarily cultural aim.  The other powers enumerated in s. 10(1) deal with such matters as the allocation of broadcasting time and the setting of standards for programs.  In addition, the objectives of the Broadcasting Act, declared in s. 3(1), when read together, target "the cultural enrichment of Canada, the promotion of Canadian content, establishing a high standard for original programming, and ensuring that programming is diverse" (ISP Reference, at para. 4).  While such declarations of policy may not be invoked as independent grants of power, they should be given due weight in interpreting specific provisions of an Act: Sullivan, at pp. 388 and 390-91.  Parliament must be presumed to have empowered the CRTC to work towards implementing these cultural objectives; however, the regulatory means granted to the CRTC to achieve these objectives fall short of creating exclusive control rights.

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