An Express Contradiction: Moloney, 407 ETR, and Federal Paramountcy

In Alberta (Attorney General) v. Moloney and 407 ETR Concession Co. v. Canada (Superintendent of Bankruptcy), the Supreme Court of Canada considered the relationship between the discharge provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and provincial driver’s licensing regimes in Alberta and Ontario. Section 178 of the BIA provides for a discharge order, which ordinarily releases a bankrupt from all claims provable in bankruptcy. The provincial licensing regimes in Moloney and 407 ETR purported to deny driver’s licences on the basis of debts owed by drivers that had been discharged in bankruptcy. In both cases, the Supreme Court resolved the paramountcy question in favour of the BIA. The implications of Moloney and 407 ETR for the rehabilitative purpose of the BIA and the recovery of discharged debts under provincial regimes are better canvassed elsewhere. My present interest in the decisions is limited to the Supreme Court’s treatment of the impossibility of dual compliance branch of the paramountcy test.

Written by Jon Milani. Posted on January 16, 2017. Filed under Law. Tagged: , , , , .