In Sharp v Autorité des marchés financiers, 2023 SCC 29 (available here) the Supreme Court of Canada has held that a Quebec administrative tribunal, the Financial Markets Administrative Tribunal, can hear a proceeding brought by the administrative agency that regulates Quebec’s financial sector, the Autorité des marchés financiers, against four defendants who reside in British Columbia. The AMF alleged in the proceedings that the defendants had contravened the Quebec Securities Act.
The courts below, including a majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal, focused the analysis on s. 93 of the Act respecting the Autorité des marchés financiers, CQLR, c. A-33.2, which grants the FMAT jurisdiction to make determinations under the Securities Act. They interpreted and applied this provision in light of Unifund Assurance Co. v Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, 2003 SCC 40, a leading decision on the scope of application of provincial law, which held that a provincial regulatory scheme constitutionally applies to an out-of-province defendant when there is a “real and substantial connection”, also described as a “sufficient connection”, between the province and the defendant. This test was met on the facts [see para 22] and so the FMAT had jurisdiction. This analysis is not generally understood as being within the field of conflict of laws. Indeed, the majority of the Court of Appeal “saw no conflict of jurisdiction or any conflict of laws that would require the application of private international law rules to this case” [see para 29].