Administrative law – Boards and tribunals – Jurisdiction – Legislation – Ultra vires
Oulton v. Chicken Farmers of Nova Scotia,  N.S.J. No. 513, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, December 5, 2002, Saunders, Chipman and Hamilton JJ.A.
The Respondent chicken producers had been, for 20 years, on a waiting list maintained by the Chicken Farmers of Nova Scotia (“CFNS”), an agricultural commodity board, regulating the production and marketing of chickens. It had been CFNS’s policy to allocate quota free of charge according to priority on the list. When the Respondents reached the top of the list, CFNS passed an amendment to its administrative policy providing for an “new entrance” fee of $117,500 to be paid by anybody receiving new quota.
The trial judge found that the Regulations were not sufficiently framed to empower CFNS to charge a fee for the quota and that, short of authority by Regulations, administrative policies passed by CFNS were ultra vires to the extent that they purported to authorize the charging of a fee for the new quota. Courts have consistently held that the power to impose a fee or a levy on anything in the nature of a tax in the regulation of an industry must be explicitly conferred by the enabling legislation. The monies were ordered to be returned to the Respondents. The trial judge’s decision was upheld on appeal.
To stay current with the new case law and emerging legal issues in this area, subscribe here.