Court of Appeal of Quebec

Commission de la construction du Québec c. Nordmec Construction inc.

Mainville, Healy, Cournoyer


Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court quashing a search warrant obtained from a presiding justice of the peace. Dismissed.

On the basis of the connecting factors set out under s. 102 of the Code of Penal Procedure (CQLR, c. C-25.1), the trial judge ruled that the presiding justice of the peace, sitting in the judicial district of Montreal, did not have the required territorial jurisdiction to issue the impugned search warrant because the search at issue had to be executed at the respondent’s head office, which is located in the district of Terrebonne, where the alleged offence was committed. The Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) considers that the trial judge erred in law in finding that the offence set out in s. 122(4) of the Act respecting labour relations, vocational training and workforce management in the construction industry (CQLR c. R-20), namely forwarding false or inaccurate reports to the CCQ, was committed in the place where the reports at issue were sent, not where they were received. The CCQ also argues that by virtue of s. 172 of the Court of Justice Act (CQLR, c. T-16), which provides that they have jurisdiction throughout Quebec, presiding justices of the peace can issue search warrants for all judicial districts, irrespective of the connecting factors under s. 102 of the Code.

Contrary to the CCQ’s position, since the offence at issue involves the transmission of false or inaccurate information or documents, and not the receipt of that information or documents by the CCQ, the offence was committed at the place of sending. Moreover, unless there is probative factual evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable for the CCQ and the courts to infer that the electronic transmission of the reports required from contractors takes place at their head office, or at least under the effective control of employees at that head office.

Furthermore, s. 172 of the Court of Justice Act does not have the scope that the CCQ assigns to it. The interpretation proposed by the CCQ deprives the terms relating to judicial districts used in s.  102 and several other provisions of the Code of Penal Procedure of any meaningful effect, which is contrary to the applicable rules of interpretation. The jurisdiction of presiding justices of the peace to issue a search warrant must be exercised in the judicial district where the search is to be executed or where the alleged offence was committed. It must be added that s. 105 of the Code of Penal Procedure allows a validly “issued” search warrant to be “executed” in other judicial districts without the need for additional judicial authorization.


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