News Releases

Panel releases final report in trade dispute between Saskatchewan and Quebec

Winnipeg – April 30, 2021 - A Panel held under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) has released its decision in a dispute between Saskatchewan and Quebec regarding Quebec’s measures under the Food Products Act (FPA), related to Dairy Blends, Dairy Analogues and Dairy Alternatives. Saskatchewan was supported by Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.

Under Government-to-Government dispute resolution provisions of the AIT, a panel may be requested to settle a matter that has not been resolved following consultations among Parties. In June of 2013 Saskatchewan requested a panel review under Article 1703(1).

The Panel concluded, among other findings, that:

  • Section 7.1 and 7.2 of the FPA are contrary to Quebec’s commitments under the AIT Articles 401, 402 and 403.
  • Section 4.1(1) of the FPA is contrary to Quebec’s commitments under the AIT Articles 403 and 905 of the AIT.
  • While the Panel makes no ruling on the issue of whether the provisions of section 4.1(1) of the FPA serve the legitimate purpose of consumer protection, the Panel finds that even if such legitimate purpose was established, the provisions of section 4.1(1) cannot be justified under Articles 404 (c) and 905 (2) and (3).
  • Sections 4.1(1), 7.1 and 7.2 of the FPA constitute an ongoing impediment to internal trade and have caused injury.

The Panel ordered that Quebec repeal or amend those Measures which this Panel determined to be non-compliant with the AIT and bring them into compliance with the AIT no later than December 31, 2014. The Panel also ordered that until such time as compliance is effected, the Respondent refrain from enforcing those Measures which this Panel has determined to be non-compliant with the AIT.

On April 28, 2014, Quebec served notice that it would appeal the decision. Any requirement for a Complaint Recipient to comply with this Agreement within a stipulated time or to pay Operational Costs is suspended until such time as the appeal, and any subsequent re-hearing by the Panel that may be required, are concluded.

For more information on the AIT and its dispute resolution procedures contact:

Patrick Caron, Internal Trade Officer, Internal Trade Secretariat,
T: 204 - 987-8094
or email:

Biographical Notes – Panel Members

Denise A. LeBlanc, QC is a partner and business lawyer at McInnes Cooper, a regional law firm in Atlantic Canada. Her areas of expertise include asset recovery and insolvency, corporate and business transactions, shareholder agreements, and real property and land use planning. She works with major developers in the acquisition, subdivision and development of multi-phased residential and commercial projects, with institutional lenders in major secured project transactions. She is an accredited adjudicator with the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators.  She conducts hearings as an adjudicator at the New Brunswick Small Claims Court since 1999. She also conducts hearings as a member of the tribunal constituted under the Financial and Consumer Services Commission Act (New Brunswick). She is a past president of CBA New Brunswick and sits on a number of committees of the Law Society of New Brunswick. She also sits as director on several boards.

Bernard Jacob is a partner at the law firm of Morency and member of the board of directors, is in charge of the labour sector, and has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1989. From the beginning of his practice, within the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec, he acquired a robust experience in education and administrative law as well as constitutional law, having represented his employer in front of the Supreme Court in the affair with reference to the Education Act. Afterwards, he went into private practice where he has had the opportunity to represent his clientele in diverse domains of the law including administrative and labor law. Furthermore, during the last few years, he has developed a particular expertise in the defense of clients sued within the framework of class action suits. Concurrently with his implication within the school board on behalf of his clients, he honed the necessary skills with the municipal partners of his clients.

Warren N Sproule, Q.C. is a partner at the firm of Kanuka Thuringer LLP, having joined the firm in 1981 as an articling student. He has a broad corporate commercial practice with particular emphasis on corporate finance, commercial transactions, insurance and financial services regulation and insolvency. From 1994 to 2008 he served as a managing partner for the firm. He is currently a member of the Insolvency Institute of Canada, the Canadian IT Law Association, the Canadian Petroleum Law Foundation, the Saskatchewan Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Practitioners, and is one of his firm’s representatives to the Regina Chamber of Commerce. He was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1982 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009.