|In the Matter of:
||Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Plate, originating in or Exported from Mexico
DECISION OF THE PANEL ON STANDARD OF REVIEW
AND REMAND ORDER
ON REVIEW OF THE CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL
TRADE TRIBUNAL FINDING
May 19, 1999
|| Lic. Hernán García-Corral (Chairman)
||Mr. William E. Code
||Lic. Alejandro Ogarrio Ramírez
||Lic. Loretta Ortiz Ahlf
||Professor Leon E. Trakman
DECISION OF THE PANEL ON STANDARD OF REVIEW AND REMAND ORDER
This Decision is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the nature
of standards of review governing errors of jurisdiction, law and fact and their
applicability in this case. This first part is divided into two subparts - the majority
opinion and the concurring opinion. The second part issues a remand order to the Canadian
International Trade Tribunal (the "CITT") to interpret section
43(1.01) of the Special Import Measures Act1 ("SIMA") and
to apply that interpretation to the case. On compliance of the CITT with this remand order, the Panel will render its
PART I: OPINIONS
i) MAJORITY OPINION OF PANELISTS LEON TRAKMAN, WILLIAM CODE AND ALEJANDRO OGARRIO RAMIREZ
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
The law governing the applicable Standard of Review is provided under the
North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA") Articles 1904(3), 1911,
Annex 1911, SIMA subsection 77.011 and the Federal Court Act 2 s. 18.1(4).
Section 77.015(1) of the SIMA provides:
A panel shall conduct a review of a definitive decision in accordance with
Chapter Nineteen of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the rules.
NAFTA Article 1904 provides:
2. An involved Party may request that a panel review, based on the
administrative record, a final dumping or countervailing duty determination of a competent investigating authority of an importing
Party to determine whether such determination was in accordance with the antidumping or countervailing duty law of the importing Party. For
this purpose, the antidumping or countervailing duty law consists of the relevant statutes, legislative history, regulations administrative practice
and judicial precedents to the extent that a court of the importing Party would rely on such materials in reviewing a final panel review provided
for in this Article, the antidumping and countervailing duty statutes of the Parties, as those statutes may be amended from time to time, are
incorporated into and made a part of this Agreement.2
3. The panel shall apply the standard of review set out in Annex 1911 and
the general legal principles that a court of the importing Party otherwise would apply to a review of a determination of the competent
Annex 1911 of the NAFTA provides: standard of review means the following standards, as may be amended from
time to time by the relevant Party:
(a) in the case of Canada, the grounds set out in subsection 18.1(4) of the Federal Court Act, as amended with respect to
all final determinations;
Section 18.1(4) of the Federal Court Act provides that the Panel may grant relief if it is satisfied that the CITT:
(a) acted without jurisdiction, acted beyond its jurisdiction or refused to exercise jurisdiction.
(b) failed to observe a principle of natural justice, procedural fairness or other procedures that it was required by law to observe;
(c) erred in law in making a decision or an order, whether or not the error appears on the face of the record;
(d) based its decision or order on an erroneous finding of fact it made in a perverse or capricious manner without regard for the
material before it;
(e) acted or failed to act, by reason of fraud or perjured evidence; or
(f) acted in any other way that was contrary to the law.3
In reviewing the determination of an investigative authority, a NAFTA Panel
must apply the "general legal principles" that a court of the importing
Party otherwise would apply to a review of the determination of a competent investigating
authority. These "general legal principles" in the domestic law of Canada include
the legal principles that guide Canadian courts in their review of administrative decisions.
Applied to this case, the Panel is bound to apply those "principles" in
reviewing the determination of the CITT in a comparable manner to the Federal Court of
Canada’s review of the determination of an investigating authority within its general jurisdiction.
Section 28(1)(e) of the Federal Court Act, provides that the Federal Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear and
determine applications for judicial review made in respect of the CITT. The power of this Panel, therefore, to review the determination
of the CITT is different in kind from the power of a court to hear an appeal. A court of appeal has broad jurisdiction to overturn the
finding of a lower tribunal. A tribunal with the power of judicial review, such as that invested in this
Panel, has the power only to review the determination of the lower tribunal and to refer
actual or suspected errors back to that lower tribunal for reconsideration. In all
other respects, the determination of the lower tribunal must be accorded curial deference.
The Supreme Court of Canada has noted:
It is trite to say that the jurisdiction of a court on appeal is much broader than
the jurisdiction of a court on review. In principle, a court is entitled, on
appeal, to disagree with the reasoning of a lower tribunal.
However, within the context of a statutory appeal from an administrative
tribunal, additional consideration must be given to the specialization of
duties. Although an appeal tribunal has the right to disagree with the lower
tribunal on issues which fall within its scope of the statutory appeal, curial
deference should be given to the opinion of a lower tribunal on issues which
fall squarely within its area of expertise.4
Applied to the current case, in exercising its power of review the Panel
cannot substitute its opinion for that of the CITT on grounds that the reasoning of
the CITT is defective, or even wrong. Nor can it insist that its determination of law or
fact is right and that the Panel’s reasoning is "better" than that of the CITT.
As was stated in United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 579 v. Bradco
..the court will defer even if the interpretation given by the [labour]
tribunal to the collective agreement is not the "right" interpretation in the court's view
nor even the "best" of two possible interpretations, so long as it is an
interpretation rationally attributable to the words of the agreement.5
In exercising its power of review, this Panel is entitled to determine only
whether the CITT has committed a "reviewable error," consisting of an error of
jurisdiction, error of law, or error of fact. The Panel cannot remedy that perceived error itself.
Nor can it substitute its preferred remedy for that of the CITT. In accordance with article 1904, it is
empowered to refer the matter back to the CITT for its consideration.
Defining and Applying Standards of Review
In determining whether to remand a matter to the CITT for its consideration,
the Panel must determine whether the CITT has erred and further, whether that error
constitutes a "reviewable error" of jurisdiction, law or fact. An error of jurisdiction arises where the CITT has acted without
jurisdiction, in excess of its jurisdiction, or contrary to the principles of natural justice, as are
outlined in Section 18.1(4) (a) and (b) of the Federal Court Act above. In determining whether a matter under review is
jurisdictional, this Panel must establish whether the legislature intended the matter in issue to be within
the jurisdiction conferred on the CITT.6
The Panel arrives at this legislative intention by examining, inter alia, the wording of
the enactment conferring jurisdiction on the CITT, the reasons for the CITT’s existence, its
area of expertise and the nature of the problem before it and the Panel.7
Should the Panel determine that the CITT acted in accordance with its
jurisdiction, it must thereafter decide whether the CITT has committed any errors or law or
fact within that jurisdiction that are "reviewable." An error of law arises if the Panel finds that the CITT erred in interpreting
or applying the law in regard to a matter within its jurisdiction. An error of fact
arises if the Panel finds that the CITT has committed an error in construing the facts in the
exercise of its jurisdiction. In determining whether the CITT has committed an error of jurisdiction, law
or fact, the Panel must identify the applicable standard of review by which to evaluate
the nature of the error and the extent to which it is "reviewable."
Ultimately, it must distinguish "reviewable errors" which it may remand to the CITT from non-reviewable errors.
The standards of review according to which the Panel determines whether an
error of the CITT is reviewable ranges along a spectrum. That spectrum ranges from a
standard of "correctness," to a standard of
"reasonableness," to a standard of "patent unreasonableness."8
In regard to errors of jurisdiction, the standard ordinarily applicable is
"correctness." The CITT must be "correct" in the exercise of its jurisdiction.
The applicable standard of review in regard to errors of law and fact varies
from a standard of "reasonableness" to a standard of "patent
unreasonableness." In cases where there is a right of appeal and the absence of a privative clause, the
standard of review ordinarily is one of "reasonableness" in respect of errors
of law and fact. The court of appeal must determine whether the expert tribunal acted "reasonably."
In cases where there is a right of review from an expert tribunal, but not a
right of appeal, and where there is a privative clause, the standard of review is one of
"patent unreasonableness." The reviewing body must determine whether the expert
tribunal has committed an error that is "patently unreasonable." In cases in which there is a right of review, the absence of a privative
clause, and when the tribunal subject to review is expert and is acting in accordance
with its statutory authority, the Federal Court of Canada ordinarily applies a
standard of "patent unreasonableness".
The applicability of the standard of "patent unreasonability" was
recently reiterated by the Federal Court of Appeal in reviewing determinations of law and fact
within the jurisdiction of the CITT. In Canada (Attorney General) v. Symtron Systems Inc.,
Linden J. reviewed the decision of the CITT in regard to government
procurement projects under Chapter 10 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He
concluded in light of prior decisions of both the Supreme Court of Canada and
the Federal Court of Appeal:
Pursuant to the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada [See Note 11
below]11 and this Court [See Note 12 below]12 the standards
of review to be employed are as follows: (1) when making a determination within its jurisdiction,
decisions of the CITT may only be overturned if they are patently unreasonable; (2) when making a decision
regarding its own jurisdiction, the CITT must be correct.13
The Panel is bound by such determinations of the Court of Appeal in the case
at hand. The Panel will apply these standards of review to this case. The "reasonableness" standard of review does not apply in this
case. The standard of reasonableness applies when a statute both lacks a privative clause and
contains a right of appeal. That standard applies when a decision is unreasonable on
the basis of the facts on which it was made. As was stated in Southam, an unreasonable decision is one made in the face of a contradiction
in a premise or an invalid inference.14 There is no right of
appeal in respect of section 42 of the SIMA. The CITT is an expert tribunal whose decisions are entitled to great deference.
Staffed by adjudicators with specialized knowledge, it has statutory authority to
interpret and apply the SIMA and to decide international trade cases falling within its
The decisions of the CITT, in the exercise of these functions, are entitled to great deference. As the Supreme Court of Canada held in
Pezim, notwithstanding the absence of a privative clause, a lower tribunal’s expertise in exercising statutory
authority is a compelling reason to accord it judicial deference. Consequently, even where there is no privative clause and where there is a
statutory right of appeal, the concept of specialization of duties requires that deference be shown to decisions of specialized tribunals on
matters which fall squarely within the tribunal's expertise. This point was reaffirmed in United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of
America, Local 579 v. Bradco Construction Ltd.,  2 S.C.R. 316 where Sopinka J., writing for the majority, stated the following
at p. 335:
...expertise of the tribunal is of the utmost importance in determining
the intention of the legislator with respect to the degree of deference to be shown to a tribunal's decision in the absence of a full privative
clause. Even where the Tribunal's enabling statute provided explicitly for appellate review, as was the case in Bell
Canada, supra it has been stressed that deference should be shown by the appellate tribunal to the opinions of the specialized lower tribunal on
matters squarely within its jurisdiction.15
Similarly, in National Corn Growers Association
v. Canada (Import Tribunal), the Supreme Court accorded great deference to an expert tribunal experienced in
the intricacies of international trade and that dealt with a large volume of trade law cases.16
Deference is also accorded to specialized
tribunals in the manner in which they weigh evidence in exercising their statutory authority. It is a function of a specialized, expert
tribunal such as this one to weigh and balance those factors and to decide the importance to be given to each. In law, as opposed to
metaphysics, the study of causes is the examination of the potency of certain facts in the production of certain results.
Realistically, this is a question of fact.17
Applied to this case, the CITT has considerable expertise in interpreting statutes within its jurisdiction, in accordance with the
authority accorded it by section 42 of the SIMA. It is expert, too, in examining evidence and according relative weight to different facts
Given that the CITT is an expert tribunal with wide statutory authority and experience in interpreting and applying the SIMA, its decisions are entitled
to great deference, even in the absence of a privative clause. As the Supreme Court of Canada held inMossop:
... even absent a privative clause, the courts will give a considerable measure of deference [to highly specialized
bodies] on questions of law falling within the expertise of these bodies because of the role and functions accorded to them by their constituent Act.
This deference is owed, as stated by the Supreme Court of Canada, because the expertise of a tribunal is the "most
important of the factors a court must consider in settling on a standard of review."19
To similar effect, the courts in Bell Canada, 20
and Pezim 22 have all accorded great deference to decisions of lower tribunals
regarding issues of material injury and causation falling squarely within their expertise. Although an appeal tribunal has the right
to disagree with the lower tribunal on issues which fall within its scope of the statutory appeal, curial
deference should be given to the opinion of a lower tribunal on issues which fall squarely within its area of expertise.
Given the deference to be accorded to the CITT in the exercise of its
jurisdiction on questions of law and fact, this Panel is required not to remand unless it
considers that the CITT may have committed a "patently unreasonable" error. 24As was stated in
Domtar Inc. v. Quebec (Commission d’appel en matière de lésions professionnelles, "the patently
unreasonable error test is the pivot on which judicial deference rests." 25
The patently unreasonable standard is variously defined. The Supreme Court of
Canada in Southam held that, in order to find the decision of a lower tribunal "patently unreasonable," that decision must
have no "basis in law". A patently unreasonable conclusion is one that had no basis in the evidence, or was contrary to the overwhelming
weight of the evidence. 26 A patently unreasonable error arises when the lower tribunal acted clearly
and openly "irrationally," and when its decision is incapable of having any rational explanation. Absent such irrationality, the lower
tribunal "has the right to be wrong." As was stated in CUPE Local 963 v. N.B. Liquor Corp:
The tribunal has the right to be wrong. Under this standard a court cannot set aside a tribunal’s decision merely
because it disagrees with it but can do so only where the decision "cannot be sustained on any reasonable
interpretation of the facts or of the law or where it is "clearly irrational.27
A decision that is patently unreasonable constitutes "a fraud on the law
or a deliberate refusal to comply with it."28
As a result, the Supreme Court of Canada has stated, in cases like Canada (A.G.) v. PSAC, that the "patent
unreasonableness" test is a "very strict test" and that errors of law and fact are reviewable only when they are
It is not enough that the decision of the Board is wrong in the eyes of the court; it must, in order to be
patently unreasonable, be found by the court to be clearly irrational. 29
The Supreme Court has held further that, if there is any evidence in support of the lower tribunal’s determination, the reviewing
court must treat that determination as "rational."
...a finding or decision of a tribunal is not patently unreasonable if there is any
evidence capable of supporting the decision even though the reviewing court may not have reached the same conclusion.
The Complainant argues that a "patently unreasonable" test is
inapplicable because the SIMA now specifically excludes a privative clause. It is true that, in
implementing the North American Free Trade Agreement, on January 1, 1994, Parliament repealed and re-enacted SIMA section 76(1) and did
not include a privative clause. 31
However, the removal of the privative clause under the SIMA has not displaced the "patently unreasonable"
standard as the applicable standard of review in respect of errors of law and fact. 32
In a series of cases since January 1, 1994, the Federal Court of Appeal has held that the patently unreasonable standard continues to apply
to such errors. In Stelco v. Canadian International Trade Tribunal et al., it stated:
We cannot see any practical difference between the standard in subsection 18.1(4) of the Federal Court Act
and the standard of patent unreasonableness. 33
To a similar effect, the Federal Court of Appeal held in Canadian
Pasta Manufacturer's Association v. Aurora Importing & Distributing Ltd., et al. we are dealing with a specialized
tribunal whose decisions are entitled to a high degree of deference and should only be overturned if they manifest that
character of patent unreasonableness which is the modern standard for judicial review in such cases. 34
The Federal Court also applied the standard of patent unreasonability in the more recent case of Canada
(Canadian Wheat Board) v. Unicone Industriali Pastai Italiani. 35
As was discussed earlier in this decision, the Federal Court of Appeal recently applied the standard of
patent unreasonability specifically to the review of a determination of the CITT, in Canada (Attorney
General) v. Symtron Systems Inc. 36
That case, released on February 5, 1999, is determinative in this case. There
Linden J. cited as authority for the patent unreasonability test decisions of the Court of Appeal and the decisions of
Mossop, Pezim andSoutham rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada. 37
To similar effect, in the recent Premier Choix decision, the Federal Court adopted a patent unreasonability standard
even though the applicable legislation did not contain a privative clause. As was stated there:
In light of the new teachings of the Supreme Court of Canada, like
Letourneau J.A., therefore, I am of the view that the most appropriate standard of review in this case should continue to be patent
unreasonableness. I am persuaded that the absence of a statutory right of appeal, the wide discretion given to the Board, and the highly technical
nature of the Board's subject matter warrant the utmost deference, even though there is no privative clause...38
Other NAFTA panels, too, have applied the standard of patent unreasonability since the removal of the privative clause from the SIMA in
January 1, 1994. In Hot-rolled Carbon Steel Sheet, that NAFTA Panel held:
On questions of law within the Tribunal's expertise, the Panel would remand
only if the Tribunal's findings were patently unreasonable. On issues of fact, the Panel would not reweigh the evidence, but would
remand the Tribunal's finding if there were no rational connection between the evidence and the Tribunal's finding.
The Complainant argues that Onion 40
gives rise to a fourth standard of review on questions of law and fact which is more than "reasonableness" but
less than "patent unreasonableness." That court does discuss a "fourth
standard" of review which provides for more deference to be given to a lower tribunal's finding than to
expert tribunals with a statutory right of appeal, but slightly less deference than
to tribunals’ decisions protected by a true privative clause. But the court in
Onion still insists that "great deference is to be shown to the Tribunal’s decisions
particularly when dealing with questions that go to the heart of its expertise." It also concludes
that the CITT’s error was "patently unreasonable" on the facts. As a result, its
comments about a "fourth standard" are at most dicta and are not binding upon this
Panel. It is well established in the Law of Canada that obiter dicta are not
binding authority unless they express a legal proposition that is a necessary step to the judgment
pronounced by the Court in the case in which the dicta is found. 41
In concluding on standards of review, the Panel holds that, under Canadian
Law, the CITT is subject to a "correctness" standard of review in respect of
errors of jurisdiction and a "patent unreasonableness" standard in respect of both errors
of law and fact.
ii) CONCURRING OPINION OF PANELISTS HERNAN GARCIA-CORRAL AND LORETTA ORTIZ AHLF STANDARDS OF REVIEW
This Panel is constituted under NAFTA Article 1904 to review a
determination of the CITT in accordance with Canadian anti-dumping duty law. This Panel is
directed to apply relevant statutes, legislative history, regulations, administrative
practice and judicial precedents to the extent that a court of ... [Canada] ...would rely
on such materials. 42
Binational Panels are further directed by the NAFTA to apply:
... the standard of review set out in Annex 1911 and the general legal principles that a court of the importing
Party otherwise would apply to a review of a determination of the competent investigating authority. 43
Annex 1911 defines the standard of review, in the case of Canada, as the grounds 12 set out in subsection 18.1(4)
of the Federal Court Act, as amended. Moreover, as Canada is the importing Party, the general legal principles of Canadian law
are to be applied in this review. 44
Section 18.4 of the Federal Court Act lists the grounds for which a tribunal may be reviewed. These grounds are that the tribunal:
a) acted without jurisdiction, acted beyond its jurisdiction or refused to exercise its jurisdiction;
b) failed to observe a principle of natural justice, procedural fairness or other procedure that it was required in law to observe;
c) erred in law in making a decision or order, whether or not the error appears on the face of the record;
d) based its decision or order on an erroneous finding of fact that is made in a perverse or capricious manner or without regard for the
material before it;
e) acted, or failed to act, by reason of fraud or perjured evidence; or
f) acted in any other way that was contrary to law.
These grounds for review are read in light of the standard of review
developed by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that
"the central question in ascertaining the standard of review is to determine the
legislative intent in conferring jurisdiction on the administrative tribunal". 45
In order to assist the courts in deciphering legislative intent and determining the appropriate standard of review, the Supreme
Court of Canada has developed a spectrum of standards of review. This spectrum was initially developed in Pezim
and has been refined in Southamand Pushpanthan.
The spectrum ranges from patently unreasonable, on the one extreme, where deference is at its highest
to correctness at the other extreme where deference is at its lowest. 46
This standard was further refined to include a third standard of reasonableness in cases where the appropriate
standard falls between the two extremes. 47
Where exactly on the spectrum the appropriate standard of review falls in the circumstances is determined by a functional and pragmatic analysis.
Issues of Jurisdiction
The Federal Court Act provides that a court may review a tribunal decision where it:
18.4(a) acted without jurisdiction, acted beyond its jurisdiction or refused to exercise its jurisdiction. In determining
the standard of review, this Panel must distinguish between questions establishing the parameters of a tribunal's jurisdiction and
questions within a tribunal´s jurisdiction. 48
Questions demarcating the jurisdiction of a tribunal are those questions which yield answers which define the powers of the
tribunal to embark on proceedings, issue orders, etc. 49
These questions are identified by a pragmatic or functional analysis which examines:
… not only the wording of the enactment conferring jurisdiction on the
administrative tribunal, but the purpose of the statute creating the tribunal,
the reason for its existence, the area of expertise of its members and the
nature of the problem before the tribunal. 50
At the heart of this analysis is an effort to glean whether the legislature intended that
the question at issue be decided by the tribunal acting within its jurisdiction or the courts. 51
It is settled law that with respect to questions dealing with a tribunal's jurisdiction,
correctness is required and the concept of deference is severely constrained.
That is, a tribunal must be correct with respect to any question which defines its
This Panel must determine whether the tribunal correctly determined any question affecting its jurisdiction. If the tribunal incorrectly
dealt with this question, this Panel must remand. If the relevant question does not affect the tribunal's jurisdiction, then a
different standard is applicable.
Issues of Law
The Federal Court Act provides that a court may review a tribunal where it:
18.4 ( c ) erred in law making a decision or an order, whether or not the error appears on the face of the record.
Issues of law relate to the interpretation or the application of law by tribunals acting
within their jurisdiction. In response to privative clauses 53 shielding tribunals from
review, the standard of review that was traditionally applied to errors of law was "patent unreasonability".
This test is very deferential and calls for a strict approach to judicial review. 54
In Southam, the Supreme Court of Canada explained the difference between unreasonable and patent unreasonable as:
The difference between "unreasonable" and "patently unreasonable" lies in
the immediacy or obviousness of the defect. If the defect is apparent on the face of the Tribunal’s reasons, then the Tribunal’s decision is
patently unreasonable. But if it takes some significant searching or testing to find the defect, then the decision is unreasonable but not
patently unreasonable. 55
The court in Southam went on to elaborate:
This is not to say, of course, that judges reviewing a decision on the standard of patent unreasonableness may
not examine the record. If the decision under review is sufficiently difficult, then perhaps a great deal of
reading and thinking will be required before the judge will be able to grasp the dimensions of the problem... But once the lines of the problem
have come into focus, if the decision is patently unreasonable, then the unreasonableness will be evident. 56
In the absence of privative clauses, recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions have moderated this standard by asking the courts to employ a
functional and pragmatic test to decipher legislative intent and to determine the appropriate standard of review to fit the agency and the circumstances.
The analysis inherent in this test focuses upon all the relevant factors, none of which alone are dispositive.
These factors include the presence or lack of a privative clause, the presence or lack of a statutory right of appeal,
the expertise or specialization of a tribunal in the circumstances, the purpose of the Act as a whole and the provision in
particular and the nature of the problem -a question of law or fact. 57
In determining the appropriate standard of review, the Supreme Court of Canada has emphasized the importance of balancing
the presence or lack of a privative clause with the other factors, especially the relative expertise of the tribunal. 58
The court in Pezim held that what is "crucial is whether or not the agency's decisions are
protected by a private clause". 59
However, that court went on to say that even where there is no privative clause and where there is a statutory right of appeal,
the concept of the specialization of duties requires that deference be shown to decisions of specialized tribunals on matters which fall squarely within the
tribunal's expertise. 60
This reasoning was adopted in Pushpanathan which held that:
… the presence of a full privative clause is compelling evidence that the court ought to show deference to the Tribunals
decision, unless other factors strongly indicate the contrary as regards the particular determination in question. 61
Pezim did not determine the precise extent of deference to be applied in each case. Rather, the court stated that the
degree of deference "ranges from the standard of reasonableness to that of correctness". 62
The court went on to elaborate:
At the reasonable end of the spectrum, where deference is at its highest, are those cases where a tribunal protected by
a true privative clause, is deciding a matter within its jurisdiction and where there is no right of statutory appeal.
The Pezim case involved a tribunal decision from which there was a statutory right of appeal and which was not protected by a privative clause.
In those circumstances, the Court held that the applicable standard of review fell between the two extremes of correctness and patent unreasonableness
which entitled the Tribunal to "considerable deference".
The present case is similar to the one in Pezim. The CITT is a specialized tribunal deciding matters within
their area of expertise 64 and is not protected by a privative clause. However, unlike
the Tribunal in Pezim, the CITT is subject to judicial review rather than a statutory right of appeal. 65
These circumstances simultaneously call for a more exacting standard and deference. On the one hand, factors which call for a more exacting standard
include the wording of s. 18.4 (c) which permits review of errors of law, whether or not they appear on the face of the record, the fact that the
CITT is subject to judicial review, and the fact that the CITT no longer enjoys the benefit of any type of privative clause.
On the other hand, the factors which counsel deference include the fact that the CITT is a specialized Tribunal making determinations within its area
of expertise and the lack of a statutory right of appeal.
Under similar circumstances the Supreme Court of Canada, has said:
...(when) there are indications both ways, the proper standard of review falls somewhere between the ends of the spectrum.
67 Under the circumstances of this review, the CITT is not entitled to the highest deference on the spectrum. The
appropriate standard of review falls between the extremes of correctness and patent unreasonability which entitles the CITT to considerable deference.
While this standard does not extend to the point of patent unreasonbleness, it does fall near to that end of the spectrum. This is a high degree of
deference commensurate with the CITT’s expertise and the circumstances of this review.
This Panel should remand only if it finds that the CITT’s decision cannot be sustained on any
reasonable interpretation of the law. This standard is also consistent with that adopted by the recent Binational Panels in Baler Twine
68 and Concrete Panels. 69
Issues of Fact
The Federal Court Act providesthat a tribunal’s determination can be reviewed for errors of fact when the tribunal:
s.18.4 (d ) based its decision or order on an erroneous finding of fact that it made in a perverse or capricious manner or with out regard for
the material before it.
Issues of fact arise from determinations of fact made by a tribunal acting within its jurisdiction. The wording in s. 18.4(d) is much stricter
than that found in s.18.4(c ) which counsels a more deferential approach to issues of fact than to issues of law.
However, the line that divides issues of fact from issues of law may not be clear at first instance, and indeed issues of fact may at times be
mixed with issues of law. The courts have developed an appropriate litmus test to assist in this task. The court in Pushpathan adopted
the reasoning in Southam which held :
… it is not always easy to say precisely where the line should be drawn,
though in most cases it should be sufficiently clear whether the dispute is over a general proposition that might qualify as a principle of
law or over a very particular set of circumstances that is not apt to be of much interest to judges and lawyers in future.
The courts have recognized a tribunal’s superior position in determining questions
of fact and have given tribunals greater deference as complicated questions of fact and law draw closer to issues of fact. Several recent
Federal Court of Appeal decisions have dealt with the appropriate standard of review to be applied to CITT dumping determinations in the context
of issues of fact and issues of substantial fact mixed with law. Depending on the circumstances of the particular case,
the courts have described this standard as patently unreasonable 71, akin to patently unreasonable
72, or as a "fourth standard" which is slightly less deferential than patently unreasonable
These decisions are refinements to the spectrum analysis articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Pezimand Southam.
In the circumstances particular to each case, the courts articulated the appropriate standard of review by
balancing the factors calling for a more exacting standard with those calling for more deference.
In the particular circumstances of this review, this Panel must balance
competing factors. On the one hand, it must consider the factors calling for deference
which include the strict language of s.18.4(d), the fact that the CITT is a
specialized tribunal making findings of fact within its area of expertise with the
benefit of analyzing the evidence first hand and the fact that the CITT is not subject
to a statutory right of appeal. On the other hand, it must consider factors
calling for a more exacting standard which include the absence of any type of privative clause
and the fact that the CITT is subject to judicial review.
Given that the present review has "indications that go both ways", the appropriate
standard of review in these circumstances falls between the extremes of correctness and patent unreasonability which entitles
the CITT to considerable deference. While this deference does not reach the level of patent unreasonableness,
it does fall very near to that end on the spectrum. In the context of reviewing issues of fact or substantial issues of fact mixed with law
under these circumstances, the considerable deference which is accorded to the CITT is
even greater than in the context of issues of law.
The standard of review normally applied to issues of fact or substantial
issues of fact mixed with law is that there must be a rational connection between the
facts and the tribunal’s findings. This statutory standard however is not whether
there is any evidence at all, but whether there is evidence which, reasonably reviewed, is capable of supporting the tribunal’s finding. Such evidence need not be
substantial nor need the Panel arrive at the same determination as the Tribunal in light
of it. 74
This Panel should remand only if it finds that the CITT’s determination cannot be sustained on any reasonable interpretation of the facts.
PART II: REMAND ORDER
SEPARATE ORDER OR FINDING UNDER SECTION 43(1.01) OF THE SIMA
The SIMA provides, under section 43 (1.01) that, where an inquiry referred to in section 42 involves goods of more than one NAFTA country, or
one or more NAFTA countries and goods of one or more other countries, "the Tribunal shall make a separate order or finding under subsection
(1) with respect to the goods of each NAFTA country.
Both the CITT and the Complainant acknowledge that the CITT made no separate order or finding in respect of Mexico. The Complainant argues, however,
that a failure to issue a separate order in respect of Mexico constitutes an error of jurisdiction and an error of law. The Complainant argues further,
that in issuing a separate order, the CITT is required to provide separate reasons as well. The CITT,
Stelco and IPSCO argue that the stipulation for a separate order in section 43 (1.01) is a technical requirement only and that, if the Panel deems it
appropriate, it should only remand with instructions that the CITT issue a separate order, without requiring separate reasons.
Given that the interpretation of the SIMA is within the jurisdiction of the CITT and that the CITT is charged with the duty to interpret and apply the SIMA,
including section 19 42, in a reasonable manner the Panel remands this matter to the CITT for its consideration. In particular, the Panel instructs the CITT
to determine whether, under section 43 (1.01) of the SIMA, a separate order is required in respect of Mexico and further, whether separate reasons are also
The CITT is given until June 21, 1999 to respond to this remand.
On receipt of the CITT’s determination, the Panel will decide all issues arising out of these proceedings.
SIGNED IN THE ORIGINAL BY
Hernán García-Corral- Chairman
William E. Code
Alejandro Ogarrio Ramírez
Loretta Ortiz Ahlf
Leon E. Trakman
Issued May 19, 1999.
1 R.S.C. 1985, c.S-15.
2 R.S.C. 1985, c.F-7.
3 Federal Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.F-7 as amended s.18 1(4).
4 Bell Canada v. Canada (C.R.T.C.),  1 S.C.R. 1722 at p.1744-45.
5  2 S.C.R. 316 (NFLD). See, CITT Brief at 16.
6 See eg., U.E.S. Local 298 v. Bibeault  S.C.R. 1048 [hereinafter
7 See further, Pezim v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Brokers),
 2 S.C.R. 557 [hereinafter Pezim] at 590-5.
8 Pezim, supra note 7; Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Canada (Labour Relations
Board),  1 S.C.R. 157 [hereinafter Canadian Broadcasting Corp.] at p. 178.
9 On the application of a standard of ?reasonableness? where there is a right
of appeal and the absence of a privative clause, see Pezim, supra note 7; and Director of Investigation and Research v.
Southam Inc., et al.,  1 S.C.R.748;  D.LR. (4th) 1 [hereinafter Southam].
10  F.C.J. No. 178. Court File Nos. A-787-97, A-700-97, para. 45
11 Canada (Attorney General) v. Mossop,  1 S.C.R. 554 [herinafter
Mossop]: Pezim, supra note 7; Southam, supra note 9.
12 See, e.g., British
Columbia (Vegetable Marketing Commission) v. Washington Potato and Onion Assn.  F.C.J. No. 1543 (Fed.
C.A.) (Q.L.) [hereinafter Onion]. See also Deputy Minister of National Revenue for Customs and Excise v. Hydro-Quebec (1994),
172 N.R. 247 (Fed. C.A.) at para. 16.
13 Onion, supra note 12 at para. 45.
14 Southam, supra note 9.
15 Pezim, supra note 7 at 591-592.
16  2 S.C.R. 1324 [hereinafter Corn Growers] at 1348, per Wilson J.
17 CITT brief at 22 quoting Sacilor Acieries v. Anti-dumping Tribunal (1986),
9 C.E.R. 210 (F.C.A.)
18 Mossop, supra note 11 at 584 (per La Forest J.)
19 See, Southam, supra note 9 at para. 50; Pushpanathan v.
Canada (M.C.I.),  1 S.C.R. 982 [hereinafter Pushpanathan]at para. 32.
20 Bell supra note 4 at 1744.
21 United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 579 v. Bradco
Construction Ltd.,  2 S.C.R. 316 [herinafter Bradco] at 335.
22 Pezim, supra note 7 at 404.
23 Bell supra note 4 at 1744.
24 Symtron, supra note 10 at para 45.
25  2 S.C.R.756 at 77 (per J?Heureux-Dube).
26 Southam, supra note 9. See also Canada (A.G.) v. PSAC  1. S.C.R. 941,
27  2 S.C.R. 227 [hereinafter CUPE] at 237.
28 See, CUPE, supra note 27 at 237.
29  1 S.C.R. 941, 963-64. As was stated in CAIMAW v. Paccar of Canada Ltd.
 2 S.C.R. 983 [hereinafter CAIMAW] at 1003 (B.C.): "a tribunal has the right to make errors, even serious ones,
provided it does not act in a manner "so patently" unreasonable that its construction cannot be rationally supported by the relevant legislation
and demands intervention by the courts upon review."
30 See, Bradco, supra note 21 at 687-88 (discussing a labour
arbitration). To a similar effect, see Lester (W.W.) (1978) Ltd. v. United Association of Journeymen etc. of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry,
Local 740  2 S.C.R. 644 (Nfld.) [hereinafter Lester].
31 Section 76 now provides: ?[S]ubject to subsection 61(3) and Part I.1 or II, an application for
judicial review of an order or finding of the Tribunal under this Act may be made to the Federal Court of Appeal on any of the grounds set out in subsection
18.1(4) of the Federal Court Act." This new version of SIMA section 76(1) eliminates the pre-existing provision that the Tribunal's decisions
were "final and conclusive.? In effect, by removing the privative clause, section 76(1) now states that all decisions are reviewable under s. 18.1(4)
of the FCA.
32 Southam, supra note 9 at p. 772.
33 (May 23, 1995) A-360-93 (F.C.A., unreported) [hereinafter Stelco].
34 (1997) 208 N.R. 329; FCA file no. A-473-96 [hereinafter Pasta] at 3.
35  F.C.J. No. 173, February 9, 1998 [hereinafter Unicone] at paras 4 and 7.
36 Symtron, supra note 10 at para. 45.
37 See, Symtron, supra note 10.
38Reseaux Premier Choix Inc. v. Canadian Cable Television Association  F.C.J. No.1723
[hereinafter Choix] at para. 17.
39 (1994), CDA-93-1907-07 at 15.
40 Onion, supra note 12.
41 Reference Re Canada Temperance Act,  4 D.L.R. 14 (Ont. C.A.) affd. (P.C.)
42NAFTA, Art. 1904 (2)
43NAFTA, Art. 1904 (3)
44NAFTA Article 1911 defines "general legal principles" to include
"principles such as standing, due process rules of statutory construction, mootness and exhaustion of administrative remedies".
45 Pezim, supranote 7 at 589
46 Pezim, supra note 7 at 580-90.
47 Pezim, supra note 7 and Southam, supra note 9.
48 Bibeault, supra note 6 at 1088.
49 Syndicat des employés de production du Québec et de Láladie v. Canadian
Labour Relations Board,  2 S.C.R. 412. [hereinafter Syndicat]
50 Bibeault, supra note 6 at 1088.
51 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v Canada (Labour Relations Board), 
1 S.C.R. 157 at 179.
52 See, CAIMAW, supra note 29. See also, Syndicat, supra note 49 and
Bibeault, supra note 6.
53 The Supreme Court of Canada has defined a full privative clause as a provision in legislation
" that declares that decisions of tribunals are final and conclusive from which no
appeal lies and all forms of judicial review are excluded". See, Pushpanathan, supra note 19 at 996.
54 See, Bradco, supra note 21 at 340.
55 Southam, supra note 9 at 777.
56 Southam, supra note 9 at 777
57 See, Pushpanathan, supra note 19.
58 Southam, supra note 9.
59 Pezim, supra note 7 at 590.
60 Pezim, supra note 7 at 590
61 Pushpanathan, supra note 19 at 996.
62 Pezim, supra note 7 at 590.
63 Pezim, supra note 7 at 590.
64 The expertise of the CITT was discussed in Corn Growers, supra note 16.
65 The jurisdiction of a court on appeal is much broader than the jurisdiction of a court in review.
See,Bell, supra note 4 at 1774-5.
66 The SIMA was revised in 1994 to amend s. 76(1) in so far as to remove the "final and
conclusive" wording from the clause. See North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act., S.C. 1993, C. 44, p. 17(1).
67 Southam, supra note 9 at 775.
68 Synthetic Baler Twine With a Knot Strength of 200 Lbs. or Less Originating in
or Exported from the United States of America, CDA-94-1904-02 (April 10, 1995).
69 Certain Concrete Panels, Reinforced With Fiberglass Mesh, Originating in or
Exported from the United States of America and Produced by or on Behalf of Custom Building
Products, Its successors and Assigns, for Use or Consumption in the Province of British
Columbia or Alberta, CDA-97-1904-01 (August 26, 1998).
70 See, Southam, supra note 9 at 768 and Pushpanathan, supra note 19 at 990.
71 Pasta, supra note 34.
72One Federal Court of Appeal decision notes that" there does not appear to be any practical
difference between the standard set out in s.18.1(4)(d) and that of patent unreasonability". See,Stelco, supra note 33.
73 Onion, supra note 12, created a fourth standard which falls between reasonable
simpliciter and patently unreasonable that calls for more deference to a tribunal´s findings than that given to expert tribunals containing a statutory
right of appeal but slightly less deference than that given to tribunals protected by a true privative clause.
74 Lester, supra note 30 at 668-9