This case was heard in the Federal Court of Canada.
In 1970, a tank barge owned by J.D. Irving, Limited (“Irving”) sank near the Magdalen Islands. Over the next twenty-six years, the federal Crown monitored the situation and occasionally took minor preventative measures to prevent oil leakage. After a report issued in 1992 recommended more serious preventative action, the Crown raised the barge in 1996. Afterwards, it initiated legal proceedings against Irving and a number of other parties that had been involved in the original sinking.
The Court held that the Crown’s legal claims under the Canada Shipping Act were time-barred, but that the Crown could pursue the defendants for claims based in torts, as the laws of negligence and nuisance were not subject to the same limitations as the provisions in the Canada Shipping Act.