Letter Decision No. LET-W-149-2000
Application by Halterm Limited pursuant to section 52 of the Canada Marine Act
The Canadian Transportation Agency (the Agency) has reviewed both Halterm Limited (Halterm) and the Halifax Port Authority's (the HPA) Notices to Produce as well as Halterm's letter of May 23, 2000 requesting an Agency ruling on the scope of section 25 of the National Transportation Agency General Rules (the General Rules). What is at issue is the nature of some of the requests contained in the notices to produce and the HPA's assertion that they are not specific enough to meet the requirements of section 25.
Subsection 25(1) of the General Rules states:
A party may give notice in writing to any other party to produce a document that relates to any matter in dispute between those parties in respect of the proceeding and that is in the possession or control of the other party, and the notice shall specify the document to be produced.
While this provision states that the notice shall specify the document to be produced, this must be interpreted in a manner that recognizes the purpose of the provision, to allow for the production of documents in a discovery process within the context of a proceeding before the Agency.
By its very nature, this discovery process is an attempt by each party to know the position of the other party in advance of the hearing so that they are better able to prepare their cases for hearing and can avoid surprise at the hearing. The party requesting production may not have specific knowledge of the documents that it requires from the other party, but this should not prevent that party from seeking to obtain production of relevant information.
The Agency finds that to adopt a narrow interpretation of subsection 25(1) of the General Rules would frustrate the very purpose of the provision and, in the circumstances of this case, further finds that the notices to produce are proper.