Federal Court of Appeal upholds limitation clause in Standard Trading the Conditions of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association

The Federal Court of Appeal recently upheld the 9-month limitation period in the Standard Trading the Conditions of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association. That limitation provides that:

16. Notwithstanding any of the provisions hereof the Company shall in any event be discharged of all liability whatsoever arising in respect of any service provided for the Customer or which the Company has undertaken to provide unless suit be brought as provided for in these Conditions within nine months from (i) the date of the event or occurrence alleged to give rise to the Company's liability, or (ii) after the delivery of any goods covered by the service, or the date when such goods should have been delivered, whichever is the later. 

In the case of Labrador-Island Link General Partner Corporation v. Panalpina Inc., 2020 FCA 36, the appellant argued that the limitation did not apply because it had not consented to the terms when it hired the respondent. The Court rejected that argument concluding that:

[32]  It was open to the Judge to find on the evidentiary record before him that the CIFFA terms applied and he committed no reviewable errors in so finding. The appellants had notice of the CIFFA terms hundreds of times, through the quotes and invoices provided for each shipment. Indeed, as stated in paragraph [10] above, the two subject shipments were, respectively, the 299th and 459th shipments arranged at the request of Nalcor, all of which followed the same sequence of events of quotes offered by Panalpina, acceptance by Nalcor, and invoices issued from Panalpina to Nalcor for payment of its services.

In summary, the case serves as a good reminder that contractual terms can be incorporated into quotes and that previous dealings are relevant. 

The case can be found here: https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fca/doc/2020/2020fca36/2020fca36.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAOIm1hcml0aW1lIGxhdyIAAAAAAQ&resultIndex=3

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