4. What is the meaning of the word “plant” in the Milk Act?

Michael Schmidt raises a glass of the good stuff.

Thursday July 26th at 9:30 am, Michael Schmidt, his Canadian Constitution Foundation lawyer Karen Selick, and citizens concerned about raw milk and food freedom will converge at Osgoode Hall in Toronto for the occasion of Michael’s request for leave to appeal his convictions relating to raw milk. (More details at the end.) As with yesterday’s word “distribute”, much hinges on the special definitions given to ordinary words when used in the context of one law or another. From the Applicant’s Factum:

  • The Milk Act prohibits operating a “plant” without a licence, and defines “plant” as “a cream transfer station, a milk transfer station or premises in which milk or cream or milk products are processed.”
  • The Milk Act then defines “processing” as follows:

“heating, pasteurizing, evaporation, drying, churning, freezing, packaging, packing, separating into component parts, combining with other substances by any process or otherwise treating milk or cream or milk products in the manufacture or preparation of milk products or fluid milk products;”

  • The foregoing definitions, if interpreted broadly, would make a “milk plant” out of the households of every mother who warms store-bought milk for her baby’s bottle, or every person who makes yogurt, ice-cream or a latté with small kitchen appliances.  The definition of “plant” must therefore necessarily be given a restrictive interpretation in order to make sense.  Again, the appropriate dividing line would seem to be that between public, commercial enterprises and private arrangements.
  • In Construction of Statutes, author Sullivan writes:

“…for legislation drafted in general terms, a purposeful interpretation often requires a restrictive interpretation—one in which the scope of the general language is narrowed so as to exclude applications that are outside the purpose.

“The legislative direction [in the Interpretation Act, for instance] to interpret all legislation as remedial is also unfortunate in so far as it suggests that courts should no longer rely on the values underlying strict construction—the enjoyment of individual liberty, privacy, property rights and the like.  While these are not the only values worth protecting, they remain an important part of Canadian legal culture.  Legislation that invades privacy or takes away rights should be interpreted strictly—unless other, more compelling considerations suggest otherwise.”

If people would like to show their appreciation for what the Canadian Constitution Foundation is doing for Michael Schmidt and food freedom, their renewed financial support would be welcome. This case takes a lot of resources to handle. Donate here:http://www.canadianconstitutionfoundation.ca/toc.php/40

Michael Schmidt’s court appearance will take place at the Ontario Court of Appeal, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West (at University), Toronto.  Court will start at 9:30 a.m.  Spectators are permitted.  People who wish to attend should be aware that they will have to go through security to enter the building.

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