Nov 16, 2014

Summary of Queen v. Cognos Inc.

Queen v. Cognos Inc., [1993] 1 SCR 87

The defendant hired the plaintiff to work on a project, told the plaintiff his would be an important role and it would be a lasting position. The plaintiff relied on these representations and left his current well paying and secure job to accept the position. At the time, the defendant's management had not approved funding for the project, and shortly after it was scaled down and the plaintiff's position was cancelled. The plaintiff sues for negligent misrepresentation due to the contractual relations he had with the defendant. The issue here is what duty of care the defendant owed to the plaintiff.

Iacobucci J. decided that there existed a special relationship between defendant and plaintiff giving rise to a duty of care. It was foreseeable that the plaintiff would rely on the representation, a relationship of proximity existed, and a duty of care existed to exercise reasonable care and diligence in making representations as to the employer and employment opportunities beyond offered. Iacobucci is rejecting the Hedley Byrne duty of care, which confines this duty to "professionals," such as doctors, lawyers or accountants, which he views as overly simplistic. Instead, the question of whether a duty of care exists must consider a number of considerations, with only one of which being the professional of the person making representations.