Acts and Regulations

2011, c.173 - Inquiries Act

Full text
Current to 16 June 2023
2011, c.173
Inquiries Act
Deposited May 13, 2011
1The following definitions apply in this Act.
“commissioners” means commissioners appointed under this Act and includes a commissioner when only one person is appointed. (commissaires)
“prescribed form” means a form prescribed under section 17. (formule prescrite)
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.1, ss.18(2)
Appointment of commission
2The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may cause a commission to issue under the Great Seal to one or more persons to hold an inquiry into and concerning any matter connected with the good government of the Province, the conduct of any part of the public business, the administration of justice or any matter that the Lieutenant-Governor in Council considers to be of public interest.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.2
3The commissioners may hold meetings for the purposes of the inquiry at any place within the Province and may adjourn their meetings from time to time to any place in the Province.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.3
Summons, examination and oath of witnesses
4(1)Any one commissioner may by summons, in the prescribed form, require the attendance before the commissioners of any person whose evidence may be material to the subject of the inquiry and may order any person to produce the books, papers and documents that appear necessary.
4(2)A person summoned under subsection (1) shall attend and answer all questions put to that person by a commissioner touching the matters being or to be inquired into and shall produce before the commissioners all books, papers and documents required of that person and in that person’s custody or control.
4(3)The testimony of the witnesses may be taken on oath or affirmation, which may be administered by any one commissioner.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.4
Power to enforce summons
5(1)If a person, on whom a summons has been served either personally or by leaving a copy of it for that person with some adult person at that person’s last or most usual place of abode, fails to appear before the commissioners, a warrant, in the prescribed form, may be issued.
5(2)A summons may be served by any person.
5(3)A warrant may be executed by a sheriff or a police officer.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.5; 1983, c.41, s.1
Penalty for refusing to comply
6(1)A person who refuses to be sworn when required, or omits or refuses without just cause to sufficiently answer a question put to that person by a commissioner, may be committed by warrant, in the prescribed form, to the common jail of the county in which the inquiry is then being held, for a term not exceeding 30 days.
6(2)On the last day of the term for which the person has been imprisoned, the sheriff or jailer in whose custody the person then is shall bring the person before the commissioners, and if the person persists in his or her former refusal, the commissioners may recommit him or her for a further period not exceeding 30 days, and so on until the person ceases to persist in his or her refusal.
6(3)A person who refuses to produce before the commissioners any book, paper or document in that person’s custody or control may be punished by the commissioners in the same manner as if the person had refused to be sworn or to answer a question put to that person by the commissioners.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.6
Powers of commissioners respecting meetings
7When holding their meetings, the commissioners have the same power for the preservation of order in their meetings and for the punishment of any disturbance or contempt committed against the commissioners or their office as is possessed by a judge of The Court of King’s Bench of New Brunswick when sitting for the trial of causes, and all jailers, sheriffs and other police officers shall give their aid and assistance to the commissioners in the execution of their office.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.7; 1979, c.41, s.67; 1983, c.41, s.2; 2023, c.17, s.113
8The commissioners may hear and accept any relevant evidence even though it is not admissible under the rules applying to trials in The Court of King’s Bench of New Brunswick.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.8; 1979, c.41, s.67; 2023, c.17, s.113
Payment of witnesses
9Witnesses attending before the commissioners are entitled to reasonable compensation, and the amount of that compensation shall be fixed and determined by the commissioners and paid by warrant of the Lieutenant-Governor on the certificate of the commissioners.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.9
Report of commission
10The commissioners shall report the evidence taken before them and the finding on the evidence and the proceedings of the commission to the Attorney General, who shall lay them before the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.10; 1978, c.D-11.2, s.22; 2006, c.16, s.92
Remuneration of commissioners
11The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may pay the commissioners for their services and expenses by warrant out of the public money of the Province.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.11
Action against commissioner
12(1)No action shall be brought or maintained against a commissioner by reason of an act purporting to be done by the commissioner in his or her capacity as a commissioner, unless it appears that the act was done by the commissioner without reasonable cause and with actual malice and wholly without jurisdiction.
12(2)In an action under subsection (1), the defendant may plead the general issue and give the special matter in evidence.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.12, s.13
Inquiries by certain Ministers
13(1)At any time, the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development or the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure may hold an inquiry into any matter connected with his or her department, and for that purpose shall have all the powers given under this Act to commissioners appointed under section 2, and all the provisions of this Act in reference to witnesses, evidence, production of documents, commitment for refusal to appear or testify, and preservation of order in the court on an inquiry shall apply and extend to the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development or the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, and to all acts, matters and things done by the Minister in the course of an inquiry, or preliminary to or consequent on an inquiry.
13(2)Witnesses attending are entitled to reasonable compensation, and the amount of that compensation shall be fixed by the Minister and paid by warrant of the Lieutenant-Governor.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.14; 1986, c.8, s.61; 2004, c.20, s.35; 2010, c.31, s.76; 2012, c.52, s.28; 2016, c.37, s.87; 2019, c.29, s.184
Orders of Lieutenant-Governor in Council
14Generally in regard to all commissions issued and inquiries held under this Act or specially in regard to any commission and inquiry, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may by order make provision for all or any of the following matters:
(a) remuneration of commissioners;
(b) remuneration of witnesses;
(c) allowances to witnesses in respect of mileage and maintenance;
(d) incidental and necessary expenses;
(e) generally, in respect of all acts, matters and things that may be necessary to enable complete effect to be given to every provision of this Act.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.15
Financing of commission
15In the absence of a special appropriation of the Legislature available for the purpose, the costs and expenses incurred in connection with a commission issued and inquiry held under this Act shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.16
Inquiry by Council of Maritime Premiers
16(1)The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may vest in any board, commission, tribunal or other body or person established or appointed by, under or in relation to the Council of Maritime Premiers for the purpose of studying, investigating or hearing and determining a matter of common concern among the Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island all of the powers and privileges that commissioners have under this Act.
16(2)The powers and privileges vested under subsection (1) may be exercised by the board, commission, tribunal or other body or person in relation to persons, organizations and documents resident or situated within New Brunswick wherever the study, investigation or hearing is conducted or held within the region comprised of the Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, s.17
17The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing forms required under this Act.
R.S.1973, c.I-11, ss.18(1)
N.B. This Act was proclaimed and came into force September 1, 2011.
N.B. This Act is consolidated to June 16, 2023.