Simon Fraser Student Society v. Canadian Federation of Students (March 2008 referendum)

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The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) delivered a valid disaffiliation petition to the Canadian Federation of Students in September 2007. A Referendum Oversight Committee (ROC) was set up, and this committee agreed to a number of provisions, including the referendum question. However, shortly before the referendum was going to begin, the CFS delivered a letter to the SFSS stating that the referendum could not go ahead, due to (1) “pre-campaigning,” allegedly containing “inaccurate” and “defamatory” information, and (2) the SFSS general election taking place co-incidental to the planned date of the referendum. Nonetheless, the referendum proceeded on March 18-20, 2008, and 67% of students voted to leave the CFS. The SFSS then pre-emptively filed a lawsuit against the CFS, asking for a declaration that the referendum was valid, which the CFS denies. On August 10, 2009, the Court made a ruling that the case was too complex to be tried through the “petition” process, and instead the case would be heard as a conventional trial, should the parties prove unable to settle the case out of court.

UPDATE – March 28, 2015

The parties settled this case out of court on December 23, 2011. A joint press release was agreed upon and published to the SFSS’ website on January 4, 2012. As part of the agreement, the SFSS’ membership in the CFS, CFS-Services and CFS-British Columbia was terminated.