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Canadian Contract Law: Wikis


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Canadian contract law has its foundation in the English legal tradition of the 19th and early 20th century. It remains largely rooted in the old English common law and equity. Individual provinces have codified many of the principles in a Sale of Goods Act, which was also modeled on early English versions. Quebec, being a civil law jurisdiction, does not have contract law, but rather has its own law of obligations that is codified in the Quebec Civil Code.


Elements of a contract

In following with the common law tradition, a contract requires offer, acceptance, and consideration. The parties themselves must be capable of contracting and must have the intention to create legal relations.



An offer must be some indication of the offeror to the offeree that he is prepared to form a binding legal agreement. Intention is measured objectively.[1] Commercial deals are presumed to be of a legal nature[2] while an agreement made between family members or in a social engagementis presumed not to be of a legal nature.[3]

An offer must also be distinguished from an invitation to treat, which is where one party invites another party to consider a deal.

Advertisements are also considered invitations. Exceptions are made in circumstances where a unilateral contract for performance is offered or where the advertisement is sufficiently serious about its promise such as in the famous Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co.. In the similar case of Goldthorpe v. Logan, [1943] 2 DLR 519 (Ont CA) an "absolute and unqualified" guarantee to safely remove all hair by electrolysis, was found to be an offer as the plaintiff paid for the treatment on the basis of the offer.

The display of goods in store is typically an invitation.[4] The quotation of the lowest price is also considered an invitation.[5] However, in some circumstances a quotation will be an offer. In Canadian Dyers Association Ltd. v. Burton, [1920] 47 OLR 259 (HC), a quotation followed by the statement "if it were anyone else I would ask for more" was considered an offer.

A call for tenders is usually considered an invitation. In R. v. Ron Engineering & Construction Ltd., [1981] 1 S.C.R. 111, however, the Supreme Court found that a call was an offer where there the call was sufficiently "contract-like". Later, in M.J.B. Enterprises Ltd. V. Defence Construction (1951) Ltd.. [1999] 1 S.C.R. 619, the Court again found a call to be an offer which was accepted with the tender submission (known as Contract A).


  • S.M. Waddams, The Law of Contracts (Canada Law Book:Toronto, 1999)


  1. ^ Grant v. Province of New Brunswick, [1975] 35 D.L.R. (3d) 141 (NBCA)
  2. ^ Edwards v. Skyways Ltd., [1964] 1 All E.R. 494 (QBD)
  3. ^ See Jones v. Padavatton, [1969] 2 All E.R. 616 (CA) and Balfour v Balfour, [1919] 2 K.B. 571 (CA)
  4. ^ See Fisher v Bell, [1961] 1 QB 394 and Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v. Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd, [1952] 2 QB 795
  5. ^ Harvey v. Facey [1893] A.C. 552(PC)

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

The following text is intended to provide a survey of the law of contracts in Canada.


  • Formation of the Bargain
    • Offer and Invitation to Treat
    • Invitation for Tenders
    • Acceptance
    • Consideration
      • Past consideration
    • intention
  • Interpretation of a Contract
    • Statute of Frauds
    • Implied Terms
  • Unenforceable Contracts
    • Uncertainty and incompleteness
      • Vagueness
      • Agreements to agree
    • Capacity
    • Duress
    • Undue Influence
    • Statute of Frauds
    • Non Est Factum
  • Alternatives to Contract Formation
    • Quantum Meruit
    • Estoppel
  • Rights of Third Parties
    • Assignment
    • Delegation
    • Novation
    • Third party privity
  • Breach of Contract
    • Anticipatory repudiation
    • Exclusion Clauses
    • Fundamental breach

Further Reading

  • Waddam, "Waddams on Contracts"
  • Friedman, "Law of Contracts"

See also


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