Gjoa Haven gets back $1.2M after judge reverses default ruling

Private company’s lawsuit alleges losses due to improper tendering practices

The Hamlet of Gjoa Haven will get back $1.2 million garnished from its bank account related to a lawsuit that started in 2017, a Nunavut court judge has ruled. (File photo)

By Jorge Antunes

The Hamlet of Gjoa Haven will have $1.26 million returned to it after a judge set aside a default judgment that allowed a private company to garnish that amount from the municipality’s bank account.

The ruling, issued by Justice Christian Lyons in the Nunavut Court of Justice on May 15, was publicly released last week.

According to the written decision, in August 2017, CAP Enterprises Ltd., a Gjoa Haven-based construction contractor, filed a lawsuit against the hamlet and one of the hamlet’s senior employees, Shawn Stuckey, alleging losses due to improper tendering processes.

In the lawsuit, CAP Enterprises alleged it sustained $1.2 million in damages.

Despite months of legal correspondence between CAP Enterprises, the hamlet and its legal representative, the hamlet did not file a statement of defence.

On Dec. 6, 2019 — more than 18 months after the original lawsuit was filed — CAP Enterprises filed for and received a default judgment in its favour.

The default judgment allowed CAP Enterprises to go through the Hamlet of Gjoa Haven’s bank, CIBC, to garnish the $1.2 million.

CIBC paid that money to the court on July 13, 2022.

“Immediately upon being informed of the collection efforts, the hamlet asked [its lawyers] to investigate what had occurred an initiate steps to set aside the garnishee summons,” Lyons said in his judgment.

The hamlet applied to the court on Aug. 2, 2022, to have the default judgment set aside. Lyons heard the matter in court in November 2023.

In its notice of application, the hamlet said that despite instructing its legal representative to defend it against the claim, no statement of defence was ever filed.

Lyons set aside the default judgment and the garnishee summons against the hamlet. He did the same for Stuckey, the individual named in the suit, saying CAP did not provide sufficient evidence Stuckey was ever served with a statement of claim.

His ruling gives CAP Enterprises 90 days to return the money it had garnished from the hamlet. Thirty days after the money is returned in full, the hamlet has 30 days to file a statement of defence against the original claim.

“Unfortunately, and likely expensively, the file appears to have simply fallen through the cracks with [the hamlet’s] counsel, as happens from time to time,” Lyons wrote in his decision.

“Lawyers, like the rest of us, are human. Mistakes happen and those mistakes have consequences and require remediation. This inadvertent mistake, however, does not rise to a level that cannot be countenanced.”

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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by How it looks from here on

    Activist judges covering for the incompetence of municipalities…

    • Posted by Gh strong on

      Covering up for municipalities? seriously shareholders shouldn’t be a part of the council favouring there own company, let alone build it for 20+ years, isn’t that conflict of interest?

  2. Posted by Northerner2 on

    Don’t forget to mention all the money that homeowners applied for Home Renovation Programs and got approved and did little work on the homeowners and CAP received $60 to $80,000.00 per home.

    CAP over charge paint, doors, sidings, plywood,etc.

    • Posted by Don’t forget on

      Overcharge for automotive work.

      • Posted by Northerner2 on

        FACT: CAP has new beneficiaries as shareholders

  3. Posted by John Smith on

    Sounds like the municipality should have pursued it’s counsel.

    The court should have maintained the original judgement, and the municipality should have been compensated by those responsible for the mistake.

    Courts hold people to account everyday. Lawyers and judges always skate.

    Does anyone rememberjustice Marc Grimard from the itererant court? He retired without a peep. Where’d he go?

  4. Posted by Worst court ever on

    “The hamlet applied to the court on Aug. 2, 2022, to have the default judgment set aside. Lyons heard the matter in court in November 2023.”
    This is the level of swift justice business people or anyone seeking civil justice in Nunavut can expect. Are you owed child support? How about a debt for some work your small business did? Did someone renege on a house sale contract? How about the government being negligent and not fixing the handrail on the staircase? In Nunavut, the Court can’t handle basic things in any timely manner. Justice delayed 1 year for what is a very, very, very simple matter is Justice denied for everyone involved in the case.

    • Posted by alex on

      Let’s talk about buttered sausage. Where it comes from? What it does? Why is it doing what it’s doing? Get it out of my face

  5. Posted by Anonymousnun3 on

    Cap or what ever they called now should always do criminal record checks on their new workers as far I heard their is a criminal working for the company. And doesn’t have certificate for operating loader or any other heavy equipment training certificate. And doesn’t even have many Inuit working according to their website.

    • Posted by Go Figure on

      You may want to report them to NTI.

      Many people in Nunavut may not be aware, but any contractor who wins a bid in Nunavut is required to have 30% Inuit representation. This requirement applies not only to CAP Enterprise in Kitikmeot but also to every construction bid.

      EPLS in Kivalliq hires a lot of people from the south, and they may have Inuit employees as laborers, but you will never find Inuit in the corporate office or doing finance work, unless they are the wife or child of the owner.

      • Posted by Sam on

        Go figure simpleton, you are singling out long established businesses in Nunavut that contribute to the local economy for decades and sponser all kinds of local events, open your eyes around you if you even live in Nunavut . Pen-co, NDL, making milllions and millions with big offices in wpg donate nothing to local events, and no I don’t work for Epls . Stupid statement

      • Posted by Maq-Pat on

        Source please for this 30% mentioned. That is not in the Nunavut Agreement.

    • Posted by Ask anyways on

      Charlie is a great guy and good things happen in Gjoa because of him. Typical crabs in the bucket syndrome in Gjoa. Jealousy and envy is rampant, oh and btw just because you’ve got a criminal record doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working. Unless your of course one of those people on Gjoa that does nothing all day and collects cheque for a living

      • Posted by Always Asking on

        CAP is of great benefit to the community of Gjoa Haven !!!
        When emergencies happen, they get them fixed quickly and profesionally, I know this
        from dealings with them..
        If local people can’t or won’t do the job, then companies in Nunavut have no choice but
        to bring in southern workers.

  6. Posted by Need reliable local workers on

    What Nunavut needs is qualified and reliable Inuk workers. The training is available and free! If you have time to point fingers and play the blame game, you have time to study and graduate. No excuses

  7. Posted by Gjoa on

    Name 1 good thing they have done? Talk down on us Inuit nice. One of you defending gotta be Jason always talking down on Inuit

  8. Posted by Gjoa on

    Name one good thing they have done for the community other then take money? Simpleton

  9. Posted by Gh on

    the owners took advantage of community organizations being in the hamlet council and other organizations even as far as representing gjoa haven as the KIA delegate, recruiting others, why are southern teachers who came up north to help our youth getting involved with cap? Marrying beneficiaries influencing trying to control the community it’s disgusting.

  10. Posted by Gh on

    Cap does nothing for the local community, donations to organizations are almost irrelevant, I’ve dealt with many organizations cap donates much less then local stores, NDL donated much more than cap ever will

  11. Posted by Gh on

    This is so true, too bad our own people are in on it too, I don’t understand the teachers who came to help us? they just used us taught us nothing and took advantage of us, now their children are shareholders they married a name to gain benefits it’s disgusting

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