Manitoba law trivia, tidbits and oddities - Interesting and unusual laws

Manitoba legal trivia, tidbits, and oddoties

Manitoba legal trivia, tidbits, and oddoties

Over the past several months, I have written about (mostly) serious topics.  Today, maybe because it feels very spring-like, I just wanted to share with you a few odd (at least, I found them odd) Manitoba law trivia.

In Manitoba, the province currently has over 550 laws of general applicability on the books.  It has another 30-plus municipal acts – which give the municipalities their legal basis for existence, i.e. the City of Winnipeg Charter – and at least another 250 private acts, such as the Carman Golf Course Incorporation Act.

I can’t explain why the town of Carmen got the Legislative Assembly to pass a law giving it a golf course. Perhaps someone owed the the local MLA a big favour?

A Manitoba law of general applicability is one that allows us to function on a day to day basis. These laws form the infrastructure that sets the traffic rules (the Highway Traffic Act).  They guarantee our right to  own a specific property (the Real Property Act). They allow the government to collect taxes, and so on.  These, in conjunction with the federal laws, form the Rule of Law.

Manitoba laws of general applicability

You will find below other, more obscure or interesting, law of general applicability:

The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Act (RSM 1987, c. C150)

This act establishes our provincial coat of arms as “Vert on a Rock a Buffalo statant proper, on a Chief Argent the cross of St. George.”   The act also makes it an offence to use the coat of arms without permission (a fine not to exceed $100.00 for every day used).

The act also establishes the following provincial emblems:

  • Floral emblem: The flower known botanically as the aenomone patens and popularly called the “crocus”.
  • Avian emblem: The bird ornithologically known as Strix nebulosa and commonly called the “Great Gray Owl”.
  • Mammal emblem: The animal known zoologically as Bison bison bison and commonly called the plains bison.
  • Fish emblem: The fish known ichthyologically as Sander vitreus and commonly called the walleye.
  • Arboreal emblem: The tree known botanically as Picea glauca and commonly called the “White Spruce”.
  • Provincial soil: The soil technically known as Orthic Black Chernozem and commonly called “Newdale soil”.
  • Grass emblem: The grass known botanically as Andropogon gerardii and commonly called big bluestem.
  • Fossil emblem: The mosasaur known as Tylosaurus pembinensis .

The Gold Clauses Act

This Manitoba law states that in the event a clause in a contract demands payment in gold, payment in currency will discharge the obligation. Who knew we had this on the books?

The Good Samaritan Protection Act

The common law (law decided by judges) creates a civil responsibility when someone assists another person in distress.  Someone who aids an injured person must not be negligent when providing aid.

In some cases, good intentioned people who acted under stress and inadvertently aggravated injuries were found liable in negligence. Government started to worry that people would not assist others in distress out of fear of being sued.

This Manitoba law states that a “good samaritan” who assist an injured person can’t be found liable unless their actions amount to GROSS negligence.  The act does not apply to professionals.

The Use of Animals to Shield Unlawful Activities Act

Under this Manitoba law, you can’t use a guard animal to protect an illegal activity.  So, if you plan on establishing a grow op in your home (I do not recommend this), you can’t use a dog to protect your property.

If you do, aside from the punishments available under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) for the grow op, if found guilty, a judge may fine you up to $5,000.00 and jail you for up to 3 months for the use of a guard dog.

A few other acts are worth a mention as well.  The Milk Prices Review Act sets prices for the sale of milk.  That’s why prices of 1 litre of milk is about the same everywhere.  The Escheats Act gives the government the power to take “title” of property that does not pass on under a will or the intestacy act or is forfeited to the state.

This article is focussed solely on Manitoba laws.  The Canadian Parliament also enacts laws. I suspect federal laws far outnumber our provincial ones.  in the future, the odd and unusual federal laws will be the subject of another article.

Disclaimer – Legalese

I appreciate the irony of this disclaimer, but while I am critical of the rules, I must still play by them, so here goes….This article is presented for informational purposes only. The content does not constitute legal advice or solicitation and does not create a solicitor client relationship (this means that I am not your lawyer until we both agree that I am). If you are seeking advice on specific matters, please contact Philippe Richer at richerp@tlrlaw.ca, or 204.925.1900. We cannot consider any unsolicited information sent to the author as solicitor-client privileged (this means confidential).



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