Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Zero Definition:

Nil; no quantity or number.

In Canada v Gauley, an employment insurance recipient had been found to have made misleading statements to the Government but it was proposed to set his penalty at zero ($0.00).

In considering this novel penalty, Justice Stone of the Federal Court of Appeal of Canada adopted these words:

"The very concept of the imposing of a penalty ... indicates that something more than zero was contemplated, as it seems intended to permit some degree of monetary punishment of the claimant.... (T)o speak of a zero penalty would appear to be an oxymoron.... When we speak of a zero amount we mean the figure of 0 or nought.... no quantity or number; nil...."

"By reducing the monetary penalties to zero the Board of Referees has wiped out in their entirety the amounts which the Commission in its discretion fixed. In a case such as this where the Commission's power to impose the monetary penalties is not questioned, reducing the penalties to zero would have the effect of completely nullifying the exercise of that power .... In my view, the case law does not extend the Board's powers that far."

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