The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

National Blog

Building a foundation for data-collection under MAID

By Kim Covert June 27 2017 27 June 2017


    Too onerous, too cumbersome, and possibly not quite respectful enough of privacy, are some of the responses from the CBA’s End of Life Working Group to a Health Canada consultation on a monitoring regime for those seeking a doctor’s assistance to end their lives.

    The Medical Assistance in Dying Act passed in June 2016 acknowledges the importance of a comprehensive monitoring system to collect and analyze data about the demand for medical assistance in dying, and to monitor trends.

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    Mercosur trade talks: An opportunity for Canada to review its model free-trade agreement

    By Kim Covert June 26 2017 26 June 2017


      A cigar may sometimes be just a cigar, as they say, but a trade deal is rarely a simple matter of exchanges of goods or services for money.

      Several CBA groups have weighed in on the positions the federal government should take if it decides to formally reopen trade talks with the MERCOSUR bloc, including International Law, Immigration Law, Competition Law, the CCCA and the Anti-Corruption Team. Mercosur, also known as the Southern Cone Common Market, is a customs union established by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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      Parts of small business tax amendments fall ‘outside the realm of mischief’

      By Kim Covert June 26 2017 26 June 2017


        A proposal in the 2016 federal budget to change section 125 of the Income Tax Act dealing with the Small Business Deduction risks creating unintended consequences for businesses across the country, says the Joint Committee on Taxation of the CBA and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

        The Joint Committee sent a submission outlining its concerns with the proposed amendments to Finance Canada last summer. It prepared a second submission for the Canada Revenue Agency in February and then met with members of the CRA, who agreed that the statutory language supports the committee’s interpretation. The CRA said that the matter would have to go back to Finance Canada. So in June, the Joint Committee sent its February submission to the Tax Policy Branch of Finance Canada.

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        A few challenges in the reinstated Court Challenges Program

        By Kim Covert June 23 2017 23 June 2017

           

          The Canadian Bar Association is happy to see the Court Challenges Program reinstated. The program has played an important role in developing groundbreaking jurisprudence on equality and language rights in Canada.

          That said, the reinstated and modernized program as proposed – particularly the decision to extend the scope of the Program and the continued exclusion of Aboriginal and treaty rights – has triggered some concerns.

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          ‘Use’ requirement for trademark registration doesn’t need fixing

          By Kim Covert June 22 2017 22 June 2017

             

            Amendments  to the Trade-Marks Act made in 2014, despite not being fully implemented yet, have already encouraged squatting and over-claiming, and have resulted in a 75 per cent increase in the number of Canadian applications waiting to be registered, from 40,000 in 2014 to nearly 70,000, the CBA National IP Section says in a letter to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

            “We believe many of these pending applications would be registered, but for the current requirement to file a declaration of use,” the Section says.

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            End of life: Chairs are seated, let’s get to work

            By Kim Covert June 22 2017 22 June 2017


              In April, the Council of Canadian Academies announced the appointment of its Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying, to be chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps.

              It also announced the chairs of the working groups tasked with studying the three areas that the federal government marked out for further study when it passed the medical assistance in dying law: mature minors, advance requests and mental illness.

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              Getting technical: Recommendations for billed-basis accounting changes

              By Kim Covert June 15 2017 15 June 2017

                The federal government’s policy rationale for repealing section 34 of the Income Tax Act – the billed-basis accounting tax provision for several groups of professionals – may seem sound, but doing so will create uncertainties and compliance burdens that have sunk similar proposals in the past, says the Joint Committee on Taxation of the Canadian Bar Association and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

                The federal government announced in its March 2017 budget that it would remove the exemption available to professionals including doctors, dentists, accountants and lawyers to exclude work-in-progress from their year-end income.

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                The CBA responds to ILO’s call for input on child labour

                By Kim Covert June 14 2017 14 June 2017

                  Child labour has largely been eradicated in First-World countries yet people who congratulate themselves for not forcing their country’s children to work for pennies also benefit from that kind of labour elsewhere, by paying lower prices for consumer goods.

                  It’s part of the reason why child labour is such a seemingly intractable problem – world governments failed in their goal to end the worst forms of child labour by 2016. Now the 2015 sustainable development have reiterated the call for an end to child labour. Goal 8.7 sets a goal of 2025 for ending child labour in all its forms– just eight years from now.

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                  CBA submission on the environmental review process

                  By Kim Covert May 18 2017 18 May 2017


                    In the tennis match that is the government’s review of its environmental assessment process, the ball is back in the CBA’s court – and the Association is calling a fault on the play.

                    In December, the CBA’s National Aboriginal Law Section and the National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section made a joint submission to the expert panel in Vancouver, and followed up with a letter in response to questions asked by the panel.

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                    CBA rolls out child rights toolkit

                    By CBA/ABC National May 17 2017 17 May 2017

                       

                      The CBA has launched an online toolkit packed with information and resources to help lawyers, judges and other professionals make better decisions for children.

                      The CBA Child Rights Toolkit provides checklists, key cases, precedents and sample facta plus basic information on overarching principles of children’s rights, constitutional considerations, legal representation, the role of independent human rights institutions and child rights impact assessments.

                      It is designed to help identify breaches of legal rights and provide remedies across a broad range of practice areas from family law and child protection to immigration and education law.

                      The resource is a collaborative effort of 13 CBA sections led by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child subcommittee of the Children’s Law Committee. It was funded by the CBA Law for the Future Fund, and inspired by the need to improve access to justice for children in Canada.

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                      Sympathy for fallen cop basis of flawed proposed legislation

                      By Kim Covert April 25 2017 25 April 2017

                         

                        A proposed bill that made it from the Senate to the House of Commons on a wave of sympathy for the police officer whose death prompted it is so flawed it should not pass into law, says the CBA’s National Criminal Justice Section.

                        Bill S-217, sponsored by Conservative Senator Bob Runciman, was drafted in response to the death of Edmonton RCMP Const. David Wynn, who was killed by a “career criminal” out on bail.

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                        Canada's Criminal Code needs a "different perspective"

                        By Yves Faguy April 19 2017 19 April 2017

                           

                          Lisa Silver has an interesting post up with some ideas on modernizing the Criminal Code.  She welcomes the repeal of invalid “zombie” provisions that the government is looking to remove, but is less impressed with recently proposed amendments to the impaired driving offences – “Charter unfriendly”, in her view – that are part of the government’s move to legalize pot by next year. She laments that the government is taking a piecemeal approach to the Code’s modernization and makes a pitch for a grander makeover:

                          What needs to be done instead of modernization for the sake of modernizing is a thoughtful and deliberate consideration of the whole of the Code. What needs to be done is a rethinking of our criminal law not as a jumble of sections prohibited conduct but as a unified reflection of societal values. This includes all of what the criminal law stands for such as the integrity of the administration of justice itself.  This requires, as suggested by the Supreme Court of Canada in Jordan, a cultural change. Not just a “new look” but a different perspective. To do this, instead of taking a page from the Code, let’s learn from our case law and use the principled or contextual approach to change. Real change is only possible if we design laws holistically mindful of the law as a mere part of the larger social fabric. Laws can act as visual markers, creating and defining social space in a community. Successful laws will therefore integrate with society, be flexible to societal needs and frame societal space. The Criminal Code must therefore be considered as part of the social landscape and be created as a marker of who we are, not as a headstone marking the past. The federal government has an opportunity to do this, let’s hope that in the next step to rethinking the Criminal Code, they will fulfill their promise and do just that.

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