The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

National Blog

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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                Enriching Canadians’ access to justice through language

                By Kim Covert April 19 2017 19 April 2017


                  Nearly 49 years after then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau introduced the Official Languages Act in the House of Commons, and 48 years since it became law, the federal government is preparing to develop another action plan on official languages.

                  The CBA has gone on record as strongly encouraging the government to include improved access to justice in both official languages as part of its calculations.

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                  The fight over mandatory CPD: A waste of judicial resources?

                  By Yves Faguy April 18 2017 18 April 2017

                     

                    Omar Ha-Redeye struggles to understand why anyone would take on mandatory CPD imposed by his law society as something worthy of a challenge all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada (in Green v Law Society of Manitoba, the top court ruled that law societies can suspend lawyers for not completing their mandatory credits)

                    Aside from the fact that he was being compelled to do it, I'm not exactly sure what the lawyer was objecting to with mandatory CPD. Granted, many lawyers simply complete it to check off a box. But many more actually benefit from CPD, gaining useful insight into strategy and techniques, obtaining copies of checklists and precedents, or learning about new and emerging areas of law.

                    Jim Middlemiss thinks he’s missing the broader point:

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                    CBA welcomes diversity measures in Bill C-25

                    By Kim Covert April 11 2017 11 April 2017


                      Changes to the Canada Business Corporations Act designed to make certain enterprises more accountable for diversity in corporate leadership get a thumbs-up from a number of CBA groups.

                      The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, the Women Lawyers Forum, the Business, Charities and Not-for-Profit and Competition sections and the Equality Committee collaborated on a submission responding to Bill C-25, which proposes amendments to the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and the Competition Act.

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                      Technology-neutral PIPEDA’s consent model has aged well; Regulations have not

                      By Kim Covert April 7 2017 7 April 2017


                        If it ain’t broke…

                        That’s essentially what the CBA told the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee in March about the existing consent model in PIPEDA – the Personal Information and Protection of Electronic Documents Act that was enacted in 2001.

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                        CBA groups urge repeal of Criminal Code section 159 at ‘earliest opportunity’

                        By Kim Covert April 6 2017 6 April 2017


                          It used to be that when the Criminal Code talked about sex, it talked about sexual acts – and it made a whole host of them illegal – particularly if they were associated with homosexuality. But in the 1980s, a more open-minded wind blew through the Code, bringing with it the idea that the specific acts should be less of a focus than the age of the people performing them and their capacity to consent to them.

                          As it currently stands, the age of consent is 16, and 16-year-olds can consent to any form of sexual activity that it pleases them to engage in – except one.

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