The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Kim Covert

CBA influence

Proposed workplace harassment regulations put burden on the victim

By Kim Covert October 24, 2018 24 October 2018

 

If the #MeToo movement has done nothing else, it has started a conversation about how difficult it can be for victims of abuse and harassment to come forward. When the abuse and harassment are happening in the workplace, there can be additional obstacles for victims – regardless of gender – to overcome.

The CBA’s Labour and Employment Law Section and the CBA Women Lawyers Forum say the burden for making changes in the workplace should not fall on the victim. They suggest the proposed regulatory framework for Bill C-65, which addresses workplace violence and harassment in federally regulated workplaces, should “explicitly contemplate” that witnesses can also bring a complaint. And they don’t stop there.

“Even in the absence of a formal complaint, the employer may become aware of possible workplace harassment or violence and have an obligation to investigate and address the situation due to potential harm and liability,” the Sections say in their submission to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). “We recommend that a formal complaint not be necessary to trigger the employer’s responsibility to investigate and remedy a situation of workplace harassment or violence.”

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CBA influence

Bench press: Applying to be a judge a long and wordy process

By Kim Covert October 19, 2018 19 October 2018

 

The new process developed in 2016 to increase transparency in judicial appointments and diversity on the bench brought with it a brand new questionnaire that was more than double the length of the previous one.

The new application form offers more guidance for completing the optional self-identification portion, and offers more information on filling out the employment history section. It also requires more – and more varied – references, has a written skills assessment section in which the applicant has to provide five written judgments (along with a synopsis of each and the reasons why those five were chosen), and five 750-1,000-word essays “on questions related to the role of the judiciary in Canada’s legal system.”

Holy writer’s cramp, Batman!

In a letter to the Justice Minister, the CBA’s Judicial Issues Subcommittee notes that it has received comments that the application was “overwhelming” and “could deter potential candidates from applying.” The Subcommittee says it’s hard to assess the impact of the new application package, given the lack of hard historical data about applicants, but it does acknowledge that the requirements of the application may be commensurate with the position sought.

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Competition law

The TREB ruling and the Bureau’s role in upholding competition

By Kim Covert October 11, 2018 11 October 2018

The TREB ruling and the Bureau’s role in upholding competition

 

The Competition Bureau’s Jeanne Pratt doesn’t have to think too hard when asked how long it took to reach a final decision in the Toronto Real Estate Board abuse of dominance case – it’s the same age as her only child.

“I look at him and how much he’s grown,” Pratt, the Senior Deputy Commissioner, Mergers and Monopolistic Practices Branch, told a plenary session at the Competition Law conference in Ottawa in September.

A Federal Court of Appeal decision in December upheld a 2016 Competition Tribunal ruling that requires TREB to remove restrictions on its members’ access to real-estate data, including historical listings and sale prices – for display online through virtual office websites. 

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The practice

Turn and face the strange: Don’t be afraid of changes

By Kim Covert September 28, 2018 28 September 2018

Turn and face the strange: Don’t be afraid of changes

 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Lawyers, they say, are averse to change.

OK, so that’s old news. Some of us adapt better to a shifting environment than others, and the lawyer, by personality and by training, is generally slower to embrace change.

But is this rule hard and fast, or are there ways to adapt oneself to the need to adapt?

Wendy Law, Deputy Solicitor for the City of Mississauga, thinks so, suggesting that you adapt to change the same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice, practice, practice!

 “If the user doesn’t adapt to change, then the change fails,” she said during a session titled “Rise of the Artisan: Critical thinking in a world of machines” at the 2018 CCCA conference in Toronto. “How do you develop a feeling for change? Have a lot of changes. People get used to the fact that it’s not going to be the same anyway, so let’s not resist.”

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CBA influence

Joint Tax Committee’s thoughts on 2018 tax proposals

By Kim Covert September 28, 2018 28 September 2018

 

In July, the government proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act to implement parts of the 2018 federal budget for both personal and business tax.

The Joint Committee on Taxation of the Canadian Bar Association and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada commented on the proposed amendments in September.

In the 2018 budget the federal government announced its intention to impose a new filing obligation on certain trusts that would require the trusts to report the identity of all trustees, beneficiaries and settlors of the trust, and each person who has the ability to exert control over trustee decisions. Exceptions included lawyers’ general trust accounts.

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