The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Kim Covert

CBA Influence

First Nation claims: Tribunal practice directions must consider funding available to claimants

By Kim Covert September 5, 2018 5 September 2018

 

Stable, adequate funding is a clear concern for the CBA’s Aboriginal Law Section when it comes to appearances before the Specific Claims Tribunal, which handles claims made by First Nations alleging that the federal government has violated a treaty or the Indian Act.

Commenting on draft practice directions which were circulated among members of the Tribunal’s Advisory Committee – which includes Section representatives – members stated the general need for the Tribunal to consider the financial implications of any new procedural steps.

Acknowledging that the Tribunal has no power over funding levels, the Section notes claimants “often have access to significantly less resources than respondents” and that the Tribunal needs to be attuned to this lack.

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Profile

Interview with CBA President Ray Adlington

By Kim Covert September 4, 2018 4 September 2018

Halifax tax lawyer Ray Adlington, a partner at McInnes Cooper, became president of the Canadian Bar Association on September 1. In an interview with CBA National, he discussed his priorities for the year ahead and the Association’s role in helping legal professionals acquire the skills they need to succeed.

CBA National: This is a challenging time for the profession. We’re seeing a variety of new business models challenging traditional firms. Technology is forcing lawyers to reconsider how they both deliver and bill for their services. Law schools are being questioned about whether they’re properly preparing lawyers for the future. The profession is still facing issues surrounding diversity, and the justice system itself under strain. With all that in mind can you tell us what you’ve identified as your priorities for the year ahead?

Ray Adlington: That’s an accurate depiction of where the profession stands today. Before speaking about my personal priority, the priorities the CBA’s Board have identified for the year are increasing member value and enhancing member satisfaction with their CBA experience. Based upon the results of member surveys, the Board has also identified two advocacy priorities for the year: improving access to justice and protecting solicitor/client privilege. We will be communicating back to members over the course of the year as our work progresses.

As a personal priority, I will be focused on advancing inclusivity within the legal profession. We know certain cultural identities are under-represented in our profession generally and in leadership positions particularly.  We know the stigma that attaches to depression and other mental illnesses that does not attach to cancer and other physical ailments. This year, I am looking forward to working with equality-seeking groups and our Wellness Subcommittee to educate members around combating their implicit biases by recognizing them, accepting that they hold them, and then  reflecting that analysis into the judgments made about the different behaviours that other people bring to a particular setting.

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CBA influence

Time to let charities and not-for-profits make money

By Kim Covert August 29, 2018 29 August 2018

 

Every year the federal government asks Canadians what its priorities should be in the next budget.

This year the CBA’s Charities and Not-for-Profit Law Section has essentially replied: “Let our people make money.”

“We urge the federal government to amend the Income Tax Act to clarify that charities and not-for-profit organizations must be able to innovate, carry on business activities and earn tax-exempt profits, as long as those profits are used for the purposes of the organization and not for the undue benefit of any party or the personal benefit of any director, shareholder or member, directly or indirectly,” the Section writes in its submission to the Finance Committee. “We also urge the federal government to remove barriers that inhibit charities from working with not-for-profits or non-registered charities, allowing them to maximize their success.”

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CBA influence

Technology could help streamline, accelerate IRB’s refugee work

By Kim Covert August 28, 2018 28 August 2018

 

The Immigration and Refugee Board has a number of resource and efficiency issues, and adding another layer of bureaucracy is unlikely to improve the situation, the CBA’s Immigration Law Section says in a recent submission responding to an independent review of refugee determination procedures.

The report on the review proposes creating an Asylum System Management Board at the deputy minister level to recommend an annual plan for the asylum system.

Noting that the Immigration and Refugee Board is hailed internationally as a model for independent refugee determination, the Section says that a separate board world bring the refugee determination process under further government control, undermining the IRB’s independent decision-making.

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CBA Futures

Friday weekly wrap-up

By Kim Covert August 24, 2018 24 August 2018

Friday weekly wrap-up

 

Here’s a quick look at the major legal stories from the past week.

This, but not like that: Saying they agree with the result of the judge’s decision in Canada Without Poverty v AG Canada, but not necessarily the logic used to reach it, the ministers of Finance and National Revenue announced they will appeal the decision. That announcement came just a week after the government announced it would change the parts of the Income Tax Act that the judge in that case struck down, which keep charities from carrying out non-partisan political activities.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould promises to “advance change” on mandatory minimum sentences after an Ottawa judge last week joined the long line of judges who’ve rejected mandatory sentences as cruel and unusual. The Justice Minister told Lawyer’s Daily that she believes judges should have the discretion to decide on appropriate sentencing, but “we need to ensure that we will put in place sentencing reform that will stand the test of time.”

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