The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Kim Covert

CCCA Conference

I Am Jane Doe: Ethics and morality for the in-house counsel

By Kim Covert April 30, 2018 30 April 2018

I Am Jane Doe: Ethics and morality for the in-house counsel


It’s a lawyer’s job to advocate for clients. But what can or should a lawyer do when the clients they’re representing cross moral or ethical – if not strictly legal – lines? It’s a question we’re used to hearing criminal defence counsel answer; we’re less used to the idea of in-house counsel taking it on.

But that was the topic of discussion Sunday night at the opening of this year’s CCCA conference in Toronto. The conference, titled Beyond Borders, certainly pushed the boundaries of what’s expected at a CCCA conference by screening the documentary I Am Jane Doe, which follows the successive cases brought against by young sex trafficking victims whose bodies had been sold on the company’s web pages.


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CBA influence

Proceeds of Crime Act: Leave privilege out of it

By Kim Covert April 26, 2018 26 April 2018


Money laundering and terrorist financing is on the minds of both policy-makers and regulators this spring as the federal government carries out a statutory review of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada proposes amendments to its Model Rules dealing with the subject.

The CBA has a long history of advocacy on the issue: it was involved in the development of the first proceeds of crime legislation in Canada and has commented since on proposed legislative and regulatory changes, always asserting that the laws must protect solicitor-client privilege. The CBA was an intervenor in Canada (Attorney General) v Federation of Law Societies of Canada, in which the Supreme Court confirmed that the proceeds of crime legislation cannot impose duties on lawyers that undermine their duty of commitment to their clients’ causes.

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Amendments to Bill C-45 good, but more needed

By Kim Covert April 24, 2018 24 April 2018


Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, set to become law this summer, is making its slow way through the approvals process, arriving in mid-April at the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

The CBA made a submission on the bill earlier in the process. For this Senate committee hearing the Criminal Justice Section sent a letter acknowledging that we generally support amendments made to the bill in the House, but emphasizing that the CBA still has serious concerns.

Amendments to the bill since our submission last fall include removing the height-restriction for home-grown plants, setting $200 as the maximum fine and specifying that probation is not to be imposed for ticketing offences, and adding certain immunities from prosecution for possession offences in the context of medical emergencies.

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Manitoba pension review consultation

By Kim Covert April 12, 2018 12 April 2018


CBA’s National Pensions and Benefits Law Section took part in a recent consultation on the Pension Commission of Manitoba’s review of The Pension Benefits Act, responding to questions contained in a consultation paper issued in January.

In its submission to the commission, the Section noted that CBA members are not of one mind on the merits of defined-benefit pension plans vs. defined contribution, or shared risk plans, so it could not unequivocally recommend one or the other.

The consultation paper covered questions such as whether a regulatory framework should be developed for defined-benefit or shared-risk plan designs; buying annuities; entitlement to ancillary benefits; locking-in provisions; and whether the new plan should be limited to unionized workplaces.

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Eligible dependents: Share the support, share the tax credit

By Kim Covert April 9, 2018 9 April 2018


It’s time for tax law to join the 21st century when it comes to family breakdowns.

Gone are the days when separation and divorce automatically meant children stayed with one parent and might see the other on the weekends. These days more and more families choose to share custody, yet the CRA doesn’t see that as an option when it comes to applying the tax laws.

When a child lives mostly with one parent, the Family Law Section says in a submission to the Finance Minister, Federal Child Support Guidelines require only one parent to pay child support, and only the recipient of the support may claim the eligible dependent tax credit for the child.

When the child lives with both parents, the guidelines require both parents to pay support. For convenience, most families adopt an informal approach, where the higher-earning parent subtracts the lower amount of support payable from the higher amount, and pays only the difference, instead of both parents having to exchange the exact amounts of support payable.

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