The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Mark Bourrie

Competition law

Big data and merger reviews

By Mark Bourrie November 3, 2017 3 November 2017

Big data and merger reviews

 

Canadian policy makers should look at the effects on the economy of mergers of big data corporations, rather than see these deals as a threat to privacy, experts told a Canadian Bar Association conference on competition law last week.

Speaking at the Ottawa session, Paul Johnson, a former Washington, D.C.  economist who now holds the T.D. MacDonald Chair in Industrial Economics at the Conference Board of Canada, said over-enforcement of competition law could stifle technical innovation in Canada.

This was the tack taken by the Competition Bureau in a position paper released by the Competition Bureau Sept. 18, and now the focus of consultation.

“Data’s been around since the 1800s,” Johnson told about 75 competition lawyers who attended the CBA Competition Law conference session on big data and competition regulation. “Dunn and Bradstreet is a data company. They were founded at the mid-19th century. There have been big data anti-trust cases for quite some time. 

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Tax

Closing tax loopholes for professionals who incorporate

By Mark Bourrie July 19, 2017 19 July 2017

Closing tax loopholes for professionals who incorporate

 

Canada’s finance minister is taking aim at professionals who use personal corporations to avoid income tax.

Mentioning lawyers and medical doctors specifically, Bill Morneau said the federal treasury is missing out on about $500 million per year because of the way professionals are handling their corporations. There has been an eight-fold increase in the number of corporations created in Canada under federal and provincial laws since 1972, Morneau said.

The minister said the government will close loopholes that all corporation owners to dodge taxes three ways:

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Arbitration

Supreme Court makes it harder to appeal arbitration awards

By Mark Bourrie June 26, 2017 26 June 2017

Supreme Court makes it harder to appeal arbitration awards


The Supreme Court of Canada has made it even tougher to go to court to overturn decisions made by arbitrators.

It has ruled that the courts, when reviewing an arbitrator’s interpretation of statute, should use the reasonableness standard and tease out questions of law from issues of fact.

In its ruling last week in Teal Cedar Products Ltd v British Columbia, the Supreme Court overturned a British Columbia Court of Appeal decision that had allowed judicial review of an arbitrator’s decision in a dispute between a forestry company and the province. It re-affirmed its 2014 Sattva decision and tightened the standard of review.

By doing so, the court further limited the rights by parties to seek judicial review of arbitration decisions.

Arbitration clauses are increasingly being written into consumer contracts, agreements between large companies, and between governments and private companies. In this case, the parties were governed by arbitration rules written into a piece of provincial legislation, B.C.’s Revitalization Act.

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Criminal justice

Unanimous SCC confirms Jordan framework on trial delays

By Mark Bourrie June 16, 2017 16 June 2017

Unanimous SCC confirms Jordan framework on trial delays

 

The Supreme Court of Canada has sent a very clear message that it won’t roll back the timelines for trials that it set last year in R v Jordan.

In a unanimous decision in R v Cody released June 16, seven judges (including Wagner and Gascon, who dissented in Jordan), ruled that the Supreme Court will not give a break to provincial attorneys general who are struggling with the Jordan timelines. Anecdotal evidence suggests hundreds of stays have been issued in trials of summary and indictable offences across Canada after the Jordan rules were set last year.

In its Friday ruling, the court ruled in favour of an alleged St. John’s cocaine dealer whose drug and weapons charges were stayed at trial after five years of delay caused by actions of both the Crown and the defence. The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled 2-1 to strike the stay and send the case back for a new trial.

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Justice

Senate committee recommendations to address court delays

By Mark Bourrie June 15, 2017 15 June 2017

Senate committee recommendations to address court delays

 

The federal government should amend the Criminal Code to allow courts to order costs or lighter sentences to accused people whose trials are delayed, rather than issue stays of proceedings, a major Senate report on court delays says.

Bob Runciman, Chair of The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, says no other major country forces judges to throw out cases for delay.

The committee wants new remedies to replace stays granted under section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court of Canada, in the 2016 R v Jordan decision, ruled that long delays breached accused’s Charter rights. The court set a deadline of 18 months for provincial court cases, and 30 months in superior court cases, from the laying of charges to the end of a trial.

“The fallout from that (the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in R v Jordan), stays granted in very serious criminal matters: first and second-degree murder charges, child sexual assault charges, put court delays squarely in the public consciousness,” Bob Runciman, chair of the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said at a news conference Wednesday.

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Mark Bourrie holds a PhD in Canadian and military history. He is a National Magazine Award winner and is now a second-year law student at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of the best-selling Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper's assault on your right to know. Bourrie's 13th book, The Killing Game, an analysis of ISIS propaganda and recruitment, will be published by HarperCollins in April, 2016.

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