The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Yves Faguy

Equality rights

A long-awaited apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians

By Yves Faguy November 27, 2017 27 November 2017

A long-awaited apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians

The Canadian government has reach an agreement in principle with plaintiffs in a class action filed on behalf of former LGBTQ2 employees of the federal government.

The details of the agreement will be made public tomorrow, as the government is scheduled to make a formal apology in the House of Commons to LGBTQ2 Canadians for its role in past persecution and injustices.

Coinciding with the apology, the Liberal government will also introduce legislation to expunge the criminal records of Canadians convicted in the past for engaging in consensual same-sex activity.

The apology has been a long time coming – some would say long overdue. In March, Michael Motala spoke with the Liberals' special adviser on LGBTQ issues, MP Randy Boissonnault, who addressed some of the reasons why it has taken so long.

 

 

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Immigration law

The CBA on the medical inadmissibility of immigrants

By Yves Faguy November 22, 2017 22 November 2017

The CBA Immigration Law Section appeared before a standing committee yesterday to make its submission on the medical inadmissibility of immigrants.

Under s. 38(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), a foreign national can be found inadmissible for entry to Canada on health grounds if their condition is considered a risk to public health or public safety, or is expected to weigh too heavily on health and social services.

The CBA Section broadly supports IRCC’s efforts to address flaws in how Canadian immigration officials assess hundreds of applications each year and streamline the demand process.

In its submission, the Section points out that a medical inadmissibility finding carries serious consequences as it “can hinder family reunification and have significant consequences for Canadian businesses. However, a decision made in error could also lead to the admission of individuals whose medical conditions result in excessive demands on Canadian health and social services.”

In the above clip Toronto immigration lawyer Mario Bellissimo, who appeared for CBA, explains the Section’s position.

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Internet law

Extra-territorial rulings are showing their limits

By Yves Faguy November 20, 2017 20 November 2017

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court in California granted Google's request to block enforcement of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision, in June, upholding an injunction against the internet giant forcing it to de-index a website from its global search results. The SCC ruling was the culmination of a lawsuit begun by Equustek Solutions, Inc. against a rival hardware distributor, for violating its trade secrets and other IP rights.  Google’s position following that was that the Canadian order to de-index — one that has extra-territorial reach, no less — is unenforceable in the U.S. because it violates the country’s constitutional right of freedom of speech.

What’s the big deal?

Well, a god number of legal experts on this side of the border – including some who were critical of the June ruling –are saying that the Supreme Court of Canada is not getting the respect it deserves from the California court. Barry Sookman calls it an “unfortunate precedent,” given the global nature of Google’s operation:

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CBA Futures

Legal futures round-up

By Yves Faguy November 14, 2017 14 November 2017

Legal futures round-up

Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our regular round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace.

The CBA has teamed up with Law Made to bring back The Pitch – and this time the competition is open to legaltech startups from around the world. The event will cap off the CCCA National Conference and In-House Counsel Worldwide Summit on May 1 in Toronto.

Asma Khalid at NPR reports on research that shows “that current technology is replacing roughly 2 percent of a lawyer's total workload each year.”  But that’s not the only reason law firms are hiring fewer graduates. Outsourcing and an increasing reliance on contract lawyers are also contributing factors.

Another reason could be that corporate clients have figured out they don’t need external lawyers as much as they used to.  Joe Patrice at Above the Law reports that roughly half of in-house legal departments handle “more than half of their legal activities” internally.

If Yahoo and Equifax can get hacked, so can your company or law firm. Olga V. Mack has useful some advice on how your in-house legal team should manage the risk. Equifax was recently served with a "50-state" complaint related to the breach, to combine the many different suits filed against it.

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Another legal battle over environmental clean-up heads to the SCC

By Yves Faguy November 9, 2017 9 November 2017

Another legal battle over environmental clean-up heads to the SCC

 

 

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the expedited appeal of the Redwater decision, a ruling that would spare a hurting energy industry from cleaning up orphaned wells.

Why it’s important: 

The Alberta case will have major implications on the priority and treatment of environmental claims in bankruptcy.

Following the downturn in commodity prices over the last few years, the province has seen a spike in the number of orphaned wells – oil and gas wells that have been taken out of production and abandoned by owners gone bankrupt and without the means to pay for the cleanup.

According to a recent C.D. Howe Institute report, Alberta has roughly 155,000 inactive wells scattered across the province that have not yet been fully remediated

The crash in commodity prices of the past three years has been linked to a dramatic increase in orphans – oil and gas wells assigned to the OWA because there's no owner financially able to seal the wells, remove equipment and restore the land when their productive life ends.  The industry and eventually taxpayers in the province could find themselves on the hook for clean-up costs reaching as high as $8 billion, the report says.

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