The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association
Corporate counsel

The Future is Now: Innovations in the Legal Industry

By Pablo Fuchs June 30, 2017 30 June 2017

The Future is Now: Innovations in the Legal Industry

 

As organizations demand more from their legal teams, in-house counsel can look to innovative technologies to help them become more productive. Many of these tools focus on removing menial, time-consuming work so counsel can focus on higher-value judgment tasks and spend resources more effectively.

Here is a closer look at some up-and-coming Canadian companies that offer unique, productivity enhancing tools for in-house counsel.

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Law and the internet

SCC rules against U.S. tech giants: “The internet has no borders”

By Justin Ling June 29, 2017 29 June 2017

SCC rules against U.S. tech giants: “The internet has no borders”

 

It’s been a bad week for two internet giants.

Both Facebook and Google lost landmark decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada over the last few days, with the top court ruling against Google in a case involving de-indexing websites, and against Facebook in a case about forum selection.

The pair of rulings signals a move to establish that just because these tech giants are headquartered in California — or elsewhere — it doesn’t mean they can wiggle out from under Canadian legal jurisdiction.

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CBA Influence

Trans inmates: It’s all about respect

By Kim Covert June 29, 2017 29 June 2017

 

Historically, trans inmates are penalized not only for their criminal behaviour but, because Canadian jails and prisons – and the policies that govern them – weren’t designed to accommodate non-binary prisoners, they’re also punished for asserting a gender other than that assigned at birth.

Correctional Service Canada is reviewing its policies relating to gender identity and expression and the CBA’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Forum, along with the CBA Criminal Justice Section, made a submission in June to respond to CSC’s proposed policy amendments.

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National security

Super agency proposed to oversee national security

By Justin Ling June 29, 2017 29 June 2017


Canada’s national security regime will soon see the largest overhaul in its review, management, and approval structure since the McDonald Commission recommended splitting the RCMP’s intelligence branch off into a new agency: CSIS.

The Trudeau government legislation, C-59, addresses a number of facets in Canada’s national security infrastructure — National wrote about its plans for CSIS’s disruption powers last week — but the changes to how Canada’s national security framework is managed and monitored are almost certainly the most far-reaching.

Under the proposed legislation, Canada’s national security agencies will be under the purview of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, or NSIRA. That body essentially looks like the ‘Super SIRC,’ the proposed agency that would expand the scope of the CSIS review body to include a variety of other agencies.

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Corporate counsel

Lawyers telling stories

By Mark Weber June 27, 2017 27 June 2017

Lawyers telling stories

You are always competing for attention when you speak. Whether you are trying to get buy-in for a new legal process, have your say in strategic business decisions or get your child to put on her shoes in the morning, you need the other person to listen—and care about—what you are saying. And the simple truth is that all listeners have a lot of other things on their minds, and many of those things feel more interesting and pressing to them than you.

One of the most effective tools of engagement is one lawyers too seldom employ: good stories. Jonathan Gottschall calls humans the “storytelling animal,” and with good reason. We use story to transmit information in a memorable way and to create social bonds.

The problem? Lawyers do not generally like to think of themselves as storytellers, as if that somehow makes them manipulators or diminishes their importance. However, think of the most memorable presenters you have seen or the best conversations you have had. Such moments almost invariably involve a story. We are wired to listen to, absorb, and, to at least some degree, retain narrative.

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CBA Influence

Building a foundation for data-collection under MAID

By Kim Covert June 27, 2017 27 June 2017


Too onerous, too cumbersome, and possibly not quite respectful enough of privacy, are some of the responses from the CBA’s End of Life Working Group to a Health Canada consultation on a monitoring regime for those seeking a doctor’s assistance to end their lives.

The Medical Assistance in Dying Act passed in June 2016 acknowledges the importance of a comprehensive monitoring system to collect and analyze data about the demand for medical assistance in dying, and to monitor trends.

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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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CBA Influence

Mercosur trade talks: An opportunity for Canada to review its model free-trade agreement

By Kim Covert June 26, 2017 26 June 2017


A cigar may sometimes be just a cigar, as they say, but a trade deal is rarely a simple matter of exchanges of goods or services for money.

Several CBA groups have weighed in on the positions the federal government should take if it decides to formally reopen trade talks with the MERCOSUR bloc, including International Law, Immigration Law, Competition Law, the CCCA and the Anti-Corruption Team. Mercosur, also known as the Southern Cone Common Market, is a customs union established by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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CBA Influence

Parts of small business tax amendments fall ‘outside the realm of mischief’

By Kim Covert June 26, 2017 26 June 2017


A proposal in the 2016 federal budget to change section 125 of the Income Tax Act dealing with the Small Business Deduction risks creating unintended consequences for businesses across the country, says the Joint Committee on Taxation of the CBA and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

The Joint Committee sent a submission outlining its concerns with the proposed amendments to Finance Canada last summer. It prepared a second submission for the Canada Revenue Agency in February and then met with members of the CRA, who agreed that the statutory language supports the committee’s interpretation. The CRA said that the matter would have to go back to Finance Canada. So in June, the Joint Committee sent its February submission to the Tax Policy Branch of Finance Canada.

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CBA Influence

A few challenges in the reinstated Court Challenges Program

By Kim Covert June 23, 2017 23 June 2017

 

The Canadian Bar Association is happy to see the Court Challenges Program reinstated. The program has played an important role in developing groundbreaking jurisprudence on equality and language rights in Canada.

That said, the reinstated and modernized program as proposed – particularly the decision to extend the scope of the Program and the continued exclusion of Aboriginal and treaty rights – has triggered some concerns.

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National security

The new national security bill: Just tinkering?

By Justin Ling June 22, 2017 22 June 2017

The new national security bill: Just tinkering?

 

The federal government unveiled its wide-ranging national security overhaul this week, to a chorus of decidedly mixed reactions.

The omnibus legislation, bill C-59, updates a wide array of Canada’s national security framework, from adding the role of an Intelligence Commissioner, tasked with approving operations and activities; to the newly-created oversight committee, designed to keep a watchful eye on the wider security environment; to the creation of a standalone legal authority for the Communication Security Establishment, the country’s spy agency that performs foreign electronic surveillance.

At the core of the bill is a plan to trim aspects of C-51, the Harper government’s previous attempt to overhaul the Anti-Terrorism Act and CSIS Act, which drew heavy criticism from a variety of constitutional and criminal lawyers.

One of the most controversial aspects of C-51 was its commitment to allow CSIS to break Canadians’ Charter rights in pursuing its newly-afforded disruption powers.

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CBA influence

‘Use’ requirement for trademark registration doesn’t need fixing

By Kim Covert June 22, 2017 22 June 2017

 

Amendments  to the Trade-Marks Act made in 2014, despite not being fully implemented yet, have already encouraged squatting and over-claiming, and have resulted in a 75 per cent increase in the number of Canadian applications waiting to be registered, from 40,000 in 2014 to nearly 70,000, the CBA National IP Section says in a letter to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

“We believe many of these pending applications would be registered, but for the current requirement to file a declaration of use,” the Section says.

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