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The Canadian Bar Association
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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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Legal affairs

Friday weekly wrap-up

By Yves Faguy August 31, 2018 31 August 2018

Friday weekly wrap-up

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

It’s been a stressful week ahead of the Labour Day weekend for the Trudeau government. Yesterday, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project on two grounds. The NEB was wrong not to assess the related effects of maritime shipping. And the government fell short in meeting its duty to consult First Nations. This is not to say that the project is dead, yet.  Ottawa could appeal the decision, and the Prime Minister has assured Alberta’s premier, Rachel Notley, that he “stands by the TMX expansion project and will ensure it moves forward in the right way.” But as Robert James writes “that decision is an indictment of DOJ/NRCAN approach to consultation and their efforts to turn it into a narrow, administrative law process.” Environmental assessments, done right, will save time, money and political heartburn. Notley has announced that Alberta is pulling out of the Trudeau government’s climate change plan.

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Justice

Filling judicial vacancies: Only a partial solution

By Justin Ling August 29, 2018 29 August 2018

Filling judicial vacancies: Only a partial solution

 

During their first three years in government, the Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party has managed to stickhandle some significant legal files with relative skill. Medical assistance in dying, the legalization of cannabis, national security reform were all brought forward and passed into law with little of the legal fight that overshadowed much of the agenda of the Harper government before it.

But criticism remains regarding Ottawa’s handling of criminal justice. In particular, a fight is brewing over a justice reform bill that Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says will tackle court delays. Her critics say it will do the opposite.

The other big-ticket attempt to fix the issue of court delays has been to create new spots on the bench and get them filled in a reasonable time. Staffing the judiciary, however, has been a challenge for the government.

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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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The Supreme Court

We need to equip lawyers with better trauma-informed legal skills

By Aruba Mustafa August 27, 2018 27 August 2018

We need to equip lawyers with better trauma-informed legal skills

 

How clients react to emotional trauma is complex and difficult to predict. It is why representing clients who are experiencing trauma is always challenging at best. The danger, however, is that without proper training, it can be psychologically harmful to the client or lawyer, or both.

Fortunately, “trauma-informed lawyering” is an approach to providing legal services that involves recognizing, understanding and accommodating a client’s trauma, and the impact it can have on the lawyer. It’s an approach that individual lawyers can integrate into their practice. 

Doing so within an organization that also adopts a trauma-informed approach produces even better results.

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Climate law

Is a carbon tax by any other name still constitutionally valid?

By Supriya Tandan August 27, 2018 27 August 2018

Is a carbon tax by any other name still constitutionally valid?

 

Carbon pricing may be the environmental economist’s preferred tool to change behaviour to achieve meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions. But it remains a difficult sell, politically.

Just a decade ago prominent politicians, academics and a former Premier were forecasting a looming battle between Alberta and the federal government over the prospect of federal greenhouse gas regulations. As it turns out, the provinces challenging the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Canada’s legislative mechanism for pricing carbon, are Saskatchewan and Ontario. The most prominent, and politically controversial, aspect of the Act is the imposition of a $10/tonne charge on greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 (increasing to $50/tonne by 2022). This backstop would only be imposed on those provinces that do not establish equivalently stringent measures to reduce emissions.

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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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CBA influence

C-43 plus C-46 equals disproportionate penalties for immigrants

By Kim Covert August 24, 2018 24 August 2018

 

The harsh measures in 2013’s Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act will be exacerbated when the recently adopted Bill C-46 comes into effect, says the CBA’s Immigration Law Section. And the government should act now to prevent the disparate impact on immigrants.

Under the 2013 legislation, people who had been convicted of a crime in Canada and sentenced to six months in jail – a reduction from the previous two years – were denied the right to appeal their status before the Immigration Appeal Division, on the grounds of “serious criminality.” The law also denied appeal rights to permanent residents and foreign nationals convicted of foreign offences, regardless of sentence. These were just two of the grounds on which the Section objected to the bill at the time. The Section also made objections to bill C-46 before it passed.

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CBA influence

National registry makes sense for unlocatable pension plan members

By Kim Covert August 23, 2018 23 August 2018

 

What do you do with pension benefits when you can’t find the plan member?

That’s a question the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities is trying to answer with its Guideline No. 9, Searching for Un-locatable Members of a Pension Plan.

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CBA influence

Response to CCMR draft prospectus: Harmony is the key

By Kim Covert August 22, 2018 22 August 2018

 

Consistency in regulations and harmonized approach across jurisdictions are important factors for the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System, the CBA’s Business Law Section says.

The Section was responding to a draft prospectus and related registration exemptions under the Capital Markets Act published earlier this year. 

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CBA influence

First rule of immunity and leniency program: Do less harm

By Kim Covert August 22, 2018 22 August 2018

 

The CBA’s Competition Law Section is very pleased that many of the recommendations it made in its January submission on proposed changes to the Competition Bureau’s Immunity and Leniency Programs have been heeded. But many of the remaining proposals introduce the kind of uncertainty into the process that could keep would-be self-reporters away.

“It is a core principle of the Immunity and Leniency Programs that a cooperating party should not be made worse off by deciding to self-report to the Bureau,” the Section writes in a submission on the second round of consultations. “However, the cumulative impact of the proposed changes creates new risks and exposures for parties deciding to seek immunity and leniency,” and might “encourage prospective applicants to skip Canada, given the burdens and uncertainties” they introduce.

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