The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

National Blog

Time for Canada’s Constitution to be fully bilingual

By Kim Covert September 17 2018 17 September 2018


    The CBA’s French Speaking Members Section says any modernization of the Official Languages Act should include a requirement for the federal Justice Minister to ensure that the Constitution of Canada is enacted and enforceable in both official languages – and that she show her work.

    While French versions of portions of the Constitution were tabled in Parliament 28 years ago, in 1990, the Section notes that they have yet to be enacted.

    Read More

    First Nation claims: Tribunal practice directions must consider funding available to claimants

    By Kim Covert September 5 2018 5 September 2018


      Stable, adequate funding is a clear concern for the CBA’s Aboriginal Law Section when it comes to appearances before the Specific Claims Tribunal, which handles claims made by First Nations alleging that the federal government has violated a treaty or the Indian Act.

      Commenting on draft practice directions which were circulated among members of the Tribunal’s Advisory Committee – which includes Section representatives – members stated the general need for the Tribunal to consider the financial implications of any new procedural steps.

      Acknowledging that the Tribunal has no power over funding levels, the Section notes claimants “often have access to significantly less resources than respondents” and that the Tribunal needs to be attuned to this lack.

      Read More

      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.”

        Read More

        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.

          Read More

          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.

            Read More

            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.

              Read More

              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. 

                Read More

                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.

                  Read More

                  SOGIC calls for Canada to take leadership role on LGBTI2S issues

                  By Kim Covert August 20 2018 20 August 2018


                    Ahead of the August Equal Rights Coalition Global Conference on LGBTI Human Rights and Inclusive Development, the CBA’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge his government to demonstrate Canada’s leadership in this field.

                    Read More

                    Are market studies in the Competition Bureau’s remit?

                    By Kim Covert July 13 2018 13 July 2018


                      This spring the federal Competition Bureau released a bulletin to “describe how market studies are used to promote competition, and to provide transparency to stakeholders regarding how the Bureau selects and conducts market studies.”

                      The Competition Law Section starts out its response to the bulletin by noting its concerns about the Bureau’s jurisdiction to carry out broad-based market studies, as opposed to inquiries or investigations where competitive concerns have been raised.

                      Read More

                      Take care of the foreign caregivers: Recommendations for the IRCC

                      By Kim Covert July 11 2018 11 July 2018


                        Foreign caregivers and personal care workers face an onerous process to get into the country, let alone to bring their families, renew their work permits and get on the permanent resident track, says the CBA’s Immigration Law Section.

                        All of these areas and more should receive special consideration by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada’s current review of the Caregiver Pathways, which are due to expire in November 2019. The government has committed to establishing an improved pathway to permanent residence for caregivers.

                        The Section’s letter to the IRCC followed a conference call with the Department in May as part of its informal consultations with stakeholders. The Section made comments on five specific topics: labour market impact assessments, work permits, eligibility and application for permanent resident status, transition program, and enactment by regulation versus ministerial instruction.

                        Read More

                        Taking leave: Federal and provincial parental leave allowances may differ

                        By Kim Covert June 28 2018 28 June 2018


                          The storybook version of new parenthood is a glorious nesting time in a tidy house with a baby who sleeps long enough for you to sleep and (if you want a longer bonding period) a choice to stretch Employment Insurance payments for 61 weeks.

                          The reality can be much different: a long delivery, recovery not improved by lack of sleep – and who needs to shower more than once a month anyway? And then finding out that while the federal government may let you choose up to 61 weeks of parental benefits, your province or territory has no corresponding right to parental leave for that long, meaning you’re going to get a lot less money than you expected, over a shorter period of time.

                          Read More