The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Kim Covert

CBA influence

Bench press: Applying to be a judge a long and wordy process

By Kim Covert October 19, 2018 19 October 2018

 

The new process developed in 2016 to increase transparency in judicial appointments and diversity on the bench brought with it a brand new questionnaire that was more than double the length of the previous one.

The new application form offers more guidance for completing the optional self-identification portion, and offers more information on filling out the employment history section. It also requires more – and more varied – references, has a written skills assessment section in which the applicant has to provide five written judgments (along with a synopsis of each and the reasons why those five were chosen), and five 750-1,000-word essays “on questions related to the role of the judiciary in Canada’s legal system.”

Holy writer’s cramp, Batman!

In a letter to the Justice Minister, the CBA’s Judicial Issues Subcommittee notes that it has received comments that the application was “overwhelming” and “could deter potential candidates from applying.” The Subcommittee says it’s hard to assess the impact of the new application package, given the lack of hard historical data about applicants, but it does acknowledge that the requirements of the application may be commensurate with the position sought.

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Competition law

The TREB ruling and the Bureau’s role in upholding competition

By Kim Covert October 11, 2018 11 October 2018

The TREB ruling and the Bureau’s role in upholding competition

 

The Competition Bureau’s Jeanne Pratt doesn’t have to think too hard when asked how long it took to reach a final decision in the Toronto Real Estate Board abuse of dominance case – it’s the same age as her only child.

“I look at him and how much he’s grown,” Pratt, the Senior Deputy Commissioner, Mergers and Monopolistic Practices Branch, told a plenary session at the Competition Law conference in Ottawa in September.

A Federal Court of Appeal decision in December upheld a 2016 Competition Tribunal ruling that requires TREB to remove restrictions on its members’ access to real-estate data, including historical listings and sale prices – for display online through virtual office websites. 

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The practice

Turn and face the strange: Don’t be afraid of changes

By Kim Covert September 28, 2018 28 September 2018

Turn and face the strange: Don’t be afraid of changes

 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Lawyers, they say, are averse to change.

OK, so that’s old news. Some of us adapt better to a shifting environment than others, and the lawyer, by personality and by training, is generally slower to embrace change.

But is this rule hard and fast, or are there ways to adapt oneself to the need to adapt?

Wendy Law, Deputy Solicitor for the City of Mississauga, thinks so, suggesting that you adapt to change the same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice, practice, practice!

 “If the user doesn’t adapt to change, then the change fails,” she said during a session titled “Rise of the Artisan: Critical thinking in a world of machines” at the 2018 CCCA conference in Toronto. “How do you develop a feeling for change? Have a lot of changes. People get used to the fact that it’s not going to be the same anyway, so let’s not resist.”

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CBA influence

Joint Tax Committee’s thoughts on 2018 tax proposals

By Kim Covert September 28, 2018 28 September 2018

 

In July, the government proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act to implement parts of the 2018 federal budget for both personal and business tax.

The Joint Committee on Taxation of the Canadian Bar Association and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada commented on the proposed amendments in September.

In the 2018 budget the federal government announced its intention to impose a new filing obligation on certain trusts that would require the trusts to report the identity of all trustees, beneficiaries and settlors of the trust, and each person who has the ability to exert control over trustee decisions. Exceptions included lawyers’ general trust accounts.

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CBA influence

Omnibus Bill C-75 attracts wide-ranging response from CBA

By Kim Covert September 25, 2018 25 September 2018

 

As is perhaps fitting for omnibus legislation, the CBA Criminal Justice Section’s response to Bill C-75 ranges from “Absolutely!” to “Absolutely not!” and hits “yes,” “no,” and “maybe, if” a number of times in between.

The bill, which represents the federal government’s response to R v Jordan, deals with court delays (as well as reforms unrelated to court delays, such as intimate partner violence), and includes proposals which would “exacerbate, rather than alleviate, court delays, while simultaneously sacrificing important procedural protections.”

Tony Paisana and Kathryn Pentz appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Sept. 19 in support of the CBA submission.

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