The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Kim Covert

Trade law

Can we do business? Making trade deals work for you

By Kim Covert May 31, 2018 31 May 2018

Can we do business? Making trade deals work for you

 

International political arrangements, such as trade deals and sanctions on particular countries, can seem like mazes full of sharp corners and stumbling blocks to the unobservant, but to the savvy in-house lawyer they’re full of opportunities.

That was the main message from members of a panel discussion at this year’s CCCA Conference in Toronto on making the most of trade agreements. International trade lawyer Heather Innes, the former counsel at General Motors, along with LexSage founder Cyndee Todgham Cherniak and Elliot J. Burger, the Director of Global Compliance with ATS Atomation Tooling Systems Inc., covered both the obstacles that international agreements create, and the doors they open.

“You’re not just lawyers, you’re strategic business partners,” Innes told the audience. In-house counsel are uniquely placed to understand laws, policies and international relationships, how they can change, and how those changes can benefit the organization.

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CBA influence

Prompt payment legislation: Focus on harmonization

By Kim Covert May 31, 2018 31 May 2018

 

When the Senate passed its Bill S-224, Canada Prompt Payments Act, last fall, the CBA’s Construction and Infrastructure Law Section expressed its concern with many aspects of the bill and suggested that the government not move forward with it before doing extensive consultations with the construction industry.

So the Section was very happy to respond to the expert review carried out by the same construction lawyers who’d done similar work for the province of Ontario, which has recently passed its new construction legislation.

So the Section was very happy to respond to the expert review carried out by the same construction lawyers who’d done similar work for the province of Ontario, which has recently passed its new construction legislation.

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CBA influence

Search engines’ raison d’être at the base of online privacy debate

By Kim Covert May 29, 2018 29 May 2018

 

Are search engines engaged in commercial activity? Is it practical to require them to obtain consent before gathering personal data? Is it appropriate to ask them to decide what information needs to be removed from their indexes?

These are just some of the thorny questions in the debate over online reputation, and the right to be forgotten. Three CBA groups – the CCCA, the Privacy and Access Law Section and the Children’s Law Committeerecently responded to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Draft Position on Online Reputation and the only things the three wholeheartedly agreed on were that children must be protected online and that privacy laws, written for a different time and circumstance, need to be studied by Parliament.

“Privacy legislation, as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are interpreted today in a different context than when they were originally drafted,” the Sections say. “As the internet broadly, and search engines specifically, are significant sources of information for Canadians, online reputation and disclosure of personal information online are important issues for regulators, policy makers and legislatures to examine.”

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CBA influence

Voter intelligence is big business unfettered by regulation

By Kim Covert May 25, 2018 25 May 2018

 

The recent scandal surrounding information-gathering by Cambridge Analytics and Facebook opened a lot of eyes to the amount of data that is out there to be collected, and the uses to which it can be put.

Usually when we think about Big Data we think of it in commercial terms – companies finding ways to use personal information about consumers in order to enhance their bottom lines. But Big Data’s not just for Big Business any more –political parties are also hoovering up Canadians’ data, and they’re doing it with relative abandon, compared with the restrictions placed on the business world.

“Political parties are not subject to privacy laws,” the CBA’s Privacy and Access Law Section points out in a submission regarding Bill C-50, An Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act, noting that laws meant to protect Canadians privacy in almost all other aspects of their lives, including the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the Privacy Act, or Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, do not apply to political parties.

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CBA influence

Impact assessments: Bill C-69 needs clarity and guidance to achieve stated goals

By Kim Covert May 25, 2018 25 May 2018

 

The federal government set out a host of worthy goals in the preamble for Bill C-69,An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, which had its first reading in the House in February.

The government aims to implement an assessment and regulatory system that:

  • people can trust, that will protect the environment and the health and safety of Canadians
  • that allows decisions to be predictable and timely, therefore providing the stability business needs
  • reflects the government’s commitment to achieving reconciliation with First Nations
  • uses transparent processes built on early engagement and inclusive participation
  • considers both scientific and traditional knowledge
  • assesses the broader impact of policies, programs and projects.

These are all goals the CBA can get behind, say the Aboriginal Law Section and the National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section in a submission centred on the proposed Impact Assessment Act.

The devil, as always, is in the details.

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