The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

National Blog

Excising uncertainty: Comments on proposed amendments to the ETA

By Kim Covert November 30 2017 30 November 2017


    The purpose of a definition is to define. The purpose of a clarification is to clarify. According to the CBA Commodity Tax, Customs and Trade Section, draft amendments to the Excise Tax Act do neither, and in fact create uncertainty.

    In its submission, the Section comments on subsection 272.1(8) proposed in draft amendments related to “investment limited partnerships.”

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    Legal aid in Canada: Same conclusions, different report

    By Kim Covert November 28 2017 28 November 2017

      Federal legal aid funding has not kept pace with costs. There is a patchwork of legal aid assistance levels across the country. Federal money should be earmarked for civil legal aid. Money spent on legal aid saves money elsewhere in the social assistance system. Technological advances should be leveraged to improve access to legal aid services. National data collection should be improved.

      Many of the 10 recommendations from a report on legal aid by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights probably sound like déjà vu all over again.

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      Past due: More time, consultation needed for prompt payment legislation

      By Kim Covert November 28 2017 28 November 2017

        In a perfect world, no one would need a law to make them pay their bills on time.

        In an imperfect world where such a law is apparently necessary, it’s best if that law is founded in extensive consultations with those it affects and doesn’t create more problems than it solves.

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        Three pages to storm the CASL

        By Kim Covert November 20 2017 20 November 2017

          There’s more wrong with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law than can be dealt with in a three-page submission. So it is problematic that the House of Commons Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has limited the statutory review of the law in both time and space, three CBA Sections say in their submission.

          “The time-limited review by the House of Commons Committee and the three-page limit on submissions is inadequate to address the complexities and challenges of CASL in its current form, and the requirement for a statutory review does not contemplate such a limited process,” says the submission, produced by the Privacy and Access and Competition Law Sections, as well as the CCCA. The Sections advise that further consultation is necessary in order to achieve CASL’s objectives.

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          Yes, but no: Well-intended Bill C-51 would not improve justice in sex assault cases

          By Kim Covert November 20 2017 20 November 2017

            Changes to the Criminal Code’s sexual assault regime in Bill C-51 threaten to upset the ability of an accused to provide a full defence, suggests the CBA’s Criminal Justice Section.

            The aim of the proposed bill is to remove unconstitutional or obsolete sections from the Criminal Code, a move that the Section supports. When it comes to other parts of the bill, those dealing with sexual assault cases in particular, “the CBA Section believes that much of what is proposed would fall short of improving justice for either complainants or accused,” it writes in a letter to the Chair of the House Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

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            Offering asylum is about more than opening borders

            By Kim Covert November 15 2017 15 November 2017


              A good host makes sure that there is enough food and drink and other amenities to make those invited to the party feel welcome and comfortable. Canada is in danger of being a bad host to its most recent arrivals.

              Asylum-seekers have been streaming across the Canada-U.S. border since last winter, thanks to an unwelcoming environment in the U.S. and the prime minister’s announcement in January that they would be welcome in Canada.

              However sincere Canada might be about wanting to accept people fleeing war and persecution in their home countries, the fact is that the departmental infrastructure was already having trouble keeping up with the number of regular immigration applications.

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              Repository for unclaimed pension entitlements a good idea

              By Kim Covert October 31 2017 31 October 2017


                If you have a sneaking feeling that you forgot to close out a bank account a long time ago, maybe in a province where you used to live, the Bank of Canada’s unclaimed balances registry can help you either set your mind at rest or set you on your way to reclaiming your cash.

                The Bank of Canada takes over accounts that have been inactive for 10 years. If there’s less than $1,000 in the account, it holds the money for 30 years, and if there’s more than $1,000, it will hold on to it for 100 years.

                The CBA Pension and Benefits Law Section thinks it would be a good idea if the bank did the same thing for unclaimed pension monies.

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                Harmonize pension plan regulations for efficiency, says CBA Pension Section

                By Kim Covert October 30 2017 30 October 2017


                  The Pension and Benefits Law Section called once again for a harmonized pension regulatory system in its October comment on the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution’s revised draft derivatives guideline for federally regulated pension plans.

                  Derivatives include an assortment of financial or commodity contracts, including forwards, futures, swaps and options. Used prudently, derivatives can be used by pension plan administrators to implement risk management strategies that can reduce risks associated with a range of financial variables like exchange rates, interest rates, market indices and commodity prices.

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                  Modernizing air transportation: Tariffs, complaints and the definition of Canadian

                  By Kim Covert October 27 2017 27 October 2017


                    It’s probably never a bad thing when a government decides to modernize its laws and regulations. The Canadian Transportation Agency announced last year its intent to do just that – bring regulations that haven’t changed in 25 years or more in line with the current reality.

                    To that end, last December the CTA released its Discussion Paper on Regulatory Modernization for Air Transportation. The Air and Space Law Section has made its comments on Phase II of the paper, focusing on modernizing the Air Transportation Regulations with a view to streamlining existing tariff and application requirements, and enhancing the certainty of legal obligations imposed on carriers.

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                    Once more unto the breach regulations

                    By Kim Covert October 26 2017 26 October 2017

                      The news of a data security breach can send a chill through your bones. Anyone who’s ever shared sensitive information online is vulnerable, and these days that’s more and more of us – think of the three billion people affected by the breach at Yahoo! this summer.

                      The federal government is drafting regulations under PIPEDA on how and when to notify people whose information may have been caught up in a breach. They published those draft regulations in the Canada Gazette in September.

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                      Billed-basis accounting and access to justice: CBA submission

                      By Kim Covert October 25 2017 25 October 2017


                        When the Finance Department released draft legislation in September to limit the use of billed-basis accounting, the CBA was happy to see that the government had acted to address one of the Association’s major concerns with the changes.

                        When the government announced as part of the 2017 budget that it planned to change billed-basis accounting and the way work in progress is taxed, the CBA said the proposed two-year implementation was far too short, given the amounts of WIP that may be subject to an unanticipated and accelerated tax consequence. The draft legislation will change that implementation period to five years.

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                        I am a white settler

                        By Caitlin Urquhart October 24 2017 24 October 2017


                          Recently a presenter introducing me stumbled over these words. I still feel awkward saying them. These words can make everyone in the room tense, on edge.

                          I am a white settler. Not my ancestors, not my history, me. I live here on traditional unceded, unsurrendered Beothuk and Mi’kmaq territory. I am a citizen of this colonial government that through current racist and discriminatory practices allows Indigenous peoples to suffer under boil water advisories, abysmal housing conditions, unacceptably high rates of children in care and school drop out. I have allowed this current government to continue to ignore the orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to end the discriminatory chronic underfunding of Indigenous children in care. And I am a part of the justice system that allows Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people to go missing and murdered and actively criminalizes Indigenous peoples making them the most overrepresented group in our prisons.

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