The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Kim Covert

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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CBA influence

Draft M&A guide takes positions inconsistent with jurisprudence

By Kim Covert May 23, 2018 23 May 2018

 

Google “mergers” and “efficiencies” and the helpful suggestion for a search that comes up is “mergers create efficiencies.” It’s apparently so true that even Google knows it.

In March, the Competition Bureau released a draft document, A practical guide to efficiencies analysis in merger reviews, sharing its perspective and experience on trade-off analysis, and when the Commissioner may decide not to challenge a merger due to efficiency gains.

The CBA’s Competition Law Section commends the Bureau on its commitment to transparency and public consultation, but has a number of concerns with the document, recommending that language in a number of areas be clarified or reconsidered.

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CBA influence

Bill C-66 not a complete fix for historically unjust convictions

By Kim Covert May 17, 2018 17 May 2018

 

We’ve come a long way, baby. Time passes and society evolves and so do its attitudes to certain behaviour. Some laws are slower to change than others, but once something becomes more socially accepted, the laws regulating that behaviour gradually fall off the books.

The convictions under those laws, however, are another matter.

Many members of the LGBTQ2S community still have a criminal record for activities that have not been illegal for some time. It is these people whom Bill C-66, the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act, is supposed to help.

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CBA influence

Consent guidelines: Reviewing the revisions

By Kim Covert May 9, 2018 9 May 2018

 

In a letter to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the CBA’s Privacy and Access Law Section and CCCA note that many of the problems it identified last year in the OPC’s draft guidelines for obtaining meaningful online consent were still present after those guidelines were revised.

The Sections reiterate four recommendations from the earlier submission.

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