Blogs

  • Federal Trade Commission Delivers Cross-Device Tracking Report Recommendations
    February 23, 2017

    The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) office recently published the Cross-Device Tracking: An FTC Staff Report. It provides an interesting look behind the curtains of the current operations in cross-device data tracking and matching, and the troubling extent of consumer profiling.

  • A Deceased Can't Always Will What They Want
    February 22, 2017

    There is a common misconception that the testator is free to leave their estate to anyone they choose. While this is largely true, certain family members who were left out or feel they were inadequately provided for under a will do have options under Alberta's Wills and Succession Act (WSA).
  • Cybersecurity: Regulatory Risks for Canadian Issuers
    February 22, 2017

    In the United States, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken an active role in regulating cybersecurity issues. Canadian issuers should be aware that the risk of regulatory enforcement may be coming to Canada.

  • Toronto Municipal Land Transfer Tax Increase
    February 22, 2017

    The City of Toronto has increased its municipal land transfer tax rates to match the recent changes to provincial land transfer taxes, effective March 1, 2017.
  • Cybersecurity Obligations of Directors
    February 16, 2017

    Your organization will in all likelihood suffer a cyberattack. According to a recent study by Accenture, the average Canadian organization faces about 96 cyberattacks per year, nearly one third of which result in a security breach. The aftermath of cyberattacks often leaves a wake of victims whose personal information has been breached, and correspondingly massive exposure for the companies that have been attacked.

  • Master Service Agreements in the Oilfield Services Industry
    February 15, 2017

    Master Service Agreements are commonly used as a means of negotiating and entering into commercial agreements for the provision of services and goods. Even within this simplified framework, most parties recognize that the negotiation of these agreements will usually come down to a few key clauses.

  • Proxy Season 2017: Improving the Accuracy, Reliability and Accountability of Proxy Vote Reconciliation
    February 13, 2017

    On January 26, 2017, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) released CSA Staff Notice 54-305 Meeting Vote Reconciliation Protocols (the Protocols) concerning the improvement of the procedures used for counting proxy votes for shares held by intermediaries and the accuracy, reliability and accountability of proxy vote reconciliation. The Protocols specifically target the key entities that implement shareholder-meeting vote reconciliation: the Canadian Depository for Securities Limited (CDS), intermediaries, Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions Canada (Broadridge), and transfer agents that act as tabulators (collectively, the Key Entities).

  • The Appeal in Teal: Challenging Commercial Arbitration Awards in Canada
    February 13, 2017

    How final is a final award in a commercial arbitration? The scope of appeal rights against commercial arbitration awards is again before the Supreme Court of Canada. Will this be the last word on the subject?

  • CRA Releases New Guidelines Regarding Canadian Exploration Expenses
    February 09, 2017

    On the heels of some recent positive legislative changes regarding the tax treatment of environmental study and community consultation costs, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has revised its administrative guidelines for the mining industry regarding such expenses. These changes are a welcome development for the industry, and the new guidelines are helpful in providing insight regarding the CRA’s views. Members of Canada’s mining industry should take note, particularly since such expenses are a growing and more common part of any new mineral exploration project.
  • Be Sure to Mind your Manners in Estate Litigation
    February 08, 2017

    Miss Manners may just be worth listening to for those involved in wills and estate litigation. In fact, not doing so may be to your detriment given that poor conduct can cost you with the courts.
  • Is Your Customs Compliance BEPS Ready?
    February 08, 2017

    2016 was the first year of the new Transfer Pricing reporting regime called Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR). It will be a major new tool for revenue authorities and will undoubtedly lead to greater audit activity and more transfer pricing disputes as it begins its implementation around the world including in Canada.

  • Task Force Report: Production of Cannabis
    February 02, 2017

    In this edition of our series on the Task Force’s final report "A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada" (the "Report") we explore the Task Force recommendations for regulating the production of cannabis. One of the major themes that formed the basis of the discussions throughout the Task Force consultation process was the establishment of a safe and responsible production system. Accordingly, the Task Force recommended that the government’s principal interest should be to establish an efficient, accountable and transparent system for regulatory oversight of the cannabis supply chain which emphasizes the protection of health and safety and reducing diversion to the black market.
  • Alberta Securities Commission Replaces Key Blanket Order for Over-the-Counter Derivatives
    January 31, 2017

    On January 30th, 2017, the Alberta Securities Commission (the "ASC") announced in its weekly notice that, effective as of February 1st, 2017,  it is replacing Blanket Order 91-506 entitled Over-the-Counter Trades in Derivatives (the "Current Order") with ASC Blanket Order 91-507 which is also entitled Over-the-Counter Trades in Derivatives (the "New Order"). Both of these orders provide dealer registration exemptions and prospectus exemptions that are widely relied upon in the over-the-counter derivatives marketplace in Alberta. 
  • Mind the Gap: Regulatory Frameworks Fintech Companies Can Use Right Now
    January 31, 2017

    Financial technology is changing how money changes hands, and fintech is evolving faster than the law.  The rapid and recent advent of financial technology has left regulators playing catch up, with the current rules being ineffectively imported from regulatory models fit for traditional banking and financial services.
  • Business and Human Rights in Foreign Operations: The Stakes Just Got Bigger
    January 30, 2017

    Canadian courts took another step in further opening the country’s courts to civil claims by foreign victims of alleged human rights abuses against Canadian corporations for acts committed abroad. In a January 26, 2017, decision in Garcia v. Tahoe Resources Inc., 2017 BCCA 39, the British Columbia Court of Appeal reversed a lower court decision that ruled Guatemala was a more appropriate forum to hear the plaintiffs’ claim against Tahoe, a British Columbia registered mining company. Following the Hudbay and Nevsun decisions, it marks the third instance where a Canadian court has found that a Canadian mining company may incur liability before Canadian courts for failure to adhere to human rights and corporate social responsibility commitments (CSR).

  • Children are Children, Right?
    January 30, 2017

    An interesting Will interpretation question arose in Matras Estate, 2016 ABQB 728 regarding the meaning of the word “children”. It mattered because the testator's Will left her personal effects and the residue of her estate to "my children", and she had biological children, legally adopted children and a foster child who had been with the family since infancy but was not legally adopted.
  • Canadian Playground Fight Highlights the Importance of Industrial Design Protection
    January 26, 2017

    A recent decision of the Federal Court of Canada has highlighted the difficulties in asserting trademark and copyright rights related to the appearance of functional products with unique design elements.

  • Don't Lose Your Day Job: Court Rules Against Moonlighting Employee
    January 26, 2017

    Can an employee keep his or her full-time job, while operating a personal business on the side (also known as moonlighting)? This issue was considered in Ross v IBM Canada Limited, 2015 ABQB 563 [Ross], where a senior salesman was terminated by IBM Canada Limited (IBM) on the basis that he was also regularly working for his own personal company during the office hours of IBM (IBM time).
  • Reliance on the Employment Contract–AKA "But It's Not Fair"
    January 26, 2017

    Canadian courts have often been swayed by arguments of fairness from plaintiff employees regarding the interpretation of their employment contracts in an employment dispute. There has been a general judicial recognition of the inherent imbalance in bargaining position between the employer and employee with the result that courts seemed to find in favour of the employee more readily than the employer, particularly when contractual interpretation was involved.
  • The Corporate Veil Matters
    January 25, 2017

    In two related decisions, the Ontario Court has said, resoundingly, that it will respect the corporate veil, even for complicated corporate groups with numerous subsidiaries. Both decisions involve the enforcement of foreign judgments, though appeals are likely given the amounts at issue.
  • Western Union on the Hook for $586 Million for Aiding and Abetting Wire Fraud
    January 24, 2017

    Western Union is facing a $586 million settlement, after admitting to aiding criminals in money laundering and fraud.
  • Amendments to Alberta's Municipal Government Act Likely to Reduce Time and Cost of Property Tax Review Process
    January 23, 2017

    As of January 1, 2017, amendments to the Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000 c. M 26 (MGA), came into force, changing how property owners can seek court review of Assessment Review Board decisions in Alberta.

  • Court Reminds Arbitrators and Employers: Proper Investigation of Employee Medical Marijuana Use is a High Priority
    January 19, 2017

    The courts have again reminded employers–and arbitrators–of the importance of a proper investigation and analysis when an employee is discovered to be using medical marijuana contrary to the employer's policies.

  • CBSA Announces 2017 Trade Verification Priorities
    January 13, 2017

    As has become its customary practice at this time of the year, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has published its trade verification (audit) priorities for the coming year. The audits will cover three programs that impact individually and collectively on the amount of duties and Goods and Services Taxes (GST) importers pay: tariff classification, customs valuation, and origin. The rate of duty applicable to imported goods is derived from their tariff classification, that is the description of the category of goods within which they fall as set out in the applicable schedule of the Customs Tariff, and their origin, that is the tariff preference applicable based on the application of rules of origin. Customs valuation relates to the base of appraisal of their value. Duties are calculated by multiplying the tariff rate by the value for duty. GST applicable at the border is based on the duty paid value of the imported goods, that is the sum of the value for duty and the applicable customs duty. The audits are intended to ensure compliance, which in turn ensures that the correct amount of import tax is collected and that the Canadian government obtains accurate data necessary to best enable its trade negotiations.
  • Canada’s Anti-Spam Law: Is Your Business Ready for July 1st, 2017?
    January 12, 2017

    On July 1st, 2017, organizations communicating electronically under Canada's Anti-Spam Law ("CASL" or the "Act") will lose the benefit of the transitional provisions, and will become subject to the coming into force of a private right of action. While some Canadian organizations may have already devoted considerable time and resources to ensuring compliance with the Act, all organizations are encouraged to review their compliance programs with these two developments in mind.
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