Defining and Driving ESG Within Your Organization
March 17, 2021
In January and February 2021, Bennett Jones hosted a three-part webinar series focusing on why ESG matters and how business leaders can drive ESG within their organization. This paper takes those conversations one-step further by providing a practical and high-level overview of the legal, operational and reputational tenants of an effective ESG strategy.
Looking Forward: Class Actions in 2021
January 25, 2021
The Class Action Practice Group at Bennett Jones continued its tradition of involvement in the year's most significant cases, focusing on practical solutions where they are possible and seeking clarity from the courts where it is needed. In the latest edition of our Looking Forward report, we review some notable recent developments and comment on some critical areas of importance we expect to see evolve in the year ahead.
Updates to Canada’s Top 10 Sources of Emergency Capital for Businesses
January 13, 2021
The Canadian government continues to launch new measures to provide access to capital to businesses and industry sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of Bennett Jones Public Policy group provide an update on the programs and their details, as well as strategic considerations to keep in mind when accessing emergency funding.
Bennett Jones Fall 2020 Economic Outlook
December 08, 2020
Nine months into the pandemic, the short-term economic outlook for Canada entering 2021 is strikingly different than one year ago. Yet structural trends—such as the digital transformation of the economy—remain and in some cases have been accelerated. Canada, its governments and its businesses, have to address the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis while developing strategies and building momentum for longer-term prosperity, all against the backdrop of a challenging global geo-political environment. The Outlook sets a context for businesses to plan by reviewing economic scenarios for the next two years and analyzing global and domestic policy factors that could shape the business environment in the years ahead.
Alberta Introduces APIP in a Bid to Become a World-Class Leader on Petrochemical Facility Development
November 04, 2020
On October 30, 2020, the Alberta government unveiled the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP), an initiative intended to attract $30 billion in new investments by 2030 in Alberta's natural gas-based petrochemical sector.
B.C. Introduces Land Owner Transparency Registry to Record Indirect Ownership of Land
November 03, 2020
On November 30, 2020, Bill 23 (2019), the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA) will come into force together with the Land Owner Transparency Regulation (LOTR) to create the Land Owner Transparency Registry, a first-of-its-kind registry in Canada intended to record the indirect ownership of land by certain individuals.
Bennett Jones Spring 2020 Economic Outlook
June 08, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the most severe economic shock since the Great Depression. Despite massive intervention by central banks and governments, real output in the advanced economies likely fell in mere weeks by more than 10% from its level at the end of 2019.
A number of factors complicate a recovery from this unprecedented crisis: unknowns about the evolution of the pandemic; lack of global policy coordination; the uncertain behaviour of consumers as lockdowns are eased; the high debt levels of households, businesses and governments going into the crisis; the risk of permanent loss of capacity as the crisis endures; and the impact on investor confidence of uncertainty about the post-COVID-19 world.
Bennett Jones Fall 2019 Economic Outlook
November 12, 2019
This is a special edition of the twice-yearly Bennett Jones Economic Outlook. In it, as always, we review the global economic and trade context and the short-term outlook for global and Canadian growth. In addition, we examine five key policy challenges that the Government of Canada and the minister of finance will confront and deal with in a new mandate.
Update - New Register Requirements of "Individuals with Significant Control"
June 05, 2019
Effective June 13, 2019, each private corporation incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) will be required to prepare a register of "individuals with significant control" (ISC) over such corporation.
Bennett Jones Spring 2019 Economic Outlook
June 04, 2019
After a strong performance in 2017 and the first half of 2018, the global economy slowed markedly and is projected to grow at a more moderate but also more sustainable annual rate of 3.3% from 2019 to 2021. In Section I, we discuss our projections and the risks that need to be considered. We turn to a discussion of international trade developments and prospects in Section II, including the issues facing the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Canada. Building on the global economic and trade outlook, we set out the outlook for Canada over the next three years in Section III. In Section IV, we return to the analysis of the fiscal position of Canada and the four largest provinces, taking into account the evolving economic outlook and policies announced in 2019 budgets. As usual, we conclude with a summary of planning parameters for Canadian business over the 2019 to 2021 horizon.
CSA Proposes a Modernized National Filing System for Reporting Issuers
May 24, 2019
On May 2, 2019, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) announced that it is seeking comments in respect of a proposed streamlined and integrated national information and filing system for capital market participants (the "Renewed System") along with the adoption of a simplified fee system.
Canada Digital Charter Announced
May 23, 2019
The federal government has launched Canada’s new Digital Charter that comprises 10 broad principles to govern the use of data in the digital world. The stated purpose of the Digital Charter is to guide dialogue around changes in the laws governing Canadians' internet and digital use, and rebuild Canadians’ trust that their privacy is being protected.
A New Government in Alberta: What it means for businesses and investors
May 06, 2019
A new provincial government was elected in Alberta on April 16, 2019. The United Conservative Party (UCP) won a strong majority led by Jason Kenney, Alberta’s new Premier. The UCP has declared Alberta as open for business. Members of Bennett Jones Energy and Finance industry practice groups have prepared the following summary of what this new government’s most important policy initiatives mean for your business or investments in Canada.
Canada Ends Surtax on Certain Steel Imports but Launches Consultations on Other Protection
April 29, 2019
Effective Monday, April 29, 2019, the Government of Canada discontinued its 25% provisional safeguard surtax imposed since October 25, 2018, on imports of concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheet, pre-painted steel and wire. The Government also confirmed in a news release on April 26, 2019, that it will implement definitive safeguard measures on imports of heavy plate and stainless steel wire that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal found on April 3, 2019, to have caused or threaten injury to domestic steel producers.
Court of Appeal Decision Welcome News for Victims of Fraud
April 10, 2019
The Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Wescom Solutions Inc v Minet, 2019 ONCA 251 released on April 1, 2019, provides helpful guidance for victims of fraud seeking to pursue civil recovery against third parties.
New Ratifications of the OECD's Multilateral Instrument Put Canadian Resource Holding Structures at Risk
April 03, 2019
Tax-efficient holding structures commonly used by multinational enterprises and private equity firms investing in the Canadian resource sector could soon become subject to anti-treaty shopping measures contained in the "Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting".
Business Measures in 2019 Federal Budget
March 22, 2019
The 2019 Canadian federal budget was released on March 19, 2019 (Budget Day). As many of the proposals are aimed at investing in Canada’s middle class, the Budget was relatively light on proposals affecting businesses. Nevertheless, there are a number of measures of relevance to the business community...
ABQB Clarifies Test for Lifting the Stay to Replace an Insolvent Operator
February 20, 2019
The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench has issued several conflicting decisions on whether a stay of proceedings in an insolvency matter should be temporarily lifted to allow enforcement of a contractual right to immediately replace an operator of oil and gas assets in the event of the operator's insolvency. In the recent decision of Alberta Energy Regulator v Lexin Resources Ltd, 2019 ABQB 23 [Lexin], the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench (ABQB) provided much-needed clarification regarding the test to be used in determining whether a stay of proceedings imposed in a court-sanctioned insolvency proceeding should be lifted to permit a co-owner to assume operatorship of oil and gas assets. After analyzing three previous conflicting decisions of the ABQB, Justice Romaine emphasized the importance of the test for lifting a stay of proceedings in a receivership, which she explained in detail in Alignvest Private Debt Ltd v Surefire Industries Ltd, 2015 ABQB 148 [Alignvest]. This test focuses on the totality of the circumstances and weighs the prejudice to the parties involved in the receivership. In Lexin, Justice Romaine denied the co-owner's application to lift the stay and to replace Lexin as operator of certain oil and gas assets, because the prejudice to the Receiver outweighed any prejudice to the co-owner.
Not Just Linear Property Tax Priorities: Alberta Court of Appeal on Abuse of Process and Mootness
February 19, 2019
Certain municipalities appealed Justice Yamauchi's Order, arguing that linear property tax arrears constitute secured claims. That appeal was dismissed on February 12, 2019, as set out in the unanimous decision of Justices Bielby, Veldhuis and Strekaf in Northern Sunrise County v Virginia Hills Oil Corp., 2019 ABCA 651 (Virginia Hills CA).
Pre-Budget Analysis of Government Finances
February 19, 2019
Governments are currently busy, or will be soon, preparing annual budgets that will be tabled in the months to come. The fiscal health and prospects of the provinces and federal government vary significantly. Whatever political, economic and social objectives they wish to pursue, in setting their budgets, ministers of finance are constrained by the tax, expenditure and public debt obligations that have been previously established and the always uncertain economic developments which will determine future revenue growth and expenditure obligations. They must set their own priorities for the coming years in the face of uncertain revenue prospects and existing financial constraints on the actions they can take.
The purpose of this paper is to outline the constraints that the provinces and the federal government face in the choices they can make in setting their budgets. Our purpose is not to recommend to ministers of finance particular fiscal actions they should take, but rather to provide an analysis of where government finances stand at present, how they got there, what the constraints are on the ability of governments to take actions in the years ahead, and what the fiscal prospects to 2022-23 are likely to be. Based on this analysis, we provide an overview of the key fiscal issues facing the largest jurisdictions in the country, namely Québec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Canada. In a final section, we analyze the impact on economic performance that the status quo budget projections are likely to have over the next five years, i.e., is fiscal policy likely to be stimulating growth or restraining it?
Canada Increases Steel Quota for Mexico and Drops Surtax on Re-Imported Canadian Steel
February 15, 2019
Without fanfare or announcement, the Government of Canada made two important amendments to the provisional surtaxes on steel products imported into Canada.
Summary of Actions Against Exxon Mobil for Securities Fraud
January 30, 2019
Since 2013, investors in Exxon Mobil Corporation ("Exxon") stock have consistently shown an interest in understanding how the effects of climate change will impact their investment. Over the years, in response to these concerns, Exxon released a series of voluntary publications such as their Energy and Carbon—Managing the Risks, Energy and Climate, which described certain actions that Exxon was undertaking and, in 2016, their Outlook for Energy report. In the latter report, Exxon indicated that it used a proxy cost1 in its long-term projections for purposes of business planning, investment decision-making, and financial reporting. As investor concerns grew and became more public in 2015, the Attorney General of New York State ("AG") launched an investigation into the company’s disclosures.
2019 ISS and Glass Lewis Updates to Canadian Proxy Voting Guidelines
January 22, 2019
Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass, Lewis & Co ("Glass Lewis") have both released their updates to their respective Canadian proxy voting guidelines for the 2019 proxy season. The ISS updates apply to shareholder meetings of publicly traded Canadian companies occurring on or after February 1, 2019, while Glass Lewis updates apply to meetings that are held on or after January 1, 2019.
Recommendations from proxy advisory firms such as ISS and Glass Lewis can have a significant impact on the outcome of business conducted at shareholder meetings, especially if institutional investors comprise a significant component of the company's shareholder base. Canadian public companies should review the updates with their legal counsel to determine the likely impact and take steps to mitigate any potential adverse voting recommendations from ISS or Glass Lewis.
Are You Ready? IFRS 16 and Your Contractual Arrangements
January 14, 2019
IFRS 16 Leases becomes effective for annual reporting periods beginning on, or after, January 1, 2019. Consequently, entities with a December 31 year end, who did not adopt the new standards early, will report financial results utilizing IFRS 16 for the first time in their March 2019 quarterly financial statements. While entities have already been evaluating the impact of IFRS 16 on their financial statements, many have yet to fully consider its impact under various agreements including, in particular, their financing agreements. It is important to note that the Financial Accounting Standards Board is concurrently implementing similar rules (ASC 842) resulting in entities who report utilizing US GAAP needing to consider many of the same issues.
Orders for Consolidation and Common Hearings Under Tax Court Rule 26
January 04, 2019
Overview of Rule 26
Section 26 of the Tax Court of Canada Rules (General Procedure)1 (the "Tax Court Rules"), referred to as "Rule 26", can be useful where multiple taxpayers are involved in related matters and are simultaneously appealing their respective assessments before the Tax Court, or where a single taxpayer has separately appealed different reassessments. Rule 26 provides litigants before the Tax Court with the ability to consolidate two or more proceedings, have the proceedings heard at the same time or sequentially, or to stay a proceeding until the determination of another. The rule provides:
When Proceedings May be Consolidated
 Where two or more proceedings are pending in the Court and:
(a) they have in common a question of law or fact or mixed law and fact arising out of one and the same transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences; or
(b) for any other reason, a direction ought to be made under this section;
the Court may direct that;
(c) the proceedings be consolidated or heard at the same time or one immediately after the other; or
(d) any of the proceedings be stayed until the determination of any other of them.
The underlying policy of Rule 26 is to avoid a multiplicity of proceedings, to promote expeditious and inexpensive determination of those proceedings, and to avoid inconsistent judicial findings. While the application of Rule 26 is technically limited to appeals involving the General Procedure, its application has been extended to appeals under the Informal Procedure.2