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Preparing for the future

Editor's Box
|Written By Andi Balla

At the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s world summit in Toronto last September, I had a chance to listen to Parag Khanna, an international relations expert and author. In his excellent book, The Second World, Khanna predicted that a combination of a youthful population, lack of economic opportunities, and political authoritarianism made North Africa and the Middle East ripe for the type of revolutions we have been witnessing over the past few months.

It is a wave of change that carries similarities to the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. Those events, 20 years ago, were a blessing for Europe as a whole, bringing prosperity, economic opportunities, and open societies for the former communist countries, despite the pain of the transition period. They also opened new markets and provided huge business opportunities for Western Europe and other western liberal democracies like Canada.

Viewing the situation in the Mediterranean’s southern shores in the most optimistic light, the model of Europe’s former communist states might serve as the best way forward for the Arab countries currently in turmoil. 

But no matter the state another country finds itself in, whether outright revolution or still trying to perfect its legal systems 20 years after the fall of communism, corporate lawyers working for companies doing business overseas often find themselves serving as risk managers, as our feature on international arbitration “Emergency exit” points out on page 24. How well they prepare today for what might happen tomorrow is vital to the success of their companies.

Closer to home, our cover story on page 16, “A question of proportionality,” looks at how proportionality rules are affecting complex litigation in Canada. This issue of InHouse also offers an in-depth look at changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the success of municipal public-private partnerships, and how legal departments are shifting their outsourcing practices to meet increased demands.

As always, I welcome your letters to the editor, comments, and ideas, so do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail at andi.balla@thomsonreuters.com.

Letter to the editor: Canada better off with provincial regulatorsI believe Canada often does things better precisely because it does not follow everyone else down the same path. Our current securities regulator model is a good example.

Few, if any, of the media point out that, besides the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. has 50 state-based securities regulators. Granted, the federal securities legislation pre-empts the state laws to a degree, which is sometimes helpful. But Canadian public companies that raise money in the U.S. on a private placement basis still have to file reports of their sales with up to 50 state securities regulators that often have completely different filing requirements.

 

In Canada, unlike in the U.S., the rules and requirements respecting private and public financings are substantially harmonized. For private financings, the exemptions are the same. The only additional requirement is that a report of securities sold must be filed in each province in which the securities were sold to investors.

Contrary to the statement in your editorial (October 2010 issue), Canadian public companies already generally deal only with one securities regulator under one harmonized set of rules.

Registration of securities professionals used to be a nightmare in Canada but now, it too, has been harmonized. The participant can register with one commission and be cleared to practise across Canada. I believe that state-by-state registration is still required in the U.S. — another plus for Canada.

— Michael F. Provenzano, Northwest Law Group, Vancouver

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