Legal Feeds Blog
Police arrest one of two men being sought on warrants in Alberta, Canadian Press
The former Canadian ambassador to the United States and past premier of Manitoba, Gary Doer, has joined Dentons in its Toronto office.
|Former ambassador and premier Gary Doer will work with Dentons’ Canada-U.S. trans-border practice. (Photo: Reuters)|
In the role of senior business adviser, Doer will be working with all of the firm’s offices across Canada (including Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montréal and Vancouver), throughout the United States and around the world.
“I think advocacy through an international law firm, particularly with assets in the United States could be a real advantage for Canadians and for Americans to get stuff done,” says Doer.
Doer served as Canada's ambassador to the United States from October 2009 to March 2016.
Prior to that, Doer was the 20th premier of Manitoba, from 1999 to 2009, leading the New Democratic Party to win three consecutive majority governments. During his 10 years in office as premier, he led strategic investments in health care, education and infrastructure, and worked with both U.S. and Mexico governors to improve trade and energy co-operation.
“I was involved as a premier in the European trade discussions and one of the big issues for Europe was procurement for subnational governments. I was very involved in that process and very aware of what the benefits are for Canada. I was very involved in TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) negotiations, which gives some certainty and parameters to state-owned enterprises in dealing with free market countries like Canada, the United States and Mexico,” he says.
Doer also referenced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s current visit to China.
“For Canada and trade with China, rule of law and reciprocity is very important and Dentons has a large presence in China as well,” he says. “To me, the political, the public and the legal all go together and this firm affords that ability to deal with the challenges and opportunities in an international world.”
With the U.S. election months away, Doer says whatever the outcome — Trump or Clinton — the focus for Canada will be to emphasize that Canada is the largest trading partner Americans have.
“With a $2-billion-a-day trading relationship, it’s very important for Canada to continue to repeat over and over again that we are the U.S.’s largest customer and we buy more goods than the whole European Union put together instead of getting into abstract statistics that don’t mean much to the average consumer,” he says. “That’s our populism in an election with lots of populist sounds emanating from different candidates.”
Doer will work with Dentons’ Canada-U.S. trans-border practice. He will also be deeply involved in the firm’s global public policy initiatives.
“We are honoured to welcome Gary to Dentons — his arrival further strengthens the unmatched talent and scope of our team of business and public policy advisors,” said Chris Pinnington, Dentons’ Canada chief executive officer, in a statement.
“Gary’s experience and widely-respected stature in public service, in government and with cross-border diplomatic and business relations in North America, will be invaluable to our clients.”
"I have worked with Gary in his capacity as Premier and Ambassador. He is an extraordinary talent, whose ability to clearly define public policy challenges and then fashion solutions is virtually unparalleled,” said Gordon Giffin, former U.S. Ambassador to Canada (1997 – 2001), chairman of Dentons' U.S. Public Policy and Regulation practice, and co-chairman of Dentons' global energy sector team. “I have been privileged to work with him in my capacities in and out of government and enthusiastically look forward to teaming with him at Dentons to solve client problems and create client opportunities throughout North America and around the world.”
“We are very proud of the accomplishments and perspective our team brings to the table, and the arrival of former Canadian Ambassador Doer further enhances our unique capabilities and focus with identifying the right solutions and opportunities for our clients,” said Elliott Portnoy, Dentons’ global chief executive officer. “This is an exciting announcement for Dentons and for our clients.”
Massive hack of people's personal information feared in Alberta, Canadian Press
A Toronto lawyer who says he was discriminated against by a Law Society of Upper Canada security guard says he may take the matter to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
|Selwyn Pieters says he was discriminated against at the Law Society of Upper Canada in July, and is contemplating taking the matter to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.|
Selwyn Pieters says he was racially profiled on July 5 as he was walking into Osgoode Hall to give his intern a tour, and presented an ID card to a guard who approached them.
Pieters said he was not allowed in after showing an ID card to the guard, and had to get a renewed card — differential treatment, he says, is based on race.
“I should be retaining counsel in the next couple [of] days. Myself and counsel will be deciding the next course of action,” says Pieters, who adds that bringing an application before the HRTO is “an option that is open at this point.”
Robert Lapper, the LSUC’s chief executive officer, said in a letter to Law Times Aug. 22 that while the LSUC regrets Pieters was “upset by his experience,” Lapper is “satisfied that standard procedures were followed and there was no discrimination.
“The Law Society has standard procedures for all non-staff licensees who seek to enter controlled access areas of the building. Access to these parts of the building is gained through the main reception area of the Law Society,” Lapper said in the letter to Law Times.
“The standard procedures call for security staff to ask licensees to show their Law Society identification card. If this card is expired, security staff will check the Law Society’s database of licensees to confirm the licensee’s status. Once security staff have confirmed the licensee’s status, he or she is permitted entry to those areas of the building.”
Pieters has published a post online calling on the LSUC for information about security procedures. For example, he says other lawyers have told him they have not had LSUC identification cards.
He says the response from the LSUC has been disheartening.
“I, to be quite frank with you, was disappointed, very disappointed, and so I will take the next step,” says Pieters.
Fraud case of former Quebec deputy premier resumes today, Canadian Press
- High costs could deter lawyers from taking on similar claims, lawyers say
While a securities class action lawsuit concerning a Canadian mining company paid out millions in the United States, its counterpart in Ontario could not get off the ground.
|Lawyer Peter Roy says Ontario Court of Appeal decision 'really kills any kind of real initiative in this kind of securities litigation.'|
The Ontario Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of plaintiffs challenging the ruling of the motion judge, Justice Edward Belobaba, who refused to certify their proposed class action against Silvercorp Metals Inc.
The court upheld $500,000 in costs against the plaintiffs and added a further $75,000 — a penalty lawyers say could deter others from taking on similar cases in the future.
“This decision really kills any kind of real initiative in this kind of securities litigation,” says Peter Roy, a senior litigation counsel at Roy O’Connor LLP who has represented both plaintiffs and defence in class action proceedings.
“The cost consequences to a plaintiff side firm that generally takes this kind of stuff on spec is crushing.”
Roy says that the risk of the cost consequences for plaintiff lawyers in such suits will make it unlikely that firms will take on anything other than the most obvious cases in the future.
“You’ve got to be pretty brave to put your toe in that water,” he says.
The lead plaintiff on the claim, John Mask, alleged Silvercorp had misrepresented the quality of its mineral resources at a mine in China and that this had inflated the company’s share price. The plaintiffs, who were shareholders, then lost money when the price fell after “corrective disclosures” issued by an anonymous Internet poster in 2011, the decision said.
Belobaba, however, ruled that evidence Silvercorp submitted undermined that of the plaintiffs, whose claim was “so weak or has been so successfully rebutted by the defendants that it has no reasonable possibility of success.”
In their appeal, the plaintiffs argued that Belobaba had misapplied the test to grant leave for the action by “weighing the evidence on a balance of probabilities, turning the leave application into a mini-trial.”
They argued that Belobaba’s approach was inconsistent with the purpose and spirit of the Securities Act to screen out only plainly unmeritorious claims.
In the Court of Appeal decision, Chief Justice George Strathy said that scrutiny of the evidence on such a leave application should not be so limited.
“In my view, the ‘reasonable possibility’ requirement of the leave test requires scrutiny of the merits of the action based on all the evidence proffered by the parties,” he wrote.
“Far from undermining the objective of the legislation, such scrutiny of the entire body of evidence is necessary to give effect to the purpose of the screening mechanism.”
Matthew Fleming, of Dentons Canada LLP, says the decision continues a trend in secondary market securities class action claims where defendants are filing extensive evidence in response at the leave stage.
“In particular, they are rebutting what I might characterize as more speculative evidence that is being advanced by plaintiffs,” he says. “And in doing so, they’re making it far more difficult for plaintiffs to succeed at the leave stage.”
Fleming says the decision also confirms that motion judges are entitled to weigh that evidence.
“It’s not simply sufficient for a plaintiff to offer up some credible evidence in support of a claim, particularly where the defendants take on and rebut that evidence directly.”
Garth Myers, a class action lawyer with Koskie Minsky LLP, says it has been increasingly common for defendants to file a significant amount of evidence in these types of motions in order to dispute the claims advanced by the plaintiffs.
“As a result of the court’s increasing scrutiny of these claims at this stage, I think the defendants are encouraged to do so, but the downside of that is simply that it increases the cost and the complexity of these motions,” he says.
The settlement in the U.S. paid out US$14 million to investors who bought Silvercorp shares on the New York Stock Exchange between May 20, 2009 and Sept. 13, 2011.
Myers says it is easier in some ways and harder in others to push similar actions forward in the U.S. One difference is that there is a very different preliminary burden in Canada than in the U.S.
“In Canada, it’s evidentiary. You have to prove that there is a reasonable possibility of success and you do that using evidence,” he says.
“In the [United] States, the preliminary motion is typically a motion to strike. That’s just a pleadings motion and they look at whether the claim is capable of satisfying the pleadings requirements in the States, and that’s done without evidence and then subsequently they’re permitted to get discovery.”
Three people killed in crossbow attack in Toronto, Canadian Press
- ‘Significant breakthrough’ after period of intense campaign
After years of resistance, Legal Aid Ontario has agreed to come to the bargaining table to negotiate with its staff lawyers’ chosen union, the Society of Energy Professionals.
|LAO lawyers demonstrate outside a Liberal party fundraiser on July 13 in downtown Toronto. Legal aid has now agreed to negotiate with staff lawyers’ chosen union. (Photo: Alex Robinson, Law Times)|
Legal aid lawyers, who mounted an intense campaign on the LAO and the Ontario government in recent months, are calling this move a “significant breakthrough.” In the days ahead, the lawyers say the union and LAO will enter into negotiations they hope will end in the recognition of the Society of Energy Professionals as their bargaining agent.
“It’s a huge step,” says legal aid lawyer Dana Fisher. “It’s a step that they’ve refused to take until now.”
Legal Aid Ontario says it has agreed to meet with union reps to find out what its employees are looking for.
“At this point, we have agreed to meet with representatives of the Society of Energy Professionals to discuss arranging a vote to determine LAO’s staff lawyers’ wishes with regard to representation,” said Graeme Burk, spokesman for LAO. “We are taking this step because LAO wants to know conclusively what our staff lawyers want with respect to representation.”
Although her colleagues’ efforts are “finally paying off,” Fisher is careful not to declare victory just yet. “Saying that they’ll speak to us is a great first step and we’re really excited about it, but it’s certainly not the end of the road until we have something in writing,” she says.
Unlike most other workers, lawyers are not included in the Ontario Labour Relations Act. In order to unionize, they must obtain voluntary recognition from their employer. In 2013, LAO rejected its lawyers’ bid to unionize, saying it does not have a legal obligation to voluntarily recognize a trade union to represent its staff.
Later, LAO said it respects employees’ right to associate and is willing to consider associations other than the union the employees want to join. Legal aid expressed concerns about the fact that the Society of Energy Professionals is a trade union. But the lawyers were adamant, saying they’ve chosen the union because it is an “experienced and well-resourced association/union to mount an effective campaign.”
Since then, legal aid lawyers continued to pressure legal aid and the Ontario government, including the launch of a Charter challenge against them. They ratcheted up their efforts this summer, staging several demonstrations outside Liberal party fundraiser events and Premier Kathleen Wynne’s constituency office.
“I have never seen a group of workers as determined and dogged in their pursuit of collective bargaining rights as these Legal Aid lawyers,” said union president Scott Travers in a press release. “I am confident this breakthrough would not have been possible without the pressure Legal Aid lawyers and the Society exerted on the Wynne government and Legal Aid Ontario with the help of allies like the Ontario Federation of Labour.”
“Though we will move toward a normal, respectful bargaining relationship with Legal Aid Ontario, we will continue this public campaign until an agreement to recognize these lawyers' collective bargaining rights is final," Travers also said.
Female Mounties allowed to wear hijab: RCMP, Canadian Press
Police seek two suspects after shooting in London, Ont., Canadian Press
For the first time in more than a decade, Nunavut Arctic College will be offering a law degree program in Iqaluit.
|Martin Phillipson, dean of law at University of Saskatchewan, wants to assemble ‘an A-team’ faculty to teach the program in Nunavut.|
Through a partnership with the University of Saskatchewan outlining a five-year fixed-term contract, the university’s faculty of law will graduate up to 25 law students.
“We have over 40 years of experience and commitment to delivering legal education to Canada’s indigenous people, so this is an absolutely natural progression for us,” says Martin Phillipson, dean of law at the University of Saskatchewan. “Our university has made it quite clear that indigenization is going to be one of the major goals of our college and our university to comply with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, so this absolutely fits with our historical commitment to aboriginal legal education.”
The design and delivery of the program will be the responsibility of the university, and Phillipson says the four-year academic program will be broken down into a year of pre-law — a foundation year — and a three-year JD program, followed by one year of co-op or articling to ensure the students are ready to practise law.
Faculty will travel to Nunavut to teach the students in Iqaluit and, while U of S professors will do “the lion’s share” of the teaching, Phillipson says he aims to recruit faculty from across the country to build “an A-team” to deliver a high-quality legal education.
Phillipson says he’s already had professors reach out to him, interested in the opportunity to teach the program. He notes that when the college partnered with the University of Victoria for a similar law program in 2001 that saw 11 law students graduate, faculty from various law schools across Canada taught the courses.
“That’s clearly a model I’d like to replicate,” he says. “I want faculty from other schools who are interested and committed to indigenous education to have a role in the program if they want.”
As for the admissions process, grade 12 will be a prerequisite, but further post-secondary experience isn’t needed.
“The things that we’ll be looking for will be character references, writing skills and life experience,” Phillipson says.
He stresses that while the admissions process — which is still being hammered out with Arctic College — might look different from some other Canadian law schools, including not having an LSAT requirement, it’s no less rigorous.
As for funding, students will have access to the same help as any other sort of student in Nunavut would have for post-secondary education, and they will also be able to apply for funds from the University of Saskatchewan as any other law student would.
Phillipson says the schools will likely start the admissions process in October, with classes beginning in September 2017.
The hope is that the program will “increase the number of practising lawyers in Nunavut, while also meeting Sivumut Abluqta’s education priority to deliver relevant programming to meet the needs of Nunavummiut,” said a statement on the University of Saskatchewan’s web site. Sivumiut Abluqta: Stepping Forward Together is a four-part mandate from the Nunavut government. One of the four priorities is self-reliance and optimism through education and training.
With this new law program on offer, students at Arctic College can stay in their home territory of Nunavut and participate in three degree-granting programs in partnership with universities, including a bachelor of science in nursing in collaboration with Dalhousie University in Halifax and the teacher education program in partnership with the University of Regina.
Subscribe to Legal Feeds
- Mallory Hendry
- Patricia Cancilla
- Jennifer Brown
- Gabrielle Giroday
- Alex Robinson
- Tim Wilbur
- David Dias
- Karen Lorimer