|Catherine Cummings is the CCCA's new executive director.|
“Cathy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position,” said Robert Patzelt, chairman of the CCCA’s executive committee. “She is a skilled leader, strong communicator, and well versed in change management and process improvement.”
Cummings most recently served as vice president of certification at the Canadian Payroll Association. She also holds an MBA from Athabasca University, received her bachelor of business management from Ryerson Polytechnic University, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive designation from the Canadian Society of Association Executives. She also currently serves as chairwoman of the board and head of the governance committee of the ALS Society of Ontario, and has been an active volunteer with the United Way and various other community based charities.
Cummings is eager to dig into a recent member survey, which she says would help the association gauge what’s on Canadian in-house counsels’ minds.
“The outcomes will guide and inform our decisions in the coming months, as CCCA moves forward on a solid foundation,” the Toronto resident said.
Members indicated in the survey that professional development is the association’s top offering. They also said they look to the CCCA to protect core values of the profession and advocate on their behalf to governments.
Meanwhile, Cummings takes the helm during a busy time for the association. Its annual conference will take place in Halifax from Aug. 14-16, alongside the CBA’s Canadian Legal Conference. CCCA members who attend will have their pick among 12 accredited professional development programs, with topics ranging from disaster planning to cost-efficient litigation.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet as many CCCA members as I can during the conference,” says Cummings.
The CBA sacked the CCCA’s leadership team in January following a longstanding dispute over funding. The two sides attempted to bridge the gap through mediation, but CBA president Rod Snow said an impasse was reached, and it was determined that the CCCA would need to head in a new direction.
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The change means consultants who are in good standing with the current regulator, the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, become members of the ICCRC for a transition period of 120 days. After that, they’ll need to become members in good standing with the new regulator in order to continue to provide services.
Part of the goal behind the legislation that created the new body is to crack down on so-called ghost consultants who weren’t part of CSIC but continued to provide services anyway.
A Canadian Bar Association report on Bill C-35, the legislation that ushered in the ICCRC, noted the previous law’s weaknesses in dealing with ghost consultants under s. 91. “While the previous legislation prohibited such persons from making representations to [Citizenship and Immigration Canada], these unscrupulous individuals would avoid this problem by ‘ghosting’ the applications or by falsely representing that they were not receiving a fee for their services,” immigration lawyers Deanna Okun-Nachoff and Michael Greene wrote in “Are you registered? Consultant regulation after Bill C-35.”
The new s. 91 is more expansive, they noted, by going after direct or indirect representation, advising a person for consideration, and offering to advise or represent in connection with a proceeding under the act.
But as Okun-Nachoff and Greene point out, there are a number of issues and questions related to Bill C-35, some of which affect lawyers.
First, the government modified the legislation to allow paralegals regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada to work as immigration consultants without becoming members of the ICCRC.
“The problem with this proposal is that it authorizes an additional 3,000 paralegals to provide immigration advice and representation,” the pair wrote. “Unlike with consultants who will be regulated by the national body designated by the minister, the minister will have no ability to control the accreditation or educational standards for such individuals.”
At the same time, provisions dealing with overseas consultants will affect lawyers here.
“Canadian-based lawyers and consultants who utilize the services of overseas agents to recruit clients and assist with applications could be exposed to liability for the actions of those agents,” Okun-Nachoff and Greene wrote. “A lawyer who uses an agent who provides advice or assistance, without adequate supervision of those services by the lawyer, may be a party to an offence under s. 91.”
Penalties under the act include a fine of up to $100,000, two years in jail or both. But questions remain over how effectively authorities will enforce the provisions aimed at ghost consultants.
In addition, the choice of a new regulator is also subject to a legal challenge. CSIC is challenging, at the Federal Court, the government’s decision to appoint the ICCRC as the regulator. Interestingly, several of the current directors of the ICCRC previously served on the board of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC). The two organizations had repeated clashes while CSIC had the regulatory function. Phil Mooney, the president and CEO of the ICCRC, was president of CAPIC from 2007 to 2010. Mooney himself took CSIC to Federal Court recently in a judicial review application related to three disciplinary decisions by the soon-to-be former regulator.
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Though smaller in terms of the number of Canadian lawyers joining an international network, the merger is the second one of its type after Ogilvy Renault LLP officially joined the Norton Rose Group on June 1.
Specializing primarily in insurance law, the Canadian firm's team of 40 professionals, including 15 partners, will join Clyde's global network that includes 24 offices and 1,400 employees worldwide, the firms said in a statement.
This the Clyde's first foray into Canada, though it has three offices in the United States in New York, New Jersey, and San Francisco. In total, the U.K.-based firm has offices on every continent except Australia. It focuses on delivering a full range of legal services, especially those of a complex, high-profile, and multi-jurisdictional nature.
"Through this deal, NPM clients gain access to the expertise of Clyde and Co.'s renowned global insurance practice and an established international network," says Karen Earl, managing partner at the firm's Toronto office. "We will have greater capacity to serve our clients across jurisdictions and a platform for growth within Canada through incoming international work and expansion into other provinces."
James Burns, a Clyde & Co partner and board member, says Canada is an extremely attractive market globally due to the strength of its economy. "The Canadian insurance market is going from strength to strength and the U.K. insurance market is building up its presence in Canada," he adds. "NPM, as a top-rated Canadian insurance law firm with existing work for Lloyd's of London syndicates, is a natural fit with Clyde & Co."
There had been a trend of firms merging within Canada for years, but when Ogilvy Renault became Norton Rose OR LLP, it was the first international merger of its kind in Canada. As Nicholl Paskell-Mede also goes down the international merger route, it could be a sign of more of these deals to come.
For more on the merger, read the full article in Law Times.
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In Quebec, Charles Ouellet joins the Superior Court bench. He has been a partner at Cain Lamarre Casgrain Wells LLP in Sherbrooke, Que., since 2008 and had practised at three other firms in the city previous to that. His main areas of practice were civil litigation related to contract, insurance, and commercial law.
In Ontario, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson appointed Kenneth Campbell of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Crown law office to replace Justice Joan Lax on the Superior Court bench in Toronto. Lax became a supernumerary judge on Jan. 1. Campbell, who previously worked at Justice Canada, has been director of the Crown law office’s civil section since 2005.
Also becoming an Ontario Superior Court judge is Bruce Fitzpatrick, a lawyer with Lockington Lawless Fitzpatrick LLP in Peterborough, Ont. He takes a position in Thunder Bay, Ont., as a replacement for Justice Bonnie Warkentin, who has moved to Ottawa to take the place of Justice Colin D.A. McKinnon. McKinnon became a supernumerary judge on Feb. 20.
In Alberta, provincial court Justice Barbara Velduis moves up to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary. Prior to joining the bench, she served in various roles at both Justice Canada and Alberta Justice following a career in private practice. She replaces Justice P.J. McIntyre, who became a supernumerary judge on April 23.
Finally, The British Columbia Supreme Court has two new judges. Justice Douglas Betton of the provincial court in Vernon, B.C., takes on his new role in Kelowna. He has been on the provincial court bench since 2007.
In Vancouver, Kenneth Affleck leaves the firm he joined in February, Affleck Hira Burgoyne LLP, for his new position on the B.C. Supreme Court bench. He previously had a long career at Macaulay McColl.
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Wednesday marked the opening of Neeson Arbitration Chambers, with a reception welcoming many of Toronto’s legal luminaries. The chambers, which offers a new option for the arbitration and mediation market, is built on a membership model offering independent offices with the opportunity to share office and administration services and access to well-appointed boardrooms.
Thursday was double-header with the Law Society of Upper Canada hosting its annual Pride Week reception. The reception was preceded by a great discussion on immigration laws and policies as they pertain to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender immigrants and refugees. Human rights lawyer and recent Law Society Medal recipient Cynthia Petersen gave the keynote address at the reception, which looked back at all the members of the Canadian bar who have worked tirelessly over the years — and will continue to work — to bring about equality for LGBT Canadians.
That same night, the labour and employment section of the Ontario Bar Association hosted a fundraiser for the Lawyers' International Food Enterprise, an organization of lawyers with the mission to raise awareness within the legal profession of child poverty around the world and to further advance the profession’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility by encouraging the legal community to provide financial support to several charities. The funds raised at the silent auction will go towards World Vision and The Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Kimberley Neeson, of Neeson & Associates and members of Neeson Arbitration Chambers, played host to a crowd of well-wishers at their grand opening on June 22. Photo: Karen Lorimer
Kimberley Neeson and Gary Luftspring, a partner at Ricketts Harris, at the reception celebrating the grand opening of Neeson Arbitration Chambers. Photo: Karen Lorimer
The Law Society of Upper Canada held its annual Pride Week reception at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on Thursday, June. 23. Ontario Superior Court of Justice Master Robert Muir, left, and Mark Berlin, corporate counsel at the Institute on Governance in Ottawa and incoming chairman of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference of the Canadian Bar Association. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Immigration lawyer Michael Battista and his spouse Keith Maidment at the LSUC Pride reception. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
LSUC Pride reception organizers Rudy Ticzon, right, of the LSUC, and Ontario Bar Association SOGIC chairman Milé Komlen, centre, along with Pride at Work Canada executive director Brent Chamberlain. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
After being acclaimed for her second term as treasurer of the law society, Laurie Pawlitza welcomes guests to the Pride reception on June 23. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Human rights lawyer and recent recipient of the Law Society Medal, Cynthia Petersen, of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, gives the keynote address looking back on all those involved in the legal fight for LGBT equality in Canada. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
(l to r) Adrian Lomaga of Howie Sacks & Henry; Joseph Hillier of Norton Rose; and London, Ont. lawyer Nicole Nussbaum all enjoy the LSUC Pride reception. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
The labour and employment section of the Ontario Bar Association hosted a successful fundraiser for the Lawyers' International Food Enterprise (LIFE) on Thursday, June 23. (l to r) One of the organizers, Elaine Newman of Newman Arbitrations; lawyer Hugh Scher; Dave Toycen, president of World Vision Canada; and Margaret Wright, director of operations for The Stephen Lewis Foundation. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Stuart Rudner, of Miller Thomson, another of the LIFE fundraiser organizers gets some cognac tasting tips from Jason Englishman of Select Wines & Spirits. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Event planner Brian Huskins, left, yuks it up with lawyers Arleen Huggins of Koskie Minsky and Fasken Martineu partner Andrew Alleyne at the LIFE fundraiser. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Sarnia, Ont. lawyers and partners Pascale Daigneault and Carl Fleck, of Fleck and Daigneault, got down to business and came out on top with a number of the silent auction items at the LIFE fundraiser hosted by the OBA. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Is that mediator/arbitrator Jules Bloch wearing the cap of his arch-nemesis Barry Fisher? Why yes! All had a good laugh with event organizer Stuart Rudner. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
LIFE founder Malcolm MacKillop with pal Erin Kuzz, of Sherrard Kuzz, sporting her new string of pearls from the auction at the LIFE fundraiser on June 23. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
“If the decision to repudiate a plea agreement remains within the core discretion of the attorney general, then there will be a situation where many Crowns will simply not provide reasons, and the accused in most cases will be stuck with the decision largely because most accused won’t have the resources to pursue it any further,” says D’Arcy DePoe, who represented the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association as intervener in R v. Nixon.
The controversial decision released today follows an incident that occurred in September 2006, when Olga Nixon drove her motorhome into an intersection and hit another vehicle, killing a couple and injuring their son. Nixon faced charges including dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, and impaired driving.
She agreed to a plea deal that would have seen her plead guilty to careless driving, along with a joint sentence recommendation for a $1,800 fine. But that deal collapsed after the acting assistant deputy minister of the Criminal Justice Division of Alberta’s Office of the Attorney General decided the resolution would put the administration of justice into disrepute.
Crown counsel was told to withdraw the plea deal and go to trial on the matter. That move prompted Nixon to bring a s. 7 Charter application based on allegations of abuse of process, and sought to force the Crown to follow through with the deal.
The trial judge backed Nixon, but the Alberta Court of Appeal disagreed, ruling that prosecutorial discretion makes way for the withdrawal of plea agreements, and is not reviewable by the courts.
The Supreme Court backed the appeal court’s ruling, noting that the issue was addressed in the 2002 case Krieger v. Law Society of Alberta. That case essentially says acts of prosecutorial discretion are reviewable only on abuse of process, which the SCC said didn’t apply in Nixon.
“In the absence of any prosecutorial misconduct, improper motive or bad faith in the approach, circumstances, or ultimate decision to repudiate, the decision to proceed with the prosecution is the Crown’s alone to make,” wrote Justice Louise Charron on behalf of the court.
“Reasonable counsel may indeed, and often do, differ on whether a particular disposition is in the public interest in the circumstances of the case. The ADM, in good faith, determined that Crown counsel’s assessment of the strength of the evidence was erroneous and, on that basis, having regard to the seriousness of the offences, concluded that it would not be in the public interest to terminate the prosecution on the criminal charges. This can hardly be regarded as evidence of misconduct.”
But the court also stressed that plea deals cannot be “overturned on a whim.” Wrote Charron: “The method by which the decision was reached can itself reveal misconduct of a sufficient degree to amount to abuse of process. But that is not what occurred here. The act of repudiation was indeed a rare and exceptional occurrence. The evidence revealed that there have been only two prior occurrences in Alberta . . . . There was also no evidence of abusive conduct in the process leading to the decision to repudiate.”
Nevertheless, DePoe says it would have been more equitable for the top court to put the onus on the Crown to justify its repudiation of a plea deal by laying out public-policy grounds in open court.
“I would have thought it was not unreasonable for the average citizen to expect that the attorney general and their agents would keep their word,” he says. “This doesn’t happen as rarely as the Supreme Court says it does.”
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Gail J. Cohen