Iran Flag

Canada Eases Iran Sanctions and Opens Trade for Key Industrial Sectors

By Milos Barutciski, Matthew Kronby, and Jessica B. Horwitz

The Government of Canada today announced important amendments that loosen its economic sanctions against Iran. The amendments follow on the successful implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on January 16 by the P5+1 and Iran. (See Implementation Day for the P5+1 Iran Nuclear Agreement: What It Means for Canadian and International Businesses for more details.) The amendments will create market openings for key industrial sectors in Canada, including oil and gas services, exploration and production, aerospace, engineering and construction, automotive parts and technology, and financial services. (more…)

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New Competition Act and Investment Canada Act Review Thresholds Announced For 2016

By Adam Kalbfleisch and Kyle H. Donnelly

On February 5, 2016, the Competition Bureau announced the 2016 “size of transaction” pre-merger notification threshold under the Competition Act would increase to $87 million; the 2015 threshold was $86 million. Acquisitions may be subject to mandatory pre-notification where the aggregate value of the target firm’s assets in Canada, or the gross revenues from sales in or from Canada generated from those assets, exceeds the “size of transaction” threshold. The “size of parties” threshold ($400 million), and shareholdings threshold in the case of share deals, must also be met for a mandatory notification to be required. (more…)

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Ontario Pensions

How will the ORPP Impact Alberta-based Employers with Employees Working in Ontario?

By Susan G. Seller and Mariette P.H. Matos

Beginning in 2017, the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) will be phased in over a period of four years and will require eligible Ontario employees without a comparable workplace pension plan to be covered by the ORPP.  The ORPP Is modelled on the Canada Pension Plan and is designed to strengthen retirement income security by extending workplace pension coverage for Ontario employees. Employers who employ employees at an establishment in Ontario will be required to contribute to the ORPP on their behalf, and to collect and remit the employee’s contributions, unless they provide a comparable plan for such employees. Contributions to the ORPP, once fully phased in, will be 1.9 percent of the employee’s earnings above a minimum earnings threshold (expected to be $3,500) up to $90,000, on the part of both the employer and the employee (for a total of 3.8 percent of the employee’s earnings). The ORPP, which will be administered by an arms’ length administration corporation, will provide retirement benefits (including pre- and post-retirement death benefits) to plan members beginning in 2020.

The Ontario government recently announced that an individual will be considered employed in Ontario if he or she either reports to work, full-time or part-time, at an employer’s Ontario establishment, or is paid by an Ontario-based employer but does not work at an employer’s place of business but instead works from a home office. This means that an Alberta company with employees working at an establishment of the company in Ontario must participate in the ORPP if these employees do not participate in a comparable workplace pension plan. (more…)

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Expropriation in Calgary: The Southeast LRT is Coming

By Daron Naffin, Blake Williams, Cassia Prentice and Timothy Myers

The City of Calgary has identified portions or all of several dozen residential and commercial properties it may need to expropriate along the planned route of the Green Line Southeast LRT. Councillors debated the potential acquisition of those properties during the confidential portion of the Land and Asset Strategy Committee meeting on Thursday, January 28. (more…)

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School Hallway

Dazed and Confused: A Look at Medical Marijuana and Ontario Schools

By Michael D. Lickver and Hugo M. Alves with Vladimir Klacar and Benjamin Burford

As the Canadian medical marijuana industry continues to expand and evolve at a rapid pace, unintended gaps have begun to appear across a wide spectrum of legislation. One such gap currently exists in the Ontario school system whereby students with prescriptions for medical marijuana (Student Patients) may face accommodation challenges as they tread into uncharted and controversial territory. (more…)

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Desktop Computers

Further CRTC Investigation Underway

By Martin P.J. Kratz, QC

For the second time the CRTC has publicized the execution of a warrant under the CRTC’s powers under Canada’s Anti-spam law (CASL). The investigation is focused on the installation of malware and the altering of transmission data.

The first such warrant was executed December 3, 2015, where the CRTC acted to take down a command and control server as part of a coordinated international effort directed at the Win32/Dorkbot malware family. (more…)

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Court of Appeal of Alberta Allows Sharing Self-Incriminating Evidence Given in Securities Proceedings with Foreign Authorities

By Anthony FriendMichael Mysak, Justin Lambert and Athyna Slack

For many years, there has been a growing concern in Alberta and elsewhere as to what might happen when the subject of a compelled examination under Alberta securities law faces potential scrutiny in other jurisdictions; can the results of those compelled interviews be shared with other jurisdictions? Even at the risk of potential violations of the subject’s rights against self-incrimination? (more…)

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Chains

One Arbitration Binds the Next: Alberta Court of Appeal Says Res Judicata Applies to Arbitrations

By Scott H.D. Bower and Russell J. Kruger

The doctrines of res judicata and issue estoppel can, as a matter of law, apply to subsequent arbitration proceedings, the Alberta Court of Appeal recently held in Enmax Energy Corporation v TransAlta Generation Partnership, 2015 ABCA 383 [Enmax Energy].

In Enmax Energy, TransAlta Generation Partnership and Enmax Energy Corporation were parties to a power purchase arrangement (the “Arrangement”). The Arrangement provided for “final, binding and non-appealable” arbitration of disputes. Under this provision, the parties were involved in a prior arbitration as a result of updates made by Statistics Canada to certain indices TransAlta used in its billings to Enmax. That arbitration determined that the updated indices were to be applied on a go-forward basis and not linked to the previous indices (or, if linking was required, it was already provided for in the updated indices). (more…)

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Office Building

Ghost Offers in Real Estate Transactions

By Simon P. Crawford

“If a man signs a contract for and on behalf ‘of his horses’, he is personally liable.”

– Lord Denning

Too Clever by Half

Not so long ago I received a draft agreement of purchase and sale from a practitioner in which he named his purchaser client as “John Doe, in trust, and without personal liability, for a corporation to be formed“.

The draft agreement was prepared in furtherance of an earlier letter of intent that specified that the definitive purchase agreement would not be assignable by the purchaser.

And as I read the draft agreement, trying to reconcile these two concepts, it occurred to me that purchaser’s counsel had been too clever by half, for inasmuch as he had tried to skirt the restriction on assignment clause, his proposed language may have inadvertently made the contract not a contract. (more…)

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Cell phone towers

Not So Fast, Not So Much – Data Protection for Cell Tower Traffic Data

By Martin P.J. Kratz, QC

In the context of criminal investigations police in Canada may obtain “tower dump” production orders. These are orders requiring the applicable cellular telecommunications providers to disclose all records of cellular traffic through a particular cell tower over a specified time period. In R. v. Rogers and Telus, 2016 ONSC 70, Justice Sproat noted that “Every year such orders require cellular providers to produce the names and addresses of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of subscribers; who they called; who called them; their location at the time; and the duration of the call. These orders may also require that credit card information be provided.”

The context for this case was that Telus and Rogers were served with an expansive “tower dump” production order as part of an investigation by Peel Regional Police who were instigating a series of jewellery store robberies. The Police sought to identify persons using cell phones in the vicinity of each store around the time it was robbed. The Production Orders required the name and address of every subscriber making or attempting a communication through the particular cell tower. The orders also required that if both the person initiating and the person receiving the communication are Rogers or Telus subscribers, then information regarding the recipient must also be provided and the cell tower the recipient used must also be provided. The Production Orders also require billing information which may include bank and credit card information. (more…)

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