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Update on Canada’s Economic Sanctions Against Ukraine and Russia

By Milos Barutciski, Matthew Kronby and Laura Murray

On July 24, 2014, Canada amended the Special Economic Measures (Ukraine) Regulations and Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations to expand the list of “designated persons” with whom Canadians are prohibited from engaging in business and financial dealings. The sanctions were also amended to prohibit new debt and equity financing transactions with designated entities in Russia. (more…)

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Six Considerations for Rent Arbitration Clauses in Commercial Leases

By Daniel T. Gallagher, QC, Gregory A. Liakopoulos and Alastair MacKinnon

When a commercial tenant exercises an option to renew a lease it is imperative that the landlord and tenant have effective mechanisms in place to determine the rent for the renewal term. Ideally both parties will agree on the new rental rate, but if a dispute arises there needs to be a framework to quickly resolve the disagreement. The following are six key considerations for landlords and tenants negotiating rent arbitration clauses in commercial leases. (more…)

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Recent Ontario Decision Casts Doubt on Statutory Severance Pay Threshold

By: Talia Bregman and Michelle MacGillivray

In Ontario, employees are entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice of termination in accordance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”). In addition, employees with five years of service or more who work for an employer with an annual payroll of at least $2.5 million are also entitled to statutory severance pay upon termination pursuant to the ESA. Section 64(2) of the ESA specifically outlines how to assess whether the $2.5 million payroll threshold has been met: (more…)

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New OHRC Policy Provides Practical Guidance to Employers

By: Joseph Blinick, Talia Bregman and Michelle MacGillivray

It is estimated that one in five Canadians will experience a mental health disability or addiction in their lifetime.[1] In light of this staggering statistic, employers are often faced with the challenging task of identifying and accommodating discrete mental health disabilities and addictions in the workplace. In order to assist employers and other responsible parties covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) in grappling with this challenging task, the Ontario Human Rights Commission recently issued a policy entitled the Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions.

The new policy aims to provide practical guidance to employers in Ontario on how to recognize, assess and accommodate human rights issues related to mental health and addiction. This is an important policy for employers as, under the Code, they have a positive obligation to accommodate employees who are affected by such issues and to ensure that the workplace is an accessible and inclusive environment, free from discrimination and harassment. (more…)

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CRA Owes a Duty of Care to Taxpayers

By Alison Gray

While taxpayers have initiated a number of civil claims against the CRA, alleging everything from negligence to fraud, these claims are rarely successful, as courts have traditionally been reluctant to ascribe any duty of care to the CRA. However, the British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision in Leroux v. Canada Revenue Agency, 2014 BCSC 720 signals a shift in judicial thinking and provides guidance to potential litigants seeking to hold the CRA accountable for negligent conduct.

The CRA issued reassessments to Leroux for GST and income tax totaling more than $600,000, after interest and penalties. Following an appeal to the Tax Court, some payments made by Leroux and a successful application for interest relief, Leroux received a refund of $25,000. However, Leroux did lose his business and home. He sued the CRA for misfeasance in public office, and in response, the CRA argued it owed no private law duty of care to an individual taxpayer. (more…)

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Supreme Court Decision in Keewatin Confirms Provincial Ability to Take up Treaty Lands

By Wally Braul, Radha D. Curpen, E. Bruce Mellett, Jessica E. Mathewson and Brian Monaco

On July 11, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its decision in Grassy Narrows First Nation v Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48, also known as Keewatin. The decision affirms the Court’s approach in Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44: provinces are able to regulate over areas within their constitutional jurisdiction, even where that regulation may affect Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The Supreme Court upheld the Ontario Court of Appeal’s ruling that the province of Ontario could “take up” lands so as to limit treaty rights in the Keewatin area of Treaty 3 and by extension, in treaty areas across the province. No federal approval will be required. Provinces are still entitled to regulate in the areas of forestry, mining and resource development, subject to the requirement that the exercise of that power must be done according to the honour of the Crown and the meaningful respect for treaty rights.

The decision is relevant for resource development in areas covered by numbered treaties, such as northeastern BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and includes such areas as the Ring of Fire in Ontario. (more…)

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CBSA Announces Mid-2014 Audit Targets

As is its practice, the Canada Border Services Agency recently announced its semi-annual trade verification targets for the balance of 2014. Many targets continue from the past, while new ones have been added.

Amongst new targets are for tariff classification (batteries, gazebos, apparel samples, bags of polymers of ethylene, footwear valued at $30 or more per pair, hair extensions, machinery for public works, special purpose motor vehicles, and polyurethanes in primary forms); for customs valuation there are no new targets; for origin, the CBSA has added jewelry. (more…)

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Revised CRA Policy Heralds Focus on Contemporaneous Transfer Pricing Documentation

By Claire M.C. Kennedy

CRA released an updated transfer pricing memorandum, TPM-05R, Requests for Contemporaneous Documentation, in March, which describes the procedural aspects of transfer pricing documentation requirements in substantially more detail than its predecessor. The new policy document does not contain large substantive changes but its focus on precise rules signifies an increased emphasis on strict adherence to those rules. (more…)

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