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To Be or Not To Be (An Employee): Employment Standards vs the Gig Economy
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2018

A Manitoban plaintiff has filed a class action lawsuit against the homegrown delivery service company, Skip the Dishes, reviving the debate over whether contractors for online services are truly independent contractors or are actually employees entitled to protection under employment standards legislation. Skip the Dishes operates an Uber-style online service that connects restaurants and hungry customers by facilitating food delivery through its website and mobile apps...

British Columbia Law Institute Publishes Consultation Paper on Complex Stratas
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2016

The British Columbia Law Institute published on September 1, 2016 its Consultation Paper on Complex Stratas seeking public comments on proposed reforms to the Strata Property Act and its regulations concerning sections, types, and phases. The BCLI carries out scholarly research, writing and analysis for law reform, collaborating with government and other entities, and providing materials and support for outreach and public information...

Digging Deeper into the New Foreign Entity Tax
Lawson Lundell LLP, July 2016

In our blog post from July 25, 2016 we highlighted the provincial government’s introduction (effective August 2, 2016) of the new 15% property transfer tax (the “Foreign Entity Tax“) on foreign buyers of residential property in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (“Metro Vancouver“). The Foreign Entity Tax has been introduced by way of an amendment to the Property Transfer Tax Act (British Columbia) (the “Act“)...

Penalty/Relief – Two Sides of the Same Mortgage Interest Coin When it Comes to Offending S. 8 of the Interest Act?
Lawson Lundell LLP, June 2016

The Supreme Court of Canada issued its reasons today in Krayzel Corp. v. Equitable Trust Co., 2016 SCC 18, adding some clarification to a mortgage lender’s right to protect itself from the increased commercial risk associated with a defaulting mortgagor through the use of interest rates, given s. 8 of the Interest Act which reads as follows: "No fine, etc...

Court Strikes Down Yukon’s Peel Watershed Land Use Plan
Lawson Lundell LLP, December 2014

On December 2, 2014, the Yukon Supreme Court struck down the Yukon government’s Peel watershed regional land use plan because of the government’s failure to follow the process for developing that plan under final agreements (modern treaties) with the Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondek Hwech’in and Vuntut Gwichin First Nations...

Water Use in BC: Recurrent Short-Term Water use Approvals are Lawful
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2014

In yet another indication of the increasing prominence of water use issues in BC, the Supreme Court of British Columbia recently upheld the practice of the BC Oil and Gas Commission to grant recurrent short-term water approvals for oil and gas activities under the Water Act...

Wills, Estates and Successions Act - A New Regime for B.C.
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2014

Those words were written nearly a decade ago and described, in brief, the complicated and confusing legal world of wills, estates and succession.  The Report from which that quote comes recommended a wholesale overhaul of this area of the law.  The B.C. Legislature, various interest groups and the legal community have been working on such a revision to this area of the law since...

"Additional Rent" and a Tenant's "Proportionate Share"
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2014

Most commercial leases contain terms that require tenants to pay additional rent. Additional rent is usually a share of the costs and charges incurred to operate the property. These costs can include municipal taxes, insurance premiums, repair and maintenance costs and common area utility charges. In any given year, these charges change and fluctuate.  Landlords often provide an annual estimate which tenants pay subject to a year-end reconciliation...

Water Use in BC: Water Sustainability Act Receives Royal Assent
Lawson Lundell LLP, June 2014

After 115 years under the old regime, the new Water Sustainability Act received Royal Assent on Friday May 20, 2014: an historic occasion to celebrate? Not quite yet, perhaps. The fact is the vast majority of the new statute will not have the force of law until authorized by the Lieutenant Governor in Council at an unspecified future date (section 219).   With new water regulations not expected until the spring of 2015, it seems that the new Act will not be binding until that time...

Doing Business in Western Canada
Lawson Lundell LLP, June 2014

As a firm with deep roots in Western Canada we can assist you in navigating the laws and regulations to establish, acquire or invest in a business operating in the region. Western Canada is among the most robust economic areas of the country with extensive resource activity in energy, mining and forestry. This guide has been prepared by Lawson Lundell as a concise resource outlining certain key relevant laws and regulations that companies should consider when doing business in Canada...

Who Is An “Employee” Under the British Columbia Human Rights Code?
Lawson Lundell LLP, May 2014

The Supreme Court of Canada has provided some important guidance regarding who qualifies as an “employee” under the British Columbia Human Rights Code in the case of McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP 014 SCC 39). Mr. McCormick was an equity partner at Fasken. The Fasken Partnership Agreement required Mr. McCormick to divest his ownership in the partnership and retire at the end of the year in which he turned 65. Mr...

Privacy Commissioner’s Report on Police Information Checks Released
Lawson Lundell LLP, April 2014

On April 15, 2014, the Office of the Information and Privacy  Commissioner for British Columbia (the “Privacy Commissioner”) issued a report regarding the use of police information checks in British Columbia (the “Report”). The main focus of the Report is the scope of information provided in police information checks...

Stop Shooting Cannonballs at my Customers’ Canoe! Welcome Clarification on the “Unlawful Means” Tort from the Supreme Court of Canada
Lawson Lundell LLP, February 2014

On January 31, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in A.I. Enterprises Ltd. v. Bram Enterprises Ltd., 2014 SCC 12. This is an important commercial decision as it clarifies and narrows the scope of the tort of unlawful interference in economic relations. Canadian businesses will also welcome the Court's reference to commercial certainty as one of the principal reasons to clarify and limit the scope of this tort...

Constructive Dismissal: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Lawson Lundell LLP, February 2014

"Should I stay or should I go?" may be the question an employee asks himself when he faces a difficult working environment and considers filing for constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal is when an employer indirectly encourages an employee to resign by failing to comply with the employment contract or one sidedly changing the employment terms without the employee's consent...

Spam, Spammity Spam, Wonderful Spam?
Lawson Lundell LLP, February 2014

The moniker "spam" for unsolicited and often indiscriminate electronic communications to multiple mailing lists, individuals, or newsgroups derives from a famous sketch in  the British television comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus. However, these days spam is no joke. It is a scourge on modern communications...

Canada Joins the Global Push towards Mandating Disclosure of Payments to Governments
Lawson Lundell LLP, November 2013

BackgroundOn June 12, 2013, the Canadian government announced its intention to introduce new legislation requiring the disclosure of payments made by Canadian extractive resource companies to domestic and foreign governments. While the United States and European Union have both already taken steps towards implementing mandatory payment reporting requirements for their mining, oil, and gas companies, Canada has now also joined the global movement towards transparency in this regard...

Class Action Law Bulletin: Green Light for Class Actions by Consumers
Lawson Lundell LLP, November 2013

In a highly-anticipated and extremely significant pair of decisions for businesses and consumers alike, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) ruled on Thursday (October 31, 2013) that the ultimate consumers at the end of a supply chain can effectively leap-frog the supply chain by having direct legal recourse in a class action against a manufacturer who illegally overcharged for the product supplied...

Pension & Benefits Law Bulletin: Requirements for Federally Regulated Employers to Insure LTD Plans Come into Force on July 1, 2014
Lawson Lundell LLP, November 2013

The Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act was passed by the federal government in 2012, which includes changes that will affect long-term disability (“LTD”) plans provided by federally regulated employers. This will impact employers in the banking, marine, transportation, telecommunication and other federally regulated industries...

What you Need to Know About Changes to Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2013

Earlier this year the federal government made changes to Canada’s temporary foreign worker program with the stated purpose of ensuring that Canadians are given the first opportunity to apply for available jobs. Most temporary foreign workers require a work permit to legally work in Canada. In many instances, the employer must first obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada before the worker can apply for a work permit...

Contract Law Update: Developments of Note
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2013

Each summer, I review judgments dealing withcontract law issues looking for decisions of relevance to commercial lawyersand business leaders.[1]  Contract law principles typically do notchange overnight; rather, they are modified incrementally.  Where I find a case that illustrates anincremental change, I use it as a springboard for discussing the state of thelaw on the particular issue and how it affects commercial practice...

Strengthening Canada’s Fight Against Foreign Bribery: A Warning to Canadian Companies
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2013

BackgroundOver the last 15years, governments around the world have indicated their willingness to implement laws prohibiting the bribery of foreign public officials (a “Foreign Official”) in connection with attempting to secure a business advantage.  While Canada has had anti-corruption legislation in place since 1998 in the form of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (Canada)1 (the “CFPOA”), it has been limited in scope and minimally enforced by Canadian authorities...

Envision: Implications for Canadian Corporations Contemplating a Merger
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2013

On September 26, 2013 the Supreme Court released its decision in the Envision1 case. The case deals with the amalgamation of two credit unions, but has broader implications for the tax treatment of amalgamations in Canada, and will be of interest to Canadian corporations contemplating a merger in the future. In 2001, two BC credit unions amalgamated to form Envision. The transaction was undertaken for non-tax reasons, but structured to obtain a particular tax outcome...

Cooperation Agreements and Benefits Agreements with First Nations
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2013

I. Introduction The development of projects and business opportunities, particularly in the natural resource industries, requires government decision making, from the issuance of resource tenures, through environmental assessment of proposed works and activities, and through licences, permits and authorizations...

Labour & Employment Law Bulletin: Restrictive Covenants involving sale of a business: Payette v. Guay Inc., 2013 SCC 45
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2013

The Supreme Court of Canada recently reiterated that restrictive covenants that arise in the context of the sale of a business will be treated differently and more generously than those that arise in the context of a contract of employment.  While the case arose under the Civil law of Quebec, it clearly has implications for the Common law regimes in the rest of Canada...

In Business with Others? The Benefits of Putting in Place a Shareholder Agreement
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2013

Starting a business venture with others is an exciting prospect.  However, because owners tend to put (understandably) on getting the company off the ground, they the important step of putting in place a business agreement founding partners., commonly known as shareholder agreements, are vital and understanding between investors on key matters relating to the company...

Have Your Say: Ontario Securities Commission Consults on Introducing a “Comply or Explain” Model to Promote Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards
Lawson Lundell LLP, September 2013

Gender diversity on corporate boards is a hot issue in Canada.  A recent report by TD Economics showed the extent of the disparity between Canada and other developed economies.  Women represent only 11% of board members for companies in the S&P/TSX Composite Index, with 43% of boards being all-male and 28% having just one female board member...

Energy Law Bulletin: Alberta’s New Energy Regulatory Regime Takes Shape
Lawson Lundell LLP, August 2013

On May 29, 2013, Alberta issued three regulations and two rules under the Responsible Energy Development Act (“REDA”).  The new regulations and rules became operational on June 17, 2013, the same day that REDA came into force.  With REDA, the regulations and the rules now in place, the new regulatory regime for energy development in Alberta has started to take shape...

Labour & Employment Law Bulletin: Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Lawson Lundell LLP, August 2013

Effective July 31, 2013 the Federal Government announced new rules relating to the temporary foreign worker program. It has advised that the changes are being made to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.  The changes include the following: 1.    Employers must now pay a processing fee for a Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) of $275 for each position requested.  This is estimated to cover the cost of the LMO...

The Top 10 Differences Litigating in Canada Versus the U.S.A.
Lawson Lundell LLP, July 2013

An American organization that finds itself involved in litigation in Canada, or an American attorney advising such an organization, will find most aspects of the Canadian civil justice system to be familiar. The legal systems of the two countries are comparable in many respects, they share common historical antecedents, and their core values are the same...

Labour & Employment Law Bulletin: Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Labour Arbitration Board Decision Rejecting Random Alcohol Testing
Lawson Lundell LLP, June 2013

On Friday June 14, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada released its eagerly-awaited decision, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd., 2013 SCC 34, a case concerning random alcohol testing at a paper mill operation in  Saint John, New Brunswick...

A Framework Emerges - Recent Developments in the Law of Intentional Economic Torts
Lawson Lundell LLP, May 2013

Economic torts provide relief in relation to intentional interference with economic interests. This collection of torts can be divided into two categories: deceptive market practices and improper market practices. This paper concerns itself exclusively with the latter, examining the torts of inducing breach of contract, unlawful interference with economic interests and civil conspiracy...

Opt-in Not an Option: How to Comply with the New Anti-Spam Law
Lawson Lundell LLP, May 2013

Canada’s new anti-spam law (the CASL) is expected to come into force later this year. This Act is designed to create a safer online environment for individuals and businesses in Canada. From a business perspective, it will change how some routine daily activities – such as distributing commercial electronic messages (CEM) to customers – are executed. Currently, a majority of businesses rely on implied consent when they send CEM to customers...

New Anti-Spam Laws Target a Safer Online World
Lawson Lundell LLP, May 2013

It is expected that Canada's new Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into force later this year, and with it will come significant changes for how businesses and individuals may send people "commercial electronic messages" (CEM), including emails or text messages.CASL aims to create a safer online environment by targeting issues relating to spam, such as unsolicited commercial messages, phishing and unauthorized installation of software...

Labour & Employment Law Bulletin: WorksafeBC Approves Workplace Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policies
Lawson Lundell LLP, May 2013

On April 24, 2013, WorkSafeBC announced the approval of new Occupational Health and Safety Workplace Bullying and Harassment Policies, which come into effect on November 1, 2013...

B.C.’s New Family Law Act and Division of Pension Rules Now in Force
Lawson Lundell LLP, March 2013

The new Family Law Act (“FLA”) came into force today, March 18, 2013. It replaces and repeals the Family Relations Act (“FRA”). The FLA carries forward the basic structure established under the FRA, with some fine tuning to deal with issues not adequately addressed under the FRA. This bulletin highlights the major changes to pension division under the new FLA...

Mining Report: Alliances set stage for the future
Lawson Lundell LLP, March 2013

Mining has become one of the largest industries in British Columbia, and Vancouver is considered by many to be the world's leading centre of expertise for mineral exploration, with some 1,200 exploration companies located in the province. As a result, many British Columbians have a disproportionate stake in what lies ahead for the mining industry. In 2011, B.C...

Women's Day Brings Legal Rights in Workplace Closer to Home
Lawson Lundell LLP, March 2013

It is International Women's Day today, March 8 – an opportunity to bring the challenges women face in the workplace to the fore. Laws to protect women being discriminated against in the workplace because of their "family status" have existed for some time. What has been less clear is what the legal definition of "family status" means. Even at the highest court level, it's unclear as there have been few decisions to help define the term...

The Reemergence of Strategic Alliances in Mineral Exploration
Lawson Lundell LLP, February 2013

The mining sector is affected by constant changes in the market, along with exploration results and discoveries. The fast pace of this change results in trends developing on a micro or macro scale, and one of the re-emerging trends seen in the industry today is the use of strategic alliances for mineral exploration purposes.   The nature and terms of a strategic alliance can vary greatly, depending upon the objectives of the parties...

Bare Trusts and Multifamily Rental Housing
Lawson Lundell LLP, February 2013

Bare trusts are increasingly being used when investors acquire investment properties as they provide a number of significant advantages. Anyone considering purchasing an apartment building should fully examine the potential use of a bare trust arrangement. What is a bare trust? A bare trust is a legal structure that facilitates the division of the beneficial and legal ownership...

Yukon’s Free Entry Claim Staking Violates the Crown’s Duty to Consult Aboriginals
Lawson Lundell LLP, January 2013

On December 27th, 2012, the Court of Appeal for Yukon released its decision in Ross River Dena Council v. Government of Yukon, 2012 YKCA 14.  The case dealt with the Yukon Government’s duty to consult with First Nations when allowing mineral claims to be recorded on land with asserted Aboriginal rights and title claims. The case arose as a result of the “open entry” claim staking system and in particular, as a result of the Yukon Quartz Mining Act, S.Y. 2003, s. 14 (the Act)...

Whoa! Developers: Court May no Longer be the Answer
Lawson Lundell LLP, January 2013

A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision addressed a number of thorny issues relevant to commercial real estate disputes including whether a Plaintiff must mitigate its damages where it has made a claim for specific performance of a real estate contract. The decision has wide-ranging implications for commercial real estate developers...

Illegal Contracts and Unjust Enrichment: Who Wins Out?
Lawson Lundell LLP, November 2012

What is an illegal contract and is it enforceable?  If an illegal contract is unenforceable, does the party who received its benefit get to keep that windfall?  The short answer to the first question is that a contract is illegal when it is either contrary to a statute or is contrary to public policy.  Generally, illegal contracts are not  enforceable.  The answer to the second questions is “it depends”...

BC Ferries Wins Property Assessment Appeal Board Decision
Lawson Lundell LLP, November 2012

On Monday October 29, 2012 the B.C. Property Assessment Appeal Board released an important decision reducing the assessed value for property tax of the upland land and improvements at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal to a nominal value...

Employees’ Digital Privacy in the Workplace: Supreme Court of Canada
Lawson Lundell LLP, November 2012

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in R v Cole, 2012 SCC 53 may have a significant impact on how employers manage the use of digital devices in the workplace. While a constitutional and criminal decision at its core, the case nevertheless recognizes the importance of employees’ reasonable expectation of privacy when using work computers and other digital devices. In Cole, the accused was a high school teacher who was issued a laptop computer by his employer...

Alberta to Repeal Exemption for Critical Transmission Infrastructure
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2012

Since 2009, the Alberta government has  reserved for itself the right to exempt electricity transmission  projects from review by the Alberta Utilities Commission.   Exempted projects have been referred to as Bill 50 Projects, Bill 50 being the name of the law when it was first proposed...

Order is Restored - Only Registered Shareholders Can Exercise Dissent Rights
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2012

In general, corporate legislation in Canada provides that if a corporation engages in specific types of transactions, such as an arrangement or amalgamation, shareholders are entitled to vote against the transaction. If the transaction is nevertheless approved, shareholders can then exercise a right to dissent and be paid fair value for their shares. Last month, I blogged that a chambers judge in the Yukon had allowed beneficial shareholders to exercise a right of dissent...

Alberta Court of Appeal Leaves Question of ERCB’s Jurisdiction to Assess Crown Consultation to Another Day
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2012

The Alberta Court of Appeal has denied the Cold Lake First Nations’ (CLFN) application to appeal a decision by Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) that it did not have the jurisdiction to determine the adequacy of Crown  consultation in respect of a bitumen recovery project within the CLFN’s  treaty territory...

Supreme Court of Canada Releases Decision on Commercial Real Estate Development: Specific Performance vs. Damages and Mitigation
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2012

The Supreme Court of Canada released its decision today in Southcott Estates Inc. v. Toronto Catholic District School Board, 2012 SCC 51 which addressed a number of thorny issues relevant to commercial real estate disputes including whether a Plaintiff must mitigate its damages where it has made a claim for specific performance of a real estate contract.  The decision has wide-ranging implications for Commercial Real Estate developers...

B.C. Mining Project Denied
Lawson Lundell LLP, October 2012

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake and Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman refused to issue an Environmental Assessment Certificate (“EAC”) to Pacific Booker Minerals Inc. for its proposed Morrison Copper/Gold Mine project near Smithers, at the headwaters of the Skeena River...

Flexibility Key to Revised Pensions Benefits Standards Act
Lawson Lundell LLP, June 2012

Employers and employees in B.C. will soon benefit from a long-awaited and wide-ranging overhaul to the Pensions Benefits Standards Act (PBSA). Significant changes to how pensions are structured and administered in B.C. have followed the passing of Bill 38 on May 31, 2012. The Bill repeals and replaces the PBSA, which has remained largely unchanged since it was first introduced in 1993...

 

 

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