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The most important legal developments in Canada: Timely Topics – July 2024

Timely Topics with McCarthy Tétrault curates the latest market trends on a monthly basis to help you stay informed of developments that can affect your business. This content is current as of July 4, but please connect with us if you have any questions on any of the topics below.

Here are this month’s trending topics:


1) Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Caution When Using WeChat or Other Messaging in Commercial Negotiations

How are the rules of contractual formation evolving in the context of international negotiations and an increasingly digitized business world?

In the ongoing matter of Lithium Royalty Corporation v. Orion Resource Partners, a binding contract was formed via routine email correspondence and despite the lack of an executed terms sheet. Explore the case’s finer details to better understand how Canadian courts are approaching electronic communications and even emojis in analyzing contractual formation and enforcement.

Read the case review here (Available in English only)

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Contractual disputes involving international parties face unique challenges and constraints. Missteps can be difficult to correct. Our Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group – one of Canada’s elite – is available to help you plan and organize your commercial arrangements to avoid disputes in the first place.

2) Tax Disputes

Procedural Barriers to Justice in Tax Disputes

A recent ruling by the Tax Court of Canada highlights the importance of taxpayers taking the correct procedural steps when advancing tax disputes, and raises questions about procedural barriers to justice.

Our analysis of Anderson v. The King illustrates how counsel and self-represented litigants may anticipate certain procedural challenges, and identifies steps that Parliament and the Tax Court may consider to improve access to justice.

Read the analysis (Available in English only)

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Our experienced Tax Disputes team resolves contentious tax matters creatively, quickly and efficiently. Talk to any of the group’s lawyers to find out how you can best respond to challenges arising before the Tax Court of Canada.

3) Podcast

Appealing Briefs: Episode 2 – Commission scolaire francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest

Must a regulator consider the Charter even when making a decision that does not engage a Charter right? The Supreme Court of Canada says “yes,” reigniting a long-running discussion about Charter rights and “Charter values” in administrative law.

In this episode of Appealing Briefs, host Adam Goldenberg speaks with McCarthy Tétrault’s Regional Managing Partner for Ontario and leading administrative lawyer, Caroline Zayid, about the implications for regulators and the regulated following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Commission scolaire francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest.

Listen now (Available in English only)

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Adam Goldenberg, host of the award-winning Law in the Time of COVID-19 podcast, brings his impeccable interview style to this new series, giving listeners access to the thoughts and musings of some of Canada’s brightest legal minds on the country’s most important appeal decisions. 

4) Labour and Employment

Eastway Tank: A Stark Reminder for Officers and Directors

The 2022 explosion at Eastway Tank’s facility in Ottawa that killed six workers and severely injured a seventh was one of the worst workplace accidents in Ontario in 50 years. The fines paid by Eastway and its owner/director were some of the highest issued to date for a small corporation.

The sentencing decision handed down in the Ontario Court of Justice stands as an important reminder for companies and senior executives of their obligations under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Our review includes key takeaways for officers and directors in this precedent-setting decision.

Read the review (Available in English only)

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If you have questions about your obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, please contact members of our Labour and Employment Group

5) Environmental, Regulatory and Aboriginal (ERA)

Europe’s Highest Human Rights Court finds Climate Inaction Violates Human Rights

Europe’s highest human rights court has found that the Swiss government violated the rights of its citizens by failing to do enough to combat climate change. It is the first instance of a court anywhere in the world finding that climate inaction violates human rights.

This review of the decision looks at the international law dimensions of the matter as well as implications for the Canadian government and expected trickle-down effects on corporate liability.

Read the review (Available in English only)

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International action to address global climate change is well underway and businesses that quickly adapt can avoid costly and damaging litigation or regulatory intervention. Speak to a member of our Environmental, Regulatory and Aboriginal Group to find out how you can protect your business against climate-related legal challenges.

6) Employment

Keeping a Privacy Breach Private? OIPC Provides Incentive for Organizations to Notify Individuals Affected by a Privacy Breach

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC) has introduced new procedures for processing privacy breach notifications, incentivizing employers to provide prompt and proper notice of privacy breaches to affected individuals. 

We explore the changes and under what circumstances employers should contact affected individuals without waiting for direction from the OIPC.

Read about the changes (Available in English only)

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If you’re an employer and require guidance on how these changes to information privacy rules will affect your business, reach out to the article’s author, Megan Pryor, to explore your options.

This newsletter is designed to provide general information only. This newsletter does not provide legal advice on specific issues. You are encouraged to consult with legal counsel should you require assistance in addressing a particular issue or concern.

Tell us what you think! Do you have feedback for the Timely Topics newsletter or topics you’d like for us to explore? Let us know at [email protected].

June 2024 Edition

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