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Canada’s new pharmacare legislation, the SCC’s ruling on internet privacy, our Retail and Consumer Markets Summit Takeaways and more in Timely Topics – April 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 April 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) Pharmaceuticals

Canadian Pharmacare Legislation Has Arrived

The federal government has tabled the Pharmacare Act in Parliament, taking the first steps toward a universal, single-payer pharmaceutical model in Canada. The legislation is limited to two drugs and is being viewed as a proof-of-concept opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the model before any potential expansion to other medications.

Our synopsis of the legislation covers the conditions imposed on the provinces to receive funding and an overview of the steps the Health Minister must take in the year ahead.

Read the article now (Available in English only)

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This is an ongoing development that we will continue to monitor for updates. For more information on the Pharmacare Act or related issues, please contact David Tait, Fiona Legere, Dorothy Charach or Bohdana Tkachuk.

2) Cyber/Data

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses Attract a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

In a 5:4 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada held that IP addresses are protected under section 8 of the Charter. This means law enforcement authorities will need to obtain judicial authorization before requesting such information. It will also affect how private actors store and divulge such information, particularly internet service providers, search engines, generative AI providers and online advertising companies.

Our in-depth analysis of the decision covers the majority’s reasoning, the foundation of the dissenters’ opinion and key takeaways relevant to affected businesses, law enforcement and privacy lawyers.

Read our case review (Available in English only)

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Privacy issues affect a wide range of Canadian organizations. Talk to a member of our Cyber/Data Group about how you can ensure your business is doing everything it can to protect its private information and customer data.

3) Retail and Consumer Markets (RCM)

Key Takeaways from McCarthy Tétrault’s 14th Annual National Retail and Consumer Markets Summit

This year’s summit covered the latest and most significant development in the evolving retail and consumer markets space.

Key takeaways from the event cover the insights provided by our speakers, including:

  • Exploring Retail’s Transformation – Analyzing Key Trends Reshaping the Industry
  • The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise’s Actions, Strategies, Outcome and Likely Priorities in 2024
  • Employment Law Developments Affecting Retail
  • Responsible AI Governance – Anticipating the Impacts of AI Regulations on the Retail Sector
  • Gift Cards – Best Practices and Avoiding Pitfalls
  • French Language Compliance – What’s Happened Since the Adoption of Bill 96
  • Privacy Pulse – Recent and Imminent Privacy Law News
  • Key Changes and Updates to Consumer Protection Legislation

Read the Takeaways here 

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Our annual RCM Summit is an opportunity to meet with industry leaders and get ahead of emerging trends. Please reach out to our Retail & Consumer Markets Group Leaders, Chrystelle Chevalier-Gagnon and Carmen Francis, with any questions about the takeaways and how your business might be affected by the topics discussed. You can also subscribe to our Consumer Markets Perspectives blog to stay current with the sector’s developments.

4) Competition Law

Seizing Control: Amendments to Canada’s Merger Control Regime

Our analysis of the biggest changes to Canada’s Competition Act in a decade continues with this review of enacted and pending federal legislation affecting Canada’s merger control regime.

The relevant provisions in bills C-56 and C-59 are expected to increase the number of notifiable transactions, recalibrate the substantive merger review framework and implement enforcement-oriented procedural changes.

Read our Competition/Antitrust & Foreign Investment Group’s detailed analysis of the amendments that are expected to have significant practical and substantive implications for merging parties.

Read the analysis here (Available in English only)

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Subscribe here to receive more analysis and updates on changes to Canada’s competition legislation. To discuss how we can help your business respond to these developments, contact Jason Gudofsky or Dominic Thérien from our Competition/Antitrust & Foreign Investment Group.

5) ESG and Sustainability

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Approves Landmark Climate-Related Disclosure Rules

The SEC has adopted long-awaited climate-related disclosure rules, requiring certain U.S. and foreign companies (including affected Canadian ones) to disclose extensive climate-related information.

The rules have been met with a review petition filed by a coalition of 10 U.S. states and are expected to face legal challenges. Nevertheless, they represent a milestone in the global movement towards mandatory enhanced climate-related disclosures.

Our review of the rules covers who is affected, the nature and scope of the disclosure obligations, a timetable for compliance by affected entities and the expected impact of the rules, including the pending legal challenges.

Read the review here (Available in English only)

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Certain registrants will need to make disclosures under the new rules as early as 2026. Our ESG and Sustainability Group works closely with our Capital Markets Group to give you the full suite of relevant advice in this area. Speak to Sonia J. Struthers, Robert J. Richardson, CD, Wendy Berman or Gurvir Sangha to find out how we can help you respond in time.

6) International Trade and Investment

Modern Slavery: A Guidebook on the Reporting Requirements Under the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act

Is your business required to publish a report addressing how it will prevent and reduce the risk of forced and child labour in its supply chains under the new Supply Chains Act?

Our Guide to the reporting requirements is now publicly available and provides insights based on Canadian and foreign guidance to help you develop a report that meets the requirements of the Supply Chains Act. Affected organizations must also complete a questionnaire from Public Safety Canada, which is included as an appendix to our Guide.

Request your copy here

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Our International Trade & Investment Group is helping clients understand and respond to the new era of legislation governing modern slavery and forced labour in supply chains. Speak to John Boscariol, Martha Harrison, Robert Glasgow or Gajan Sathananthan to find out how we can help ensure you remain compliant.

7) Cost Recovery Litigation

The Much Broader Future of Cost Recovery Litigation in British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia has introduced sweeping healthcare cost-recovery legislation, with Bill 12 proposing to allow the governments of British Columbia or Canada to sue anyone who provides goods or services in British Columbia if:

  1. they have ever breached a common law, equitable, or statutory duty or obligation owed to persons in British Columbia;
  2. their product or service caused disease, injury, or illness—or even a risk of it; and
  3. the government has incurred costs related to that disease, injury, illness, or risk.

The arising litigation could be enterprise-threatening to many businesses across Canada, and other provinces are expected to follow suit with identical legislation.

We have analyzed the proposed legislation in light of previous British Columbia cost-recovery statutes and our own experience developing highly innovative defences to mass tort litigation.

Read our overview (Available in English only)

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Bill 12 is much broader in scope than previous cost-recovery legislation. If you are concerned of the impacts, our Cost Recovery Litigation team is here to help. Contact Michael Feder, K.C., Deborah Templer or Patrick Williams for more information.

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].

◄ March 2024 Edition

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