Dale Smith

Latest Commentary

  • Ontario to improve provincial court diversity

    The Ontario government has announced plans to bolster the diversity of provincial court appointments with reforms to the province’s Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. Lawyers say that this is a needed move, as the Ontario Court of Justice is noticeably lacking in diversity, especially outside of Toronto. “It’s a positive thing that the government is seeking a diversity of candidates when looking at judicial applications,” says Michael Spratt, partner with Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP and also former vice president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa.
  • Lawyers unhappy with CBA over tax stance

    The Canadian Bar Association’s decision to join with other small business groups in protesting the federal government’s planned changes to private incorporation tax rules has some lawyers revoking their membership in protest, saying that it’s not something they should be fighting against. “I don’t feel like I was adequately consulted before they took this position,” says Chris Rudnicki, partner with Rusonik O’Connor Robbins Ross Gorham & Angelini LLP in Toronto.
  • Can Competition Act address Big Data cases?

    The TREB decision is being appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal. Osborne says that, 20 years ago with Nielsen, the issue was an exclusive relationship to collect the data, whereas the TREB decision deals with who can use that data and who can have access to it. The fact that the bureau recently dropped an investigation of Google regarding abuse of dominance — a practice where a major market player uses its position to exclude other players — saying that it concluded that such an action could not proceed may be a factor in why it has decided to issue a white paper on Big Data.
  • Canada’s role in mega-deals increasingly important

    Canada’s influence in mega-deals is becoming increasingly important in getting the deal done and continues to position the country as a strategic asset in an increasingly global marketplace. If companies have assets located in Canada or business conducted in Canada that meets a threshold, they must co-operate not only with Canada’s Competition Bureau but also with any other jurisdiction that would have authority over the deal.
  • Leniency and immunity programs to be reviewed

    The Competition Bureau has announced its plans to review its leniency and immunity programs this year. Lawyers say any proposed changes need to walk a fine balance, lest they discourage anyone from coming forward to offer information needed to build cases. “The proposed changes that the bureau is looking at are a pretty big deal in the enforcement and administration of the criminal conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act,” says Subrata Bhattacharjee, partner with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto.
  • Barriers to private actions deemed too high

    While the Competition Act allows for private actions at the Competition Tribunal in limited circumstances, it’s a provision that has seen little take-up, in part because of the high bar that was set in order for those actions to go ahead. Competition lawyers say it makes sense to make it easier to start more private actions. “You’re dealing with a Competition Bureau that is resource-restrained — they’re not going to bring every case that comes to them by way of a complaint,” says Nikiforos Iatrou, partner with WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto.
  • Caution urged on national security bill

    The government has tabled a massive omnibus bill to overhaul the country’s national security regime, which will be debated this fall. Lawyers say they have concerns about how the bill addresses issues such as collection of personal information, information sharing with other governments and how to help clients who find themselves on the no-fly list.
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