Focus On

  • Challenge on offensive trademarks could bring clarity

    Canadian intellectual property lawyers say brand owners would benefit from the clarity a Constitutional challenge would bring to the country’s ban on offensive trademarks. This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the portion of its law prohibiting disparaging trademarks, ruling that the ban infringed on First Amendment free speech rights.

  • 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.

  • Groups intervene over sexual assault convictions

    Human rights organizations are intervening in an appeal by an HIV-positive man convicted of two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm. Ryan Peck, executive director of HIV & Aids Legal Clinic Ontario, and Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/Aids Legal Network, say their organizations are intervening in an upcoming Nova Scotia Court of Appeal case.

  • School can refuse admission of child of same-sex couple

    Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled in favour of an evangelical Christian school that would not admit the son of a same-sex couple over the school’s stance on same-sex marriage.

  • Damages awarded in racial profiling case

    A ruling in a civil damages case awarding $80,000 to a man racially profiled by a Toronto police officer is believed to be the largest of its kind so far in Ontario. Lawyers say the ruling in Elmardy v. Toronto Police Services Board 2017 will have important effects on how damages are sought in relation to racial profiling by police.

  • Challenges launched over disability benefit rate

    Legal clinics have launched human rights challenges regarding the disability benefit rate two clients are receiving. The challenges relate to the monthly amount received by two disabled men who get both their meals and room from their landlord through the Ontario Disability Support Program.

  • Winnipeg Royal Ballet class action underway

    In a recent class action filed against the Winnipeg Royal Ballet, former students are asserting claims based upon breach of privacy in relation to intimate photos taken by an instructor and then posted online.