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Business and Legal Issues

Comply with lobbying and other political advocacy laws

Charities and other not-for-profits involved in lobbying and other political advocacy must comply with evolving laws governing these activities. Even amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the landscape continues to shift.

 

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Pre-judgment garnishment: A powerful but exacting tool

Pre-judgment garnishment is a powerful remedy that allows a creditor to secure their claims by garnishing funds owed to a debtor and holding them in court pending a further order or agreement of the parties.

 

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CSA Answers questions about 45-day filing extensions

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, reporting issuers in Canada have been granted temporary exemptions (Temporary Relief) from certain regulatory filings by way of local blanket orders (Blanket Orders) substantively harmonized across Canada.

 

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Rethinking internal auditing

In 1998, the magazine of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Journal of Accountancy, approached the IIA. They said they wanted to write an article about progressive internal auditing leaders and (I thank them) the IIA pointed them to me.

 

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ISS and Glass Lewis provide guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Each of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis recently published their insights on the impact that COVID-19 will have on corporate governance and provided guidance on what effect the pandemic may have on the application of some of their voting policies for the upcoming 2020 proxy season. Many of the global policy statements in these publications have relevance and implications for Canadian issuers, which we have summarized below.

 

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Practical legal advice and COVID-19: Relying on force majeure clauses or the doctrine of frustration

Until COVID-19, many business people had not heard about or given much consideration to force majeure clauses in their business contracts. Now, in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak across the globe, both force majeure clauses and the doctrine of frustration have become very relevant and much-discussed topics.

 

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IIROC defers collection of its fees for small and medium-size dealer firms

IIROC announced this week that it is deferring collection of its fees for small and medium-size IIROC dealer member firms in light of the COVID-19 situation. The deferral will benefit almost 90% of all IIROC dealers, but will only apply as follows:

 

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Tales of a unified corporate registry: Canada’s effort to counter and reduce the misuse of corporate vehicles

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On February 13, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a national consultation strategy which seeks to examine methods to strengthen corporate transparency across the country. Announced through the release of the “Strengthening Corporate Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Canada” report, the consultation focuses on how to bolster law enforcement efforts to counter and reduce the misuse of corporate vehicles involved in money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion.

 

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COVID-19 issues: Frustration, subject-to clauses and contracts of purchase and sale

COVID-19 has resulted in a number of issues which put the performance of purchase contracts for real property at risk. Some of the more obvious concerns include reduced cashflows, layoffs, economic slow down, dropping housing prices and general inability to conduct business in ordinary fashion.

 

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UPDATE: Competition compliance during the COVID-19 crisis: Price-gouging, deceptive marketing and collusion

In a policy statement on April 8, 2020, the Commissioner of Competition acknowledged the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis and advised businesses that the Bureau would be unlikely to challenge good faith efforts at competitor collaboration that were aimed at responding to the crisis and meeting the essential needs of Canadians.

 

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Board oversight during the COVID-19 pandemic: A checklist for directors

The global COVID-19 pandemic and its rapid evolution has placed enormous pressure on organizations as they seek to adapt to the situation and communicate their response. It is crucial that boards and management collaborate to find the best way forward for the organization.

 

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Alberta government announces relief for energy industry

Alberta oil and gas producers, who are dealing with both historically low commodity prices and the COVID-19 crisis, received some relief from the Alberta government over the last several weeks as the Government announced several measures designed to reduce and defer producers’ costs and ease the administrative burden on producers.

 

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COVID-19 impact: OSFI capital and regulatory reporting update

In light of the operational and financial impact of COVID-19 on federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs), the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced new measures on April 9, 2020 relating to capital adequacy requirements and reporting requirements.

 

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What makes for effective decision-making?

I was talking with a friend about decision-making and decided to put together a list of principles for effective decision-making. This is my first shot. What do you think? What would you change?

 

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Transfer pricing & APA considerations during an economic disruption

At times like this, when health and safety are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, tax planning, including transfer pricing, understandably, is generally put aside. However, in light of the potential economic downturn arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be prudent for Canadian companies to consider transfer pricing matters at this time.

 

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