Written by Andi Balla Issue Date: June 2011
Every year, Transparency International, an anti-bribery watchdog with chapters across the world, puts out a global map of corruption based on a perceptions survey it conducts. There is corruption everywhere, says Bronwyn Best, executive director at the organization’s Canadian chapter. “It is part of the strata of every country in the world, including Canada.” But the more you look at the map, the more a general trend becomes visible: the poorer the country, the higher the corruption. Canada shows up on the clean end, placing sixth in the world for low corruption, up there with the Scandinavian countries, performing better than the United States. The problem is many Canadian companies don’t do business only in Canada. Many operate in countries where bribing officials to get an advantage is perceived as a common occurrence. How do they hold on to Canadian values in a place where the business landscape is so different?
Written by Malcolm MacKillop and Hendrik Nieuwland Issue Date: June 2011
Preparing a severance package for an executive is one of the most difficult challenges in-house counsel face, especially if the executive has a short period of service. The notice period for such an executive is hard to predict. The difficulty is also compounded by the executive’s compensation plan, which often includes stock options, shares or bonuses.
- Industry Spotlight
A testament to Canada’s booming mining sector, the Toronto Stock Exchange is the world’s largest exchange for mining. So when its parent company, TMX Group Inc., announced on Feb. 9 it would merge with London Stock Exchange Group plc., it got the immediate attention of the mining industry. As regulators deal with the merger and details continue to emerge, the industry remains cautiously optimistic.
- Editor's Box
It was interesting to see that lawyers were absent from the lineup of the top candidates running to be Canada’s prime minister in the latest federal elections. This is particularly surprising because so many Canadian prime ministers have been lawyers since the good old days of Sir John A. Macdonald. What is going on? Are Canadian lawyers becoming shy of stepping into the limelight of leadership? I don’t think that’s the case. It is simply a hiatus that gives economists and academics a chance to run the country.
Few business leaders would question the notion that the digitization of society has provided a net benefit to their organizations. The shift to a paperless world has created a never-ending list of efficiencies, with everything from transaction processing to communication with associates in far off places now easier than ever.
For more than half a century, international arbitration has proven increasingly popular as a way to settle disputes between parties headquartered in different countries. The reasons for the attractiveness are many, but chief among them is the reluctance of parties to have a dispute heard in a foreign court. Other perceived benefits include the promise of confidentiality, a more enforceable decision at the end of the day, a faster, cheaper process — at least in theory — and the ability to lay out the ground rules for dispute resolution ahead of time.
- Industry Spotlight
When Janis Vanderburgh looks at some of the main streets in the suburbs north of Toronto, she sees land that needs to be bought, utility lines that need to be moved, roads that need to be torn and rebuilt — and all of the legal work involved with such transactions. York Region Rapid Transit Corp., where Vanderburgh is senior counsel, has received $790 million in provincial funding to make sure fast public transportation is available in one of Canada’s fastest growing regional municipalities. It involves constructing special rapid transit lanes on main roads like Yonge Street and new transit stations in booming bedroom communities.
- Intellectual Property
Amendments to the Federal Court rules on expert witnesses were adopted on Aug. 4, 2010. Overall, the amendments are designed to encourage experts to be more objective and allow the court to be more efficient when dealing with expert evidence. It will require the co-operation of counsel for the more radical changes of having experts confer before trial and/or testify concurrently at trial — commonly known as “hot tubbing” — to become standard practice. At a recent conference among intellectual property practitioners, Justice Roger T. Hughes of the Federal Court, one of the architects of the amendments, issued a challenge to the bar to do just that.
- Professional Profile