Prohibiting genetic discrimination: a valid criminal law subject, according to the Supreme Court of Canada

In a contentious 5-4 split decision, with 3 justices providing the main reasons, 2 justices concurring and 4 judges dissenting, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the Parliament of Canada has the power to prohibit genetic discrimination. Specifically, Justice Karakatsanis found that the purpose of the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act is to ensure that individuals’ genetic test results will not be used against them and to prevent any form of discrimination based on that information. This, according to the Court, falls squarely within Parliament’s criminal law powers under s. 91(27) of the Constitution Act of 1867 because it responds to a threat of harm to several overlapping public interests protected by the criminal law – autonomy, privacy, equality and public health.

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The Administrative Tribunal of Québec reconfirms the principles governing reimbursement of legal expenses

It has long been established that a party subject to expropriation is not entitled to the reimbursement of legal fees as damages caused by the expropriation. However, there are two exceptions to this rule: (1) where there has been bad faith or abuse of process by the expropriating party; and (2) where expropriation proceedings have been discontinued. This legal framework was recently reconfirmed by the Administrative Tribunal of Québec in Ferme Ménanmar v. Contrecœur (Ville), 2020 QCTAQ 01777.

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The Coronavirus Charter of Commitment: have you signed?

Over 890 employers and employees in Quebec have already signed the Charter of Commitment to Combat Coronavirus in the Workplace (the Charter). The Charter was published on the initiative of the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), following consultations with major union and employer representatives.

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COVID-19: calculation of prescription periods, forfeiture periods and procedural deadlines to resume on September 1, 2020

On March 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of Quebec and the Minister of Justice issued Order 2020-4251 (the “Suspension Order”), pursuant to Article 27 of the Code of Civil Procedure, following the March 13, 2020 declaration of a health emergency resulting from the coronavirus and COVID-19 crisis. The Suspension Order provided for the suspension of prescription and forfeiture periods for civil matters, as well as deadlines for civil procedures.

On July 13, 2020, the Chief Justice of Quebec and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec announced that the suspension of deadlines in both civil and criminal matters would be lifted as of September 1, 2020.

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Privacy protection in Quebec: an overview of amendments to the law governing the private sector

On June 12, the Quebec government introduced bill 164, An Act to modernize legislative provisions as regards the protection of personal information (“the Bill”), first announced nearly a year ago. Once adopted, the Bill will result in significant changes to various laws in order to modernize the regulatory framework for the protection of personal data in Quebec.

The modernization process will target private and public sector institutions as well as political parties, and will require compliance efforts by all these organizations. Indeed, the nature of the new requirements and the hefty penalties for violations mean that privacy protection can no longer be ignored with impunity.

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Heritage Handoff Holdings, LLC v. Ronald Fontanella: the importance of fundamental representations and warranties in mergers and acquisitions

When a business is being sold, whether through a sale of shares or assets, the risks associated with the transaction can be allocated between the seller and purchaser through contractual mechanisms, such as representations and warranties.

In general, it is in the purchaser’s interest that the representations and warranties from the seller be as broad and numerous as possible to minimize the risk of pre-closing issues being discovered after the transaction. The reverse is generally true for the seller, who will seek to minimize exposure to indemnification proceedings and the risk of being found liable after closing.

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