Canadian Lawyer

November/December 2019

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 8 OTTAWA UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Disclosure of journalist sources must be in public interest: SCC A journalist can only be required to reveal a source if it's absolutely necessary and in the public interest, the Supreme Court ruled in Denis v. Côté, 2019 SCC 44, its first case interpreting the Journalistic Sources Protection Act. The case concerned a Quebec politician facing criminal charges who obtained a legal order requiring a journalist to reveal her sources in a story. The decision confirmed that the new statutory scheme created a presumption against disclosure and that the burden of establishing that the disclosure of journalistic source information is in the public interest falls on the party seeking disclosure. Punishment applying at time of commission or sentencing dictates sentence A convicted person has the right to the lesser of two punishments that applied at the time they committed the crime or when they were sentenced, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Oct. 11. In the 4/3 decision in R. v. Poulin — a Quebec case concerning a man convicted of sexually abusing his nephew decades ago — the majority of the Supreme Court found that there were only two relevant points in time to assess the sentences that are available to an offender: the time of the commission of the offence and the time of sentencing. Former CJ McLachlin first to pen memoirs Former chief justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin's memoirs — Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law — were published in September, making her the first justice of the high court to ever write such. In an event in Toronto to mark the book's launch, McLachlin spoke of her childhood in rural Alberta and her career on the bench, and she said she supported calls to appoint an Indigenous justice to the SCC. One reason she wrote the book was to reach "young women out there who dream of becoming a lawyer or a judge," she said. Federal courts launch bijural pilot project A pilot project implemented by the federal courts in September will allow for the application of Quebec's Code of Civil Procedure in specified judicial proceedings and will apply to actions originating in Quebec. The initiative is aimed at making the procedure before the federal courts more familiar for practitioners trained in the civil law tradition. The pilot project was designed to respond to a lack of familiarity with the common law-based federal courts' rules of procedure by the majority of Quebec counsel, who have more experience with the Code of Civil Procedure. Election laws may chill free speech: CCLA The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has penned an open letter to Elections Canada requesting clarification of certain provisions in the Canada Elections Act that pertain to third parties. In its letter, the CCLA charges that "there is too much confusion about third-party communications [which] is chilling free speech at the very time that democracy ought to encourage free expression." Elections Canada's latest public bulletins concerning partisan activity have not defined those terms in a way that permits organizations such as the CCLA to steer clear of legal prohibitions, the organization says. Surveyors lose suit against Teranet SCC dismisses breach of copyright appeal but finds 1921 Crown copyright provision should be referred back to Parliament IN ITS first decision to comprehensively review s. 12 of the Copyright Act, the Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the appeal of Ontario land surveyors over breach of copyright, finding that Ontario holds copyright in plans of survey filed in the prov- ince's land registry. In Keatley Surveying Ltd. v. Teranet Inc., a unanimous Supreme Court found that plans of survey are published under the direction or control of the Crown, and so

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