Canadian Lawyer

May 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 4 www.canadianlawyermag.com NEWS BRIEFS B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal keeps 'doors open' during pandemic B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal is bucking the trend by remaining fully operational because, since its inception, it has operated remotely. It may provide a public justice model going forward. The CRT opened in July 2016 to settle condo (strata) and small claims disputes, and it has been given new areas of jurisdiction, including most motor vehicle personal injury disputes, says Shannon Salter, chairwoman of the Civil Resolution Tribunal. The CRT uses online dispute resolution "and a distributed, remote workforce, which has allowed us to continue serving the public during this time," Salter says. Landmark amendments to B.C. Securities Act Unprecedented amendments to the Securities Act, RSBC 1996, c 418 took effect Mar. 27. Introducing more than 100 changes to the legislation, the amendments enhance and expand the British Columbia Securities Commission's enforcement and collection powers, which will now include "mandatory minimum jail sentences for certain types of fraud, increased penalties for certain types of misconduct, new prohibitions on false or misleading statements and tighter rules around promotional activities." "These changes give us powerful new tools to help us collect money from wrongdoers and return funds to victims," said Brenda Leong, chairperson and chief executive officer of the BCSC. Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announces new judges Three new justices have been appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta: Melanie Hayes- Richards, Nathan J. Whitling and Shaina Leonard. Whitling spent the first 15 years of his legal career practising as a litigator at two civil firms, before focusing on criminal appeals at a criminal defence firm. For more than a decade, he acted as an advocate for Omar Khadr, mostly on a pro bono basis. A judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta, Hayes- Richards has worked in the court's criminal division since 2018. As a former legal officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, Leonard was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan and acted as a legal mentor to the Afghan National Army. B.C. Court rules in favour of Amazon arbitration clause A B.C. court has stayed a proposed class proceeding brought against Amazon, which was based on an arbitration clause mandating arbitration in the U.S. The courts of first instance are starting to take a harder look at what actually is unconscionable conduct and whether unconscionable terms and conditions arise simply because the individual has to arbitrate," says Daniel Urbas, a litigator, arbitrator and mediator at Urbas Arbitral, in Montreal. In Williams v. Amazon.com Inc., Williams alleged the company had agreed not to compete for the sale of books, music, DVDs and other products on its website in Canada. Changes to Alta. mobile home landlord/tenant dispute resolution? If passed, the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Amendment Act will extend the application of the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service to mobile home sites in Alberta. The government says the proposed changes will help alleviate the burden on the court system. Parties may still exercise the option to go to court if the dispute is valued at more than $50,000 or if issues can't be resolved through the RTDRS. Class action sought against Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and province Plaintiffs allege the auto insurer made payments to the province for insured's medical care TWO B.C. MEN are trying to lead a class action lawsuit against the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and B.C. government, alleging the auto insurer made illegal payments to the province, inflating insurance rates and depressing accident benefits. The plaintiffs brought a notice of claim under the Class Proceedings Act before the B.C. Supreme Court on March 3 and are repre- sented by Vancouver personal injury lawyer Scott Stanley. The suit alleges the government has been illegally passing the cost of doctors' visits for accident victims on to the ICBC. The plaintiffs tally ICBC-to-government payments from 1988 to 2018 at nearly $900 million. "The provincial government — for decades — has been using ICBC to collect or visit illegal tax on the ratepayers of British Columbia by illegally charging accident victims the cost of doctor visits, when those should have been paid directly through [the Medical Services Plan]," says Stanley, who practises at Murphy Battista LLP in Vancouver. A spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of WEST UPDATE

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