Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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Page 2 of 43 1 EDITOR'S DESK While the pandemic can seem all- consuming, pre-existing risks should also not be ignored by in-house counsel. Keep your eye on all the balls I t is head spinning to think how many priorities in-house counsel must balance during the pandemic. Whether they are heading a grocery chain while business is running full steam, are in commercial real estate and have unpaid bills piling up or are retooling from beer to hand sanitizer, the legal and business challenges can seem endless. Chris Harrs at Spin Master, with whom we spoke for our cover story this month (General Counsel Roundtable, p. 18), describes COVID-19 as the greatest single risk factor that's arisen in his working lifetime. Prior to COVID, his legal department had narrowed Spin Master's 131 global risks down to 17 key priorities. After COVID hit, its key priorities doubled to 32. While the pandemic can seem all-consuming, pre-existing risks should also not be ignored by in-house counsel. Shawn Neylan, a lawyer with Stikeman Elliott LLP, warns companies entering into government agreements to retool their operations to produce health-care supplies to also be aware they may be subject to greater scrutiny for future foreign investment. "In-house counsel need to think about this and not sleep-walk into a problem when they take on something, and then realize it's going cause them a big issue in M&A transactions down the road," says Neylan (Industry Spotlight, p. 28). Experts in white collar crime also point to the heightened risk when in-house counsel are distracted with crisis management. "The regulatory environment will swing back to more active investigations and you won't be able to sweep things under the rug because of COVID. Those that try will risk compliance issues," says Lincoln Caylor at Bennett Jones LLP (White Collar Crime Feature, p. 34). And financial disclosure obligations are still ongoing, even if business is booming. "Disclosure obligations don't go away just because of COVID," says Nick Henn at Loblaw Companies Ltd. (GC Profile, p. 14). In other words, in-house counsel just started doubling the number of balls they need to juggle. While the new balls are important to address, the ones they were keeping in the air before the pandemic hit cannot be dropped. If they are, in-house counsel risk dropping them all. Tim Wilbur, Editor-in-Chief Canadian Lawyer InHouse is published 6 times a year by HAB Press Limited. KEY MEDIA and the KEY MEDIA logo are trademarks of Key Media IP Limited, and used under license by HAB Press Limited. CANADIAN LAWYER INHOUSE is a trademark of HAB Press Limited. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted without written permission. The opinions expressed in articles are not necessarily those of the publisher. Information presented is compiled from sources believed to be accurate, however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Canadian Lawyer InHouse disclaims any warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the contents of this publication and disclaims all liability in respect of the results of any action taken or not taken in reliance upon information in this publication. Publications Mail Agreement #41261516 ISSN 0703-2129 ©2020 GST/HST Registration #703184911RT001 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESS TO: CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT 20 Duncan St., 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON, M5H 3G8 EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilbur Production Editor Patricia Cancilla Writer Lucy Saddleton CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Syms, Adam Bobker, Anastassia Trifonova, Robert G.S. Hull, Cheryl Foy, Ken Fredeen ART & PRODUCTION Art Director Marla Morelos Lead, Media Production Coordinator Catherine Giles Global Production Manager Alicia Chin SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT VP, Media & Client Strategy Dane Taylor Senior Business Development Manager Steffanie Munroe Business Development Manager Lynda Fenton National Account Executive Abhiram Prabhu CORPORATE President Tim Duce Events and Conference Manager Chris Davis Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Human Resources Manager Julia Bookallil Global CEO Mike Shipley Global COO George Walmsley HAB Press Limited 20 Duncan St., 3rd Floor Toronto, Ontario M5H 3G8 tel: +1 416 644 8740 EDITORIAL INQUIRIES CIRCULATION/ADDRESS CHANGES/ SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES Keith Fulford tel: 416 644 8740 ext 329 ADVERTISING INQUIRIES ISSUE 15.04

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