Canadian Lawyer InHouse

August/September 2020

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

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Page 29 of 43

28 INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT Goose supported the cause by shifting operations away from the production of coats to focus on medical gowns, while Labatt Breweries of Canada offered its services by producing hand sanitizer. While these shifts have been invaluable, they also raise a host of legal considerations for in-house counsel to tackle. Labatt had previously established a disaster relief program in 2012, shifting production at facilities from beer to drinking water. Since 2012, the beer manufacturer has provided more than 680,000 cans of clean drinking water to residents and on-the-ground responders in need. "It was natural for us to make the change to hand sanitizer, which is largely alcohol based — an ingredient that we have readily on hand," says Charlie Angelakos, vice president, legal and corporate affairs at Labatt Breweries of Canada. The team worked with Health Canada to ensure that all necessary labelling approvals were obtained and to ensure the product met required standards. "Licences and appropriate authorizations were required and we had to operate in a legal landscape which was new to the team," says Angelakos. "An unexpected issue was that it was a donation rather than a sale, so there were legal implications of a donation versus selling the hand sanitizer." The legal team had to ensure that the protocols and policies around producing hand sanitizer were followed to standards set by the World Health Organization. Labatt has produced 100,000 bottles of sanitizer, which were distributed to communities across the country with the help of Food Banks Canada. It was also distributed to Labatt's critical employees in breweries and distribution centres. With nine breweries in different provinces and different public health orders across the country, Angelakos and his team had to be nimble to manage their normal workload together with initiatives such as hand sanitizer production and donations. "The companies that are pivoting are the ones that have an aptitude for an area where there is a need," says Noel Courage, a partner at Bereskin & Parr LLP. Getting government approval is key. In fact, Health Canada recalled certain hand sanitizers from the market in June because they contained industrial-grade ethanol. Manufacturers that choose to retool must monitor intellectual property issues, regulatory issues and employment issues, Courage says. Some manufacturers even opted to share the IP and design specifications of certain products. For example, medical technology company Medtronic shared IP relating to its Puritan Bennett 560 ventilator, together with manufac- turing documents and software codes, to address a global shortage of the devices. "How you go about granting IP rights to other people is something you have to be AS HAND SANITIZER flew off the shelves at unprecedented rates and health-care workers reported critical shortages of ventilators and personal protective equipment earlier this year, some manufacturers stepped up to meet the growing demand by retooling their operations to produce new products in support of the COVID-19 health crisis. Statistics Canada reported a seven-fold increase in sales of hand sanitizer products in mid-March compared to the same period last year. Governments called upon private compa- nies to shift operations to help meet the demand for a range of products. Some automotive parts manufacturers have pivoted to produce medical face shields and ventilators. Major brands such as Canada Manufacturers pivot to support health crisis Lawyers discuss legal obstacles in retooling production operations "It was natural for us to make the change to hand sanitizer, which is largely alcohol based — an ingredient that we have readily on hand." Charlie Angelakos, Labatt Breweries of Canada

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