Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 12 www.canadianlawyermag.com NEWS BRIEFS First Nations and Environmental groups challenge Ontario's changes to environmental assessments Lawyer says government putting engagement with First Nations, environmental protection back 40 years Kate Kempton E N V I R O N M E N T A L GROUPS and First Nations are challenging the Ontario Government's changes to environmental legislation contained in Bill 197, C O V I D -1 9 E c o n o m i c Recovery Act. Kate Kempton is preparing a legal chal- lenge on behalf of four Ontario First Nations — although she says she expects more to join — arguing that the amendments are a viola- tion of s. 35 of the Charter, which recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. Kempton, a partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, says the challenge will be launched in the coming weeks but she cannot name the clients involved because they do not yet have a final list of participants in the lawsuit. Kempton is also challenging recent amend- ments to General Regulation 334 under the Environmental Assessment Act, which revoked environmental assessments for forestry activities within a large portion of the province. Bill 197 is also the target of a challenge from Ecojustice. On Aug. 7, Ecojustice — the legal advocacy group that focuses on environ- mental issues — launched a judicial review on behalf of Greenpeace Canada and Wilderness Provincial private-sector privacy law considered in consultation The Ontario government recently carried out a consultation on the possible enactment of a private-sector privacy law. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has issued a discussion paper and created a survey for public input. New privacy rights in consideration include the right to be forgotten and data portability, and the province is also looking at giving more teeth to the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Private-sector privacy in Ontario is currently governed by the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which applies to both a company's commercial activities and regulates the personal information of its employees. OBA initiative to tackle inequality in the justice sector An "ambitious agenda" to tackle inequality in the justice sector is one of two new initiatives planned by the Ontario Bar Association's new president, Charlene Theodore. Theodore assumed the role Sept. 1 and is the first Black lawyer to lead the OBA, an organization founded in 1907. Under Theodore's leadership, the OBA plans to fight inequality in the justice sector with the Not Another Decade initiative. For the next 10 years, the OBA will set yearly goals to make "tangible and measurable improvements" in key areas that justice- system stakeholders have identified as requiring progress, says Theodore. ReferToHer adds list for licensed insolvency trustees ReferToHer, a referral network for women lawyers created by Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, is launching a new list for experienced female licensed insolvency trustees. Licensed insolvency trustees work together with counsel and make court appearances in connection with complex bankruptcy and insolvency matters, which may be especially relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Shara Roy and Sana Halwani, who co-created the referral network, in a news release. "In a traditionally male- dominated industry, the women on this list are breaking barriers and diversifying the practice," said Roy and Halwani, who are both partners at Lenczner Slaght, in the news release. Parents clash in family court over in-person schooling An Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled that a child whose divorced parents are in a dispute over whether the boy should return to his school in Newmarket despite the Covid-19 pandemic must be registered and attend when classes begin after Labour Day. "This is the first of several urgent motions to be filed with the Court since August 17, 2020 and, without a doubt, there will more forthcoming," said Justice Andrea Himel in a decision made Aug. 25. "There is a common theme to all of the cases currently before the Court — parents disagree about whether their child should attend school in-person, or online." AG considering estates law changes to curb predatory marriages The Ontario Government is currently consulting the estates bar on possible changes to estates law, including allowing a judge the authority to validate a will that falls short of legislative requirements and repealing a provision that revokes a will on marriage. Section 16 of the Succession Law Reform Act revokes a will when the testator is married, with certain exceptions. ONTARIO UPDATE

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