Canadian Lawyer

March 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 10 www.canadianlawyermag.com QUEBEC UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Historic win for trans rights Quebec Superior Court judge declares six provisions of the Civil Code to be unconstitutional IN A victory for trans, non-binary and intersex people, the Superior Court of Quebec has declared six provisions of the province's Civil Code unconstitutional. In Centre for Gender Advocacy v. Attorney General of Quebec, released on Jan. 28, the Superior Court found that the provisions violated rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Québec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The 11 impugned articles of the Civil Code concerned the registration of births and deaths, changes of name and sex designation and issuance of birth and death certificates. The case provides "a recognition that everybody has the right to have their iden- tity recognized and to identity documents that reflect it," says Audrey Boctor, a partner in IMK LLP in Montreal and lead counsel for the plaintiffs — the Centre for Gender Appellate court strikes down consecutive life sentences A man who murdered six people in a Quebec City mosque in 2017 may apply for parole after 25 years, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in November in deciding that consecutive life sentences are unconstitutional and violate Charter protections against cruel and unusual punishment. In reducing the life sentence of Alexandre Bissonnette by 15 years from 40 years, the appellate court invalidated sections of the Criminal Code that allow courts to hand down consecutive life sentences for multiple murders. In 2011, the federal Conservative government amended the Code to allow for this kind of sentencing, known as "stacking." Lockdown creates urgency to adapt employment policy Quebec's Jan. 6 announcement of a four-week lockdown has implications for workplace matters, as office workers have largely been working from home since Dec. 17, when the Quebec government mandated it. The lockdown extends that telework requirement until Feb. 8, when it is scheduled to end. "Now is the time for employers to have all the right policies in place," says Arianne Bouchard, a senior associate in labour and employment law in the Montreal office of Dentons Canada LLP — and government should be prepared to adapt policies and legislation for future, too. Quebec threatens construction, manufacturing sectors with more restrictions Quebec's labour minister threatened to impose more restrictions on the province's construction and manufacturing sectors for allegedly flouting health orders. Jean Boulet said in a statement on Jan. 15 that he had received many reports of non- compliance in the two sectors since the government imposed new restrictions on Jan. 9. The new measures require the two industries to limit operations to essential activities and reduce the number of workers in factories and on construction sites. Most other businesses across Quebec deemed non-essential have been closed since December. No class action against Lasik M.D. Inc. The Superior Court of Quebec has declined to authorize a class action for laser vision correction surgery at Lasik M.D. Inc., ruling that the cause of action of the proposed representative plaintiff was prescribed and that the onset of symptoms rather than the final diagnosis should commence the prescription period. In Ouellet c. Lasik M.D. Inc., 2020 QCCS 3863, the petitioner had sought authorization to institute a national class action in which he would represent individuals who have developed chronic postoperative pain. Four Quebec judicial appointments made On Dec. 14, Minister of Justice David Lametti announced the appointments of Bernard Jolin, Frédéric Pérodeau, Geeta Narang and Catherine Perreault as puisne judges of the Superior Court of Quebec for the Montreal district. Jolin came from Langlois lawyers, LLP, where he was litigation group co-ordinator and director of compliance. Pérodeau was superintendent of client services and distribution oversight, senior director of investigations and director of litigation at the Autorité des marchés financiers. Narang had her own practise including tenancy law, estate law, police misconduct and human rights. Perreault worked for the office of the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales.

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