Canadian Lawyer

September 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 7 of 51

UPFRONT 6 NEWS BRIEFS Title insurance referral fee could become 'greatest argument' against self- regulation, says lawyer Practice counter to Insurance Act and Rules of Professional Conduct, says Tim Hyde EXAMINATION COUNSEL (EC) fees, where title insurers pay real estate lawyers a rebate on the client's premium in a home or condo purchase, are illegal, driving down legal fees and pushing up insurance premiums and could become a potent argument against self- regulation, says Tim Hyde, a lawyer and former insurance executive. Called to the bar in 1987, Hyde spent much of his career in the insurance industry. From 1993 to 1999, he was vice president and chief title underwriter for Canada at First American Title Insurance Company. Hyde left to become president and COO at LandCanada, the prede- cessor to Chicago Title Canada and Fidelity National Financial. From 2006 to 2009, he was director of business development at First Canadian Title. Since 1998, title insurers have been paying EC fees of around $150-$160 to lawyers when they close a house purchase and the purchaser buys a policy, he says. When Stewart Title first introduced the practice, Hyde and his colleagues at First Canadian thought it would be illegal, against Law Society rules and the Insurance Act. The insurance business does not permit Can condo corps require COVID vaccinations? Questions about the legality of vaccination requirements are also cropping up in condo law, say lawyers. The high vaccination rate helps condo corps make a case for a rule or policy requiring it, says Rodrigue Escayola, a partner at Gowling WLG in Ottawa. The basis of a condo vaccine mandate would stand on three legs, says Escayola. One, s. 17 of the Condominium Act provides the condo is "responsible to control, manage and administer common elements." Two, the corporation can adopt rules dealing with safety, security and welfare. And three, the corporation is the occupier of the common elements. Under the Occupiers' Liability Act, the condo must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of those on the premises. COVID-19 continues to drive family law work The COVID pandemic continues to drive family law work, with motions to change agreements because of shifting circumstances, disputes over in-person versus online learning and the acceleration of divorce among the leading trends. Because of the uncertainty COVID has created for families, clients are looking to revisit divorce agreements, says Kevin Caspersz, a family law lawyer at Shulman & Partners LLP. He says this involves changing parenting arrangements, spousal and child support, debt collection and providing for relocation. "We are seeing a lot of motions to change because of loss of income," says Frankie Wood, partner at Wood Gold LLP. "People are coming in looking to change support provisions because they've lost their employment due to the pandemic." Judicial review sought on closing of complaint Six organizations and individuals have applied to the Federal Court seeking judicial review of the Canadian Judicial Council's decision to close the complaint against Tax Court of Canada Justice David Spiro. The applicants want a review of the decision to close the complaint and not constitute an inquiry committee to further investigate the judge's conduct. They also seek various declarations, including that the CJC's reasons "were not justified, transparent and intelligible." Ontario's new initiatives to curb violence, victimization The Ontario Government is introducing 11 new programs to steer young people away from gun violence, gang activity and victimization. The initiative is part of the province's Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy. Black and Indigenous-led organizations will deliver the programs, and they are for children and young adults aged 12 to 29, said the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Since 2018, Ontario and the federal government have invested $112 million in the Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy. Governments urged to review hate crime laws Ena Chadha, interim chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, has called for stronger hate crime laws to mark the National Summits on Antisemitism (July 21) and Islamophobia (July 22). The human rights commission added its voice to calls for the review of hate crime legislation, which would better respond to the hate activity across the country and assure those facing religion-based hate that they can seek legal protection. ONTARIO UPDATE

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