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Legislation Quebec

Quebec cannabis bill disappoints employers

Employers are disappointed that the Quebec government failed to provide new rules and guidance under its recently unveiled legal framework for the consumption, sale and distribution of marijuana, according to employment and labour lawyers.

Why it matters: Employers are concerned about how they are going to achieve the thorny balance between employee privacy and workplace safety in the absence of clear rules.…

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Canada Legislation Public law Quebec

Physician-assisted dying: “Where do people really want to draw that line?”

Margaret Somerville’s fears appear to be coming true. The founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law predicted that the passage of the Quebec Act Respecting End-of-Life Care would inevitably create a slippery slope. The ethicist asserts that once “the clear line of inflicting death” is crossed, euthanasia will inexorably be extended to a much wider range of people initially covered by the controversial law.

Medical assistance in dying could reduce annual health care spending across Canada by between $34.7 and $138.8 million, surpassing the $1.5M to $14.8M in direct costs associated with implementing medical assistance in dying, according to a new research paper in Canadian Medical Association Journal. Even if the potential savings are overestimated and the costs underestimated, the implementation of medical assistance in dying will “likely remain at least” cost neutral, notes the paper.…

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Business Financial services Legislation

Anti-Money Laundering regulations: FINTRAC issues guidance

Six months after new anti-money laundering regulations were introduced, Canada's financial intelligence group issued new guidelines dealing with so-called politically exposed persons and heads of international organizations.

The amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, published in June 2016 in the Canada Gazette, are arguably the most important changes to the anti-money laundering regime in the past eight years, according to legal experts.

The new regulations introduces a more flexible client identification regime, are expected to facilitate digital commerce, and imposes substantial new risk assessment requirements. It will require reporting entities to spend more money, resources and time to ensure that its current policies, procedures, risk assessments, and training programs are compliant.…

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Business Legislation Quebec

Quebec plans environmental overhaul

A long-awaited ambitious bill introduced by the Quebec government has been guardedly welcomed by business and environmentalists alike as it is expected to simplify the provincial environmental approval regime by making it clearer, more efficient, more predictable and more transparent.

Bill 102, the most significant overhaul of the Quebec Environmental Quality Act (EQA) since it was adopted in 1972, is widely expected to have significant repercussions on the environmental assessment procedure and on the authorization scheme of industrial projects carried out in Quebec if it is adopted in its current form.…

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Legal Practice Management Legislation Quebec

New Quebec ethics bill raises concerns

A bill introduced recently by the Quebec government that aims to fortify governance and ethics in professional corporations, better protect the public, and encourage professionals to denounce reprehensible acts has been praised but also drawn concerns from disciplinary law experts.

Bill 98, a piece of legislation that acts on four of the 60 recommendations made by the Charbonneau’s Commission’s report on granting and management of public contracts in the construction industry, will bolster the powers of the regulatory body that oversees Quebec’s 46 professional corporations, including lawyers and accountants, will hand more discretionary powers to the syndic or ethics officer, and will under certain circumstances provide protection to whistleblowers.…

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Internet Legislation Quebec

Quebec plans to order ISPs to block unlicensed gaming sites

A controversial bill tabled by the Quebec government that will compel Internet service providers to block unlicensed gambling websites is an expensive, futile, and unconstitutional endeavour that raises concerns about the neutral role of Internet providers, according to gaming and telecommunication experts.

The proposed legislation, tabled last November, will amend the province’s Consumer Protection Act and require Internet service providers (ISPs) to “block access” to a list of “unauthorized gambling sites” that will be drawn up by Loto-Québec, a government agency that operates and develops lotteries in the province. Internet service providers face steep fines -- up to $100,000 and twice that amount for subsequent offences -- if they fail to comply.

“It is absolutely urgent that anyone looking at this oppose this,” remarked Bram Abramson, the chief legal and regulatory officer at TekSavvy, an independent Canadian ISP.…

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Business Legal Practice Management Legislation Quebec

Quebec government consolidates employment and labour boards

In a move applauded by business and denounced by labour, the Quebec government has created a new labour, employment and workers’ compensation tribunal and consolidated several employment and labour boards into a single administrative body in a bid to streamline government services and modernize and improve the efficiency of the province’s administrative justice system.

The changes, in effect as of this January, are expected to yield savings of approximately $15 million over the next three years. But much uncertainty surrounds the impact of the reorganization. Though Bill 42 received Royal Assent last June, the regulations delineating the powers of the new bodies have yet to drawn up.

“It’s an interesting development but it’s difficult at this stage to qualify it as positive or not,” said Ēlodie Brunet, a Montreal employment and labour lawyer with Lavery, de Billy.…

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Legal Practice Management Legislation Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Quebec Superior Court Rulings

Legal confusion surrounds status of Quebec’s assisted dying legislation

Confusion surrounding the legal standing of Quebec’s assisted dying legislation has prompted the Quebec College of Physicians to urge its members to be prudent before agreeing to euthanize a consenting patient until the Quebec Court of Appeal hears an appeal on a Superior Court decision that suspended key articles of the historic legislation.

“We are suggesting that doctors wait until the Quebec Court of Appeal examines the issue,” said Dr. Charles Bernard, the president and executive director of the body that regulates the province’s physicians. “We’re not saying that physicians shouldn’t do it but we are telling them to be prudent given the legal imbroglio around this issue.”…

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Business Financial services Internet Legal Practice Management Legislation Quebec

Quebec regulates virtual currency ATMs and trading platforms

In a move that caught the business and legal community by surprise, Quebec became the first jurisdiction in Canada to regulate the digital currency sector by requiring businesses that operate virtual currency automated teller machines or trading platforms to obtain a licence to operate in the province.

But the recently published amendments to the Policy Statement of the Money Services Businesses Act (Act) by Quebec’s financial watchdog has drawn criticism from industry observers who assert that it is brimming with ambiguities and risks hindering the burgeoning digital currency industry.

“Time will tell if they will stifle innovation in the province and deter people from starting ATMs there or whether or not people are willing to accept that regulation,” remarked Stuart Hoegner, CPA, CMA, and an international gaming lawyer…

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Accounting Business Canada Legislation Tax

Protocol amends Canada – UK tax treaty

After more than two years of negotiations, Canada and the United Kingdom signed a protocol to amend a tax treaty between the two countries that adds a new “exchange of information” provision and a new clause that would allow a tax authority from one country to “enter the other” to conduct tax audits.

The 12-page protocol, which came into force just before the Christmas holidays, permits an authorized tax representative from the U.K. to enter in Canada to interview individuals or even examine a person’s books and records.…

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