North America

Sheila Cesarano Recognized as One of the Top 20 Women in Law


Sheila Cesarano has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Women in Law in South Florida, by the Daily Business Review. An accomplished attorney, Ms. Cesarano was selected due to the longevity of her career as a high-caliber litigator. She, along with all honorees, was recognized at a luncheon on October 15, 2014. More…

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Ontario Court Upholds Citizenship Oath’s Allegiance to the "Queen of Canada"

The Canadian Citizenship Act (“Act”) requires permanent residents who wish to become Canadian citizens to swear an oath or make an affirmation in the following form:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada Her Heirs and Successors and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen. 
In the case of McAteer v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONCA 578, the appellants objected to the portion of the oath that referred to being faithful and bearing true allegiance to the Queen, her heirs and successors.  They asserted that the requirement to swear or affirm allegiance to the Queen in order to become a Canadian citizen violated their rights of freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of expression and equality under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  They argued that the government could not justify any such violation as being a reasonable limit in a free and democratic society and sought a declaration that the impugned section of the Citizenship oath was optional. 
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Our energy lawyer David Austin speaks on mega project Site C dam

Our energy lawyer David Austin was quoted in Energetic City and Business in Vancouver regarding the cost of building the Site C dam mega project. Mr. Austin explains that the government is dramatically underestimating the cost of the dam by not taking into account a rising inflation rate.

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Warren Brazier republished in BC Business

Warren Brazier’s Megawatt blog post from yesterday, Comply, Offset or Pay: BC To Regulate LNG Export Facilities on CO2 Emissions, has been republished by BC Business. In the article, Warren discusses how the BC Government introduced new legislation aimed to help BC meet its greenhouse gas emission targets by imposing environmental standards on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities operating within the province.

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Role of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in the EB-5 Program. Current Trends and Suggestions for Future Guidance

The EB-5 industry involves either (i) a direct investment in a project company or (ii) the formation of a new commercial enterprise entity (herein referred to as the “NCE”) in order to make (A) a direct investment in the job creation entity (“JCE”) or (B) a loan to the JCE.  In each case, the intent is to create jobs to comply with the requirements of United States Citizens and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).  In connection therewith, beginning in 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has taken a far more active role in cooperating with USCIS to ensure compliance with the anti-fraud provisions of the various securities laws that regulate the sale of United States securities, even if the sale is conducted offshore pursuant to a Regulation S exemption under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

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Parties Gearing Up For Chevron’s Ecuadorean Pollution Case at the Supreme Court

The Canadian Bar Association (“CBA”) announced last week that it was withdrawing its application to intervene before the Supreme Court of Canada in the pollution case of Chevron Corporation et al. v. Yaiguaje, et al.  The original US$19 billion judgment of a court in Ecuador was one of the largest judgments ever imposed by a court for environmental pollution.

The CBA said that its Intervention Policy required that its Legislation and Law Reform Committee sanction the factum before it could be filed with the court.  In this case, the Committee concluded that while the factum was well-drafted and of a high standard of quality, it did not meet the specific requirements of CBA’s Intervention Policy.  As a result, the CBA concluded that without certification of the factum, its intervention could not move forward and would be withdrawn.
The withdrawal was reported as an “eleventh-hour reversal” by the CBA.   It had planned to intervene at the Supreme Court on behalf of Chevron in its on-going battle involving enforcement of the judgment obtained by Ecuadorian indigenous plaintiffs for pollution of their lands in the Amazon basin rainforest.  After a lengthy legal battle that has lasted nearly 20 years, an Ecuadorian court found Chevron liable for oil pollution.  The nearly US$18 billion damages awarded in 2011 was reduced by appeal courts in Ecuador to US$9.5 billion.  
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Design Patents – Taking a Closer Look at These Valuable Assets

Intellectual property shareholder, Sarah Brooks, and associate, Salil Bali‘s article, “Design Patents – Taking a Closer Look at These Valuable Assets” was published in The Fall 2014 “New Matter” Intellectual Property Publication. More…

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Proposed Changes Impacting Charitable Giving

The government tabled a detailed Notice of Ways and Means Motion today to implement a number of changes announced in Budget 2014, as well as other measures. One of these changes will provide greater flexibility with respect to charitable gifts that are made in a will.

Currently, any charitable gifts in an individual’s will are deemed to have been made by the individual immediately before they died and the donation tax credits that arise from the charitable gift can be used in the deceased’s terminal tax return or the immediately prior tax return. It is not possible for any excess credits to be used by the estate to offset any income that may be earned by the estate.

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Comply, Offset or Pay: BC To Regulate LNG Export Facilities on CO2 Emissions

Today, the BC Government introduced new legislation aimed to help BC meet its greenhouse gas emission targets by imposing environmental standards on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities operating within the province.

Under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, natural gas cooling facilities must meet a benchmark of 0.16 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) tonnes per tonne of LNG produced. Per the BC Government background statement,  leading global LNG facilities have emissions intensities between 0.18 and .027 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of LNG produced.

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"TAX TIPS: ‘Material participation’ can be tough to prove," Carl Grassi for Crain’s Cleveland Business

Planning to transition the ownership and management of a business from the retiring “boomer” generation to the next generation presents challenging business, tax and other legal issues.

One issue in structuring this transition is how a retiring business owner can “materially participate,” and therefore be considered active in the business for tax purposes, after he has transitioned the business to his children.

A taxpayer who is active in a business can take advantage of several tax planning techniques, such as reducing the Net Investment Income (“NII”) tax on S corporation profits.

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