The Ontario Commercial Mediation Act, 2010 (Blog Part I)

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer, Arbitrator and MediatorBusiness Litigation, Business Mediation, Business Mediator, Commercial Litigation, Commercial Mediation, Commercial Mediation Act, Commercial Mediator, Commercial Mediators, Contract Dispute Mediation, Contract Dispute Mediator, Cross-Border Mediation, Cross-Border Mediation, Cross-Border Mediator, Distribution Mediation, Distribution Mediator, Employment Mediation, Employment Mediator, Mediation, Mediators, National Mediation Rules, Technology Mediation, Technology Mediator0 Comments

The Ontario Commercial Mediation Act, 2010 (Blog Part I) This blog post (Part I) considers the provisions of the Ontario Commercial Mediation Act 2010, S.O. 2010, c.16, Sch. 3, concerning the application of that legislation, definitions contained in the Act, its interpretation, commencement and termination of the mediation, and the appointment of the mediator, duty of disclosure, and conduct of the mediation. Further blog posts on the Act: (Part II) – will consider other provisions of the Act, including the mediator’s authority, disclosure between parties, confidentiality, admissibility, and the relationship to arbitration and judicial proceedings. (Part III) – will consider other provisions of the Act concerning settlement agreements, enforcement of settlement, application of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure, judgments, orders, the effect of filing agreement, and enforcement of mediator’s fee. Mediation  The fundamental rule for mediators is to do no harm; that is to say, to leave the parties … Read More

It’s not all about Intent! – Court of Appeal Confirms Test for Civil Conspiracy

Josef FinkelAppeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes0 Comments

In the recent decision Mughal v. Bama Inc., 2020 ONCA 704 (CanLII), the Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision in an action alleging civil conspiracy, among other things. The underlying action involved a plaintiff seeking the return of his investment in a corporation. On appeal, it was alleged that the trial judge applied the wrong legal test for and misapprehended the evidence to find commission of the tort of conspiracy to injure. The appellate court concluded that the trial judge applied the correct test for establishing civil conspiracy to injure as follows: Whether the means used by the defendants are lawful or unlawful, the predominant purpose of the defendants’ conduct is to cause injury to the plaintiff; or, Where the conduct of the defendants is unlawful, the conduct is directed towards the plaintiff (alone or together with others), and the defendants should know in the circumstances that injury … Read More

Toronto Defamation Lawyers – Libel and Slander Law in Ontario

Josef FinkelArbitration, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Online Defamation0 Comments

Defamation is the tort of false publication (whether written or oral). Typically, a publication which tends to lower a person’s reputation in the opinion of reasonable members of society, or to expose a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, is defamatory and will attract liability. The major piece of legislation governing the law of defamation in Ontario is the Libel and Slander Act. According to the Act, you can be defamed in two ways: via either (1) Libel and/or (2) Slander. What is Libel? Defamatory communications may be by words, pictures, sounds, or other forms of communication.  They may be published on the internet, in social media postings, on websites, online reviews, chat rooms, or in other forms of broadcast. The dissemination of such defamatory comments or communications to the public is libelous. What is Slander? Slander is the public utterance of words that are meant to disparage a person … Read More

Confidentiality, Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Clauses In Contracts

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Breach of Confidentiality Clause, Breach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Disputes, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Contracts, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Confidentiality Agreement, Confidentiality Clause, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Injunction & Specific Performance, Joint Venture Disputes, Management Contracts, Mareva Injunction, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Norwich Order, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Sale of Business Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation clauses often show up in a variety of business contracts including employment and executive contracts, shareholder, and director agreements, as well as, independent contractor agreements, joint venture agreements and mergers, to name a few. A question that must be considered by contracting parties to such agreements is: What is the enforceability of these types of restrictive covenants? This question particularly becomes important when parties may part ways and a breach of the clauses is suspected or confirmed. These clauses are premised on the assumption that the relationship between the parties will result in the sharing of proprietary and sensitive business knowledge, contacts and relationships related to the operations of a business, which the company seeks to protect, particularly once the relationship between the parties ends. Non-competition clauses usually restrict one’s ability to engage in a competing business. Non-solicitation clauses prohibit one from soliciting stakeholders and contacts … Read More

COVID-19 | Ontario to Permit Some Businesses to Reopen on May 4

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Leasing, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Force Majeure, Government Action, Loan and Guarantee, Mortgage Enforcement, Mortgage Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

On May 1, 2020, the Ontario government announced that a select few businesses will be allowed to re-open on Monday, May 4, 2020 but with strict public health and safety measures in place.  Most of these businesses are seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects. This announcement follows from the release earlier this week of the three-staged Framework for Reopening our Province which included stage 1 to reopen certain Ontario businesses gradually under strict guidelines in order to allow the economy to return to some sense of normalcy while continuing to safeguard the public and limit health risks. The following is the list of businesses that may be re-opened on May 4, 2020: Garden centres and nurseries – but they are restricted to alternative methods of sale such as curbside pickup and delivery; Lawn care services and landscaping services; Essential construction projects including shipping and logistics; broadband, telecommunications and digital … Read More

Corporate Governance Considerations During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Interruption, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, By-laws, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Leasing, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Coronavirus, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, COVID-19, Derivative Actions, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Oppression Remedies, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Sale of Business Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Corporate governance issues are top of mind for directors and businesses who are attempting to navigate through the Covid-19 Pandemic related closures and emergency measures. Boards of Directors still need to operate and make decisions in the best interests of the corporation, and this can involve tough decisions, particularly where there is little guidance as to how measures to lift Covid-19 related restrictions will play out. By example, while it may be in the best interest of investors and shareholders that the Board act to lay off employees in the short term, the impact of staff shortages when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted may pose it’s own challenges. Many businesses must consider how to hold governance meetings during Covid-19 times. On March 30, 2020, Ontario passed an Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), (Ontario Regulation 107/20) entitled “Meetings for Corporations” making temporary changes to the Business Corporations … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Rent Relief for Small Businesses Is Coming

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Interruption, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitrator, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Commercial Leasing, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On April 16, 2020, the Federal government announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program to assist small businesses with their rent payments during the COVID-19 crisis. The CECRA program will provide loans and/or forgiveable loans to commercial property owners who will be expected to pass on the benefit to small businesses by lowering or forgoing rent for April (retroactively), May and June 2020.  Further details of the program are expected to be released soon and the program will be administered by the provincial and territorial governments. Although the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had issued an Order on March 19, 2020 suspending the eviction of residents from their homes (unless ordered otherwise under an urgent motion), there was no similar protection against evictions for commercial tenants which included many small business owners. Commercial rent payments are typically the second largest operating expense for most small businesses after payroll … Read More

The Impact of Covid-19 / Coronavirus On Franchise Disclosure Obligations

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Interruption, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, COVID-19, Force Majeure, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Government Action, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

The Covid-19 / Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted social and economic life globally and here in Ontario. It is apparent that the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting closures and physical distancing measures implemented by various governments will have a considerable impact on investment decisions in the franchise context. In this blog we consider the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on current and shortly anticipated franchise disclosure obligations. The Crucial Role Of Franchise Disclosure The franchise disclosure obligations which arise during a franchise purchase or franchise renewal process are critical for both franchisees and franchisors. It provides crucial information to a franchisee so that they can make a fully informed investment decision, and sets the groundwork and expectations on behalf of the franchisor to ensure the relationship is off to a good start and lasts to the mutual benefit of both parties. Updating Franchise Disclosure With Covid-19 / Coronavirus Impact Considerations Franchisors who are … Read More

Measures of Last Resort – The Benefits of Exit Provisions in Shareholder’s Agreements

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Corporate Disputes, Family Business Disputes, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Oppression Remedies, Sale of Business Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

The benefits of a shareholder’s agreement may not be fully considered when parties are intending to go into business together and become joint shareholders in a corporation. Perhaps the mood is optimistic and none of the participants anticipate that things might sour between them down the road. Sometimes corporations are formed absent such an agreement. However, among other benefits, these agreements become particularly useful in managing risk and guiding shareholders through governance issues and disputes that may arise, efficiently so as to minimize disruption to the corporation’s business. Absent a shareholder’s agreement, shareholders in a closely held corporation that cannot see eye-to-eye regarding the operation and path of the corporation, may become stuck in a deadlock where decision-making is effectively stifled due to a stalemate between them. Shareholder’s agreements can serve to provide mechanisms to address deadlock, protect the voice and rights of minority shareholders, provide a road map for … Read More

Liability of Directors and Officers | Oppression Remedy | Shareholders Claims

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer, Arbitrator and MediatorBusiness Disputes, Business Fraud, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Embezzlement, Family Business Disputes, Mareva Injunction, Norwich Order, Oppression Remedies, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

The lawyers in our Business Dispute Practice Group have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for small, mid-sized and large corporations (incorporated in Ontario and in Canada), shareholders, directors, officers, and executives in corporate disputes and shareholder disputes. We have acted for clients in both oppression remedy action and derivative actions. Oppression Remedy The oppression remedy is a mechanism in the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act to protect the interests of shareholders and stakeholders in a corporation against wrongful conduct.  Whether the Ontario or Canada Act will apply depends on the jurisdiction in which the corporation was incorporated. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates of the corporation. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the … Read More

Limitation Period Considerations in Derivative Proceedings

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Fraud, Business Law, Business Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Oppression Remedies0 Comments

Under modern business corporation legislation, a claim for wrongdoing against a corporation can only be brought by the corporation itself, or by way of a derivative action for which leave from the court is required. In Ontario, there is a standard two-year limitation period that applies to the commencement of most lawsuits, including derivative claims on behalf of a corporation. When wrongs done to a corporation are alleged to have been done by a director or directors who exercise control and decision-making on behalf of the corporation, it is unlikely that those same directors will agree to commence a claim on behalf of the corporation for those wrongs. It is then up to other interested stakeholders, such as shareholders, to seek leave to commence a derivative claim on behalf of the corporation for the wrongs done to the corporation. Until the release of a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling … Read More

Part Two – Timing is Everything in Real Estate Agreements of Purchase and Sale

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation, Specific Performance, Summary Judgment0 Comments

I had written a previous blog on the “time is of the essence” clause in real estate agreements where it was discussed that the strict adherence to any agreed upon time limits was generally the case. A recent Ontario Court of Appeal case, Fortress Carlyle Peter St. Inc. v. Ricki’s Construction and Painting Inc., serves as a reminder that the “time is of the essence” clause is not absolute and unfettered, and there are preconditions that must be satisfied for a party to rely upon and insist on time being of the essence. The facts are not overly complicated in this case.  The respondent was a condominium developer in the process of acquiring properties for a proposed project in downtown Toronto.  The developer entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (“APS”) with the vendor to acquire the subject property.  Although the APS required the vendor to provide estoppel certificates five days prior … Read More

Partnership Disputes – Dentists, Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Architects and Engineers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer, Arbitrator and MediatorAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, Arbitrators, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Business Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Confidentiality Agreement, Corporate Disputes, Joint Venture Disputes, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professions0 Comments

Partnerships Professionals often carry on their professional practice as partners in a partnership or limited liability partnership. Partnerships can be created simply by conduct and the application of the Partnership Act or by a simple or complex partnership agreement. Joint Venture Contract – Fiduciary Duties? In other cases professionals associate in practice by participation in a contractual joint venture which, depending on the agreement and the circumstances, may or may not at law also be a partnership but, in any event, may attract the duties and obligations of partners, including fiduciary duties. Sharing Space Some professionals may consider that they are only sharing space with other professional and may be very surprised to find that the arrangement gave rise at law to unexpected obligations. Duty of Honest Performance The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew, though not a case about partnerships, nonetheless has a wide-ranging impact on … Read More

Protecting Your Internet Domain Name

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Fraud, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Copyright Infringement, Cyber Fraud, Cyber Risks, Domain Name Disputes, eCommerce | Online Retail, Identity Fraud, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Internet Fraud, Passing Off, Specific Performance, Start-Up Disputes, Technology and Internet, Trademark Infringement, Website Copying0 Comments

In the age of the internet and e-commerce, the domain name of a business holds tremendous value and is often an integral part of the identity of a business. Since a website can only have one domain name on the internet, there is no shortage of disputes which arise over ownership rights of domain names, particularly those closely affiliated with a registered or unregistered trademark. What is Cyber-Squatting? Cyber-Squatting occurs when someone has registered a domain name in which they have no legitimate business interest, and can sometimes involve setting up a fake website for a business. The reason could be that the registrant will then seek to sell the domain name to the legitimate owner of the business or trademark, or their competitor for a profit. Alternatively, it may be to syphon away business leads online to competitors for a fee, or for advertising revenues. Typo-Squatting is similar to … Read More

Manufacturers and Distributors – Toronto Litigation Lawyers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer, Arbitrator and MediatorBrand Protection, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Counterfeit Goods, Cross-Border Litigation, Dealership Agreements, Distribution Agreements, Distributors | Dealers, Domain Name Disputes, eCommerce | Online Retail, Passing Off, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Technology and Internet, Textiles and Apparel, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

Our lawyers can provide sound advice and effective representation to manufacturers and distributors involved in actual or potential disputes or litigation.  We focus on a wide variety of manufacturing industries in a broad array of legal disputes, including sale of goods, branding and brand protection, transportation and logistics, supply and outsourcing contracts, unpaid accounts, internal business disputes, construction and urgent remedies. The automotive industry, the food and beverage industry and technology industries in the Toronto – Waterloo Innovation Corridor comprise the most substantial sectors of the Ontario manufacturing landscape. We also can provide advice and representation to the many other manufacturing industries in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario, including these: Automated Machinery and Robotics, Automotive Industry, Auto Parts Manufacturing, Building Materials, Canning and Bottling, Chemical Manufacturing and Supply, Clean Tech, Computer Equipment and Electronic Equipment, Concrete, Brick, Glass, Drywall, Lumber and Stone, Confectionery, Food and Beverage, Financial Technology, Furniture Manufactures and Importers, , Bottling, Packaging and Containers, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning – HVAC, Insulation and Environmental Solutions, … Read More

Shareholder Disputes, Oppression Remedy, and Liability of Directors and Officers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer, Arbitrator and MediatorArbitration, Business Law, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professions, Shareholder Disputes1 Comment

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for small, mid-sized and large Ontario and Canadian corporations, shareholders, directors, officers, executives and creditors in corporate disputes and shareholder disputes. We have acted in both oppression remedy action and derivative actions. Oppression Remedy The oppression remedy is a mechanism in the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act to protect the interests of shareholders and stakeholders in a corporation against wrongful conduct.  Whether the Ontario or Canada Act will apply depends on the jurisdiction in which the corporation was incorporated. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates of the corporation. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates … Read More

Partnership Disputes Between Professionals – Dentists, Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Architects and Engineers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer, Arbitrator and MediatorArbitration, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Business Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Joint Venture Disputes, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professional Services0 Comments

Partnerships Professionals often carry on their professional practice as partners in a partnership or limited liability partnership. Partnerships can be created simply by conduct and the application of the Partnership Act or by a simple or complex partnership agreement. Joint Venture Contract – Fiduciary Duties? In other cases professionals associate in practice by participation in a contractual joint venture which, depending on the agreement and the circumstances, may or may not at law also be a partnership but, in any event, may attract the duties and obligations of partners, including fiduciary duties. Sharing Space Lastly, some professionals may consider that they are only sharing space with other professional and may be very surprised to find that the arrangement gave rise at law to unexpected obligations. Duty of Honest Performance The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew, though not a case about partnerships, nonetheless has a wide-ranging impact … Read More