Law Times

September 18, 2017

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Ontario to improve provincial court diversity BY DALE SMITH For Law Times T he Ontario government has announced plans to bolster the diversity of provincial court ap- pointments with reforms to the province's Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. Lawyers say that this is a needed move, as the Ontario Court of Justice is notice- ably lacking in diversity, especially outside of Toronto. "It's a positive thing that the government is seeking a diversity of candidates when looking at ju- dicial applications," says Michael Spratt, partner with Abergel Gold- stein & Partners LLP and also for- mer vice president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa. "What we see across the prov- ince is a bench and judges that don't necessarily ref lect the communi- ties in which they sit," says Spratt. "This is particularly problematic in Ottawa where I can count the number of racialized judges on one hand — in fact, one finger." Spratt says that when judges re- f lect the diversity in their commu- nities, it leads to a broader range of life experiences and enhances both the trial and sentencing process. The proposed changes from the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the province's independent Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee will be encourag- ing legal professionals from more diverse communities to apply to become judges. Some of those changes include adding space on the forms for applicants to self- identify as being indigenous, be- longing to a racialized commu- nity or other ethno-cultural group, having a disability or being LGBT. They are also looking to increase their outreach with advertising and information sessions to law as- sociations. In addition, they will be collecting race-based data on judi- cial applications in order to better report on diversity. The Justices of the Peace Ap- POLYAMORY AND LAW Progressive approach should be considered P7 FOCUS ON Competition Law P8 PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 28, No. 29 September 18, 2017 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M FIRMS JOIN Oatley Vigmond and Bolande Howe merge P5 BY DALE SMITH For Law Times T he Canadian Bar Asso- ciation's decision to join with other small busi- ness groups in protesting the federal government's planned changes to private incorporation tax rules has some lawyers revok- ing their membership in protest, saying that it's not something they should be fighting against. "I don't feel like I was adequate- ly consulted before they took this position," says Chris Rudnicki, partner with Rusonik O'Connor Robbins Ross Gorham & Ange- lini LLP in Toronto. Rudnicki says he has a consid- ered opinion on the issue of the proposed changes, and he was taken aback that his association would have taken a position with- out getting feedback. "Lawyers are a tremendously privileged section of our society," he says. "We make some of the highest incomes of any profession, espe- cially the kinds of lawyers who tend to be in charge of our nation- al organizations like the CBA." The proposed changes an- nounced by the federal govern- ment in July affect Canadian Con- trolled Private Corporations and are intended to: end the practice of "income sprinkling," where divi- dends are paid to adult children or other family members at a signifi- cant tax advantage; address pas- sive income by removing the tax advantage for using a private cor- poration for investment purposes; and clamp down on transforming dividend income into capital gains, which are more lightly taxed. The stated intention from the government is to restore the neu- trality between saving inside of a corporation and outside of one. "The idea of ensuring that our system works, that we don't create tax advantages for the wealthi- est, is important," federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told re- porters from the cabinet retreat in St. John's on Sept. 12. Morneau says that as they hear feedback during the consultation period, they will consider how to best implement what they consid- er to be important measures. Rudnicki says that as a third- year lawyer, he doesn't make near- ly that much, but he still feels that lawyers need to use their privileged See Consultation, page 2 Chris Rudnicki says he's cancelled his CBA membership over its protest to changes planned for personal incorporation tax rules. Photo: Robin Kuniski Lawyers unhappy with CBA over tax stance Quinn Ross says there would be advantages to appointing younger members to the bench. 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