Law Times

March 11, 2019

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LAW TIMES 2 COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE | MARCH 11, 2019 "It's easy for all of us to say 'Yes, the Law Society of Ontario should be a strong advocate of access to justice.' "It's a little bit more difficult when you come to financial questions because the law society is not a funder, it's a professional body. The question for me work- ing in the clinic system is, 'If the law society is going to get into the game of funding access to justice, are we also going to talk about funding Legal Aid supports?'" Lynn Burns, founding ex- ecutive director of Pro Bono Ontario, says she has been ap- proached by bencher candi- dates and that she and the PBO's board have been meeting with candidates to seek their support for Pro Bono Ontario's funding. PBO will likely post a list of sup- portive candidates on its website and social media accounts, open to anyone that supports LSO funding for Pro Bono Ontario regardless of the structure or source of funding, she says. "I've heard a lot of debate about whether a levy would hurt new calls or sole practitioners. There could be sliding scales — there are a lot of ways that they could find the funding to support Pro Bono Ontario," says Burns. Robert Shawyer, a bencher candidate, was inspired to run for office to be a voice for Pro Bono Ontario in Convocation. Although he does not support raising fees for licensees (which rose $18 to $2,201 for lawyers in 2019), he says would like to see $25 of each licensee's existing fees redistributed specifically to Pro Bono Ontario. "I absolutely in no way want to increase the fees — we are al- ready charged too much for our licence on a yearly basis. . . . I'd actually advocate for a new fee structure that would be more f lexible so that people, depend- ing on their practice area, could pay reduced fee levels," says Shawyer, principal of Shawyer Family Law & Mediation, a four- lawyer firm in Toronto. "I think a fee that's paid from the fees lawyers already pay is the answer to the question of, 'How do we best support Pro Bono Ontario?'" Philip Horgan, a bencher candidate who is the proprietor of his own Toronto-based firm, says he has dedicated hundreds of hours each year to pro bono work without working through Pro Bono Ontario. "I think I'm a bit of an ad- vocate of letting lawyers make such choices as opposed to just imposing further fees. If law- yers wish to make donations to Pro Bono Ontario, good for them, let them take advantage of a charitable receipt and move forward. For folks like me who do pro bono work without it going through the umbrella of Pro Bono Ontario, I don't think a forced commitment to one agency is the way to go," says Horgan, who adds that funding decisions must be viewed in the context of the LSO's 2019 budget increase and the annual fee of $2,201 for lawyers. David Milosevic also decided to run for bencher specifically on the platform of securing fund- ing for Pro Bono Ontario. He says he supports a voluntary "tick box" levy on licensees to support pro bono services, rather than across-the-board fee increases. "What I noticed was that this pro bono issue is intimately linked to this larger question in this election: Where do we want this regulator to go — how do we see the regulator of the law soci- ety?" says Milosevic, a partner at Milosevic Fiske LLP in Toronto. "Then there are those who see a more robust mandate . . . where the law society also has a social purpose. It advances a social role for lawyers in society, the way we engage with the public and what our values are in doing so. Pro Bono comes down on the latter side of that argument." LT NEWS Continued from page 1 Bencher election homes in on PBO Case tests tort of misfeasance Continued from page 1 Justice Giovanna Toscano Roccamo of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The case centres on Capital Solar, a small busi- ness run by André Deschamps and Angela Monette that start- ed to take advantage of province's program, Roccamo wrote. Although the business owners were not experienced in the renewable energy sector, they had a successful track record in business and planned to sell energy to homeowners, farmers and small businesses, taking advantage of "the stability that the program was intended to offer," the decision said. The province announced on Oct. 31, 2011 a new pricing schedule and rule changes effective after Aug.31, 2011, the de- cision said. After the October announcement, CSP's business declined and ultimately closed in 2013, the judge wrote. "André Deschamps and Angela Monette both garnered the Court's sympathy. They presented as hardworking and earnest small business owners. Yet, they invested all the pro- ceeds from the sale of their prior business to speculate in an unknown area of business. It is unfortunate that CSP failed. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that its failure was as a result of any actionable wrongdoing by the OPA," the judge wrote. Geoff Hall, a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP and one of the lawyers representing CSP, declined to comment. Tom Timmins, a partner at Gowling WLG in Toronto and head of the global renewable energy law practice, says that the important element of the decision from a legal perspective will be whether something new has been established in terms of the government's freedom to make policy. "Larger companies might have more time and resources for government relations and be more aware of things. They might also have diversified risk by being in different jurisdic- tions. If there is a government change in one province, the project might get put on hold, and they'll turn attention to another province or country," says Timmins, who was not in- volved in the case. "Small mom and pops obviously don't have that luxury." LT THE HAROLD G. FOX EDUCATION FUND 390 Bay Street Suite 1000 Toronto ON M5H 2Y2 Tel: 416-366-0455 • The recipients of the 2018/2019 Scholarships for a year's pupillage at the Inns of Court in London, England are: Matthew Howe Adrienne Oake and they are now in Chambers in London. We welcome from England members of the Inns of Court: Edward Benson (placed at Lenczner Slaght) Jonathan Weitzmann (placed at WeirFoulds) who hold Scholarships for study in Ontario. Joseph J. Markson, Secretary-Treasurer APPLICA7,21S FOR 2019-2020 SCHOLARSHIP6 Students who will be called to the Ontario Bar in 2019, and who desire to apply for the Scholarship for the next year commencing in September, 2019, must apply by Friday, April 5, 2019. For further information please contact JDFTXHOLQH*XELDQL (416-366-0455) or visit our website at Markson Law_LT_Mar11_19.indd 1 2019-03-07 8:52 AM

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