Archive for October, 2013

Happy Small Business Day

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Yup, today has been declared Canada Small Business Day.  By whom?  Well, I’m not entirely certain, although it looks like it has been unilaterally declared by the Canadian Federal of Independent Business as opposed to being declared by the federal or any provincial government (although some of the governments seem to be warming up to the idea of declaring it officially).  But, when you think about it, I doubt many people would turn down an excuse to celebrate something on a Friday.

As part of its Small Business Day celebrations, the CFIB has helped to create a new web site that is a large directory of small businesses across the country.  The web site can be found here.

So, the next time you are looking for something for your small business, you might want to check this site to see if there is someone in your area who can provide what you need.  Something to think about.



Arbitrations in B.C. – Think Twice for Now

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

The Supreme Court of Canada has just released a decision related to an arbitration held in the province of British Columbia.  In Teal Cedar Products, the arbitrator made an award and then gave compound interest on the award.  The arbitrator’s award was appealed to the B.C. Supreme Court (its trial level court) and to the B.C. Court of Appeal.  Both levels of court upheld the arbitrator’s award of compound interest.  On further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the third time was a charm for the appellant.

While the Court recognized that compound interest was a fair method of compensating for the loss, the Court noted that the legislation in B.C. restricted judgments to granting only simple interest.  Since arbitral awards are ultimately recognized in B.C. as being enforceable as judgments, it therefore followed that they had to be governed by the same rules as judgments – and, thus, no compound interest is permitted for arbitral awards.

It is becoming more common to have disputes determined by arbitration.  One of the initial questions will be: where do we want to have the arbitration?  Often a neutral location will be picked.  In Canada, the two main centres for arbitration are Vancouver and Toronto.  Until the B.C. lawmakers decide to update their legislation, you may want to give some thought to whether you want any arbitration provision in your contracts to state that the arbitration should be held in B.C.  Of course, if it is more likely that any arbitration might arise because of some failure on your part, you might want to arbitrate in B.C. so that any interest is limited to simple interest.  But if you were to be the party initiating the arbitration, you probably (for now at least) will want to avoid arbitrating in B.C. or, in the alternative, ensuring that any arbitration clause in a contract or arbitration agreement expressly permits the arbitrator to award compound interest and that the law in B.C. as it relates to awards of interest is not to apply to your arbitration (and hope that the B.C. courts do not for some reason determine that this law is one of public policy that cannot be contracted away).

Something to think about.