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A recent Federal Court of Appeal case dealing with standard form agreements is potentially welcome news for direct selling businesses which use standard, non-negotiable, distributor agreements for recruiting/managing their field force.

In the recent case Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec v. Canada (National Revenue), 2020 FCA 182 (CanLII) (“Desjardins”), the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) overturned a Tax Court of Canada decision (“TCC”) which held that a person was an employee on the basis that the contract was not negotiated (i.e., a standard form contract) and that the individual had an obligation to work exclusively for Desjardins.

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In November 2020, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-11, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020(DCIA). This long-awaited bill follows years of consultation and calls for reform and, if passed, would significantly overhaul Canada’s federal privacy laws.

 

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The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) has confirmed the advice we gave in our February eNewsFlash (and our previous blog) that arbitration clauses will NOT BE ENFORCED in Canada where they are viewed as unconscionable and effectively constitute a denial to the access to justice.

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Before 2010, Canadian direct selling companies were often organized as Unlimited Liability Companies ("ULCs"), for good reason.

The ULC structure could operate under the US "check-the-box" rules as a flow-through entity, which was often desirable from the perspective of the US corporate owner, which was usually structured as an S Corp or LLC.

Changes to the US-Canada Tax Treaty (the "Treaty") made effective in 2010 threw a wrench into these historically common structures – exposing some to a 25% unrecoverable tax under Part XIII of the Canadian Income Tax Act on any payments of dividends, interest, and royalties.

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A recent Ontario Court of Appeal case serves as a reminder that legal jurisdiction clauses (also referred to as "forum selection") must use express language if they intend to provide a forum with exclusive jurisdiction to hear contractual disputes.

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