Blogs list

Warren Creates - Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP - Warren Creates

Working in Canada: What is Work, and when is a Work Permit needed? - Sponsored Article In the Canadian immigration context, ‘work’ is broadly defined. Even volunteers, those providing services in a private residence, and student interns may require a work permit, and may run into trouble if they do not have one. This article helps to explain when a work permit is needed and why. Beware the dreaded report from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA):  working without a work permit!  It is often a fatal allegation, and hard to disprove. Deportation can often result. The test is balance of probabilities, and grounds to believe.  The threshold is rather low.  All the Canadian government needs is “reasonable grounds to believe” that a foreign national has done any work at all, even in the form of help, without having a valid work permit. The Regulations to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) contain the general definition of “work” requiring a work permit:  any “activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that is in direct competition with the activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market”.  Like most of our Canadian laws, it is not the legal definition that tells the story, but instead the interpretation of it by government policy-makers, immigration officials, and courts. The news here is rather unfortunate.  Whereas business owners, managers, visitors to Canada and other foreign nationals in Canada hope for a permissive or relaxed interpretation, the opposite is generally true.  The definition in the Regulations has been interpreted as broadly as can be imagined. Businesses and employers often…

Photo : Warren  Creates July 13, 2015

Michael Citrome - Barrett Tax Law Firm - Michael Citrome

Taking the CRA to Court - Sponsored Article Here in Ottawa, many people think of the government as an employer, rather than as an obstacle to doing business. Even still, for many entrepreneurs, the government may seem like a monolithic thing that is more adversary than ally, especially when it comes to taxes. Although the government is responsible for creating, administering and enforcing the tax laws, each branch has its own powers and duties and all are subject to the authority of the courts. The Courts Supervise the CRA The Canada Revenue Agency, which administers income tax and HST in Ontario, has the job of enforcing the law, but not making the law. It’s Parliament’s job to make the law, and the courts’ job to interpret the law and to make sure that taxpayers – and the CRA – comply with it. Although the courts can’t overrule every decision that the CRA makes, it’s key to remember that the CRA seldom has the final word in a tax dispute, and that you can call on the courts to possibly obtain some kind of relief. My previous blog post talked about the objection process, which is the CRA’s in-house dispute-resolution mechanism. If after an objection you are still not satisfied with the CRA’s decision, you have 90 days to file an appeal with the Tax Court of Canada. Tell it to the Judge By filing an appeal, you are taking the matter out of the hands of the CRA and putting it in front of a judge, who has the authority to decide…

Photo : Michael  Citrome July 08, 2015

David Lowdon - Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP - David Lowdon

Better Capital Raising Opportunities for Small Businesses and Start-ups - Sponsored Article A New Family, Friends and Business Associates Exemption for Ontario The first source of funding for many small businesses or start-ups is the owner’s network of family, friends and business associates.  While other jurisdictions have a prospectus exemption catering to this fundraising opportunity, for several years Ontario has not. The Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) recently announced a new prospectus exemption for investments by family, friends and business associates (the “FFBA Exemption”).  The FFBA exemption came into effect on May 5, 2015. The FFBA Exemption recognizes that existing networks of family, friends and business associates may be the most cost-efficient way for early stage companies to raise capital without disclosure requirements or intermediary involvement.  It will likely broaden access to capital beyond what is currently available under the existing Private Issuer exemption and it replaces Ontario’s much narrower Founder, Control Person and Family Exemption.  It will also increase investment opportunities for investors who are closely related to the corporation but who would not have qualified under previously existing exemptions. The FFBA Exemption introduces two new requirements.  First, an issuer will be required to submit a report of exempt distribution to the OSC.  In addition, a risk acknowledgement form must be signed by both the investor and the issuer.   The FFBA Exemption has the following key conditions: It is available to both reporting and non-reporting issuers but is not available to investment funds. The exemption applies to a distribution of any security by an issuer or selling security holder. There is no limit on…

Photo : David  Lowdon June 12, 2015

Amy Alksnis - BrazeauSeller.LLP - Amy Alksnis

What is a Shareholders’ Agreement and Why Does My Company Need One? - Sponsored Article Clients often wonder why they need a shareholders’ agreement, particularly in a family-owned business where each of the shareholders are related to each other by blood or marriage. Entering into such an agreement is sometimes construed as a sign of distrust of the other shareholders, and met with a response such as “we’re family and we can work out any issues between ourselves; we don’t need an agreement for that.” However, just as no one enters into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, very few business owners into a new business relationship expecting it to turn sour. The reality is that these types of relationships do not always progress as pleasantly as expected, and coming to an agreement during the “honeymoon” stage of a business relationship on how future events and potential disputes are to be dealt with may save the parties from bitter disputes and costly litigation down the road. Further, a shareholder agreement typically deals with inevitable life events, such as the death of a shareholder, and is not limited to the resolution of disputes that may or may not arise. A shareholders’ agreement is a contract between the shareholders of a corporation, setting out the rules for the management and operation of the corporation, and the rights and obligations of the shareholders in relation to one another. A shareholders’ agreement is not a one-size fits all document, and should be structured to fit the unique situation of a corporation and its shareholders. While there is no “standard” form…

Photo : Amy  Alksnis July 06, 2015

Barbara Sinclair - BrazeauSellerLLP - Barbara Sinclair

City of Ottawa Infill Zoning By-law and Mature Neighbourhoods - Sponsored Content A zoning by-law amendment addressing low-rise residential infill development in mature neighbourhoods will be considered by the City of Ottawa’s Planning Committee on April 14, 2015.  The City of Ottawa continues to encourage infill, however, there has been much discussion and interest in how infill, especially in existing and established neighbourhoods, is designed and approved.  The amendments contain revisions to By-law 2012-147 (“Infill By-law”) which was adopted by City Council on May 9, 2012 and dealt with parking, landscaping projections and grade for residential infill within central and mature neighbourhoods. The Infill By-law was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board and the revised version of the Infill By-law to be considered by Planning Committee in April, 2015. A pre-hearing interim Order of the OMB, issued on March 8, 2013 dealt with certain zoning jurisdictional issues, and the Board confirmed that municipalities do have the authority to regulate neighbourhood character, under Section 34 of the Planning Act, R.S.O.1990. The neighbourhood character requires looking along a street, or ‘streetscape character’. The interim Order goes on to state that in addition to regulating land use, municipalities may also establish zoning regulations that pertain to the incidental uses of land that go hand in hand with the land use itself, such as accessory use of yards on a lot developed with a residential land use.    Since 2013, City planning staff has engaged community and stakeholders in further public consultations and design charrettes for the development of zoning language to implement a zoning strategy.  The OMB has…

Photo : Barbara  Sinclair March 23, 2015