Blog

CABA Announces Winner of Cross-Border Student Essay Contest

CABA is pleased to announce that Matthew Summers, a third year law student at the University of Alberta, has won CABA’s Cross-Border Student Essay Contest for 2016 with his essay, The Unfinished Reform of the Corruption of Public Officials Act ― The Need for American-Style Non-Criminal Enforcement in Canada.

As the winner for 2016, Matthew will receive a monetary prize of USD $500 from the sponsoring law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP.

Congratulations Matthew!

December 21, 2016 |

CABA Files Submissions with the Supreme Court of Canada in Expat Voting Rights Appeal

On December 9, 2016, CABA filed its intervener submissions with the Supreme Court of Canada in Gillian Frank et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, a constitutional challenge of provisions in the Canada Elections Act that prevent Canadian citizens who have resided outside of Canada for more than five years from voting in Canadian elections. CABA’s position in the appeal is that the challenged restriction violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by depriving nonresidents of a core democratic right guaranteed to “every citizen of Canada.” In its intervener submissions, CABA emphasizes that the voting rights of citizens are not optional, and do not expire or wither away with time. The government’s creation of a hierarchy of rights-holders based on alleged differences in the legal burdens they face as Canadians undermines Canadian citizenship and ignores the globalized world in which Canadians live.

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument in the case for February 16, 2017. On December 5, 2016, the Attorney General of Canada filed a motion for adjournment on the grounds that a bill aimed at removing the challenged restriction is currently before Parliament and will render the appeal moot. If the Supreme Court agrees, it will leave intact a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal that upheld the restriction as a matter of legislative policy falling within the discretion of Parliament.

Read CABA’s full submissions here.

Additional case information can be accessed on the Supreme Court of Canada docket: http://www.scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/info/dock-regi-eng.aspx?cas=36645

December 13, 2016 |

CABA Executive Appoints Canada Representative

The CABA executive is pleased to announce that it has appointed Kristin Ali to the position of Canada Representative. Kristin is a lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto. She practices commercial litigation with a focus on technology-related disputes. Kristin is also a member of the adjunct faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School, where she teaches an upper-year seminar on contract remedies. Kristin previously practiced in Boston for several years at a leading international law firm. Kristin is licensed to practice in Ontario and Massachusetts, and has common law and civil law degrees from McGill University’s Faculty of Law. After law school, she clerked for the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Kristin will work with the executive to oversee CABA’s operations in Canada.

December 13, 2016 |

CABA Continues Legal Fight for Expat Voting Rights before the Supreme Court of Canada

On October 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada granted CABA’s motion to intervene in Gillian Frank et al. v. Attorney General of Canada.  The case involves a constitutional challenge by two Canadian citizens living in the United States of provisions in the Canada Elections Act that deny the right to vote to Canadian citizens who have resided outside of Canada for more than five years.  As an intervening party in the appeal, CABA will have standing before the Court to advance its position that the challenged provisions violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by establishing a second-class of Canadian citizenship based on the incorrect assumption that long-term expatriates have, in the words of the lower court, “severed their connections to Canada in the pursuit of their livelihoods.”  CABA’s written submission are due on December 9, 2016.  The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral argument in the case in February of next year.

Additional case information can be accessed on the Supreme Court of Canada docket: http://www.scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/info/dock-regi-eng.aspx?cas=36645

October 18, 2016 |

CABA Executive Meet and Greet

Come join the CABA Executive for breakfast at Morandi Restaurant, 211 Waverly Place, New York NY, at 8:30 A.M. on Thursday, October 13, 2016. The Executive will be happy to share their plans about CABA events for the coming months and hear your feedback about the organization. Hope to see you there!

October 11, 2016 |

CABA Seeking Leave to Intervene in the Supreme Court of Canada

Dear Members & Friends of CABA,

CABA is excited to announce that, as part of its Policy & Advocacy Program, it recently filed a motion seeking leave to intervene before the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Gillian Frank et al. v. Attorney General of Canada. (See Memo and Affidavit).

What is the case about?

The case was commenced by two Canadian citizens living in the United States, Gillian Frank and Jamie Duong, who are challenging the provisions of the Canada Elections Act that deny the right to vote to citizens who have resided outside of Canada for more than five years, unless they are a member of the Canadian Forces or the public service or employed by a qualifying international organization.

In May 2014, Judge Penny from the Ontario Superior Court found that the impugned provisions of the Canada Elections Act violated section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which provides that “every citizen of Canada” has the right to vote, and that the limitation on this core democratic right was not justified in a free and democratic society under section 1 of the Charter.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario reversed in July 2015.  The majority, formed of Judges Strathy and Brown, found that permitting all non-resident citizens to vote would erode the social contract between citizen and state that grants the citizen a say in making the state’s laws in exchange for agreeing to them.  According to the majority, long-term non-resident citizens have excused themselves from the social contract because they are generally no longer affected by the laws of Canada.  Accordingly, the majority reasoned that non-resident Canadians may be deprived of their right to vote after five years in accordance with the Charter.  Judge Laskin issued a strong dissent and argued that preserving the social contract is not a pressing and substantial objective that can justify the limitation on the right the vote.

What is CABA’s position? 

If its motion is granted, CABA intends to argue before the Court that the challenged provisions create a second-class of Canadian citizenship based on the incorrect assumption that long-term expatriates have, in the words of the lower court, “severed their connections to Canada in the pursuit of their livelihoods.”  As the lived experience of CABA’s members and the work that CABA does to help Canadians abroad stay connected to their home country demonstrate, many long-term expatriate Canadians maintain close ties to Canada, its laws and politics, and discover ways to live out their Canadian citizenship from abroad.

More specifically, CABA intends to challenge three incorrect assumptions made by the majority of the Court of Appeal for Ontario in maintaining the disenfranchisement of long-term non-resident Canadians.  First, the definition of the social contract that the majority relied upon is based on an outdated view of citizenship that ignores the more globalized citizenship of today.  Second, Canadians residing abroad have not opted out of the social contract because many Canadian laws apply with extra-territorial effects.  Third, the majority’s reliance on the social contract obscures essential aspects of the right to vote, such as the sense of belonging and association that is vital to individuals, as well as the collective democratic interest of incorporating the diverse viewpoints, ideas and lived experiences of the wider electorate, including the unique viewpoints and outlooks on the world developed by Canadians while living abroad.

CABA is represented in these proceedings by Bradley E. Berg, Max Shapiro, and Peter W. Hogg of Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP.

How can I participate?

If you are interested in getting involved with CABA or learning more about our Policy & Advocacy Program, aimed specifically at involving CABA and the perspective of its members and stakeholders in judicial and legislative decision-making with cross-border aspects, write to us at president@canambar.com.

CABA would finally like to take this opportunity to thank the members who agreed to be listed in its submissions in order to illustrate the breadth of its membership and its members’ involvement in cross-border issues.

Who else is involved? 

The Attorney General of Quebec and the Attorney General of Nova Scotia have both filed notices of intervention in support of the Attorney General of Canada’s position.

The other proposed interveners in the case are Democracy Watch, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, the Canadian Expat Association, the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, an individual, and a group comprised of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan and two individuals.

September 28, 2016 |
“Join the Cross-Border Legal Conversation”

Major Partners

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. The CABA does not guarantee the accuracy of any information contained herein. The CABA does not endorse organizations or information linked to or from this website. Any legal information provided is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the CABA or its directors, officers, or members and the reader. CABA is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.