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The Friday Brief

The Friday Brief: Managing Editor’s must-read items from this week

Friday, November 02, 2018 @ 2:22 PM | By Matthew Grace

Matthew Grace %>
Matthew Grace
Here are my picks for the top stories we published this week.

Senate amends consent provisions in sexual assault bill but rejects defence bar’s plea to drop ‘reverse disclosure’
In a win for women’s advocates, the Senate has amended the government’s contentious sexual assault law reform package to remove unconsciousness as a specified indicator of incapacity to consent, but has retained an expansion of the rape shield that the defence bar and civil libertarians contend imposes “reverse disclosure” on people accused of sex crimes.

N.L.’s bid to overturn Churchill Falls power contract out of time, unjustified under Quebec civil law: SCC
In an important civil law judgment on the concepts of good faith and equity in contract law, the Supreme Court of Canada has 7-1 dismissed Newfoundland’s bid to reopen a 65-year contract obliging that province to sell power from its Churchill Falls power station to Hydro-Quebec at prices drastically below market rates.

Women applicants for federal benches rated ‘highly qualified’ more often than male lawyers, new data shows
Women lawyers who apply for the federal benches are more often assessed to be “highly qualified” than their male counterparts, according to new statistics released by the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs.

Privacy watchdog should get big teeth to fight cybercrime, Senate banking committee advises
A Senate committee is recommending that Parliament give Canada’s privacy commissioner new authority to make binding orders and impose hefty fines on companies that fail to keep the private data of Canadians secure — reforms that have been opposed by the organized bar.

SCC rules Crown not obliged to routinely disclose breathalyzer maintenance records to the defence
In a far-reaching 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that breathalyzer maintenance records are third-party (not first-party) records and therefore the Alberta Crown didn’t have to disclose them to people charged with drinking and driving, unless the accused convinced a court that the records were “likely relevant” to their defence.

Workplace cannabis: Where there’s smoke, is there fire?
In his column, Stuart Rudner writes: “After months, if not years, of wild speculation about the impact upon the workplace of the legalization of cannabis, we have now been through the first two weeks of the legal cannabis era, and the sky has not fallen.”

Matthew Grace is the Managing Editor of The Lawyer’s Daily.