Martin Aquilina’s Speech at Canada 150 – 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in the Americas: Canada’s Role Regarding the Protection of Human Rights

Martin Aquilina, international business lawyer at HazloLaw – Business Lawyers, gave the following trilingual speech at Canada 150 – 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in the Americas: Canada’s Role Regarding the Protection of Human Rights (Click here for the link to the HazloLaw – Business Lawyers’ announcement on its sponsorship of the event):


Bonjour à tous,

Je suis honoré d’avoir été invité à cette soirée qui clôt cette première journée de votre colloque. Je m’appelle Martin Aquilina et je suis associé de la firme HazloLaw basée ici à Ottawa. Mon champ de pratique principal est le droit commercial international. Les organisateurs ont pensé qu’il serait peut-être intéressant que je dise quelques mots afin de présenter le point de vue des entreprises sur une question qui touche non seulement les droits de la personne mais malheureusement aussi certains États d’Amérique latine.

Obviously, it would be hard for me to discuss the topic of business and human rights without touching upon the friction – a term that I am here using euphemistically – between Canada’s mining industry and the rights of local populations in various jurisdictions, many of which as I just said, are in Latin America. Indeed, some terrible wrongs have been committed, or at least allegedly committed, by Canadian companies or those employed by them: gang rapes, murder, torture, expropriation, destruction of the environment, etc. The aggrieved individuals come to Canada to seek justice before courts that are unbiased, uncorrupted and generally technically competent. It represents a huge challenge for the Canadian legal system to ensure that those responsible for such crimes or misdoings be held to account and we are now seeing a struggle between the quest for justice and the private law, and particularly the private international law, of this country.

Razón por la cual, el sistema legal canadiense persiste en la provisión de una justicia justa para los marginados de este mundo, y al mismo tiempo se plantea el ímpetu de preservar nuestros principios inherentes del derecho privado, los cuales han estado vigentes durante decenios sino más de un siglo. El ejemplo más fehaciente, de hecho, es el famosísimo caso de Yaiguage c. Chevron, una verdadera saga judicial que perdura casi un cuarto de siglo.

En el año 2015, la Corte Suprema de Canadá emitió una sentencia tan inesperada como lamentable, la cual corroboro la existencia de la posibilidad de que las cortes canadienses poseían la capacidad de escuchar argumentos contra Chevron Corp. y su filial canadiense. Como consecuencia, los demandantes comparecieron ante la Corte superior de la Provincia de Ontario en aras de argumentar y probar que el velo corporativo debía ser levantado y que la personalidad jurídica individual de cada uno de los demandados debía ser ​​ignorada.

At the risk of making a lot of enemies here this evening, allow me to say that should the Plaintiffs succeed in enforcing their judgement against the assets of Chevron Canada or should it be decided that the assets of Chevron Corp. include Chevron Canada, there would probably result disastrous consequences for Canadian companies, whether they are conducting business abroad or are themselves affiliates of foreign companies.

It is often said that hard cases make bad law and in my view this is the risk that we are confronted with.

En effet, comment s’assurer que l’ouverture à une telle forme de responsabilité civile se limitera à la répression des violations des droits de la personne et des activités criminelles? Sera-t-elle étendue à toutes formes de délits civils? Et qu’en est-il de la responsabilité contractuelle? Prêtera-t-elle flanc au même type d’analyse?

Es difícil establecer un balance entre el derecho de crear estructuras corporativas legítimas y moralmente neutrales, y aquellos que sufren en las manos de los emisarios corporativos.

Es mi esperanza que los jueces Canadienses se resistan a la tentación de proveer justicia a los demandantes sin tener en consideración los efectos de una sentencia Salomónica en el ámbito corporativo canadiense. Gracias por su atención.

HazloLaw – Business Lawyers proud to announce establishment of an annual fund in memory of Robert McMechan at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law

OTTAWA, Ontario – October 6th, 2017 – HazloLaw – Business Lawyers is proud to announce that they have established a new annual fund in memory of their late colleague, Dr. Robert McMechan at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. Described as a “tax litigation expert” by the Ontario courts, Robert McMechan served as Senior Tax Counsel at HazloLaw – Business Lawyers. He passed away on August 7th, 2016.

“We are pleased to establish this fund to honour my dear late friend, Robert McMechan. He was an exceptional individual whom we all miss and we are deeply touched and moved by his legacy. We believe that this fund will be utilized well by the Faculty in carrying on his name and in developing exceptional talent like Robert,” said Hugues Boisvert, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of HazloLaw – Business Lawyers.

In the spirit of honouring Robert McMechan’s legacy and contribution to the tax community, the HazloLaw – Business Lawyers in Memory of Robert McMechan Tax Mooting Fund will go toward training the next generation of tax lawyers by providing financial support to the students in the University of Ottawa’s Common Law program who participate in the annual Donald G. H. Bowman National Tax Moot. In addition, HazloLaw – Business Lawyers will be assisting in providing coaching to the University’s team.

Mr. François Larocque, Interim Dean of Common Law at University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law added, “The Faculty wishes to thank HazloLaw – Business Lawyers for its generosity in establishing this fund for the benefit of our community. This fund will strengthen our Faculty and will provide much needed support to students interested in tax law. We will strive to keep Dr. McMechan’s memory alive.”

Robert McMechan had over thirty years of experience in tax law, holding various positions in the private and the public sector. He was one of only a few who obtained a Doctorate in Tax Law from Osgoode Hall Law School. He also wrote several publications for Carswell, a major legal publisher, and of particular note was the co-author of Tax Court Practice, the leading procedural reference work for practitioners before the Tax Court of Canada.

A reception will be held on October 25th, 2017 at the University of Ottawa’s Fauteux Hall located at 57 Louis-Pasteur Private from 5pm to 7pm to celebrate the launch of the fund. All those interested are welcome to attend.

About HazloLaw – Business Lawyers

Headquartered in Canada’s National Capital, HazloLaw – Business Lawyers is a leading Canadian business law firm specializing in business, tax litigation, and international law. HazloLaw provides entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially-minded institutions with strategic, effective and tailored solutions for their legal and business needs. HazloLaw lawyers are recognized for providing superior counsel and guidance in a wide range of industries – locally, nationally and internationally.

HazloLaw – Business Lawyers at SHAPE North America Summit 2017

On July 13, 2017, Hugues Boisvert (second from the right), Founder & CEO of HazloLaw – Business Lawyers, spoke on the panel at SHAPE North America to discuss NAFTA after 25 years. The panel included Ailish Campbell, Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada and Raul Rodriguez, Chairman, US-Mexico Foundation.

Shape North America is a 5-day summit that brings together World Economic Forum Global Shapers from around the world.

SHAPE NA aims to connect delegates with the tangible networks, capital, and resources necessary to magnify their impact in the four policy priorities for the Summit: NAFTA, Women in Business, Innovation and Artificial Intelligence, and Clean Growth.

Click here to read more about the summit.

Click here to visit Hugues’ profile.

Professional Development Workshop: Managing the Legal and Financial Risks of Exporting

Are you currently exporting, thinking of exporting or want to upgrade your knowledge about exporting?

In a presentation from HazloLaw – Business Lawyers & Export Development Canada:

-Learn about letters of credit, bonds and guarantees.
-What are the types of risk that make your banker uneasy?
-Learn how EDC can mitigate the financial risks of exporting.
-Learn about clauses that should be found in your internationals contracts to mitigate your legal risks.
-What are Incoterms and how to use them to your advantage?

Date: May 11, 2017

Time: 9:30 AM11:30 AM EDT