Why all eyes should be on the Supreme Court of Canada: Families await key child welfare decision

The Supreme Court of Canada is deciding on the constitutionality of Bill C-92. Photo by Derek Tsang

Indigenous people across the country are keeping a close eye on a pending top court decision which could have far-reaching impacts on First Nations, Métis and Inuit sovereignty over their own child welfare laws.

At the beginning of December 2022, the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal involving the province of “Quebec,” which has been challenging the constitutionality of the federal Bill C-92.

The bill opens a door for Indigenous nations to develop their own child welfare laws and policies, an area that’s typically governed by the provinces. However “Quebec” is arguing that the federal government overstepped its jurisdiction by allowing Indigenous laws to override existing provincial legislation.

The case was escalated by the federal government after the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in February 2022 that two sections of the act are not constitutional.

Kate Gunn, a partner at First Peoples Law and an adjunct professor in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Law, says that this decision is important because it will further define Indigenous Peoples’ inherent law-making authority over child and family services.

“There are very important aspects to this case around how constitutionally-protected rights for Indigenous people are defined,” she says.

Gunn says that if the Supreme Court of Canada were to agree with the arguments brought forward by “Quebec,” it would have serious negative impacts on Indigenous Peoples across “Canada.” However, if the court rules against the province, it could positively impact how Indigenous laws are respected in future cases.

“The decision will clarify whether and how the court will recognize and protect Indigenous Peoples’ ability to regulate child and family services based on their own laws and cultures,” Gunn wrote in an article before

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China Company Law – Draft Revisions to Improve Business Environment

A new round of amendments to the China Company Law seeks to improve the country’s business environment by optimizing corporate governance norms. The draft amendments include changes to the rights of company shareholders, responsibilities of shareholders and directors, deregistration procedures, and more. We look at how the proposed amendments differ from previous legislation and how they may impact companies in China.

On December 30, 2022, the National People’s Congress released a second round of draft revisions to the Company Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Company Law”) to solicit opinions from the public until January 28, 2023.  

This was the second version of the draft revisions to the Company Law (the “second draft amendments”) to be released in the last two years, having made further amendments based on public comments to a previous draft version released in December 2021 (the “first draft amendments”). 

The proposed amendments to the Company Law are part of an effort to improve the ease of doing business in China and stimulate market activity through decentralization, reforming the administrative approval system, optimizing public services, and improving investors’ rights, among other measures. 

Below we outline a few of the major proposed changes in the latest draft revisions of the Company Law and discuss how they may impact businesses in China.

WEBINAR – Investing in China’s Financial Services Industry: Regulations, Benefits and Case Sharing

February 22, 2023 | 9:00 AM CET / 3:00 PM Vietnam / 4:00 PM China

China has an enormous financial sector – including over RMB 7.3 trillion (US$1.15 trillion) in market capitalization in its banking market – but remains heavily regulated, particularly for foreign investors.

In the upcoming webinar, International Business Advisory Manager Guilherme Campos will talk about the huge potential China’s financial services industry holds and share experience of leading

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More kids are having bad days: special education after COVID

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the learning disruptions and isolation it created, schools are seeing extreme behaviors among a wider array of students than ever before – behaviors that used to be seen mostly in students identified as needing special education services for behavioral issues.

These behaviors are putting stress on families, educators, and students, and making it more challenging for schools to return to what was once considered a normal learning environment.

They are also requiring schools to reevaluate how staff is trained to deal with emotional outbursts that can quickly escalate if not handled deftly.

Schools report being caught by surprise by a growing number of new students enrolling who are not on an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and yet display extreme behaviors that require intensive interventions. “I can’t think of a school where that hasn’t been the case,” said Jennifer Ribordy, Bluum’s special education development director. “And some schools have multiple cases.”

In the more severe cases, children who are on IEPs for behavioral reasons can have a full-time behavior interventionist accompanying them in schools as part of their plans. This helps keep that child regulated.

But when a child not on an IEP exhibits similar behaviors – throwing chairs or attacking a student or adult, for example – school personnel need training to cope with those situations in a way that does not escalate the behavior.

At MOSAICS Public School, a K-8 charter school in Caldwell, principal Anthony Haskett has made sure that his staff is well-trained in behavioral interventions, for SPED and non-SPED students alike. Haskett received a state grant to implement a program called Sources of Strength that trains adults to help students develop emotional resilience.

Staff has also been trained to recognize when behaviors are escalating to potentially threatening levels.

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High rates of burnout have lawyers in this state considering leaving their jobs or the legal profession

Lawyer Wellness

High rates of burnout have lawyers in this state considering leaving their jobs or the legal profession

stressed lawyer with gavel

Image from Shutterstock.

More than three-fourths of Massachusetts lawyers are experiencing burnout, and almost half have thought about leaving their legal employer or the legal profession for that reason or because of stress in the last three years.

Those results aren’t the only bad news in a Feb. 1 report on the survey results called Lawyer Well-Being in Massachusetts.

The survey also found high rates of mental health issues. Twenty-six percent of the lawyers reported anxiety, 21% reported depression and 7% reported suicidal ideation. Half of the lawyers who experienced such issues did not seek mental health care.

Among the recommendations: Employers should rethink policies and culture concerning hours and workload. These statements by focus group participants and survey respondents express the problem: “No one has time for well-being,” and, “Whenever you take time for yourself, it’s almost impossible to get away from the feelings of guilt that follow.”

The NORC at the University of Chicago conducted the survey, working with the nonprofit lawyer assistance program Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers and the Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being, which was established by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The survey, sent to all lawyers registered in Massachusetts, garnered 4,450 responses. It was conducted during the first four months of 2022.

Among the Massachusetts survey findings:

    • Forty-two percent of the lawyers reported hazardous or unhealthy alcohol use. Such alcohol use was more common among lawyers who are white, who are women, who don’t have a disability, who earn more than $150,000 per year and who are younger. There were also higher

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Three is a magic number – family law and Throuples

In 1973, Bob Dorough told us in his Schoolhouse Rock hit that three is a magic number. In that very same song, he also told us this:

A man and a woman had a little baby Yes, they did They had three in the family And that’s a magic number

It’s clear that 50 years later, the modern family has evolved dramatically from Mr Dorough’s presentation and increasingly, people of all generations are throwing off the perceived shackles of traditional family units and embracing an alternative arrangement known as Throupling.

It must be confessed that ‘Throuple’ is a word not previously written by this author.

Alongside very many articles about alleged celebrity Throuples, a quick Google search reveals a number of definitions varying in complexity and, well, explicitness. But I think for the purpose of this short post we can settle on this:

A committed romantic relationship between three people.

But what of family law and a Throuple?

As anyone who practices in this field would expect, like Blackadder’s asthmatic ant carrying heavy shopping, the law is struggling to keep up: it simply does not adequately reflect the myriad of different family structures we see now, Throuples included.

Here are just a few family law considerations anyone in a Throuple should have in mind:

In this country, a Throuple cannot all marry each other or form a civil partnership. But you knew that already. Having more than one spouse is permitted in some countries and known as polygamy, but such a marriage is not recognised in England & Wales. The Throuple itself would have no legal relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership.

If none of you are married, no one would have any financial claims as of right against the others in the event of a separation and

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