New Data Breach Reporting Rules

Have you ever:

  • lost your mobile phone?
  • had your laptop stolen?
  • misplaced a USB drive?

Under new federal rules that took effect last fall, you may be required to report these incidents to the federal privacy commissioner. Reporting is mandatory if the data breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual. The degree of risk will depend on several factors, such as the potential for physical or financial harm, humiliation, or identity theft. The sensitivity of the lost information, and the possibility that is being or will be misused, must be considered.

Currently these rules apply only to businesses that are federally regulated, or organizations that share or move personal information across borders. Most BC businesses, if they only collect and use personal information in BC, are not subject to federal privacy laws. Instead, they must comply with BC’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”. PIPA does not currently require mandatory reporting, but complying with the federal law is considered best practice, and will likely become the law in BC in the near future.

Beacon Law Centre Funds Special Project for Community in the Congo

Beacon Law Centre’s staff have sponsored a child in the small village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through World Vision Canada for the past 13 years. The team is always delighted to receive photos and correspondence from our sponsor, Emely, and are proud to be able to make a difference in her future. This past year, we found out that one of the challenges for Emely’s family is their access to clean water. Our immediate reaction to hearing this news was, what can we do to help! After corresponding and planning with World Vision Canada, we are thrilled to announce that Beacon Law Centre has funded a special project to supply Emely’s family and community with a reliable water source. Over the next few months we will be receiving progress reports on the project from World Vision Canada.

Federal Tax Proposals are Bad for Business

In July 2017, the federal finance minister announced proposals that would drastically affect the taxation of small business corporations. Income splitting, access to the capital gains exemption, “surplus stripping” and passive corporate income were all targeted. The government has since backed off on the surplus stripping, and the capital gains exemption proposals (for now), but is proceeding with the other proposals in somewhat amended form.

Income splitting with family members who have not contributed to the business will be severely limited. Additionally, passive income earned in a corporation will be taxed at a higher rate, reducing the ability to defer taxes by leaving profits in the corporation – a common retirement strategy for many Canadian business owners. Thankfully, existing investments will now be grandfathered, and the first $50,000 of annual passive income should not be affected. The finance minister stated that these proposals are required so that business owners don’t have “unfair tax advantages” that are not available to employees, and “pay their fair share”. In our view the proposals show a disregard for the risks that business owners and their families take to start and run a business.

Co-ownership Agreements

Purchasing a Home with Family Members

The cost of homes in the Greater Victoria Area increased significantly in the last few years. A lot of individuals are not able to purchase a home on their own. One of the solutions might be a joint purchase with family members. A family can purchase a joint home to live in or as an investment opportunity.

A co-ownership agreement provides for clarity and alleviates risks associated with joint ownership. An agreement will ensure that matters such as:

  • the difference between legal and beneficial ownership;
  • which parties are responsible for the mortgage;
  • who pays what expenses and in what proportion; and
  • what happens when one of the owners wants to sell; and
  • how are the funds distributed upon the sale;

are in place for you and your family’s protection.

 

Contact Beacon Law Centre for trusted advice on co-ownership agreements.

 

Article written by: Victoria Garner, Lawyer at Beacon Law Centre

Deep Cove Market 50/50 Gold Mine Lottery

Don’t miss out on the Deep Cove Market 50/50 Gold Mine Lottery – sponsored by our Rotary Club of Sidney by the Sea

No Copyright or Trademark Protection for Metatags and Keywords

No Copyright or Trademark Protection for Metatags and Keywords

November 2015

A travel agency that copied the metatags from several pages of a competitor’s website did not infringe on the competitor’s copyright or trademarks, according to a recent decision of the Federal Court of Canada.  The metatags were mostly derived from Google keywords that are commonly used in the travel industry.  However, the court did say that, in some cases, originally-worded metatags may have copyright protection.  In another case, the BC Supreme Court ruled that using a competitor’s business name or trademarks for keyword advertising is not trademark infringement.  This case is under appeal, although it is the second Canadian decision that found this practice to be fair use.

Changes to the Friends and Family & Accredited Investor Exemptions

Subject to certain requirements, private companies can sell shares to friends and family and “accredited investors” without issuing a prospectus or hiring a registered securities dealer. These exemptions have been amended to require that companies take “reasonable steps” to confirm that investors meet the requirements of the exemption. Companies may no longer simply rely on the representations of the investor. In addition, accredited investors must sign a new Risk Acknowledgment Form.