Law and Compliance in Canada

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Business Contract

General Observation
In Canada, the power to regulate commercial operations is shared between federal and provincial governments.
Law Applicable to the Contract
It is preferable to have a contract drawn up by a lawyer or a specialist in business law or commercial law.
Certain international laws are accepted, and Canada has signed agreements with certain countries.
Consult the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website.
Advisable Incoterms
The incoterm most often used for transactions in American countries is FOB. CIF is used above all for products coming from abroad. EXW is used to calculate cost price before departure if the buyer wants to check his transport costs.
Language of Domestic Contract
Contracts must be drawn up in one or other of the official languages.

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
Judicial power is independent; it plays an important role in the interpretation of the law; it can bring down laws which violate the constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest judicial body in the country.
The Minister of Justice has a double mandate: he is both Minister of Justice and Public Prosecutor of Canada.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Canada is a constitutional State. Foreign nationals can benefit from the same treatment as citizens of the country, including in commercial disputes. Canada is considered to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
The Language of Justice
English and French are the two judicial languages of the country.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Thanks to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, every person has the right to an interpreter for any court appearance in Canada. It would seem, however, that the less demographic importance a minority community has, the more difficult it is for the members of this community to exercise their linguistic rights before the judicial bodies.
Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution of the country, which is made up of different written and non-written acts, customs, judicial decisions and traditions. The judicial system is based on English Common Law, except in Quebec where it is a system of civil law modelled on French law that prevails. The judicial power plays an important role in the interpretation of the law; it can bring down laws which violate the constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest judicial body in the country.
In Quebec commercial law is modelled on the French CIVIL CODE, whereas commercial law in the English-speaking provinces is extensively inspired by English law.

The Different Legal Codes

Accounting Regulations Canada Business Corporations Act (R.S., 1985, c.C-44)
Contract and Property Law In Canada it is « Common Law », except in Quebec where it is the Civil Code.
Customs Law Customs Act (1985, c.1 (2nd Supp.)
Consumer Law Administered by the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
Among the federal laws, there are the Federal Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Motor Vehicle Tire Safety Regulations.
Company Law Civil Code in Quebec
Common law in Canada
Investment Law Investment Canada Act
Labour Law Canada Labour Code (L.R.1985, ch.L 2)
Checking National Laws Online
Statutes and Regulations in Quebec
Statutes and Regulations in Canada
Other Useful Resources
The Supreme Court of Canada
Country Guides
Country Guide Lexmundi

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The Jurisdictions

Disputes with the State, the Administration, Local Authorities concerning their decisions. According to the dispute, the jurisdiction may be Federal, provincial or municipal.
Disputes concerning work contracts or between employers and employees Provincial jurisdiction.
Trade disputes Provincial jurisdiction or shared between federal and provincial competence.
Civil liability and insurance (third party), public records of individuals, real estate. Provincial jurisdiction.
Criminal responsibility (bankruptcy, misappropriation of funds, being an accessory, etc.) Provincial jurisdiction or shared between federal and provincial competence.

Court Officials

Attorneys plead clients' cases before courts of law.
Defense Counsel
He represents a person accused of an offence. His role consists of ensuring that the defendant's rights are protected from the beginning to the end of the procedures.
The coroner is a public officer with judicial authority who has jurisdiction with regard to all deaths which occur in Quebec. His duty is to investigate any suspicious death and, if necessary, hold an inquest.
The Clerk is an officer of the Court who is in charge of keeping the registers, compiling and keeping the minutes of proceedings and court actions. The Clerk also has certain judicial powers.
In the province of Quebec, the bailiff is a ministerial officer in charge of carrying out the verdicts of the courts. He also makes known the different civil procedures.
Magistrate or Judge
His role is to give a verdict between the litigating parties.
Attorney General
In Canada there is an Attorney General for the Federal Court and the Supreme Court and for each of the provinces. He is in charge of legal proceedings for breaches of the Criminal Code, of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, of other federal laws and all provincial laws of a repressive nature.
Justice of the Peace
Justices of the Peace are ordinary citizens (most of them are not lawyers) who have a good reputation in their community, and who are appointed by the provincial government to hear « informations » and « complaints » (relative to crimes) and to set in motion the necessary judicial process.
Registrar of the Supreme Court
The registrar is responsible for the whole of the administration of the Supreme Court and exercises quasi judicial powers conferred on him by the Rules of the Court. His functions include the appointment and management of personnel, the administration of the library and of the Registry, and the publication of the Canada Supreme Court Reports.
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  • Canadian Trade Regulations and Standards

    Canada's trade barriers against U.S. products are described in the 2008 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers of the U.S. Trade Representative.

    Bedjasses on 8 Jan 2010 related to Law and Compliance in Canada

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