LEAF legal director reflects on her five years advocating for women

LEAF legal director reflects on her five years advocating for women
Kim Stanton says the experience of sexual assault victims and violence against indigenous women entered the public consciousness much more during her time at LEAF.

Kim Stanton, former legal director for Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, has joined Goldblatt Partners LLP in Toronto.

During her five years at LEAF, Stanton’s work included fighting for abortion rights, intervening in court cases involving violence against indigenous women and other issues concerning women’s equality in Canada. In 2016, she was appointed advisor on the newly created federal advisory council on gender-based violence.

“It was an incredibly rewarding and challenging time and I just thought that it was probably time for me to be doing something a little different,” Stanton says. “I think it’s healthy for people in those roles to make way for other people to take them on and new energy to come into an organization.”

While at LEAF, Stanton says, there were two issues that entered the public consciousness to a great extent — the experience of sexual assault victims in the justice system and violence against indigenous women. These issues came to the fore with the #metoo movement and “I believe survivors” in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and the Jian Ghomeshi trial, as well as the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“Those two areas of work were a large part of my day-to-day focus,” she says.

Stanton says that an opportunity arose at Goldblatt to “really focus on indigenous rights work.”

She got to work on an aboriginal title case involving the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee.

In 2016, the James Bay Cree Nation commenced a lawsuit against the governments of Ontario and Canada to have aboriginal title over Eeyou Istchee. The Cree Nation is seeking damages of $495 million. The area in question is around 48,000 square kilometres south of James Bay and west of the border between Quebec and Ontario.

The aboriginal title claim on Eeyou Istchee, the entire territory spanning a northern portion of both Ontario and Quebec, comes after the Agreement on Cree Nation Governance, which stemmed from negotiations between various Cree First Nations and the federal government.

“It’s going to be a pretty interesting and engaging and long-standing piece of litigation. So, it’s something quite involved that I can really dig into,” Stanton says.

This effort in aid of indigenous land claims follows a time at LEAF where Stanton and the organization’s advocacy for women often involved indigenous women.

Stanton says she originally wanted to work for international human rights organizations, but, given Canada’s own record of human rights violations, it made more sense to her to stay close to home.

“Initially, I had a strong interest in doing international human rights law work and as I was sort of engaged with that, it really seemed to bring home to me how Canada really had not addressed our mass human rights violations, specifically against indigenous people,” she says.

“It felt hypocritical to be going overseas to address human rights violations without also attempting to address some at home,” she says.

Two indigenous women for whom Stanton and LEAF worked on behalf of were Cindy Gladue and Angela Cardinal.

Bradley Barton was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cindy Gladue. Gladue was 36 when she was found dead in an Edmonton motel in 2011. She died of blood loss from a large cut inside her vagina inflicted by a sharp object.

Barton’s defence argued it was a non-culpable act of homicide and the result of consensual sexual activity. His acquittal was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal. LEAF and the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women gave written submissions in the appeal.

“The criminal justice system failed to treat [Gladue] with dignity and with respect as a human being,” says Stanton. “The way that she was treated is emblematic of how indigenous women have been treated in the justice system.”

In the Court of Appeal’s decision, the judges noted that LEAF and the IAAW contended that the description of Gladue as a “prostitute” and frequent referral to her as “native” were prejudicial to the jury. They said that the trial judge erred in not asking the Crown to address the relevance of referring to her as a prostitute, did not provide instructions to the jury to address the “widespread racial bias” invoked by referring to her as they did and “wrongly said a factor important to consent was that Gladue was a prostitute,” wrote the Court of Appeal judges in their decision. 

Cardinal is an indigenous woman who was taken into custody so that she would return to court to testify in the trial regarding her own sexual assault. She was detained under s. 545(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, which concerns a witness who refuses to be sworn or refuses to answer questions.

“At the preliminary inquiry, the judge remanded her into custody and she was transported to and from prison with her attacker and she was forced to testify in shackles and she was the victim,” Stanton says.

“She was homeless and what she really needed was a place to stay and a meal,” says Stanton. “So we made a submission about that one as well.”

LEAF was established in 1985, the same day s. 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect. Section 15 states that “every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

LEAF’s mandate has been to use s. 15 and s. 28, which guarantees that Charter rights be applied equally to male and female persons, to enhance equality in Canada.

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Gowling WLG launches Northern Canada practice group

Gowling WLG launches Northern Canada practice group
Harry Dahme, a partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office, created the Canada North group.

Gowling WLG, an international law firm with offices across Canada, has launched a practice group of 34 lawyers who are working with clients in Northern Canada. This group, Canada North, is working in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and northern regions of other provinces.

“We’ve always done, as a firm, work in the North,” says Harry Dahme, a partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office. Dahme created the Canada North group, but he credits the arrival of another partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office, Adam Chamberlain, for energizing the team and helping them all to realize this “tremendous” opportunity. Chamberlain is the former leader of Team North at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto.

“The interesting thing about our practice is that, in the North, there are very different types of clients so at times we’re working for governments, at times we work for indigenous organizations and at other times private sector entities,” says Chamberlain. “A big part of what we do is work with helping them through regulatory processes. I’ve done work with mining companies in the North quarries and I’ve also done similar work in Nunavut, dealing with the Impact Review Board and the land and water boards.”

The regulatory processes Chamberlain refers to are a part of a northern system that businesses and institutions must navigate through to get their projects approved. On April 1, 2014, the Northwest Territories became the second territory, after Yukon in 2003, to assume responsibility for their land and water resources as outlined in the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. This act meant that the N.W.T. would be regulating their own resources, but it also meant the merging of four regional land and water boards into one larger board: The Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

“Devolution is still fairly recent to the N.W.T. . . . I think the regulatory process is unfolding and developing and that the bodies themselves are still in relatively early stages of getting things moving,” says Chamberlain. “I don’t know if business would say that they’ve experienced huge changes in the N.W.T in particular. I think that the hope is that in time as regulatory processes become more established that they will be feeling much better about how we can get through these processes.”

Lawyers in the Canada North group work on North-related projects and cases, in addition to their other areas of practice, and while there are a few other North-focused practice groups, Dahme says that Canada North is different because of its range.

“What we have is the geographic scope,” he says. “We do more work across the North and we do a greater variety of work. We work with a complete range of groups: government, indigenous and business, and the idea is that we understand what’s important to each one of those groups and we really deliver the services in a way that leads to success,” Dahme says.

Dahme says the delivery of legal services in the north can often look very different than in the south. “There are differences in everything from organizing a meeting to the way in which the meeting is held.

“There’s the need to consult extensively, the need to accommodate, and it’s something that many [clients] really have difficulty understanding,” he says. “Where they really need guidance is on how to do that effectively in order to get the projects approved.”

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Vancouver firm Singleton Reynolds expands into Toronto

A Vancouver law firm specializing in construction, real estate and infrastructure law is expanding its operations to Toronto and changing its name to reflect the addition of two high-profile names in construction law.

The firm announced last week the launch of Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP with the arrival of Bruce Reynolds, Sharon Vogel, Peter Wardle and James Little to the team. Reynolds and Vogel were previously at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

The Toronto office will be located in the Sun Life Plaza at 150 King Street West. The firm will operate as Singleton Reynolds.

“What we do in British Columbia overlaps incredibly well with what Bruce and Sharon did at BLG on the construction infrastructure side and what Peter [Wardle] does in commercial litigation,” Singleton told Legal Feeds. “We have common clients and I have known Bruce for some time — we’re both members of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers [Singleton was a founding member]. That’s when the idea first came forward a couple of years ago at a construction lawyer meeting as a possibility of what a great firm it would be.

“The fit was so perfect,” says Singleton. “Historically, I’ve done a lot of business with clients in Toronto and Ottawa and I broached the idea with them before it was given birth to and they thought it was a great idea and let us know when your doors open. We’ve done that and they’ve come knocking. It’s a continuum of the growth of the firm from when it started 37 years ago. It’s always grown that way.”

Singleton notes that in 1986 he was approached by Bull Housser’s construction law group, and they then joined the firm.

“This, although much bigger than that, wasn’t part of a two-, five- or 10-year plan — it just happened and seemed so right now as so much has happened in the last couple of weeks it’s incredible,” he says.

Vogel and Reynolds were the key lawyers behind the significant amendment to Ontario’s Construction Lien Act. Reynolds and Vogel acted as co-counsel for the Ontario government to conduct an independent expert review of the act. Both were named to Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers list last year.

Singleton Reynolds currently has about 55 lawyers and will be closer to 70 lawyers by year end, Singleton says.

“There are other lawyers who have already indicated they’d like to talk to us in Toronto and Vancouver now we have a national platform,” says Singleton. “I expect to hit 70 pretty fast.”

Singleton says the goal was to represent clients nationally and internationally.

“The current client base is already indicating a keen interest on moving with us in that direction,” he says. “With Bruce and Sharon obviously it’s the construction infrastructure practice; it fits well and that’s the thing that got us most excited about creating this national firm. The other areas they practise in will fit naturally into that — employment law, immigration and continue to attract more business into that practice area.”

Singleton says Peter Wardle is “a great commercial litigator with a lot of complex commercial litigation work and has a common client with us and a stellar reputation and fits well into the firm philosophy.”

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Legal news roundup – Jan. 15, 2018


Jury in Lac-Mégantic rail disaster trial to enter fifth day of deliberations, Toronto Star

Daughter of former public servant in court to face first-degree murder charge, Canadian Press

Critics cite privacy concerns of new national security bill, National Post


United States

Trump denies being a ‘racist’ and souring chances for immigration overhaul by using vulgarity, Washington Post

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Michael Bryant appointed head of Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Michael Bryant appointed head of Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Michael Bryant says he’ll bring an interest in issues affecting people who ‘live on and near the streets’ to his role with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

A high-profile former attorney general of Ontario has taken the helm at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. 

Michael Bryant, who served as an MP with the provincial Liberal government from 1999 to 2009 and as attorney general from 2003 to 2007, had recently been acting as a criminal defence lawyer and a facilitator and negotiator with indigenous groups. 

He says that, in his new role as executive director and in-house counsel at the CCLA, he’ll bring an interest in issues in people who “live on and near the streets.”   

“CCLA always has been there to defend the marginalized, and I would expect that to continue, with a particular focus on people who are every day having their civil liberties violated on our streets,” he says. 

Bryant also has experience as a special advisor to Norton Rose Fulbright LLP and a commercial litigator at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, and he is a former bencher at the Law Society of Ontario. 

He also recently worked with Ishkonigan, an indigenous affairs consulting firm headed by former Assembly of First Nations national chief Phil Fontaine, before striking out on his own in 2016. Bryant says he’s still learning about the organization, which he joined last week, and the legal challenges it is waging.

“I will continue to fight for fundamental freedoms — equality and privacy rights, but I’m going to take the time to meet with staff and meet with a number of voices across the country and also figure out how to find my way to the bathroom in the office before I start launching into a new strategic direction,” he says. 

“There’s always more than enough to do, no matter who’s in government, and we expect to be continuing to do the great work the CCLA has done in the past, in the classrooms and in the courts and on the streets, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Bryant says there is no fixed time period associated with the new position.

“At some point in 2017 . . . the board reached out to me and I had a series of interviews and applied for the position, and they interviewed some other people, and then they made their decisions and I started last week,” he says.

Bryant also has experience as a board member with non-profit organizations such as the John Howard Society, Pine River Institute and Prison Fellowship Canada.

Sukanya Pillay, the previous executive director of the CCLA, left the role in June to relocate to Windsor, Ont. 

After his new role was announced, Bryant was criticized in social media by Jesse Brown, a Toronto media critic. In 2009, Bryant was driving a vehicle and was involved in a collision with a Toronto cyclist who died as a result of the crash. He was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving. 

Those charges were later withdrawn after a special prosecutor from British Columbia, Richard Peck, was brought in. Peck, an experienced criminal defence lawyer, told a Toronto court there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

Bryant noted the wide range of feedback about his appointment.  

“I appreciate all the positive good wishes that I’ve received. The rest is a manner of free speech, which the Canadian Civil Liberties Association will be defending for many years to come,” he says.

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Former Wal-Mart executive awarded $750,000

Former Wal-Mart executive awarded $750,000
Natalie MacDonald says the awards are the highest reported awards for punitive and moral damages in Canadian employment law.

An Ontario judge has awarded $750,000 in punitive and moral damages to a former Wal-Mart Canada executive — an award lawyers say is one of the highest in Canadian employment law history.

In Galea v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Emery awarded $250,000 in moral damages and $500,000 in punitive damages to Gail Galea, who Wal-Mart Canada fired without cause in 2010.

This is the highest award for moral damages in employment law in the country and one of the largest amounts for punitive damages, says Galea’s lawyer, Natalie MacDonald.

“It’s symbolic of the court recognizing and appreciating the need to award punitive damages against an employer who conducts itself in the manner in which Wal-Mart did,” says MacDonald, who is the founding partner of MacDonald & Associates LLP and the author of Extraordinary Damages in Canadian Employment Law.

Wal-Mart Canada hired Galea in 2002. She served in a number of management roles and was promoted up to vice president, general merchandising.

She was considered a “rising star” in the company for years and expected to eventually be elevated to chief merchandising officer, according to the decision.

But at a meeting in January 2010, then-president and CEO of Wal-Mart Canada, David Cheesewright, told Galea he was removing her form her role and that he was considering reassigning her to a subsidiary in another country.

Emery found that Cheesewright had made the decision to “dismiss or denigrate” Galea to the point that she would resign. She was moved to an “ad hoc position that was essentially an international job search,” the decision said.

She was terminated 10 months after the January meeting.

“Wal-Mart’s conduct was misleading at best, and dishonest at worst, in the way the company treated Ms. Galea,” Emery said in the decision.

“Only Wal-Mart knew that Ms. Galea’s career was over long before she was actually terminated.”

Galea had signed a non-compete agreement, which applied to the two years after she was terminated and required Wal-Mart Canada to pay her a base salary for that time if she was fired without cause. The company, however, stopped paying her after 11.5 months.

Emery found Wal-Mart Canada’s conduct since firing Galea had been “deplorable” and that a high award for punitive damages was necessary to deter the company from treating employees this way in the future.

In his analysis of moral damages, Emery considered Wal-Mart Canada’s conduct before and after Galea’s termination, as well as its litigation conduct.

The judge found Wal-Mart Canada breached its implied duty of good faith it owed to Galea in the period between her January meeting with Cheesewright and when she was terminated, and that this had caused her mental distress.

Emery awarded $50,000 against the company for its litigation conduct, as it had either delayed the litigation on purpose or was indifferent to Galea’s claims. The judge found this conduct caused the plaintiff mental distress that “exceeded the normal stress and hurt feelings that accompany a dismissal.”

The company delayed answering its undertakings until the eve of trial and provided a “torrent of productions” over the course of trial that Emery found prolonged Galea’s anguish about the case.

When considering whether to award punitive damages, Emery found Wal-Mart Canada was “callous, highhanded, insensitive and reprehensible” when dealing with Galea in her last 10 months of employment.

Punitive damages are only awarded in exceptional cases when the court finds the behaviour of the defendant to be particularly malicious and deserving of condemnation.

MacDonald says the award is evidence that courts may be more willing to consider punitive damages when employers are found to have engaged in egregious conduct.

“One of the objectives in awarding punitive damages is to be able to serve the idea of deterrence,” she says.

She adds this might not necessarily be symbolic of a coming wave of high awards for punitive damages in this area, as these awards are still considered extraordinary. 

Jonathan Dye, the lawyer representing Wal-Mart Canada in the matter, was not available for comment.

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CBC radio doc tells story behind Gerald Le Dain’s resignation from SCC

CBC radio doc tells story behind Gerald Le Dain’s resignation from SCC
A radio documentary about Gerald Le Dain called ‘One Judge Down’ will air Jan. 14 on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition, and on the CBC website Jan. 12th at 6 p.m. EST. ​

When Gerald Le Dain was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1984, he had a distinguished background as a jurist and academic.

Called to the Quebec Bar in 1949, Le Dain went on to teach law at his alma mater, McGill University, practise as a lawyer, become dean of Osgoode Hall Law School in 1967, and, perhaps most notably, chair the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs from 1969 to 1973, which recommended that cannabis be removed from the narcotic control act and be regulated provincially. In 1975 he was appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal and the Court Martial Appeal Court.

But Le Dain’s tenure as a Supreme Court puisne judge was cut short four years after his appointment when — according to a report that will be broadcast Jan. 14 on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition — then Chief Justice Brian Dickson effectively required Le Dain to resign from the court after Le Dain’s wife had requested a leave of absence for him, citing mental strain and depression. Le Dain retired from the high court on Nov. 30, 1988, three days after his 64th birthday.

Bonnie Brown, the producer of the radio documentary “One Judge Down” that will air this weekend on The Sunday Edition, was inspired to tell Le Dain’s story in order to share the full circumstances of his having to leave the court, and that a significant part of his contribution to the court — namely his drafting of the Supreme Court’s decision in Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General)  [1988] 2 SCR 712 — was erased from the record.

Brown — who also holds a law degree from McGill University, from which Le Dain received his Bachelor of Civil Law in 1949 — said she learned a little more about Le Dain after attending a meeting of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History to hear legal historian Blaine Baker speak on a forthcoming (2018) book of essays that he is editing entitled Tracings of Gerald Le Dain’s Life In The Law. Brown was curious as to why Le Dain had decided to step down from the Supreme Court bench just four years after his appointment, and decided to investigate.

“As I embarked on this project to talk to people, most of whom are extremely circumspect about speaking about anything in the courts, it felt as if they’d been waiting to be asked about it,” Brown told Legal Feeds. “The set of circumstances [surrounding Le Dain’s resignation from the Supreme Court] had always upset them, and they were waiting to be asked about what they knew went on.

“People were not just willing, but I would say they were happy to finally be able to tell the side of the story that’s been with them for 30 years … that would reclaim, in a sense, the proper legacy of someone they respected and admired and loved very much.”

Brown conducted interviews with Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, the last surviving Supreme Court justice from Le Dain’s era; Harry Arthurs, former dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and president of York University; Justice Melvyn Green of the Ontario Court of Justice; David Butt, a Toronto criminal lawyer who clerked for Le Dain at the Supreme Court in 1987-1988; McGill law prof Richard Janda, who also clerked under Le Dain; and Caroline Burgess, one of Le Dain’s daughters. In her documentary, a portrait emerges of a man with a deep sense of insight and humanity that he brought to each case he heard, who was intense, passionate and elegant, and who left the bench with much more that he could have done.

Le Dain was considered to be both a man of his time and ahead of his time.

“He was ground-breaking in so many ways,” says Brown. Royal commissions had traditionally sat in Ottawa or the city where the research was centred, she says, but, as chair of the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, Le Dain took his commissioners “out of the office, on the road, to talk to people across the country” about the recreational use of cannabis. “He talked to young people in universities, in coffee houses, to try to understand the emerging culture of recreational drug use.”

And, as dean of Osgoode Hall Law School from 1967 to 1972, “he had a huge impact on legal education in Canada,” says Brown; under his leadership, Osgoode became the first law school in Canada to allow students to make clinical practice a part of their legal education, and the school helped establish the Parkdale Community Legal Services legal aid clinic.

Le Dain, a thoughtful scholar and collegial jurist, began to struggle under the heavy caseload of the Supreme Court during an especially intense period, and in September of 1988 he was diagnosed with clinical depression (he was subsequently hospitalized). In Brian Dickson’s biography, says Brown, the then chief justice refused Cynthia Le Dain’s request for a leave of absence for her husband because Dickson did not feel that the court could wait for him to recover.

Le Dain was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1989, at which point he had retired from professional life. “His clerk, Richard Janda, would say he never lost the intellectual capability to render judgments, but the circumstances around his exit from the court [meant that] he really receded from public life,” says Brown.

The issue behind Gerald Le Dain’s resignation is also timely in that “ the issues of combatting the stigma around mental illness are more and more present,” she adds. “As we see in society, particularly around young people, we see what a prevalent problem it’s become.”

“One Judge Down” will air on Sunday, Jan. 14 on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition, and will be available to listen to on the CBC website from tomorrow (January 12th) at 6 p.m. EST.

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Legal news roundup – Jan. 11, 2018


Jurors in Lac-Mégantic railway disaster trial begin deliberations, Toronto Star

Workers at Quebec smelter locked out after rejecting contract offer, Chronicle Herald

Petition demands university expel sex offender allowed to finish studies, CTV News

United States

Chances of U.S. leaving NAFTA must be taken seriously, says Canada, Reuters

States may impose work requirements for Medicaid: Trump administration, Washington Post


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Net neutrality changes in U.S. could change Canadian law in future

Net neutrality changes in U.S. could change Canadian law in future
Mark Hayes says that with the U.S. decision to dismantle net neutrality, it’s possible Canadian ISPs might push for loosening restrictions in the Telecommunications Act.

The Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to dismantle net neutrality regulations in the United States is a subject of controversy among internet service providers, subscription networks, civilians and lawmakers. This decision could potentially create a ripple effect in the future for Canadians — but how?

The FCC’s changes mean that ISPs in the U.S. will be able to discriminate service to content providers. This allows ISPs to play the role of “internet gatekeepers” by being legally allowed to charge for specific and faster access to websites — think of a slow lane and a fast lane — two tiers of internet service speed) or services online.

In Canada, where there are net neutrality laws in place, the American dismantling of net neutrality potentially means Canadians will feel some of the changes, even with these laws in existence here.

“I see the United States becoming a very divided internet in terms of ISPs selling packages to specific content [providers], not being able to access certain websites unless there’s payment made,” says Mark Hayes, partner at Toronto-based Hayes eLaw LLP. “I think there could end up being a lot of competitive pressure put on the Canadian industry to look at the same kind of thing.”

Hayes predicts that if ISPs urge lawmakers to loosen net neutrality regulations set forth in the Telecommunications Act in s.36, academics and public interest groups might push back to protect these laws since they affect the interests of Canadian consumers and businesses.

He also foresees a possible increase in cost for online streaming services, such as Spotify or Netflix for instance, since those service providers will need to offset costs to enter the possible internet “fast lane” to provide adequate streaming access. This is how consumers could be affected.

Hayes adds that even with something as borderless as internet communication, in general, if the U.S. goes in one direction, “it’s difficult for Canada to take a completely contrary position.”

Michael Geist, law professor and Canadian research chair in internet and e-commerce law at University of Ottawa, anticipates that Canadian online businesses and services will feel the change more so than consumers.

“Canadian businesses could find themselves subject to a two-tier internet or a non-neutral internet to do business in the United States,” he says.

He also predicts that this will discourage these companies from expanding online to the U.S. Geist referred to OutTV’s predicament when faced with the net neutrality changes.

OutTV, a Canadian television channel specializing in LGBTQ content, had plans to expand their brand to the U.S. — a plan that was largely based on streaming possibilities. No more net neutrality directly impacts the channel’s expansion plan due to the impact on streaming abilities, as well as being plagued by uncertainty for future expansion to an American market since they depend on a neutral internet to reach customers south-of-the-border.

This example Geist shared illustrates how Canada’s ability to directly compete with American content providers in this environment will directly impact business.

The prospects for new innovations online from Canada could be stunted too, he predicts.

“The concern is the Canadians that often look for some of these new services to come forward might find that some of them don’t because in a non-neutral internet, they have a hard time gaining any sort of traction,” Geist says. “It’s one of those things where it’s hard to know even what you’ve lost or what the price is because it’s hard to know what won’t happen based on the fact that ISPs might engage in some of these non-neutral activities.”

Canadian online content services and businesses will either have to pay U.S. ISPs or try to survive in the slow lane of bandwidth.

Currently, Canada or the CRTC has no known plans to rid the law of net neutrality, even with this sharp move for a more segmented internet in the U.S. or with competitive pressure for Canadian businesses, says Hayes.

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