Lavery celebrates International Women’s Day today Today, Wednesday, March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. IWD is an opportunity to honour those who inspire us every day and who continue to demonstrate the progress we’ve made towards gender equality in the workplace, setting an example for future generations. This year, several of the firm’s women professionals shared why they decided to become lawyers. They talked about how they view women’s contributions to the evolution of the legal profession, how the profession has changed since they started and how it will continue to change. Louise Cérat Former Partner I decided to become a lawyer as the result of a simple but happy accident. From the beginning of my legal studies, I was aware of how lucky I was. I’ve sincerely enjoyed practicing law and have always felt privileged to be part of this community and the firm, which is the only place I’ve ever practiced, a place I am deeply attached to. When I first started out, the situation in the 80’s could have, in many ways, scared off even the most fearless among us. At first, there were not many women in the field. There were only two of us when I joined Lavery, which had been created following a recent merger and which comprised, if I’m not mistaken, about fifty lawyers at the time. Bear in mind, it was only in 1980 that the Act to establish a new Civil Code introduced the notion of equality between spouses in the management of family property and the education of children. However, the recognition of gender equality in 1980 didn’t mean that it was immediately reflected in the legal world as it is today. For example, there was no maternity leave policy in most large law firms until the late 1980s, and even then it was a rather feeble policy aimed only at salaried lawyers. The few women lawyers who became partners and got pregnant had to cover the income the firm lost as a result of their absence, not to mention the other difficulties they faced. Since then, stronger numbers have won us some battles, but the campaign is not over yet! The influx of female lawyers has brought an abundance of talent, renewed professionalism, a fresh perspective and added value to the legal world and to society in general, which were lacking for far too long. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I call on men’s support to achieve equality for their wives, sisters, colleagues and friends, and I’m confident we’ll get there. Justine Beauchesne Associate I realized this was the career I wanted to pursue during my time at university. Very early on in my career, I had a strong interest in business law, especially transactional law. I like the idea of being more than just a company’s lawyer, which is why I also see myself as a business partner. This profession is full of challenges, but accompanying our clients through transactions that are often significant milestones in their lives gives me a strong sense of accomplishment. Women have made important contributions to the legal community throughout history, despite facing obstacles and discrimination. Women fought for the right to study law, to be admitted to the bar and to practice. These efforts have enabled today’s women to become judges, legal professionals and leaders in the field of law. In recent years, women have continued to break down barriers in the legal world. There are more and more women law school graduates, and they are increasingly represented in the justice system and in leadership roles. They play a key role in shaping the legal community and in advocating for gender equality and social justice. I believe women have brought new insight and a different approach to the legal profession. They have also been instrumental in the fight for gender equality and social justice, making significant contributions to the development of the legal system and shaping the legal landscape and even society as we know it. The increased presence of women in the legal world, and particularly in management positions, is bringing a much-needed change to this more conservative environment. If more women take on leadership roles in law firms, corporate legal departments and other legal organizations, they can help to create a more diverse and inclusive profession that is gender sensitive and more reflective of the communities it serves. Marie-Hélène Jolicoeur Partner From the beginning, I had a desire for justice and fairness. I was also determined to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves, who find it difficult to express or defend themselves, or who have trouble arguing a position with determination. I wanted to understand the law in order to be able to interpret it and ensure that it is properly applied. Women sometimes have different skills; they can present things from an alternative perspective and convince people in a different way. Women’s contribution to the legal profession is substantial and I feel it is recognized by my male peers. I’ve noticed that more and more women are finding their place in the business, building confidence and being heard. I see them in decision-making roles, which has been positively received. They are supported by their peers. I believe that they will continue to play an increasingly important role, if that’s what they want, and as long as they express this desire and remain supported. Marie-Pier Landry Article Student I was motivated to become a lawyer by the varied intellectual challenges, the development opportunities and the human relations at the heart of the legal practice. I am lucky to have many women role models in my professional circle. I see empathy, leadership and passion in their practice. I am certain that bringing more women into the legal profession makes for a more inclusive and fair legal system. Sophie Roy Senior Associate At first, I was first driven by the concept of justice. I also wanted to become a lawyer in order to speak out and be heard. Without falling into gender stereotypes, women’s presence has certainly contributed to making the legal profession more inclusive. The ability to listen and to collaborate seem to be increasingly important values. Justine Chaput Associate What inspired me to become a lawyer was first and foremost my desire to make a difference in my community and to tackle the intellectual challenges of the legal field. I believe women have brought new insight and a different approach to the legal profession. They have also been instrumental in the fight for gender equality and social justice, making significant contributions to the development of the legal system and shaping the legal landscape and even society as we know it. I am confident that the contribution of women to the legal profession will continue to evolve and help eliminate prejudice and discrimination in order to ensure equal opportunities. Marie-Nancy Paquet Partner I have always felt that I needed to fulfil my dreams and use my talents. This was especially important to me because my mother regretted all her life that she had not been able to achieve her professional goals, and she suffered as a result of this. For her children, it was an exhortation to never give up. Moreover, for as long as I can remember, I have had a tendency to be very vocal. It soon became clear to me that a career as a lawyer would be an opportunity to put my skills to good use. Having said that, I didn’t really know what it meant to be a lawyer, as no one in my environment practised law or had even been to university. In my opinion, the contribution of women to the evolution of the legal profession is essential. We must not forget where we started and how far we have come thanks to the courage of our predecessors. I can’t help but think of all the women who would have had the talent to practice law, but couldn’t even think about doing that in their day. In the legal profession, women first had to prove that they had as much right to be there as their male colleagues. I have deep admiration for the trailblazing women who embraced careers as lawyers when they were the outliers in their classes. One look through a yearbook from the 1950s-1960s is enough to see that women were hardly there at the time. Among the 70 or so law graduates at my university in 1960, there were only three women. It took courage to study law as a woman! Things have changed and there are far more women in the field now, especially in the undergraduate cohorts. But challenges remain. However, one element is worth noting, and that is the influence that women have had on the transformation of the work-life balance. The fact that young men working in law are now also interested in this issue is undoubtedly due to the fact that women have entered the profession and, more generally, all areas of professional life. Looking towards the future, we must continue to work to ensure that the remaining glass ceilings are broken and that both men and women can find an equal place in the profession. Jennifer Younes Article Student Growing up, I witnessed a range of situations where individuals were marginalized. As a result, I chose to study law to reduce the inequalities that exist between different groups of people. In my opinion, lawyers are the voice of justice and I chose to become a lawyer because I wanted to serve the cause of justice. Certainly the growing number of women in the legal profession in recent decades has had a positive impact on the evolution of the legal profession. The sharp increase in the representation of women has enabled the courts to have a more complete appreciation of certain issues, and will continue to do so into the future. In my opinion, the more stories we have in the field, the deeper and more diverse our legal discussions become. And the more diverse the legal community becomes, the more accessible it will be to members of these previously unrepresented groups.
Sophie Roy Senior Associate
- Québec, 2013
Sophie Roy is part of the firm’s Litigation group. She practises primarily insurance, product liability, and professional liability law. She is responsible for a number of different files in which she acts for both the plaintiff and the defendant.
Called to the Bar in 2013, Me Roy began her practice in the legal department of an insurance company, following which she worked at a civil and commercial litigation boutique law firm, and joined Lavery’s Litigation group in 2017. She provides legal opinions on a variety of issues, in particular related to insurance coverage.
She often appears before the Superior Court and the Court of Québec and has also participated in several successful settlement conferences.
- Ones to Watch, The Best Lawyers in Canada in the field of Insurance Law, 2024
- LL.B., Université de Sherbrooke, 2011
Boards and Professional Affiliations
- Young Bar Association of Montréal
On December 13, 2019, the Regulation respecting damage insurance brokerage (the “Regulation”), adopted under the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services (“ARDFPS”), came into force. The Regulation includes the following changes: New titles for firms and qualification requirements; New obligations for damage insurance brokers; and New disclosure requirements New titles for firms and qualification requirements The Regulation amends the Regulation respecting the registration of firms, representatives and independent partnerships by creating two new titles, namely “damage insurance brokerage firm” (hereinafter “Brokerage Firm”) and “damage insurance agency” (hereinafter “Agency”). To qualify as a Brokerage Firm, a firm must meet the following conditions: It must not be an insurer; and Its capital must comply with section 150 of the ARDFPS, which stipulates that no financial institution, financial group or related legal person may hold an interest allowing it to exercise more than 20% of the voting rights attached to the shares issued by the firm in question or an interest representing more than 50% of the value of the firm’s equity capital. To qualify as an Agency, a firm must meet the following conditions: It must be bound by an exclusive contract with a single insurer; and The natural persons through whom it pursues activities, if any, must be damage insurance agents. It should be noted that neither an independent representative nor an independent partnership may act as an Agency. As for a firm that does not meet the conditions to qualify as a Brokerage Firm, it must register as an Agency and abide by the conditions that apply to Agencies. Firms registered in damage insurance have until March1, 2020, to submit a qualification form to the Autorité des marchés financiers (“AMF”). The AMF has confirmed that it will send one of the following notices to all registrants by mid-March 2020: A notice confirming registration as an Agency or Brokerage Firm; or A notice of change giving the firm in question ninety (90) days to comply as an Agency. When the 90-day period expires, if applicable, the firm will be registered as an Agency, and the title of its representatives will be changed to “agent,” unless they are attached to another Brokerage Firm. Such representatives will not be allowed to hold the titles of “agent” and “broker” at the same time. New obligations for damage insurance brokers Section 38 of the ARDFPS provides that a damage insurance broker offering insurance products directly to the public must be able to demonstrate the ability to obtain quotes from at least three (3) insurers that are not part of the same financial group. Section 1 of the Regulation specifies that this obligation applies to brokers offering automobile or home insurance products (property and civil liability insurance on a principal residence that an insured owns or rents). This means that commercial insurance brokers are not subject to this obligation. New disclosure requirements A damage insurance broker who directly offers automobile or home insurance products, as described above, to the public, is now subject to a disclosure obligation. According to section 2 of the Regulation, before inquiring into a client’s needs in accordance with the obligation set out in section 27 of the ARDFPS, a broker must disclose to the client the name of the insurer to which the broker, as an independent representative, or the firm or independent partnership on behalf of which the broker is acting pays 60% or more of the personal-lines damage insurance premiums. This requirement exempts a broker from disclosing the names of insurers with which the broker or the firm or independent partnership on behalf of which the broker is acting has a business relationship, and from the obligation to confirm said disclosure in writing (obligations set out in sections 4.8, 4.10(2) and 4.13 of the Regulation respecting information to be provided to consumers). Summary The amendments regarding firm qualification and disclosure requirements are intended to ensure transparency with respect to business relationships between registrants and insurers. The draft version and current version of the Regulation differ significantly in relation to the way in which these two components are set out. Following consultation sessions and various publications, the disclosure obligation was eased and the concept of hybrid agency was removed. Although the change in qualification only directly affects firms, the form issued by the AMF must be completed by all registrants, including independent partnerships and independent representatives, to confirm that they comply with the requirements that apply to them. All damage insurance registrants should thus take note of and set aside time for the AMF online qualification form, which must be completed by March 1, 2020, at the latest.
On September 8, 2017, in the case of El-Ferekh c. Intact, compagnie d’assurance, 1 the Superior Court of Québec ruled on the insurable interest of someone who acted as a nominee in the context of the deeds pertaining to the acquisition of an immovable property covered by an insurance policy. The insurer had denied coverage on several grounds, namely, the absence of insurable interest, the misleading representations at the time of the underwriting of the policy and an increase of risk. The facts The plaintiff, Robbie El-Ferekh (“Robbie”), instituted proceedings against Intact compagnie d’assurance (“Intact”), claiming $296,941.38 for damages caused to a property which Intact insured. At the time the mortgage was purchased, Steven El-Ferekh (“Steven”) had asked Robbie to act as a nominee in the context of the sale for tax and financing reasons. The deeds of mortgage and sale were both made in Robbie’s name even if, in fact, Steven was assuming the payment of the mortgage and all expenses related to the property. When purchasing the insurance policy on the property, Steven posed as his brother as he answered the questions of the insurance broker. Since Steven declared that he would live in the property, a homeowner policy was issued by Intact. Prior to the closing of the sale of the property and purchasing the insurance policy, and contrary to his representations to the insurance broker, Steven rented the property to a third party. The tenant occupied the property for more than three years. Several months after the tenant left, a fire, the cause of which remains undetermined, entirely destroyed the property. Robbie filed a claim with Intact. Intact denied coverage on the grounds that the policy was null ab initio for lack of insurable interest and because of the false and misleading representations of the El-Ferekh brothers. The judgment The Court first confirmed that an insured had to demonstrate that he suffered financial harm as a result of the loss of the property to justifying an insurable interest. Accordingly, a nominee has no insurable interest since he cannot suffer direct and immediate harm as a result of the loss of such property. Robbie first alleged that an implicit partnership existed between himself and his brother and that their patrimonies were merged. This argument was rejected by the Court since a private arrangement cannot be effective against third parties. Secondly, Robbie alleged that he had an insurable interest as a mortgage debtor. However, the evidence demonstrated that Steven assumed all expenses on the property and that, accordingly, Robbie was not exposed to any financial loss as a result of the fire. The Court thus ruled that the policy was void ab initio because of the lack of insurable interest. Although this conclusion was enough to dismiss the action, the Superior Court nevertheless ruled on the other grounds for denial raised by Intact. The Court confirmed that Intact was justified in invoking the nullity of the policy taking into account the bad faith of the insured and the false statements made respecting the occupation of the property. On the one hand, it was proved that Robbie never lived in the property and that a homeowner policy has issued. On the other hand, although Intact Créneaux, a division of Intact, could have accepted to cover the property as leased property, it is a separate entity from Intact. Therefore, the Court concluded that the insured acted in bad faith when he purchased the insurance, which also justified the ab initio nullity of the policy. As for the risk increase, the evidence demonstrated many aggravating circumstances during the coverage period, namely: criminal activities on the property (the culture of cannabis), police interventions, a change of the electrical system, failure to supply the property with electricity and a situation where the property was left vacant. The Court determined that Intact was well-founded in denying coverage for that reason. Conclusion In brief, the Superior Court concluded: that the simple fact that someone is a mortgage debtor does not constitute evidence of insurable interest in the property; that a nominee has no insurable interest since he cannot suffer any direct and immediate harm resulting from the loss of such property. In other words, in the absence of an exposure to financial loss, a nominee cannot demonstrate an insurable interest in a property. 2017 QCCS 4077 (Judge Guylène Beaugé).
Lavery is pleased to announce that 68 of its lawyers have been recognized as leaders in their respective fields of expertise by The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024. The following lawyers also received the Lawyer of the Year award in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada: Josianne Beaudry : Mining Law Jules Brière : Administrative and Public Law Bernard Larocque : Professional Malpractice Law Carl Lessard : Workers' Compensation Law Consult the complete list of Lavery's lawyers and their fields of expertise: Josianne Beaudry : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Mining Law Laurence Bich-Carrière : Class Action Litigation / Contruction Law / Corporate and Commercial Litigation / Product Liability Law Dominic Boivert : Insurance Law Luc R. Borduas : Corporate Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law Daniel Bouchard : Environmental Law Elizabeth Bourgeois : Labour and Employment Law (Ones To Watch) René Branchaud : Mining Law / Natural Resources Law / Securities Law Étienne Brassard : Equipment Finance Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Real Estate Law Jules Brière : Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice / Administrative and Public Law / Health Care Law Myriam Brixi : Class Action Litigation Benoit Brouillette : Labour and Employment Law Richard Burgos : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Corporate Law / Commercial Leasing Law / Real Estate Law Marie-Claude Cantin : Insurance Law / Construction Law Brittany Carson : Labour and Employment Law Karl Chabot : Construction Law (Ones To Watch) Chantal Desjardins : Intellectual Property Law Jean-Sébastien Desroches : Corporate Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law Raymond Doray : Privacy and Data Security Law / Administrative and Public Law / Defamation and Media Law Christian Dumoulin : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Alain Y. Dussault : Intellectual Property Law Isabelle Duval : Family Law Philippe Frère : Administrative and Public Law Simon Gagné : Labour and Employment Law Nicolas Gagnon : Construction Law Richard Gaudreault : Labour and Employment Law Julie Gauvreau : Intellectual Property Law / Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice Audrey Gibeault : Trusts and Estates Caroline Harnois : Family Law / Family Law Mediation / Trusts and Estates Marie-Josée Hétu : Labour and Employment Law Édith Jacques : Energy Law / Corporate Law / Natural Resources Law Marie-Hélène Jolicoeur : Labour and Employment Law Isabelle Jomphe : Advertising and Marketing Law / Intellectual Property Law Guillaume Laberge : Administrative and Public Law Jonathan Lacoste-Jobin : Insurance Law Awatif Lakhdar : Family Law Bernard Larocque : Professional Malpractice Law / Class Action Litigation / Insurance Law / Legal Malpractice Law Éric Lavallée : Technology Law Myriam Lavallée : Labour and Employment Law Guy Lavoie : Labour and Employment Law / Workers' Compensation Law Jean Legault : Banking and Finance Law / Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law Carl Lessard : Workers' Compensation Law / Labour and Employment Law Josiane L'Heureux : Labour and Employment Law Despina Mandilaras : Construction Law / Corporate and Commercial Litigation (Ones To Watch) Hugh Mansfield : Intellectual Property Law Zeïneb Mellouli : Labour and Employment Law / Workers' Compensation Law Isabelle P. Mercure : Trusts and Estates Patrick A. Molinari : Health Care Law Jessica Parent : Labour and Employment Law (Ones To Watch) Luc Pariseau : Tax Law / Trusts and Estates Ariane Pasquier : Labour and Employment Law Jacques Paul-Hus : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Audrey Pelletier : Tax Law (Ones To Watch) Hubert Pepin : Labour and Employment Law Martin Pichette : Insurance Law / Professional Malpractice Law / Corporate and Commercial Litigation Élisabeth Pinard : Family Law François Renaud : Banking and Finance Law / Structured Finance Law Judith Rochette : Insurance Law / Professional Malpractice Law Ian Rose FCIArb : Director and Officer Liability Practice / Insurance Law / Class Action Litigation Sophie Roy : Insurance Law (Ones To Watch) Chantal Saint-Onge : Corporate and Commercial Litigation (Ones To Watch) Ouassim Tadlaoui : Construction Law / Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law Bernard Trang : Banking and Finance Law / Project Finance Law (Ones To Watch) Mylène Vallières : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Securities Law (Ones To Watch) André Vautour : Corporate Governance Practice / Corporate Law / Information Technology Law / Intellectual Property Law / Technology Law / Energy Law Bruno Verdon : Corporate and Commercial Litigation Sébastien Vézina : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Mining Law Yanick Vlasak : Corporate and Commercial Litigation / Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law Jonathan Warin : Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law These recognitions are further demonstration of the expertise and quality of legal services that characterize Lavery’s professionals. About Lavery Lavery is the leading independent law firm in Quebec. Its more than 200 professionals, based in Montréal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, work every day to offer a full range of legal services to organizations doing business in Quebec. Recognized by the most prestigious legal directories, Lavery professionals are at the heart of what is happening in the business world and are actively involved in their communities. The firm’s expertise is frequently sought after by numerous national and international partners to provide support in cases under Quebec jurisdiction.
Lavery is pleased to announce the arrival of two new lawyers, Sophie Roy and Isabel Valenta. Sophie Roy is joining the Litigation and Dispute Resolution group. Her practice focuses on insurance law, product liability, and professional liability. Isabel Valenta is joining the Business Law group. Her practice focuses on corporate financing, reorganizations and mergers and acquisitions. Isabel has experience representing start-ups and works closely with companies from the technology, e-commerce, renewable energy, manufacturing and textile industries.