Over the last several years, member countries of the OECD, including Canada and the U.S., have committed to various international undertakings dealing with corporate governance. In keeping with these commitments, since 2019, the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) has required business corporations incorporated under the CBCA to prepare and maintain a register of individuals with significant control over the corporation. Nearly all Canadian provinces, including Québec, have also amended their legislation to make control of companies incorporated in their jurisdiction more transparent. For instance, since March 31, 2023, companies registered with the Québec Enterprise Register (REQ) must report their ultimate beneficiaries to the REQ. Providing greater transparency in the control of Canadian businesses is a continuing process, and additional provisions that apply to federal business corporations came into force on January 22, 2024, and others, applicable to businesses registered with the REQ, will come into force on July 31, 2024. The provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act of the United States requiring companies to report beneficial ownership information came into force on January 1, 2024; some of these provisions are of interest for Canadian companies. Canada – Public register of individuals with significant control Since June 2019, business corporations incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act have been required to maintain a register of “individuals with significant control” (ISCs) containing the following information: the name, date of birth and last known personal address of each ISC the citizenship, country or countries where the ISCs are residents for tax purposes the date on which each of these individuals became an ISC the manner in which the individual is an ISC and any other information required by the regulation.1 Although federal corporations must make this register accessible to the Director tasked with administering the Canada Business Corporations Act, to shareholders and creditors of the corporation and to investigative bodies, the register was not accessible to the public until recently. On November 2, 2023, the federal legislator amended the provisions of the Canada Business Corporations Act to, among others: allow ISCs to provide an address for service in addition to their personal address provide that a portion of the ISC information compiled by federally incorporated businesses must be sent to the Director tasked with administering the CBCA provide that the Director must make the following information on ISCs accessible to the public: their name their address for reporting purposes if such an address is provided or, failing which, their personal address the date on which they became an individual with significant control and a description of the manner in which each one is an individual with significant control Note that even if the date of birth, citizenship, country or countries where the ISC is a resident for tax purposes and their personal address (if they provided an address for reporting purposes) must be provided to the Director overseeing the Canada Business Corporations Act, this information will not be made public. The Director may, however, in turn provide to any police force, the Canada Revenue Agency and any provincial body that has responsibilities similar to those of the Canada Revenue Agency, bodies that have investigative powers in relation to certain offences, a provincial enterprise register or provincial agency enforcing corporate law in that province all or part of a corporation’s ISC information, which goes beyond the information it makes available to the public. A corporation must send its ISC information electronically through the Corporations Canada website, at incorporation (if incorporated after January 22, 2024), annually and concurrently with the filing of its annual declaration, within 30 days following its merger with another CBCA corporation, within 30 days of the date on which it becomes subject to the CBCA after incorporating under the laws of another jurisdiction, and within 15 days following any changes made to its register of ISCs. These amendments came into force on January 22, 2024. To assist federal corporations in drawing up a list of their ISCs, the Director tasked with administering the Canada Business Corporations Act posted a letter template on its website that federal corporations may send to their shareholders, their ISCs and to anyone who could reasonably be expected to have the relevant knowledge to identify their ISCs.2 The purpose of that letter is to help the corporation in identifying its ISCs. It is mandatory for shareholders to respond to the corporation’s request and failure to respond may result in significant fines and even imprisonment. Québec – Search a natural person by last name and first name Since April 1, 2023, most private businesses that required to register in Québec must report to the Registre des entreprises du Québec the names, residential address and date of birth of each of their ultimate beneficiaries, and the type of control exercised by them or the percentage of shares or units of the corporation owned by these ultimate beneficiaries or of which they are the beneficiaries. In general, an ultimate beneficiary of a business is a natural person who owns or is the beneficiary of 25% or more of the voting rights for that business, who owns or is the beneficiary of 25% or more of its fair market value or who has an influence that could result in de facto control over the business. The information reported on ultimate beneficiaries is accessible to the public and free for anyone consulting the REQ. The requirement to report ultimate beneficiaries applies to almost all businesses registered in Québec and is not limited to businesses incorporated under Québec law nor to business corporations. Therefore, any foreign legal person that is required to register in Québec must report its ultimate beneficiaries. The same applies to partnerships, such as general partnerships and limited partnerships, and some trusts. As of July 31, 2024, it will be possible to search the REQ using the last name and first name of a natural person. Accordingly, from that date, it will be possible to obtain the list of all businesses registered in the REQ of which a person is a director, officer, one of the three shareholders controlling the greatest number of votes and an ultimate beneficiary by searching by his or her last name and first name. The last and first name of the natural person and his or her residential address will appear in the search results. However, if a work address was reported to the register for that person, only the work address will appear. Federally incorporated businesses registered with the REQ A federally incorporated business that does business in Québec must maintain a register of its ISCs under the Canada Business Corporations Act and report information on its ultimate beneficiaries to the REQ. Although most ISCs of a federally incorporated business will also be the ultimate beneficiaries under the Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises and vice versa, the two acts do not define an ISC and ultimate beneficiary in exactly the same way. A person may be an ultimate beneficiary under the Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises without necessarily being an ISC under the Canada Business Corporations Act (and vice versa). Consequently, the content of the register of ISCs for a federally incorporated business — and thus information it will have reported to the Director in charge of the Canada Business Corporations Act — may not be identical to the ultimate beneficiary information it will have reported to the REQ. However, federally incorporated businesses that do not do business in Québec are not required to register under the Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises. All other provinces, except for Alberta,3 have now incorporated provisions into their business corporations legislation requiring corporations registered under the laws of that province to maintain a register of individuals with significant control. As a result, these provisions only apply to business corporations incorporated under the law of the province and, therefore, do not apply to business corporations incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act or under the business corporation act of another province. Corporate Transparency Act in the United States coming into force – Impact on Canadian businesses On January 1, 2021, the Corporate Transparency Act, part of the U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, came into force. Just like the amendments made to the Canada Business Corporations Act and to the Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises (Québec), the aim of the Corporate Transparency Act is to prevent and fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, corruption, tax fraud and other illicit activities, among others, by increasing the transparency of private companies incorporated in or registered in the United States. On January 1, 2024, the reporting requirements in the Corporate Transparency Act to identify “beneficial owners,” which are basically equivalent to ISCs under the Canada Business Corporations Act and “ultimate beneficiaries” under the Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises (Québec), came into force. Businesses covered by the act and incorporated before January 1, 2024, have until January 1, 2025, to file their first Beneficial Ownership Information Report. Businesses incorporated after that date must file their first report no later than 30 days after the date they first register with a U.S. government authority. Reports on beneficial ownership of businesses are filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, better known by its acronym FinCEN. Reporting businesses must submit an updated report within 30 days of any change in information previously reported to FinCEN. Reports on beneficial ownership are not accessible to the public and are not subject to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The information contained in these reports will be, however, generally accessible to United States law enforcement agencies and United States federal tax authorities. Foreign law enforcement authorities may also be granted access in certain circumstances through United States federal intermediary agencies. Provided they have received the consent of their clients, financial institutions will also have access to the information to facilitate compliance with customer due diligence requirements under applicable law. All corporations incorporated in the U.S. must file beneficial ownership information reports unless they are legally exempt. Exempt businesses include: most businesses whose securities are registered under the Securities Act of 1934 large businesses, i.e., businesses with more than 20 full-time employees in the U.S., having a facility in the U.S., and having reported over U.S.$5 million in gross revenues or sales in the previous reporting period. It follows that in most cases, unless it is exempted, usually because it will qualify as a “large business” due to the number of its employees and its revenues, a U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian corporation will have to comply with the act and report the identity of its Canadian beneficial owners. A reporting business must, among other things, report the full name, the date of birth and the address of all its beneficial owners. The U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian corporation must also submit a copy of the Canadian passport (or from the country of citizenship of the person in question) for each of its beneficial owners. A person is deemed a beneficial owner of a corporation if he or she is a natural person who, directly or indirectly, exercises substantial control over the reporting corporation, or owns or controls at least 25% of the corporation’s ownership interests (shares, units or others), in voting rights or in value. The definition of “substantial control” for the purposes of the Corporate Transparency Act is much broader and more specific than what is found in equivalent Canadian legislation. An individual has “substantial control” over a reporting corporation under the Corporate Transparency Act if such individual (i) is a senior officer in the corporation, (ii) has authority to appoint or remove certain officers or a majority of the directors (or similar body) of the reporting corporation, (iii) is an important decision maker of the reporting corporation or (iv) has any other form of substantial control over the reporting corporation. The Corporate Transparency Act imposes serious penalties on individuals who willfully fail to file or update beneficial ownership information or who willfully file false information. These penalties include civil penalties of up to U.S.$500 per day of violation, fines of up to U.S.$10,000, as well as potential; imprisonment for a period up to two years. Note that the act contains a presumption against senior officers in respect to reported information that is false, incomplete or not up to date. These officers could therefore be held personally held liable for civil penalties and fines and could be subject to imprisonment if the reported information proves to be false or incomplete or not up to date. Senior officers must therefore be especially vigilant and ensure that the reporting requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act are met. The Director tasked with administering the Canada Business Corporations Act has posted a template for the register of ISCs on its website. This register can be found at: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/corporations-canada/sites/default/files/documents/2023-12/04.3_isc-register-template_en.xlsx This template can be found at: This template can be found at: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/corporations-canada/sites/default/files/documents/2023-12/06.1_request_for_information_template_isc_en.pdf The three territories, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, still have yet to amend their legislation to require a register of individuals with significant control to be maintained for business corporations incorporated under the business corporation acts of those territories.
André Vautour Partner, Lawyer
- Québec, 1983
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Technology and Entertainment
- Private Equity, Venture Capital and Investment Management
- Corporate Governance
- Corporate and Business Integrity
- Transportation and Transportation Infrastructure
- Protection and Transmission of Estates and Assets
André Vautour practices in the fields of corporate and commercial law and is particularly interested in corporate governance, strategic alliances, joint ventures, investment funds and mergers and acquisitions of private corporations. He also serves as honorary consul of Denmark in Montreal and was Lavery’s chair of the board of Directors from 2012 to 2016.
Mr. Vautour practises in the field of technology law (drafting technology development and transfer agreements, licensing agreements, distribution agreements, outsourcing agreements, and e-commerce agreements).
He has had the opportunity to work regularly with companies in the financial, printing, pharmaceutical, railway, computer and energy sectors.
Mr. Vautour has given many lectures on subjects related to his fields of expertise. He has also written numerous articles on various aspects of business law.
- "Quelques aspects d’un contrat d’impartition d’un système de gestion de l'information", in the Développements récents en droit commercial Service de la formation permanente of the Barreau du Québec, 1995
- "Le rêve devenu cauchemar — La durée des déclarations et garanties et la clause d’indemnisation", in the Développements récents en droit commercialService de la formation permanente of the Barreau du Québec, 1996
- "Quelques commentaires sur le mandat de l'auditeur des comptes d’une société par actions et la responsabilité qui en découle", in the Développements récents du Service de la formation continue of the Barreau du Québec, Volume 350, 2012
- "Épée de Damoclès ou épouvantail ? Jusqu’où l’investisseur dans un fonds d’investissement peut s’impliquer dans ce fonds sans risquer de perdre sa responsabilité limitée ?", in the Développements récents du Service de la formation continue of the Barreau du Québec, Volume 417, 2016
- “Impact of the Possible Extension of the European Passport Regime on Canadian Fund Managers”, co-author with Guillaume Lavoie and associates of Jeantet and published in la Revue internationale des services financiers, November 2016 edition
- “Options Available to Canadian Managers under the European AIF Marketing Rules”, co-author with Guillaume Lavoie and associates of Jeantet and published in la Revue internationale des services financiers, November 2016 edition
- "Gouvernance des sociétés d’État à vocation commerciale - — Rôle et pouvoirs du conseil d’administration et de la direction des sociétés d’État, similitudes et différences avec les sociétés par actions de droit privé", in the Développements récents du Service de la formation continue of the Barreau du Québec, Volume 460, 2019
- The Best Lawyers in Canada in the field of Corporate Governance Practice, 2024
- The Canadian Legal LEXPERT® Directory in the field of Corporate Mid-Market, 2023
- The Canadian Legal LEXPERT® Directory in the field of Mergers & Acquisitions and Infrastructure Law, 2022
- The Canadian Legal LEXPERT® Directory in the field of Corporate Commercial Law, 2021
- The Best Lawyers in Canada in the fields of Corporate law, Energy Law, Private funds law, Information Technology law, Intellectual property law and Technology law, since 2011
- Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, Private funds law, 2018
- Lexpert Special Edition on Canada's Leading Infrastructure Lawyers as leading lawyers in the field of Infrastructure, 2017
- The Canadian Legal LEXPERT® Directory in the field of Computer and IT law, 2009-2011 and since 2016
- Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, Technology law (2011, 2013, 2016)
- The Canadian Legal LEXPERT® Directory in the field of Technology transactions, since 2009
- MBA, McGill University, 1990
- LL.L. (summa cum laude), University of Ottawa, 1982
Boards and Professional Affiliations
- Canadian Bar Association
- Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada)
- Association des MBA du Québec (AMBAQ)
Like many other governments, the Government of Quebec decided to invest in infrastructure to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulate Quebec’s economy. A significant number of investments will be made in the transportation sector, and the government wants to accelerate the realisation of several previously announced transportation infrastructure projects in the greater Montréal area. This focus on construction as a way of speeding up the recovery from the crisis arises in a context where construction contractors’ and professionals’ interest in public contracts has fallen sharply. According to a recent study conducted by three Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton professionals1, mandated by six major players in the Quebec construction industry, this lack of interest in public contracts can be explained by a number of factors: poorly structured payment terms, unappealing contract clauses, issues related to the tender process, cumbersome contract management, and, as far as construction professionals are concerned, hourly rate ceilings set out in existing government regulations. The Quebec government is acutely aware of this decline in interest for public contracts and tabled an action plan for the construction industry in late March 2021 to address it. Four categories of measures are included in this action plan. First, the government has reiterated its desire to accelerate the realisation of a number of projects already included in the Québec Infrastructure Plan and to implement this plan more effectively. The Act respecting the acceleration of certain infrastructure projects introduced in June 2020 and adopted in December 2020, even before the action plan was tabled was a concrete example of the government’s intent. The other two categories of measures in the action plan aim to implement solutions to reduce the current labour shortages and to increase productivity in the construction industry. The Act respecting the acceleration of certain infrastructure projects covers approximately 180 projects, most of which are in the transportation, education and health and social services sectors. It focuses, in particular, on a number of transportation infrastructure projects in the greater Montréal area, such as the projects that will link the east, northeast and southwest of Montréal to the city’s downtown area by way of an electric public transit system (including the REM de l’Est and the first phase of the pink metro line), to improve access to the Port of Montréal, to rebuild the Île aux Tourtes Bridge, to build the Longueuil tramway, to extend the REM to Laval and to implement an express bus service in Laval. The Act focuses onfour main areas. First, if expropriation required to carry out a particular project, its procedure has been simplified. Second, in connection with compliance with environmental legislation provisions, the requirement of a certificate of authorization will waived for certain projects; for others, the BAPE project assessment procedure has been simplified. An expedited process to authorize the use of governmental property is provided for projects where such use is necessary. Lastly, city or municipal authorizations have been simplified for projects that require such an authorization. Extraordinary measures were required to deal with the unique situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We applaud the Quebec government’s efforts to address the impacts of this pandemic. The chosen approach, however, is not without risks. Some critics have warned the government about the risks of possible collusion between tenderers, as collusion is thought to be more likely to occur in a context where projects are being accelerated. To mitigate this risk, the Actconfers on the Autorité des marchés publics more oversight functions, and in clear cases of collusion, the power to suspend the performance of contracts. Concerns have also been raised as to the quality of the constructed works, thereby underscoring the importance of maintaining and not ditching adequate public consultations. Finally, the Act addresses the issue of delays in payments by the government that was not only raised in the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton report, but also during public consultations preceding the adoption of the Act. The Act extends the existing pilot project to facilitate payment to enterprises applicable to all projects covered by the Act. Hopefully, the Act respecting the acceleration of certain infrastructure projects, paired with the other measures announced in the government’s action plan for the construction industry, will make infrastructure a key component of Quebec’s economic recovery, as we finally start to see the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. A short version of this publication was published as an open letter in La Presse. Click here to read it. Plante, Nicolas, Jean-Philippe Brosseau and Marie-Pier Bernard, Consultation visant à évaluer le niveau d'intérêt des entrepreneurs et des professionnels envers les marchés publics [French Only], Montréal, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, April 2021, 85 p. (see in particular pages 17 to 34).
Various ways of doing e-commerce E-commerce can take different forms. For the purposes of this article, we will refer to e-commerce where the contract of sale or of supply of services is concluded by electronic means, E-commerce will be said to be “direct” when the product or service is delivered electronically, such as in the online conclusion of a contract for a subscription to an online-only publication, and “indirect” when the item sold is tangible or the service is rendered otherwise than online. E-commerce can be conducted entirely online or in a hybrid manner, where the vendor operates both online and through brick-and-mortar stores. It is considered “closed” when it is between a relatively small number of participants who already have a contractual or professional relationship with each other. It can be conducted between a business and a consumer, in which case it is called “B2C,” or between a business and another business and is then known as “B2B.” E-commerce poses particular challenges for businesses and if these challenges are not properly addressed, they are likely to expose the business to additional liability. This means that e-commerce can be particularly risky for novice businesses that start to do carry out business electronically, without adequate preparation. For example, a merchant who transacts electronically will necessarily have to take direct possession of some of its customers’ personal data, such as their names, addresses and credit card numbers, or have an e-commerce service provider take indirect possession of it. The use of such personal data is subject to the provisions of privacy laws, and, given that the data is of great value to potential thieves or fraudsters, it must be protected. A merchant may also be the victim of fraudulent orders or payments made with stolen credit cards numbers. To better control its risks, a novice in e-commerce may be better off doing business with established e-commerce service providers such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace or GoDaddy, which have set up robust infrastructures for their customers. A corporation should nonetheless do its homework before choosing an e-commerce service provider. It should, for example, inquire about the terms and conditions of the service agreement to be entered into with the chosen provider, and, in particular, about the services offered (including how returns and chargebacks are handled), how the service provider protects its customers in the event of data theft or fraud, what fees are charged, and so forth. In all cases, whether or not a corporation does business with an e-commerce service provider, it should ensure that the information kept on its own servers and computers is limited to what is absolutely necessary. Likewise, once a transaction is completed, it should avoid, as far as possible, keeping personal data belonging to its customers, such as their names, addresses and credit card numbers. Moreover, a corporation that decides to engage in e-commerce must be aware of certain specific legal aspects relating first, to the particularities of e-commerce itself and second, to the fact that its customers may be located anywhere in the world. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the rules generally applicable to all types of e-commerce. A future article will deal with the specific rules provided in the Consumer Protection Act (Quebec). Consumption tax The majority of governments impose a consumption tax on goods (and sometimes services) sold within their jurisdiction. Applicable consumption tax laws generally provide that businesses with a presence in a jurisdiction must collect applicable taxes and remit them to the competent tax authorities. For a corporation that is otherwise not present in a jurisdiction, the mere fact of selling goods in that jurisdiction is generally not sufficient to require registering with its tax authorities and collecting and remitting applicable taxes. However, the definition of what constitutes a sufficient presence to require business registration and the collection and remittance of consumption taxes varies from one jurisdiction to another. A corporation wanting to sell its goods and services electronically must therefore ensure that it is aware of the applicable consumption tax rules in the main jurisdictions where it will sell these goods or provide these services. Licences and permits Although it is generally not necessary for a manufacturer or seller to obtain a license, permit or other governmental authorization for the vast majority of goods typically sold online, they may be required before certain products, in particular medical or pharmaceutical products, can be sold online or otherwise, domestically or internationally. It is also important to note that a licence, permit or other authorization may not be required to sell goods in a jurisdiction while the sale of the same goods in another may require such license, permit or other authorization. Thus, if a merchant wants to sell its product in a jurisdiction where a permit, licence or other authorization is required, it will be required to obtain it before proceeding with any sales. In addition, in some territories, the sale of certain goods must necessarily be done through a State monopoly. For instance, such restrictions are still the norm in Canada for the sale of alcoholic beverages. For example, a resident of Ontario may not order alcoholic beverages directly online from a producer in another province and have them delivered to Ontario, which prevents a small-scale producer of alcoholic beverages in Quebec from selling its products online to Ontario customers, for delivery in Ontario. Shipping Not all goods can be shipped in the same way. Some must be specially packaged, and some may even not be shipped by regular means, such as Canada Post and major courier companies. For example, Canada Post requires that fish, game, meat, fruit, vegetables or other perishable products be properly prepared and meet certain other applicable requirements for mailing. Other products, such as objects classified as hazardous materials, may simply not be shipped by mail. To ship these products, it will be necessary to deal with a specialized courier service. Finally, Canadian laws prohibit the export of certain goods or require special permits for their export. In addition, merchants must ensure that the laws of the destination jurisdiction allow the goods shipped to be imported into that jurisdiction. Indeed, all countries either prohibit the import of certain goods into their jurisdiction or require the importer to obtain a permit or licence issued by their government. Age restrictions Under applicable laws and regulations, certain goods may only be sold to persons who have reached a certain age or may not be sold to children. These restrictions vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For instance, in Quebec, one must be 18 years old to legally buy alcohol, while elsewhere in Canada the age is 19 and in the United States, 21. Merchants wishing to sell alcoholic beverages online must take these restrictions into account. The same applies to the sale of any other goods that are subject to age restrictions. PCI DSS compliance In 2006, the main credit card issuers, American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard and Visa formed the PCI Security Standards Council to standardize the rules and standards applicable to payments made with their credit cards. The council adopted a set of rules called “Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard,” better known by its acronym, PCI DSS. All merchants wishing to accept credit card payments, including direct online payments, must adhere to these rules. Any merchant, regardless of its size, wishing to process credit card payments on its website must also be PCI DSS compliant, unless it is doing business through a compliant payment service provider. The PCI DSS include the following 12 compliance requirements, which are grouped into six categories called “control objectives.” The following table, taken from the document entitled “Payment Card Industry (PCI) — Data Security Standard — Requirements and Security Assessment Procedures”1, provides a summary of these requirements. Control objectives PCI DSS conditions Build and Maintain a Secure Network and Systems 1. Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data 2. Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters Protect Cardholder Data 3. Protect stored cardholder data 4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data over open, public networks Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program 5. Protect all systems against malware and regularly update anti-virus software or programs 6. Develop and maintain secure systems and applications Implement Strong Access Control Measures 7. Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know 8. Identify and authenticate access to system components 9. Restrict physical access to cardholder data Regularly Monitor and Test Networks 10. Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data 11. Regularly test security systems and processes Maintain an Information Security Policy 12. Maintain a policy that addresses information security for all personnel Although the PCI DSS are mandatory, only Visa and MasterCard require merchants and service providers that accept their cards to comply with these standards. However, a non-compliant corporation will nevertheless be held fully liable if fraud associated with theft of cardholder data occurs. In addition, should a security breach occur, all exposed merchants that are not PCI DSS compliant will be fined. It is up to merchants and service providers to achieve, demonstrate and maintain compliance through annual validations. Merchants may use the services of specialized service providers to help them comply with PCI DSS standards. Useful tools to ensure compliance are also available online for these purposes2. Should a merchant not wish to go through the PCI DSS compliance process, it may always use the services of a PCI DSS compliant payment service provider3. PCI Security Standards Council, Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard Requirements and Security Assessment Procedures (Version 3.2.1, May 2018), online (PDF): Official website of the PCI Security Standards Council These can be found through a search using the keywords “PCI DSS compliance” or “PCI DSS conformity.” These can be found through a search using the keywords “PCI DSS Payment Gateway.”
This publication was written in collaboration with André Laurin. By all accounts, the coronavirus pandemic and the measures implemented by the government have created a particularly difficult and delicate situation for almost all organizations. Despite this extraordinary situation, the general duties of directors (duty to comply with the law, duty of care and duty of loyalty or fiduciary duty) as required by the relevant laws of incorporation and by the Civil Code of Québec remain the same. However, in the current context, the directors of a legal person must greatly improve and intensify their thinking process and their actions, in order to ensure that they respect these duties and, in particular, to ensure that they act in the best interests of the legal person in question. According to the incorporation laws and the Civil Code of Québec, the board of directors is responsible for the management of the legal person or, as the case may be, for the supervision of the management performed by the persons to whom they have delegated their powers, namely the legal person’s management team. Duty of care For directors of legal persons, respecting their duty of care involves, now more than ever: an understanding of the challenges and risks associated with the impact of COVID-19 on the legal person’s business, clients, employees, suppliers, etc.; identifying the best management measures available, relying upon what they reasonably consider as being the best practices under the circumstances; attentively monitoring the implementation of the decisions made and making the appropriate adjustments as things evolve. On this subject, please note that the business corporations acts specify that directors are considered to have complied with their duty of care if their decisions rely in good faith on the reports of a person whose profession lends credibility to his statements. Duty of loyalty As well as a duty of care, the law also imposes a duty of loyalty, also referred to as a fiduciary duty, on directors of legal persons, which, among other things, requires them to act in the best interests of the legal person. The Supreme Court of Canada provided interpretations of the duty of loyalty in its 2008 BCE decision1 (many of these interpretations have been explicitly integrated into recent modifications to the Canada Business Corporations Act2): characterizing the interests of the legal person as being those of a responsible corporate citizen (or “good corporate citizen”); highlighting that directors pursuant to this duty of loyalty may consider the interests of the stakeholders, such as shareholders, employees, retired persons, creditors, consumers, governments and the environment, who may be affected by their decisions; specifying, however, that if the interests of the various stakeholders cannot be reconciled with the best interests of the legal person, the long-term best interests of such legal person viewed as an ongoing concern must prevail. In practice, in order to respect this duty, directors cannot disobey the law. They must also, in particular: ensure that the legal person takes necessary measures to respect the directives of public authorities; ensure that the legal person takes appropriate measures to protect the health of its employees, clients and suppliers; not tolerate practices that are generally detrimental to the legal person or that aim to fraudulently profit from the current crisis; prioritize measures that have the best chance of enabling a substantial part of the legal person’s business to survive and restart the majority of its operations once the situation returns to normal3. We believe that in the current circumstances, it would be consistent with best practices for directors to consider the interests of stakeholders. This involves identifying those interests and evaluating them reasonably and fairly, as well as evaluating whether they can be reconciled with the legal person’s best interests. It is clear that the current situation does not easily allow for reconciling, at least in the short term, the interests of all of stakeholders with the interests the legal person, which must prevail. Maintaining the conditions and relationships that existed before the crisis will be, in most cases, difficult to reconcile with the long-term best interests of the legal person, as defined and interpreted by the law and the courts. Directors therefore must arbitrate between these interests in a reasonable way, prioritizing the interests of the legal person, even if it is difficult to do so. This crisis, the government directives and their effects require leadership and creativity on the part of directors. As has been written by several observers, the current crisis will necessitate new approaches when the pandemic is over. In this endeavour, directors must be proactive and must help management find solutions to limit the negative effects of the crisis and plan on potential new ways for the carrying out of the legal person’s operations in the coming years. BCE Inc. v. 1976 Debentureholders,  3 S.C.R. 560, 2008 SCC 69. See subsection 122 (1.1) of the Canada Business Corporations Act, RSC 1985, c C-44. A very apropos article on the way directors can fulfill their duties of diligence and loyalty was posted on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance on March 29, 2020: GREGORY, Holly J., GRAPSAS, Rebecca and HOLLAND, Claire, Ten Considerations for Boards of Directors, Cambridge, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, online: https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2020/03/29/ten-considerations-for-boards-of-directors/.
Lavery is pleased to announce that André Vautour, Partner of the firm, has been elected Chair Elect of the World Services Group (WSG) 2023–2024 Board of Directors. Mr. Vautour will serve as Chair Elect for a one-year term where he will work with WSG leadership and other members of the Board in assessing the strategic future and progress of WSG and meeting its objectives. In addition to Mr. Vautour, WSG officers for the current year include Anastasia Campbell from Graham Thompson in the Bahamas, Chair; Rafael Calvo Salinero from Spanish firm Garrigues, Secretary; David Gutiérrez from BLP in Costa Rica, Treasurer; and Herman H. Raspé from Patterson Belknap in New York, Chair Emeritus. The network’s board, on which Mr. Vautour also sits, is made up of 16 members representing all the regions in the world. World Services Group is the most prominent global network of independent law firms and a group of a select few investment banking and accounting firms. The network is comprised of over 120 prominent law firms with over 23,000 professionals globally. The members of these firms act in over 150 countries and territories. This network can connect its members’ clients to other elite legal firms and their multinational clients worldwide. “I’m very pleased to serve as Chair Elect at WSG. This prestigious organization provides a solid and collaborative global platform and its members are committed to providing the best service quality and value to their clients. The Chair, Alexandra Campbell of Graham Thompson in the Bahamas, the Chair Emeritus, Herman H. Raspé of Patterson Belknap in New York, members of the Board, members of the regional councils and all WSG member firms make an outstanding contribution through their hard work,” stated André Vautour. About Lavery Lavery is the leading independent law firm in Quebec and a member of the WSG network. Its more than 200 professionals, based in Montreal, Quebec City, 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 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.
Following a qualification process, the Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable du Québec (MTMD) issued a call for tenders in 2022 for the construction of the new Île-aux-Tourtes bridge pursuant to the project delivery method known as design-build-finance (DBF). Since this was a DBF, the financing of this project had to be included in the proposals made by the selected candidates. Lavery represented the successful consortium made up of Dragados Canada Inc., Roxboro Excavation Inc. and Construction Demathieu & Bard Inc. Our role required expertise in the following areas: (a) Governance and corporate law (b) Project financing (banking and securities) (c) Public procurement (d) Construction law (e) Commercial agreements (f) Taxation Lavery represented the consortium from the call for proposals to the financial close, including the drafting phase leading up to the awarding of the contract to the consortium. The financing was the most complex part of this transaction. Under the hybrid approach retained for that project, a major credit facility to be granted by a bank syndicate had to be set up, as well the private placement of two tranches of bonds. This involved adjusting the rights and obligations of creditors on both sides within a sophisticated intercreditor agreement. The financing also required parent company guarantees, including from French and Spanish corporations, which required us to find common ground to accommodate the typical requirements of a North American financing and the specific corporate and commercial features applicable in France and Spain. To meet this challenge, we put together a multidisciplinary team, divided up the work in accordance with our professionals’ diverse expertises, and dedicated a team member exclusively to interactions with the MTMD, its lawyers and the issuers of performance bonds typical for this kind of projects. Sound project management practices were essential to the success of this team effort. It is a privilege for Lavery to have participated in this essential project allowing the people of Quebec to obtain a new bridge linking the regions of Montérégie and Montréal. The Lavery team was led by Josianne Beaudry, Nicolas Gagnon, Édith Jacques, David Tournier and André Vautour, and included Véronik Bonneville-Pesant, Katerina Kostopoulos, Jean-François Maurice, Joseph Gualdieri, Siddhartha Borissov-Beausoleil, Alexandre Turcotte, Luc Pariseau, Charles Hugo Gagné, Mickaël Pageau, Jean-Vincent Prévost-Bérubé and Yohann Lévy.
On June 26, 2023, Lexpert recognized the expertise of three of our partners in its 2023 Lexpert Special Edition: Technology and Health. Chantal Desjardins, Selena Lu and André Vautour now rank among Canada’s leaders in the area of Technology and Health. Chantal Desjardins is a partner, lawyer and trade-mark agent in Lavery’s intellectual property group. She contributes actively to the development of her clients’ rights in this field, which includes the protection of trade-marks, industrial designs, copyright, trade secrets, domain names and other related forms of intellectual property, in order to promote her clients’ business goals. Selena Lu is a partner in the Business Law group and focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions. She frequently advises clients abroad on commercial law matters relating to investment and expansion in Canada. Over the years, Selena has developed an interest and acquired significant experience in supporting customers in their technological change. On a day-to-day basis, she advises clients on the legal impacts of the introduction of new technologies. Moreover, she oversees the development of the structure and negotiation of mergers and acquisitions along with complex business relationships for developing, marketing and acquiring technologies. André Vautour practices in the fields of corporate and commercial law and is particularly interested in corporate governance, strategic alliances, joint ventures, investment funds and mergers and acquisitions of private corporations. He practises in the field of technology law (drafting technology development and transfer agreements, licensing agreements, distribution agreements, outsourcing agreements, and e-commerce agreements).