Stay up-to-date on news and events from our Young Advocates' Standing Committee (YASC) with Keeping Tabs.

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The Advocates’ Society<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong>


05<br />

06<br />

08<br />

12<br />

14<br />

17<br />

20<br />

Chair Chat<br />

Chris Kinnear Hunter (he/him), Torys LLP<br />

The Pursuit of Practice: Changing Practice Areas<br />

as a Junior Lawyer<br />

Narmada Gunawardana (she/her), Davies Howe LLP<br />

Reflecting Economic Realities: When Should<br />

Courts Deviate from the Standard Prejudgment<br />

Interest?<br />

Sara Romeih (she/her), Ross Nasseri LLP<br />

Lawyerly Media for Inspiration<br />

<strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong> Team<br />

Adoption de la Loi visant l’égalité réelle entre les<br />

langues officielles du Canada : des nouveautés majeures<br />

en droits linguistiques<br />

Isabelle Hardy (elle), Commissariat aux langues officielles<br />

Adoption of the Act for the Substantive Equality of<br />

Canada’s Official Languages:<br />

Major New Developments in Language Rights<br />

Isabelle Hardy (she/her), Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages<br />

Interview with Marianne Bastille-Parent<br />

(she/her), Stikeman Elliott LLP<br />

Compiled by Aly Háji (he/him), Rickets Harris LLP<br />

More information is available on the<br />

TAS mentoring website page.<br />

2<br />

TAS Junior Members are automatically<br />

signed up. Click here to set up your<br />

profile today!<br />

Want to mentor? Opt-in to be a mentor<br />

on your TAS member profile.<br />

Editor: Eric Blay (he/him), Stikeman Elliott | eblay@stikeman.com<br />

Deputy Editor: Julie Mouris (she/her), Conway Baxter Wilson LLP/s.r.l. |<br />

<strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong> Editorial Team: Katrina Crocker, Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP, Lisa Delaney (she/her), Cox & Palmer, Aly Háji (he/him), Rickets Harris LLP, Glynnis<br />

Hawe, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP, Karlson Leung (he/him), Ministry of the Attorney General, Crown Law Office and Jean-Simon Schoenholz, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP<br />

The <strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong> Team also recognizes the contribution of Mohammed Elshafie, Conway Baxter Wilson LLP/s.r.l., in this issue.<br />

jmouris@conwaylitigation.ca<br />

The Young Advocates’ Standing Committee (“YASC”) is a standing committee of The Advocates’ Society with a mandate to be a voice for young advocates (advocates<br />

who are ten years of call or fewer) within the Society and within the profession. We do this through networking/mentoring events, by publishing articles by and<br />

for young advocates, and by raising issues of concern to young advocates as we work with the Society’s Board of Directors. The opinions expressed by individual<br />

authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Advocates’ Society.<br />

3<br />



Chair Chat<br />

Chris Kinnear Hunter (he/him), Torys LLP<br />

So far this year I’ve had a hearing in British Columbia,<br />

navigated a matter in the Northwest<br />

Territories and worked with colleagues in Quebec<br />

defending related proceedings on both<br />

sides of the Ontario/Quebec border. While I’m<br />

reminded of the important distinctions between<br />

the laws, procedures and norms in each<br />

province, I’ve been reflecting this month on<br />

how collegial the “Canadian” Bar is as a whole.<br />

Take, for example, opposing counsel in Vancouver<br />

who, without being asked, recognized<br />

the challenges of conducting a hearing out-oftown<br />

and offered printing services at their offices<br />

if the need arose, or counsel in the NWT<br />

who, upon learning that I would be in a hearing<br />

for most of January, volunteered an indulgence<br />

for a pleading. I won’t pretend to have anything<br />

more nuanced or profound to say about civility<br />

and collegiality than what has been said in<br />

several Advocates’ Society publications before,<br />

but to those involved (you know who you are),<br />

thank you. And to those who can relate, I hope<br />

you’ll pay it forward.<br />

Our <strong>Winter</strong> edition of <strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong> features<br />

articles from young advocates of the Canadian<br />

Bar in both English and French. Isabelle Hardy<br />

has written an important article on recent<br />

amendments to the Official Languages Act aimed<br />

at promoting substantive language equality in<br />

the Canadian justice system. You’ll also find<br />

some practical tips from Narmada Gunawardana<br />

on transitioning from one practice area to<br />

another; an analysis of when it’s appropriate to<br />

push for a deviation from the standard rates<br />

of prejudgment interest by Sarah Romeih; an<br />

interview with Marianne Bastille-Parent, a Quebec<br />

lawyer practicing international law; and, of<br />

course, our favourite podcast, show and movie<br />

recommendations.<br />

As always, my sincere thanks goes out to the<br />

<strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong> editorial team for their work putting<br />

this edition together. Our lead editor, Eric<br />

Blay, would love to hear from you if you’d like<br />

to contribute a piece to a future edition.<br />

5 5


The Pursuit of Practice:<br />

Changing Practice Areas<br />

as a Junior Lawyer<br />

Narmada Gunawardana (she/her), Davies Howe LLP<br />

While I was in law school, I got it into my head<br />

that the area of law I began working in would<br />

be my area of practice in for the rest of my<br />

legal career. This was misguided. I have since<br />

learned that lawyers often move around. However,<br />

changing practice areas as a young lawyer<br />

can be daunting. I changed practice areas<br />

within one year of being called to the bar and<br />

these are the things I found most helpful.<br />

Learn the law<br />

Learn the substantive law of the practice area<br />

to which you wish to change. This will give<br />

you the knowledge you need in your future<br />

position while also equipping<br />

you with the ability to<br />

show your interest to potential<br />

employers. In my experience,<br />

a genuine interest in a practice<br />

area and a willingness to learn will<br />

open many doors. There are a<br />

number of resources you can use<br />

to gain this knowledge: events<br />

run by one of the 15 practice<br />

groups at The Advocates’ Society,<br />

set up alerts on CanLII<br />

for new decisions, or sign up for<br />

articles on mondaq.<br />

Pitch your transferable skills<br />

This is an exercise in advocating for yourself.<br />

As a lawyer, you have already begun to develop<br />

the skills that will make you effective in any<br />

practice area. However, the onus is on you to<br />

show the employer how your skills are transferable<br />

to their specific practice area. This is<br />

particularly true if you are working with recruiters,<br />

who may be looking for a specific list<br />

of past experiences. Even if you don’t have<br />

specific experiences, you likely have comparable<br />

experiences and other assets that will help<br />

you succeed in that role. Keep a list of those<br />

experiences and skills at the ready.<br />

Network, network, network<br />

This can be stressful, particularly if you are<br />

cold-contacting partners or attending events<br />

where you don’t know anyone. However, for<br />

me, nothing was as helpful in changing practice<br />

areas as networking. Every communication<br />

I had, whether it was an email, phone<br />

call, or coffee chat, led me to gain valuable<br />

insight on how best to maneuver the change.<br />

Networking helps you build connections and<br />

informal mentors who can refer you to firms<br />

that are hiring. These connections can also<br />

give you real insight into the experience of<br />

working in that practice area. This allows you<br />

to make a more informed choice on your potential<br />

move.<br />

Be patient and keep at it<br />

If you are determined to move to a new practice<br />

area, I personally believe it is a question of<br />

when and not if it happens. I recommend that<br />

you are realistic with your timeline and patient<br />

with the process. When I was looking to make<br />

the change, I was given the following helpful<br />

advice - you will get your shot and when you<br />

do, take it and run with it.<br />

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6<br />

Ed. note: For TAS members, the online Mentoring Portal is a great place to connect with other<br />

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8<br />

Reflecting Economic Realities:<br />

When Should Courts Deviate from the<br />

Standard Prejudgment Interest?<br />

Sara Romeih (she/her), Ross Nasseri LLP<br />

Prejudgment interest is a key component of a claimant’s award that deserves careful consideration<br />

by counsel when commencing a claim. Once damages are awarded, a decision maker must translate<br />

that damage award for past wrongdoing into present-day value as of the date the judgment is<br />

obtained. This is captured through awarding prejudgment interest. Prejudgment interest serves as<br />

a proxy for the opportunity cost incurred by a litigant. However, statutorily imposed prejudgment<br />

interest rates may not reflect the extent of this cost. Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision<br />

in Bank of America v Mutual Trust, 1 courts should exercise their discretion to modify the prejudgment<br />

interest rate in appropriate circumstances.<br />

Ontario’s Statutory Regime<br />

In Ontario, the calculation of prejudgment and<br />

post judgment interest is governed by ss. 128 to<br />

130 of the Courts of Justice Act [“CJA”]. 2 In most<br />

cases, the CJA interest rates will apply with certain<br />

exceptions.<br />

Typically, the party eligible for a damages award is<br />

entitled to plead and receive prejudgment interest<br />

at the default rate set out in s. 128(1) and identified<br />

in s. 127(1) as the bank rate. 3 This is fundamental in<br />

incentivizing parties to pay amounts owed before<br />

judgment.<br />

Section 130 of the CJA, however, provides the court<br />

with the discretion to vary the interest rate or the<br />

time for which interest may be awarded. 4<br />

Calculating Prejudgment Interest After Bank of America<br />

The reality is that in some cases, the statutorily prescribed default rates do not accurately reflect or<br />

compensate litigants for the time value of money including their opportunity cost. 5 As such, compound<br />

interest can be justified. 6<br />

This was recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in Bank of America, 7 where it held that compound<br />

judgment interest could be awarded at common law and in equity.<br />

Bank of America involved a loan agreement<br />

where a bank lent money to a builder for the<br />

financing of a construction project. The loan<br />

agreement stipulated that, in case of default,<br />

compound interest would be payable.<br />

The builder assigned the loan agreement<br />

to a trust company, which refused to make<br />

payments as the economy declined. At issue<br />

was whether the bank was entitled to compound<br />

interest as an award for damages.<br />

The court held that it is appropriate to award<br />

compound prejudgment and post judgment<br />

interest when simple interest would not adequately<br />

compensate the plaintiff. Such a<br />

relief was necessary to protect the full-time<br />

value of money owed to judgment creditors.<br />

Bank of America reiterated the long-standing<br />

principle that equity is one right by which<br />

prejudgment interest may be awarded.<br />

This suggests that a court can also award<br />

compound interest for tort claims if the aggrieved<br />

party incurred debt or losses as a<br />

direct consequence of the tort.<br />

Some courts have exercised discretion in<br />

tailoring an interest award. In MDS Inc v Factory<br />

Mutual Insurance Company, 8 the Court of<br />

Appeal for Ontario upheld the trial judge’s<br />

order to award compound prejudgment interest<br />

totaling $14,821,338, in the absence<br />

of an agreement between the parties as to<br />

compound interest. The amount under the<br />

CJA rate would have been $1,668,368 – a<br />

fraction of that total. Importantly, deviating<br />

from the CJA rate was justified because there<br />

was a documented average cost of borrowing<br />

by the plaintiff. 9<br />

Loss of Opportunity as a Basis for Adjusting<br />

Prejudgment Interest Rate<br />

In practice, the CJA default rate is deemed<br />

to be the claimant’s opportunity cost, which<br />

in some cases does not compensate for not<br />

having the monetary award between the<br />

time the action arose and the judgment.<br />

Bank of America offers guidance in providing<br />

a legal basis for widely accepted economic<br />

principles of opportunity cost, risk, and inflation.<br />

Nonetheless, courts are still reticent to<br />

apply these concepts in awarding prejudgment<br />

interest. 10<br />

Factors such as verifiable foregone economic<br />

opportunities, liquidation of investment<br />

funds or cost of borrowing to remedy a defendant’s<br />

wrongdoing or mitigate damages,<br />

size of a business, access to other sources<br />

of capital, and other factors may impact<br />

the assessment of the appropriate prejudgment<br />

interest rate. While these factors<br />

may be difficult to assess, the complexity of<br />

the assessment should not deter the court<br />

from examining the actual opportunity cost<br />

and compensating the plaintiff appropriately.<br />

Failing to examine this opportunity cost<br />

means that a monetary award does not<br />

make the plaintiff truly whole.<br />

Ultimately, prejudgment interest rate can<br />

make a meaningful difference to the award<br />

received by a litigant. Counsel should take<br />

heed of the proper quantum of damages<br />

but also the compensation for lack of access<br />

to damages during the period of the dispute.<br />

Prejudgment interest should account for<br />

the practical economic considerations in a<br />

way that does not punish or reward a party.<br />

Bank of America opens the door to using<br />

compound interest to reflect economic impact<br />

accurately. However, the case law has<br />

much room to develop in considering the<br />

actual economic opportunity cost borne<br />

by litigants, which includes the appropriate<br />

prejudgment interest rate.<br />


Notes<br />

1. 2002 SCC 43 [Bank of America].<br />

2. RSO 1990, c C.43 [CJA].<br />

3. Subsection 27(1) of the CJA defines the bank rate as “the minimum rate at which the Bank of Canada makes short-term advances to banks listed in Schedule I to<br />

the Bank Act (Canada).”<br />

4. Paragraph 128(4)(g) and s. 129(5) also allow a court to award interest where interest is “payable by a right other than under this section.” In exercising its discretion<br />

under s. 130 of the CJA, a court must take into account changes in market interest rates; the circumstances of the case; whether an advance payment was made;<br />

the circumstances of medical disclosure by the plaintiff, if applicable; the amount claimed, and the amount recovered in the proceeding; conduct of any party<br />

tending to shorten or lengthen the proceeding unnecessarily; and any other relevant consideration.<br />

5. The time value of money is an economic concept that that a sum of money has different values at different points in time. It recognizes that the purchasing power<br />

of money can change over time due to factors such as inflation, interest rates, and the potential to earn a return on investment. In essence, a dollar today is considered<br />

more valuable than a dollar in the future, and this principle is fundamental to various financial calculations and decision-making processes. Opportunity<br />

cost refers to the benefit or value that is forgone in order to pursue a particular course of action. In economic terms, opportunity cost represents the benefits<br />

an individual, investor, or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another. For a more detailed discussion on these concepts and how they<br />

relate to the calculation of prejudgment interest rates, see Hugo A. Acciarri & Nuno Garoupa, “On the Judicial Interest Rate: Towards a Law and Economic Theory”<br />

(2013) 4:1 JETL 34.<br />

6. Simple interest separates the original borrowed or invested amount from the interest earned or paid; compound interest, on the other hand, considers all money<br />

equally, making it a more accurate representation of the monetary value over time. See discussion in Bank of America, supra note 1 at paras 23-24.<br />

7. See also Major J.’s discussion re the “time-value of money” and “opportunity cost” at paras 21 and 22.<br />

8. 2021 ONCA 594.<br />

9. The Court of Appeal has also recognized other categories for which an award for a higher prejudgment interest can be awarded; for example, as an award of<br />

equity where a wrongdoer deprives a company of funds that it uses in its business, and where there is a breach of fiduciary duty. See Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.<br />

v. Marinaccio, 2012 ONCA 650.<br />

10. See e.g. MacDonald et al. v. BMO Trust Company et al., 2020 ONSC 93; Stolba v. Comwave, 2017 BCSC 2254 at para 128, aff’d ​2019 BCCA 120.<br />



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Lawyerly Media for Inspiration<br />

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Friends Who Argue - A Chat with<br />

Kayla Smith of Cassels on Access to<br />

the Profession, Tackling the<br />

“Pipeline Issue”, Representation<br />

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Code Switch - a NPR podcast<br />

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Adoption de la Loi visant l’égalité réelle entre les<br />

langues officielles du Canada : des nouveautés<br />

majeures en droits linguistiques<br />

Isabelle Hardy (elle), Commissariat aux langues<br />

officielles<br />

Note de l’éditeur : Les modifications récentes à la Loi sur les langues officielles apportent plusieurs changements<br />

sur le plan des langues officielles au Canada, y compris ceux discutés dans cet article. D’autres modifications notables<br />

comprennent les nouvelles obligations des cours fédérales de publier certains jugements en anglais et en<br />

français de manière simultanée ; ces obligations entreront en vigueur le 20 juin <strong>2024</strong>. En ce qui concerne ces modifications,<br />

la Société des plaideurs a envoyé une lettre au gouvernement fédéral le 10 janvier <strong>2024</strong>, l’encourageant<br />

de fournir des ressources suffisantes aux cours fédérales pour rencontrer ces nouvelles obligations. Cette lettre<br />

(en anglais) est disponible ici.<br />

Mise en garde : *Les propos compris dans cet article sont ceux de l’autrice<br />

et non ceux de son employeur.<br />

Le paysage des droits linguistiques fédéral connaît<br />

d’importants changements depuis la sanction<br />

royale du projet de loi C-13 1 le 20 juin 2023.<br />

Cette loi apporte des modifications substantielles<br />

à la Loi sur les langues officielles [« LLO »] 2 ,<br />

dont trois sont abordées dans cet article : l’accent<br />

sur l’égalité réelle, les modifications à l’administration<br />

de la justice et la judiciarisation des<br />

pouvoirs du commissaire.<br />

La LLO précise, une fois pour toutes, que «<br />

l’égalité réelle est la norme applicable » aux<br />

droits linguistiques, lesquels doivent être interprétés<br />

« d’une façon large et libérale en fonction<br />

de leur objet » et « en fonction de leur caractère<br />

réparateur » 3 . L’ensemble de la LLO rend manifeste<br />

la nécessité de tenir compte, notamment<br />

dans l’interprétation des droits linguistiques, du<br />

fait que le français est en situation minoritaire<br />

au Canada en raison de l’usage prédominant de<br />

l’anglais.<br />

En d’autres mots, il faut viser l’égalité réelle –<br />

en droit et en pratique.<br />

En ce qui concerne l’administration de la justice,<br />

comme en témoignent les dernières nominations<br />

à la Cour suprême du Canada, l’article 16<br />

de la LLO a été révisé pour inclure (de fait, pour<br />

ne plus exclure) la Cour suprême du Canada par-<br />

mi les tribunaux fédéraux devant comprendre<br />

les causes dans les deux langues officielles sans<br />

l’aide d’un interprète.<br />

Qui exige une compréhension par les tribunaux<br />

des langues officielles doit assurer une capacité<br />

institutionnelle bilingue au sein de ceux-ci.<br />

C’est ce que vise le nouveau paragraphe 16(3)<br />

de la LLO, lequel impose au gouvernement<br />

fédéral l’obligation de veiller, dans le cadre<br />

des nominations aux tribunaux fédéraux, à<br />

ce que ces tribunaux puissent respecter leur<br />

obligation d’entendre des causes dans les<br />

deux langues officielles sans l’aide d’un interprète.<br />

Au-delà des tribunaux fédéraux, le nouvel<br />

article 16.1 du la LLO requiert que le gouvernement<br />

fédéral tienne compte de l’importance<br />

de l’accès égal à la justice dans les deux<br />

langues officielles au moment de nommer<br />

les juges des cours supérieures à travers le<br />

pays 4 . Les candidat.e.s souhaitant accéder à<br />

la magistrature doivent indiquer leur niveau<br />

de compétence linguistique et s’attendre à<br />

ce que le Bureau du commissaire à la magistrature<br />

fédérale évalue la capacité, non<br />

seulement de comprendre, mais également<br />

de parler « clairement » les deux langues officielles<br />

de tout.e candidat.e se déclarant bilingue.<br />

5<br />

Pour ce qui est du commissaire aux langues<br />

officielles, ses nouveaux pouvoirs comprennent<br />

la possibilité de conclure des accords<br />

de conformité 6 , d’émettre des ordonnances 7<br />

et d’imposer des sanctions administratives<br />

pécuniaires (ce dernier pouvoir entrera en<br />

vigueur lorsque les décret et règlement associés<br />

seront pris 8 ). Avec l’arrivée de ces nouveaux<br />

pouvoirs, les avocat.e.s plaidant.e.s<br />

peuvent s’attendre à voir un Commissariat<br />

aux langues officielles plus judiciarisé, c’està-dire<br />

exerçant des pouvoirs quasi judiciaires<br />

de nature plus coercitive. Ayant pour objectif<br />

d’accroître la conformité des institutions<br />

fédérales à la LLO, les nouveaux pouvoirs<br />

du commissaire s’accompagnent tous de recours<br />

devant les tribunaux fédéraux.<br />

En visant l’égalité réelle dans le domaine<br />

de la justice, et en renforçant les pouvoirs du<br />

commissaire, la LLO modernisée s’avère fort<br />

prometteuse pour la promotion des droits<br />

linguistiques au Canada.<br />

Notes<br />

1. Loi modifiant la Loi sur les langues officielles, édictant la Loi sur l’usage du français au sein des entreprises privées de compétence fédérale et apportant des<br />

modifications connexes à d’autres lois, Première session, quarante-quatrième législature, 70-71 Elizabeth II – 1 Charles III, 2021-2022-2023.<br />

2. LRC 1985, c 31 (4e supp) [LLO].<br />

3. LLO, art 3.1<br />

4. LLO, art 16.1.<br />

5. LLO, art 16.2(1) et (2).<br />

6. LLO, art 64.1 et suivants.<br />

7. LLO, art 64.5 et suivants.<br />

8. Supra note 1, art 37, voir aussi art 71(3).<br />

14<br />

15<br />



Adoption of the Act for the Substantive<br />

Equality of Canada’s Official Languages:<br />

Major New Developments in Language Rights<br />

Isabelle Hardy (she/her), Office of the Commissioner of<br />

Official Languages<br />

(Translation of previous article)<br />

Editor’s note: The recent amendments to the Official Languages Act are bringing about many changes in the official<br />

languages landscape in Canada, including those discussed in this article. Other notable amendments include<br />

new obligations for the federal courts to simultaneously publish judgments in English and French, which will come<br />

into force on June 20, <strong>2024</strong>. In respect of those amendments, The Advocates’ Society sent a letter to the federal<br />

government on January 10, <strong>2024</strong>, encouraging it to provide federal courts with sufficient resources to meet these<br />

new obligations. That letter is available here.<br />

Disclaimer: The comments included in this article are those of the author and not those of her employer.<br />

The federal language rights landscape has undergone<br />

significant change since Bill C-13, An Act for<br />

the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official Languages,<br />

received Royal Assent 1 on June 20, 2023. This<br />

act makes substantial amendments to the Official<br />

Languages Act [“OLA”], 2 three of which are discussed<br />

in this article: the emphasis on substantive equality,<br />

changes to the administration of justice and the<br />

judicialization of the Commissioner of official Languages’<br />

powers.<br />

The OLA specifies, once and for all, that “the<br />

norm for the interpretation of language rights is<br />

substantive equality.” These rights must be given<br />

“a large, liberal and purposive interpretation” and<br />

must be interpreted “in light of their remedial character.”<br />

3 As a whole, the OLA makes clear the need<br />

to take into account, including in interpreting language<br />

rights, the fact that French is in a minority<br />

situation in Canada due to the predominant use of<br />

English. In other words, substantive equality is the<br />

aim – in law and in practice.<br />

With respect to the administration of justice, as<br />

evidenced by the most recent appointments to the<br />

Supreme Court of Canada, section 16 of the OLA<br />

has been revised to include (in fact, to no longer<br />

exclude) the Supreme Court of Canada among the<br />

federal courts required to hear cases in both official<br />

languages without the assistance of an interpreter.<br />

Requiring that courts understand both official<br />

languages means ensuring that courts have bilingual<br />

institutional capacity. This is the purpose of the<br />

new subsection 16(3) of the OLA, which imposes an<br />

obligation on the federal government to ensure,<br />

in the context of appointments to federal courts,<br />

that these courts are able to meet their obligation<br />

to hear cases in both official languages without the<br />

assistance of an interpreter.<br />

Beyond the federal courts, the new section 16.1<br />

of the OLA requires the federal government to take<br />

into account the importance of equal access to justice<br />

in both official languages when appointing superior<br />

court judges across the country. Candidates<br />

seeking appointment to the bench must indicate<br />

their level of language proficiency and expect the<br />

Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Aff-<br />

17<br />


airs to evaluate the ability of every candidate declaring<br />

themself bilingual, not only to understand,<br />

but also to speak “clearly” both official languages. 4<br />

As for the Commissioner of Official Languages,<br />

his new powers include entering into compliance<br />

agreements, 5 making orders 6 and imposing administrative<br />

monetary penalties (the latter power<br />

will come into force when the associated order and<br />

regulation are made). 7 With the advent of these<br />

new powers, litigators can expect to see a more<br />

judicialized Office of the Commissioner of Official<br />

Languages, i.e. one exercising quasi-judicial powers<br />

of a more coercive nature. All of the Commissioner’s<br />

new powers are intended to increase the<br />

compliance of federal institutions with the OLA,<br />

and are accompanied by recourse to the federal<br />

courts.<br />

By aiming for substantive equality in the field of<br />

justice, and by strengthening the Commissioner’s<br />

powers, the modernized OLA holds great promise<br />

for the promotion of language rights in Canada.<br />

Notes<br />

1. An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other<br />

Acts, First Session, Forty-fourth Parliament, 70-71 Elizabeth II - 1 Charles III, 2021-2022-2023.<br />

2. RSC, 1985, c 31 (4th Supp) [OLA].<br />

3. OLA, s 3.1.<br />

4. OLA, s 16.2(1) and (2).<br />

5. OLA, s 64.1 ff.<br />

6. OLA, s 64.5 ff.<br />

7. Supra note 1, s 37, see also s 71(3).<br />


20<br />


Interview with Marianne<br />

Bastille-Parent (she/her),<br />

Stikeman Elliott LLP<br />

Aly Háji (he/him), Rickets Harris LLP<br />

Q. Could you tell me a little bit about your practice?<br />

A. My practice is a combination of domestic civil and commercial litigation as well as local and international<br />

arbitration (including proceedings ancillary to international arbitration, such as proceedings for<br />

the recognition and enforcement of arbitration clauses or arbitral awards). I represent clients from a<br />

wide range of industries, mostly in the construction, infrastructure, energy, pharmaceutical and aviation<br />

sectors. I appear before civil courts, at the provincial and federal levels, as well as arbitration tribunals.<br />

Q. Why did you decide to practice international law?<br />

A. My interest in international law sparked early and mostly began on an academic note. At the<br />

University of Ottawa, I pursued a combined degree in civil law and international development and<br />

globalization. This degree allowed me to learn about the legal, economic, geopolitical and globalizing<br />

world we live in.<br />

While in second year of law school, I participated in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot<br />

Court Competition. This experience was a turning point, solidifying my interest in international law<br />

and my inclination towards advocacy. The Jessup competition definitely influenced the trajectory<br />

of my career, which is why I remain fond of this competition to this day and why I acted as a Jessup<br />

coach until 2023.<br />

In my third year of university, I had the privilege of working as a research assistant for Professor<br />

Patrick Dumberry, focusing on investor-state disputes. In a way, this assistantship came with<br />

a revelation: I found investor-State disputes to be a most interesting combination of international<br />

law and more “typical” commercial litigation.<br />

This led me to enrol in the LLM program at Cambridge University in England, which I attended<br />

in 2016 as the recipient of the Paul Martin Senior Scholarship, awarded by the Canadian Institute<br />

for Advanced Legal Studies and the Commonwealth Trust. I opted to write my LLM dissertation<br />

on the intersection between investor-State disputes and aboriginal rights in countries where the<br />

economy is largely oriented towards the exploitation of natural resources.<br />

Before returning to Canada for bar school, I made a quick stop in Paris to attend the Arbitration<br />

Academy. I was very fortunate to meet and exchange with seasoned and aspiring arbitration<br />

practitioners from around the world, in the charming setting that a summer in Paris has to offer.<br />

When I returned to Montréal to begin my career, I aimed to take on every opportunity that<br />

would cross my path to make international law and arbitration part of my domestic practice. This<br />

was not just a professional choice but a reflection of my belief in the power of law to bridge borders<br />

and bring about positive change in our increasingly globalized world.<br />

Q. How did you build an international law<br />

practice in Québec, and how do you maintain<br />

a hybrid domestic/international practice?<br />

A. My practice in Montreal is primarily “local”, i.e.<br />

based on Quebec and Canadian law, but my graduate<br />

studies in international law as well as my willingness<br />

and my interest to be involved in matters<br />

raising issues of international law or questions of<br />

extraneity in Canadian law allowed me to develop,<br />

over time and in a very organic way, a practice in<br />

international law .<br />

Q. Comment avez-vous développé une pratique<br />

du droit international au Québec, et<br />

comment parvenez-vous à maintenir une<br />

pratique hybride à la fois nationale et internationale?<br />

A. Ma pratique à Montréal est principalement<br />

« locale », c’est-à-dire basée sur le droit québécois<br />

et canadien, mais mes études supérieures<br />

en droit international ainsi que ma volonté et<br />

mon intérêt d’être impliquée dans des dossiers<br />

présentant des enjeux de droit international ou<br />

des questions d’extranéité à traiter en droit canadien<br />

m’ont permis de développer, au fil du<br />

temps et de façon très organique, une pratique<br />

en droit international.<br />

Q. Comment cette pratique s’est-elle développée concrètement?<br />

A. Dans mon cas, en saisissant une opportunité à la fois. Au tout début de ma carrière, de nombreux<br />

traités de libre-échange entre le Canada et d’autres États étaient en cours de négociation<br />

et de rédaction. C’était une période de grands changements, y compris au niveau des règles entourant<br />

la résolution des différents entre investisseurs et États. J’ai eu la chance de conseiller des<br />

clients sur les impacts et ramifications de ces évolutions en cours. Il s’agissait de mandats très<br />

stimulants ! Au fil du temps, d’autres opportunités se sont présentées à moi. Plus récemment, j’ai<br />

été impliquée dans un dossier fascinant d’immunité étatique dans le contexte de procédures de<br />

reconnaissance d’une sentence arbitrale internationale. Je travaille actuellement sur un arbitrage<br />

investisseur-État.<br />

Il est important de comprendre qu’il n’y a pas qu’un seul chemin pour pratiquer le droit international<br />

au Québec. Il est possible d’intégrer cette expertise dans une pratique plus locale, comme<br />

c’est le cas pour moi. Le Québec offre un marché riche de possibilités grâce à son bilinguisme et<br />

son bi-juridisme, et il existe de nombreux avantages à avoir une pratique hybride.<br />


22<br />

Q. How did this practice develop concretely?<br />

A. In my case, by seizing one opportunity at a time. At the very beginning of my career, a number<br />

of free trade agreements between Canada and other States were being negotiated and drafted. It<br />

was a period of significant change, including in terms of the rules surrounding investor-State dispute<br />

resolution. I had the opportunity to advise clients on the impacts and ramifications of these<br />

changes. These were very stimulating mandates! Over time, other opportunities presented themselves<br />

to me. More recently, I was involved in a fascinating matter on State immunity in the context<br />

of the enforcement of an arbitral award. I am currently working on an investor-State arbitration.<br />

It is important to understand that there is not only one path to practice international law in<br />

Quebec. It is possible to integrate this expertise into a more local practice, as is the case for me.<br />

Quebec offers a market rich in opportunity given its bilingualism and bi-juralism, and there are<br />

numerous advantages to having a hybrid practice.<br />

Q. I believe we previously met at some point at a Cambridge University event and I recall<br />

you mentioning you had an amazing experience there during your LLM. What made you<br />

decide to pursue an LLM at Cambridge?<br />

A. First and foremost, it was the intellectual challenge of attending such a renowned institution that<br />

drew me to pursue an LLM at Cambridge.<br />

I had always envisioned Cambridge as an epitome of sophisticated and rigorous academic pursuit,<br />

especially in the realms of teaching and research. I knew Cambridge to be at the forefront of international<br />

law (public and commercial) research, which was my interest. The more I learned about the university<br />

and its program, professors, alumni and research initiatives, the more my determination grew<br />

to be part of its LLM program, above any other.<br />

And indeed, Cambridge did not disappoint! I met and exchanged with bright legal minds. I will always<br />

keep fond memories of my professors, classmates and fellow Hughes Hall college mates.<br />

Q. I’ve often heard that young advocates are discouraged from pursuing graduate degrees<br />

because they seem “too academic” or “impractical.” How did your LLM affect your views of<br />

advocacy, and would you recommend young advocates pursue graduate school?<br />

A. Graduate studies may indeed serve an academic purpose, but not exclusively.<br />

As a fourth year LLL student at the University of Ottawa, I was very eager to begin my litigation career<br />

in private practice. However, I realized I still had an academic curiosity to satisfy. I wanted to elevate my<br />

legal education to the next level, and the LLM at Cambridge allowed me to do that.<br />

For those questioning the pursuit of graduate studies, consider this: they are an excellent opportunity<br />

to enhance your analytical skills. Graduate studies offer an environment bustling with occasions to<br />

consider the law – its nature, its origin, its impact, etc. – not just its application. Writing a thesis is also<br />

a great intellectual challenge as well as an opportunity to deepen an interest, which undergraduate<br />

studies do not always afford.<br />

Advocacy is also about that. Arguing complex cases requires intellectual agility and the ability to think<br />

outside the box. My time at Cambridge served as an ideal training ground for these skills.<br />

Exchanging with great legal minds in small seminars, conducting in-depth research, writing an LLM<br />

dissertation, attending cutting edge conferences, etc. are just a few examples of what graduate studies<br />

have to offer. I firmly believe that these experiences are helpful for anyone aspiring to become a better<br />

lawyer and a better advocate.<br />

I also cannot stress enough the valuable human experience of attending Cambridge’s LLM program.<br />

In my view, these human experiences also shape who we are and how we practice law.<br />

Q. Your practice must keep you very busy. What do you do for fun and how do you balance<br />

your practice and personal life?<br />

A. In my free time, you will generally find me on my road bike or in a pair of cross-country skis, on the<br />

streets of Montreal or the Laurentian trails. It is also very likely that you will find me in a parc accompanied<br />

by Paddington, my loyal golden retriever, or immersed in the shelves of a bookstore searching for<br />

the Lonely Planet for my next travel destination.<br />

I do not have the magic recipe for work-life balance, but in my opinion, it is a goal that one must try<br />

to achieve a little every day and a lot in the long term. Every day brings its share of challenges and one<br />

must never lose sight of the importance of that middle ground between work, family, friends and hobbies.<br />

Q. Votre pratique doit certainement vous occuper beaucoup. Que faites-vous pour vous<br />

amuser et comment parvenez-vous à équilibrer votre vie professionnelle et personnelle?<br />

A. Dans mes temps libres, vous me retrouverez généralement sur mon vélo de route ou sur une paire<br />

de skis de fond parcourant les rues de Montréal ou les sentiers des Laurentides. Il est aussi fort probable<br />

que vous me retrouviez dans un parc en compagnie de Paddington, mon fidèle golden retriever,<br />

ou plongée dans les rayons d’une librairie à la recherche du Lonely Planet de ma prochaine destination<br />

voyage.<br />

Je ne détiens pas la recette magique de l’équilibre entre le travail et la vie personnelle, mais à<br />

mon avis, c’est un objectif que l’on doit tenter d’atteindre un peu tous les jours et beaucoup à long<br />

terme. Chaque journée apporte son lot de défis et il ne faut jamais perdre de vue l’importance de<br />

ce juste milieu entre le travail, la famille, les amis et les loisirs.<br />

Q. What advice would you give young advocates who want to practice international law but<br />

are finding it difficult to gain exposure to the field in Canada?<br />

A. There isn’t a single or pre-determined path to practice international law in Canada. Some, like<br />

myself, choose private practice, while others venture into careers in government, international<br />

organizations, NGOs or academia. Exciting careers in international law are available in a wide<br />

range of fields so I would encourage young advocates to keep an open mind and remain vigilant<br />

for opportunities, both within and outside their immediate workplace.<br />

For example, in my case, I joined the international law and international arbitration community<br />

in Canada by throwing myself into various activities. I contributed to the Jessup as a coach, wrote<br />

articles and blogs and contributed to peer review exercises for graduate students with master’s<br />

topics in international law, attended conferences and reached out to practitioners whose career<br />

paths inspired me, etc. The international law and international arbitration community in Canada<br />

is very accessible and welcoming. The key is to try and meet people, seize opportunities to make<br />

oneself known and continue to enrich one’s knowledge.<br />

Par exemple, dans mon cas personnel, j’ai joint la communauté du droit international et de l’arbitrage<br />

international au Canada en me lançant dans des activités variées. J’ai contribué au Jessup<br />

à titre de coach, rédigé des articles et des blogues puis contribué à des exercices de peer review<br />

pour des étudiants de deuxième cycle dont les sujets de maîtrise portaient sur le droit international,<br />

assisté à des conférences et pris contact avec des praticiens dont les parcours m’inspirait,<br />

etc. La communauté du droit international et de l’arbitrage international au Canada est très accessible<br />

et ouverte. L’essentiel est d’aller à la rencontre des gens, de saisir les occasions pour se faire<br />

connaître et de continuer à enrichir ses connaissances.<br />


Toronto Trivia Challenge<br />

February 1, <strong>2024</strong> | Elephant & Castle, Toronto, ON<br />

<strong>2024</strong> Winners! “Torts Illustrated” from Bennett Jones LLP<br />

24<br />



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