Toronto Legal Blog

Business and commercial law: Fairfax buys part of Carillion

A recent deal between two companies is saving about 4,500 jobs. Carillion Canada recently filed papers in court for protection against its creditors, but Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. decided to buy the company's facilities management sector. This particular part of the business will provide services to places such as airports, health care and defence facilities, along with oil, mining and gas companies as well as to retail and commercial facilities. In this business and commercial deal, thousands of Carillion jobs in Canada will be saved and moved over to Fairfax.

As is customary in these types of transactions, the deal will need to be approved by the Ontario Superior Court, which has been keeping watch over Carillion's business practices since it applied for credit protection. Carillion said it is using the protection to secure its operations and to come up with ways to appease creditors. All facets under Carillion's umbrella are covered by the protection order. Those areas includes Carillion Canada Holdings, Inc., Carillion Construction Inc. and Carillion Canada Finance Corp.

Mergers and acquisitions: Accounting firms make major deals

Experts have said  business deals around accounting companies will be on the rise in 2018. They said they are expecting a busy year with increases in mergers and acquisitions, and recent business deals in Canada with some high-profile companies may prove those predictions correct. Grant Thornton, MNP and BDO recently announced mergers that are starting 2018 off with a business bang.

BDO picked up the forensic accounting firm of Ferguson + Mak LLP -- an area in which BDO wants to expand. A BDO spokesperson said the merger will help to garner new talent to the company as it continues to further escalate its positive reputation in the industry. Meanwhile, MNP, one of Canada's top accounting and consulting companies, melded with Stratège Services Comptables Inc. out of Montreal, which views the marriage as a supportive, entrepreneurial one.

Business and commercial: Canadian communication partnership ends

Vice Canada  and Rogers Communications are severing their two-year, multi-million dollar business relationship. In the world of business and commercial ventures in Canada, this is big news. Vice's studio business was being shared with Rogers, but as of March 31,Vice will be running its own show. 

Although it has separated from Rogers, Vice says it has its sights on other possible new and exciting partnerships in Canada. The severing of ties with Rogers brings with it some job losses according to the Canadian Media Guild (CMG). A Rogers' spokesperson said Rogers views this divorce as just one that didn't match well and the union was not a money maker. A business analyst said it was likely Rogers who made the decision to end the partnership.

Business and commercial: Minimum wage increase affects Ontario

The minimum wage increase has led some business owners to enlist some drastic measures. As of Jan. 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Ontario increased to $14 an hour from $11.60 -- a jump of more than 20 per cent. That sizable increase has caused some havoc in the business and commercial sectors, leading some business owners to cut both hours and benefits for their employees. 

Thousands of Ontario business owners are trying to adjust to the increase. Some have taken drastic measures such as cutting benefits, axing paid breaks and cutting hours. Some larger corporations have taken swift public backlash for doing so. Those in favour of the wage hike argue that the increase was imperative to allow low-wage employees to earn enough to live on. Proponents believe the move will actually help the economy since these workers may now have some disposable income to purchase goods and services.

No weed woes in Canada's mergers and acquisitions scene in 2018

With the legalization of cannabis on the horizon, the pot business seems to be smoking. So far in 2018, that business has lit up the mergers and acquisitions sector of the market in Canada, and experts say they don't foresee any slow down. One of the biggest deals happened between the west and east.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. out of Alberta recently grabbed up 17.62 per cent of Ontario's medical marijuana producer, The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TGOD). The deal gives Aurora first dibs on purchasing 20 per cent of TGOD's yearly weed crop. Aurora also put pen to paper recently for a Denmark-based business deal.

Business and commercial ventures: Foreign retailers choose Canada

Many foreign retailers are choosing Canada to set up shop, even though they're treading lightly. Business and commercial ventures are up with respect to these retailers. In fact, 2017 was a record year in Canada for international businesses coming into the retail market.

Twenty-one internationals shops opened their doors in Canada in 2016. That number jumped to around 50 in 2017. These retailers really started to consider Canada in the early 90s and since then their footprint here has been considerably deeper. Their presence made 2017 a marker year for retail and commercial business in Canada. At the end of October, sales were up 7 per cent over the same period the previous year, Statistics Canada numbers show.

Slow mergers and acquisitions in Canada due to lax energy deals

Since 2013, the mergers and acquisitions sector in Canada has stalled a bit. The blame, according to experts, goes to big energy companies which weren't as active as they had been in previous years -- down about 25 per cent, in fact. However, experts predict the mining sector in Canada should raise those mergers and acquisitions numbers in 2018.

Even though Canadian companies were a part of US$243.5 billion in mergers and acquisitions in 2017, that number was down 11 per cent from 2016. Canadian companies weren't doing as much foreign buying this year, yet they still showed better numbers than in the past five years. There were seven large deals in Canada this year, falling from nine the year before.

Business and commercial law: Web piracy causes a sea of problems

The 21st century has taken society to new technological heights. Many things are done online today. Documents are signed and posted, pieces of writing are posted and newspaper articles can be accessed. It stands to reason, then, that some of this intellectual property in Canada and the world over suffers at the hands of online pirates. Any copyrighted material that is downloaded or used without consent is considered, under business and commercial law, to be pirated. 

The things that are most commonly pirated online are music, movies and computer software. A copyright act already in effect in Canada was updated in 2012 to encompass online infringements. The Copyright Modernization Act, as it's known, makes it incumbent upon internet service providers and sites hosting web pages to warn those who have illegally downloaded copyrighted material with letters from those holding the copyrights. The letter lets the person doing the downloading know they might be sued for doing so.

Business and commercial law: The use of trademarks in Canada

Succeeding in the business world means conveying a certain message or image. Consumers have to be able to identify a business by its particular trademark -- something that sets it apart from the rest. A trademark, in the business and commercial world in Canada, is part of the branding picture that gives a product or service credibility in the eyes of the public.

A registered trademark is one way a corporate image can be protected. Registering a trademark gives a business owner legal title to it sort of like the way a deed gives a purchaser title to a piece of property in real estate. There are certain requirements that must be met in order for a trademark to be valid.

Mergers and acquisitions: Global coup for Canadian company

A Canadian company is an odd beater. When it comes to mergers and acquisitions in Canada, it pays to do some homework and Appnovation Technologies is proof of that. The global digital market is a competitive one, but the founder of Appnovation has 15 offices around the world with around 250 employees, but getting there wasn't easy, especially since the company's founder is only in his early 30s. 

With offices already in the United States, Hong Kong and Britain, the company set its sites on Europe last year. It knew it would take some skill to make inroads to that market, so Appnovation decided to acquire an already-established company as a starting point. The planning took about nine months, but a company with a presence in Belgium and the Netherlands was finally acquired. 

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