Paula Boutis

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Paula Boutis is a contributor to rabble's Pro Bono column. Boutis has practiced law for over a decade. She has a special interest in public interest environmental law, and practiced environmental law exclusively for her first five years of practice. She currently practices part‑time at Saxe Law Office, one of Canada's premier environmental law boutiques. She also currently practices part‑time at Iler Campbell, where she has a broad-ranging litigation practice for the firm's clients, including governance disputes, commercial and employment disputes, and electoral matters. She also provides advice on any number of issues for charities and non-profit clients.

Moving away from the transport of dangerous goods toward safer, low-carbon solutions

The Lac‑Mégantic derailment in Quebec last July involved the transportation of 72 tank cars of crude oil. This derailment caused the confirmed deaths of 42 people, with five more missing and presumed dead. Approximately half the downtown core was destroyed. It is one of the most significant train disasters in Canadian history.


Complete vindication for Council of Canadians' role in funding electoral fraud court case

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Amidst all the excitement around the Federal Court's May 23, 2013 decision (pdf) in which the court held that "electoral fraud occurred during the 41st General Election," the court was also asked to dismiss the applications outright on the basis of how the applicants were funding their legal bills.

This was one of many tactics employed by the respondent Members of Parliament (MPs) to derail the litigation and prevent it from ever being heard.


Indigenous rights and the duty to consult

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On January 8, 2013, Frog Lake First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation, through their respective Chiefs, launched judicial review cases in the Federal Court. They are challenging the passage of the now infamous federal government omnibus budget bills, Bill C‑38 (Jobs, Growth and Long‑term Prosperity Act, S.C. 2012, c. 19); and Bill C‑45 (Jobs and Growth Act, 2012, S.C. c.31).


How changes to the Income Tax Act will restrict charities' political activities

On April 26, 2012, the federal government introduced Bill C‑38, which contains proposed changes to the Income Tax Act (ITA), affecting charities and how political activities are to be accounted for, in the context of a gift from one charity to another.

We provide a brief summary of the current legislative provisions, the proposed changes, and the impact of the changes on charitable foundations and organizations.

Current situation

As currently defined in the ITA, charitable purposes include the disbursement of funds to qualified donees, usually other charities.

Charities are permitted to disburse funds as a gift to other qualified donees.


The challenges for charities of disclosing fundraising costs

It's not that often that charities law and criminal law intersect, but the decision of R. v. Gour, decided June 28, 2012, did just that. The case was about an individual, Adam Gour, who had contracted to fundraise for charity, and his and his contractor's failure to disclose the commissions that would be earned. The court concluded this was a fraud. The case is only six pages long, and makes for a compelling read.


What powers do Canadian municipalities have to create environmental rights?

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A reader asked us if Canadian municipalities can pass an environmental bill of rights, as some American jurisdictions have with the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund. The example provided by the reader prohibited the extraction of natural gas by means other than gas wells installed and operating at the time of the enactment of the ordinance.


Empowering Elections Canada

A lot has been written about the "robocall" scandal in the last few weeks. Topics have ranged from what sections of the Canada Elections Act may have been breached, to how electors can challenge an election.

Pro Bono: Empowering Elections Canada

Photo: LC Photography Lester Chung/Flickr

A lot has been written about the "robocall" scandal in the last few weeks. Topics have ranged from what sections of the Canada Elections Act may have been breached, to how electors can challenge an election.


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