Charities and Political Activities

As we are in the midst of a federal election campaign in Canada, this is a good time for registered charities to review Canada Revenue Agency’s rules related to charities and political activities. The following link will connect you to a Canada Revenue Agency website that contains some useful tools and reminders to ensure your organization remains compliant with Canada Revenue Agency rules and regulations related to political activities: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/cmmnctn/pltcl-ctvts/menu-eng.html.
If you only do one thing this election campaign, remind your directors, officers, employees and other representatives that charities are prohibited from devoting any of their resources to partisan political activities. Canada Revenue Agency defines a “partisan political activity” as an activity “that involves direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party at any time, whether during an election period or not, or a candidate for public office”. If an individual that represents a charitable organization would like to be involved in any partisan political activities they should (i) do so in their personal capacity and not in their capacity as a representative of the charity, and (ii) not use any resources of the charity in carrying out such political activities.

Emergency Preparedness Program for Health Care Organizations

At DDO Health Law, we understand your organization’s need to put in place a robust emergency management plan (including for some organizations, by September 30, 2015). We have developed a 12-step program to help you meet that deadline and then continue to prepare your organization in case of emergency such as fire, flood, or pandemic.  Our program reflects current best practices, including materials provided by at least one local health integration network to its health services providers. We have read all of these materials and pulled from them and other resources to determine current best practices — so that you do not need to.

DDO Health Law’s Emergency Preparedness Program offers your organization the comfort and assurance of:

  • Understanding the pillars of emergency management, including Prevention and Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Recovery
  • Creating organization-specific emergency management plans to establish simultaneous response to fires and other emergencies
  • Effectively participating in system level preparedness and coordinating emergency response with other health service providers
  • Properly training team members in case of emergency
  • Identifying key gaps, including hazard identification and risk analysis
  • How to best communicate with your clients, their families, the public and the media

The DDO Health Law Emergency Preparedness Program provides you with:

  •  Dial-in series. You will be invited to take part in 5 phone sessions, scheduled in September. We will provide you ahead of the calls a template plan, the 12 steps you need to take to be ready, and other templates and materials. Noon sessions are:
    • Thursday, September 3
    • Friday, September 11
    • Thursday, September 17
    • Thursday, September 24
    • Final session with open Q&A on Monday, September 28
  • Training materials. You will be provided template training materials for team members, including a training slide deck you can circulate before your Board signs off, even before you schedule an in-person session to walk your team through the training.
  • Admin on call workbook. DDO Health Law previously wrote an administrator on call workbook to help health care staff deal with various kinds of crises. It is the bedrock of emergency management. We will provide you a copy of this workbook, and a draft chapter specifically on emergency preparedness. We will also provide you a copy of the updated workbook once available, for your future reference.
  • Mutual aid/assistance agreement. This template agreement is ready to be used in the event that an emergency strikes your organization, and you need to quickly put into place legal arrangements to backfill services.
  • Briefing note for your senior leadership and Board. Written by DDO Health Law, it will state that you have signed up for and participated in the DDO Health Law program, have been provided with the materials described here, and that you have undertaken that you have “filled in the blanks” and taken the steps we’ll discuss in the dial-ins. As long you have done this, we are prepared to say that your organization is compliant and that your Board should feel assured that it can sign the M-SAA by September 30, 2015 as requested by at least one LHIN. For others who do not need a September 30 signoff, the materials and briefing note still serves as a baseline for your Board and shows a measure of your due diligence.
  • Board resolution. Template Board resolutions will be provided, both for those organizations that must meet the September 30 deadline, and a more generic one for those that do not.
  • Feel free to include whomever you wish on the dial-in. The flat fee covers any team members you want to have at your table to listen in and ask questions as you work through and finalize your plan and program.

Registration is $1,000.00 plus HST ($1,130). We accept Visa or cheques.

Fax to Franca Latino at (416) 967-7120; or call her at (416) 967.7100 ext. 242 to say you will register and how you will pay.

DDO HEALTH LAW

Mary Jane Dykeman and Kate Dewhirst are partners at DDO Health Law, a boutique health law firm in Toronto. They frequently advise on risk management issues relating to health care organizations premises, reputational risk, staff issues and other crises. Mary Jane was recently part of a fire safety emergency preparedness panel at the 2015 OANHSS annual convention. Mary Jane and Kate work extensively with community providers, large and small hospitals, community support services providers, disease associations, long-term care homes, family health teams, community health centres, retirement homes and other housing and health service providers.

Feel free to email or call Mary Jane Dykeman at (416) 967-7100 ext. 225 with any questions

From AdvocateDaily.com

OTTAWA – The Harper government is finally set to announce its long-promised public consultation process on the contentious issue of doctor-assisted dying.

As part of the consultation process to be announced this afternoon, The Canadian Press has learned the government is creating a panel of experts to conduct roundtable discussions.

The government has been dragging its feet on the issue since last February when the Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on medically assisted death.

The top court gave the government 12 months to craft a new law that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help to end their lives.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay last month signalled that the Conservative government, if re-elected this fall, would ask the court to extend the deadline. He cited time constraints caused by the election.

However, some legal experts have doubted the court would grant an extension since the government has done little to advance the file since February.

The Conservatives voted against a Liberal motion in late February that called for the creation of a multi-party special committee to consult and report back to Parliament by mid-summer with a proposed framework for a new law. At that time, the government argued that a broader public consultation process was required and promised to launch one “very soon.”

MacKay has already said the government will not propose new legislation until after the Oct. 19 election.

The issue is particularly touchy for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative caucus and party support base include a strong pro-life contingent that is adamantly opposed to medically assisted dying.

A number of Tory backbenchers have urged the government to invoke the constitutional notwithstanding clause to override the Supreme Court and reinstate the ban on assisted suicide.

But opinion polls suggest an overwhelming majority of Canadians want the legal right to choose to die with dignity, with the help of a doctor.

In an interview with AdvocateDaily.com, Toronto health lawyer Mary Jane Dykeman says in order to have a legislative response in place by early February when the Criminal Code prohibitions fall away, paving the way for physician-assisted dying, a government consultation would need to be launched promptly.

“It would have to be, and be seen to be, both efficient and responsive to stakeholders,” Dykeman says. “Given the nature of summer holidays, some of the real work will inevitably be done after Labour Day and in the lead-up to the October federal election.”

Dykeman, partner with Dykeman Dewhirst O’Brien LLP, agrees that to wait until mid-October to request an extension to the February deadline carries a real risk of it not being granted and time running out.

“But the Catch-22 is that to request it now, without the backdrop of having completed a robust consultation, also decreases the likelihood of the timeframe being extended,” she says.

 

Recommendations from the QCIPA Review Committee

In 2014 the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care called for the formation of a committee to look at current practices in the interpretation and implementation of the Quality of Care Information Protection Act and to make recommendations for improvement. The resulting QCIPA Review Committee, which submitted its report to the Ministry in December 2014, issued 12 recommendations. These recommendations include among other things propositions related to: (i) changes in the legislation; (ii) an increased emphasis on patient involvement in investigations; and (iii) mechanisms to better utilize the lessons learned through investigations. Michael Gleeson was recently interviewed on the topic. See:

http://www.advocatedaily.com/recommendations-for-qcipa-a-good-step-forward.html

ECFAA provides hospital boards with a broad mandate for oversight of patient care

The Medical Advisory Committee (“MAC”) of a hospital has traditionally been the primary mechanism for a board of directors to ensure that a hospital is providing the appropriate quality of care to its patients. However, the Quality Committee of a hospital, as required by the Excellent Care for All Act, may be equally as important for a board. While the MAC is critically important for oversight and evaluation of the patient care provided by privileged health care providers, it has a relatively limited mandate as compared to the Quality Committee. The Quality Committee is tasked with responsibility for, and granted the tools necessary to oversee, all aspects of patient care within a hospital; not just care provided by privileged doctors, dentists, extended class nurses and midwives. Michael Gleeson was recently interviewed on the topic of board oversight of patient care. See:

http://www.advocatedaily.com/ecfaa-provides-broader-oversight-of-patient-care.html

The Risk of Remaining Silent on Jurisdiction in Contracts

How a contract is interpreted by a court is in large part based on the terms set out in the jurisdiction and governing law sections of the contract. In some situations, parties may be tempted to omit these sections of a contract. Before omitting these sections, a party should be aware of the risks. By omitting jurisdiction and governing law clauses a party could be exposing itself to the possibility of: (i) bearing costs related to engagement of legal counsel in a foreign jurisdiction; (ii) bearing costs related to travel to a foreign jurisdiction; and (iii) being subject to a legal regime with remedies and penalties that the party did not consider when negotiating the relevant contract. Michael Gleeson was recently interviewed on the topic. See:

http://www.advocatedaily.com/the-risk-of-remaining-silent-on-jurisdiction-in-contracts.html