Monday, March 13, 2023

Some Comments on Retired Copyright Board Chair Justice William Vancise’s 2017 Comments

A paper published in 2018 from the Hon. William Vancise, former Chair of the Copyright Board of Canada has recently been brought to my attention by an astute copyright officer, namely Joshua Dickison from the University of New Brunswick. The paper was presented at this prestigious event at Columbia Law School in 2017.

Justice William Vancise was appointed as Chair of the Copyright Board  in 2004 and reappointed in 2009. His term ended when he retired from the Board on May 13, 2014, although he took until January 19, 2018 to render his last decision – almost four years after his retirement. The Board appears to be unique in terms of Canadian courts or tribunals in permitting this kind of delay and disincentive to render timely decisions, as I have pointed out before. The problem has still not been solved.

Ironically, shortly after his appointment, he stated that:

 I am not at all happy with the time it takes to render a final decision. I have tried to address the issue and I can assure you it will be resolved. If the Supreme Court of Canada can render a decision within six months of a hearing, there is no reason why this Board cannot do the same. My goal is to see that this occurs.” (highlight and emphasis added)

Judges of the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal have eight weeks after retirement to render any pending decisions. Even Supreme Court of Canada justices have only six months after they retire to participate in decisions in cases on which they sat. The Canadian Judicial Council has specifically pronounced that “judges should render decisions within six months of hearing a case, except in very complex matters or where there are special circumstances.”

For better or worse, Justice Vancise was often and explicitly publicly outspoken. Once again, and even more so than in his previous pronouncements, he demonstrates his sometimes contentious and  problematic views about essential copyright and Copyright Board fundamentals in this 2018 publication by:

  • Reimagining and redefining the meaning of “compulsory licence” in the context of copyright law;
  • By continuing and indeed amplifying his apparent lack of appreciation for the copyright contributions of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada;
  • By ignoring the fact that a Senate Committee found the Copyright Board was “dysfunctional”  two years earlier;
  • By elevating the wasteful and almost useless “unlocatable” copyright owner regime to something supposedly important. To his credit, while was Chairman, Justice Vancise finally reversed years of wasted time and resources at the Board related to issuing unnecessary licences to use architectural plans for home renovation – but only after I publicly pointed out that the Board had long been oblivious for years to directly applicable Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence; and,
  • By following in the pattern of too many seasoned officials and/or politicians who have blamed the failure of their institutions on a lack of resources and calling for more resources rather than more expertise and efficiency. Once again, it must be noted the Copyright Board long had a budget greater than the Competition Tribunal. Unfortunately, the Competition Tribunal’s website has mysteriously gone from excellent to something very much less and very out of date in terms of reports, so its current budget is not readily apparent. It bears repeating that the Copyright Board has held only one actual hearing in more than last five years.

Justice Vancise admits that he came to the Board without intellectual property expertise. He states by way of introduction to this paper:

Although I am not an expert in intellectual property, I was fortunate to hear and decide cases including the transmission of music on the Internet, interpretation of the blank

media levy, making available right, and fair dealing disputes surrounding licensing

for educational institutions. The Board decides more copyright issues than any other court or tribunal in Canada.

The highlighted portion is, of course, quite wrong. The fact is that that the Copyright Board’s substantive decisions on copyright legal issues have been relatively few and very often wrong as determined by judicial review. The Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada and even superior courts of the provinces have been far more active and influential in terms of substantive copyright law. Moreover, he fails to accept that that the primary role of the Copyright Board is to set rates, terms and conditions and NOT to gratuitously stray from this important but narrow lane into incorrect pronouncements about such matters as deeming a device to be an audio recording medium or the effect of a WIPO treaty on Canadian legislation. Even if the statute permitted such departures from rate setting as necessarily incidental to the Board doing its job of rate setting, the Board has never had the mandate or the legal expertise to make significant and credibly correct legal rulings of this nature. Even if there is some backroom legal expertise, this only exacerbates the problem because that is not where important rulings should emanate. There is an ancient and honourable maxim that “whoever hears must decide.” The problem is exacerbated when there is a Vice Chair and Secretary General with no legal qualifications.

It is important to reiterate that the SCC has repeatedly held, and as recently as in 2022, that the Copyright Board will be held to the demanding “correctness” standard of review when it comes to interpreting the Copyright Act because it shares concurrent first instance jurisdiction with the Superior Courts. The Board will be given no deference for being “reasonable” in its interpretation of the substantive provisions of Copyright Act.

Justice Vancise is wrong that there is a need for more resources for the Board. If anything, the opposite is true. The parties before the Board are generally very competent. The Board members should decide based on the parities’ evidence and arguments – and not what they hear behind the scenes from their staff. That is NOT the way courts and tribunals are supposed to work.

Justice Vancise’s successors, Justice Robert Blair from the Ontario Court of Appeal and Justice Luc Martineau from the Federal Court have been a complete contrast by refraining from public expression of so many prolific and outspoken views. For whatever reason, Justice Blair served only one term as Chair of the Copyright Board from 2015 to 2020. Justice Martineau, retired from the Federal Court, was appointment in 2020 for a five year term. Since his appointment, there has only been one hearing and no decisions of any major consequence. Both have been extremely circumspect in terms of public comments about the Board.

Indeed, the last Board decision of any possible major consequence was the redetermination of the SODRAC tariff for CBC following the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision. That was decided on June 26, 2020 with Chairman Blair presiding. Most, if not all, of the tariffs and decisions since then have effectively been unopposed and unimportant. Interestingly, there have been a lot of withdrawn tariffs – perhaps somehow arising from the Supreme Court’s ruling that Board tariffs are not legally mandatory for users.

It should be acknowledged that Justice Vancise was an enthusiastic Chair of the Copyright Board and deserves credit for his attempts to constructively improve its operation. Unfortunately, his initial assurance that decisions would be rendered within six months of a hearing was not fulfilled. His frank public comments were frankly sometimes  inappropriate in terms of appreciating the role of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, which clearly have the power to overrule the Board when it is incorrect on substantive law. The FCA and the SCC deserve great respect not only because of their institutional role vis a vis the Board but because of the overall quality of their decisions. It is important to reiterate that, even after Vavilov, the Courts have carved out a special niche for the correctness standard of review when it comes to Copyright Board decisions, and rightly so since copyright litigation in the superior courts is affecting thousands of individuals and many very large corporations.

Whether or not it was appropriate for him to do so, Justice Vancise did speak the truth when he notes in this paper the problem with Access Copyright’s “business model” and that “The real problems are parties like Music Canada, who manipulate the copyright system..”

 The Copyright Board is headed for some interesting times and existential scrutiny, and Justice Vancise’s 2018 publication is an interesting contribution to the debates that lie ahead. It will be particularly interesting to see whether he has been only speaking for himself with his more contentious views or whether they somehow represent the ingrained institutional views of an arguably still, if not even more than ever, “dysfunctional” Copyright Board.

 More to follow shortly re the Copyright Board’s latest tinkering with procedure and aspirations for an additional $1 million a year…


Thursday, February 02, 2023

I asked ChatGPT on February 2 , 2023: "who is the most successful copyright litigator in Canada?"

I asked ChatGPT on February 2 , 2023: "who is the most successful copyright litigator in Canada?"

It is difficult to determine the most successful copyright litigator in Canada as success in litigation can be measured in various ways such as the number of cases won, the impact of the cases, the size of settlements, and more. Additionally, the legal industry is constantly evolving, and new players may emerge. As of my training data cut-off in 2021, some of the well-known copyright litigators in Canada include Barry Sookman, Tamir Israel, and Howard Knopf.

Note - I asked the question several times and sometimes got non-answers or somewhat non-sensical answers....But the above was the first and most interesting....😉

Maybe ChatGPT is emulating human intelligence by being somewhat inconsistent and even illogical at times...


Sunday, January 29, 2023

I asked ChatGPT: "What are the criticisms of Access Copyright?"

What are the criticisms of Access Copyright?

Access Copyright has been criticized for a number of reasons, including:

1.     The cost of licensing: Some organizations, particularly schools and universities, have complained that the fees charged by Access Copyright are too high.

2.     The scope of the license: Critics have argued that the scope of the license offered by Access Copyright is too broad and that it covers uses of copyrighted materials that should not require a license.

3.     The impact on fair dealing: Some critics have argued that the licensing scheme offered by Access Copyright undermines the principle of fair dealing, which allows for the use of copyrighted materials without permission for certain purposes such as research and private study.

4.     The lack of transparency in the distribution of royalties: Some copyright holders have complained that they do not receive enough information on how royalties are distributed and that they do not receive enough royalties for their works.

5.     The copyright collectives such as Access Copyright are seen as outdated and unnecessary in the digital age where copyright holders have more direct ways to license their content.


I asked ChatGPT: "Who is the most important copyright scholar in Canada?"

Who is the most important copyright scholar in Canada?

It's difficult to say who the most important copyright scholar in Canada is, as the field of copyright is broad and there are many scholars who have made significant contributions. However, there are a few scholars who have made significant contributions to the field of copyright law in Canada and are considered experts in the field.

One such scholar is Michael Geist, who is a law professor at the University of Ottawa and a leading expert on Canadian and international copyright law. He is known for his research and advocacy on issues related to copyright and the internet, and has written extensively on the subject.

Another notable scholar is Ariel Katz, who is a law professor at the University of Toronto, and an expert on copyright law, and intellectual property. He is known for his research on copyright and digital media, and his contributions to the field of copyright law, and the impact of technology on the copyright system.

Finally, one of the most respected copyright scholars in Canada is David Vaver, who is a retired law professor from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. He is the author of "Canadian Copyright Law" a well-known reference book on the subject, and his contributions to the field of copyright law have been widely recognized.

It's important to note that these are just a few examples of scholars who are considered experts in the field of copyright law in Canada, and there are many other accomplished scholars and researchers that have made significant contributions to the field.

Highlight added...


Thursday, January 26, 2023

ChatGPT gets an "F" on "Are Access Copyright's copyright board tariffs "mandatory" in Canada?"


Are Access Copyright's copyright board tariffs "mandatory" in Canada?

Access Copyright's copyright board tariffs are considered "mandatory" in Canada in the sense that they are legally binding tariffs that must be paid by certain organizations, such as educational institutions, in order to reproduce copyrighted materials. However, it should be noted that not all organizations are legally required to pay these tariffs and there are some exceptions and limitations to the tariffs. Additionally, some organizations and individuals may choose to use alternative methods for obtaining copyrighted materials, such as licensing or fair dealing.

Well, maybe their database is out of date or they haven’t read my blog.

The above is wrong, of course. An “F” grade…

Or is that no longer allowed, if it might upset the AI robot?




I just asked ChatGPT: "What is the difference between "antitrust" law in the USA and "competition" law in Canada?"

 I just asked ChatGPT: "What is the difference between "antitrust" law in the USA and "competition" law in Canada?" 

Antitrust law and competition law are similar in that they both aim to promote fair competition and prevent monopolies. However, there are some key differences between the antitrust laws in the United States and the competition laws in Canada.

In the United States, antitrust laws are primarily enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and are governed by the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act. These laws prohibit certain types of business practices, such as price fixing and monopolization, and are designed to protect consumers from anti-competitive business practices.

In Canada, competition law is governed by the Competition Act and is enforced by the Competition Bureau. The Competition Act prohibits a variety of anti-competitive practices, such as price fixing, predatory pricing, and exclusive dealing. It also has a merger review process to ensure that mergers and acquisitions do not result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.

In summary, both antitrust and competition laws in USA and Canada have the same goal to promote fair competition and prevent monopolies, but the specific laws, agencies, and processes for enforcing these laws can vary.

 That response was virtually instant...


I just asked ChatGPT: "What is the difference between copyright "fair use" in the USA and "fair dealing" in Canada?"

I just asked ChatGPT "What is the difference between copyright "fair use" in the USA and "fair dealing" in Canada?"

 Here’s the answer I got in a few seconds: 

In the United States, "fair use" is a doctrine in copyright law that allows for limited use of copyrighted material without the need for permission from the copyright holder. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and takes into account factors such as the purpose of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount used, and the effect of the use on the market for the original work.

In Canada, "fair dealing" is a similar doctrine that allows for the use of copyrighted material without permission in certain circumstances, such as for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody. The purpose of the use is considered to be the most important factor in determining if it is fair dealing.

Both fair use and fair dealing are limited exceptions to copyright infringement and are subject to interpretation by the courts.

 Not bad… 😉


Friday, December 16, 2022

Copyright Board Annual Report 2021-2022

The Copyright Board’s recently posted 2021-2022 Annual Report (“Report”) covers the period from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

(Copyright Board)

What does this full-page collage with this uncredited photograph on page 13 the Board’s Report possibly have to do with Canada’s Copyright Board? I, for one, have no idea. But it takes up a whole page, along with several other diverting and uninformative photographs in this Report that is overall mostly devoid of any actual useful information.

That’s regrettable as the deadline for objecting to proposed tariffs looms and potential objectors have to decide whether or not to become vulnerable to potentially extremely intrusive and invasive interrogatories, expert witness costs, and huge legal expenses to deal with tariffs that the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) has confirmed with crystalline clarity are NOT MANDATORY. More on this below…

The Chairman’s “Message” to the Report notes that:

The 2021‒2022 fiscal year was also marked by the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in York v. Access Copyright, an important decision that clarifies, among other things, the scope of tariffs approved by the Board. This decision will certainly have an impact on the Board’s ability to deliver on its mandate, but it will be some time before we see the concrete results of this decision, including the cumulative effect of the decision and the changes made to the Copyright Act in 2019.(highlight and emphasis added)

The York decision from the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC’) is, of course, the elephant in the room at the Copyright Board. It is difficult to comprehend what “concrete results” of the York decision the Board does not understand. The SCC clearly ruled that:

Access Copyright’s tariff as approved by the Copyright Board is not mandatory for users

It was unnecessary and inappropriate for the Courts below to issue a declaration about fair dealing in these circumstances

Nonetheless, there were serious errors in the Courts below noted concerning their pronouncements about fair dealing, e.g. re “aggregate” copying.

While there may be more “results” in the future, the above is already as clear as can be. The SCC decision more than “clarifies, among other things, the scope of tariffs approved by the Board”. It unambiguously declares that Board tariffs for Access Copyright are NOT mandatory and not enforceable and makes important statements about fair dealing. BTW, I was honoured to have played a very major role and to have made the prevailing arguments as counsel for my esteemed client CARL in the SCC in getting this result.

These are rulings that the Board must follow – now and not if and when the Board finally can “see the concrete results of this decision”. The Board may not like the decision – but the Board is bound by it. Even if the SCC’s statements about fair dealing are technically “obiter dicta” under the circumstances, SCC obiter dicta – especially when it is so pointed, on point, and  precise as in the instance – is as good as law.

In the past, the Board has at times appeared to be hostile to the SCC and Federal Court of Appeal. One had hoped that this had passed. I wrote here  in 2009 about how former and then sitting Board Chair Justice William Vancise expressed his frank views.

The Board cannot even bring itself to use the “M” word, i.e. “mandatory”, in relation to its tariffs  - or more precisely “not mandatory” - in this Report – which was the essence of the SCC case.

Indeed, the only place the Board uses the “M” word is:

“mandatory training required as part of organizational measures to prevent and address workplace harassment and violence”

The Board is no doubt hoping, along with Access Copyright and other collectives and content owner lobbyists, that the Government will try to undo the SCC’s York ruling and curtail fair dealing in the educational sector. That, of course, would be an enormous legislative, political, and legal mistake that will likely result in costly litigation and uncertainty for years to come. Of course, the Board would probably use such uncertainty to justify more deflection and delay and, no doubt, to demand and even bigger budget so that it can analyze the obvious.

Interestingly, although the period of the report ends on March 31, 2022, it does NOT mention the ESA v. SOCAN “making available” case that was argued in the SCC in January of 2022 and decided on July 15, 2022.  That result was another existential body blow to the Copyright Board, holding, in effect, that the Board got it very wrong in its ill-advised and very wasteful venture into international law and that the Board “will be held to the “correctness” standard of review when it comes to interpreting the Copyright Act because it shares concurrent first instance jurisdiction with the Superior Courts. The Board will be given no deference for being “reasonable” in its interpretation of the substantive provisions of Copyright Act. It must be correct. Importantly, this is the first new category of correctness review since the landmark SCC Vavilov decision.

The Report contains some interesting language about how the Board is “constrained” by decisions of the Courts. It would have been more accurate and more respectful to say that the Board is subject to  and guided by rulings of the Courts – both in the form of judicial review and other decisions that may call into question the reasonableness or even the correctness of the Board’s decisions – as was the case in the York University litigation, in which Access Copyright sought – ultimately unsuccessfully – to enforce the Board’s tariff ruling.

If the Board is to serve any useful purpose and to have a long-term future, it would do well to focus on its mandate and to stay in its lane – which is all about and only about:

  • Rate setting
  • Establishing tariffs that – while not mandatory – are sufficiently attractive and reflect good enough value that users will voluntarily adopt and maybe even embrace them.

I have always said that there are tariffs that are “de facto” if not “de jure” mandatory – such as those of SOCAN and Re:Sound. If you operate a radio or TV station, there is no other way to clear these music rights other than to avoid the process by playing only public domain music and public domain sound recordings. Those tariffs have mostly been fairly reasonable because there has been sufficient competent organized opposition over the years.

On the other hand, inexperienced objectors with insufficient resources to spend easily five and even six or seven figures opposing a tariff will eventually be worn down by the inevitable irrelevant and oppressive interrogatories that the Board has shown little or no commitment to curtailing. Even the AUCC (now Universities Canada) was forced to withdraw from the Access Copyright tariff case in 2012, although it might have handled the whole matter very differently.

 The major collectives have only limited interest in making the Board better. It seems that their limited interest is only in making the Board a faster and cheaper place to do business.

Many users are now going to be asking themselves whether there’s any point in getting into the quagmire and quicksand of a Copyright Board tariff proceeding at potentially enormous expense  and opening their doors to offering collectives such as Access Copyright a potential treasure trove of interrogatory material. If the Board somehow manages to come up with a tariff that offers good value, a user can then sign a licence based upon it. Otherwise, for example with Access Copyright, the user can ignore the tariff and get licences, when needed, in other more efficient ways for far better value – which is precisely what so many institutions have been doing for nearly a decade with total vindication since the Access Copyright’s “tariffs” have been declared as NOT MANDATORY by the SCC in 2021.

Collectives have almost always done very well at the Board, though not so much in the Federal Court of Appeal and definitely not so much in the Supreme Court of Canada. Board proceedings have almost always been very profitable – with the costs being borne by members and the public.

In the past, tariff proceedings were usually a bankable cash cow for collectives. One notable but apparently isolated exception was Access Copyright’s attempt to get lots of money from provincial governments, outside Quebec. I wrote about this at some lengthy back in 2015:

To recapitulate, the Board awarded a tariff of 11.56 ¢ per FTE (full time equivalent) for the period 2005-2009 and 49.71 ¢ per FTE for 2010-2014. That’s less than 1% and about 2% respectively of what AC asked for.  According to the Board, the tariff will generate a total of only about $370,000 over its ten year period – which is likely only a small fraction of the costs involved in obtaining the tariff.

Here is that decision, interestingly with Justice Vancise as chair of the panel, which hopefully will be kept in mind by all concerned as Access Copyright attempts to impose a tariff for 2024-2026 for post-secondary institutions as follows:

(a) $15.65, if the educational institution is a university; or

(b) $6.01, if another educational institution.

The 2021-2022 Report contains virtually nothing new or interesting. Is all about management platitudes, e.g.:

Expected Outcomes

The Board strives to be a credible institution, well-respected both by the creators and the users of copyrighted material, because of the efficiency of its operations and its unique expertise in copyright matters.

It has adapted and will adapt with resilience and agility to the challenges posed by a constantly evolving legal and economic environment, whether at the national or international level, while offering high-quality support to parties and the public requesting its services.

The never ending tinkering with procedures – such as requiring “grounds” for new tariffs and objections at an early stage – is simply obvious and won’t change anything. The requirement for “fair and equitable” tariffs is hardly new – what else has the Board and its predecessor supposedly been doing for the last eight decades?

Bottom line:

The vast majority of the “tariffs” approved by the Board are no brainer unopposed rubber stamp exercises that somehow still take a very long time.

The unlocatable owner regime is an embarrassing waste of time and resources. Hopefully, it doesn’t still consume a whole FTE resource as then Chair William Vancise confirmed in 2014. With only one  inconsequential rulings visible in the 2021-2022  reporting period, it would be difficult to understand how this took more than a very few hours at the most to deal with. The Copyright Act could be amended to deal with these increasingly rare situations as an exception along with other specific exceptions.

The Board is continuing to try to justify itself as an important and essential quasi-judicial tribunal, which it once was. However, it has failed to clearly get beyond the “dysfunctional” description conferred by a Senate Committee in 2016 and continues to be an expensive and unproductive though paradoxically high profile presence in the Canadian administrative tribunal landscape. It has held only one hearing in the last five years.

Its proposed new Rules of Practice and Procedure will likely accomplish little or nothing – other than to provide an excuse for the Board to demand an additional $1 million a year to its already inflated budget:

The costs of the proposal are expected to be less than $1 million annually. While Parties would be required to provide information earlier on in proceedings, the amount or type of information required from Parties would be the same as under the current Model Directive. (emphasis added)

If the Board is to have any credibility and serve any useful purpose going forward, it needs competent, independent and balanced management with legal expertise in both civil and common law and – of course – in copyright law. The Board’s Members should, of course, reflect these requirements.

It’s really too bad that the ISED Minister @FP_Champagne seems to be apparently 100% missing in action on what is going on here – although it’s 100% his responsibility.

Happy Holidays to one an all!


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Canadian Copyright Term Extension: Is December 30, 2022 Perhaps Premature Proclamation?

(not the recent proclamation)

 During the CUSMA negotiations with the Trump administration, Canada sadly handed over a gratuitous gift that will mostly by far benefit American copyright owners by extending the term of copyright for 20 years. Canada made a bad decision even worse by ignoring the considered legal and policy analyses by the former US Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante and Canada’s own Minister of Justice, David Lametti, when he was a law professor, explaining that a registration requirement for the additional 20 years would be perfectly acceptable under international law. Such a requirement would have gone a long way to clearing out deadwood and preserving a more vibrant public domain. I pointed all  this and more out last year to the Government in response to the disingenuous consultation that was based upon faulty analysis and that ignored my and many others carefully researched analyses.

Now, to arguably add insult to injury, the Government has proclaimed the new 20-year extension into force very possibly two crucial days earlier than necessary – namely on December 30, 2022 rather than January 1, 2023. That matters a lot because it deprives Canadians of the cohort of material that would have entered the public domain on January 1, 2023 from the creators who died in 1972. Here is the Proclamation:

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, under section 281 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1, chapter 10 of the Statutes of Canada, 2022, fixes December 30, 2022 as the day on which Division 16 of Part 5 of that Act comes into force.

Perhaps the most notable Canadian death in 1972 was that of  Lester B. Pearson, the great 14th Prime Minister of Canada and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Historians won’t be happy about waiting another 20 years to gain full access to any of Pearson’s important writings that may be needlessly protected in the meantime.

Here’s what Internet Archive Canada had to say.

For copyright and international law geeks, here’s the CUSMA deal:

For Section H, amendments to Canadian legislation are required to meet the obligations under Article 20.62 and Article 20.67. The CUSMA Implementation Act implements these obligations by amending the Copyright Act. Canada has a transition period of 2.5 years following the date of entry into force of the Agreement to implement the obligation in Article 20.62(a) related to extending Canada’s general term of protection to life of the author plus 70 years (up from plus 50 years).

Here’s where it says we had “2.5 years” to implement this deal from the day that CUSMA came into force:

Article 20.89: Final Provisions

4. With regard to obligations subject to a transition period, Canada shall fully implement its obligations under the provisions of this Chapter no later than the expiration of the relevant time period specified below, which begins on the date of entry into force of this Agreement.

· (a) Article 20.7.2(f) (International Agreements), four years;

· (b) Article 20.44 (Patent Term Adjustment for Unreasonable Granting Authority Delays), 4.5 years; and

· (c) Article 20.62(a) (Term of Protection for Copyright and Related Rights), 2.5 years.

 Here’s where it says that CUSMA came into force on July 1, 2020:

On November 30, 2018, Canada, the United States and Mexico signed a protocol to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA or Agreement). Under the protocol, NAFTA would be formally replaced by CUSMA upon entry into force of the new Agreement. On December 10, 2019, the Parties agreed to modify certain elements of the Agreement to improve the final outcome in the areas of state-to-state dispute settlement, labour, environment, intellectual property and rules of origin. The Parties subsequently provided their formal notifications of the completion of domestic procedures in April 2020. Under the terms of the protocol, entry into force of CUSMA was set for July 1, 2020. The Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), which was suspended upon entry into force of NAFTA, remains suspended until such time as the suspension of CUSFTA is terminated.

Now, the arithmetic appears quite simple. Whether “2.5 years” means 2 years and 6 months or 2 years and 183 days, that would take us to January 1, 2023 and NOT December 30, 2022.

See also the Interpretation Act:

           Calculation of a period of months after or before a specified day

28 Where there is a reference to a period of time consisting of a number of months after or before a specified day, the period is calculated by

(a) counting forward or backward from the specified day the number of months, without including the month in which that day falls;

(b) excluding the specified day; and

(c) including in the last month counted under paragraph (a) the day that has the same calendar number as the specified day or, if that month has no day with that number, the last day of that month.

            Construction of year

37 (1) The expression year means any period of twelve consecutive months, except that a reference

(a) to a calendar year means a period of twelve consecutive months commencing on January 1;

(b) to a financial year or fiscal year means, in relation to money provided by Parliament, or the Consolidated Revenue Fund, or the accounts, taxes or finances of Canada, the period beginning on April 1 in one calendar year and ending on March 31 in the next calendar year; and

(c) by number to a Dominical year means the period of twelve consecutive months commencing on January 1 of that Dominical year.

 I don’t profess any great expertise in the machinery of government when it comes to calculations of these kinds of deadlines or proclamations by the Governor in Council. So, if I’m wrong, I would welcome any reasoned correction and be a little more humble and a little less cynical.

But if I’m right about this being a premature proclamation, the Government owes Canadians an overdue explanation. However, given the handling of this term extension issue all along, it would not be prudent to hold one’s breath.