Latest updates

PMPRB reports upward trend of high-cost drugs
Smart & Biggar
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Canada
  • 19 February 2020

The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board recently released the Meds Entry Watch 2018, which analyses information about medicines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency or Health Canada in 2017 and 2018. One of the key findings is the continued upward trend in the entry of high-cost products (eg, orphan drugs and oncology products).

Religious freedom versus occupational health and safety
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 19 February 2020

A great societal debate is taking place following the Quebec National Assembly's recent adoption of the Act Respecting the Laicity of the State, which regulates the wearing of religious symbols at the government level. In a recent case, freedom to wear religious symbols was pitted against employers' legal obligations to ensure and maintain occupational health and safety. The Quebec Court of Appeal held that occupational health and safety prevails over religious freedom, at least in this matter.

Canadian Institute for Health Information publishes drug spending statistics
Smart & Biggar
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Canada
  • 12 February 2020

The Canadian Institute for Health Information recently published statistics on drug spending, finding that in 2018 approximately 40% of drug spending was spent on 2% of beneficiaries. Of this 2%, three out of five individuals used a drug therapy that cost C$10,000 or more per year (eg, antivirals or biologics for rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease).

No time wasted: years as dependent contractor included in calculation of employee's notice of termination
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 12 February 2020

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently confirmed that years spent as a dependent contractor may count when calculating notice of termination for a contractor turned employee who is terminated without cause. This decision leaves open the possible argument that prior service as an independent contractor may be included in length of service for notice of termination calculations.

Trademarks Office issues new limits on time extensions to respond to office actions
Smart & Biggar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • 10 February 2020

Following a recent practice notice, the Trademarks Office will not grant time extensions for office actions issued on or after 17 January 2020 unless exceptional circumstances are demonstrated. The Trademarks Office has also expanded the list of potential exceptional circumstances.

To discipline or not to discipline: employers' prerogative
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 05 February 2020

In recent years, several arbitration awards have considered the difference between disciplinary and administrative measures. The Quebec Court of Appeal recently upheld a decision, explaining that the difference between the two may be not only the wilfulness of the misconduct or other elements, but also the employer's intention to discipline.

Life sciences intellectual property: 2019 highlights
Smart & Biggar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • 03 February 2020

There have been a number of key developments in Canadian life sciences IP and regulatory law over the past 12 months, including significant amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations, a number of biosimilars developments relating to approvals, pending submissions and naming and the second anniversaries of the certificate of supplementary protection regime and the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations.

"I quit! Wait, I changed my mind": impact of rescinded resignations on length of service
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 29 January 2020

A resignation must be clear and unequivocal to end employment. Sometimes employees change their mind and try to rescind a resignation. A recent decision states that when this happens and the employee continues to work for the employer on the same terms and conditions without any interruption, the employee may be deemed to have lost all prior service with the employer.

Life sciences intellectual property: 2019 highlights
Smart & Biggar
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Canada
  • 29 January 2020

There have been a number of key developments in Canadian life sciences IP and regulatory law over the past 12 months, including significant amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations, a number of biosimilars developments relating to approvals, pending submissions and naming and the second anniversaries of the certificate of supplementary protection regime and the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations.

USMCA amendments: implications for Canadian IP law
Smart & Biggar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • 27 January 2020

The United States, Mexico and Canada recently signed the Protocol of Amendment to the Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States and Canada (USMCA). If ratified, the amended USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and require a number of changes to Canada's IP laws. Many requirements of the original USMCA have already been met by recent changes in Canadian IP legislation, but more amendments will be required to implement the USMCA.

Employer breaches duty of good faith and honest performance: now what?
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 22 January 2020

Employers have a duty of good faith when they terminate an employee, which requires them to be honest and forthright with employees when doing so. The law has also developed to recognise a duty to perform a contract honestly and in good faith. The Supreme Court is now deciding what happens when an employer breaches that duty. Should a court award an employee money for incentive compensation that they would have expected to receive had it not been for the breach?

Federal Court dismisses patent infringement action for delay
Smart & Biggar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • 20 January 2020

The Federal Court recently dismissed an action for delay following a status review under Section 382.1 of the Federal Courts Rules where the proceeding remained at the documentary discovery stage with outstanding motions pending more than six years after the action had been commenced. The plaintiff's had alleged infringement of Canadian Patent 2,595,723 in respect of water treatment processes used in Cenovus's steam-assisted gravity drainage oil production facilities.

Amendments to USMCA remove 10-year data protection requirement for biologics
Smart & Biggar
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Canada
  • 15 January 2020

The United States, Mexico and Canada recently signed amendments to the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The original USMCA was signed on 30 November 2018. The recent amendments have removed a provision, such that Canada can maintain its current data protection laws which provide an eight-year data protection term, with a possible six-month paediatric extension, for all pharmaceutical products, including biologics.

School no excuse for excessive absenteeism: arbitrator rules in upholding termination
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 15 January 2020

In a recent arbitration decision, an arbitrator upheld the termination of a grievor for excessive absenteeism under the employer's absenteeism policy. In doing so, the arbitrator rejected the union's submission that the grievor's absenteeism should be excused since she was studying for a professional degree to better herself.

Effectively using experts in IP litigation: theory
Smart & Biggar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • 23 December 2019

In IP litigation, expert testimony is common and important. Experts may provide the court with a scientific primer in highly complex cases. Given this, it is important for IP litigators to appreciate the role of experts, understand the test for admissibility and be familiar with all applicable procedural rules. This article focuses on the more theoretical aspects of expert testimony.

Federal Court of Appeal confirms obviousness finding in Section 8 bortezomib action against Teva
Smart & Biggar
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Canada
  • 18 December 2019

In 2018 the Federal Court granted Teva's claim for compensation under Section 8 of the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations relating to Teva's bortezomib product. According to Justice Locke, Teva would not have infringed Patents 2,203,936 and 2,435,146 because their relevant claims were invalid for obviousness. The Federal Court of Appeal has now upheld the finding of obviousness, dismissing Millennium Pharmaceuticals' and Janssen's appeal.

Federal Court of Appeal confirms obviousness finding in Section 8 bortezomib action against Teva
Smart & Biggar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • 16 December 2019

In 2018 the Federal Court granted Teva's claim for compensation under Section 8 of the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations relating to Teva's bortezomib product. According to Justice Locke, Teva would not have infringed Patents 2,203,936 and 2,435,146 because their relevant claims were invalid for obviousness. The Federal Court of Appeal has now upheld the finding of obviousness, dismissing Millennium Pharmaceuticals' and Janssen's appeal.

PMPRB releases draft guidelines operationalising amended Patented Medicines Regulations
Smart & Biggar
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Canada
  • 11 December 2019

The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board recently released new draft guidelines for consultation and a backgrounder. The new guidelines aim to operationalise the amended Patented Medicines Regulations, which come into force on 1 July 2020, and provide a number of circumstances in which categories or price ceilings may be reassessed.

PMPRB releases draft guidelines to operationalise amended Patented Medicines Regulations
Smart & Biggar
  • Intellectual Property
  • Canada
  • 09 December 2019

The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board recently released new draft guidelines for consultation and a backgrounder. The new guidelines aim to operationalise the amended Patented Medicines Regulations, which come into force on 1 July 2020, and provide a number of circumstances in which categories or price ceilings may be reassessed.

Unionising the gig economy: contractor or employee?
Fasken
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Canada
  • 04 December 2019

One of the main disputes regarding the rise and proliferation of the gig economy is whether its workers are employees or contractors. Companies treat such workers as independent contractors, but some workers have been pushing back, claiming that they are employees. This has implications for their ability to unionise. The Ontario Labour Relations Board will soon be ruling on this issue when it determines whether Foodora couriers have the right to unionise.