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Wind Turbines: The High Costs of Opposition

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Read the article here.

Many people are in favour of green energy projects, and in Ontario this would include wind turbine projects. Most people do not live close to a wind turbine, and it is likely fair to say that most people would not be keen to have a wind turbine erected within 750 metres of their house, especially without their consent. What is a person to do if they object to a wind turbine project? In our free and democratic society, one of the tools we have is to challenge a perceived ‘wrong-doing’ in court. A group of residents near Goderich Ontario, concerned about the health implications of the wind turbine projects, decided to raise a constitutional objection to various wind turbine projects in their area. They lost their case before the Divisional Court and have been ordered to pay $340,000 in costs.

There is nothing unusual in this – civil litigants who lose normally pay ‘costs’ to the winning party. What has made this story emotional is the image of billion-dollar companies ‘squeezing’ costs out of farm families who are doing nothing more than trying to protect their property values and their quality of life. The wind turbines have become flash points for the perceived inability of government decision makers to understand the needs and concerns of those living in rural areas. But setting the emotionally charged image of the family farm in opposition to the equally emotionally charged topic of green energy and climate change is unfair to both groups, and obscures the basic legal point of this decision.

In our legal system, ‘the winner takes all’. Litigants need to be very aware of the financial risks before embarking on litigation, and need to make financial provision for the possibility that they may not win their case in court. Everyone, farmers included, needs solid legal advice when considering whether to ‘have their day in court’.

Read the article here.

Take away:

  • An order for costs is unlikely to be altered by emotional appeals to preserving the family farm. Litigants must weigh the potential cost of losing before embarking on litigation.

 

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This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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Farming is a (Legally) Complex Business!

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Read the article here.

The cultural image of the family farm with a red barn, some chickens and a family sized country kitchen evokes a sense of simplicity and comfort. In reality the modern Canadian farmer is engaged in a complex business, exposed to the risks of weather, interest rates and fluctuating prices on international markets. The article points out that “farm groups have emphasized the importance of establishing the farm business on a sound legal footing, both to protect individual farmers and to maintain the family farm as a viable unit,” and argues that farming requires a more sophisticated approach to legal matters than is required for most other businesses. The owner must establish appropriate legal structures for the relationship between the owner and the business, and between the owner and the family. The first broad category involves the organization of the business (sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership) as well as complex contractual relationships, adherance to government regulations, and complex tax and accounting rules. The second category (relationsip with the family) involves complex questions of estate planning.

As part of the process of estate planning, the family has to consider all aspects of family, and determine who will best carry on the business portion of the farm while also respecting the potentially “missed interest” of the other siblings/children that may not inherit. As a business commodity, the farm is best run with multiple individuals. However, the business format may present some issues, particularly when it comes to inheritance.

The shareholders are only entitled to the value of their shares, and must determine whether those shares can be passed down through a will, or if the shareholder agreement requires some other form of “succession” in the event of a shareholder death. Other considerations include the tax implications of a particular structure, and planning for the retirement of the owner. Legal advisors need to be familiar with the latest developments in corporate law, tax law, environmental regulations, and government support programs to provide the sophisticated approach to legal matters required by farmers today.

Read the article here.

Take away:

  • Farming is a legally complex business requiring legal advisors to be current with developments in tax and corporate laws, as well as applicable government regulations.

 

–  –  –

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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Understanding the Expropriation Process: Making the Best Decisions In a High Pressure Situation

Land owners faced with expropriation are quickly plunged into a complex, time sensitive, stressful and often unpleasant process. Understanding the legal framework and the process, as well as some of the tactics surrounding when to consult the experts (as well as which experts to consult) can better equip a landowner to make the best of the situation. This article outlines the procedures mandated by the Expropriations Act of Ontario, and explains each step of the process. In certain circumstances, municipalities, federal and provincial governments, utility companies, schools and universities have the power to expropriate land. ‘Expropriation’ includes “the taking of land without consent of the owner by an expropriating authority in the exercise of its statutory powers . . .” The Act is triggered by a Notice of Application for Approval to Expropriate Land. If the landowner has not received a Notice, or seen it in the newspaper, the owner will become aware of the expropriation when contacted by the authority in its attempt to negotiate the acquisition of the property. At this point it is important that the landowner contact an expert – lawyer, accountant, appraiser, planner – to help guide them through the process and to ensure that they receive the best negotiated settlement possible. Tactically, it is important that the landowner determine the fair value of the land, and be aware of any additional compensation to which they might be entitled eg. value of buildings, relocation costs for a business etc. before negotiating. The article notes that a landowner should not retain an appraiser until after the expropriation process has been formally triggered. If the landowner wishes to reduce or increase the physical scope of the expropriation, or wishes to make alternative proposals, or avoid the expropriation, a Hearing of Necessity may be required.

An expert opinion is usually needed to determine whether this would be a worthwhile effort. Depending on the circunstances, if a settlement cannot be negotiated, a landowner may have recourse to a meeting before a Negotiation Board, or an arbitration before the Municipal Board.

Read the article by downloading here.

Take away:

  • When faced with expropriation it is prudent for a landowner to obtain expert advice, and to obtain an independent appraisal of the land, buidlings, business relocation costs etc. It is important however to wait until the expropriation process has been formally triggered before obtaining an appraisal or negotiating with the expropriating authority.

 

–  –  –

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

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Understanding Crop Demand by Importing Countries and Their Regulations

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Read the article here.

The old adage “the customer is always right!” applies to farming as it does to every industry. Grain contracts require farmers to assure that their crop meets the standards for (among other things) the Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) for customers, who are often importing countries with different standards than those which apply to the domestic Canadian market. For example Cargill’s contract requires farmers to sign a Declaration of Eligibility for Delivery Form, which “includes an indemnity for all costs incurred in relation to any delivery that is made contrary to the representations made in such document.” Failure to make an honest declaration about the pesticides applied to the crop can result in rejection of the crop. This brings with it domestic and international ramifications. Costs incurred in relation to a delivery made contrary to a declaration can bring huge risk. The article points out that the cost of a rejected cargo “could be in the range of $20 million, not including future losses cost by lost sales” because of demurrage, shipping and handling expenses. Since grains and oilseeds are fully traceable from point of origin to delivery, the farmer who inadvertantly (or even worse, purposely) fails to make an accurate declaration risks both the destruction of international markets for Canadian products, and personal bankruptcy.

2015 has been a hard year for Canadian farmers due to refused imports from Canada’s major importers: the U.S., Japan and EU countries. The reason? Crops with trace residue of quinclorac and chlormequat have been refused. This article describes it as being mainly due to Canadian’s less stringent restrictions on the use of pesticide when compared to other nations.

When a buyer nation has no standard set for that particular chemical (or has higher standards), it is probable that they will reject any crops that have been grown using that chemical. So what is good for Canada, may not be good for the rest of the world, which means it isn’t actually good for Canada either. “The customer is always right”. Farmers need up to date information about the standards of their foreign customers, and would be wise to use only those chemicals permitted by their customers. To protect their markets, and their businesses, they should also adhere to the standards contained in the contracts they sign.

Read the article here.

Take away:

  • Failure to accurately declare the pesticides applied to a crop can result in exposure to millions of dollars in liability for indemnity costs.

 

–  –  –

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

What you don't know can hurt you! Subscribe to stay informed.

Sign up now and receive an email when we publish new content.

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Read more...

Farming is a (Legally) Complex Business!

Links from this article:
here

The cultural image of the family farm with a red barn, some chickens and a family sized country kitchen evokes a sense of simplicity and comfort. In reality the modern Canadian farmer is engaged in a complex business, exposed to the risks of weather, interest rates and fluctuating prices on international markets. The article points out that “farm groups have emphasized the importance of establishing the farm business on a sound legal footing, both to protect individual farmers and to maintain the family farm as a viable unit,” and argues that farming requires a more sophisticated approach to legal matters than is required for most other businesses.

The owner must establish appropriate legal structures for the relationship between the owner and the business, and between the owner and the family. The first broad category involves the organization of the business (sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership) as well as complex contractual relationships, adherance to government regulations, and complex tax and accounting rules. The second category (relationsip with the family) involves complex questions of estate planning.

As part of the process of estate planning, the family has to consider all aspects of family, and determine who will best carry on the business portion of the farm while also respecting the potentially “missed interest” of the other siblings/children that may not inherit. As a business commodity, the farm is best run with multiple individuals. However, the business format may present some issues, particularly when it comes to inheritance. The shareholders are only entitled to the value of their shares, and must determine whether those shares can be passed down through a will, or if the shareholder agreement requires some other form of “succession” in the event of a shareholder death. Other considerations include the tax implications of a particular structure, and planning for the retirement of the owner. Legal advisors need to be familiar with the latest developments in corporate law, tax law, environmental regulations, and government support programs to provide the sophisticated approach to legal matters required by farmers today.

See the full article here

Take Away

  • Farming is a legally complex business requiring legal advisors to be current with developments in tax and corporate laws, as well as applicable government regulations.

 

–  –  –

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.

What you don't know can hurt you! Subscribe to stay informed.

Sign up now and receive an email when we publish new content.

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Read more...

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