25 May New trends
Juriscribe No. 1 (February 2021)
Looking Back at 2020
Juriscribe Editorial Committee
On behalf of the Editorial Committee, welcome to the first issue of a revigorated Juriscribe to kickstart the new year. We hope you like it. Please send us your ideas for articles or blog posts if you would like to be a collaborator. Everyone is welcome to join us.
Because of COVID-19, there has been a shift from in-person work to telework and from brick-and- mortar to e-commerce businesses out of necessity. Virtual meetings are now possible through new technology and even shareholders’ meetings are electronic. Employers have had to address employee health and well-being issues of those who are still lucky enough to have a job. Courts and other tribunals have shifted to accommodate virtual hearings, depositions and other processes, such as electronic execution of documents and electronic signature.
Businesses are subject to new sources of uncertainty. Emergency measures have included closures and restrictions. As a result, 2020 was a very peculiar year. And the pandemic is not over yet, unfortunately.
According to the OSLER Legal Year in Review (https://legalyearinreview.ca/introduction/), the second major force driving change in 2020 was social and unrelated to COVID – namely the focus on diversity and inclusion. This has been driven by events in the United States and the growth in influence of the Black Lives Matter movement, spurring a lot of discussion in Canada. Recent changes include measures about diversity disclosure introduced in the Canada Business Corporations Act (Bill C-25). At the same time, we saw a far-right swing in the United States. In September, the United States lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a strong liberal voice on the Supreme Court. Trump replaced her with Amy Coney Barrett, a member of an ultra-conservative religious cult.
The third significant trend we heard about in 2020 is cyberattacks on governments and businesses. In 2020, the U.S. federal government was hit by broad attacks on its computer systems. Ransomware attacks are targeting municipalities and even hospitals in our increasingly interconnected world. Sadly, this activity will continue as both criminals and spies continue to seek means of infiltrating computer systems by exploiting weaknesses. Much money and resources will be needed to combat this new type of threat.
In conclusion, many new expressions were coined in this unprecedented year. The search for the word of the year by linguists includes both new and existing words and turns of phrase that have become popular during the year, including such terms as bubble, COVID-19, superspreader, unmute and circuit breaker. ACJT members working in the securities field are aware that a circuit breaker is an automatic, temporary halt placed on stock trading, but it has acquired a new meaning—a short period of lockdown intended to inhibit the spread of an infectious disease. In addition, a bubble in the investment field means a situation in which something increases rapidly and then collapses, such as a housing bubble. Bubble now has a new meaning when the government says stay in your bubble or your household during the public health lockdown. That said, let’s hope that the Quebec curfew and the Ontario stay-at-home order will do their job as a circuit breaker until vaccinations can be fully rolled out.
Bubble = bulle in French; Def. core bubble or immediate household https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/restrictions
Circuit breaker or circuit-breaker lockdown = confinement court-circuit Sources: 1. RadioCanada: https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1751630/npd-ryan-meili-critique-covid-confinement-scott-moe; 2. Journal de Montréal: https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2020/11/05/dun-confinement-a-lautre-lexasperation-des-commerces-britanniques
Superspreader = super-propagateur Source: Québec Science https://www.quebecscience.qc.ca/sante/super-propagateurs-accelerateurs-pandemie/
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