This is paper is based on the Canadian business law and all the information so mentioned are related to the book titled "Canadian Business and the Law" which is written by authors Dorothy DuPlessis, Steven Enman, Sally Gunz and Shannon O'Byrne. This text forms the single source of reference for this study.
Two topics will be discussed based on what this paper is about, and they will include; the most important aspects of the Canadian legal system for businesses operating there and secondly the relationship between business ethics and the law in business in the Canadian context.
Important aspects of the Canadian legal system for business
It is always an important topic when discussing about doing business in Canada; the legal system has a very huge impact on commerce in the country and generally it influences on how business is being conducted within the state. The impact of the legal system on businesses in Canada requires the inclusion of standards on company's regulation and operations so as to address the set legal requirements.
In Canada the constitution is the supreme law, and any laws that are passed by either the provincial, federal or territorial governments which are in line with the constitution shall also be considered valid. It is important to note that the constitution act of 1867 documents on how both the provincial and federal governments may legitimately enact a law. The constitution comprises of more than thirty acts that include constitution act of 1982 and any orders referred to in the schedule of the acts and any amendment on these aforesaid acts. The primary sources of law in Canada are the acts enacted by the country's parliament and other provincial legislatures.
The laws exist in two different contexts that are the common law and civil law. DuPlessis, Enman, Gunz and O'Byrne (2011, 23-34) pointed out that a business operating or is intending to operate in Canada should only concern itself with laws that form important aspects of the Canadian legal system relating to businesses and their activities. These laws comprises of property law, contract law, law of agency, environmental law, trade mark law, labor and employment law, copyright law, patent law and law of tort. For this paper the law of contract and law of tort will be briefly discussed as they viewed to encompass even what the other few laws mention entail.
Law of contract
Legal experts are quoted defining contract as "an agreement between two or more parties with an intention to create legal relations or legally binding obligations." They further say that there are several types of contract but nevertheless contracts can be basically classified as under; valid contracts, voidable contracts and lastly void contracts. It is however important to note that this classification are dependent upon the presence, incomplete state as well as absence of what are known as the essential elements of a valid contract which are as follows: offer, acceptance, genuine consent, contractual capacity, consideration, Intention to create legal relations and lastly legal object. These essential elements that have been mentioned above are the deciding factors of the legality of a contract and what the impact of contract law can have on individuals and organizations in the society.
The following are the methods through which contracts may be discharged: performance, agreement, breach of contract, frustration or impossibility of performance, death or lapse of time. A contract being essentially an agreement for the performance of various obligations by both parties then it must come to an end once the parties have performed their particular duties under it, thus discharging it.
Upon the breach of contract by a party to the contract the innocent party is entitled to the following remedies in law; action for damages, action for specific performance, action for injunction, rescission and "quantum merit"
The knowledge of Canadian contract law is an important business asset, because these laws prescribe which business contract is valid in the premise of law and one that can be enforced in the court of law. In the day-to-day activities of business organizations they must sign contracts with either supplier or consumers thus this law forms a very important aspect of the legal system for business in Canada.
Law of tort
A tort is defined as a civil wrong that gives rise to an action at common law for un-liquidated damages. But at times the remedy can also be injunction or even specific restitution. The right of action springs from the breach of a legal duty that a party owes to other persons in general. Torts are basically actionable at Canadian civil law but there are times when they can be actionable under criminal law especially if the wrongful act is located within the Canadian penal code; in which it becomes a crime prosecutable by the state, but this does not operate as a bar to aggrieved party suing for damages under civil law.
Generally in law if the act of one person results in losses or damages, the other party is usually compensated in law, however this is not necessary if the case is under the law of torts and can be attributed to common law of damages without injury; illustrative cases of businesses in one locality. Consequently in law if the act of one party results to no losses or damages to another, the other party generally cannot be given a remedy, however in the law of torts a remedy may nevertheless be awarded and this can be attributed to the common law rule of injury without damages; illustrative case of trespass. As a general rule the proof of motive is always relevant if a party is to be found liable, this however is not under torts.
DuPlessis, Enman, Gunz and O'Byrne (2011, 43-54) when discussing about the law of tort, basically focused on trespass to goods, conversion and detinue (which is tort constituted by wrongful retention of goods of another person) as the major important aspect of law of tort that affect business organizations in Canada.
The relationship between business ethics and law in business
In Canada business ethics is also known as corporate ethics and DuPlessis, Enman, Gunz and O'Byrne (2011) described it in their book titled "Canadian Business and the Law" as a form of professional or applied ethics that looks at ethical morals and principles that exist in the Canadian business environment. These ethics applies to all aspects of business conduct including conduct of the organizations themselves and individuals working in it.
Numerous authors and business consultants have laid more emphasis on business ethics citing an example of business organizations or businessmen, whom if it wasn't for the code of business ethics in Canada they would conspire against the public interest mostly by increasing prices on consumer goods and offering to the public goods and services that are of low standards. However in the presence of code of ethics in the Canadian business environment, all the concerned persons, corporations and firms are bound to be accountable to the social and natural environment in which they operate in. By virtue alone businesses are expected to be ethical since their activities have a direct impact on all stakeholders in the environment they operate in and this is one of the major reasons why business ethics was brought to the forefront.
Ethics in the business world exists in different forms which mostly depend on the relation of the business organization to different issues that are co-related with it. In the book "Canadian Business and the Law" the author classified these forms of business ethics into categories that include: corporate social responsibility (CSR) which is a form of business ethics that is concerned with issues to do with the rights and duties that exist between an organization and the society it operates in. Fiduciary responsibility is concerned with ethical issues regarding the moral rights and duties between an organization and its' shareholders. Industrial espionage and hostile take-over are among the issues that are looked at by the business ethics concerning relations of different organizations within the society. The ethics that are concerned with organizations leadership govern issues such as corporate governance, corporate social entrepreneurship and political contributions made by these organizations.
The general business ethics in Canada includes: ethics of finance, ethics of human resource management, ethics of production, ethics of sales and marketing, ethics on technology and ethics of property, property rights and intellectual property rights. In the broader perspective there is also international business ethics and ethics of economic systems concerning Canada (DuPlessis, Enman, Gunz and O'Byrne (2011, 24).
Ethics of finance in Canada has been under looked over the past few years, and it was only after the recent financial recession that was experienced globally in the period 2007 to 2010, that the topic received wide attention from Canadian government authorities. The financial recession was largely attributed to unethical business practices mostly in the mortgage industry and the…