Canada’s online legal magazine.

Are Social Media Posts by Politicians Official Documents?

The US Department of Justice has declared that President Trump’s tweets are official statements of the President – at least in one case. In another, mentioned in the same ABA story, it is saying that they are not, at least to the point that the President can block people from his Twitter account.

What is your view? Are the posts subject to freedom of information laws and official records laws, so that they have to be preserved, they have to be accessible on request, they have to respect privacy rights?

There is a difference between politicians in government with official . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Tiny Care, or Saying Yes to Saying No


I usually write a column about a foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL) aspect of legal information, but I’m taking a little break to discuss a general aspect of legal information – law librarian “self-care”. I don’t really like that term, so let’s call it something else. A legal information professional has to stay healthy, to maintain good mental and physical health for themselves, and also to be able to provide the best service possible at work in the present and in the future. Sometimes this is called “work-life balance”. I’m going to call it “tiny care” after @jonnysun’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Strengthening the Prevention of Workplace Violence and Harassment

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, introduced on November 7, 2017, by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu, seeks to amend both the Canada Labour Code and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act to, according to the federal government, replace the patchwork of laws and policies that address violence and harassment within the federal jurisdiction, putting into place one comprehensive approach that takes the full spectrum of harassment and violence into consideration. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Accountability Justice and Mundane Justice

Syria. The scale of displacement, destruction, violence, and victimhood is unprecedented by all standards. The UN refugee organisation UNHCR tells us that 6.5 million people are internally displaced and that there are over 5 million people who have fled Syria to other countries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported in March this year that the war had killed 465.000 people; current estimates are at over half a million. Statistics from UN Habitat say that 760.000 housing units have been destroyed, that 50% of the hospitals don’t function; the numbers are probably much higher. I have talked to credible . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Justice Starts Here

A new report focusing on issues of access to justice in Manitoba was released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Manitoba). The report titled Justice Starts Here: A one-stop shop approach for achieving greater justice in Manitoba was authored by Allison Fenske and Beverly Froese, working with Legal Aid Manitoba’s Public Interest Law Centre.

The report examines access to justice in Manitoba, looking at both the landscape of legal services and the needs of those with legal problems. Building upon prior research efforts undertaken by the Manitoba Bar Association and the Manitoba Law Foundation, the authors also explore . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

CRTC Compufinder Decision Lowers CASL Spam Penalty

The CRTC recently released 2 CASL decisions on Compufinder. If this sounds familiar, it is because this is an appeal from an initial finding in 2015 that levied a $1.1 million penalty.

Compufinder took the position that CASL is unconstitutional. Many legal experts have questioned the ability of the Federal Government to pass this legislation. The CRTC decided that CASL is constitutional. But this is not the last word. Inevitably this will be argued in court. This decision is required reading for anyone who finds themselves in a position to challenge the act in the courts. Ironically, the delay . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law

Appointing Judges: Can Statistics Help?

The appointment process for judges is somewhat opaque. We may know how many judges there are in Canada, but why some lawyers are chosen over other lawyers remains a bit of a mystery.

Can statistics help us identify who would make a good judge? Can it help us answer a very difficult question?

Over the years, it has been observed that humans have a tendency to substitute a hard question with an easy question. For instance, “the question we face is whether this candidate can succeed. The question we seem to answer is whether she interviews well.” (Thinking Fast . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Three Research Challenges for Law Faculties

In my work with the Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee and the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education, I have observed three major research opportunities for law faculties that are not being given the attention I feel they demand. These opportunities involve “big picture” issues in our Canadian legal system, and I believe law faculties (with some exceptions) do not focus enough on them. Here they are:

1. Access to justice

This is the biggest legal issue of our generation. Our democracy is based on the rule of law, and if our citizens cannot get access to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Orphan Well Association v Grant Thornton Limited, 2017 ABCA 124

[12] When oil and gas wells are producing, they are very valuable assets. However, when they cease to be productive they quickly turn into significant liabilities. For public safety and environmental reasons, the Alberta Energy Regulator has specific “end-of-life” rules on how a spent well must be rendered environmentally safe by . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Canada’s Patented Medicines Board Leans Heavily on Its Consumer Protection Mandate, and Uses “The Ends Justify the Means” Approach to Lower the Price of an Orphan Drug

The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (“Board”) recently concluded a 7 year saga regarding its evaluation of the price for Soliris – Alexion’s admittedly breakthrough drug for rare blood disorders. This is the first Board decision dealing with an orphan drug. The Decision aptly illustrates that using the traditional statutory/regulatory framework for patented medicines pricing to evaluate Soliris (which has gained notoriety as the world’s most expensive drug) may be like fitting a square peg into a round hole. The Soliris story provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the quasi-judicial price regulating body. Notable highlights include: the . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Reliable Electronic Transferable Records

You may recall that the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has recently adopted a Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records. An overview report made at the time is here. The text of the Model Law, along with a Guide to its Enactment, are here. Some previous attention to this project has been paid on Slaw here (2011), here (2012) and here (2016).

Transferable records

Transferable records are those that carry property rights with them, so one can transfer the property by transferring the document. Examples include negotiable instruments such as warehouse receipts, bills of lading . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Family LLB 2. The Factum 3. O’Faolain 4. Meurrens on Immigration 5. DroitDu.Net

Family LLB
Could Long-Haul Trucker Dad Quit His Job (and Avoid Child Support) Due to Dizziness?

After separating from the father, the mother had full-time custody of their two 17-year-old children. The father agreed

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix