Canada’s online legal magazine.

Changing Workplaces Review Final Report: Sweeping Changes to Ontario Employment Law Coming

On May 23, 2017, the Government of Ontario released the Changing Workplaces Review final report by authors C. Michael Mitchell and John C. Murray. It contains 173 recommendations that recommend significant changes to Ontario employment law aiming to create better workplaces with decent working conditions and widespread compliance with the law. The authors consulted with workers, unions and businesses for two years on a wide range of work-related issues. This was the first independent review in Canada to consider specific legislative changes to both employment standards and labour relations in a single manner.

The following is a brief overview of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Ransomware: No Honor Among Thieves and More Expensive

The FBI says that ransomware nets cybercriminals $1 billion a year. No wonder so many people want a piece of that pie.

Computerworld recently reported that hackers spreading ransomware are getting greedier. In 2016, the average ransom demand to provide the decryption key for encrypted data rose to $1,077, up from $294 the year before, according to a report from security firm Symantec. Symantec also reported a 36% increase in ransomware in 2016 from the prior year. We are aware of small law firms in Virginia that paid $1200 and $3000 to get their data back – the damage being . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Canada (Governor General in Council) v. Mikisew Cree First Nation, 2016 FCA 311

[60] I am therefore of the view, for all the foregoing reasons, that the legislative process, from its very inception where policy options are discussed and developed to the actual enactment of a bill following its adoption by both Houses and the granting of royal assent by the Governor . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Table of Concordance for Ontario Child and Family Services Act and Bill 89

Prepared by Windsor Law Student Lois Boateng, this Table of Concordance sets out a side-by-side comparative view of Part III (Child Protection) of the Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990, c C 11, and Part V (Child Protection) of Bill C-89, An Act to enact the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2016, to amend and repeal the Child and Family Services Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (41st Parl, 2nd Sess) Ontario (2017).

A very helpful tool for anyone who is interested in quickly seeing the proposed changes to this Act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law: Legislation

Beware the Binders Full of Women (Judges)!

There has been no shortage of press on the conduct and competence of Canadian judges lately. Headlines abound about “Alberta judge who asked sex assault complainant about keeping her knees closed”, the “Hamilton judge who wore Trump hat” and the “Nova Scotia judge under fire for claiming ‘a drunk can consent’” So notorious are concerns about Canadian judges that the comedy show This Hour has 22 Minutes ran a sketch about neighbours being scared when a judge moves in down the street.

More recently, an article ran in the Globe and Mail which appears to suggest another, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

The Case for Redesigning Caselaw

To a jurist or a legal draftsperson, caselaw probably looks like a reliable, elegant way to record what legislation really means, in context.

To a programmer, it looks like a collection of bugs, for a program that was badly written in the first place and isn’t being maintained by its authors any more.

The programmer then goes looking for the bug-tracker for the criminal code and there isn’t one. At this point their head explodes.

Introduction

When a statute fails to deal with an unexpected situation, the courts fix it. This is a lot like fixing bugs in programs, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Where Does Memory Come From?

The human memory is crucial to a trial. It is the essence of a lay person’s testimony. So where does memory come from?

In the Organized Mind neuroscientist Daniel Levitin explains.

When we experience an event, a unique set of neurons is activated. The act of remembering something is a process of bringing back on line those neurons that were involved in the original experience… Once we get those neurons to become active in a fashion similar to how they were during the original event, we experience the memory as a lower-resolution replay of the original event. If only we

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Accessibility of the LSAT: A Response to Dean Sossin and Dean Holloway

Harvard Law’s recent relaxation of the LSAT requirements by allowing applicants to take the GRE has spurred a debate in the Canadian context about whether it is prudent to maintain the strict LSAT requirements for law school admissions. So far, the deans of two law schools – Dean Sossin of Osgoode Hall and Dean Holloway of Calgary Law – have taken a public stand in support of the LSAT. The arguments cited are not new. The LSAT, it is argued, is a useful comparative tool that allows admission committees to compare the logical reasoning of their applicants. It is also . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Miscellaneous

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on research, writing, and practice.

PracticeTax Tips for Legal Professionals
Jackie Porter

It’s tax time and the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Do you feel that you are paying to much taxes but only complain to your accountant when its tax time? A better approach to to be proactive. Check out tips to help you stay on top of next years taxes

Research

Limit

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Reflections on Technology Changes in Real Estate Practice

This article is by Maurizio Romanin, President & CEO, LawyerDoneDeal Corp. & Nora Rock, Corporate Writer & Policy Analyst, LawPRO.

Facilitating transfers of real estate has been the bread-and-butter of thousands of Ontario lawyers for generations. Despite occasional market wobbles, real estate business has helped firms to flourish in communities of all sizes, often supporting the delivery of family, estates, commercial and even criminal law services. Healthy real estate practices support both lawyers’ own families and access to justice for their neighbours. But there is danger in taking the bread-and- butter work of one’s practice for granted, and in forgetting . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, 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. National Magazine 2. Library Boy 3. Risk Management & Crisis Response 4. Michael Geist 5. Susan On The Soapbox

National Magazine
CBA submission on the environmental review process

In the tennis match that is the government’s review of its environmental assessment process, the ball is back in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

The Irony of the Bonkalo Report

Background of Law Students in the Family Courts

We all know the numbers in Ontario’s family courts. At least 60% of parties are unrepresented. They do worse than those with representation. The Family Court Rules are paper-heavy, with many deadlines, complicated financial calculations, and all kinds of forms to be drafted. Family lawyers will tell you it’s difficult enough for them to manage all of this, let alone an untrained individual.

Regrettably, the Family Courts in Ontario are an example of justice for those with money, and little justice for those without. This is one reason why Canadians are losing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education