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. Cook v. Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd., 2019 ONSC 2108

[53] My determination that Ms. Cook is entitled to the Balance should not be taken as condoning Ms. Cook’s conduct in this matter. Real estate salespersons owe a fiduciary duty to their clients. They are required to follow a Code of Ethics that includes acting with honesty and integrity and in their clients’ best interest: O. Reg. 580/05, ss. 3, 4. Ms. Cook entered into a referral arrangement that was contrary to REBBA and then sought to resile from it because she regretted agreeing to pay Ms. Godfrey 50 percent. The text messages show that Ms. Cook asked Ms. Godfrey to influence Ms. Nashman behind the scenes regarding the purchase of the Forest Hill Property. She did not disclose the referral arrangement until it appeared that Ms. Godfrey was about to do so. While this conduct causes serious concern, it does not alter the fact that the agreement between Ms. Cook and Ms. Godfrey cannot be enforced.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. TELUS Communications Inc. v. Wellman, 2019 SCC 19

[106] This appeal involves a class action against TELUS Communications Inc. The mandatory, non-negotiable contract which all purchasers of TELUS cell phone plans must sign, requires individual arbitration for any claim, and prevents court remedies such as class actions. Legislation in Ontario exempts consumers from the operation of these compulsory arbitration clauses. Businesses, on the other hand, no matter their size, and even if they are pursuing identical claims as consumers, can be caught by the operation of the arbitration clause in the contract. The Ontario courts, however, have recognized the denial of access to justice created by this disparity and have interpreted the Arbitration Act, 1991 in a way that gives a court discretion to redress this anomaly and allow both sets of claimants to access a class action.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. R. v. Shaikh, 2019 ONCJ 157

[15] Pursuant to the Act to amend, the actus reus elements of the drinking and driving offences have been redefined such that there is no longer an issue as to what a motorist’s blood-alcohol concentration was back at the time of driving. The new offences involving operation of a vehicle (i.e., “a conveyance”) while impaired or while “80 plus” now focus on whether the motorist was impaired or “80 plus” within two hours of having operated a vehicle. Given the new offence definitions, a presumption of identity is no longer relevant to what the Crown must prove to establish guilt. Accordingly, while the Act to amend creates a presumption of accuracy similar in nature to the one previously in place by virtue of s. 258(1)(g) of the Code (see s. 320.31(1)), the Act to amend does not include any new presumption of identity similar to what had previously existed in s. 258(1)(c) of the Code.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was R. c. Bissonnette, 2019 QCCS 354

[1172] En l’espèce, les objectifs visés par le Parlement fédéral en adoptant l’article 745.51 ne posent aucune difficulté. Par commodité, rappelons qu’ils consistent à favoriser la proportionnalité, à s’assurer que les auteurs de meurtres multiples paient un « juste dû » pour leurs crimes, à renforcer l’objectif de dénonciation et à assurer la protection de la société. Aucune de ces quatre finalités n’est remise en question devant le soussigné.

[1173] Tout juge envisageant d’apporter lui-même une modification à la loi existante doit d’abord s’interroger sur l’opportunité de retourner le législateur à sa planche à dessin. Doit-il ou non intervenir et procéder lui-même à la modification législative? La question n’est pas toujours facile à répondre. Deux facteurs peuvent cependant l’aider dans sa réflexion.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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