Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for December, 2019

Religion…Not Religion: Is It Really Just a Toss-Up?

It’s really not surprising that a court would find an organization that calls itself “Church of Atheism” is not a religion. But one has to ask, why couldn’t the Church of Atheism be a religion; it had many of the attributes — kind of. What is “religion”, anyway? Does it depend on context? The Federal Court of Appeal in Church of Atheism of Central Canada v. Canada (National Revenue) waded into the meaning of religion when it upheld the Minister of National Revenue’s decision that the Church of Atheism was not a religion and thus not eligible for charitable status . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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 practice, research, writing and technology.


Celebrate Success
Sandra Bekhor

The holidays are just around the corner. Everyone looks forward to the cards, lunches, gifts, parties and general good cheer this time of the year. Maybe in some small way, it makes up for the cold! …

Research & Writing

‘This Matter Is Very Confidential’
Neil Guthrie

This cautionary note was included (in red, boldface type!) in one of the e-mail notices that go . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Duty of Technical Competence: Missing the Point

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada on October 19, 2019 adopted changes to the model code of conduct, adding commentary on competence with technology.

There is no new standalone duty of technological competence, but rather the FLSC has provided new guidance on how the general duty of competence should be understood with regard to technology.

The new guidance is phrased as follows:

[4A] To maintain the required level of competence, a lawyer should develop an understanding of, and ability to use, technology relevant to the nature and area of the lawyer’s practice and responsibilities. A lawyer should understand

. . . [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. Great LEXpectations 2. Off the Shelf 3. Rule of Law 4. The Lean Law Firm 5. Risk Management & Crisis Response

Great LEXpectations
Decisions of the Week – Sentencing

We get many requests for decisions on sentencing, particularly where parties are aware of a particular sentence, however,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Introducing the Precedent Innovation Awards

Lawyers love awards. So much so that they have become in some quarters such a questionable marketing practice that the Law Society of Ontario has special commentary for them under the Rules of Professional Conduct,

4.2-1 A lawyer may market legal services only if the marketing

(a) is demonstrably true, accurate and verifiable;

(b) is neither misleading, confusing, or deceptive, nor likely to mislead, confuse or deceive; and

(c) is in the best interests of the public and is consistent with a high standard of professionalism.

[3] Examples of marketing that do contravene this rule include…

(e) referring

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

DROITS ET LIBERTÉS : La Cour d’appel confirme que les propos tenus par Mike Ward à l’endroit de Jérémy Gabriel, lequel est atteint du syndrome de Treacher Collins, sont de nature discriminatoire et qu’ils ont eu pour effet de compromettre le droit de ce dernier à la reconnaissance en pleine . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

Employer’s Failure to Share: Not Fair

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

The recent case of the Federal Court of Canada, Chapman v Canada (Attorney General), 2019 FC 975 (CanLII) involved the issue of procedural fairness in the context of a disciplinary investigation. A complaint of wrongdoing was made against a high-ranking public servant who was not provided any particulars of the allegation. Due to a variety of factors, the Court determined that the employee had been denied an opportunity to fully respond to the allegations. As there had been a breach of procedural fairness, the Court ordered that the matter be . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

On-Line Reviews – the Other Referral

On-line reviews have become incredibly important for professionals to build their client base. Entire industries have been built on the notion that one person’s experience – even someone you do not know – is a tool used to judge ones abilities. We do it all the time with restaurants, stores, apps, and on and on. More and more on-line reviews are being used when people choose service providers.

It used to be when you needed a lawyer, you would reach out to someone you know and hope they knew someone. This may have led you to a tax lawyer when . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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. Lifechoice Ltd. v Adams, 2019 CanLII 28274 (AB ESU)

[28] Like most commissioned salespeople, the Respondent’s income was dependent in whole or in part on her sales success. The fact an individual is paid commission does not remove him or her from the definition of “employee” under the Code. There must be some indicia of entrepreneurial activity on the part . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Adjudication of Technology and Construction Disputes

The movement toward speedy adjudication of payment disputes in the construction and technology sectors seems to be gaining some momentum this fall, with new programs being launched in Ontario and England.

In England, the Society for Computers and Law (SCL) has launched a new adjudication process for resolution of technology disputes, following several years of study and industry consultation.

SCL was established to educate legal and technology professionals and promote “best practice” for the technology sector in the UK. It identified a need for faster, cheaper resolution of disputes involving long term, high value, and technically complex technology contracts.

Adjudication . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Are Some Judges Just Slow Learners? Myths and Stereotypes in Sexual Assault Cases

Will we ever reach a point when how women dress or whether they don’t immediately rush to tell someone they’ve been sexually assaulted are not interpreted as superceding consent in determining whether a sexual assault has occurred? It’s been some 20 years since the Supreme Court of Canada, particularly L’Heureux-Dube J. in dissent, but also the majority, in Seaboyer emphasized the distorting role myths and stereotypes play in deciding sexual assault cases. The recent Court of Appeal decision in R. v. Lacombe tells us that some (in this case lower court) judges have still not heard the message. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions