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Archive for January, 2021

Alcoholic Employee Accommodated to the Limit of Undue Hardship

By Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

The recent New Brunswick labour arbitration decision in Unifor, Local 907 and J.B. v Irving Paper Limited, 2020 CanLII 38613 (NB LA) tells the unfortunate tale of an alcoholic’s losing battle to overcome his addiction and losing his job in the process. The decision provides helpful insights into how far an employer can or should go in accommodating this disability. The decision will be of particular interest to employers who operate safety-sensitive operations, and to employees who may be uncertain of the role they must play in the search for a . . . [more]

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

Why Do We Regulate Lawyers?

This is my first legal ethics column for Slaw. I am delighted and honoured to be taking the place of my former colleague, mentor, and all-around legal ethics and regulation rock star, Malcolm Mercer, who recently assumed the role of Chair of Ontario’s Law Society Tribunal. In the coming months and beyond, I look forward to using this space to consider rules of professional conduct and discipline; governance issues in lawyer regulation; legal education and training; and the future of legal services provision. But before diving into these topics, I propose to take a step back and first consider . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Book Review: Indigenous Water Rights in Law and Regulation–Lessons From Comparative Experience

Several times each month, we are pleased to republish a recent book review from the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR). CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD), and its reviews cover both practice-oriented and academic publications related to the law.

Indigenous Water Rights in Law and Regulation: Lessons from Comparative Experience. By Elizabeth Jane Macpherson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. xi, 291 p. Includes bibliographic references, index, and glossary. ISBN 978-1-108-47306-4 (hardcover) $126.95; ISBN 978-1-108-61109-1 (eBook via Cambridge Core) US$140.00.

Reviewed by Nadine Hoffman
Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Librarian . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews

Do We Need to Regulate Public Squares Owned by Big Tech Companies?

The ability of Big Tech companies to shut out one of the world’s loudest men, Donald Trump, is astonishing. The events of last week, including the mob storming the U.S. Capitol building, forces us to ask how should we regulate Big Tech?

In the Harvard Business Review “How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy”, Yael Eisenstat points out that simply silencing Donald Trump is not enough. The response “fails to address how millions of Americans have been drawn into conspiracy theories online”.

Eisenstat argues that social media companies are curating content that decides what speech to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Failures of Client Management

Continuing with our theme of learning from failures – ours or others’ – let’s look at how you can make your project fail in ways related to client (mis)-management.

This column is #2 in a series, following up on October’s failures of project leadership. Again, these points of failure are based on excerpts of a book I’m working on, Pass the Blame! And 99 Other Ways to Screw Up Your Projects.

4. Misunderstand the Business Problem

Unless your specialty is criminal law, your clients come to you because they have business problems.

Sure, those problems (usually) have a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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 (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65

[1] This appeal and its companion cases (see Bell Canada v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 SCC 66 (CanLII)), provide this Court with an opportunity to re-examine its approach to judicial review of administrative decisions.

[2] In these reasons, we will address two key aspects of the current administrative law . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Democracy Is Fragile. Do You Feel Lucky?

Tom Standage, editor of “The World in 2021“, a feature of The Economist published on November 16, 2020 asked:

Do you feel lucky? The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing. It’s the minimum age at which you can enter a casino in America, and the name of a family of card games, including blackjack, that are popular with gamblers.

All of which seems strangely appropriate for a year

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Law: Part 1

The law has played a major role in governments’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether it has taken the form of legislation, orders or regulations with legally enforceable status, or recommendations or advice, treated as if it were law, governments’ intention with these laws has been to force major changes in behaviour. Many of these laws, formal and informal, have also resulted in confusion, frustration and anger. In this post and in my next, I consider how governments’ use of law has met our expectations about the characteristics of public law in a democratic system. Here I discuss the characteristics . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

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.

Research & Writing

A New Resource for Translations of Canadian Case Law
Susannah Tredwell

The Centre de traduction et de terminologie juridiques (CTTJ) at the Université de Moncton has been working on a project to translate important unilingual Canadian court decisions into Canada’s other official language. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Measuring the Effectiveness of Unbundling: A Novel Approach

It is hard to believe that it has been over 3 years since the launch of the BC Family Unbundling Roster. There are now over 175 legal professionals on the list from all over BC.

It is time to assess whether unbundling (including legal coaching) is helping to close the A2J gap in BC. One challenge is that we have little data to guide evidence-based service improvement and policy-making. We need evidence about the client’s experience of unbundling and details of the experience of the legal professionals as well. If legal professionals do not see advantages both for their . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

New Frontier of Legal Innovation – Regulatory Legal Innovation Sandboxes

2020 saw unprecedented adoption of legal technology and legal innovation, however, one of the more surprising developments are legal regulatory sandboxes, introduced first in the state of Utah in the United States and now in Canada, by the Law Society of British Columbia. The regulatory sandbox model allows for the experimentation of new alternative business models, including non-lawyer ownership and fee sharing, in a controlled environment under the regulator’s supervision.

The Utah Supreme Court two-year pilot of a regulatory sandbox (a regulatory body under the oversight of the Supreme Court to be called the Office of Legal Services Innovation, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

University Accommodations for Admissions

A post-secondary education, for most Canadians, is a gateway and a pre-requisite to a better future. Additional education is especially important during difficult economic times, in particular after the loss of a job.

In 2011, Statistics Canada concluded a long-term impact study on post-secondary education, concluding that those who obtained this education found a $7,000 increase in annual salary. This held true even for those who lost their jobs due to the 2008 recession, for most of the participants involved.

Who gets into these education institutions is therefore a considerable factor into social mobility. At the same time, educational institutions . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions