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Employee Rightfully Dismissed for String of Absences

Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Student at law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

In Abdon v Brandt Industries Canada Ltd (“Abdon”), an employer rightfully dismissed an employee for cause as a result of a tendency to fail to show up for work without authorization. After the employer engaged in a series of disciplinary steps, the employee’s dismissal for cause became the only reasonable option to respond to the employee’s egregious failure to fulfill their duties in the workplace. . . . [more]

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

Reasonableness of a Decision Absent Reasons

In 2016, Justice David Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal took the unusual step of posting “A Plea for Doctrinal Coherence and Consistency” online, stating,

Our administrative law is a never-ending construction site where one crew builds structures and then a later crew tears them down to build anew, seemingly without an overall plan…

Administrative law matters. Resting at its heart is the standard of review, the body of law that tells us when the judiciary can legitimately interfere with decision-making by the executive—a matter fundamental to democratic order and good governance, a matter where objectivity, consistency

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Arbitrator Upholds Properly Drafted and Applied Absenteeism Policy

By Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

One of the most important crucial aspects of managing the employment relationship is written policies. Company policies, when drafted and applied properly, can be an effective shield against liability in many employment law cases. Through policy, an employer sets the rights and obligations of the employer and the workers within the workplace. When employers draft up-to-date policy that stays within legal boundaries and workers are kept notified about their rights and obligations under that policy, employers may often successfully fend off legal action such as wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Application of a Workplace Absenteeism Policy

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

In Teamsters Local Union 847 v Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, 2019 CanLII 95328 (ON LA), a labour arbitrator upheld the reasonable application of a workplace absenteeism policy. Although the employee’s excessive absenteeism was because the employee tried to better herself and upgrade her training, the employer was still justified in dismissing her. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ethical Conduct in Cabinet Absent Precise Definitions of Conflict

The Conflict of Interest Act (the “Act”) is likely one of the most reviewed pieces of legislation this week, as a result of the release of the the Trudeau II Report. The characterizations of the Report, and the underlying lessons that may be gleaned, risk being lost to partisan narratives absent close scrutiny.

The history of attempts to define rules around conflicts of interest go back to at least the 1970s, but despite several discussion papers, task forces, committees, inquiries, and reports, very little was actually achieved for over three decades.

The first of these was a green paper introduced . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Absent Ethics of Legal Fees : Putting Profit-Seeking in Its Place

A lawyer should be a loyal ally for a person with a legal need. This loyalty is at the core of our profession’s value proposition to society. Thus, legal ethics strives to guarantee devoted service to clients. Conflict of interest rules prohibit all situations creating “substantial risk” that the lawyer’s loyalty to a client “would be materially and adversely affected by the lawyer’s own interest.” Lawyers, as fiduciaries, must be “concerned solely for the beneficiary [client]’s interests, never the fiduciary [lawyer]’s own.”

There is, however, a glaring exception to the duty of selfless loyalty to clients. Lawyers are allowed . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

What Can We Learn From the English ABS Experience After Five Years?

After five years of ABS liberalization in England (and Wales), it is worth having a look at what has happened. Surprisingly and significantly, the answer is “not much”.

ABS liberalization in England

A decade ago, Legal Services Act 2007 brought about significant changes to the practice of law in England. These changes included allowing what were called alternative business structures to provide legal services where only lawyers were previously permitted to serve clients. The first alternative business structures were licensed in late 2011.

The essential idea of alternative business structures is that constraining ownership of legal practices constrains competition and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

The News of ABS’s “Aliveness” Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

My previous Slaw post has generated, among other things, an unprofessional (and since deleted) comment and criticism that ABS is not dead as I suggested, because the Working Group has only determined that “majority control” by non-legally trained people is dead.

It’s true from a purely technical point of view that ABS can exist with minority ownership by non-legally trained people.

It’s also true that a comatose person whose body is functioning only with the support of a machine, is not dead.

I see remarkable similarities between the ABS debate and those surrounding MDPs at the turn of the century . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

ABS in Ontario Killed by the Foul Stench of Protectionism

It would be really easy to read last week’s report from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Working Group on Alternative Business Structures as thoughtful and considered.

Afterall, it has all the hallmarks of a judicial decision – using all the right words and heck, even using numbered paragraphs; no surprise given that Convocation is over-weighted with litigators, many of whom aspire to be judges themselves.

But if you scratch beneath the surface of the report, one quickly finds that all the judicial language in the world cannot hide what really happened in the LSUC Star Chamber amid the fine . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Thomson Reuters Labs in Waterloo Research Partnership

Cloaked in several “cliches and meaningless metaphors” (in the words of a colleague) is an announcement of a research partnership intended to improve access to “Thomson Reuters vast and unique datasets”. This could lead to significant developments in legal research. Then again maybe just cliches and….

Thomson Reuters to launch data and innovation lab in Waterloo, Ontario
By GlobeNewswire, September 16, 2015, 11:00:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK, September 16, 2015- Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today announced the establishment of Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo Region, in Ontario, Canada. The Lab will . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

ABS v ABS+ for A2J

This post is authored by David Wiseman, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Faculty.

A noteworthy aspect of the Canadian debate on whether to introduce alternative business structures into the legal services sector is the emphasis being given to the potential of ABS to improve access to justice. Instead of just assuming it will happen, I think we need to integrate specific measures into the regulatory framework to make sure that it does. We need to create what I’m calling ABS+.

I have argued that while the middle class may benefit from gains in access to justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Deputy Judge Who Allows Trial to Continue in Absence of One Party Overturned on Appeal

A Deputy Small Claims Court Judge who made the decision to allow a trial to continue on its second day notwithstanding that one of the parties failed to show up has been overturned by the Divisional Court.

The trial which was originally scheduled for only one day, took place over two days. The first day of trial was August 28, 2013. On that day the court heard from two witnesses. The first witness gave evidence in chief and was cross-examined by the defendants. The second witness then gave their evidence in chief. At this time it was determined that . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment