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Archive for ‘Case Comment’

More Onerous Duty to Accommodate Workplace Injuries

A recent Quebec Court of Appeal decision will make it more onerous for employers to meet their duty to accommodate in the context of a workplace injury. The Court of Appeal found that an employer must seek suitable employment for an employee returning to work from an injury, offer reasonable accommodation to the employee to the point of undue hardship, and conduct an assessment to ensure the accommodation complies with the provisions of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. . . . [more]

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

Appeal Judge Rips Trial Judge’s Conduct Towards Self-Represented Defendant

A Superior Court Judge has tossed out a Small Claims Court judgment for a long list of reasons which primarily involve the inappropriate manner in which the trial judge dealt with the self-represented defendant throughout the course of the trial.

The reasons for granting the appeal span 92 paragraphs. The conduct of the trial judge becomes increasingly unbelievable as the reasons unfold. The decision is worth a read in its entirety and the findings include the following:

The trial judge had not read any of the material before the trial;

The trial judge gave the defendant “two minutes” to explain . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

Government of Canada v. Face Coverings: A Debate on the Limits to Freedom of Religion

On September 16, 2015, the federal government decided to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the case of Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Ishaq, 2015 FCA 194 (CanLII), in which the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that it was unlawful for the Canadian government to ban new citizens from reciting the citizenship oath with a face covering.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

When Are Witnesses Allowed to Testify via Video-Conference?

A recent Superior Court decision canvassed the existing law pertaining to permitting witnesses to testify via telephone or video as opposed to in person, and appears to have set out a template of the procedure by which such requests should be made and, if granted, carried out.

A few days before the commencement of trial, the defendants requested that five of their witnesses be permitted to testify via video-conference at the trial. Four of these witnesses live in the U.K. and the other witness lives in the United States. The plaintiff opposed the request which led to argument. The court . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Ontario Court of Appeal to Consider Basic Land Titles Issues

A current appeal in CIBC v. Computershare raises basic questions under the Ontario Land Titles Act. It’s also the first time that the courts have dealt with the many 2006 changes to the Act.

In CIBC v. Computershare, owners had fraudulently caused a discharge of their first mortgage to be registered. The owners had continued their payments and so the lender didn’t know about the discharge. Later, the owners had taken a loan under a new registered first mortgage. Under the Act, the new first mortgage had priority. But the trial court mistakenly decided that the old first . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Claims for Damage Caused by Tenants Fall Under Exclusive Jurisdiction of Landlord Board

A recent Ontario decision has affirmed the principle that all claims for damage caused by a tenant during a tenancy must proceed before the Landlord and Tenant Board (the “Board”) and not in the Superior or Small Claims courts.

After about a six year tenancy, the tenant fell behind on rent. The landlord brought an application to evict the tenant. The tenant vacated the unit shortly after being served with the application materials and did not attend the eviction hearing.

As part of the eviction hearing the landlord sought arrears of rent, including hydro arrears. The Board terminated the tenancy . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

Due Diligence Required When Using Exemptions to Disclose Personal Information Without Consent

Organizations may only disclose a person’s confidential information without the person’s knowledge or consent in very specific circumstances, set out in paragraph 7(3)(h.2) of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Now, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada recently found that in order to properly rely on the s.7(3)(h.2) exemption it is essential that an organization document the purpose for which personal information is disclosed and exercise due diligence to ensure that the disclosure is reasonable under the circumstances. . . . [more]

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

Employer Unsuccessfully Attempts to Resile From Settlement After Learning Ex-Employee Is Employed by Competitor

In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court upheld a settlement that was reached between a former employee and his ex-employer at a mediation over the employer’s attempt to resile from the settlement after finding out that the former employee had since gained employment with a competitor.

The plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against his former employer for payment of certain benefits after his employment was terminated.

The parties attended a mediation at which the lawsuit was resolved. As is often the case, the formal paperwork was not completed at the mediation.

Two days after the mediation the former employer . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Mandatory CPD Survives Its Day in Court

Since 2012, practising lawyers in Manitoba have been required to complete 12 hours of continuing professional development programming annually and to report on those activities as part of the annual Member’s Report. Failure to do so, pursuant to Law Society Rule 2-81.1(12) may result in issuance of a warning letter from the Law Society CEO, advising the member to comply within 60 days or face automatic suspension until the requirements have been met.

Recently, a long-time member of The Law Society of Manitoba challenged those provisions as being outside the statutory authority of The Law Society, and as lacking in . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD

Small Claims Court Awards $2,500 in Damages and $5,300 in Costs

The Courts of Justice Act in Ontario contains a provision which limits the award of legal costs in Small Claims Court to 15 per cent of the amount claimed unless “the court considers it necessary in the interests of justice to penalize a party or a party’s representative for unreasonable behavior in the proceeding.”

This provision makes it impossible for many lawyers to litigate cases in Small Claims Court in a cost effective manner. In short, the amount of fees that will be charged to the client will be disproportionate to the amount of the potential overall recovery.

In a . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

Getting Smart on Crime Instead of Tough

Mandatory minimums. Mega prisons. “Tough” on crime.

These have been the hallmarks of the Federal government’s reform of the criminal justice system, but the policies have been more politically motivated than good policy or social science evidence. Canada’s crime rate has been the lowest since 1972, and the literature on law enforcement suggests these measures will actually make things worse.

The mandatory minimum provisions and removal of credit for time has already been challenged successfully in court. Courts in B.C., Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Northwest Territories have all found these provisions as unconstitutional, culminating in the Supreme Court’s decision in . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues

Human Rights Tribunal’s Finding of Disability Discrimination in Employment Overturned

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta recently overturned a finding of disability discrimination in employment in the case of Syncrude Canada Ltd v Saunders, 2015 ABQB 237 (CanLII). The Court decided that the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal erred in finding that the employee established a prima facie case of discrimination when the evidence could not reasonably support the conclusion that the employee suffered from a disability or a perceived disability requiring accommodation. . . . [more]

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