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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

What We Know About the Impact of the Cuts to Community Legal Clinics’ Funding: Are They Prologue to More Dramatic Change?

The impact of the Ford government’s 30% cut to legal aid has now been made explicit and that impact is to pare down the clinics’ contributions to access to justice. The cuts to the criminal justice system are important, but it is also crucial to understand how the cuts to the clinics affect those living in poverty in their everyday lives. (For the impact of cuts in other areas, see Legal Aid Ontario’s announcement.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Over 50 Justice Organizations Agree to a Common Access to Justice Goal That Puts User Experience at the Centre

Yesterday (June 12) in Vancouver, leaders of BC’s justice system came together to endorse the Access to Justice Triple Aim.

The one goal of improving access to justice in BC has three interrelated elements:

  1. improving population access to justice
  2. improving the user experience of access to justice and
  3. improving costs (as they relate to access to justice).

Each participating organization has committed to a common goal to improve access to justice in BC and to action to pursue that goal. How organizations choose to act is for them to decide within the context of their respective mandates.

Implicit in . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Justice Issues

Needed Change to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program

Much has been said about what is wrong with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP), particularly in relation to certain categories of workers, whether fundamentally about the notion of “migrant worker” or about details of the program. One of the serious problems with the program has been the way in which workers have been tied to particular employers. A recent change, allowing workers to change employers, has the potential to address one of the negative aspects of the system. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Pernicious and Unfair Assumptions Around Colonial Genocide

In 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. McCraw reviewed the threat of a criminally accused to inflict bodily harm, and discussed how rape is an act of violence, and not just a sexual act,

It is difficult if not impossible to distinguish the sexual component of the act of rape from the context of violence in which it occurs. Rape throughout the ages has been synonymous with an act of forcibly imposing the will of the more powerful assailant upon the weaker victim. Necessarily implied in the act of rape is the imposition of the assailant’s will

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Using Law to Restrict Freedom of Religion and Conscience: The Vaccination Issue

Generally speaking, those of us above “a certain age” grew up suffering from dangerous childhood diseases, such as chicken pox, measles and mumps, among others. Most of us survived, but not every child did and even among the survivors, children lost their hearing or there were other negative consequences (increased risk of miscarriage for women contracting measles during pregnancy, for example). Measles can result in swelling of the brain, ear infections, pneumonia, among other serious conditions.

What a blessing the vaccines to end these diseases were. The measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, the mumps vaccine was approved . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Carding Finally Discussed at Supreme Court

Toronto has the most diverse population in Canada, and possibly the word. The myriad of different cultures and ethnicities not only co-exist, but largely mingle and interact on a deep level that is likely not seen anywhere else.

At the same time, the diverse populations of Toronto have a complicated relationship with police services, who they often perceive as treating inappropriately, based on stereotypes, prejudices, or even racial profiling. There are many reasons for this, but they include the challenge of many officers living or growing up outside these diverse communities, police divisions under financial and resource strains, and occasionally, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

How Law Affects the Relationship Between the People and Government

Law is a significant factor in how the individual is able or is forced to interact with the state. It may be a force of oppression, it may protect people from each other and indeed, from the state itself. It may enable people to attain rights and benefits. Our nexus with law helps to define us as a society. When the opportunity to employ law to attain rights is diminished or when law is used as a threat to force particular conduct based on improper motives, the nature of that nexus changes. Cuts to legal aid and the expected repeal . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Religion and the Law: “Respect” or Denial?

In Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Court of Appeal sought to reconcile the religious views of doctors opposed to carrying out certain procedures with the rights of patients to equitable access to those procedures and to the public interest. Under Bill 21, the Quebec government seeks to deny the wearing of certain “religious” clothing in the interests of preserving a secular society. A comparison of these two situations help to illustrate how private religious beliefs might play out in the public sphere. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Butterfly Transactions: Dividing Family Businesses Is Harder for Common Law Couples

Dividing up family property after separation or divorce can be a complicated affair. It is even more complicated when a family business is involved. The butterfly transaction or, divisive reorganization, is a common way of dividing up business assets after the breakdown of a common-law relationship or marriage. A butterfly transaction is a very complex process which requires the assistance of professional accountants and tax lawyers, but for some businesses the significant tax saving makes these professional fees worthwhile.

Generally, when assets are pulled out of company taxes must be paid to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). It is important . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Vote for the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Members of the public can help determine the winner of the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

The prize, which is sponsored by ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, is “given annually to a book-length work of fiction that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

It was established in 2011 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

The three finalists this year are:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

Applying Habeas Corpus in Immigration Cases: Bringing Nuance to the Jurisprudence?

Although the ancient writ of habeas corpus is a significant protection against arbitrary detention (more recently acknowledged through section 10(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), our courts have developed two circumstances in which it is not available because other remedies are equally effective, providing the same advantages to those who would claim it. Thus prisoners are not able to call on habeas corpus to challenge their conviction or sentence, since they can adequately appeal both under the Criminal Code. Habeas corpus is also displaced when a statutory scheme provides equivalent protection against arbitrary detention. Canada . . . [more]

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

Freemen Arrive at the Ontario Court of Appeal

Justice Rooke’s 2012 lengthy decision in Meads v. Meads attracted considerable attention, in particular given the peculiar nature of the nature of the parties he deemed “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument (OPCA) Litigants.”

These litigants defy any general definition, aside from using entirely fictitious legal arguments gleaned from the Internet which purports to provide them complete immunity from the legal system. They can use the term Freeman-on-the-Land to denote their entirely unsubstantiated belief that they are free from the rules and laws that the rest of us abide by.

The hope of Justice Rooke’s particular exposé, and its dissemination by . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions