Justice Issues Archives – Slaw
Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Constitutionality of Reconstituting the City of Toronto

On Oct. 20, 2018, the City of Toronto its 86th municipal election, the largest city in Canada, with the 6th largest government in the country and nearly 8% of the entire country’s population. On July 27, 2018, just a few months before this election, the new Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that he will reduce the number of city council seats from 44 to 25.

There have been calls supporting and opposing this exact change, years before Premier Ford won the provincial election this year. Other cities around the world have effectively functioned with similar numbers in representation. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Information Needed to Assess Children’s Lawyer Function

The involvement of children in our legal system is one that requires particular sensitivity and care, given their own limits of autonomy, but also the long-lasting consequences that the justice system can have on them. Access to information as to how our system works is central to this ability to assess its function.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently reversed in Ontario (Children’s Lawyer) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner) a decision that would release information held by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL), which will make any independent review of their function by third-parties more challenging in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Resources on US Supreme Court Nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh

Earlier this week, American President Trump nominated Brett M. Kavanaugh from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to take the place of Justice Anthony Kennedy who will be retiring as of the end of this month.

Who is Kavanaugh?

There are plenty of resources to figure that out.

The Library of Congress in Washington has published a page with resources about the nominee. The page includes links to articles and books by and about the nominee, to cases decided by him, to Congressional materials about his earlier nominations to federal judicial posts, and to web resources. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Federal Accessibility Law Tabled in Parliament

On June 20, 2018, the federal government introduced Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, the long-awaited national accessibility legislation which will enable the government of Canada to take a proactive approach to end systemic discrimination of people with disabilities.

The Bill also known as the Accessible Canada Act would establish a model to eliminate accessibility barriers and lead to more consistent accessibility in areas covered by federally regulated sectors such as banking, inter-provincial and international transportation, telecommunications and government-run services such as Canada Post and federally funded organizations. Moreover, the Bill aims to “identify, remove and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Possibilities Under a Non-Lawyer AG in Ontario

Although it may seem as an inconsistency, the Attorney General in Ontario need not be an attorney in that jurisdiction.

With the announcement of Caroline Mulroney as the AG in Ontario this week, this possibility is now a reality. Ms. Mulroney holds an American law degree and was licensed in New York State, but is not a licensee in Ontario.

The validity of a lawyer functioning in this role was resolved several years ago in Askin v. Law Society of British Columbia, which Adam Dodek summarized on Slaw here, where the court held,

[27] To conclude that only persons entitled

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues

BC Attorney General Unveils “Dirty Money” Report by Peter German

The Dirty Money Report

At 9:30 PDT this morning (June 27, 2018) BC Attorney General David Eby QC convened a press conference to discuss the release of the much anticipated report by Peter German QC. Minister Eby was joined by German, a classic quadruple threat. Quite boring really. Lawyer (BC and Ont), former RCMP member of 31 years, Correctional Service Regional Deputy Commissioner, money laundering expert and textbook writer, PhD, and Queen’s Counsel. He does not, so far as we know, hold any Olympic medals, important medical patents or Eurovision victories.

Those who tuned in to the live stream, as . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Telus Texts Not Intercepted When Stored

Many Canadians confuse the law when it comes to recording telephone conversations, likely due to exposure to American concepts in the media. Although the Wiretap Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. § 2511) contains a one-party consent rule, a dozen states have a two-party consent that supersedes American Federal law, and given its presence in California (Cal. Penal Code § 632), it’s likely that this is often the source of the misunderstanding in Canada.

In Canada, we have Part VI of the Criminal Code, which states,

Consent to interception

 Where a private communication is originated by more than one person

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

Rethinking the Role of Professional Membership Organizations

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is quoted as saying the only thing that is constant is change.” As lawyers, we often resist the tides of changes, by resting on the comfort of status quo and the notion that stare decisis is written in stone.

The Court in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) recognized that the doctrine of precedent is fundamental to our legal system, as it provides some certainty, but stated at para 44,

However, stare decisis is not a straitjacket that condemns the law to stasis.

Changing societal contexts and shifts in our understanding of the law have allowed the . . . [more]

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

Juror Research Online and Mistrials

With a smartphone in every pocket, and easy access to the law in every home, when does independent research by a juror become sufficient for a mistrial? The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently explored this issue during a personal injury trial in Patterson v. Peladeau, where Justice Hackland dismissed the motion for mistrial.

At issue for the mistrial motion was an unusual jury question on the first day of deliberations. The content of the note inferred that the jury had been discussing the liability issue at trial, but in an context of a statutory reference that was not at . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Published Criteria for Reasonable Accommodation Under Quebec’s Face Covering Law

On May 9, 2018, the Quebec government published its criteria for reasonable accommodation under an Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies (the Act, previously Bill 62) that requires among other things, Quebecers to leave their faces uncovered in order to provide or receive public services.

Under the Act, employees and members of public bodies and certain other bodies, as well as elected persons, must exercise their functions with their face uncovered. In addition, persons who request a service from one of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Deleterious Effects of Emphasizing Privacy Over Openness

The importance of privacy in our technologically driven society can never be overrated, but even then there are limits to the extent to which a free and democratic society can and should protect privacy interests.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) received royal assent in 1987, coming into force in 1988. The Act was the result of the NDP conditional support of the Liberal minority government that would create new freedom of information and privacy protections, based on the 1980 report, Public government for private people : the report of the Commission on Freedom . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Interrupted Childhoods and Overrepresentation in the Wrong Places

Race is an artificial and arbitrary social construct, and there is no biological or scientific basis for the racial distinctions we make between people. It is a function of our history and our misconceptions of how people have existed or migrated around the world, and our racial definitions have changed drastically over time based on different environmental and social factors.

Given the lack of objective basis for racial definitions, some people query why we track racial statistics in society at all. Doing so has the potential to ingrain these social constructs and divisions even further, and prevent us from treating . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues