On November 27, 2013, Quebec’s National Employment Insurance Review Commission released its report regarding the impact of the federal government's 2012 changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program. The report makes 30 recommendations, with three key recommendations calling for the provincial and federal governments to negotiate an agreement giving Quebec the power to manage its own EI system to meet the needs of the province’s labour market. . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Justice Issues’
Lawyers who practice family law in Winnipeg are familiar with the Tuesday morning motions court, known as the “zoo” for reasons that will soon be obvious. For those unfamiliar with this docket court, the recent decision of Associate Chief Justice Rivoalen in Skinner v. Skinner is instructive:
 There is a lot going on as the Family Motions Coordinator, parties and their lawyers navigate their way through the typical Family Uncontested Motions melée, and not only because there are so many matters on the List. Moreover, the Court's registry staff, clerks, sheriffs, stand-by master and judges are fully engaged….
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If ideas and discussion about access to justice in Canada interest you, consider setting aside your next fifteen-minute break (or 13:35 of it) to hear a good presentation. Andrew Pilliar,a PhD student at UBC Law, recently delivered a TEDx talk on "why you should care about access to justice." Andrew addresses the widespread unaffordability of legal services—including for people who would not qualify for legal aid but whose circumstances might turn dire were we to find ourselves in need of legal help.
He directs the talk to the general public, to the profession, and also specifically to law . . . [more]
Nearly 30 legal professionals – and who knows how many lurkers – participated in Tuesday night’s Twitterchat about legal technology and access to justice.
What if it were this easy, wondered Casey Hall from Thomson Reuters Legal, to pool time to answer those in need?
That strikes straight to the heart of the access to justice conundrum: everyone has lots of ideas about what the basic problems are and what could be done to fix them, but there appears to be more eagerness to discuss the issue than to deal with it.
That there are areas of overlap in the . . . [more]
Quebec Government Tables Bill to Give Regulatory Bodies Power to Suspend Members Facing Criminal Charges
Quebec’s Charbonneau commission into corruption in the construction industry has revealed numerous failings in the province’s regulatory regime, which the government is attempting to address with new laws. For instance, professional regulatory bodies have found they have little or no power to discipline members (e.g., engineers, lawyers) who have been charged with or have confessed to corruption in relation to construction projects in Quebec. These regulatory bodies have to wait until a disciplinary board (syndic) investigates and the disciplinary committee decides the individuals should be punished . . . [more]
Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing about some initiatives of the Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General. One of the topics that Minister Denis addressed was the shortage of Justices in Alberta.
Our province has had incredible population growth, 36% since 1996, and we have a delays in our courts. Check out this Lawyers Weekly article from August 16, 2013 by Cristin Schmitz for coverage of the issue.
Minister Denis encouraged Albertans to write their Members of Parliament to ask for appointments of Court of Queen's Bench Justices.
The foundational tenets of our legal system include justice and fairness. It is assumed is that we can access and assert our rights in law. Increasingly what we see in the courts is a rising number of people who represent themselves with measurably worse outcomes than if they had retained a lawyer, and many more who are just not seeking justice at all because of legal costs. For many years, the focus was improving access through legal aid and pro bono legal services. However, today that is only one small part of the answer to a very big problem. What . . . [more]
Legal Futures this week posted on the results of the third annual survey of what clients want from their legal service provider, conducted by legal technology service provider Peppermint Technology in the United Kingdom.
The post included two points that caught my eye. First, the survey found that clients are concerned about whether their legal advisor is able to provide online accessibility:
“There is now a significant body of businesspeople for whom online access has become a necessity of their working life,” the report said. “If their legal advisers are not perceived to be up to speed with this development,
. . . [more]
Bill Affirming the Values of Secularism and Religious Neutrality of the State Tabled in Quebec Legislature
Bernard Drainville, Quebec’s Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship, has finally introduced legislation affirming the values of secularism and religious neutrality with respect to the province of Quebec. The name of the "Quebec Charter of Values" has changed, but the substance remains essentially intact. . . . [more]
The day after the federal government identified genetic discrimination as a priority in its speech from the throne on October 16, 2013, Senator James S. Cowan re-introduced Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination in the Senate. . . . [more]
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Future of LGBT Workplace Protections in the United States
When a colleague told me a few weeks ago that it is legal in 29 states for someone to be fired solely because they are gay, I almost didn’t believe him. Although I know of the still prevalent discrimination faced by LGBT individuals in the United States, I was surprised (to say the least) that majority lawmakers in many states still openly oppose employment protections for gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
As most of you know, in Canada, discrimination in the private realm is prohibited in all provinces by the Human Rights Acts and by the Quebec Charter of Human . . . [more]
Once upon a time, Humpty Dumpty reminded Alice, in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone. "It means just what I choose it to mean – neither more or less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – that's all."
Readers of this blog, and others who follow Canadian politics and law, will know that there is some controversy surrounding the appointment, by the Prime Minister of Canada, . . . [more]