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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

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

Osgoode AI Sets Vision for Canadian Leadership

When the Government of Canada earmarked $125 million for a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, it was premised on the assumption that this area will be a future economic growth engine,

Artificial intelligence is a burgeoning area of research with implications for everything from better medical diagnoses to self-driving cars. The market for artificial intelligence-related products is predicted to reach $47 billion in 2020, and the field has attracted significant investment from Google, Facebook, Baidu and other major technology players.

The 2018 Budget reaffirmed this commitment, with one of the five innovation superclusters focusing on artificial intelligence-powered supply chains that would . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology

Feds Introduce Justice Reforms With C-75

The combined effects on Jordan and Cody on the justice system have been noticeable and palpable for anyone who regulars the courts, with 11(b) waivers by defence echoing the halls of courtrooms, and judicial pressure to have matters heard in a timely manner.

The impact on civil matters is even more pronounced. Without a Charter right to timely proceedings in private matters, many civil lawyers have been complaining about an even more pronounced delay in civil proceedings. The oft touted solution of increased judicial appointments obviously comes at an increased cost to the public purse, and so the government has . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Reappraising the Use of Arbitration in Family Law Disputes

Recent research comparing family law dispute resolution processes from the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family and the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice provides fascinating insights on the views and attitudes of lawyers in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The report, described in an earlier article by Jean-Paul Bevilacqua, concludes that while family law lawyers view litigation as useful for high-conflict disputes and cases involving risks to persons and property, litigation is not their preferred resolution process. The lawyers surveyed said that mediation, collaborative negotiation and arbitration are more likely to produce results that are in . . . [more]

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

Osgoode Introduces Mandatory Indigenous and Aboriginal Law

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its Calls to Action in 2015, I emphasized the need for Canadian law schools to respond to the call for mandatory training for all law students in Indigenous and Aboriginal Law. This is a necessary prerequisite towards reconciliation, and in training the next generation of lawyers to decolonize our legal system.

That same year, some law schools expressed an interest in reforming the curriculum, but acknowledged that all fell short of that goal. Since that time, Canadian law schools have been slowly finding ways to increase their Indigenous content.

Osgoode’s Dean Sossin explained . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues

Recent Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

Written wholly by Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, and PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario

In February 2018, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics released a report that summarized issues and recommendations concerning the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The report was authored by Bob Zimmer, the Chair of the Standing Committee, and presented to the House of Commons in the first session of the 42nd Parliament.

More specifically, the report was generated following the decision to undertake a review of PIPEDA. This review began February 14, 2017; it consisted of . . . [more]

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

Pay Transparency Legislation Introduced

On March 6, 2018, the Ontario government tabled Bill 203, Pay Transparency Act, 2018 to close the wage gap between women and men in the province by imposing significant obligations and restrictions on employers relating to the disclosure of information about the compensation of employees and prospective employees. The government says it will spend up to $50 million over the next three years on the initiative. . . . [more]

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

An Administrative Model of Family Law Dispute Resolution

In our present family justice system, disputes are presumptively resolved in court, with provincial and territorial legislation acknowledging the possibility of out-of-court resolution with differing, and sometimes indifferent, degrees of emphasis. The Canadian common law tradition of resolving family law disputes in court dates to the establishment of the English Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes by the 1857 Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act, but, apart from custom and legislative preference, there is otherwise no particular reason why it must be the courts which deal with family law disputes.

Traditional court processes have always struck me as the worst . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Draft OPC Position on Online Reputation and Public Consultation

On Friday, January 26, 2018, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) released a draft of their position regarding online reputation and on how Canadians can better protect their online privacy and rights.

The draft report is the result of a 2016 consultation on online reputations. Through this consultation, the OPC was soliciting input from interested stakeholders about new and innovative ways to protect reputational privacy. Reputation and Privacy is one of the OPC’s four strategic privacy priorities. A summary of the 28 submissions received is posted online on the OPC website.

Summarizing the report

The draft . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet