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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Algorithms and Justice

Ontario’s justice system is fast approaching a digital crossroads.

New technologies, including algorithms, automated decision-making and artificial intelligence (AI), are set to challenge our long-standing assumptions and practices regarding human rights, due process and access to justice.

How well do justice system professionals understand these technologies? What are the broad legal implications of adopting AI in the justice system? How can or should the justice system regulate these challenges?

These questions, and more, will be addressed in a free half-day educational event on Wednesday, May 15th presented by the Law Commission of Ontario, Osgoode Hall Law School and . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Miscellaneous

Should Judges Be Tweeps and “Friends”?

One of the themes the Canadian Judicial Council has identified as part of its review of its Ethical Principles for Judges is judges’ use of social media. This is an etirely new area since the release of the current Principles 20 years ago and it has rapidly become a complex and sometimes dangerous area to navigate. Tempting though it might be to tell judges that they cannot use social media, this would be fruitless. Better to incorporate training for judges about its use, clear limits about subject areas and guidelines about the risks into judges’ initial education sessions, which should . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario Budget 2019-20 Summary of Interest to Employers and Other Measures

On April 11, 2019, the Ontario government tabled its 2019-20 fiscal budget, “Protecting What Matters Most” that sets out a five-year path to a balanced budget. The budget anticipates deficits of $11.7 billion for 2018-19 and $10.3 billion for 2019-20, and projects a modest surplus in 2023-24.

According to budget documents, the government has already reduced the deficit by $3.3 billion, going from $15 billion to a projected $11.7 billion for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The government is planning to further reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion in the 2019-20 fiscal years, lowering it to $10.3 billion. The . . . [more]

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

Lawyers Are a Profession of Babysitters and Paper Carriers – Literally

And farm-hands, servers, warehouse workers, lifeguards, and so much more.

If the feedback of a couple hundred of lawyers and other legal professionals are to be believed, a very significant proportion of us got our start delivering the local news paper or watching the neighbourhood kids. And most of us had a wide variety of pre-law experiences that forged a formidable work ethic from an early age.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Federal Budget 2019 Employment and Payroll Related Measures

On March 19, 2019, the federal government tabled its election budget, the 2019-20 budget. The budget expects a deficit of $14.9 billion for fiscal 2018-2019 and forecasts deficits of $19.8 billion for 2019-2020 and $19.7 billion for fiscal 2020-2021. The budget does not include any personal or corporate tax rate changes; however, the budget does include measures of interest to employers and payroll (some paraphrase included): . . . [more]

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

The Road to Automated & Connected Cars Is Not a Straight One

It seems that everyone is doing studies or adopting positions on automated/connected cars these days. That is understandable given the potential ramifications on subjects including safety, ability to function in adverse weather, infrastructure, traffic, public transit, cybersecurity, data volumes, privacy, liability, insurance, ethics, and jobs.

Level 5 (fully autonomous) self driving cars may not arrive for many years. Depending on who you ask, they are somewhere between a couple of years and a couple of decades away. Level 2 (cars with some driver assist tech like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control) cars are common today.

Transport Canada has . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

No Bitcoin Fund in Ontario, Says OSC

Last month the Ontario Securities Commission refused to approve a prospectus for a fund that proposed to invest in bitcoin. The investment did not have enough liquidity, i.e. investors could not be certain enough that they could sell their investment when they wanted to. A summary is here.

The OSC also had concerns about the valuation of bitcoin (surprise!) and its safekeeping. Given the number of thefts of cryptocurrency in recent years, and the Quadriga mess, the latter concern may be justified as well.

What do you think? Is the OSC just doing its job, or is it not . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

The SNC-Lavalin Controversy in IV? Acts: A Play About the Rule of Law

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s resistance to the pressure by various actors to instruct the director of public prosecutions to offer to negotiate a remediation agreement (the Canadian name for a deferred prosecution agreement) with SNC-Lavalin and her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee have been explained in different ways: respect for the rule of law and the role of the attorney general, a lack of pragmatism or political experience, too much sense of self, a desire for revenge. The difference between the prime minister’s and other members of government’s relationship to political interference, and the clerk of the privy . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Continued Consultations on Possible Complex Canada Labour Code Changes

Important changes to the Canada Labour Code were recently made (i.e., Bill C-63 and C-86, among others), but the government’s work to modernize the Canada Labour Code isn’t done yet. On February 20, 2019, the federal government convened an independent expert panel to provide advice on five complex workplace issues facing Canadian employers and employees due to the changing nature of work. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Thoughts on Advanced Directives for Assisted Dying

The enactment of Canada’s medically assisted dying legislation in June 2017 left three areas in particular outstanding: whether mature minors could seek a medically assisted death, whether medically assisted death would be available when the reason for seeking it is mental illness and whether an individual could provide for an advance directive for a medically assisted death when they were no longer able to consent.

Here I make some remarks about advance directives, using the report from the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), which had been given the responsibility by the government to gather information about the three issues (the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Looking Ahead…if Only!

I never make “New Year’s resolutions” — I’m too old to think that they will come to fruition — but I have decided to identify five “wishes’ I have for Ontario and Canada more broadly in 2019: 1. stop all the studies and take action re A2J; 2. provide lessons to the premier about what the rule of law means; 3. allow advance directives for medically assisted deaths; 4. don’t diminish existing protection for children and youth; 5. revise the new Law Society of Ontario logo without too much delay. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Remembering Why a Non-Partisan Police Force Matters

One of the fundamental premises of a liberal democracy operating according to a particular view of the rule of law is that the police apparatus, while part of the executive branch, must be free of inappropriate political interference, although they may be subject to political direction within acknowledged bounds. Canada is neither a police or military dictatorship; we have civilian governments at all levels. Police have a certain discretion to act; the executive can determine how police resources are used, as long as it is not done in an arbitrary way; and there is judicial oversight of both police . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous