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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Do We Need to Think About Judges’ Roles Differently?

(Very) traditionally, judges were meant to be heard — only in the courtroom. One of the questions those interested in becoming a judge had to ask themselves was whether they were prepared to become “monks” (the masculine being almost entirely appropriate). Justice John Sopinka famously challenged this notion, pointing out that there were no legal restraints on judges. This is so, although the ethical principles formulated by the Canadian Judicial Council emphasize that judges should avoid controversy, among other things.

A report by the CJC about a complaint that a Quebec judge spoke out of turn to a journalist referred . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Do We Need Right-to-Repair Legislation?

The ABA’s technology journal has an article advocating legislation to give consumers (or everybody) a right to repair their devices. What this does is prohibit manufacturers from making their devices impossible or dauntingly difficult for the owner to repair, and often for professional mechanics to do as well.

The article gives several examples of the difficulties deliberately created by manufacturers to this end. Its focus is electronic devices, but many other types of goods have also raised the question.

Sometimes repairs can be done by service centres related to the manufacturer, but even then the repairs can be very expensive, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, ulc_ecomm_list

More Devices Gone Wild

A continuing series of interesting ways that things can go wrong with information technology. Previous installments are here and here.

Devices Gone Wild IV: Hacking Critical Infrastructure through the IoT.

Critical infrastructure is of course infrastructure – communications, power, transportation – that we depend on to support how we live: not just our ‘lifestyle’ but often our life itself.

One may ask why infrastructure of any kind is connected to the notoriously vulnerable Internet at all, but it is (in some places) – for reasons of remote monitoring and control, coordination, effectiveness. A good deal of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

26 Cannabis Companies Sign Supply Agreements With Province of Ontario

Yesterday, the Ontario Cannabis Store (the “OCS“), which will initially be the province’s sole retailer (and later will morph into a wholesaler), announced that it has entered into supply agreements with 26 federally licensed producers after having completed its first competitive product call.

Patrick Ford, President and Chief Operating Officer of the OCS, noted that the agreements allow the province to “safely and securely provide a broad variety of cannabis products to adult consumers when online sales begin” on October 17, 2018.

Although the details of particular products and sizes have not yet been released, the OCS stated . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

On the Importance of Language

If you are on this site, I can assume with reasonable confidence that you are already a wordsmith. I have always had an affinity for the label “wordsmith”, possibly because I am reminded of “blacksmith” and it conjures skills of which I have none. I do, perhaps, have some skills related to language, although I suppose this is also debatable. Notwithstanding, even from my humble position, I am both angered and ashamed by the comments of Ontario Minister of Social Services Lisa MacLeod and her dim view of the importance of language. In particular, her comments related to the Safe . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Why a Scent-Free Policy Not a Solution in the Detection of Cannabis Impairment

There is a recent article that suggested that implementing a scent-free or fragrance-free environment policy would help employers know if their employee is high at work from cannabis use, and what actions to take when they catch them high at work.

Most people are familiar with smoking dried cannabis in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes or water pipes-but people can consume cannabis in many forms, including: “vaping”; eaten in cannabis-infused foods called “edibles” (e.g., cooking oils and drinks); applied as oils, ointments, tinctures, cream and concentrates (e.g., butane hash oil, resins and waxes); and of course, ingested as oral pills and oral . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

In Re Lionel Hutz: Vote for Your Favourite Simpsons Law Quote

In my defence, I had no idea what I was starting.

When I published a blog post recently about lawyers’ tendency to wear too many hats in law firms, I thought it would be amusing to name the post (and the tendency) after a quote from The Simpsons. Furthermore, when promoting the post on Twitter, I (perhaps rashly) called the quote “the greatest line in the show’s history.”

That assessment did not pass unchallenged. Canadian legal types Alison Crone, Colin Lachance, Ava Chisling, and Julie Sobowale all chimed in with their nominees. “Well,” I said carelessly, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Devices Gone Wild III: Smart Home Devices Used for Harassment

The American Bar Journal reports that some people are harassing their spouses by remote manipulation of smart home devices, like thermostats, TVs and the like – turning the heat way up, or off, turning TVs or radios on and off, etc.

Is this a problem in Canada? Is there a reason that the spouse left in the home can’t just turn off the devices, or the central control device like Alexa?

Would restraining orders need to deal with this kind of ‘contact’ or abuse expressly? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

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

Would It Be Good to Get Rid of Cash?

The Guardian has an article about the number of businesses in the U.K. that are refusing to accept cash in payment, notably for food and drink, and services.

The article and the comments to it point out the difficulties such policies may cause for people who do not have or cannot get bank accounts – but also the benefit for the businesses, who do not have to keep or tally cash.

The comments in particular point out the privacy and control implications of having all one’s transactions recorded – and the data often sold – electronically.

Some other countries, notably . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Facebook: We’re Updating Our Terms …

Most of us have received a number of emails pointing us to revised terms of use and privacy/data policies, or asking us to consent. These have been driven by the GDPR, the new privacy regime in the EU.

Facebook’s starts with:

Hi David,

We’re updating our Terms, Data Policy, and Cookies Policy to make sure you know how your data is used so you can make the choices that are right for you.

(You have all taken the time to read, understand and make informed choices under these, right?)

Facebook has been under increasing scrutiny over what it . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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