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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Guidelines to Develop Whistleblowing System

The CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association) with the assistance of the nationally based law firm Grant Thornton LLP has developed a free guide to help organizations develop and maintain a whistleblowing system with the goal to encourage workers to report ethical and safety issues within an established mechanism. Reported issues include suspected tax fraud, accounting fraud, corporate fraud, insider trading, health and safety issues and other serious offenses. . . . [more]

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

When Corporate Policies Can Backfire

Businesses and organizations rely on internal and external policies and procedures to document the way they do certain things. But if not written carefully, they can actually add risk.

Many of these are compliance based. In other words, they set out how in practice the business will deal with various legal obligations. Depending on the nature and size of the business, they could deal with things like privacy, anti-spam, workplace safety, money laundering, and the list goes on.

Having these policies can help reduce legal risk, and help ensure that employees do the right thing.

Sometimes businesses create policies and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Leap Year Proposal Law

The leap year, where the shortest month of February gains an additional day, is one of the peculiarities of the Gregorian calendar. This additional day, February 29, also has some legal lore surrounding it in the Scottish law tradition.

On February 29, 1288, the unmarried Queen Margaret of Scotland is said to have codified the declaration of St. Patrick. In addition to fixing the calendar, the day could be used to “fix” other social norms as well.

The History Channel states,

According to legend, in 5th century Ireland, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Definite Yes!

One of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions was to start with “Yes.” Happily, every so often an opportunity comes around that makes saying “Yes!” the only logical response.

The Law Society of Manitoba’s annual Lawyers for Literacy event is just such an opportunity. Each year for the past 5 years, lawyers and Law Society staff have signed on to spend the better part of a Saturday reading to children at West Broadway Youth Outreach (“WBYO”). As well as reading to kids, participating lawyers raise pledges to support the work of WBYO and donate books and toys for use in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

AODA New January 2017 Compliance Deadlines

Large and small organizations in the private and non-profit sectors have a new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance deadline coming up on January 1, 2017.

1) Large organizations (50+ employees)

Starting January 1, 2016, provincially regulated organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must work to comply with the design for public spaces standards under the built-environment to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities, but not those barriers inside buildings. This task must be completed by January 1, 2017.

This standard covers a variety of public spaces such as exterior . . . [more]

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

Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct – a New Resource for Mobile Lawyers, Academic Researchers and Others

I am very pleased to let you know that the Federation of Law Societies of Canada has launched the Interactive Model Code of Professional Conduct, a new free online tool that links the provisions in the Federation’s Model Code to the matching or related rules of professional conduct in every law society in Canada.

This interactive tool will allow mobile lawyers, law society staff and leaders, academic researchers and others to quickly and easily find the enforceable rules in every Canadian jurisdiction using the national Model Code as the central reference point. Users will be able to isolate specific . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Law as a Human Construct and Why That Matters

“Not only are the professions themselves a human construct, therefore, but so too is the organization of the knowledge that they dispense.” Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind – The Future of The Professions

The knowledge that the legal profession dispenses comes mostly from case law. Case law springs from precedent, creating a body of writing obsessed with the past. This obsession with the past obscures the human author and makes the law appear pre-ordained and sacrosanct rather than a human construct.

Professor Elizabeth Judge explains in “Precedent and the Individual Opinion: Judges Judging Judgments and the Creation of the Law . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Quebec Construction Corruption Inquiry Final Report Published

The Charbonneau Commission mandated to look into corruption and fraud among the construction industry, unions and government, tabled its final report on November 24, 2015. The report proposes 60 recommendations that lead commissioner of the inquiry, France Charbonneau, called “concrete solutions” to ensure government contracts are fairly managed. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Of Cyberbullying, Digital Citizenship… and Technological Competence?

OK, Canada may be somewhat behind our neighbours when it comes to adopting rules around technological competence for lawyers, but at least “Digital Citizenship” is getting some traction—or at least with respect to standards for children and parents.

On Friday November 13, 2015, while two more states adopted a duty of technology competence into their codes—and while Canadian law societies maintained unanimous silence on such requirements for lawyers—British Columbia’s Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner and Representative for Children and Youth, released Cyberbullying: Empowering Children and Youth To Be Safe Online and Responsible Digital Citizens. The Privacy . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Manitoba Customer Service Accessibility Standard in Force and Other Accessibility News

The Manitoba Customer Service Accessibility Standard (CSAS) under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) came into effect November 1, 2015. The CSAS requires all of Manitoba’s public, private and non-profit organizations with one or more employees that provide goods or services directly to the public or to another organization in Manitoba, to establish and implement measures, policies and practices to remove barriers for access to the goods or services it provides. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

James Bond, Spectre, and the Surveillance Society

I don’t normally do movie reviews, but Spectre, the latest James Bond movie, has a cautionary tale about the surveillance society that is worth commenting on. It deals with the undemocratic / totalitarian / dystopian aspects of ubiquitous surveillance.

Some reviewers have been critical about the movie, but my view of Bond movies is that they are more about entertainment than plot and character development.

Some elements of the movie are uncomfortably real – like its spin on the five eyes network . After I saw it I wondered what Ed Snowden would think. This is what Wikipedia has to . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Miscellaneous

Justice Minister Trudeau on a Constitutional Bill of Rights

Later this week, Justin Trudeau will be sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada. Although he was elected on his own accord, with a platform and a style that is uniquely his, it’s no surprise that his surname evokes memories reminiscent of his father and former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

One of Prime Minister P.E. Trudeau’s most enduring legal legacies is obviously the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter continues to be the strongest symbol of Canadian identity among the public.

Constitutional reform is unlikely to feature prominently on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s immediate agenda, as he was . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous