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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Court Awards Aggravated Damages in Wrongful Dismissal Case

By Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

The case Acumen Law Corporation v Ojanen, 2019 BCSC 1352 (CanLII) tells the story of the abrupt and acrimonious end of an articling student’s employment with a law firm. The court rejected the range of factors purported to support just cause and, in addition to ordinary damages for breach of contract, awarded the employee aggravated or moral damages because of the way she was fired. The case serves as an important reminder to employers about the seriousness of misconduct required to support just cause, and should also encourage employers to think . . . [more]

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

Virtual Court Proceedings: Fictional and the Real Thing

Addicted as I am to tv dramas (and sometimes comedies) about the law, I’ve been watching All Rise. Located in Los Angeles, it follows the professional lives of various characters involved in the criminal court there (and as a “popular” show, it also follows their personal lives). Sometimes it raises some important legal issues, but its finale was its best performance: it did a fine job of responding to the coronavirus crisis by being filmed on Cisco Webex, with all the actors working from their own homes. Apart from the kind of personal issues many people are facing in our . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Employers Must Ensure All Overtime Work Complies With Employment Standards

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Student-at-law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

In the federally regulated employment sector, working overtime hours is subject to a number of requirements under the Canada Labour Code. Although such legislation requires that any and all overtime work be compensated adequately, even providing such compensation does not ensure that employers in the federally regulated sectors are in compliance with their obligations. In a recent decision, an Ontario court decided an employer’s policy and labour practices regarding overtime hours failed to comply with the Canada Labour Code in a dramatic and broad class-action lawsuit brought by a . . . [more]

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

Pandemic Emphasizes Paperless Roadblocks

I’ve been a fan of paperless and virtual documents and signatures for a long time. Despite the advantages, many steadfastly stick to paper. Many are moving online, but are only part way there.

The transition to paperless and electronic signatures is not always easy, and there are roadblocks that can get in the way. Too often there are one or more steps in a process that require paper or a wet signature that bring things to a halt.

For example, in Ontario we can get articles to create new corporations online, but to amend or amalgamate, we need 2 original . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Changes to Our Courts: How COVID-19 Is Changing the Landscape

“How will COVID-19 change the legal industry and what will it look like After Coronavirus? Short answer: the coronavirus will turbocharge legal industry transformation. It will propel law into the digital age and reshape its landscape. The entire legal ecosystem will be affected—consumers, providers, the Academy, and the judicial system.” – Marc Cohen in the article “COVID-19 Will Turbocharge Legal Industry Transformation

Marc Cohen explains that the timeline for digital transformation has been truncated. We will not see a permanent return to the old ways. “The coronavirus has turbocharged law’s move to a virtual workforce and distance learning. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Service and Filing by Email: Courts Are Being Forced to Adapt

In March 2020, courts across Canada have been forced to confront issues arising from social distancing measures. The Supreme Court of Canada is now allowing documents to be filed by email, with original paper copies to be filed subsequently at a later date. Further information can be found here.

Similarly, the Ontario Court of Appeal is allowing material to be filed by email. More information can be found here.

In Morris v Onca, 2020 ONSC 1690, Justice Myers dealt with an urgent matter, wherein he allowed material to be filed by email. In this case, the judgment . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Commissioning Affidavits: The LSO Is Only Part of the Picture

To many people’s delight, the Law Society of Ontario has stated that it is interpreting section 9 of the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act to include virtual commissioning. Reponses to a Slaw post by Pulat Yunusov from last November, in support of the LSO’s then position against virtual commissioning were dismissive of his concerns about virtual commissioning; they also illustrate the eagerness with which people are keen to throw off the bonds of in-person commissioning. (Yunusov stressed the importance of the ritual, as well as the inability of meeting some requirements through technology.)

However, the LSO is not the only . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Internet

The End Is Not Yet Nigh: Remote Dispute Resolution in the Age of COVID-19

It would be nice if there was an inverse correlation between the frequency of family law disputes and the gravity of social crises, but, thanks to the peculiarities of human nature, such is not the case. As Canada’s provincial and superior courts batten down the hatches, it’s important to remember that efficient and effective dispute resolution alternatives exist, and are available even where trial dates have been set. Best of all, in this time of social distancing, many of these alternatives do not require the participants to be in the same room at the same time.

Mediation and arbitration can . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Houston, We Have a Problem With Your Termination

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

In modern times, employers and investigators alike must be increasingly technologically savvy. Evidence can take on many forms, including texts, emails and information posted to social media accounts. Many employers provide phones to their employees which are password-protected and rely on virtual storage of data in the “cloud.” As the workplace becomes further digitized, and as more offices become mobile or virtual, workplace investigations will increasingly target such elusive electronic data. As illustrated in the recent British Columbia labour arbitration decision District of Houston v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Employer’s Duty to Protect Against and Investigate Harassment

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

A recent decision of a Human Rights Adjudication Panel, T.M. v Manitoba (Justice), 2019 MBHR 13 (CanLII) has clarified the extent of an employer’s obligation to provide its employees with a safe and respectful workplace. The decision is the first time a complaint of harassment on the basis of sexual orientation was considered in that forum-is a powerful one and is full of important takeaways for employers, employees and workplace investigators alike. . . . [more]

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

Brief Guide to Western and Atlantic Employment Law Changes in 2020

2020 promises to be a busy year in Western and Atlantic provinces with a variety of legislative and regulatory changes impacting employers in various ways. In this article, we provide employers with an overview of some of the key changes that have been announced in Western and Atlantic to assist in compliance. We also mention some changes that employers should anticipate being made in the coming year. . . . [more]

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

Welcome to 2020: A Federal and Ontario Employment and Labour Law Summary

We are almost at the end of the second month of 2020 and have compiled for you a number of upcoming employment and labour law changes and key compliance issues that federally regulated and Ontario employers need to consider in their HR and payroll practices. . . . [more]

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