Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Designing Rules of Procedure for the Arbitration of Family Law Disputes

In Canada, the available sets of arbitration rules are designed for corporate-commercial disputes and general civil disputes. None are designed for family law disputes, which is especially problematic in jurisdictions like British Columbia, where the Arbitration Act specifies the rules that will be used absent the parties’ agreement to the contrary. Those rules, by the way, are the domestic rules of the BC International Commercial Arbitration Centre, which are hardly ideal for family law disputes and require hefty payments to the Centre.

As a result, in many jurisdictions lawyers taking a case to arbitration simply adopt the local rules . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Employment and Labour Law Related Changes in Ontario Bill 66 and More

On December 6, 2018, the Ontario Conservative government introduced Bill 66 – An Act to restore Ontario’s competitiveness by amending or repealing certain Acts in the legislature. Bill 66 impacts several employment and labour related laws, such as the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995. This blog post outlines the Bill 66 changes and my thoughts on these continuous employment and labour law government driven changes. . . . [more]

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

The Gloomy Future of Access to Family Justice in British Columbia: Outcomes of the Law Society’s 2018 Annual General Meeting

In December 2014, the Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia unanimously agreed to act on the recommendations of its Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force and pursue “an amendment to the Legal Profession Act authorizing it to establish and regulate new classes of legal service providers in order to address unmet and underserved legal needs.” The creation of this task force stemmed from the recommendations of the Legal Services Providers Task Force the previous year, which found that “to address unmet and underserved legal needs in our society,” it was necessary “to explore in more detail a liberalization . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

The Latest Word on Unjust Enrichment

This is an important decision for everyone who comes across equitable relief in their practice.

In March 2017 a divided panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Moore v. Sweet overturned a finding of unjust enrichment on the ground there was a “juristic reason” for the enrichment. The decision was appealed. On 23 November 2018 the Supreme Court of Canada, splitting 6-2, applying precisely the same legal test, found there was there was no “juristic reason” for the enrichment, and restored the unjust enrichment remedy awarded at first instance.

The facts of the case are simple.

During their marriage . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Changes to ESA and LRT Passed, EHT Exemptions and Provincial Income Tax

1. Employment Standards and Labour Relations law changes

On November 21, 2018, the Ontario conservative government gave third reading to Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, effectively rolling back many employment and labour law changes brought in by the previous Liberal government Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (introduced as Bill 148). Bill 47 although passed is awaiting royal assent to become law. Most of the provisions will come into force at a later date, on January 1, 2019. To summarize certain key employment standards provisions: . . . [more]

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

Federal Government Omnibus Bill Includes Employment Law Changes

Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures received first reading on October 29, 2018. Bill C-86 is another omnibus budget Bill that, if enacted, would among other things, make changes to the parental leave EI benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (again), significantly amend the Canada Labour Code (again), introduce pay equity legislation and amend the Wage Earner Protection Program, among other Acts. . . . [more]

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

Smelling of Alcohol Not Reasonable Cause to Test for Drugs

A British Columbia Arbitrator recently held in a preliminary award that an employee who reported to work smelling of alcohol did not provide the employer with reasonable cause to test that employee for drugs.

What happened?

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ten Things About Bitcoin That Lawyers Should Know (On Bitcoin’s Tenth Anniversary)

On October 31, 2008, someone posted a PDF to an encryption newsgroup. The post came from an account named Satoshi Nakamoto.

The PDF contained a text called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” and described what we know today as Bitcoin—the biggest cryptocurrency in the word by market capitalization (about USD$110 billion as of today).

Here are ten things that lawyers should know about Bitcoin.

1. There are no physical Bitcoin coins or banknotes.

Bitcoin is modelled after physical coins and banknotes but it is purely digital. But! Most people still use a physical medium for accessing their bitcoin . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Ontario Bill Tabled to Repeal Liberal Employment Standards Reforms

On October 23, 2018, the Conservative Ontario government tabled Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 to repeal certain amendments made by the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (introduced as Bill 148) that implemented reforms and more job protections under the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. In addition, Bill 47 repeals Ontario Regulation 375/18 dealing with public holiday pay and makes changes to the apprenticeship program.

Bill 47 is divided into three parts. Schedule 1 deals with changes to the Employment Standards Act, schedule 2 deals with changes to the Labour Relations Act . . . [more]

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

Careful, Lawyer’s Communications Are Not Always Protected

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently found that the communications and conduct of the employer’s lawyer regarding sexual harassment investigation were not privileged and could be referred to in the employee’s Statement of Claim in the litigation against the employer

What happened?

A long-service employee (employed since 2002), while being placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP), raised allegations that her supervisor was bullying and sexually harassing her. In response, her employer:

  • Conducted an investigation but failed to interview the complainant employee during this process;
  • Concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Workplace Accident Is Not Enough to Prove Employer Committed General Duty Offence Under OHSA

Following a fatal workplace accident, the Alberta Court of Appeal provided a more comprehensive framework for the actus reus requirement of the general duty provision in Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and clarified that the mere occurrence of a workplace accident does not prove the employer committed a violation.

Fatal workplace accident – Did the employer violate its “general duty” to ensure the health and safety of an employee?

During a “tripping out” procedure on December 20, 2010, at an employer’s drilling rig, an employee suffered a workplace accident and died from blunt cranial trauma and multiple cranial . . . [more]

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

Recent Publications of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, an independent organization affiliated with the University of Calgary, closed on 31 August 2018. The closure of the Institute is somewhat of a national tragedy, given that it was one of the very few organizations conducting empirical research on family law, justice processes and access to justice in Canada, and was the inevitable result of today’s singularly infelicitous funding climate.

The Institute has conducted some remarkable, innovative and often ground-breaking work over the 31 years of its existence. Highlights include some of the first work on the financial consequences of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Legislation