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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

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

Ontario Bill 66 Given Royal Assent and Impacts Employment and Labour Law

An amended version of the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019 (introduced as Bill 66) was enacted into law on April 3, 2019, which revises several pieces of legislation, including the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act. . . . [more]

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

Another Quebec Law on the Religious Neutrality of the State

On March 28, 2019, the Coalition Avenir Quebec government tabled Bill n°21: An Act respecting the laicity of the State to fulfill an election promise to ensure the religious neutrality of the state and prohibit many public sector employees from wearing religious symbols at work. The proposed legislation is being studied in parliament at this moment.

After the failed attempts of the Parti Québécois with its charter of values in 2014, and the Liberal Party with Bill 62 in 2017 with an Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for . . . [more]

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

Privacy Guidelines for Managing Emails

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has published guidelines on how to manage emails to minimize organizational risks and expenses that could be caused by a privacy breach. The guidelines indicate that “In light of the vast quantities of email sent and received daily by an organization, email management is not just a records management issue, but is also a necessary business process” that should be managed in accordance with records management principles and the requirements of Alberta’s access to information and privacy legislation. Although the guidance provided in this document is directed at managing emails, . . . [more]

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

What Is the Connection Between Diversity and Privilege in the Law?

Economists have found that many elite US universities – including Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, and Yale – take more students from the top 1% of the income distribution than from the bottom 60%. … “American meritocracy,” the Yale law professor Daniel Markovits argues, has “become precisely what it was invented to combat: a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations.” (“The Myth of Meritocracy“, by Kwame Anthony Appiah)

Even more troubling is that once students graduate from school, the set of advantages or disadvantages from growing up wealthy or from a working class background . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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

Employer and Employee Disagree About Right to Disconnect

In France, the right to disconnect was made law on January 1, 2017, “requiring employers to have clear policies in place regarding when employees engage in workplace communication outside of the office and when on vacation.” This law is because of a French Supreme Court Case in 2001 that “held that “the employee is under no obligation either to accept working at home or to bring there his files and working tools”. In 2004, this principle was confirmed again by the French Supreme Court which added in this case, “the fact that [the employee] was not reachable on his cell . . . [more]

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

Why Allowing Alternative Business Structures Could Help Articling Students

Recently the Toronto Star published an article on abusive workplaces for articling students. Although the broad range of abuse was not covered, it has been noted before by Dean Adam Dodek that the abuse ranges from unpaid or underpaid work, termination without cause, harassment, and the absence of proper supervision or feedback. In response, Dean Dodek called on the Law Societies to investigate the abuse of articling students. He suggested that qualitative and quantitative research be done.

I would add that in addition to research, Law Societies should allow Alternative Business Structures. I suspect that part of the reason . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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

Wage Rate Sheet for Fellow Employees’ Personal Information Protected Under Alberta’s PIPA

A recent Alberta privacy case, P2019-ND-006 (in PDF), deals with a breach of salary information about identifiable individuals under the Personal Information Protection Act(PIPA). The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Alberta found that “A reasonable person would consider that the identity and salary information could be used to cause the significant harms of hurt, humiliation and embarrassment, particularly if shared with individuals who have a personal or professional relationship with the affected individuals.”

What happened?

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

The Alleged Blackmail of Jeff Bezos: Did Legal Counsel for the National Enquirer Breach His Professional Duties?

It is alleged that the National Enquirer blackmailed Jeff Bezos by threatening to publish humiliating photographs and messages. In exchange for not publishing the information, the National Enquirer wanted Bezos to stop his criticism of the paper.

To manage the situation, Bezos wrote an article titled “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker”. In the article, Bezos exposed multiple emails directed at him from the National Enquirer (American Media, LLC). One of the emails included an email message from American Media, LLC’s legal counsel, as seen below.

From: Fine, Jon [jfine@amilink.com] (Deputy General Counsel, AMI)
Sent: Wednesday, February

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

The Need for a Code of Conduct for Family Law Disputes, Part 2

Last Tuesday, I was honoured to be presented with the Distinguished Service Award for service to the community from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association Alberta. I took advantage of the more or less captive audience to discuss the need to improve the Code of Conduct to better reflect the practice realities of family law lawyers and the needs of their clients, and the needs of their clients’ children. As my remarks were received with more interest than I’d expected, I thought I would take this opportunity to describe in more detail the sort of changes . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law