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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Changing Workplaces Review Final Report: Sweeping Changes to Ontario Employment Law Coming

On May 23, 2017, the Government of Ontario released the Changing Workplaces Review final report by authors C. Michael Mitchell and John C. Murray. It contains 173 recommendations that recommend significant changes to Ontario employment law aiming to create better workplaces with decent working conditions and widespread compliance with the law. The authors consulted with workers, unions and businesses for two years on a wide range of work-related issues. This was the first independent review in Canada to consider specific legislative changes to both employment standards and labour relations in a single manner.

The following is a brief overview of . . . [more]

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

Redesigning the Law Firm Before Redesigning the Culture

There are a number of ways to make the workplace safer in occupational health and safety theory, using the hierarchy of hazard controls.

The first approach is to introduce engineering controls and administrative changes. These systemic modifications are usually more cost-effective and have a bigger impact, because they will remove the harm in the workplace to begin with. The next approach is the use of personal protective equipment. With the right equipment, workers can minimize the impact of harms to them in the workplace. Finally, occupational health and safety will look to training, which can help foster better awareness . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

May Lawyers Accept Payment in Bitcoin?

A U.S. colleague with a technology practice was recently asked to take payment for her legal services in Bitcoin. She is not sure she has the right to do so.

What about in Canada? Would any law society here slow such payment? Do payments have to be more subject to regulation via known financial institutions? Certainly the rules about trust accounts demand traditional accounting. Why would a general payment with a digital currency be a problem, though? . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Corporate Directors Found Liable for Employees’ Unpaid Wages

The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (Board) notes that the following case is a “cautionary tale” for corporate directors. That is, the corporate directors in this case, unfortunately, “failed to scrutinize rigorously” the information provided to them by management and effectively left the day-to-day workings of the business’ operations solely to the owner, much to their detriment. . . . [more]

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

Budget 2017 Bill to Implement Employment Insurance and Canada Labour Code Measures

On April 11, 2017, the federal government introduced Bill C-44, the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, omnibus legislation that would enact various measures outlined in its 2017 Budget. This article deals with the Bill’s amendments to Employment Insurance benefits under the Employment Insurance Act and similar measures under the Canada Labour Code. . . . [more]

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

To Succeed Where Others Fail

Almost 70 percent of organizational change initiatives fail. At that rate, you might wonder why law firms – which are notoriously change resistant – would try at all. But they do. And some succeed by taking a more thoughtful approach right from the start.

Change can evoke pain, loss and uncertainty. All too often, change initiatives are communicated in a way that causes people to feel defensive, rather than inspired.

Perhaps it’s a matter of taxonomy; “transformation” or “evolution” might be better descriptions of the adjustments that many firms need to undertake to improve performance and profit.

Regardless of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Why Is Domestic Violence More Often Becoming a Workplace Responsibility?

It is understood that domestic violence has been known to effect employees at work in a number of ways; a recent study shows that the problem is widespread. “Can Work Be Safe, When Home Isn’t,” (PDF) by researchers at Western University and the Canadian Labour Congress, outlines the preliminary results of a Canada-wide survey of more than 8,000 workers on how domestic violence effects workplaces. The results are startling in many ways, but unsurprising in others.

For instance: . . . [more]

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

Why Face Time Matters More Than Ever

No, not the Face Time app on your iPhone, “face time” as in one-on-one meetings with direct reports and others in your firm.

As organizations pursue efficiency by automating processes, collecting loads of data and creating “lean” teams, more of us are deliberately disengaging from our work.

And we often blame management when things don’t improve. Bad management, to be exact. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that companies fail to hire proper management 82% of the time. Ouch.

What exactly makes a “good” manager? Harvard Business Review recently published a summary of research done in studies of knowledge-based . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

2017: Regulating Law Firm Culture

As we say goodbye to 2016, it’s time to embrace 2017. For 2017, law societies should place an emphasis on regulating law firms.

A law firm’s culture seeps into the very make-up of its constituent lawyers. An unethical culture breeds unethical lawyers. An ethical culture breeds ethical lawyers.

In “Regulating Law Firms in Canada“, Professor Adam Dodek states that the absence of law firm regulation undermines the legitimacy of law societies. I agree.

Under the pressure from law firms to meet deadlines, win cases, win motions, appease clients, and surrounded by a certain firm culture, lawyers may find . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

OHRT Challenges Infamous Family Status Test

Written by Cristina Lavecchia, paralegal, Editor, First Reference

In a recent decision (Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc.), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the Tribunal) questioned the value of various past case laws that have introduced and applied different tests for family status discrimination, including the Johnstone test. More specifically, the Tribunal disapproved of the existence of distinct “tests” for establishing family status discrimination. . . . [more]

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

Proposed Nova Scotia Accessibility Legislation

On November 2, 2016, the Nova Scotia government proposed accessibility legislation to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Nova Scotians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of everyday life by promoting and encouraging the prevention, reduction and removal of barriers.

Moreover, the government intends to help make Nova Scotia a more accessible and inclusive place to live and work. . . . [more]

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

Proposed Manitoba Accessibility Standard for Employment

The Accessibility Advisory Council’s (AAC) is inviting interested stakeholders to provide their views to its initial proposal for an accessibility standard for employment. Therefore, employment is the second of five accessibility standards being developed under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

The purpose of the employment standards is to remove employment barriers for persons disabled by barriers—including the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation—under the Human Rights Code. This standard will have a timeline for compliance, however, all employers must engage in emergency planning one year after the standard comes into effect.

Specifically, the employment standards have the following . . . [more]

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