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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Eviction Operations Continue to Resume

One of the greatest concerns of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was that individuals who could not pay rent would be evicted from their homes, and many would be left homeless. Aside from the important social and moral significance of increased homelessness, there are important public health considerations as well.

For example, Perri et al. recently described in the Canadian Medical Association Journal how there is an increased risk of infection of COVID-19, as well as a higher risk of worse outcomes given the existence of comorbidities.

Ontario implemented a suspension of regular court proceedings, based on an . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Balancing Transparency and Independence in the Judiciary

On July 28, 2020, the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs is expected to publish for the first time expenses of federally-appointed judges.

The changes come about from amendments to the Access to Information Act as a result of Bill C-58: An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, which was first tabled on June 19, 2017.

The Bill followed various political promises to prioritize federal access to information, to create a more open government, including providing greater powers to the Information Commissioner, ensuring . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Reasonableness Prevails in Ruling on Due Diligence

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

In R v Kal Tire, 2020 ABCA 200 (CanLII), the Alberta Court of Appeal clarified the law on an employer’s defence of due diligence when charged with an occupational health and safety violation. The matter came before the court when Kal Tire appealed its conviction under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“the OHSA”) for failing to ensure that a truck was rendered sufficiently inoperative while it was being serviced by one of its employees. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Genetic Discrimination Measures Upheld

In Chapter 11 of the “Canadian Health Law Practice Manual,” Genetics and the Law, Amy Zarzeczny, Tracey M. Bailey and Timothy Caulfield state,

One concern that consistently emerges in relation to obtaining genetic information is the worry that an individual may be discriminated against on the basis of his or her genetic make-up and, specifically, on the basis of a predisposition to a certain condition or disease.

Discrimination can of course occur on a wide variety of fronts including, but not limited to, employment, education, housing and insurance…, not to mention on a social level.

Whether or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Alberta Tables Significant Proposed Employment Law Changes

On July 7, 2020, the Alberta government tabled Bill 32, The proposed Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act that will support economic recovery, restore balance in the workplace and get Albertans back to work. The Bill proposes changes to the Employment Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code. Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping stated to the media that the proposed legislation would support economic recovery by cutting “red tape” for businesses and would reverse some changes made by the NDP when they were in government. . . . [more]

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

SCC: Uber Arbitration Unconscionable. Uber Is a Company Known for Pushing Limits, Did They Push Too Far This Time?

There is a class-action lawsuit by Uber drivers in Ontario against Uber alleging, among other things, violations of employment standards legislation. The main issue is whether Uber drivers are independent contractors as the Uber agreement says, or whether they are actually employees.

But before those issues could be heard, the courts had to decide whether those issues could be litigated in the courts, or whether they had to be decided through binding arbitration, as stated in the Uber agreement. The Supreme Court of Canada found the arbitration clause invalid because it was “unconscionable”, and thus the merits of the case . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Toronto Mask by-Law: Velvet Law in a Velvet Glove?

Laws serve several purposes. In broad terms, they reflect government policy and prescribe the behaviour required to achieve it. More specifically, they tell us what we cannot do, unless we want to risk penalty, whether criminal, civil or regulatory; they identify (and these are not all laws) the moral attributes of a society; they serve to control, by framing the parameters of permissible activity; they have the goal of changing behaviour. Generally, laws are successful when they are enforced effectively and fairly, although neither may be the case for a particular law. And they tend to work when people think . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Union Misconduct Can Fall Within Public Interest

Defamation cases, and the anti-SLAPP provisions under the Libel and Slander Actcontinue to be interpreted in new and novel contexts.

In Nanda v. McEwan, the Divisional Court heard an appeal of a Small Claims Court motion in a defamation action, involving statements made during the election campaign for President of the Toronto Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (“CUPW”). The statements were made in print, and in two invitation-only WhatsApp groups, and included the following statements about the plaintiff:

  • he was a racist, a bigot, a sexist, a bully and a thief;
  • he was corrupt;
  • he
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Complainant Went the Wrong Way Down a Two-Way Street

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

The process of accommodating an employee with a disability is frequently described as a two-way street. Employers must often be creative in finding meaningful ways for an employee to continue contributing to the workplace. It must make efforts to accommodate these employees to the point of suffering undue hardship.

Employees have an equally critical role to play. They must keep the employer informed of their prognosis, provide feedback and accept reasonable solutions that the employer proposes. An employee who refuses a reasonable accommodation proposal treads on very shaky ground. The possibility of continued . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

A Historic Verdict

History was made on June 26, 2020, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in R. v. Theriault.

It was a very detailed and meticulous decision that was well over 300 paragraphs long. It cited nearly 50 cases, and carefully went through the evidence and the law. But that’s not what made it noteworthy.

For the first time in Canadian history, the verdict was read out loud and live-streamed via Zoom on YouTube, to a massive audience. Over 20,000 people were reported to watch the verdict, which consisted of a judge reading his decision into a screen for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employer’s Ultimatum to Accept Changes or Quit Backfires

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

In McLean v Dynacast Ltd., 2019 ONSC 7146 (CanLII), the employer drastically changed the plaintiff’s job and forced him to accept the new arrangement or quit. The plaintiff chose the latter option and successfully sued for constructive dismissal. In accepting the plaintiff’s claim, the court summarized recent case law on mitigation, and awarded significant aggravated or moral damages to the plaintiff. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Wheels of Justice in Exceptional Cases

Despite the pandemic, the wheels of justice continue to turn. With several hearings continuing to occur remotely due to social distancing protocols, the Ontario Court of Justice announced they are scheduled to resume in-person hearings on July 6, 2020.

The incremental plan includes the use of limited courtrooms for all trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody. All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, are expected to attend in-person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

In part, this . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions