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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Rejected Romantic Advance Led to Reprisal

Hank Peelle, the owner of Peelle Company Ltd., deluded himself into believing the company’s financial controller, Christine Horner, had a romantic interest in him, despite his 25-year marriage and her long-term relationship. When he thought the time was right, he tried to kiss her and she rebuffed him. Despite some genuine efforts to work it out, Peelle treated Horner differently and the relationship deteriorated. She resigned, making a claim of sexual harassment and reprisal against the employer.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Tone of Legislation

I am horribly embarrassed for my neighbours (in the broad sense) in the federal Yellowhead riding. CBC News reported:

Voter turnout in the federal by-election could near a historic low, with CBC estimating that fewer than one in five eligible voters making the trip to the polls.

A sad tone for democracy when less than one in five people feels engaged enough to vote in a federal by-election. This phenomenon isn’t new; the June 30, 2014 by-election for Macleod saw ~18% voter turnout. On the plus side, there were no lines at the polling station.

The tone for Provincial politics . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Supreme Court Creates Duty of Honest Performance

Caveat emptor (buyer beware) or ubberima fides (utmost good faith)? What is a contracting party to do?

The Supreme Court of Canada released a decision this week in Bhasin v. Hrynew which revamps the understanding of how representations made during contractual negotiations are adhered to. The unanimous Court created an “incremental step” in developing a duty of honest performance, which was described as follows:

[93] …

(1) There is a general organizing principle of good faith that underlies many facets of contract law.

(2) In general, the particular implications of the broad principle for particular cases are determined by resorting

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

Ontario Consults on a Potential E-Signature Regulation for Real Estate

The Ontario government is consulting on whether to make a regulation under the Electronic Commerce Act to govern electronic signatures to be used on agreements of purchase and sale of real estate.

Draft Regulation

1. For the purpose of subsection 11(4) of the Act, the following class of documents is prescribed: agreements of purchase and sale of land in Ontario.

2. A legal requirement that a document of the prescribed class be signed is satisfied by an electronic signature only if the method of signature used:

a. Is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person who signs;

b. Ensures . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

CRTC Provides Guidance on CASL Software Provisions

The CRTC has just published their thoughts on the interpretation of section 8 of CASL that requires consents for certain types of software installations.

They also discussed them in an IT.Can webinar. Their interpretation is helpful, and addresses some of the uncertainty around the provisions. But some aspects are still unclear, and some of their interpretations may not be entirely supported by the wording of the act. That may be fine so long as the CRTC is enforcing it, but a court does not have to defer to CRTC interpretation. I suspect there will be further clarification coming at some . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Ontario May Review Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) has played a central role in some of the legal disputes around some of our mayors.

The 2013 appeal of the conflict of interest case for Rob Ford illustrated some of the shortcomings of the MCIA. Prior to that, Justice Cunningham made recommendations over the MCIA in context of a judicial inquiry into Mississauga’s Hazel McCallion.

The Toronto Star reported this week that some much needed changes may be coming to the Act,

The ministry is reviewing the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and is considering Justice Cunningham’s recommendations as well as stakeholder

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Premier Wynne Calls for Review of Sexual Harassment Rules in Ontario

In the wake of the allegations regarding Mr. Ghomeshi, Premier Wynne has called for a review of sexual harassment rules in Ontario. While employees of broadcasters like the CBC generally fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Canada Labour Code (and therefore Premier Wynne has limited power over the CBC), the situation has served as “lightning rod” for discussion – and probably one that is much needed. Before we discuss whether an overhaul is required, what’s the current state of the law? Currently, sexual harassment can be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, an offence under . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Public Consultations

The law library team at my firm spends a good chunk of time monitoring legislation. It is our role to alert our colleagues, and in some cases our firm clients directly, with information about new legislation and changes to existing legislation. We like to be proactive so we also do our best to chase down “what is coming down the pipe”.

Rumours, innuendo, a couple of very good Alberta political watch newsletters and, increasingly, public consultations.

Public consultations are a way for government to ask before creating complex legislation that might be difficult to implement or enforce without significant voluntary . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Real Estate Agent Loses $120,000 Commission for Not Sending Simple Email or Letter

The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a trial decision costing a commercial real estate agent over $100,000 all because the agent failed to send a simple email or letter.

The facts of the case are relatively straight forward.

The vendor signed a listing agreement with Ariston Realty Corp. (“Ariston”). The listing agreement contained a holdover clause which provided that the vendor would pay Ariston a commission of 5% of the sale price in the event that the property was sold within six months after the expiry of the listing agreement to any party to whom Ariston introduced the property . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Public Policy Trumps State Immunity

On 30 October 2014 the UK Court of Appeal released a decision that is likely to send a frisson of fear down the spine of governments everywhere.

The Court allowed the appellants Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar to sue the British Secret Intelligence Service and the Minister responsible for it at the material time, for a declaration of illegality and for damages.

The claim alleges that the respondents participated in the unlawful abduction, detention and rendition of Mr Belhaj and Ms Boudchar to Libya, where they were imprisoned and tortured.

No determination has yet been made on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Does the Section 7 Bone Connect to Section 12 Bone?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been described as a symbol of Canadian identity. It is a fundamental part of our constitution, yet the notion of protecting our rights and freedoms is something which is often misunderstood.

In 1983, soon after the Charter‘s inception, Peter Russell described the notion of protection as something which was often explained as either present or not. Instead, as he stated in his article, “The Political Purposes of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,”

…in our actual civic experience we do not encounter these rights and freedoms in such a zero-sum

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