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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Discrimination Exists Even in Commercial Tenancies

Those protesting from “diversity fatigue” often complain that some people will find indicia of subtle racism in almost everything. It’s like they dispute that these influences are subtle and pernicious, and can be found throughout the social fabric of our society.

Fortunately the courts in Ontario disagree, finding in a commercial tenancy dispute in Elias Restaurant v. Keele Sheppard Plaza Inc. regarding a refusal by the landlord to renew a commercial lease. The concept of “prejudice” as used in litigation rarely encompasses the term as it is popularly used, but its application in this case weighed in favour of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Reasonable Notice: Relevance of Worker’s Past Experience Clarified

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference

In a previous First Reference article I wrote on our news service HRinfodesk, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s decision in which a successor employer was held liable for a 20-month notice period was written about because of the legislative presumption of continued employment in these circumstances. Readers may refer to that article for an overview of the key facts. Since then, the case was appealed and decided by the Ontario Court of Appeal. In rendering its decision, the court analyzed the common law approach to the calculation of reasonable notice, concluding . . . [more]

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

Class Proceedings Changes Proclaimed in Ontario

As of Oct. 1, 2020, significant changes to the Class Proceedings Act, 1992 come into effect in Ontario. These changes were part of the legal omnibus Bill 161, which received Royal Assent on July 8, 2020.

The amendments are intended to ensure that claims proceed more quickly, with greater opportunity to dismiss certain claims at an earlier stage. It supporters claim that it provides courts a more balanced framework to determine which chases are best suited for certification.

Some of the amendments are based on the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) report in July 2019, including recommendations on the timing . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Senior Employee Entitled to Progressive Discipline

By Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Student-at-law, Editor, First Reference

In Underhill v Shell Canada Limited, 2020 ABQB 341, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta decided that a senior employee had been wrongfully dismissed after she became tangled up in a subordinate’s attempt to bid on a project independently of the employer.

The employer’s reason for the senior employee’s dismissal had been that she had engaged in misconduct in her handling of the subordinate’s bid attempt. However, the court found that her behaviour was not serious enough to merit her dismissal for cause. Instead, the employer should have responded to . . . [more]

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

Gas Pump Stickers and Compelled Speech

In my last Slaw post, I discussed Morgan J.’s decision in Canadian Civil Liberties Association v. Attorney General of Ontario (CCLA v. AG Ont.) to grant standing to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to challenge the government’s requirement that gas station operators post a sticker on each gas pump. The standing decision stands for two major points: the CCLA’s expertise did not have to relate to the selling of gas or regulations governing it, but it was sufficient that it related to constitutional issues; and it had shown its interest by identifying its concerns to the government . . . [more]

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

Anti-SLAPP Motions at the Supreme Court

Two significant anti-SLAPP cases have been released, in conjunction, by the Supreme Court.

Bent v. Platnick deals with a motion in a defamation action that was initially successful in getting dismissed. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision, and the Court upheld the appeal, specifically on the likelihood of the plaintiff’s success. The case involved the reputation of a doctor on a lawyers’ listserv, which bolstered the interests in having the matter adjudicated on the merits.

The Court in 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection Association affirmed the Court of Appeal decision, which has largely become the leading authority in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Possible Denial of ESA Minimums Voids Termination Clause

Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

A recent decision from Ontario’s Divisional Court illustrates an important point about the concept of notice in Ontario employment contracts. This point concerns the relation between the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and Ontario common law. This important point is that employees are, by default, entitled to common law reasonable notice. Common law reasonable notice is roughly equivalent to one month of compensation for each year of employment. In comparison, minimum notice entitlements under the ESA are limited to one week per year of employment.

Employers who wish to prevent their . . . [more]

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

SCJ Grants CCLA Public Interest Standing to Challenge the Mandatory Gas Pump Sticker

In 2019, the Ford Government announced it would require gas station operators to post stickers about the impact of the federal government’s fuel charge on the price of gasoline. The Ontario Government’s response to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s (CCLA) challenge to the legislation not only defended on the merits, but also argued the CCLA did not have standing to bring its claim. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice rejected both positions in The Corporation of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association v. The Attorney General of Ontario (CCLA v. AG Ont.). Here I focus on Justice Ed Morgan’s determination on . . . [more]

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

Partisan Advantage Seeking Fails to Meet Pressing and Substantial Objective

Following the decisions by the Ontario and Saskatchewan Court of Appeal over the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the Supreme Court of Canada is expected to hear their appeals on Sept. 22-23, 2020.

The provinces did not wait for the courts to resolve this matter entirely, and in Ontario, the Minister of Finance at the time protested loudly on April 11, 2019 in the legislature,

Mr. Speaker, while our government takes deliberate steps to make Ontario open for business and open for jobs, the federal government is taking deliberate steps to make the cost of nearly

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

Where to With Social Host Liability

Tort law in relation to alcohol-related injuries continues to grow and evolve over time, especially with a better understanding of how alcohol use can create a public harm, requiring a greater assumption of duty of care in certain circumstances.

In 1974, the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in Menow v. Jordan House Ltd., which evaluated a frequent and well-known patron of a hotel who became intoxicated there contrary to liquor licensing legislation. The patron was ejected by the defendant when he started to annoy the other customers. However, the patron knew that he would have to walk . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employee’s Mitigation Efforts Under Fixed-Term Contract Reduces Employer’s Liability

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

What is the employer’s liability to a former employee who is dismissed from a fixed-term contract without cause, when that employee mitigates his or her loss by finding another job? Faced with mixed jurisprudence from other jurisdictions, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal answers this question for that province in Crook v Druxbury, 2020 SKCA 43 (CanLII), rendering a decision that is harmonious with the state of the law in Alberta and British Columbia. As a result, in those three Western provinces, the former employee’s mitigation of his or her loss serves . . . [more]

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

The Inviolability of the Body

The central premise behind civil laws is a private wrong done to another.

According to Graham McBain in International Law Research, the earliest example of what would become the common law probably can be attributed to the Anglo-Saxon concept of “wounding,” which constituted a tariff system of fines from the 6th c. CE, based on the nature of the injury.

This personal wrong evolved into a form of trespass to the person, which we now know today as a civil tort of battery. Justice Cartwright drew on an 1891 Queen’s Bench decision in an early Canadian case in Cook . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions