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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Ontario Retirement Pension Plan: It’s Coming!

With the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2015 now in force, the Ontario government is moving ahead to establish the ORPP by January 1, 2017. The ORPP is a made-in-Ontario alternative to a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement.

The plan is needed according to the government because many Ontarians, including middle- and higher-income earners, may not be saving enough to ensure comparable standards of living in retirement.

The ORPP is mandatory for employers without a comparable workplace pension plan. Employers who already offer a comparable workplace pension plan will not be required to participate in the ORPP. All workers must . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Background Material on Québec’s New Code of Civil Procedure

Quebec’s new Code of Civil Procedure came into force on January 1, 2016. It involves an ambitious overhaul of the way cases are supposed to work their way through the courts and it is intended to increase access to justice.

CAIJ, the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (the network of courthouse law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association), recently added an annotated version of the province’s new Code of Civil Procedure to its website (in the lefthand column of the eLois page, click on “Code de procédure civile (nouveau)”). 

 The annotation includes the sections of the new Code, a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Yet Another Privacy Tort Comes to Ontario

When the tort of intrusion upon seclusion was introduced in 2012, it was of significant importance. A civil remedy for the growing area of privacy rights was desperately needed, but it was uncertain how extensive this tort would be used.

I’ve spoken about this tort at law schools, to industry, and even published a journal article on it. But the area of privacy law is about to become even more exciting with the introduction of yet another privacy tort this week in Jane Doe 464533 v. ND [there is no CanLii link on this yet].

The parties . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Electronic Designation of Beneficiaries

From time to time the question of electronic wills is raised for discussion. This Uniform Law Conference has visited the topic a couple of times.

I have a related question today: should people be able to use electronic means to designate beneficiaries of savings plans (pension plans, RRSPs, TFSAs etc.) or insurance policies? If so, how? And if not, why not?

Usually such designations have be in writing and signed. The Uniform Electronic Commerce Act permits both e-documents and e-signatures. However, the UECA excludes wills and codicils. Most if not all provinces and territories have adopted this exclusion.

It is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Invasion of Privacy Tort Continues to Develop

In Ontario, conventional wisdom was that invasion of privacy was not something you could sue for. But that is changing, as evidenced by a just released decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice called Jane Doe 464533. That decision awarded damages and costs totaling $141,000, plus an order for the defendant to destroy any video or images he may still have, never to share any intimate images of the plaintiff, and to not communicate with the plaintiff or her family. A pdf version of the decision is here: Doe – redacted

Until this decision, the first case of a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Union Grievances and Discrimination Under the Human Rights Code

Can a unionized employee who received settlement money as a result of a union grievance also make an application under the Human Rights Code, alleging discrimination as a result of the same situation? Two recent cases of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal have addressed this issue with opposite outcomes. In Ma v University of Toronto, an employee’s application was allowed to continue, whereas in Sikorski v Vaughan (City), the employee’s application was dismissed.

The tribunal reached these decisions after interpreting Section 45.1 of the Code, which states that: “The Tribunal may dismiss an application, in whole or . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Twitter Hashtags Are Public Forums Under the Law

Brevity is the soul of wit, and also Twitter. In that brevity though, there is plenty of context which is left out, and ample room for interpretation.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a decision in R. v. Elliott this week, where two female complainants alleged Criminal Harassment under Section 264 of the Criminal Code based on exchanges over Twitter.

Justice Knazan dedicated the early portion of his decision to explaining the mechanics and culture of Twitter, for “One cannot understand this case without knowing about Twitter.” It includes various definitions and lingo, including, “A concern troll is someone . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

27 Months of Reasonable Notice After 40 Years of Service

In Markoulakis v SNC-Lavalin Inc., the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concluded after considering the Bardal factors that long-serving employee Eftihios (Ed) Markoulakis was entitled to 27 months of common law reasonable notice following his termination from a senior role at SNC-Lavalin. The court noted that notice beyond 24 months is within the court’s discretion in exceptional cases. Clearly, this was one of those cases. . . . [more]

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

Exemptions to Suspensions of End of Life Provisions

As expected, the Supreme Court of Canada granted an extension this week on the assisted dying legislation stemming from the Carter decision. The Court did not grant the 6 month extension sought by the government, but instead extended it by 4 months to match the delay stemming from the election.

The interesting twist here was the legislation in Quebec around end of life care, coming into force on December 10, 2015. The Court provided an exemption to the province, without weighing in on the merits of the Act itself.

The Court also considered the state of individuals who were . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

AODA New January 2017 Compliance Deadlines

Large and small organizations in the private and non-profit sectors have a new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance deadline coming up on January 1, 2017.

1) Large organizations (50+ employees)

Starting January 1, 2016, provincially regulated organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must work to comply with the design for public spaces standards under the built-environment to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities, but not those barriers inside buildings. This task must be completed by January 1, 2017.

This standard covers a variety of public spaces such as exterior . . . [more]

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

Why We Should Keep the Doggie-Door Closed on Emotional Damages

Household pets are a cherished part of many families. Yet, in the words of Auxier J. in Pezzente v. McClain, 2005 BCPC 352 (CanLII), the law remains “coldly unemotional” towards companion animals, which continue to be considered “just another consumer product.” Nonetheless, there is good reason for continuing to restrict the compensation available in pet death or injury cases. A line of cases out of Ontario has begun to award more than just replacement value and incurred costs to owners of wrongfully injured or killed pets – and it may be setting a precarious precedent.

In Ferguson v. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Eluding Relief: Ministerial Discretion and the Impact of Recent Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Recent amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 (“IRPA”) (http://canlii.ca/t/52dg2) will make ministerial relief illusory for some foreign nationals deemed inadmissible to Canada on security grounds. The government created this problem in its response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC”) ruling in Agraira v Canada, 2013 SCC 36 (“Agraira”) (http://canlii.ca/t/fz8c4). Agraira challenged the application of IRPA s 34(2) (http://canlii.ca/t/521ff) under which an inadmissible foreign national could apply to the Minister of Public Safety for an exemption if they could prove their presence was not contrary to the “national . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation