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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Subjective Intentions Do Not Factor Into Surrounding Circumstances

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

Pre-contract negotiations, such as prior drafts of agreements, are generally inadmissible as part of “surrounding circumstances” when interpreting a contract, and parties’ subjective intentions are always inadmissible. The Alberta Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Alberta Union of Provincial Employees v Alberta Health Services, 2020 ABCA 4 (CanLII) confirms this principle and states the limits of relying on the parties’ subjective intentions. . . . [more]

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

The Pandemic Exceptions to Limitations

From an evidentiary perspective, there are two principled reasons for having a limitations on civil actions. The first form can be found in historical precedents through ex ante statutes of repose, which establish a period of time through which an action must be initiated, barring any action after that time.

The second form is an extension of the common law doctrine of laches, which employs a discoverability rule based on reasonableness. The extent to which due diligence is exerted in this context is usually an important principle. This concept in common law also contained equitable principles that rights require vigilance . . . [more]

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

Houston, We Have a Problem With Your Termination

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

In modern times, employers and investigators alike must be increasingly technologically savvy. Evidence can take on many forms, including texts, emails and information posted to social media accounts. Many employers provide phones to their employees which are password-protected and rely on virtual storage of data in the “cloud.” As the workplace becomes further digitized, and as more offices become mobile or virtual, workplace investigations will increasingly target such elusive electronic data. As illustrated in the recent British Columbia labour arbitration decision District of Houston v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local . . . [more]

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

A Tour Through Pandemic Law for COVID-19

Canada has come a long way since the SARS pandemic in 2003. With the outbreak of COVID-19, here is a non-exhaustive overview of some of the ways that pandemics have come up in our legal system.

Keri Gammon makes the argument in the Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies that given the need for local implementation, provincial jurisdiction for pandemics is still warranted,

In extreme cases, such as where one province fails to act altogether in respect of a  public health emergency, federal jurisdiction may be required if only on a temporary basis. But with respect to

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

Ambiguous Clause in Commission Policy

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Editor, First Reference Inc.

O’Reilly v IMAX Corporation, 2019 ONCA 991, the Court of Appeal for Ontario (“ONCA”) awarded a former president of IMAX two years of severance after the court agreed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s ruling that he had been wrongfully dismissed. The employee in this case was 53 years old at the time of the decision. He had worked for IMAX Corporation for 22 years, finishing his tenure as President, Institutional and Strategic Sales. His compensation package at the time of his dismissal included a salary of $335,000, commissions . . . [more]

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

When Are Contracts of Adhesion Binding?

In the Internet age, contracts of adhesion are common. Consumers routinely confirm their acceptance to terms and conditions that they have not read or understood.

In Apps v. Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd., 2020 BCCA 78, the court addressed when contracts of adhesion are binding. In this case, a snowboarder from Australia was injured in the terrain park. He brought an action for negligence, the failure to warn, and for breaching the Occupiers Liability Act. The BC Court of Appeal found that the trial judge erred in upholding the waiver.

The plaintiff Mr. Apps raised “an issue that has . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Maybe Bill C-7 Meets the Letter of the Law, but Does It Meet the Spirit?

The federal government has now introduced changes to its legislation on medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in response to the Truchon decision. The existing Criminal Code provisions, enacted after the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Carter, had been criticised on several grounds, particularly in requiring death to be “reasonably foreseeable” before someone is eligible for medical assistance in dying. The 2019 Quebec Superior Court decision in Truchon held that the foreseeability requirement in the Criminal Code and the parallel Quebec provision in that province’s End-of-Life Care Act are unconstitutional. The government’s Bill C-7 is in response to Truchon . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Representing an Unusual and Rare Motion

One of the greatest advantages of corporations as a vehicle for developing capital in society is that they usually transcend the lifetime of any particular founding individual. Corporations do not necessarily live forever though, and the winding up or bankruptcy of a company can give rise to some complexities around the division of assets.

The Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) was first enacted in 1933 during an economic depression, and found to be constitutionally valid in a 1934 reference. Its purpose was described by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Chef Ready Foods Ltd. v. Hongkong Bank of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employer’s Duty to Protect Against and Investigate Harassment

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

A recent decision of a Human Rights Adjudication Panel, T.M. v Manitoba (Justice), 2019 MBHR 13 (CanLII) has clarified the extent of an employer’s obligation to provide its employees with a safe and respectful workplace. The decision is the first time a complaint of harassment on the basis of sexual orientation was considered in that forum-is a powerful one and is full of important takeaways for employers, employees and workplace investigators alike. . . . [more]

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

Revisiting the LCO’s Family Law Final Report Seven Years Later

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting with students in McMaster University’s Justice, Political Philosophy and Law Program (“JPPL Program”) at a Wine and Cheese “Industry Night” organized by the JPPL Student Society. Not surprisingly, many students, although not all, anticipate applying for law school after completing the program. I was one of 10 panelists (!) with a range of experiences in law asked to give the students some idea about our own backgrounds and then answer a specific question drawing on that experience. In my own case, the organizers asked me to tell the students something about . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Judicial Restraint Cannot Justify Blatant Abuses of Prohibitions in International Law

We all have our views and preferences about how reforms to the legal system and the creation of laws should occur.

For example, despite being a regular participant in the justice system, I see the courts as a rather blunt instrument for the creation of law, and it is often ill-suited for dealing with complex social problems. The legislature, with all of the available expertise and resources of the state, is usually far better positioned to carefully examine, explore, and determine the most precise manner in which to create and modify laws.

Yet the legislature often moves slowly, and is . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Brief Guide to Western and Atlantic Employment Law Changes in 2020

2020 promises to be a busy year in Western and Atlantic provinces with a variety of legislative and regulatory changes impacting employers in various ways. In this article, we provide employers with an overview of some of the key changes that have been announced in Western and Atlantic to assist in compliance. We also mention some changes that employers should anticipate being made in the coming year. . . . [more]

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