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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

New ESA Termination and Severance Pandemic Regulation

On March 19, 2020, the Government of Ontario created a new regulation under the Employment Standards Act, which created a new emergency leave to protect workers who were sick from COVID-19. This was an important protection to ensure that workers were not dismissed as a result of being sick during the pandemic.

As the pandemic drags on, and social isolation and distancing rules create significant economic barriers for businesses, many lawyers have been considering whether there would be an enormous wave of employment litigation following the conclusion of the pandemic. Many employers have had to reduce wages, modify the . . . [more]

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

Provincial Insolvency Decision Hangs in Balance

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

On March 26, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Canada v. Canada North Group Inc., 2019 ABCA 314 (CanLII). The decision canvasses the priority that attaches to money that is borrowed in restructuring proceedings to preserve value in an insolvent company. The decision considered whether these charges rank ahead of other claims that are also granted priority under federal legislation. The issue, therefore, was the relative ranking of “super-priority” court-ordered charges in proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors . . . [more]

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

The Constitutionality of Interprovincial Boundary Closures (Part II)


In my post last week, I blogged the background to an analysis of constitutional challenges to interprovincial border closures. I briefly referred to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Comeau, which considered the constitutionality of barriers to interprovincial trade represented by section 134 of the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act limitations on the amount of liquor and beer that someone could bring into New Brunswick from another province. I also set out some of the border closures established by provinces and territories during the coronavirus pandemic, with an emphasis on the situation as the jurisdictions begin . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Judicial Council Overturned on Dean Appointment

The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law was founded in 2013, to much fanfare. It was the first Canadian law school to offer an integrated licensing curriculum, and has mandatory courses in Aboriginal law.

Since that time, the school has also had its challenges, most significantly, the resignation of Angelique EagleWoman as Dean in June 2018, citing systemic racism in the law school. Given that she was the first Indigenous law dean in Canada, this resignation sent shock waves throughout the school.

EagleWoman expressed these concerns internally in writing as early as March 7, 2018, leading the university to request that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Court Awards Aggravated Damages in Wrongful Dismissal Case

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

The case Acumen Law Corporation v Ojanen, 2019 BCSC 1352 (CanLII) tells the story of the abrupt and acrimonious end of an articling student’s employment with a law firm. The court rejected the range of factors purported to support just cause and, in addition to ordinary damages for breach of contract, awarded the employee aggravated or moral damages because of the way she was fired. The case serves as an important reminder to employers about the seriousness of misconduct required to support just cause, and should also encourage employers to think . . . [more]

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

The Constitutionality of Interprovincial/Territorial Boundary Closures (Part I)

Efforts to respond to and get under control the coronavirus pandemic have led to government actions that many people would be unlikely to accept in less dire times. Many of these have been at the provincial and municipal levels with emergency measures that have restricted a wide range of business, social and recreational activities that we had previously taken for granted. Another set of restrictions have been in relation to whether we can visit other provinces. Some provinces closed their boundaries early in the pandemic and some are now restricting who can enter provinces as they open their business, social . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Searching for the Moral High Grounds in Family Law

Although all courts are backlogged during the pandemic, there is probably no more tension right now in our justice system than with family law, especially as parents struggle with social distancing while sorting out the exchange of children.

For some family law litigants, less pressing matters such as obtaining the exclusive possession of a matrimonial home has been pushed through the courts, as in Alsawwah v. Afifi.

Justice Kurz, in granting the motion for exclusive possession to the Respondent, indicated that much of the materials were unnecessary, distracting, and unhelpful to the resolution of the motion. On this . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Open Question of Jurisdictional Boundaries of Labour Arbitrators and Human Rights Tribunals Makes Its Way to the Supreme Court of Canada

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Student-at-law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

Effects of unionization on the employment relationship

Unions have a variety of significant effects on the employment relationship and greatly affect the rights and obligations of employers and employees. The repercussions of unionization are so significant that the law surrounding unionized workplaces is considered to be an entirely distinct area of law from law surrounding non-unionized workplaces.

One such difference related to unionization is the legal path workers are allowed to take when confronted with a human rights issue in the workplace. In such a case, a non-unionized worker could . . . [more]

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

COVID-19 & Employment Standards: Cross-Canada Review

To say COVID-19 has sped up the pace of change in employment law is an understatement. Usually it takes months (or even years!) to make changes to Canadian employment legislation, but now we are seeing significant amendments announced and in force on the same day.

In particular, the federal government and most of the provinces have responded to COVID-19 by quickly amending employment standards legislation. Key areas where we have seen changes are: leaves of absence, hours of work and termination of employment. Below is a cross-Canada review of the amendments we have seen since the COVID-19 crisis began.


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

False and Misleading Claims Around COVID

We see it everywhere these days, and not just on social media. They’re touted by leaders and people in positions of power. False claims of prevention and treatment for COVID-19 are proliferating, and pose a danger to Canadians.

The Competition Bureau is aware of this and is monitoring the marketplace to ensure safety in messaging. They have already issued compliance warnings, including:

  • making claims that herbal remedies, bee-related products, vitamins, vegetables or other food and drink products can prevent COVID-19 infections; and
  • making claims—without first conducting the testing required by law—that certain UV and ozone air sterilization systems, as well
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Alberta Appeal Court Takes a Hands-on Approach in Sexual Assault Termination Case

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

The Court of Appeal of Alberta’s decision in Calgary (City) v Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 37, 2019 ABCA 388 (CanLII) overturns a decision on judicial review that upheld an arbitrator’s decision to reinstate an employee who had been terminated from his employment for sexual harassment. The decision serves as a powerful reminder that sexual assault is inherently serious and, when coupled with a breakdown in trust arising from the perpetrator’s dishonesty, a termination will likely be the result. . . . [more]

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

No Right to Bear Arms in Canada

On May 1, 2020, the Prime Minister of Canada announced that semi-automatic, assault-style weapons, would be banned,

These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada.

Effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country.

The full list of the over 1,500 weapons was published in the Canada Gazette, as a regulation to the Criminal Code provisions regarding the terms “non . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation