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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Eviction Operations Continue to Resume

One of the greatest concerns of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was that individuals who could not pay rent would be evicted from their homes, and many would be left homeless. Aside from the important social and moral significance of increased homelessness, there are important public health considerations as well.

For example, Perri et al. recently described in the Canadian Medical Association Journal how there is an increased risk of infection of COVID-19, as well as a higher risk of worse outcomes given the existence of comorbidities.

Ontario implemented a suspension of regular court proceedings, based on an . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Reasonableness Prevails in Ruling on Due Diligence

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

In R v Kal Tire, 2020 ABCA 200 (CanLII), the Alberta Court of Appeal clarified the law on an employer’s defence of due diligence when charged with an occupational health and safety violation. The matter came before the court when Kal Tire appealed its conviction under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“the OHSA”) for failing to ensure that a truck was rendered sufficiently inoperative while it was being serviced by one of its employees. . . . [more]

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

Genetic Discrimination Measures Upheld

In Chapter 11 of the “Canadian Health Law Practice Manual,” Genetics and the Law, Amy Zarzeczny, Tracey M. Bailey and Timothy Caulfield state,

One concern that consistently emerges in relation to obtaining genetic information is the worry that an individual may be discriminated against on the basis of his or her genetic make-up and, specifically, on the basis of a predisposition to a certain condition or disease.

Discrimination can of course occur on a wide variety of fronts including, but not limited to, employment, education, housing and insurance…, not to mention on a social level.

Whether or

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

SCC: Uber Arbitration Unconscionable. Uber Is a Company Known for Pushing Limits, Did They Push Too Far This Time?

There is a class-action lawsuit by Uber drivers in Ontario against Uber alleging, among other things, violations of employment standards legislation. The main issue is whether Uber drivers are independent contractors as the Uber agreement says, or whether they are actually employees.

But before those issues could be heard, the courts had to decide whether those issues could be litigated in the courts, or whether they had to be decided through binding arbitration, as stated in the Uber agreement. The Supreme Court of Canada found the arbitration clause invalid because it was “unconscionable”, and thus the merits of the case . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Union Misconduct Can Fall Within Public Interest

Defamation cases, and the anti-SLAPP provisions under the Libel and Slander Actcontinue to be interpreted in new and novel contexts.

In Nanda v. McEwan, the Divisional Court heard an appeal of a Small Claims Court motion in a defamation action, involving statements made during the election campaign for President of the Toronto Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (“CUPW”). The statements were made in print, and in two invitation-only WhatsApp groups, and included the following statements about the plaintiff:

  • he was a racist, a bigot, a sexist, a bully and a thief;
  • he was corrupt;
  • he
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Complainant Went the Wrong Way Down a Two-Way Street

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

The process of accommodating an employee with a disability is frequently described as a two-way street. Employers must often be creative in finding meaningful ways for an employee to continue contributing to the workplace. It must make efforts to accommodate these employees to the point of suffering undue hardship.

Employees have an equally critical role to play. They must keep the employer informed of their prognosis, provide feedback and accept reasonable solutions that the employer proposes. An employee who refuses a reasonable accommodation proposal treads on very shaky ground. The possibility of continued . . . [more]

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

A Historic Verdict

History was made on June 26, 2020, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in R. v. Theriault.

It was a very detailed and meticulous decision that was well over 300 paragraphs long. It cited nearly 50 cases, and carefully went through the evidence and the law. But that’s not what made it noteworthy.

For the first time in Canadian history, the verdict was read out loud and live-streamed via Zoom on YouTube, to a massive audience. Over 20,000 people were reported to watch the verdict, which consisted of a judge reading his decision into a screen for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employer’s Ultimatum to Accept Changes or Quit Backfires

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

In McLean v Dynacast Ltd., 2019 ONSC 7146 (CanLII), the employer drastically changed the plaintiff’s job and forced him to accept the new arrangement or quit. The plaintiff chose the latter option and successfully sued for constructive dismissal. In accepting the plaintiff’s claim, the court summarized recent case law on mitigation, and awarded significant aggravated or moral damages to the plaintiff. . . . [more]

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

The Wheels of Justice in Exceptional Cases

Despite the pandemic, the wheels of justice continue to turn. With several hearings continuing to occur remotely due to social distancing protocols, the Ontario Court of Justice announced they are scheduled to resume in-person hearings on July 6, 2020.

The incremental plan includes the use of limited courtrooms for all trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody. All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, are expected to attend in-person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

In part, this . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

It’s Not as Bad as You Think, Quitting Employee Learns

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

No one wants to work in a toxic work environment. Some may persevere despite the negativity. Others may make a formal complaint and await an investigation, while others may resign. In Gibb v. Palliser Regional School Division No 26, 2020 ABQB 113 (CanLII), Madam Justice J.C. Kubik considered the plight of an employee who chose the third option and then sued her former employer alleging constructive dismissal. Before rejecting the claim, the court summarized the law on resignations and constructive dismissal. Ultimately, while an employee may feel that a workplace . . . [more]

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

Words, and Black Lives, Matter

In 1977, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the case of Smithers v. R., where two young hockey players who got into it, in and outside of the rink. In the brief altercation that ensued, one of the players died. The other player was charged and convicted of manslaughter.

The accused appealed unsuccessfully around the cause of death, which was due to asphyxiation. However, this was not due to any choking, but either the aspiration of foreign materials due to vomiting, and a malfunction of the epiglottis.

The unusual cause of death has therefore become one of the examples . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Arbitrator Upholds Properly Drafted and Applied Absenteeism Policy

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

One of the most important crucial aspects of managing the employment relationship is written policies. Company policies, when drafted and applied properly, can be an effective shield against liability in many employment law cases. Through policy, an employer sets the rights and obligations of the employer and the workers within the workplace. When employers draft up-to-date policy that stays within legal boundaries and workers are kept notified about their rights and obligations under that policy, employers may often successfully fend off legal action such as wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal. . . . [more]

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