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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Procedural Duty to Accommodate Prohibits Assumptions

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Student at Law (last year), Editor at First Reference

In Turnbull v Edmonton Pipe Trades Educational Fund o/a Alberta Pipe Trade College (“Turnbull”), an employer discriminated against its employee in violation of the Alberta Human Rights Act when it dismissed her one day after learning of her high-risk pregnancy. By failing to investigate whether the employee’s condition could be accommodated, the employer failed to implement its procedural duty to accommodate and paid the employee $35,000 in damages to dignity and lost wages.


The employer, an Alberta technical college, employed the employee for a period . . . [more]

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

Disclosure of Status During Vaccine Mandates

As the many COVID-19 employment law cases continue to work their way through the courts, there is an increasing number of decisions emerging in the unionized context.

A recent arbitral award by Arbitrator Jesin in Teamsters Local Union 847 v Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment looked at the issue of vaccination disclosure, and the reasonableness of it in context of a mandatory vaccination mandate by the employer.

The unionized employee worked in a sporting and events environment that required close contact with other parties, including other employees. The employer implemented a mandatory vaccination policy after the provincial government in Ontario . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Judicial Notice of COVID-19

There is often far too much in dispute in litigation. Counsel are often encouraged for this reason to formulate agreed upon facts, narrow the issues, and focus the dispute as much as they can.

Courts also assist with this process. One of the mechanisms for doing so is judicial notice, which was defined by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Find as follows,

48 In this case, the appellant relies heavily on proof by judicial notice. Judicial notice dispenses with the need for proof of facts that are clearly uncontroversial or beyond reasonable dispute. Facts judicially noticed are

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

The Divisional Court’s Decision in Ontario Teacher Candidates’ Council


In its December 2021 decision in Ontario Teacher Candidates’ Council v. The Queen, the Divisional Court held that the standardized Mathematics Proficiency Test (“MPT”) the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) had developed and the Ontario government had implemented for prospective teachers was unconstitutional because it disadvantaged Black and Indigenous candidates.

As a remedy, the Court allowed all candidates who had otherwise satisfied teacher qualification requirements to enter the profession. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Seize That Contraband Tobacco

Tobacco is a heavily regulated product. It is regulated under the Tobacco Tax Act to reduce the flow of untaxed products into the contraband market, and this is achieved through requiring a registration certificate for production and sale.

The Applicant in Sobczyk v. Ontario recently asked the Divisional Court to review the decision of the Ontario Ministry of Finance to refuse to issue a registration certificate for the 2021 calendar year. The Application for Judicial Review was dismissed, as the decision was found to be reasonable.

The Applicant is a tobacco farmer who was issued certificates from 2013-2020 on an . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Settlement of Civil Litigation Is Good

Technology has not been the panacea to delays in the court system. Ontario has announced $72 million to tackle the backlog, but even then it will likely focus on criminal proceedings, while civil cases continue to languish.

In Innocon Inc. v. Daro Flooring Constructions Inc., Justice Myers of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice indicated at para 80 that motions are being scheduled at least 8 months out in late 2021. Those delays are only expected to get longer in 2022.

The only reasonable and client-focused response to this is for counsel to find practical and effective solutions. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Careful What You Plead

The pleadings are arguably one of the most important aspects of a civil claim, setting the groundwork for a proceeding in terms of damages, establishing the relevant issues, and informing the likelihood or possibility of settlement.

Sure, there are ways to amend your pleadings. But these typically cost time and money, and the ability to do so is not always guaranteed.

A recent Court of Appeal for Ontario decision McLean v. Wolfson illustrates some of the problems that can emerge in pleadings.

The self-represented Plaintiff alleged medical negligence during a leg surgery in 1995. Presumably to address the obvious issues . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

A Motion and Proceeding That Should Never Have Happened

At the close of proceedings, especially contentious ones, parties often experience a form of buyer’s remorse, especially when they realize the discounted costs they may be entitled to, and the remainder they are still responsible for. Litigation can also be time-consuming, exhausting, and emotionally draining.

Responsible counsel often provide these warnings up-front, to set realistic client expectations, and sure that a mutual understanding around services are agreed upon, and hopefully reduced in writing. Some proceedings especially stand out as particularly futile, especially when characterized as such by the presiding judge.

Justice Dunphy recently released a decision in TSCC 2204 v. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Depressed Industry Boosts Notice Period

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

If you lost your job today, how are your chances for employment elsewhere? Depending on your industry, the answer could range from promising to dismal. In April 2020, when the pandemic was a new reality, the answer could have been different still. At that time, in the automotive industry, people were driving less. New cars gathered dust in dealers’ parking lots. Many thousands of jobs were affected, and sometimes courts were called upon to sort out the aftermath. In Hogan v 1187938 B.C. Ltd., 2021 BCSC 1021 (CanLII), Justice Gerow’s focus on . . . [more]

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

Trouble in Digital Court Paradise

Over a year after Ontario introduced CaseLines to civil courts, nearly all matters are using this digital case management system. But it doesn’t mean they’re using it properly.

An unsuccessful partial summary judgment motion before Justice Dunphy in Basaraba v. Bridal Image Inc. illustrates this problem,

[5] I shall first refer to the unsatisfactory state of the record I am asked to rely upon to reach the level of confidence necessary to sustain a judgment on the merits. Collectively, the parties uploaded more than 2,000 pages of evidence in the form of affidavits, expert reports, discovery transcripts and cross-examination

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

The Importance of Reasons for Judgement in Transparency

Anyone even within the vicinity of the justice system in Canada these days can easily tell that it is overwhelmed. The sheer volume of cases alone is cause for concern, and that doesn’t begin to illustrate the significant delays to everyone involved.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently released a decision in R. v. Artis, 2021 ONCA 862 which illustrates the types of problems the bench is facing, overturning a conviction and sentence in a case where the reasons for a verdict were provided about 31 months after the Notice of Appeal was filed.

The court stated,


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

Force Majeure Clauses: Part of Your Emergency Toolkit

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

Force majeure clauses are commonly included in commercial agreements to reduce the effect or risk of disruptive events that are beyond the control of the contracting parties. The concept of force majeure is related to the contract law doctrine of frustration since they both deal with the implications of an event that affects a party’s ability to comply with the contract. Force majeure provisions are distinct, however, in that they seek to define the types of events that qualify as force majeure, and they should define the contractual consequences that flow . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions