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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Judge Calls for Tenancy Law Reforms After Finding Tenant “Gaming the System”

An Ontario Superior Court Judge has expressed his hope that legislative changes will be made to stop unscrupulous tenants from “gaming the system”.

The facts of the case are straight forward and rather appalling.

The tenant entered into an agreement to lease a condominium in downtown Toronto starting in September, 2015. The rent for the first month cleared but the rent for October bounced. The tenant has not paid another cent since that time, although he continued to reside in the unit.

The landlord served a “Notice to End Tenancy Early for Non-Payment of Rent” on October 16, 2015. On . . . [more]

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

SCC Tosses Tough on Crime Agenda Out the Window

Let’s say it’s a Friday night, on April 20, 2007.

At the end of a long day, and the end of a long week, and you come home from work to smoke a joint with your spouse at home on your front porch. You don’t go out on the town, you don’t drive a car, you just stay home for the evening.

But because you smoked it on your porch your neighbor decides to call the police. They come over, and you get into a bit of a legal jam. Not any big deal, mind you, but it’s on your . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Testamentary Freedom Reaffirmed

Early this month Ontario’s Court of Appeal released its decision in Spence v. BMO Trust Company, an important statement on the supervisory jurisdiction of Ontario courts regarding gifts in a Will that offend public policy.

The court affirmed that at common law, “… a testator’s right to dispose of her property and to choose her beneficiaries as she wishes, even on discriminatory grounds”, is protected.

Background

The deceased had two daughters. He moved to Canada after divorcing their mother. His daughter Verolin followed her father to Canada. The other daughter remained with her mother in England.

The deceased, a black . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ghomeshi Controversy a Call to the Profession

I won’t comment much on the Ghomeshi verdict, other than to note that most of its detractors don’t appear to fully appreciate the nuance of the decision.

The animus exhibited by the complainants was mirrored by observers in the court room, and the crowd that gathered outside.

There was reason to be upset. Such incidents are rightly upsetting, but these feelings should not be directed towards the bench or the justice system.

The protections within our legal system, including our Charter rights, cannot be applied selectively, or withdrawn for individuals we don’t like, or we think are likely to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Browsewraps – Why Bother?

Here’s a comment by Eric Goldman of Santa Clara law school on a California court of appeals case, refusing to validate an arbitration clause in a ‘browsewrap’ format – i.e. a link to ‘terms of use’ with no requirement of the contracting party to acknowledge them.

Are such clauses enforced in Canada, except to prevent obvious dishonest behaviour as in Sutton Realty in Quebec or the similar BC case, Century 21 v Rogers Communications, about scraping real estate listings off an MLS site? (See par 92ff of that decision). Why should they be?

The ULCC published a study of them . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Privacy Torts in the Unionized Context

The tort of intrusion upon seclusion continues to grow and find application in new settings and circumstances, which is what we would expect for a tort created less than 5 years ago.

In Complex Services Inc v Ontario Public Service Employees Union, arbitrator Surdykowski sided with the employer in finding that this new tort dealt with non-legislated and non-contractual rights to privacy. These rights would necessarily be limited in the unionized context.

This holding was summarized in United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 206 v G & K Services Canada Inc as follows,

94. ..An employee does not have

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

Judicial Review vs. Request for Reconsideration

Federal Court published a decision regarding the government’s policy when to reconsider or re-open an application. In his decision, Justice Phelan came down hard on the government’s inflexible guidelines as they lack “common sense and fairness”. This is a very significant decision for immigration practitioners and lawyers who make requests to Visa Officers or other government officials to have their matters reconsidered.

The facts of Lim v. Canada are relatively simple. The Applicant applied for Canadian citizenship, an Officer requested more information via letter but the letter was not received. The application was deemed abandoned and the file closed. When . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The High Cost of Public Interest Litigation

Despite all the bad publicity, many lawyers are the unsung heroes of society. We fight the good fight, often unrecognized by any of those around us, and receive no thanks from the recipients of our hard work.

The Federal Court of Appeal released a decision this month in Galati v. Harper, denying the appeal of a 2014 decision which had denied substantial indemnity costs in the constitutional litigation surrounding the Justice Nadon appointment to the Supreme Court. Justice Zinn fixed the costs at a mere $5,000, on a bill of costs for a total of $68,475.74.

The application had . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Paying the Price for Not Providing Reasonable Notice and the Manner of Termination

In the case of Armstrong v Lendon, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concluded that the employer had to pay 21 months of reasonable notice plus aggravated damages for the manner of termination which caused humiliation, embarrassment and the loss of self-esteem. The court did not buy the employer’s argument that there was just cause for the termination, especially since the allegations for cause were made after the fact. . . . [more]

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

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

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