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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

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

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

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

Charter Damages for G20 Actions

The Charter remains the bedrock of the Canadian constitution, even with concerns about the increased willingness of governments to derogate from those rights. Rights without a remedy may not have much meaning though, and and the enforcement provisions under the Charter itself state,

24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.
[emphasis added]

What this means in a factual context has not been extensively analyzed by the courts. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Unjust Termination Case Proves Costly for Employer

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

In Liebreich v Farmers of North America, 2019 BCSC 1074 (CanLII), the plaintiff brought an action for wrongful dismissal against her former employer and a group of entities she claimed were jointly and severally liable. The court was required to first conclude that the plaintiff was a dependant contractor, and that several of the entities were jointly and severally liable. In addition to having to pay reasonable notice to the plaintiff, the employer’s blameworthy conduct in carrying out the termination led to an award of punitive and special damages. . . . [more]

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

The Laicity State Remains Unchallenged, for Now

On June 16, 2019, the Assemblée nationale du Québec passed the Act respecting the laicity of the State. On its face, the Act would appear to be controversial, seeking to ensure the non-religious nature of the state,

2. The laicity of the State is based on the following principles:

(1  the separation of State and religions;
(2  the religious neutrality of the State;
(3  the equality of all citizens; and
(4  freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

The very next day though, the Act was challenged on the basis . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employers Must Ensure All Overtime Work Complies With Employment Standards

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

In the federally regulated employment sector, working overtime hours is subject to a number of requirements under the Canada Labour Code. Although such legislation requires that any and all overtime work be compensated adequately, even providing such compensation does not ensure that employers in the federally regulated sectors are in compliance with their obligations. In a recent decision, an Ontario court decided an employer’s policy and labour practices regarding overtime hours failed to comply with the Canada Labour Code in a dramatic and broad class-action lawsuit brought by a . . . [more]

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

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom… Videoconferencing in the Room

Love it or hate it, everyone is on Zoom these days, including lawyers.

The company notes that daily use went up from 10 million users a day in December 2019, to over 200 million daily users in March 2020. On March 23, 2020 alone, the app was downloaded 2.13 million times globally.

Social distancing during COVID-19 has in no insignificant way pushed the use of this platform to new levels, with share prices going from $70 in January to $150 by the the end of March 2020. Yet, the platform was never designed with this type of use in mind. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Company Misses the Bus With Its Dismissal

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

In Hicks and Winnipeg Exclusive Bus Tours Inc., Re, (Sept. 19, 2019), Doc. YM 2727-3941 (Can. Lab. Code Adj.) the arbitrator Bryan Schwartz was appointed by the federal Minister of Labour to hear a complaint of wrongful dismissal under the Canada Labour Code. The case provides a stark reminder to employers about the sufficiency of evidence necessary to support a claim of just cause for dismissal. . . . [more]

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