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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

State Immunity, Torture, and Impunity

Today, justice was denied to Zahra Kazemi and her family. After an eight year struggle, the Supreme Court of Canada released the decision many of us feared: Iran and its functionaries are immune from the civil jurisdiction of the Canadian courts for having arrested, tortured and murdered Ms. Kazemi, a Canadian journalist.

There will be time to pick apart the decision over the coming months, and years. Right now, though, I can’t do much more than shake with frustration and grief. In my 2009 comment on this case, when it was still pending before the Quebec Superior Court, I . . . [more]

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

Of the Vilardell Case and a Victory for BC’s Middle Class

The thing about writing for a blog (especially one that commits you to weekly posts) is that often times you can only barely introduce a topic or idea.

And undoubtedly one of the best things about blogs is that cursory introductions are totally fine. Want popcorn commentary on a landmark decision from the country’s highest court? Bam. Here you go.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s October 2, 2014 majority decision regarding the (non) constitutionality of pricey court fees in Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2014 SCC 59, is big news here in BC. . . . [more]

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

Orders Made by Director Under the AODA

Despite concerns from many that the government was lagging in its enforcement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO) has been issuing orders to comply with the Act, particularly the section 14 requirement to produce and file an accessibility report with the directorate.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Shocking Communications With a Job Applicant Cost Employer $8,000 in Damages

When an employer denied a job candidate’s application with a text message saying, “I don’t hire foreners I keep the white man working" (his spelling not mine!), the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal had no trouble finding that the job applicant experienced discrimination on the basis of race, color and place of origin.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Employee Constructively Dismissed Because of a Temporary Layoff

Can a temporary layoff, in the absence of an express or implied contractual term authorizing such action during the term of employment, constitute a constructive dismissal? Ontario’s Small Claims Court recently answered this question in the case of Janice Wiens v. Davert Tools Inc., 2014 CanLII 47234.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Short Updates: A Thank-You to Eugene Meehan

The amount of information required to stay abreast of the changing law, in a general sense, is massive. Supreme Court of Canada statistics tell us that there were over 70 decisions to read from that court alone every year. Add your jurisdiction’s Court of Appeal and trial courts decisions, federal and provincial legislative changes, tribunal decisions, municipal and other delegated legislation and you have way more material than any generalist can reasonably consume.

Of course you don’t need to know it all. Many of those pieces of legal information can be learned just in time rather than just in case. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Worker Could Sue Executive Officer for Massage, but Not Employer

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal recently decided that an employee was not allowed to sue her employer in court because the workers’ compensation regime prevented it. However, the employee was allowed to sue the executive officer of the employer who allegedly assaulted her because he was not acting in an employment-related capacity regarding the conduct that was subject to the civil action.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Of Unicorns and Leprechauns: Applying the Threatened Species Taxonomy to Administrative Law

A colleague & I were recently discussing the ever-shrinking categories of questions in administrative law that might attract a correctness standard (see paras. 58-61 of Dunsmuir and paras. 25-26 of McLean). I suggested that true questions of jurisdiction could be likened to unicorns and general questions of law of central importance to the legal system as a whole might be more in the nature of leprechauns. She suggested a better parallel might be found in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s threatened species taxonomy. In her view, true questions of jurisdiction are “extinct in the wild” . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Interesting Take on the Duty to Accommodate

An employer can do nothing and still meet its duty to accommodate, so long as it turns out that the employer could not have accommodated the complainant without undue hardship. This was the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in the recent case, Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Canada (Attorney General).
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

“Sympathies” Alone Insufficient to Form Terrorist Plot

An Ontario pathologist who was arrested on terrorism charges was acquitted today in R. v. Sher.

Dr. Khurrum Sher, a graduate of McGill University who was working at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital in St. Thomas, Ont., visited the home of his co-accused on July 20, 2010. During this visit, his host and another guest engaged in a protracted discussion about violent terrorist activity.

The accused was present throughout the discussion, did not appear to vigorously object to their plans, and at its conclusion appears to pledge his allegiance to them. He was friends with the host of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Tragedy of Medical Negligence

Current and “wannabe” litigators practising (or hoping to practise) in the medical negligence area would do well to read, and consider, what happened, and why, in the just released Briante v. Vancouver Island Health Authority, 2014 BCSC 1511. Regardless of one’s position on the legal validity of the result, the result is a reminder (for those old enough to remember, or otherwise be aware of) of these statements and calls for reform (outside of the tort system) in cases such as Ferguson v Hamilton Civic Hospitals (1983), 40 OR (2d) 577, 1983 CanLII 1724 (ON SC) aff’d (1985) . . . [more]

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