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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Quebec Bill Would Require Small Farms to Collectively Bargain

Quebec's new government wants to ensure that all farm workers have the right to unionize and collectively negotiate working conditions with their employers. Minister of Labour Sam Hamad has introduced Bill 8, An Act to amend the Labour Code with respect to certain employees of farming businesses, which would require small farms to let a union represent their employees.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

US Supreme Court Clarifies Law on Warrantless Cell Phone Searches. Will the Supreme Court of Canada Follow?

Lower courts in both Canada and the US have been deeply divided on the application of their respective Supreme Courts’ precedents on whether the police need a warrant to search the contents of a smart/cell phone seized during a lawful arrest. On June 25, 2014, the US Supreme Court unanimously settled US law in Riley v. California, No. 13-132. The court found that privacy interests at stake outweigh any legitimate governmental interest, absent any “exigent circumstances”.

The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution provides protection against unreasonable search. A common law exception to the protection under the Amendment . . . [more]

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

Grand Chamber Judgment Validates the Prohibition on Wearing the Full-Face Veil in Public in France

On July 1, 2014, in a final judgment that cannot be appealed, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of S.A.S v. France (application no. 43835/11), validated French Law no. 2010-1192, which prohibits concealment of one’s face in all places open to the public in France and found that the law does not violate the applicant’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Duty Not to Find …

On the heels of the European Court of Justice’s decision, discussed on Slaw here and here, to require Google to suppress links to particular web sites that had ‘irrelevant and outdated’ personal information about a complainant, and US courts’ refusal to do the same, the British Columbia Supreme Court has now gone a step further: it has ordered Google to ensure that searches for particular topics or a particular company do not find the company defendant in the action before it.

The principals of the defendant company were accused of stealing trade secrets of the plaintiff and of . . . [more]

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

Sub Nomine

Sub Nomine the Sub Nom rule is one of those delightful pieces of legal Latin that I quite enjoy. I like that two words in Latin can effectively sum up a legal thought that takes at least a sentence or two in English. Sub Nom is Latin for “under the name of” or in everyday parlance, “also known as”. The most recent case from the SCC that has caused a stir in legal circles, R v Spencer, 2014 SCC 43 in which the SCC rules that police organizations cannot simply ask ISPs for the IP information of subscribers and . . . [more]

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

Employment Law and First Nation Band

In Canada, jurisdiction over employment law is normally within the authority of each province or territory, unless the employer or activity falls under the federal jurisdiction. This is a straightforward distinction under normal circumstances, but, in certain areas, it remains unclear. This was the case in Fox Lake Cree Nation v. Anderson, 2013, in which the Federal Court of Canada set aside the order of an adjudicator appointed by the Canadian Labour Ministry because that adjudicator did not have the jurisdiction to hear the complaint made by the terminated employee.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Have You Notified Your Insurer?

Manitoba lawyers recently received a memo from the Law Society’s Insurance Department reminding them that it’s time to pay their 2014/15 liability insurance premium.

That memo also contains the annual reminder to practising, insured lawyers to “Speak now or forever hold your peace” with respect to known or potential claims. The Law Society reminds lawyers that:

Because our Professional Liability Insurance coverage is written on a claims-made basis, if you know of any circumstances which might possibly, at some point in the future, give rise to an insurance claim against you and you want coverage under your Insurance Policy, then

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Law Enforcement Access to ISP Subscriber Information

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its judgment in the Spencer case. It held that the police had no legal right to ask an ISP for subscriber information, as that would violate the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy. The type of information that could be gleaned from the information went beyond the mere name and address into browsing practices, i.e. sensitive information in which the subscriber might reasonably expect anonymity.

The section of PIPEDA that allows custodians of data to disclose the data to law enforcement officials without telling the data subject, did not apply where the search . . . [more]

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

Officers of the Worker and Employer Advisers Who Give Legal Advice Must Be Licensed Paralegals

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled that employees of Ontario’s Office of the Worker Adviser and Office of the Employer Adviser who provide legal services relating to the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be licensed paralegals. The Offices of the Worker and Employer Advisers provide certain legal services under the OHSA to employees and employers in non-union environments.
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Unconscionable and Unenforceable

The practices of some “form-filler” companies who assisted residential school survivors with filing their claims under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) were described as “unconscionable” in a decision from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench issued last week.

The form-filler companies were charging a contingency fee of some 15-25% of settlement amounts paid to claimants under the Agreement. The terms of the IRSSA permit lawyers to charge a maximum legal fee of 30% of a settlement, of which the federal government will pay up to 15%. Where form-fillers were used, many claimants paid fees over and above the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Massive Aggravated Damage Awards Contain a Punitive Element

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled in a monumental employment law claim which included intentional infliction of mental suffering, affirming an unprecedented award in Boucher v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp. 

The case dealt with a workplace conflict where the plaintiff claimed to be constructively dismissed. The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded 20 weeks salary in damages, the amount specified in her employment contract, $200,000 in aggravated damages against the employer for the manner of dismissal, and $1,000,000 in punitive damages. The jury also awarded an additional $100,000 for intentional infliction of mental suffering against the manager with . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Update: Bill 52, Assisted Suicide Bill Passes Third Reading

The Quebec National Assembly has adopted a historic “right-to-die” legislation (94-22 margin/0 Abstention), the first in Canada. All 22 votes against Bill 52 were from Liberal members, including 10 cabinet ministers. The Bill gives terminally ill adult patients in the province of Quebec, who are of sound mind, the right to palliative care and medical assistance to die in exceptional circumstances and safeguards.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation