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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Twitter Hashtags Are Public Forums Under the Law

Brevity is the soul of wit, and also Twitter. In that brevity though, there is plenty of context which is left out, and ample room for interpretation.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a decision in R. v. Elliott this week, where two female complainants alleged Criminal Harassment under Section 264 of the Criminal Code based on exchanges over Twitter.

Justice Knazan dedicated the early portion of his decision to explaining the mechanics and culture of Twitter, for “One cannot understand this case without knowing about Twitter.” It includes various definitions and lingo, including, “A concern troll is someone . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

27 Months of Reasonable Notice After 40 Years of Service

In Markoulakis v SNC-Lavalin Inc., the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concluded after considering the Bardal factors that long-serving employee Eftihios (Ed) Markoulakis was entitled to 27 months of common law reasonable notice following his termination from a senior role at SNC-Lavalin. The court noted that notice beyond 24 months is within the court’s discretion in exceptional cases. Clearly, this was one of those cases. . . . [more]

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

Exemptions to Suspensions of End of Life Provisions

As expected, the Supreme Court of Canada granted an extension this week on the assisted dying legislation stemming from the Carter decision. The Court did not grant the 6 month extension sought by the government, but instead extended it by 4 months to match the delay stemming from the election.

The interesting twist here was the legislation in Quebec around end of life care, coming into force on December 10, 2015. The Court provided an exemption to the province, without weighing in on the merits of the Act itself.

The Court also considered the state of individuals who were . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Why We Should Keep the Doggie-Door Closed on Emotional Damages

Household pets are a cherished part of many families. Yet, in the words of Auxier J. in Pezzente v. McClain, 2005 BCPC 352 (CanLII), the law remains “coldly unemotional” towards companion animals, which continue to be considered “just another consumer product.” Nonetheless, there is good reason for continuing to restrict the compensation available in pet death or injury cases. A line of cases out of Ontario has begun to award more than just replacement value and incurred costs to owners of wrongfully injured or killed pets – and it may be setting a precarious precedent.

In Ferguson v. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Eluding Relief: Ministerial Discretion and the Impact of Recent Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Recent amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 (“IRPA”) (http://canlii.ca/t/52dg2) will make ministerial relief illusory for some foreign nationals deemed inadmissible to Canada on security grounds. The government created this problem in its response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC”) ruling in Agraira v Canada, 2013 SCC 36 (“Agraira”) (http://canlii.ca/t/fz8c4). Agraira challenged the application of IRPA s 34(2) (http://canlii.ca/t/521ff) under which an inadmissible foreign national could apply to the Minister of Public Safety for an exemption if they could prove their presence was not contrary to the “national . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Ontario Court of Appeal Rules on Childcare and Family Status

What does it mean to discriminate on the basis of family status? The topic has been written about extensively on Slaw. However, the law has still been hard to interpret. Thankfully, the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently provided some clarity on the subject when it recently upheld a decision that found discrimination on the basis of family status after a work schedule was changed and interfered with an employee’s childcare arrangements.

In that decision, the employer demoted an employee who had returned a week earlier from maternity leave, reducing her hours and pay. When the employee objected, the employer . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Role of ISPs in Canada’s New Copyright Regime

In 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act was enacted to make a number of significant changes to Canada’s existing copyright regime. One of the primary goals of this new legislation was to ensure that Canada did not open the floodgates to “copyright trolls” (copyright plaintiffs who file lawsuits simply to extort quick settlements) and devolve into the shocking state of copyright litigation south of the border. The federal government hopes to balance the rights of copyright holders with the privacy rights of the alleged copyright infringers. The Act now has a statutory limit of $5,000 on damages for all non-commercial copyright . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Do Mental Health Act Detainees Have Charter Rights?

Upon arrest or detention, a police officer must advise a detainee of their s. 10 Charter right to retain and instruct counsel without delay. Does this right apply if a person is “apprehended” and taken involuntarily to a health facility for a psychiatric assessment? Presumably it does: if the individual is not free to leave the officer’s custody or refuse the examination, then their individual liberty is clearly suspended by a state authority. This is the very definition of a “detention” under the Charter: R v Grant. Yet, the case law implies that officers may be failing to advise . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Judicial Lineups and “Festivus” Presents

I’ve been sitting on this one to see what Santa might have in store for M.M (M.M. v. United States of America, 2015 SCC 62.) As I expected, and I assume others did, too, the Liberal gov’t has decided to review the prior Conservative regime’s decision to surrender M.M. for extradition to the United States: see here. You’d think that somebody in the editorial department of the newspaper involved would know the difference between statements in dissenting reasons and the majority reasons but, in the spirit of the season, I’ll let that pass.

Can I get a mental . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Mistakes in Website Prices – Consumer Items

A Quebec court has recently held that Costco was not bound to sell a computer to a consumer for $2.00, as advertised on its web site. Although the Consumer Protection Act says that an ad to a consumer is an offer, the court (Cour du Québec) held that online sales are different.

Here’s an article about the decision.

I presume the decision would be similar in common-law Canada. Is it not general law that an ad on a website is considered an invitation to treat, rather than an offer that can be accepted by anyone in the world? Certainly the . . . [more]

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

Workplace Accommodations: I Can’t Work Because I Have to Work (Somewhere Else)!

To what extent does an employer have to accommodate an employee’s other work and personal commitments when those commitments are unrelated to grounds protected under human rights legislation? A recent Ontario decision sheds light on an employer’s ability to dictate an employee’s work schedule in these circumstances.

In this case, the employee was a server who worked part-time for the employer. The employee was absent for over 20% of her scheduled shifts in a one-year period, and the employer terminated her employment in accordance with its attendance policy. The reasons for the employee’s absenteeism were two-fold. First, she worked full-time, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Permanent Trolling Injunctions Still a Temporary Solution

Trolls lurk in many dark recesses of the Internet. They make online browsing hurtful, defamatory, and sometimes, outright dangerous. These trolls are rarely slayed forever, and often raise their heads once again when given enough time.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently reviewed an injunction granted in 2014 against a couple operating a website from publishing “in any manner” statement found to be defamatory towards an Ottawa lawyer, Richard Warman.

Among other grounds, the defendants sought a review of the permanent nature of the injunction as being overly broad. The very nature of the website in question was a . . . [more]

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