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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

Pregnant Employee Has Right to Withdraw From Unsafe Work No Matter Employment Status or Workplace

Pregnant casual or temporary workers in Quebec have the right to withdraw from unsafe work environments just as permanent workers do, according to the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Dionne v. Commission scolaire des Patriotes, 2014 SCC 33 (CanLII).
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Business Trademarks May Be Displayed in Quebec in a Language Other Than French

On April 9, 2014, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that businesses in the province of Quebec may continue to display their trademarks on public signs outside their premises in a language other than French if no French version of the trademark has been registered.

Facts of the case

On November 13, 2011, during an enforcement campaign called “Une marque de respect de la loi” (A sign of respect for the law), the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) took the position that the trademark exception found in the Charter of the French Language (loi 101) does not . . . [more]

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

Case Dismissed Against Vendor of “Haunted” Building

In a rather strange case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants sold the plaintiff a commercial property that was haunted. The plaintiff alleged that this constituted a latent defect in the property which the defendants knew about and concealed from the plaintiff.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit was based solely on a newspaper article in which a director of one of the defendants was quoted as saying that the property in question was haunted.

Oddly, the plaintiff’s representative testified that he had never seen a ghost, did not believe there was a ghost and that all conversations about the property being haunted . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Defendant Permitted to Defend Action Six Years After Plaintiff Obtains Default Judgment

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a Superior Court Judge’s decision to set aside a default judgment obtained by the plaintiff and allow the defendant the opportunity to enter a defence.

The plaintiff provided various crop services to the defendant for a number of years. The defendant would routinely pay the plaintiff’s invoices late. This was not necessarily problematic since the plaintiff trusted the defendant and its invoices were usually paid, albeit late.

As the defendant got older, his son took a more active involvement in the defendant’s operations. While the plaintiff trusted the defendant, it did not trust . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

More Thoughts on Information as Property

There have been discussions on whether information can be ‘property’ for legal purposes (such as here and here), and the limits on that equivalence and the reasons for them. The English (and Welsh) Court of Appeal has recently addressed itself to that question again, in Your Response v Datateam Business Media [2014] EWCA Civ 281.

In that case, Your Response was working on a database of Datateam’s customers. In a dispute about payment, Your Response claimed a lien over the database and refused to return it to Datateam in the absence of payment.

The Court of Appeal held that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Employee Refuses to Admit Any Disability – Employer Still Liable!

I am a firm believer that when an employer is aware that an employeee suffers from a physical or mental disability, it must take all steps to accommodate them to the point of undue hardship. It’s settled law and it’s the right thing to do morally. I have coached clients on countless occassions to ask questions about potential disabilities and not just ignore an employee’s potential issues just because they aren’t bringing them to the fore and not focus only on performance management or discipline.

However, what happens when you do ask all the questions and the employee denies having . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Authentication vs Hearsay

The Ontario Court of Justice recently had occasion to consider the different grounds on which documentary evidence might be admitted or not admitted into evidence in a criminal case, in HMQ v Mondor.

Mr. Mondor was charged with accessing child pornography via a web site. The police had reconstituted the web site in order to trace certain purchases to the accused. As a result, the electronic records they used were not business records of the seller of the pornography for the purposes of s. 30 of the Canada Evidence Act. The Crown looked instead to what both it and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, ulc_ecomm_list

Elementary My Dear Watson

I’m guessing that of the readers of Slaw that there is a substantial subset that are fans of the BBC series Sherlock. So, fair warning if you haven’t seen the 3rd episode of Season 3 – “His Last Vow”, stop reading before you make the jump.

Now that I am sad that there will not be any new episodes for about two years, I have been thinking more about past episodes and I have a very simple question based on Episode 3. Let’s just say for the sake of my flight of fancy that Mary shoots Charles Augustus Magnussen and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Superior Court of Justice Certifies a Class Action for Wrongful Dismissal Against IQT

On January 2, 2014 Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified a class proceeding by 527 wrongfully terminated employees led by Bob Brigaitis and Cindy Rupert (represented by Ted Charney of Charney Practice Group) against their now bankrupt employer, IQT Solutions and the officers, directors, shareholders John Fellows, Alex Mortman, David Mortman, Renae Marshall and affiliated companies IQT Canada, Ltd., JDA Partners LLC, and IQT Inc. The employees seek to recover $20 million in unpaid wages and severance plus aggravated and punitive damages of $10 million.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Wearing My Religion: The European View

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
wearing my religion.
[apologies to R.E.M.]

As surely everyone in Canada will know there’s currently an attempt in Québec to impose a “charter of values” that would restrict the ability of some government employees to wear conspicuous religious symbols. Indeed, there has been discussion of extending to employers the freedom to impose rules excluding the use of conspicuous religious symbols.

In light of this, you might be interested to read “Religious Symbols, Conscience, and the Rights of Others” by Andrew Hambler and Ian Leigh in the Oxford Journal of Law . . . [more]

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

The Nadon Decision and the Wonderful Elasticity of Language

What struck me most about the Supreme Court of Canada’s Nadon decision was the simplicity of the underlying issues. “How should s. 5 and s. 6 of the Supreme Court of Canada Act be interpreted?” These questions go to basic issues of statutory interpretation involving the very composition of the Court. Yet the issue prompted a diversity of views from intelligent people – six on behalf of the majority, versus possibly four others (if the legal opinions of former Justices Ian Binnie and Louise Charron and scholar Peter Hogg are included together with Justice Moldaver’s dissent).

The only questions the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Victim Compensation Reexamined in Ontario

In the aftermath of the disappearance and death of a high profile Toronto lawyer, the legal community has expressed a greater interest in the victim compensation fund in place for clients of lawyers and paralegals practicing in Ontario.

At the February Convocation, new guidelines were put in place for the victim Compensation Fund, which has been in place since 1953. The fund serves to protect the public per s. 51(5) of the Law Society Act, and is administered by a Compensation Fund Committee established under By-Law 12. The Guidelines created by this Committee was recently upheld by the Divisional . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions