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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Ontario’s Toxic Substances Bill

Government Bill 167, Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, received first reading in the Ontario Legislature yesterday; and the text of the bill is just now available in PDF and HTML on the Legislature website.

This is a substantial piece of legislation aimed at reducing and managing the use by industry of substances designated as “toxic,” and, as the preamble states in part, will require

owners and operators of facilities that use or create the substance to prepare, in specified circumstances, a toxic substance reduction plan for the substance. The plan must include certain matters specified in the Bill, including the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Australian Law Reform Commission Journal Issue on Native Title

The most recent issue of Reform, the journal of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), is devoted to Native Title.

As noted by Professor David Weisbrot, ALRC President, in his Comment, the Commission has played an instrumental role in advancing the ideas of native title in Australia (based on Indigenous customary land tenure).

However, he writes that most observers feel that the framework developed for resolving native title disputes has developed many weaknesses:

“Mabo [ (1992) 175 CLR 1 ] and the subsequent Wik case established the basic common law principles, but the detailed laws and procedures

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

No Rush to “technology”

I teach a Directed Readings in Law Reform course at Osgoode Hall Law School. The assignment (not my creation, but used the first year the course was taught and I thought it a good idea) is to develop a law reform proposal, ostensibly to the Law Commission of Ontario. Thus the students are to use the LCO’s mandate and take into account its values and principles and approaches to the analysis of law reform projects. Although the LCO’s mandate explicitly includes the consideration of technology to increase access to justice, none of the students — who are “regular” age law . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Substantive Law

Deep Packet Inspection

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has a splendid project available online on the practice of deep packet inspection, or DPI (not to be confused with “dots per inch”). Essentially, DPI involves the examination of a message sent over the internet at the deepest level, a level ordinarily assumed to be private, and is usually done by governments concerned about security or law-breaking or by internet service providers seeking to extract (or introduce) marketable information. DPI is the basis upon which, for example, service providers might “throttle” some flows in favour of others that are, typically, more lucrative. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

The First Day of the Data Protection Directive

As of this morning all European internet service providers must store details of user e-mails and net phone calls for at least a year. This is due to Directive 2006/24/EC of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks. It applies to traffic and location data on both legal entities and natural persons and to the related data necessary to identify the subscriber or registered user. It doesn’t cover the content of electronic communications, including information consulted using an electronic . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

The Law’s Delay in Guyana

Apparently fed up with judges who sit on decisions for ever and ever, the government in Guyana is bringing in legislation, the Judicial Decisions Bill, that will place a 120 day absolute limit on how long after the conclusion of a civil trial a judge may take to release the decision. The statute requires a judge to give a decision as expeditiously as possible after the end of a trial, and persistent failure to abide by the ultimate limit may result in the judge’s removal from office.

Are there any such legislative requirements in Canada? I couldn’t find any with . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Last week Canada was all about new funding for VCs; but this week in the U.S. saw Essex Woodland Health Ventures close a new(-ish) $900 million bio fund , and even Google will apparently put some of its new $100 million venture fund into bio investments.

This week also saw one of my personal annual Canadian highlights: the 2009 Gairdner Award winners were announced. Here’s one area where we don’t need to trumpet anything to be world-class. 73 Gairdner winners in the last 50 years have also become Nobel laureates. Keep an eye out for the 50th . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Cyberbullying: Is a Law Needed?

CBC News this morning, “Canadian Private Member’s Bill Targets Cyberbullying,” tells us this:

A Vancouver MP wants to amend the Criminal Code to target children and teenagers who use mobile phones and the internet to bully others. Currently, the code makes harassment, libel and spreading false messages criminal offences.

Do we need a law on harassment by electronic media, to go along with the general Criminal Code prohibition [s. 264]?

Do we need all our laws amended to say “by electronic means”? or a general statute that says “whatever the law prohibits, that prohibition applies as . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Judicial Council Report on Justice Cosgrove

As reported in the Globe and Mail, among other media outlets, the Canadian Judicial Council has recommended to the Minister of Justice that Justice Paul Cosgrove be removed from office. Pursuant to s.99 (1) of the Constitution Act, 1867:

…the Judges of the Superior Courts shall hold office during good behaviour, but shall be removable by the Governor General on Address of the Senate and House of Commons.

The Judicial Council’s full report is available in PDF and there is a summary on the Council’s website.

The Council acts under the authority of the Judges Act R.S., 1985, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Religion & – Fill in the Blank

Before I took my current position as Executive Director of the Law Commission of Ontario, I was writing an article on reconciling religious practices with what I (and many others) perceive to be dominant Canadian values (such as equality). I decided that discretion is the better part of valour and put it aside, with some considerable regret. Simon Fodden’s post about the UN’s resolution to combat defamation against religion took me back to it, though.

Both at a global and domestic level (and, of course, as they interact) how religious belief is recognized and respected, while still maintaining a commitment . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

No Skype for iPhone… in Canada


I was all set to see how I could shave some points off my various phone bills, only to discover that Skype is available for the iPhone today in every country in which Apple has an iTunes Store except Canada. The CBC had the story yesterday, but I missed it. According to a Skype spokesperson, the problem has to do with patents relating to the Skype application. This means that when Skype is released for the BlackBerry in May, it will be for those in every country except the one in which the thing was created. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Looking Forward With the McGill Guide

Case citations exist primarily for the purpose of enabling a researcher to locate the full text of a judgment or the decision of an administrative tribunal. The primary purpose of a style guide for legal citation is to ensure that everyone can understand how various combinations of numbers, letters, brackets and punctuation make it possible for the reader to find the full text of a case referred to in a book, article or another case. There are other uses, such as case citators, but the main purpose of a case citation is to provide the means to easily locate a . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions