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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

I Quit(ish)! When a Resignation Is a Termination

When is a resignation not a resignation? Recently, the Ontario Superior Court dealt with a case where an employee cleaned out her desk, didn’t return to work but then took the position that she hadn’t quit after all.

Finding that she didn’t quit, the Court re-iterated that an employee’s resignation must be “clear and unequivocal.” In this case, the employee had sent an e-mail informing her employer that she had packed up her desk, but would be keeping her company cell phone, and that the employer could call her the following day to discuss. This e-mail was sent following an . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Jurisprudential Aether, Something in the Water, or Something in the Air?

When the Supreme Court of Canada says “X” in 2007, and repeats “X” in 2011 adding explicitly that “X does not mean Y but means Z”, it is reasonable to assume (is it not?) that, once word of what was said in 2007 and repeated in 2011 spreads through the Canadian “jurisprudential aether”, however long that takes, the judges of the lower courts in Canada will pay attention.

It’s always worth quoting this reminder about pecking orders in the Canadian judicial universe:

[51] Any legal system which has a judicial appeals process inherently creates a pecking order for the judiciary

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Interconnected Devices and Products Liability

We have occasionally discussed on this site (as recently as this week…) the implications of interconnected devices and the Internet of Things.

Here is an article that asks “should cyber-security vulnerabilities really be treated the same as design defects under traditional products liability law?”

The specific context is an infusion pump system that the Federal Drug Administration in the US thought was insecure and sent a warning about – a warning that sounded like a ‘defective product’ warning. The article raises a number of concerns about thinking about a security defect like another defect, including many complications about who . . . [more]

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

Facebook & Employment Law: Friend or Fired?

For many, Facebook is a blessing. For some, it’s a curse. For a few, it gets them fired.

For example, last month, an Atlanta employee at an American marketing firm took a “selfie” with the young son of his co-worker and uploaded the picture to his Facebook profile. A number of his friends proceeded to make racist and derogatory remarks about the boy and, in response to some of these comments, the employee published a comment describing the boy as “feral.” He was subsequently terminated by his employer as were some of the other individuals who made racist comments. These . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Reminder: New Quebec Code of Civil Procedures Effective January 1, 2016

Quebec lawyers are reminded that they need to prepare for upcoming changes to the Quebec Code of Civil Procedures passed into law on February 20, 2014. These significant changes are in effect January 1, 2016, and will improve overall access to justice. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Better Options for Interprovincial Motions to Change Support

When families split apart, they don’t always stick around in the same province. Sometimes that gives rise to challenge circumstances for resolving proceedings or updating support orders.

Justice Pazaratz examined a interprovincial motion to change support in Chree v. Chree. The judge, who is now known for his writing style, started with the following:


  1. There’s an old saying: “Two Heads Are Better Than One”.
  1. But not when it comes to trial judges.

  1. Two judges. Each hearing different parts of the case. On different dates, many months apart. Having to make decisions on the same case.
  1. It
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Canadian Newspapers Release 9th Annual National Freedom of Information Audit

What have our governments been up to lately? According to a recent study, it is not always easy to find out, with the federal government often responding with a glacial slowness to requests for information.

Last week, Newspapers Canada, a joint initiative of the Canadian Newspaper Association and the Canadian Community Newspapers Association, released its 9th annual National Freedom of Information Audit report:

“The 2015 FOI audit sent almost 450 access requests to federal government departments and crown corporations, ministries, departments and agencies in all provinces and territories, and to municipalities and police forces. As in previous audits, identical

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

Amendments to Saskatchewan Essential Service Law

The Saskatchewan government has tabled amendments to Part VII of the province’s Employment Act in light of the Supreme Court of Canada’s January 30, 2015 decision, which struck down as unconstitutional an essential services law that prevents some public sector employees from striking. . . . [more]

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

Minding the Gap

It sometimes seems that efforts to improve access to justice follow the age-old pattern of “One step forward, two steps back.” No sooner is a gap identified than a committee is struck to propose and develop gap-filling solutions, often without regard to the possibility that those solutions may themselves create new gaps.

Legal Aid Manitoba recently announced a significant change to its financial eligibility criteria. The Notice to the Profession, issued earlier this month, sets out the current income guidelines for eligibility and re-introduces a partial user-pay system for those outside the regular guidelines but within expanded financial criteria. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Court Decision Expands Risks to Sellers Who Complete Seller Property Information Statements

The Ontario Superior Court has once again underscored how completing a seller property information statement (SPIS) can be a risky move for vendors.

When it comes to the purchase and sale of real estate the starting point for any analysis is “buyer beware”. For those looking to impress at cocktail parties the specific expression is “caveat emptor, quit ignorare non debuit quod jus alienum emit” which translates into “let the purchaser, who is not to be ignorant of the amount and nature of the interest, exercise proper caution”.

This general rule of buyer beware applies to defects that a . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law

“Outrageous” Employer Conduct Wins Employee $100,000 in Punitive Damages

In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice harshly rejected an employer’s allegation that it had just cause to dismiss an employee. In allowing the employee’s claim for damages for wrongful dismissal, the Court awarded the employee $100,000 in punitive damages in response to the employer’s “terrible conduct.”

The Court found that the employer’s true basis for terminating the individual’s employment was to avoid financial obligations arising out of a share purchase agreement between the employee’s and the employer’s companies. As such, the Court’s view was that the employer had “conjured up a cause” to terminate the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions