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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Ontario Reintroduces Its Anti-SLAPP Bill

The Attorney General of Ontario today reintroduced the Protection of Public Participation Act, now Bill 52, which as Bill 83 in the last session of the Legislature completed second reading but died when the election was called. Here is the news release.

The bill – if passed – will provide a fast-track motion by which a court could decide if a case involving expression on a matter of public interest should continue. Cases (such as defamation actions) will be allowed to continue if there are grounds to believe that they have technical merit and if the harm caused . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Outlandish Reputation Not a Defence in Online Defamation (Awan v. Levant)

We may not all like Ezra Levant, but we do have a lot to thank him for. As a defendant, I cannot think of a single individual who has developed the jurisprudence of online defamation more than him.

The judgement against him in Vigna v. Levant, and the related costs decision, has for several years now been the best authority on which blog content may be defamatory, and what may not be. However, the modest damages award in this case, and others, have still made online defamation a challenging area for plaintiffs.

Not one to disappoint, Levant was . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Suzanne Côté Takes Justice LeBel’s Chair at the Supreme Court

On the eve of Justice Louis LeBel‘s retirement, the PMO has announced his replacement. A Gaspésienne. A woman. A litigator in private practice at Osler’s Montréal office. Suzanne Côté. In every way a safe appointment, which has already been warmly received, and which raises none of the delicate difficulties of the previous announcement concerning Justice Marc Nadon. The timing is interesting on a day when all eyes are on Pierre Karl Peladeau announcing that he’ll run – and Doug Ford saying he won’t. This story may get lost.

The announcement stated:

« Je suis ravi d’annoncer la nomination

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

Pregnancy and Parental Leave Top-Ups Are Separate and Distinct

It is discriminatory for employers to deny parental supplemental employment benefits (top-ups) to birth mothers because they receive pregnancy benefits. So said the Supreme Court of Canada in its unanimous oral decision from the bench on November 12, 2014, agreeing with the British Columbia Teachers' Federation.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CASL Software Provisions Explained – Sort Of…

I’ve had some time to reflect on the CASL software provisions as interpreted by the CRTC . As I’ve said before, the CASL software consent provisions are tortuous and unclear, and if taken literally could cause huge problems for the software industry. The CRTC has tried to interpret them in a way that aligns with the intent of stopping people from installing malware on computers. While the CRTC interpretation may not line up with the act, we basically have to work within it for the time being. (Lawyers advising clients would be well served to include caveats that we . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Innovative Use of Civil Injunctions Where the Criminal Standard May Not Be Met

Birmingham U.K. social services have successfully sought a civil injunction (balance of probabilities), to protect vulnerable teenagers in their care from sexual exploitation, where the evidence is unlikely to secure convictions on the criminal standard (beyond a reasonable doubt).

The injunction granted last week restrains the men named as respondents from contacting a particular 17 year old girl in the City’s care, and from associating with any female under 18 with whom they are not personally associated.

If the men breach the injunctions, the City intends to seek jail terms for contempt of court.

The proceedings do not depend on . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law

Rejected Romantic Advance Led to Reprisal

Hank Peelle, the owner of Peelle Company Ltd., deluded himself into believing the company’s financial controller, Christine Horner, had a romantic interest in him, despite his 25-year marriage and her long-term relationship. When he thought the time was right, he tried to kiss her and she rebuffed him. Despite some genuine efforts to work it out, Peelle treated Horner differently and the relationship deteriorated. She resigned, making a claim of sexual harassment and reprisal against the employer.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Tone of Legislation

I am horribly embarrassed for my neighbours (in the broad sense) in the federal Yellowhead riding. CBC News reported:

Voter turnout in the federal by-election could near a historic low, with CBC estimating that fewer than one in five eligible voters making the trip to the polls.

A sad tone for democracy when less than one in five people feels engaged enough to vote in a federal by-election. This phenomenon isn’t new; the June 30, 2014 by-election for Macleod saw ~18% voter turnout. On the plus side, there were no lines at the polling station.

The tone for Provincial politics . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Supreme Court Creates Duty of Honest Performance

Caveat emptor (buyer beware) or ubberima fides (utmost good faith)? What is a contracting party to do?

The Supreme Court of Canada released a decision this week in Bhasin v. Hrynew which revamps the understanding of how representations made during contractual negotiations are adhered to. The unanimous Court created an “incremental step” in developing a duty of honest performance, which was described as follows:

[93] …

(1) There is a general organizing principle of good faith that underlies many facets of contract law.

(2) In general, the particular implications of the broad principle for particular cases are determined by resorting

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Consults on a Potential E-Signature Regulation for Real Estate

The Ontario government is consulting on whether to make a regulation under the Electronic Commerce Act to govern electronic signatures to be used on agreements of purchase and sale of real estate.

Draft Regulation

1. For the purpose of subsection 11(4) of the Act, the following class of documents is prescribed: agreements of purchase and sale of land in Ontario.

2. A legal requirement that a document of the prescribed class be signed is satisfied by an electronic signature only if the method of signature used:

a. Is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person who signs;

b. Ensures . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

CRTC Provides Guidance on CASL Software Provisions

The CRTC has just published their thoughts on the interpretation of section 8 of CASL that requires consents for certain types of software installations.

They also discussed them in an IT.Can webinar. Their interpretation is helpful, and addresses some of the uncertainty around the provisions. But some aspects are still unclear, and some of their interpretations may not be entirely supported by the wording of the act. That may be fine so long as the CRTC is enforcing it, but a court does not have to defer to CRTC interpretation. I suspect there will be further clarification coming at some . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology