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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Non-Disparagement Clauses

California has just enacted a law that prohibits ‘non-disparagement clauses’. These are clauses in consumer contracts that prohibit the consumer from criticising the product or services provided under the contract.

Specifically, the statute says this: “a contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services may not include a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services.”

Is there any need for such a provision in Canadian law (federal or provincial)? Are non-disparagement clauses ever seen here? Would . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

Ontario’s Proposed Provincial Retirement Plan and PRPP Legislation

Fewer than 35 percent of workers in Ontario currently have a workplace pension plan. Coverage for workers in the private sector is even lower—only 28 percent are members of a plan. Several studies have shown that, due to the limited benefits provided by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS), significant numbers of Ontarians will not have sufficient savings to maintain similar living standards throughout their retirement years. As a result, the Ontario government has decided to establish a made-in-Ontario pension plan and to implement the federal government's Pooled Registered Pension Plan.
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Workplace New Year’s Resolutions for Employers: #1 – Implement Workplace Relationship Policies

Happy New Year! For the next few posts, I thought I’d focus on lessons learned through employment law cases – essentially a list of resolutions to make and keep in 2015 – for employers and their HR departments, in particular. The first one, Shirbigi v. JM Food Services Ltd., 2014 BCSC 1927 (CanLII), comes to us from British Columbia and deals with what can happen when a boss has an affair with one of his employees and a Workplace Relationship Policy either isn’t in place or isn’t followed . The sordid details can be summarized as follows:

[8]

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

The New “Persons” – the Apes

In Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General), the Privy Council considered whether “persons” under s. 24 of the Constitution Act included women,

24. The Governor General shall from Time to Time, in the Queen’s Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, summon qualified Persons to the Senate; and, subject to the Provisions of this Act, every Person so summoned shall become and be a Member of the Senate and a Senator.
[emphasis]

Lord Chancellor Viscount Sankey of the Privy Council stated,

…their Lordships have come to the conclusion that the word “persons” in sec. 24 includes

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

Threshold Motion Dismissed on Small Jury Award for Chronic Pain

Car insurance premiums are an important public policy consideration, even in light of the compensatory rationale underlined in tort law. In Ontario, the legislature has created a balance through s. 267.5 of the Insurance Act and its Regulations, which creates a “threshold” before which an injured person can receive damages after a motor vehicle collision.

Although brought into statute through Bill 198 in 2002, the test used on this threshold precedes the amendments and can be found in Meyer v. Bright, as follows:

(i) Has the plaintiff sustained a permanent impairment of a physical, mental or psychological function? . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Internet Jurisdiction and the Microsoft Warrants

According to a news report, “Earlier this week 28 technology and media companies, 23 trade associations and advocacy groups and 35 professors of computer science filed legal papers in support of Microsoft’s opposition to US court rulings earlier this year which said that US authorities’ search warrant powers apply to customer information held outside of the US.”

I have had difficulty understanding the legal basis for Microsoft’s objection. Is it not clear that either law enforcement authorities or civil courts can require the production of documents in the custody or control of an enterprise that is located in their . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

“Brian Sinclair Did Not Have to Die”

Brian Lloyd Sinclair died in September 2008 in the emergency department waiting room of Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre at the age of 45. He was pronounced dead in the early hours of September 21, 2008 after he had spent some 34 hours in the emergency room awaiting attention for what was initially a relatively minor health concern.

Brian Sinclair was an Aboriginal man who lived his early years on the Fort Alexander First Nation and went on to live in Powerview, Manitoba and ultimately, in Winnipeg. He faced a number of health challenges and as well as some cognitive impairment. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Have You Read 2014’s Top Cases?

For the past few years (2011, 2012 and 2013), I’ve had the pleasure of sharing two “top 10” lists of the most consulted cases on CanLII with Slaw readers. One list is of all cases consulted and the other pertains only to consultations of cases decided within the year.

I’m very pleased to present the results for 2014.

I invite readers to weigh in with their thoughts on the significance of any case appearing on either list.

Top 10 most consulted cases of 2014

  1. Morland-Jones v. Taerk, 2014 ONSC 3061
  2. Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (holding
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Of Senate Vacancies and Canada’s Constitutional Galahads

On Parliament Hill there stands a statue depicting one of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Galahad. It was erected in honour of a heroic young civil servant who perished in the Ottawa River while trying to save a cabinet minister’s daughter who had fallen through weak ice. The tragic hero was Henry Albert Harper, and the statue of Sir Galahad, King Arthur’s most virtuous knight, was meant as a testament to Harper’s selfless heroism.

Speaking of Harper and paladins of another kind, 2014 might well go down as a banner year. The recent batch of Galahads on Parliament Hill kind of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Fear of Cell Search Affirmed on Arrest

Background

The pervasiveness of “smart” technology was envisioned in part as far back as 1954 by Harold Osborne, who predicted we would all get a telephone number for life at birth.

When society adopts new technology, social institutions, including the courts, often take time to catch up with it. This was referred to as “cultural lag” by William Ogburn in 1959, who stated,

When material conditions change, changes are occurred in the adaptive culture. But these changes in the adaptive culture do not synchronize exactly with the change in material culture. There is a lag, which may last for

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

Refusal to Cooperate in Accommodation Process Prevented Reinstatement

Employees must participate in their employer’s accommodation process, even where that process has not produced satisfactory results. In the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal case of Perera v. St. Albert Day Care Society, Theresa Perera found this out the hard way when, due to a disabling injury, she refused to perform the work she was assigned and her employer terminated her for insubordination. However, the tribunal found Perera’s injury was a factor in the termination, and therefore the termination was discriminatory. Nonetheless, the insubordination made reinstatement impossible
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions