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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Privacy Torts as the Next Best Alternative

Which laws exist to protect patients from snooping eyes of health care providers?

Disciplinary hearings were held over the past few weeks in Ontario for nurses who looked at patient files without authorization. Despite the knowledge of several of these instances, there has never been a successful conviction of the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) since coming into force a decade ago, and some people are starting to ask why.

One of the major challenges is the regulatory regime itself, which is particularly unwieldy and requires prosecution by the Attorney General. The Health Minister has already promised to simplify . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law: Legislation

Filing Suit Amid Suspension Isn’t Wilful Resignation

When the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission decided unilaterally to place its executive director David Potter on indefinite paid suspension, the employee challenged the decision in court. The commission took the position that Potter’s legal challenge meant he had resigned, and cut off his pay and benefits. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada and in Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission, the Supreme Court concluded that Potter was constructively dismissed and did not voluntary resign his position. The central issue was whether and in what circumstances a suspension with pay of a non-union . . . [more]

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

Manitoba’s Legal Landscape Is Changing

The prairie landscape is notorious for its endless horizons, enabling the traveller to see far ahead. This long view is evident in recent changes proposed to regulation of the legal profession in Manitoba, changes that are clearly oriented toward the future.

As reported on Canadian Lawyer’s Legal Feeds blog last week, the Manitoba government on May 7, 2015 introduced a number of amendments to The Legal Profession Act.

The proposed amendments included in Bill 19 include:

  • Altering the composition of the governing body of benchers
  • Amending the definition of a law firm
  • Permitting the regulation of law firms
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Legislation

Catastrophic Changes in Ontario Budget for Motor Vehicle Injuries

When Ontario made wide-sweeping changes to automobile insurance and personal injury law in 2010, the intent was to reduce insurance premiums for the public. Although insurance companies did save money, much of these savings were not passed on to the consumers.

The amount of claims observed in Ontario did decrease in this period, but still remain the highest in the country. In 2006, accident benefits claims were $331, and rose to $588 per insured vehicle in 2009. This dropped down to $313 per vehicle in 2013 after the reforms.

 

Following the 2014 Cunningham Report, many anticipated that further . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Royal Baby Signals the End of Primogeniture

I’m not one much for the hype around royal babies, who as of now remains unnamed, but this one has some special significance for Commonwealth nations. The birth of the baby girl yesterday to Prince William and Kate Middleton signals the first royal born since the enactment of new succession laws in the U.K.

The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 ended the centuries-old practice of primogeniture. This can be traced in law to the Act of Settlement 1701, which states,

The Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, Daughter of the late Queen of Bohemia, Daughter of

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

The Unasked Issue in the Benchers’ Election

Our non-Ontario readers will be thrilled that in an hour the polls close and you won’t have interminable discussions about Ontario’s election and its implications. This post responds to and builds on Mitch’s prescient post from 18 months ago, and Alice Woolley and Alan Cliff’s posts which dealt with the Ontario Benchers’ Election which wraps up today at 5 PM

My focus isn’t on the substantive issues that Alice focused on yesterday but rather on an underlying governance issue that no-one appears to be talking about. It’s about convocations, cabinets and the tyranny of geography

What are the most . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Legislation

26 Months’ Notice Awarded to Dependent Contractors

In Keenan v Canac Kitchens, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concluded that two workers were owed termination notice by their employer because they were not independent contractors as the employer tried to argue, but rather dependent contractors as the evidence showed. Therefore, the employer did owe them termination notice. . . . [more]

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

Be Careful of Being Too Critical of the Trial Judge

In an appeal, everyone who has lost a case has sometimes felt the urge to viscerally complain about some aspect of the decision.

A recent decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal reminds us of the importance of making tempered criticism of the trial judge. Overstated criticism can even affect the overall credibility of an argument. In Dunkin Brands Canada Ltd. v. Bertico Inc., the Court of Appeal began its reasons with a dissection of the language used by the appellant in the factum, referring to “gross errors of law”, evidence that was “almost completely ignored” and “blatant” mistakes . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Federal Budget 2015–16: Measures of Interest to Employers

Federal Minister of Finance Joe Oliver tabled Economic Action Plan 2015 (Budget 2015–16) on April 21, 2015. The Canadian government’s balanced budget proposes a low-tax plan for jobs, growth and security, and projects a surplus of $1.4 billion in 2015–16. There are no individual tax rate or tax bracket changes in this budget. Highlights of the budget of interest to employers and payroll specialists include the following.

Modernizing the Canada Labour Code

Budget 2015 proposes to introduce amendments to the Canada Labour Code (CLC), which applies to federally regulated employers. These amendments would:

  • Add protections for paid and unpaid interns,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Real Incivility Case to Watch

Perhaps the best way to raise awareness of the 2015 Bencher Elections is to highlight what the function of the law society is. The LSUC website states,

The main function of the Law Society of Upper Canada is to ensure that all persons who practise law or provide legal services in Ontario are competent, follow proper procedures and behave ethically.

Ethical behaviour is generally interpreted through the lens of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and is one of the main disciplinary functions of the law society. Discipline, though rarely pleasant, is one of the necessary components of self-regulation. Understandably . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Of Prima Facie Discrimination and Humanizing the Street Homeless

The long-dead brains of history are still quite handy when you need to brandish something with rhetorical flourish—Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Milton, Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill are some obvious choices. But it’s rare that a quote at the head of a judgement is as good as what BC Supreme Court Justice Sharma gave us this past Friday in Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Here’s how the reasons begin:

“Near the end of the 19th Century, the poet, author and Nobel laureate Antole France composed this oft-cited saying: ‘[t]he law in its

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