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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Ontario May Review Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) has played a central role in some of the legal disputes around some of our mayors.

The 2013 appeal of the conflict of interest case for Rob Ford illustrated some of the shortcomings of the MCIA. Prior to that, Justice Cunningham made recommendations over the MCIA in context of a judicial inquiry into Mississauga’s Hazel McCallion.

The Toronto Star reported this week that some much needed changes may be coming to the Act,

The ministry is reviewing the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and is considering Justice Cunningham’s recommendations as well as stakeholder

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

Premier Wynne Calls for Review of Sexual Harassment Rules in Ontario

In the wake of the allegations regarding Mr. Ghomeshi, Premier Wynne has called for a review of sexual harassment rules in Ontario. While employees of broadcasters like the CBC generally fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Canada Labour Code (and therefore Premier Wynne has limited power over the CBC), the situation has served as “lightning rod” for discussion – and probably one that is much needed. Before we discuss whether an overhaul is required, what’s the current state of the law? Currently, sexual harassment can be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, an offence under . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Public Consultations

The law library team at my firm spends a good chunk of time monitoring legislation. It is our role to alert our colleagues, and in some cases our firm clients directly, with information about new legislation and changes to existing legislation. We like to be proactive so we also do our best to chase down “what is coming down the pipe”.

Rumours, innuendo, a couple of very good Alberta political watch newsletters and, increasingly, public consultations.

Public consultations are a way for government to ask before creating complex legislation that might be difficult to implement or enforce without significant voluntary . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Real Estate Agent Loses $120,000 Commission for Not Sending Simple Email or Letter

The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a trial decision costing a commercial real estate agent over $100,000 all because the agent failed to send a simple email or letter.

The facts of the case are relatively straight forward.

The vendor signed a listing agreement with Ariston Realty Corp. (“Ariston”). The listing agreement contained a holdover clause which provided that the vendor would pay Ariston a commission of 5% of the sale price in the event that the property was sold within six months after the expiry of the listing agreement to any party to whom Ariston introduced the property . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Public Policy Trumps State Immunity

On 30 October 2014 the UK Court of Appeal released a decision that is likely to send a frisson of fear down the spine of governments everywhere.

The Court allowed the appellants Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar to sue the British Secret Intelligence Service and the Minister responsible for it at the material time, for a declaration of illegality and for damages.

The claim alleges that the respondents participated in the unlawful abduction, detention and rendition of Mr Belhaj and Ms Boudchar to Libya, where they were imprisoned and tortured.

No determination has yet been made on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Does the Section 7 Bone Connect to Section 12 Bone?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been described as a symbol of Canadian identity. It is a fundamental part of our constitution, yet the notion of protecting our rights and freedoms is something which is often misunderstood.

In 1983, soon after the Charter‘s inception, Peter Russell described the notion of protection as something which was often explained as either present or not. Instead, as he stated in his article, “The Political Purposes of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,”

…in our actual civic experience we do not encounter these rights and freedoms in such a zero-sum

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

International Standard for Treating Personal Information in the Cloud

The International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have adopted a new international standard for the protection of personally identifiable information by public cloud computer service providers.

It is intended to set out best practices for companies operating in this area, such as Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Engine.

Here is a description of the standard by a privacy advice site.

Is this likely to be helpful to your clients, either those having their information stored and treated in the cloud or those who offer cloud services? Will it influence your contracts?

In particular, will it . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Net Neutrality Zone Trap

The dead puck era in the National Hockey began roughly in 1995 and lasted through the lockout of 2004. The dead puck era was marked by stifling defense and low scoring games as teams employed a defensive strategy known as the “neutral zone trap” (sub nom the trap). The basics of the neutral zone trap was that a team would dump the puck into the offensive zone and then mount little or no forecheck in the offensive zone in favour of placing all of their players in the neutral zone in order to impede the other team from advancing through . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

CASL Software Provisions & CRTC Interpretation

In addition to the anti spam provisions of CASL, it contains provisions against malware starting in January 2015. It imposes disclosure and consent requirements for software providers in certain situations.

Unfortunately, those provisions are perhaps more ill-advised and unclear than the anti-spam provisions. They have the potential to make life difficult for software companies, create additional record keeping responsibilities where none are needed, and could even hurt Canadian consumers if foreign software developers simply don’t sell their products in Canada to avoid compliance.

The IT law bar is collectively scratching their heads trying to understand what the provisions mean in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Private Sexual Practices by Public Personalities

Earlier today the CBC issued an unusual announcement:

TORONTO, Oct. 26, 2014 /CNW/ – The CBC is saddened to announce its relationship with Jian Ghomeshi has come to an end. This decision was not made without serious deliberation and careful consideration. Jian has made an immense contribution to the CBC and we wish him well.

When asked for elaboration, CBC told media outlets,

“information came to our attention recently, that in CBC’s judgement, precludes us from continuing our relationship with Jian Ghomeshi.”

Speculation over the circumstances began almost immediately, especially when several people, including myself, received the following email: . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

UofT Professor Kent Roach on Canadian Counter-Terrorism Law

Well-known University of Toronto law professor Kent Roach has reacted to this week’s two terrorist attacks in St-Jean and Ottawa with a post about The Canadian Terrorist Attacks and Canadian Counter-Terrorism Law on the US-based Just Security website.

Roach’s text examines some of the existing powers in the Criminal Code that can be used against suspected terrorists, and discusses the issues surrounding proposed amendments that would expand powers of Canadian intelligence services.

Roach is the author of The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter Terrorism Law (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

He served as research director for the commission of inquiry into the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Virtual Insanity

Something from the recent Throne Speech here in Nova Scotia struck me as quite odd. Specifically, a local news story quoted that the Premier “promised in the throne speech to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places.”

Nova Scotia would not be the first jurisdiction to take this step and it would join a long list of jurisdictions which have enacted such legislation or by-laws. I am not an advocate of e-cigarettes nor did I understand much about them prior to doing some research for this post, but my understanding of some of the logic behind this intended ban . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation