Canada’s online legal magazine.

End of 2019 Update From Washington, DC

This has been another very interesting year in the US Capitol. The most recent excitement is about the process of impeachment. I remember the previous two attempts, which ended in a resignation and a failure to convict. I am not going to even try to predict how the process will end this time. But if you want to learn more about this, the Library of Congress has it covered.

On December 9, Andrew Winston posted that “The Library of Congress has updated the Constitution Annotated essays pertaining to impeachment and incorporated them in the annotations to Article IArticle . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

The Federal Duty of Workplace Inspection: Reasonableness and Workplace Control

By Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

In Canada Post Corp v Canadian Union of Postal Workers, 2019 SCC 67 (“Canada Post”), the Supreme Court of Canada (“Court”) limited federally regulated employers’ duty to conduct safety inspections. Namely, the Court found that such employers only had a duty to inspect in workplaces over which they exercise control. Canada Post was an application of judicial review of a decision by the Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal of Canada (“OHSTC”). The rule-at-issue was Canada Labour Code, RSC 1985, c L-2, Part II, s 125(1)(z. 12) (“CLC”), which . . . [more]

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

How Are We Doing on the Shift to Use-Centred Approaches?

In 2015 I wrote a Slaw post entitled “What Does a “user-centred” Approach Really Mean??” I tried to paint a picture of what “user-centred” means in the context of the BC justice system. I would say it was a good first try but drew mostly on examples from other sectors.

Four and a half years later, we have more local examples of how the BC justice system is shifting towards a more user-centric approach including the following:

ONE: The first example is the work of Access to Justice BC (A2JBC). It advocates for a new approach to justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Encryption Backdoors – a Very Bad Idea

Encrypting our data and devices keeps our information safe. It keeps thieves out of our banking information, protects our personal health info from prying eyes, prevents fraud, lets us have candid private conversations, and helps keep the surveillance state at bay. 

But far too often law enforcement and governments view encryption as a hindrance, and call for backdoors to encryption so they can circumvent encryption when they want access. 

Security experts are adamant that backdoors to encryption would cause far more harm than good. It’s like a team of people with sledgehammers trying to kill a fly in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Student Legal Clinics in Limbo as Divisional Court Strikes Down Student Fee Policy, Province Appeals

On November 21, the Divisional Court struck down the so-called “Student Choice Initiative” of the Ontario Government. This program ordered universities and colleges to allow students to “opt-out” of certain fees related to student administration and other ancillary fees.

Certain “essential services” were exempted from the program. Varsity sports were considered to be an essential service for students. Student legal clinics were not.

The two main income sources for student legal clinics in Ontario’s law schools are Legal Aid Ontario, and student fees. In spring 2019, student legal clinics suffered a retroactive 10% cut in funding from Legal Aid Ontario, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. UAlberta Pro-Life v Governors of the University of Alberta, 2020 ABCA 1 (CanLII)

[147] The reference to the Alberta Human Rights Act is interesting. It is not entirely obvious why that enactment’s existence should speak against recognizing a s 32 Charter application to freedom of expression exercised by students on a University campus. The rights and protections of that Act are . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Applying Vavilov: Canada Post and Health and Safety

The majority of the Supreme Court of Canada in Canada Post Corp. v. Canadian Union of Postal Workers applied its recently created new administrative law framework in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov to uphold the Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal Canada’s (OHSTC) decision that Canada Post had not contravened the federal health and safety provisions in the Canada Labour Code, thus rescinding the health and safety officer’s determination of a contravention. The dissent, however, in upholding the health and safety officer’s decision that Canada Post had contravened the Code, did not even refer to Vavilov. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Innovating Justice Forum 2020

Introducing the Innovating Justice Forum 2020:

The Innovating Justice Forum is a premier event working towards Sustainable Development Goal 16 and taking justice innovation to the next level. This edition of the annual gathering will focus on “how justice innovation can be financed and why it makes sense to invest in it”.

Embark with us on a discovery of the avenues and alleys leading towards building the business case for Financing Justice Innovation.

We aim to make these two full days a lively exchange of ideas, co-creation, scrum sessions on matters directly related to getting justice innovations financed, . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on practice, research, writing and technology.

Research & Writing

‘Those Pesky Millennials!’
Neil Guthrie

Grumpy Baby-boomers will oft have cause to make exclamations like this (but they may phrase it in less polite language). Or they may have no cause at all, but exclaim anyway. One thing that is sure to raise the ire of older professionals is casual language in e-mails. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Automated Decision-Making and the Civil and Administrative Justice System

The impact of Automated Decision-Making in the Civil and Administrative Justice System requires deliberate and considerate policy and legal guidance.

On December 10th the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) brought together lawyers, developers, policymakers, academics and community advocates for an informal and collaborative discussion of the issues and implications of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision-making (ADM) in Ontario’s civil and administrative justice system.

These issues are important because of the examples of AI being used in civil and administrative government decision-making in the U.S. and Europe. AI technologies are being deployed in the areas of government benefits, public . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

No Frustration in New Government Policy

Purchasing a home, for many Canadians, is a significant financial decision. It is one that is often wrought with risk and challenges.

These complexities are increased when market forces or regulatory changes make make the purchase of a new home unaffordable. Unfortunately, these changes may be ones that a purchaser is stuck with, irrespective of the consequences.

The Ontario Court of Appeal reviewed one such case in Perkins v. Sheikhtavi, where the the purchaser made an unconditional offer to purchase a home in the suburbs of Toronto on April 3, 2017 for $1,871,000. As is common in the GTA, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions