Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Law and Democracy: The Example of Mandate Letters


The Supreme Court of Canada recently decided in Ontario (Attorney General) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner) that the public is not entitled to see the mandate letters that the Premier of Ontario issued to his cabinet ministers in 2018. The SCC disagreed with the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC), the unanimous Ontario Divisional Court and the majority of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, all of whom concluded that the cabinet records exemption under the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) did not apply to the letters.

In this post, I do . . . [more]

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

Federal Court of Appeal Examines the Scope of the Implied License to Use a Patented Article

The Federal Court of Appeal had the opportunity to examine the implied license to use a patented article upon its unrestricted sale in Pharmascience Inc. v. Janssen Inc., 2024 FCA 10.

The issue arose since Pharmascience’s proposed paliperidone palmitate for the treatment of schizophrenia and related disorders did not offer the 75 mg-eq. dosage form which would be available from the Patentee Janssen. Janssen brought action under subsection 6(1) of the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations[1]. In that action, the respondents, Janssen sought a declaration that Pharmascience would infringe Canadian Patent No. 2,655,3.

Pharmascience defence was that . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Robots (AI) Are Already in Control (Part One)

The robots are already in control. Having witnessed several systems migrations, I’ve been saying this for at least a decade.

Robots Gone Mad

Remember how the Phoenix pay system wreaked havoc on public servant pay back in 2016? Did you know that system has cost more than $2.4 billion? The problems persisted well into 2022. A full timeline for implementation was nicely set out by the Ottawa Citizen.

Now think about Ontario’s Social Assistance Management system. It cost over $294 million to build and fix after being implemented in 2014. Major issues were experienced as a result. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Thinking Like a Non-Lawyer: When Plain Language Is Not Enough

The plain language movement in law has been in full swing for many years now. A plain language approach to legal drafting is taught in most law schools, and members of the judiciary are urged to generate decisions for parties in plain and ordinary language. This contrasts with the historically legalistic and complex language of law understood exclusively by lawyers, judges, and the academics who study law. Underlining the plain language movement is the belief that law, including the articulation of submissions made to court, the decisions rendered by judges, and even the legislation drafted by legislators, ought to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 2. BC Estate Litigation Blog 3. Law of Work 4. Crossroad Family Law Blog 5. The Court

Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog
Zero Eligible UFC Fighters Asked To Opt Out of Class Action Lawsuit

In a court filing this week in the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Le juge de première instance s’est inspiré à bon droit de l’arrêt R. c. Ferguson (C.S. Can., 2008-02-29), 2008 CSC 6, SOQUIJ AZ-50475579, J.E. 2008-514, [2008] 1 R.C.S. 96, pour conclure que le meurtre avait été commis de manière préméditée et de propos délibéré, même si, par . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Tribunals: The Access to Justice Advantage

Imagine suing the federal government without a lawyer, making your case before a neutral adjudicator, and then getting an enforceable decision, on the merits, less than four months later. This may sound like a far-fetched fantasy if you’re familiar with civil litigation in Canada. In our courts, civil lawsuits routinely take 4-5 years to get to adjudication. Legal fees average about $40k per party to get through a 5-day trial. Self-representation is a frustrating and overwhelming ordeal for most people who try it.

And yet the four month path to adjudication is not just an idle fantasy to ponder while . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Unlocking the Doors to BC’s Court Records: A Game-Changer From Courthouse Libraries BC

Over a decade ago I first pitched this, and after years of off-again on-again discussions, Courthouse Libraries BC has reached a notable milestone in legal research and public access to justice in British Columbia. We’ve secured special access to BC’s Court Services Online’s (CSO) E-search for all visitors to our library branches. This access is not just a new service—it’s a bridge to understanding the intricacies of legal proceedings, offering unparalleled insight into court cases within the limits of court records access policies.

What is CSO E-search and Why Does It Matter?

CSO E-search is an online portal that allows . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Upcoming Presidential Elections in Mexico; a Primer

2024 has been called one of the busiest and record-setting election years ever. This year alone, over 2 billion people in more than 50 countries from all regions of the world will participate in presidential, legislative, regional and/or local elections. As I sit to write this post, during this month of January, Bangladesh, Taiwan and the Comoros Islands have already conducted presidential elections. Finland and Tuvalu are coming up next. If you want to get to know any country in the world, elections can be a great window into what are the major international and domestic trends affecting the jurisdiction. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Artificial Intelligence AI for Legal Applications: Resources and Updates

It’s been fun pulling together regulations and standards for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal applications over the past few months!

CALL/ACBD AI Working Group

Last fall, I proposed a working group (WG) through the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD). Ultimately, the CALL/ACBD Executive did approved an Artificial Intelligence WG, whose terms of reference are on the CALL website. We are a group of 13 law librarians from across the country, representing a variety of interested parties, from firms, to academia to courthouse and legislative libraries. Our focus is primarily on AI in legal research and writing applications. Our . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Justice on the Front Line: Bringing Legal Help to People Where They Are At

The Mobile Rural Law Van and Indoor Winter Venues

This brief article is another report on the mobile rural law van and the fixed-location winter locations, referred to together as the “law van’, as the project goes through the process from pilot project to implementation as an on-going part of the delivery model. The story of the law van is one of effective innovation. It illustrates how, at its best, innovation is an on-going process. The successes and challenges, the lessons learned of an innovation are building blocks in an on-going process of helping people bring troubling problems closer to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. The Defence Toolkit 2. Hull & Hull Blog 3.Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada 4. Crossroad Family Law Blog 5. PierreRoy & Associés The Defence Toolkit The Defence Toolkit – February 10, 2024: “Please knock before entry” This week’s top three summaries: R v Russell,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix