Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for September, 2010

Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Are Disabilities ― Government Benefits Can’t Be Denied

On September 16, 2010, the Ontario Court of Appeal rendered an important ruling that examines discrimination based on disability under human rights law. The ruling confirms a lower court judgment that two individuals are entitled to long-term disability benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act (ODSPA) because of their severe dependence on alcohol. The Court decided that denying such benefits violates Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Advice for Those in Support Positions

I happened to have had lunch with a new marketing professional recently. I spent some time briefing her on the strategic project that I was doing with her firm. During our discussions she asked if I might have any advice for her, given that I’ve spent three decades working with law firms and this was her first foray into professional services.

Now, I’ve heard from a number of business development professionals about how they spend far too much of their time having to justify their existence at their firm; how no one knows or appreciates the contribution that they are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Ontario Government to Review “Secret G20 Law”

The government of Ontario announced today that it has appointed former Chief Justice of Ontario, Roy McMurtry, to review the Public Works Protection Act. That is the so-called “secret G20 law” that purported to give police the authority during the G20 summit to search anyone coming within 5 metres of the large fence surrounding the summit in downtown Toronto.

The government’s announcement explains that Mr. McMurtry plans to make a report by the Spring of 2011.

Given that it is a short, six-section Act that is over seventy years old, the review should hopefully not be very complicated. As . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation Online Transnational Legal Research

A colleague has made me aware of, a free website providing access to and information about transnational legal research.

The site can be searched by keyword with filters for such things as type of text (Court Decision, Arbitral Awards, Doctrine, Clause, Legislation or Principles) or language (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portugese and Latin).

The site can also be searched or browsed by one of 4 categories (the descriptions below are taken directly from the site):

1) Principles: The TransLex-Principles contain more than 120 principles and rules of transnational law, the New Lex Mercatoria, supported by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Come Together …Right Now

“Come together ..right now..over me”

Words and music by Lennon & McCartney

The 2 day Canadian Forum on Court Technology is taking place today and tomorrow in Ottawa, Ontario.

This is a multi-track look at how to apply technology at all points of the judicial dispute resolution system.

Follow the Twitter tweets by following #CFCT.

Come together electronically and follow the discussion! . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

Global Privacy Enforcement Network

The Canadian Privacy Commissioner announced the formation of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, or GPEN. It includes 13 privacy enforcement authorities from around the world.

We have come a long way from a few years ago when it was thought that the privacy commissioner’s ability to deal with entities or issues outside of Canada, even if there might be a Canadian connection, was limited. From the press release:

Canada has joined with privacy enforcement agencies around the world to establish the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), a network designed to facilitate cross-border cooperation in the enforcement of privacy laws. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

From Keele Street to Bay Street: Learning About the Writing & Research Skills Necessary to Succeed in the Legal Profession

As part of a new Academic Success and Wellness program at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, Ronda Bessner, the Assistant Dean of the Juris Doctor (JD) Program, led a session this past Monday called From Keele Street to Bay Street: Learning About the Writing & Research Skills Necessary to Succeed in the Legal Profession.

I had the pleasure of being one of several persons on a panel of practitioners who dealt with legal research and writing in their work in one way or another, along with Chief Law Librarian Louis Mirando and a 3rd year Osgoode Hall student . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Authors and Acquisitions

What does the acquisition of one publishing house by another mean for an author? Since the announcement of the acquisition of Canada Law Book by Carswell Thomson, I have received a number of calls from authors and editors asking me questions relating to the acquisition and what it will mean to them.

Is one legal publisher better than another?

Needless to say, it can be a bit disconcerting for an author to learn that his or her publisher has been sold to a competitor. In persuading an author to sign with Publisher A, as much effort would have been spent . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Do You Drink Too Much? Take This Survey to Find Out

I came across an interesting article in the Autumn issue of University of Toronto Magazine. It indicates that John A. Cunningham, a behavioural scientist at U. of T., has come up with new criteria for defining how much alcohol consumption is too much.

You can measure your own drinking habits against these criteria by taking a short five minute survey at

The survey asks about the amount of alcohol you consume, and compares it to averages for others of the same age and sex. On an annual basis it also reports how much you spend on alcohol and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Editable Google Docs Coming to the iPad

According to the Official Google Blog:

Second, today we demonstrated new mobile editing capabilities for Google Docs on the Android platform and the iPad. In the next few weeks, co-workers around the world will soon be able to co-edit files simultaneously from an even wider array of devices.

This is good news for iPad owners who will no longer need to buy an app to edit Google Docs. (Not to mention making a number of iPad-owning SLAW contributors very happy.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Google Docs Adds Fonts

Hat tip to Susannah Tredwell (@hannasus) for retweeting:

Google Docs now supports web fonts – we’ve added 6 new fonts to documents & more are on the way

The article starts out with: “Documents without font choices are like photographs without colors. Just as shades of color can add depth to a picture, smart font choices give your text another dimension.”
This is just the beginning for font additions to Google Docs.

A question for Slaw readers: Does this font addition create enough of an incentive to start using Google Docs if you aren’t using it now? . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

A Right to Information

The annual Special Report to Parliament by the Interim Information Commissioner of Canada, Suzanne Legault, was filed in April 2010 and is now available online [PDF]. As the title of the report says, it is a “2008-2009 Report Card” on the “Systemic Issues Affecting Access to Information in Canada.”

The report assesses the delays encountered by members of the public seeking information under Canada’s access to information system from various federal departments. The Interim Commissioner awarded grades ranging from “A” for the Department of Justice and for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to “off the chart” (as in terrible) for Foreign . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous