Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for April, 2013

Equation for a Trusting Relationship

We in Canada have little understanding of the legal services industry in Australia, whether this is due to geography or wilful blindness is unclear. But given our common legal heritage and commonwealth brotherhood (whenever I’m in Asia, Canadians seem to bond easiest with Aussies – in the pubs at least) we should pay much more attention to the land down under. Especially since it’s thinking on legal services delivery is years ahead of our own.

So I count myself fortunate to be able to grow my contacts in Australia.

Aussie management/legal consultant George Beaton has put me onto a post . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Launch of the New Social Security Tribunal

On April 1, 2013, the federal government launched the new Social Security Tribunal, which aims to simplify the process of appealing government decisions related to benefits under the Employment Insurance Act, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security Act.
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Access to Server Data for Foreign Criminal Investigative Purposes

The impacts of privacy sensitivities continue to expand and affect all manner of technology and other transactions transactions. 

Canada and the United States have a long healthy and constructive relationship in providing assistance to the law enforcement agencies of each country in the investigation of cross boarder criminal activity. Canada has, with the United States and with other countries a series of mutual cooperation arrangements (including Mutual Law Assistance Treaties or MLATs) in place between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement by which criminal and terrorist conduct can be investigated and relevant information exchanged.

Such international cooperation is routine and rarely . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Thursday Thinkpiece: Kingwell on Intellectuals and Democracy

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Unruly Voices: Essays on Democracy, Civility and the Human Imagination
Mark Kingwell
Toronto: Biblioasis, 2012

Excerpt: pp. 131 – 133

Intellectuals and Democracy

You might think judges would make diverting dinner companions, but I can tell you that on the whole they don’t. The judge sitting next to me, who shall go . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Happy 40th Birthday to the Cell Phone

Readwrite mobile says that the very first cell phone call was placed 40 years ago today by Motorola Division Manager Martin Cooper. It was not until many years later – March 6, 1983, that it went on sale.

We now take our cellphones for granted – but what a difference a few decades make. The original Motorola DynaTAC sold for $3,995 ($9209 in today’s dollars) was 10 inches high (plus the antenna), and weighed 1 3/4 pounds. And of course it could only make phone calls. The smartphones we throw in our pockets today have more computing power than a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Sexual Assault in Police Detention: Ottawa Officer Acquitted

In 2008, a woman was stopped on the streets of Ottawa, questioned, and arrested for public intoxication. When inside the cellblocks, she was restrained by four male officers. Sergeant Steve Desjourdy then used scissors to cut her shirt and bra off. She was then left topless in a cell for three hours.

Desjourdy was initially cleared of any misconduct by the Ottawa Police Service’s internal investigation, but a second investigation by the province’s Special Investigations Unit resulted in a charge of sexual assault being laid against him.

In a verdict issued this morning, Desjourdy was acquitted of sexual assault. Despite . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Murky Waters of Case Law Databases

CANLII and the Quest for Comprehensive Case Law Databases

CanLII now appears to be wallowing in the murky waters of determining what constitutes a “comprehensive” case law database. This question has plagued commercial legal publishers for more than two decades without anyone offering a clear answer. Welcome to the world of legal publishing.

An independent study

According to its press releases, CanLII has made the comprehensiveness of its court collections a priority. But what does that really mean? In an attempt to figure it out, CanLII’s Board of Directors has “approved the commissioning of an independent study to support its . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Law Reform in Manitoba: Recent Recommendations

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission last week issued two reports recommending changes to legislation re: nuisance claims and commercial tenancies.

Report #126 focuses on The Nuisance Act and The Farm Practices Protection Act. These two pieces of legislation currently limit the scope of the common law tort of nuisance in Manitoba. The Commission recommends repeal of The Nuisance Act and a broad, inter-disciplinary and public review of The Farm Practices Protection Act. 

Chapter 2 of the Report contains a succinct and potentially useful summary of the common law of both public and private nuisance and points to the ongoing . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

How CanLII Can Respond as the Incremental Cost of Primary Law in Canada Moves Toward Zero

The continued development of CanLII into a comprehensive source for primary legal information has created an environment where, over time, the incremental cost of primary legal information in Canada will deviate toward zero. This has important implications for both commercial and non-profit legal publishers in Canada, because it will disrupt current business models as clients continue to become more unwilling to pay for this content at existing rates. This change will create particular opportunities for CanLII to leverage its position as the provider of free information in ways that are not open to those with a fee based, closed access . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

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 the week of March 26 – April 2:

  1. R. v. TELUS Communications Co. 2013 SCC 16

    [1] For many Canadians, text messaging has become an increasingly popular form of communication. Despite technological differences, text messaging bears several hallmarks of traditional voice communication: it is intended to be conversational, transmission is generally instantaneous, and there is an expectation of privacy in the communication. The issue in this

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Are Lawyers Paying Enough Attention to Privacy?

There is little doubt that privacy is a hot topic these days in Canada. Recent news stories include the loss of student loan recipient personal information by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in January of 2013 and the loss of a data stick containing the personal information of approximately 5000 Canadians by a federal government lawyer working on their Employment Insurance appeals in November of 2012.

These news stories, as well as experiences I have had with lawyers through my practice, has caused me to ask the question posed by the title of this post, and to come to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Reasonable Accommodation – How Far Should an Employer Have to Go?

Increasingly, governments across Canada have been pushing private employers to do more to accommodate and hire disabled Canadians. For example, today, the Federal Government announced new programs and funding to help facilitate the process of finding work for disabled candidates and paying for additional training and/or resources. I think that it’s a great program and I applaud the government for this worthwhile initiative. However, will it be effective? Will it make a difference?

The human rights laws of all Canadian jurisdictions have long held that employers are obligated to accommodate disabled employees or candidates to “the point of undue hardship”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law