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Archive for May, 2014

CASL Observations

I was at a conference on CASL (anti-spam) last week chaired by Barry Sookman. His summary of conference highlights is worth reading. Below are some of my observations based on both that conference and my CASL dealings with clients so far.

Large companies are spending millions of dollars to comply with CASL. Small business is struggling to comply and to make sense of how to comply and why it is even needed. But you can bet that the true spammers will just continue to try to hide from the regulators.

Opt-in rates for attempts to get express consents so far . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

A Steady Stream of Manitoba Bills

Manitoba’s legislators have been busy drafting and introducing bills into the House over the course of the past two months. Since the session resumed in March, more than 20 new bills have been introduced, including 4 private members bills. Most remain at first reading stage as of the writing of this post.

A number of these bills may be of particular note across the country, including:

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

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. Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers, 2001 SCC 31

[1] Iacobucci and Bastarache JJ.— Trinity Western University (“TWU”) is a private institution located in Langley, British Columbia and incorporated under the laws of British Columbia. It succeeded Trinity Western College in 1985; that junior college was itself the successor of a private society founded in 1962. TWU is . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Intelligence-Sharing and Complicity in Torture

Ten years ago the Canadian government launched a public inquiry to look into whether the actions of Canadian officials had contributed to the torture and other grave human rights violations that a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, had experienced while he was illegally imprisoned in Syria for a year in 2002 and 2003. How deeply disappointing, therefore, that ten years on we seem to be losing ground in addressing one of the most distressing revelations coming out of that inquiry: the insidious connection between shoddy, even unlawful, intelligence-sharing practices and torture.

Maher Arar had been arrested in September 2002 by US . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Giving, Taking and Getting Ahead

Spring has sprung here in Vancouver with its bounty of networking events and opportunities to reconnect with colleagues.

In between fun appointments in my social calendar, I sat down to read “Give and Take” by Wharton business professor Adam Grant. If you’ve ever felt anxious about networking, skeptical about selling your services or burned out from fielding non-stop requests for help, this book is for you.

Most of us have been taught to view networking as a zero-sum game where people act in their own self-interest; I’ll do a favour for you with the expectation that you’ll . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

Articling Student Educational Activities

In Alberta, it is Education Week. Education Week was established to call attention to the importance of education and to show the public some of the good things that happen in Alberta schools. Using the confluence of Education Week and the start date of our law firm’s summer students, I am choosing to write about some upcoming training sessions for law students and those who ensure law students are office ready vis-a-vis legal research.

  • May 13 – Research in the Real World – summer students – University of Calgary Law School (Slaw post)
  • June 19-20 – Head Start
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Private Interest Standing for Animals?

A couple of months ago, I wrote about recent animal rights jurisprudence in which plaintiffs instituted actions as owners of animals, to enforce rights under existing laws. Although those cases did involve a certain consideration of the animal’s best interests, the premise nonetheless remained that the animals were property or chattels, as opposed to sentient or rights bearing living things (Nakhuda v. Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, 2013 ONSC 5761; Reece v. City of Edmonton, 2011 ABCA 238). In recent years, animal rights and environmental groups have also sought public interest standing to bring suit as citizens . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Not Myself Today – Looking After Our Mental Health

This is Mental Health Week in Canada. Partners in Mental Health, a national charitable organization that was borne from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, are running a campaign called Not Myself Today. They are focussing on building mentally healthy workplaces and are inviting organizations to participate to support areas of awareness, education and public engagement campaigns. A number of prominent companies have already signed on.

Why is this important? According to information from the Canadian Medical Association, only 23% of employees said they would discuss their mental health with employers. 44% of employees say they . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Retirement? Not for Everyone

What is the purpose of retirement? Some say it is to stop doing what you have to do and then start doing what you want to do.

But what if you are now doing what you want to do? Those lucky people say that retirement has no attraction for them because they are already doing what they want to do. Some say they love their job.

Apparently more and more people are continuing to work rather than retire. The American Association of Retired Persons reports that in the 65 to 69 age group, that 32% were still working in 2013 . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Wings for the Mind

Interest is returning to the potential of expert systems or knowledge-based systems in law. This is in part due to the increased capabilities of machines at a time when the business of law is undergoing dramatic change. It comes with the obligatory “us vs them” talk of lawyers work being taken over by machines that learn. While I have always found the binary thinking of computers attractive compared to some legal reasoning, in this case, an either/or approach is too blinkered.

Hence, I recently tweeted rather cryptically for the sake of brevity: Tools, like lawyers, imperfect alone, hence need each . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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 technology, research and practice.


Send Personalized Connection Invites for Better Uptake on Your LinkedIn Connection Requests
Dan Pinnington

I’m just back from an ABA conference and am following up with some of the people I met. That might mean a phone call or an email with a link to an article, and in some cases, it means sending a LinkedIn connection request.. . . .


Read a Textbook
Shaunna Mireau

I have . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Proceeds From Molson Grow-Op Sale to Be Released to Property’s Owner

Justice Vallee has authorized the return of the sale proceeds of the former Molson Brewery Grow-Op, which total just north of $4 million, to the property’s owner.

The Attorney General of Ontario had been attempting to have the sale proceeds preserved pending a future forfeiture hearing on a number of grounds, including that the property was the proceeds of an unlawful activity and was used as an instrument of unlawful activity.

The court agreed that the property was used as an instrument of unlawful activity. However, given that the owner of the property had no involvement, or knowledge, of . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment