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Archive for November, 2018

USMCA – More IP Changes Coming to Canada

In early October, the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States announced the USMCA trade agreement to replace NAFTA. The agreement anticipates several changes relating to intellectual property touching on copyright, patents, data protection, trade secrets and anti-counterfeiting.

Some of the changes have been controversial and seen as significant concessions by Canada to the United States. One article in the Financial Post, was titled, “Canada ‘caved’ on intellectual property provisions in USMCA trade deal, experts say”. Jim Balsillie, who has been vocal on innovation in Canada, was quoted in a statement as saying that, “Provisions in this . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Changes to ESA and LRT Passed, EHT Exemptions and Provincial Income Tax

1. Employment Standards and Labour Relations law changes

On November 21, 2018, the Ontario conservative government gave third reading to Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, effectively rolling back many employment and labour law changes brought in by the previous Liberal government Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (introduced as Bill 148). Bill 47 although passed is awaiting royal assent to become law. Most of the provisions will come into force at a later date, on January 1, 2019. To summarize certain key employment standards provisions: . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Self-Represented Parties and Sharp Practice by Counsel – Should We Be Thinking Differently?

War is the means by which nation states have sometimes resolved their differences. Litigation is the means by which people in our society sometimes resolve their differences. In both cases, there is value in prescribing the rules of engagement.

As wars between sovereign states have become less common and wars between sovereign states and insurgencies have become more the norm, the traditional rules of war seem to have become less relevant. This is presumably because rules that work to govern combat between traditional armies don’t effectively address asymmetric disputes where conventional militaries face off against “guerrillas”, “terrorists” or “freedom fighters” . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Ethics

Introducing Slaw Jobs

I’m pleased to announce a new member of the Slaw family of websites — Slaw Jobs, a Canadian legal job listings service aimed at connecting job seekers with opportunities in the Canadian market.

Since our friend Simon retired in 2014, Slaw hasn’t changed much. There’s good reason for that. Everyone at Stem Legal knows that I take our role as caretaker seriously; and that we are very committed to maintaining Slaw’s culture. So when we started to discuss trying to find a new revenue stream to support the endless hours that we invest here, I wanted to find a . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

Apply for Trademarks Before the Law Changes

Canada has made significant changes to the Trademarks Act, mostly to make it more consistent with international practice. It was just announced that the changes will take effect June 17, 2019. Anyone considering applying for a trademark might think about filing before then.

What is the issue?

On June 17, 2019 the trademark application process will undergo significant changes. The changes include:

Not having to state first use dates or declare actual use

Registration term reduced from 15 years to 10

Adoption of the class system and a class based fee structure

Proof of distinctiveness needed for some types of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Importance of Privacy by Design for Motor Vehicles

As the technology within cars advance, so do their capabilities of tracking and sharing your data. Data mining has become a new lucrative revenue stream for car companies.

In recent days, Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced that: “We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles. That’s the case for monetizing opportunity versus an upstart who maybe has, I don’t know, what, they got 120, or 200,000 vehicles in place now. And so just compare the two stacks: Which one would you like to have the data from?”

Ford has also been gathering data . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Artificial Intelligence: Will It Help the Delivery of Legal Services but Hurt the Legal Profession?

On March 23, 2018, I attended a competition among “startup” applications of artificial intelligence (AI) applied to the delivery of legal services. Here are the results by way of quotations from the website of the development institute LIZ (the Legal Innovation Zone), and my comments.

Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson University” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

About Us: “The Legal Innovation Zone is a business incubator designed to build and support ideas that will change the status quo of Canada’s legal system.”

“Entrepreneurs, lawyers, students, tech experts, government members and industry leaders converge in the Legal Innovation Zone . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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. Mo-Tires Ltd. v. Canada (National Revenue), 1990 CanLII 3943 (CA CITT)

It seems evident to the Tribunal that the punctuation in both the French and English versions is determinative of the proper construction of subsection 26(5). The placement between the two clauses of the semi-colon and then the comma in the English version, and particularly of the period in the French . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

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.


There’s a New Group in Town!
Sandra Bekhor

These days, a lot of lawyers are wondering how to make the most of LinkedIn. Some are wondering if they even can. So, for this week’s tip, we’re sharing news about a new group which may prove to be an easy entry point to greater participation on the site. …

Research & Writing

The Fact That … and the Reality . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

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. Vancouver Immigration Law Blog 2. DroitDu.Net OK 3. Official Clio Blog  4. Eloise Gratton  5. Civil Resolution Tribunal blog

Vancouver Immigration Law Blog
Fettering Discretion and Standard of Review – Boswell J. sets out a Useful Summary in Alagaratnam

Readers of this blog know that one of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

We Built This City (Library)

Civic pride has been riding a bit of a high in Calgary recently, and it has naught to do with any professional sports franchise, annual rodeo or the swell of nostalgia roused when considering a possible Olympic bid. The cause for such a recent surge was actually the opening of the new Central Library on November 1. Winning further accolades from some was the fact that the project ultimately came in $10M under budget. While one must admit that the new central library is not perfect in all ways, it is fair to say that in a word, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Towards a National Security Regulator

I had always presumed, erroneously, that all those entering the legal field would have some modicum of interest in public policy, equity issues, and promoting the rule of law. A significant chunk of the profession certainly do share those concerns, even while differing in the positions they may take.

But I was bewildered by those I encountered early in my legal education who simply were indifferent towards politics or any legal topic that did not directly impact their professional pursuits. I could only assume that such an existence was a by-product of a lifestyle and existence that was not threatened . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions