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Archive for March, 2019

Transgenderism Prevails Over Whatcott’s Truth

When Toby’s Act (Bill 33) passed in Ontario in 2012, the jurisdiction became the first in Canada to explicitly add gender identity to a human rights code.

Ontario’s Human Rights Commission had previously taken the position that gender identity was still a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code based on the ban against sex discrimination, and the Human Rights Tribunal agreed with this interpretation in several cases, including in Hogan v. Ontario (Health and Long-Term Care).

In this 2006 case, the province argued that if the Ontario Code intended the definition to extend to these . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

One Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe. It’s a summary of all appeals as well as leaves to appeal granted so you will know what the SCC will soon be dealing with (February 23 –March 29, 2019 inclusive).

Oral Judgment

Criminal Law: Sexual Assault
R. v. Snelgrove, 2019 SCC 16; 2018 NLCA 59 (38372)
Publication ban.

Moldaver J.: “… Section 273.1(2) (c) has as its aim . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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) : La Cour d’appel confirme la période de 20 ans d’inadmissibilité à la libération conditionnelle imposée à Richard Henry Bain, déclaré coupable de meurtre au second degré et de tentatives de meurtre commis dans un contexte politique lors de la soirée électorale provinciale de 2012.

Intitulé : Bain . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Against Supreme Lawyering

Retired Supreme Court of Canada judges can and do practice law in Canada. Law societies’ rules allow this, subject to certain restrictions on court appearances. In this column, I argue that these rules should be changed: law societies should not license retired Supreme Court of Canada judges to practice law in any manner or form.

First, a few important points of context.

The focus here is exclusively on retired SCC judges. There are currently active policy discussions about reforming law society rules that apply to retired judges from all levels of court who wish to return to legal practice (see, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Friday Roundup: Slaw Jobs

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at

Current postings on Slaw Jobs (newest first):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

Privacy Guidelines for Managing Emails

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has published guidelines on how to manage emails to minimize organizational risks and expenses that could be caused by a privacy breach. The guidelines indicate that “In light of the vast quantities of email sent and received daily by an organization, email management is not just a records management issue, but is also a necessary business process” that should be managed in accordance with records management principles and the requirements of Alberta’s access to information and privacy legislation. Although the guidance provided in this document is directed at managing emails, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Moving From Planning to Implementation

Increasingly, law firms are learning to appreciate the value of individual lawyer marketing plans. But paperwork is only the first step. A plan is useless without implementation. Yet how does a firm convince a busy lawyer to implement on those plans?

Too often, in firms that require personal plans, lawyers will begrudgingly prepare them but pay little more than lip service to them thereafter. Some firms put carrots and sticks in place in an effort to ensure implementation. For example, they might tie in part of compensation with successful accomplishment of a lawyer’s personal plan. This has mixed results, as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing, 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. Hall v Stewart, 2019 ABCA 98

[19] The competing policy objectives of tort law and corporate law must be reconciled in context. One important factor is the ready availability of insurance for property damage and personal injury. One obvious source of personal injury insurance is the workers’ compensation system itself. However, even if a corporation does not elect to purchase director’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Bug Bounties

Are you looking for a side hustle to do something interesting and make a few dollars? Consider being an ethical hacker working for bug bounties. Many tech companies have formal programs that reward people for reporting bugs in their systems, such as security problems.

Bug bounty programs have proven valuable to businesses that create software or that have an online presence. Businesses have offered these programs for decades.

Some people make a few dollars when they stumble on a problem. Many actively and methodically search for problems, such as a 19 year old from Argentina who has made millions of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Permission to Dream

If you’re a lawyer, you probably grew up in socio-economically advantaged circumstances. I submit this to you not as a value judgment or accusation, but as a pretty well-established fact.

In 2011, UCLA Law School Professor Richard Sander published a paper titled “Class in American Legal Education,” which included the finding that “the vast majority of American law students come from relatively elite backgrounds; this is especially true at the most prestigious law schools, where only five percent of all students come from families whose SES is in the bottom half of the national distribution.” The New York . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

What Is the Connection Between Diversity and Privilege in the Law?

Economists have found that many elite US universities – including Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, and Yale – take more students from the top 1% of the income distribution than from the bottom 60%. … “American meritocracy,” the Yale law professor Daniel Markovits argues, has “become precisely what it was invented to combat: a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations.” (“The Myth of Meritocracy“, by Kwame Anthony Appiah)

Even more troubling is that once students graduate from school, the set of advantages or disadvantages from growing up wealthy or from a working class background . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Should We Ever Diminish the Application of the Rule of Law?

We consider the rule of law a fundamental value in our Canadian legal and constitutional systems; indeed, as the Supreme Court of Canada declared in the Secession Reference the rule of law is “a principle of profound constitutional and political significance” (para. 71) and “[t]he principles of constitutionalism and the rule of law lie at the root of our system of government.” (para. 70) The rule of law has significant impacts on our political, economic and social regimes. It’s true that we don’t always meet its highest standards, but we also don’t often decide to ignore it or deliberately avoid . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues