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Archive for June, 2019

What We Know About the Impact of the Cuts to Community Legal Clinics’ Funding: Are They Prologue to More Dramatic Change?

The impact of the Ford government’s 30% cut to legal aid has now been made explicit and that impact is to pare down the clinics’ contributions to access to justice. The cuts to the criminal justice system are important, but it is also crucial to understand how the cuts to the clinics affect those living in poverty in their everyday lives. (For the impact of cuts in other areas, see Legal Aid Ontario’s announcement.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Modern Courts and the Need for Judicial Technological Competence

It is now relatively uncontroversial that lawyers should be technologically competent. A duty of technological competence has been included in the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct since 2012 and has subsequently been adopted in 36 states. Here, in Canada, a similar duty is under active consideration by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada for inclusion in their Model Code.

Much less has been said and done in relation to judicial technological competence; it’s time for this to change.

To be sure, the proposition that judges need to understand technology is not an entirely new . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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.


Getting Cross With Affidavits: Think About Specifying Whether the Affiant Swore or Affirmed
Shawn Erker

As an enlightened country with an enlightened legal system practised by (hopefully) enlightened legal professionals, we are accustomed to certain neutralities that make no preference for religious beliefs. One such neutrality is the legal equivalence between swearing and affirming an affidavit. …

Research & Writing

Yet More Bad Business Jargon
Neil Guthrie

Deck: . . . [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. Library Boy 2. Environmental Law and Litigation 3. Canadian Legal History Blog 4. Michael Geist 5. Risk Management & Crisis Response

Library Boy
Canadian Association of Research Libraries Statement on Copyright Review

This is a follow-up to the June 9, 2019 post entitled How Did The Copyright

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

New Proposed Cannabis Regulations

This week, Health Canada announced the new amendments to the Cannabis Regulations, which set rules governing for the legal production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals. The amended regulations will come into force on October 17, 2019, but will not be available to Canadians until mid-December 2019, due to the 60-day notice requirement for all federal license holders.

An overview of the amended regulations are available here, with a pdf summary here. The full regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette on June 26, 2019.

Some of the main features include placing . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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.

FAMILLE : L’avocat désigné à l’enfant dans le cadre d’un litige portant sur la garde ou les droits d’accès joue un rôle particulier, de nature à favoriser la mission des tribunaux de concilier les parties en vue du règlement des litiges.

Intitulé : Droit de la famille — 19925, 2019 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

A Better Alternative to Family Law Rules of Arbitration

I spent a fair amount time in early 2018 drafting a set of rules for the arbitration of family law cases. This was motivated, firstly, by provisions of British Columbia’s Arbitration Act that require the use of certain commercial arbitration rules unless the parties agree otherwise, and, secondly, by the benefit of creating rules specifically tailored for family law disputes. Although the rules I drafted are written in plain language and cover hearing from children, mandatory minimum levels of financial disclosure and parenting assessments, I’ve become less and less fond of them as time has passed. They’re too long, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Friday Jobs Roundup

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

The Fight Over Rules As Code

In this corner, Pia Andrews

Pia Andrews is the Executive Director of Digital Government for the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation of the Government of New South Wales in Australia. She is a self-described open data and open government “ninja.”

She recently shared some work her NSW Policy Lab is doing on Rules as Code or “RaC.”

A major idea in the “Rules as Code” community is that government legislation and regulation and policy can and probably should be drafted in two languages at the same time. It should be drafted in natural human language (in Canada English, French,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Over 50 Justice Organizations Agree to a Common Access to Justice Goal That Puts User Experience at the Centre

Yesterday (June 12) in Vancouver, leaders of BC’s justice system came together to endorse the Access to Justice Triple Aim.

The one goal of improving access to justice in BC has three interrelated elements:

  1. improving population access to justice
  2. improving the user experience of access to justice and
  3. improving costs (as they relate to access to justice).

Each participating organization has committed to a common goal to improve access to justice in BC and to action to pursue that goal. How organizations choose to act is for them to decide within the context of their respective mandates.

Implicit in . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Justice Issues

Workplace Culture That Includes Racism Is Very Costly for Employer

Recently, a Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry awarded a record $593,417 in damages, including $105,650 for injury to dignity and $433,077 for wage loss, to a former Halifax transit worker employed as a mechanic who suffered racial harassment and discrimination at work.

In a previous ruling released in March 2018, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission board of inquiry chair Lynn Connors found widespread racial discrimination and a poisoned work environment at Halifax Transit’s garage. The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) was found vicariously liable for the actions of their employees.

Connors stated,

“I find based on the facts

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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. Jacobs v. McElhanney Land Surveys Ltd., 2019 ABCA 220

[86] To determine whether there is a significant advance – important or notable progress – a court must assess at the start and end points of the applicable period the degree to which the factual and legal issues dividing the parties have been identified and the progress made in ascertaining the relevant . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII