Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for November, 2019

The Meaning of Justice in Family Law Disputes

Justice is a complicated concept. The dictionary definition is short enough, typically given as “fairness and moral conduct,” but the seductive simplicity of the explanation ignores the important analyses offered by major thinkers from Plato through Hobbes, Rousseau and Mill to Rawls, and tends to stop at the doorstep of the courthouse in any event.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at an ADRIC conference on justice in family law disputes and the difference, if any, between “justice” in the context of litigation and “justice” in the context of mediation. It was an intriguing question . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Discovering the Power of Social Media in the Guelph WellCoMs Mobile Legal Service Project

The Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County has just completed what appears, based on a preliminary analysis of the data, to have been a highly successful pilot project to expand legal aid services to rural Wellington County in Southwestern Ontario. The project is being funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario. The project involved using a van to provide outreach services to 12 small communities spread throughout the 2,657 square kilometers of the county, visiting each community 10 or more times on a regular schedule between May and October. The van, staffed by two outreach workers, would park . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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

Superior Court of Justice Confirms Restrictive Covenants Voidable Unless Reasonable

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal and student-at-law, Editor, First Reference

In Stress-Crete Limited v Harriman, 2019 ONSC 2773 (“Stress-Crete”), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (“the Court”) partially granted an injunction to an employer against its former employee, upholding two out of three restrictive covenants present in the parties’ employment contract. Namely, the Court upheld the contract’s non-solicitation clause and confidentiality clause, but refused to uphold its non-competition clause. In partially granting this injunction, the Court in Stress-Crete confirmed and clarified the law’s approach to restrictive covenants, that such clauses are unenforceable unless reasonable and are to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Slaw and CanLII Release New Ebooks

I’m very pleased to announce that Slaw has partnered with the fine folks at CanLII to produce a series of ebooks of selected content from

As a publisher with CanLII’s Authors Program, a number of Slaw’s columnists and bloggers have worked with CanLII directly to create highlighted collections of their finest writing on a single interest or issue.

The following list shows our initial set of participants, along with a link to their Slaw author profile page (so you can see their entire list of Slaw submissions):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements

How to Recover Gracefully From a Bad (Admin/Marketing/Client) Decision

In my experience, lawyers hate to be wrong. And they keep track of when anyone else is. Attending a lawyer meeting, you can almost see the chalk board above each head keeping track. Power is won or lost on those points and for a moment, they become almost more important than legal knowledge, business wisdom, and marketplace reputation. So, lawyers tend to withhold opinions until they know they can defend them. And once an opinion is set, it can be hard to change it because that would be admitting that the previous opinion is no longer right (and therefore, must . . . [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. Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp.2017 SCC 30

[42] Where, as here, a tribunal concludes that the cause of the termination was the breach of a workplace policy or some other conduct attracting discipline, the mere existence of addiction does not establish prima facie discrimination. If an employee fails to comply with a workplace policy for a reason related to . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Evidentiary Vulnerabilities of Bad Electronic Records and Information Management

This article is based upon my several decades of experience working with experts in electronic records management systems (ERMSs), servicing institutional clients, and drafting related national standards-see the list of articles at the end of this one. In Canada, the requirements of good e-records management and the legal consequences of its absence are still not recognized as being a distinct area, field, or division of law. It is part of a larger problem concerning the lack of knowledge by which to challenge the ability of all electronic systems and devices to produce reliable evidence. The nature and substantial vulnerability to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Canadian Federation of Students v. Ontario

Earlier this month, the Ontario Divisional Court released its decision (by the Court) in Canadian Federation of Students v. Ontario, striking down the Ontario government’s “Student Choice Initiative” (SCI), which permitted students to opt out of certain ancillary fees that would otherwise have been collected by university and college student unions. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) (a national student organization, made up of student associations when students have given approval, that is student funded) and The York Federation of Students (YFS) sought judicial review to quash the directives. The Divisional Court decision had to address the government’s attempt . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Provincial Court of BC’s Twitter Town Hall

If not today
Maybe tomorrow
If not tomorrow
Maybe in a week
No matter how far I push it
It needs to find me

Lyrics and Music by Booker T. Jones, James Edward JR Olliges, recorded by Booker T. Jones.

Sometimes change happens so slowly, you don’t notice it. Sometimes change happens so quickly, it doesn’t notice you (Ashley Brilliant)

Oct. 28, 2019 was a day in Canada unlike most others. You may not have noticed anything different, even if you were in the legal community. On that day, Provincial Court of BC’s Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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.


#Detox: Putting the Smartphone Away
Shawn Erker

Smartphones provide lawyers with constant availability and the convenience of responding to queries and communications from any location at any time. But our devices can also be a source of distraction and addiction that discourage productivity and negatively impact our mental health. …

Research & Writing

Plain Language for Lawyers
Neil Guthrie

My discovery of Richard Wydick’s Plain Language for Lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

It’s Finally (Sort Of) Here!: A Duty of Technological Competence for Canadian Lawyers

For years, Slaw commentators (including myself) have called for Canadian law societies to adopt a duty of technological competence for lawyers. On October 19, 2019, a major development occurred, which has largely gone unnoticed. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada amended its Model Code of Professional Conduct to add the following commentary to the competence rule (r. 3.1-2):

[4A] To maintain the required level of competence, a lawyer should develop an understanding of, and ability to use, technology relevant to the nature and area of the lawyer’s practice and responsibilities. A lawyer should understand the benefits and risks associated . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics