Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for January, 2020

Bridging the Gap: Providing Children With Limited Standing in Family Law Proceedings

The recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in A.B. v C.D. v E.F. offers a couple of troubling conclusions with respect to the rights of children and whether determining the presence of family violence requires proof of intent not prescribed by statute. I’ll leave it to others, and hopefully the outcome of a successful leave application, to address the family violence issue; this note concerns a gap in the province’s Family Law Act, revealed by the decision, that leaves mature minors without the ability to apply to court for a declaration as to what is or is . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, 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

Lack of Employee Status Disentitles Worker to Damages

By Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

In Farren v Elite Service Group Inc. 2020 BCSC 23 (CanLII), Justice Iyer of the Supreme Court of British Columbia refined various factors to determine the true nature of the working relationship, concluding that the plaintiff was an independent contractor. As such, the law of wrongful dismissal did not govern the termination of his services, leaving the plaintiff disentitled to reasonable notice of termination or damages in lieu of such notice. . . . [more]

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

The Intersection of Ethics and Well-Being


The ABA House of Delegates adopted Resolution 105 at the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting. The resolution supports the goal of reducing mental health and substance use disorders and improving the well-being of lawyers, judges and law students. It urges stakeholders within the legal profession to consider the recommendations set out in The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. The pursuit of lawyer wellness has spread rapidly through law firms, bar associations, state bars and state supreme courts.

The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, assembled in August 2016 to “create a movement toward . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics, Legal Technology, Practice of Law

A Proposal to Replace Ontario’s Evidence Act With an Evidence Code

In September, 2019, I responded to the Law Commission of Ontario’s request for law reform project suggestions, with the following Evidence Code proposal. It contains reasons why you should send your written support to the LCO. The LCO will respond to such submissions early in 2020. Every Canadian common law jurisdiction’s Evidence Act should now be replaced with a true Evidence Code.

The work to replace Ontario’s Evidence Act with a true Evidence Code is much more than half completed, because in December, 1975, the Law Reform Commission of Canada (the LRCC)[1] published its Report on Evidence; . . . [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. R. v. Petrolo, 2020 ONCJ 36 (CanLII)

[41] With respect to mens rea, this is a specific intent offence. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did in fact intend to act in a way tending to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice. A simple error of judgment will not be enough. An accused who . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

R. v. Chouhan: The Reasonable Person Test and Application of the Amendments

After a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, the federal government amended the Criminal Code to eliminate peremptory challenges in the selection of juries, as well as a change in the trier of challenges for cause. Judges took different views about whether this change was prospective or retrospective. As the Ontario Court of Appeal has now ruled on this matter in Chouhan, many cases, decided on the wrong side of the issue, are likely to be appealed. Indeed at least one, an individual convicted for sexual assault, already . . . [more]

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

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.


My Favourite Apps – Part V
Lesha Van Der Bij

Passwords. The bane of most people’s existence. So many to remember! I know a few people who swear they have figured it all out – using some kind of mnemonic to remember all of their passwords. Apparently, I am not that clever. So I recently turned to LastPass. You remember one password and LastPass stores the rest. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Judges Need Ethics Rules, Not Just Ethical Guidance

Canada is extremely fortunate to be served by a highly competent and responsible judiciary. But judges, like all of us, experience ethical challenges as they fulfill their vitally important social functions. However, many Canadian judges are not subject to a binding code of conduct that can shepherd their behaviour. Instead, they are only offered advice to assist them in navigating ethical issues. We suggest that this should change.

There are currently over 1000 federally appointed judges in Canada. Although these judges are subject to a few restraints by virtue of the Judges Act (such as, for example, a prohibition on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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. First Reference 2. Susan On The Soapbox 3. Canadian Trade Law Blog 4. Double Aspect 5. Le Blogue du CRL

First Reference
Bullying in the workplace

Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could “mentally” hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Where There Is Smoke, There Isn’t Always a Claim

Firefighting can be a physically and emotionally demanding job, and one that comes with many risks. One of the greatest risks faced is not even from the fire, but from the health effects of smoke.

The leading cause of death for firefighters is heart attacks, which is attributable to about half of all on duty deaths. A 2017 study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation attributed this to heart strain due to exposure to extreme heat. The authors drew these conclusions after placing several individuals under stress conditions while monitoring blood flow to the heart.

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

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.

RESPONSABILITÉ : Les intimés ont commis une faute en déversant dans l’environnement des déchets industriels sans égard au risque connu de contamination de la nappe phréatique et, dans le cas du gouvernement du Canada, cette faute constitue une atteinte illicite et intentionnelle aux droits garantis aux membres de l’action collective . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday