Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for February, 2020

An Inspiring Resource for the “Dispute Resolution Movement”, and Some Thoughts

Kudos to Professor John Lande (one of my heroes in the conflict management field) for his newest publication: Theories of Change for the Dispute Resolution Movement: Actionable Ideas to Revitalize Our Movement.

John’s Indisputably Post February 7th provides a great overview of this unique volume – available for free.

It arose out of John’s worry about the future of ADR in legal education and his sense of discontent with the “usual” conference formats – you know the kind, lots of interesting panels with thought-provoking insights but no call to action. Not surprisingly, people leave the conference and . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Brief Guide to Western and Atlantic Employment Law Changes in 2020

2020 promises to be a busy year in Western and Atlantic provinces with a variety of legislative and regulatory changes impacting employers in various ways. In this article, we provide employers with an overview of some of the key changes that have been announced in Western and Atlantic to assist in compliance. We also mention some changes that employers should anticipate being made in the coming year. . . . [more]

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

If the Groundhog Sees Its Shadow… Will There Be Six More Years of Discussion of Standard of Review?

I have never cared for American football and have never watched a Super Bowl. My only interest is in the commercials produced for the American broadcast, which for the last many years I simply watch on line the day after the game. So for me, the matter that gave rise to the decision in dispute in Bell Canada v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 SCC 66 (“Bell”) is not really important to me.

One of the best commercials that aired during Super Bowl LIV involved Bill Murray reprising his role as weatherman Phil Connors from the film Groundhog . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative 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. Patry v Kingston (City), 2019 CanLII 11788 (ON LPAT)

[72] Counsel for the Appellant has submitted that because her client filed the appeal in her absence without the benefit of legal advice, he should be granted latitude to gain “access to justice”, and ensure that a legitimate appeal and access to the system is not barred as a result of failing . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

A Lawyer’s Duty to (Sometimes) Report a Child in Need of Protection

Everyone has an obligation to report when they have reason to believe that a child is in need of protection, including lawyers – except where that information is protected by solicitor-client privilege. If the information is confidential a lawyer is required to report it just like anyone else; but if the information is protected by solicitor-client privilege, a lawyer can only report it pursuant to an exception. The future harm exception provides a lawyer with the discretion to disclose a limited amount of qualified information to try to avert serious physical or psychological harm, or death.

The Duty to Maintain

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Two Tales About the Rule of Law

A recent opinion piece in the National Post by Leonid Sarota and Asher Honickman explained how the rule of law functions: it constrains government and when people perceive it to overstep, they can challenge it; but it also requires individuals to restrain their actions and use the legal sysem and when they are unsuccessful, they must accept it. As they say, “The rule of law does not, by itself, guarantee justice, but without it just laws cannot be upheld and unjust ones peacefully reformed.” Here I consider two situations in which the rule of law is said (by some, at . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

WTO Panel Sets Threshold Test for the National Security Exception

In April 2015, we posted the first of a pair of articles on the “national security exception”: an important and controversial part of WTO agreements and other trade agreements including NAFTA and the new CUSMA. In these articles, we explored whether it was a necessary “safety valve” or the “ultimate threat” to the rule of law in the context of international trade.

The issue was put in an urgent perspective in March 2018 when the U.S. Administration announced section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium—measures justified on the basis of national security. See our “Pandora’s Box” series (Pt 1 . . . [more]

Posted in: Administrative Law

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.

Research & Writing

Use Sessional Clippings Books for BC Legislative Research
Susannah Tredwell

British Columbia’s Hansard (the transcripts of the Legislative Assembly) was not published until 1970, making researching the intent behind a piece of pre-1970 legislation challenging. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Harassment in the Legal Profession: A Few Bad Apples?

Far too many people who work in law firms are subject to harassment by lawyers and paralegals. What, if anything, should our law societies do about this? Much depends on whether one sees the problem as “bad apples,” or as symptomatic of problems with the entire “barrel” which is the legal profession in Canada.

“Harassment” is defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code as “a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” Harassment is often (but not always) sexual in nature. It is distinct from discrimination, but is often . . . [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. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 2. Ontario Condo Law Blog 3. Juriblogue 4. Know How 5. Hull & Hull Blog

Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog
Elias Theodorou Granted First Ever MMA Cannabis Therapeutic Use Exemption

In most jurisdictions cannabis is banned in-competition for combat sports athletes. Generally

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Natural Justice Need Not Always Apply

The Federal Court of Appeal recently released a decision in Democracy Watch v. Canada, denying two appeals, from two separate complaints, regarding Canada’s first Commissioner of Lobbying. The court concluded that the Governor in Council’s interpretation of the Lobbying Act was reasonable, and rejected the allegations of bias.

Though it might come as a surprise to some, the general principles of independence and impartiality, though clearly principles of natural justice, are not necessarily required throughout our justice system in the same way.

International human rights law generally entitles individuals to a fair and public hearing, by an independent 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.

Deux actions en réclamation de dommages-intérêts sont autorisées contre la société pharmaceutique Valeant et d’autres défendeurs en vertu de l’article 225.4 de la Loi sur les valeurs mobilières.

Intitulé : California State Teachers’ Retirement System c. Bausch Health Companies Inc., 2020 QCCS 275
Juridiction : Cour supérieure (C.S.), Montréal . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday