Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for July, 2020

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 : C’est l’exercice abusif ou déraisonnable du pouvoir discrétionnaire empreint de mauvaise foi ou s’apparentant à une faute lourde, à de l’incurie ou à une insouciance grave qui peut conduire à retenir la responsabilité de l’État, par opposition à l’exercice erroné de ce pouvoir; en l’espèce, la juge de . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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

Mired in Conflict? Me Deciding Whether You Can Compete With Me

Does it make sense that lawyers elected by lawyers should effectively decide the permitted scope of practice of paralegals with whom they do or would compete for work? Does it make sense that lawyers and paralegals elected by their peers should decide what legal services can only be provided by lawyers and paralegals and thereby maintain their monopoly?[1]

On the other hand, does it make sense that elected lawyers and paralegals should decide what education and training is appropriate for licensing and what professional conduct should be required for appropriate advocacy in courts and tribunals and generally? Does it . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Alberta Tables Significant Proposed Employment Law Changes

On July 7, 2020, the Alberta government tabled Bill 32, The proposed Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act that will support economic recovery, restore balance in the workplace and get Albertans back to work. The Bill proposes changes to the Employment Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code. Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping stated to the media that the proposed legislation would support economic recovery by cutting “red tape” for businesses and would reverse some changes made by the NDP when they were in government. . . . [more]

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

SCC: Uber Arbitration Unconscionable. Uber Is a Company Known for Pushing Limits, Did They Push Too Far This Time?

There is a class-action lawsuit by Uber drivers in Ontario against Uber alleging, among other things, violations of employment standards legislation. The main issue is whether Uber drivers are independent contractors as the Uber agreement says, or whether they are actually employees.

But before those issues could be heard, the courts had to decide whether those issues could be litigated in the courts, or whether they had to be decided through binding arbitration, as stated in the Uber agreement. The Supreme Court of Canada found the arbitration clause invalid because it was “unconscionable”, and thus the merits of the case . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Should We Defund the Civil Rules Committee in Ontario?

Past Ontario Bar Association president David Sterns argues that we should defund the Ontario Civil Rules Committee. In its place we should involve new voices and take an inter-disciplinary approach to building the committee. I agree.

We need to either supplement or change the Civil Rules Committee. We must look towards engaging new people. Let’s not just tinker around the edges. Let’s engage new voices. We need new perspectives. We need to hear what lay people think. We need to hear the insight of experienced practitioners and judges. We need to hear what articling students and law students think. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

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 Howell, 2020 ABQB 385 (CanLII)

[315] If the objective of the ACMPR was to provide reasonable but safe access to medical marihuana, there does not appear to be any reasonable justification for the limitation on the THC concentration in oil and extracts.

[316] In my view, that prohibition fails because it is arbitrary. While there might be some rational . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Unknown Unknowns

The world continues to change greatly and, whatever the future brings and despite any wilful and devious political and corporate hyperbole that abounds on these matters, it may well be that some aspects of the past will disappear or will alter to an extent. In the case of much that has been witnessed of late, we might certainly hope so. Almost without doubt, the pandemic is likely to create beneficial modernisation and efficiencies that can be enjoyed by the use of technology that was previously little-known, avoided or unavailable. We have indeed been forced lately to question much that has . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Toronto Mask by-Law: Velvet Law in a Velvet Glove?

Laws serve several purposes. In broad terms, they reflect government policy and prescribe the behaviour required to achieve it. More specifically, they tell us what we cannot do, unless we want to risk penalty, whether criminal, civil or regulatory; they identify (and these are not all laws) the moral attributes of a society; they serve to control, by framing the parameters of permissible activity; they have the goal of changing behaviour. Generally, laws are successful when they are enforced effectively and fairly, although neither may be the case for a particular law. And they tend to work when people think . . . [more]

Posted in: 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.

Research & Writing

The Firm
Neil Guthrie

A reader asked why we call a group of lawyers who practise together a firm. The term goes back a while. In Italian, firma has been used since the sixteenth century to describe a commercial enterprise or business; the word also means ‘a signature’. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

What I Learned About Innovation From Learning How to Code

I recently completed Harvard’s CS50: Introduction to Computer Science, offered online though edX. Given my role as a Legal Tech and Innovation Specialist, I work with a lot of technology. Gaining a deeper understanding of computer science seemed like an enjoyable side-project. I was partially correct.

(Sample code from one of my projects)

While learning about concepts like data structures, memory, and arrays is incredibly helpful, I was not prepared for how challenging it would be to apply these concepts into workable programs. Things that programmers can do without effort took me hours: iterating across a linked list of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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 Securities Law 2. Startup Source 3. Michael Geist 4. Little Legal Summaries 5. Excess Copyright

Canadian Securities Law
New Brunswick Joins Canadian MoU Respecting Oversight of Exchanges

The Ontario Securities Commission recently announced that the MoU between various Canadian securities regulators respecting the oversight of exchanges

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix