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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. Desautel, 2021 SCC 17 (CanLII)

[18] Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, says:

The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.

Les droits existants — ancestraux ou issus de traités — des peuples autochtones du Canada sont reconnus et confirmés.

It is clear from the text of s. 35(1) that, to fall within its scope, an Aboriginal group must be an “aboriginal peopl[e] of Canada”. The question raised by this appeal is whether a group whose members are neither Canadian citizens nor Canadian residents can meet this condition. The text of s. 35(1) does not provide a clear answer to this question. The words “of Canada” are capable of different meanings, as “of” can be used to express a range of different relationships.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. Law Society of Ontario v. Diamond, 2021 ONCA 255 (CanLII)

[50] In the end, the test for determining a failure to cooperate with the Law Society’s requests, as espoused by the Hearing Division, the Appeal Division, and the Divisional Court, focusses on the determination of a licensee’s good faith efforts to cooperate with the Law Society. While articulated slightly differently by the Hearing Division, the Appeal Division, and the Divisional Court, the following considerations emerge from these decisions: (a) all of the circumstances must be taken into account in determining whether a licensee has acted responsibly and in good faith to respond promptly and completely to the Law Society’s inquiries; (b) good faith requires the licensee to be honest, open, and helpful to the Law Society; (c) good faith is more than an absence of bad faith; and (d) a licensee’s uninformed ignorance of their record-keeping obligations cannot constitute a “good faith explanation” of the basis for the delay.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Mitchell v Reykdal, 2021 ABQB 301 (CanLII)

[214] The framework for assessing whether a person is an AP is the AIRA itself (see e.g. Corlett v Cavanagh, 2019 ABQB 316 at paras 14-15 (Corlett); Desnoyers Estate v Desnoyers, 2020 ABQB 120 at paras 30-32 (Desnoyers Estate)). To determine whether a person is an AP under the AIRA, the following criteria must be satisfied.

[215] Two people must be in a “relationship of interdependence” outside marriage (AIRA, s 1(f)) and must have lived with each other in this “relationship of interdependence” for a continuous period of not less than three years (AIRA, s 3(1)). A “relationship of interdependence” is defined as a relationship outside marriage where any two people 1) share one another’s lives, 2) are emotionally committed to one another, and 3) function as an economic and domestic unit (AIRA, s 1(f)).

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Hak c. Procureur général du Québec, 2021 QCCS 1466 (CanLII)

[1] Plusieurs personnes physiques et morales, des regroupements et associations tant religieuses que laïques réclament, dans quatre recours judiciaires distincts[1], que le Tribunal déclare invalide, dans son ensemble la Loi sur la laïcité de l’État[2], communément appelé la Loi 21, ou certaines de ses dispositions, en l’occurrence les articles 5, 6 à 10, 12 à 18, 31, 33 et 34 ainsi que ses annexes II et III qui énumèrent les personnes visées par l’interdiction de porter un signe religieux dans l’exercice de leurs fonctions et les personnes qui doivent exercer leurs fonctions à visage découvert.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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