Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for September, 2021

Dating App Profile Lands UBC Employee in Hot Water

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Employers are legislatively prohibited from discriminating against their employees based on their sexual orientation any other listed or similar ground of discrimination. When a university discovered that an academic advisor’s profile on a gay male dating app ran afoul of its conflict of interest policy, it fired him. The employee claimed the dismissal was discriminatory and based on his sexual orientation. He submitted a complaint to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal whose decision was later reviewed by the British Columbia Supreme Court. Was Conklin v University of British Columbia, . . . [more]

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

Top 10 Tips: Effective Cybersecurity Awareness Training for Law Firm Employees

We can speak authoritatively about cybersecurity awareness for law firm employees because we give this training so often. Here are some of our tips to ensure you maximize the effectiveness of your training.

1. Take cybersecurity awareness training seriously and do it right.

A significant recent statistic is that human beings are involved in the success of 82% of cyber attacks. They tend to have crummy passwords, they reuse and share passwords, they click on links or attachments without thinking, they get emails which seem improbable and yet respond to them, and the list goes on and on.

We used . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Krug v Dakine Home Builders Inc., 2021 SKQB 241

[39] I raise this not to confuse the issue of liquated damages (which are absent in the contract) or whether Dakine should be paid for work already done; but rather to illustrate that since old times, the courts have seemed to view “time is of the essence” clauses in a rather restrictive . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Religious Exemptions for Vaccinations: The Impact of Amselem


With mandatory vaccination policies (some of which are not exactly mandatory because they provide alternatives), those opposed to vaccines have been claiming religious exemptions. When people are dismissive of these claims, others immediately respond, “But what about Amselem?”, the Supreme Court of Canada decision that seems to allow a highly subjective determination of legitimate religious belief. But what does Amselem actually say and how does it relate to anti-vaccination claims based on section 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Legal Aid Reaches a Milestone Providing 1.2 Million Duty Counsel Services in Canada

The most recent edition of Legal Aid in Canada by the federal Department of Justice reports that legal aid plans in Canada provided 1.2 million free duty counsel services; to people in-court and in-custody accused in criminal courts, appearing unrepresented in civil courts primarily in family court and at immigration hearings during 2019-2020.[1] The majority of duty counsel services were for criminal matters (86%), with 14% of services provided in civil matters. Duty counsel is an important part of legal aid in Canada and 1.2 million duty counsel services is an important milestone. The achievement of this milestone is . . . [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.

Research & Writing

End of Life
Neil Guthrie

This comes to all of us, whether we want it or not. Increasingly nowadays, one can make a conscious end-of-life decision: note the hyphens you’ll need in order to make the phrase an adjective. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

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. Rule of Law 2. Sane Split Podcast 3. Lee Akazaki: SQP jeunes avocats | new lawyers’ mentorship 4. Barry Sookman 5. The Treasurer’s Blog

Rule of Law
Chichak v. Chichak

In Chichak v. Chichak, 2021 BCCA 286, the British Columbia Court of Appeal confirmed that a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

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.

CONSTITUTIONNEL (DROIT) : La Cour d’appel a conclu que les articles 5 et 10 de la Loi encadrant le cannabis, qui prévoient l’interdiction totale de possession de plantes et de cultures de cannabis à des fins personnelles, ont pour objectif d’assurer l’efficacité du monopole d’État confié à la Société . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Baltimore Aerial Surveillance: What Canada Can Take From the Recent Decision

On June 24, 2021, in Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle v Baltimore Police Department,[1] the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit On Rehearing En Blanc decided that Baltimore’s use of an aerial surveillance pilot program violated the Fourth Amendment.[2] The court remanded the matter for further proceedings consistent with the opinion. In this article, I describe the technology that was used in Baltimore, review what transpired leading up to the decision, explain the decision, and suggest insights that Canada may take from the decision.

The Program

In March, 2020, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) decided . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Technology

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:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

40 Short Tips for Better E-Mail

I don’t know if you’re like me but despite being a heavy user of e-mail, I am still often puzzled by it. More specifically, by how we often fail to use it to its full potential.

How many times does it happen that you receive an e-mail from a professional contact, a client or a supplier/vendor, perhaps even from an important work colleague, and you have so much trouble deciphering its meaning that you pick up the phone or get on chat to ask the sender what exactly they want you to do?

Given how insanely busy so many of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Top Court in British Columbia Clarifies Law on Distracted Driving

Written by Daniel Standing LLB., Editor at First Reference Inc.

According to Transport Canada, distracted driving happens when the driver’s attention is taken from the road and is focused on something else, like texting, talking to someone in the car or on the phone, eating or drinking, or using the entertainment or navigation system. It is a serious problem; statistics in the National Collision Database reveal that distracted driving contributed to an estimated 21 percent of fatal collisions and 27 percent of serious injury collisions in 2016. In response to the threat posed by distracted driving, all Canadian jurisdictions introduced . . . [more]

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