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. Ontario v. Trinity Bible Chapel, 2022 ONSC 1344

[89] Limits on religious freedom can arise at one of two stages: a) under s. 2(a) itself; and b) under s. 1 of the Charter. Where s. 2(a) is infringed, the government may seek to justify the limit under s. 1 of the Charter. I will come to deal with s. 1 in due course. What is relevant for present purposes are the limitations built into s. 2(a) itself. Section 2(a) does not, by its language, expressly qualify the scope of the guarantee. However, the Supreme Court of Canada has held that not every limit on religion will run afoul of the Constitution. There must be a functional and qualitative assessment of the extent to which religious freedom is actually threatened or constrained. A law that merely creates an inconvenience for, or imposes a cost on, religious adherents will not make out an infringement. Nor will a burden that is merely trivial or insubstantial. The Supreme Court of Canada put this very plainly in Hutterian, at para. 32:…

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2. Mondal v. Evans-Bitten, 2022 ONSC 809

[38] Twitter is a medium for expression whose very nature is not only to broadly disseminate but to greatly amplify everything written there: R. v. Elliott, 2016, ONCJ 35, at 57. A tweet can be relayed anywhere, and most frequently reads like a left jab or a right hook in a verbal boxing match. It is a rhetorical environment in which offhand comments are often stated in a serious tone which may be disorienting and even fear-inducing to those unaccustomed to the schoolyard-like atmosphere. In an unruly context like that, hyperbolic argumentation should not be construed as a threat or a rarified form of verbal assault: College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario v. O’Connor, 2022 ONSC 195, at paras 71-72.

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3. Da Silva v. Kelly, 2022 ONSC 1402

[81] The principles that apply in determining whether to impute income are the same in both child support and spousal support cases: Crowe v. McIntyre, 2014 ONSC 7106, at para. 27. The issue for the purposes of this case is whether the Applicant is intentionally unemployed. In making this assessment, the court must consider her capacity to earn income in light of her age, education, health, work history and the availability of work that is within the scope of her capabilities. Finding deliberate underemployment or unemployment does not require evidence of bad faith. A person is intentionally unemployed when they choose not to work when capable of earning an income: Drygala v. Pauli, 2002 CanLII 41868 (ON CA); Crowe at para. 31.

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The most-consulted French-language decision was Awad c. Procureur général du Québec, 2022 QCCS 654

[41] Les demandeurs font également référence à une déclaration du ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux du 8 février 2022 dans laquelle il mentionne que le passeport vaccinal est « de moins en moins nécessaire » et qu’il « le retire de façon graduelle »[46]. Or, ces déclarations ne supportent pas la suspension. Au contraire, cette déclaration est conforme avec la décision du gouvernement d’alléger les mesures de manière graduelle. D’ailleurs, quelques pages plus loin, le directeur par intérim de la santé publique explique pourquoi le passeport vaccinal demeure pertinent jusqu’au 14 mars : « pour éviter que les gens qui ne sont pas vaccinés aient des contacts trop nombreux et les amènent, eux, à être à risque d’aller vers l’hospitalisation »[47].

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* 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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