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Archive for April, 2024

Blaming Victim of Sexual Harassment Not a Good Defence

Written by Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, PhD, Content Editor, First Reference Inc.

In January 2024, a British Columbia labour arbitrator had no hesitation concluding that an employee, who was the grievor accusing a female colleague of sexual harassment in this case, was actually the one who was sexually harassing the female colleague. Simply put, the arbitrator found that the grievor’s evidence was not credible, the female colleague’s account was credible and consistent with the evidence, and the female colleague did not do what the employee accused her of. As a result, the labour arbitrator agreed with the employer that . . . [more]

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

Democratizing Justice, Whose Problem Is It?

Democratization means making something, usually a public good, accessible to everyone. The democratization of technology related to the internet or the democratization of health care are examples. As digital technologies become more widely adopted in areas touching peoples’ daily lives such as making appointments, applications for employment, being informed about changes in conditions of services or bargains available in the marketplace the reasons for making enabling technologies accessible to everyone become increasingly obvious. In a nation with a long-standing system of publicly funded health care the reasons are obvious although the realization seems to be falling short. In justice democratization . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

What if Access to Justice Was Never Going to Lead to Poverty Alleviation?

I recently read that when legal aid was first developed in the United States in the 1960s, its primary goal was alleviation of poverty rather than access to counsel. However, over time, some stakeholders, mostly on the conservative side of the political spectrum, expressed concern that this was an inappropriate goal for public policy. This led people working in the legal aid sector to rebrand their initiatives as access to justice.[1] The primary difference between framing initiatives as “access to justice” as opposed to “alleviation of poverty” being that access to justice has a goal of improving the legal system . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Court of Owls… and Other Things That Mean Different Things to Different People

Note: In this article, the term “culture” is used broadly and is intended to mean anything and everything related to one’s customs, beliefs, behaviours and habits attributable to the make-up of who they are. It embraces the concept introduced to the writer by legendary professor Michelle LeBaron which appreciates that each individual person subscribes to several different cultures. Any one person may have a cultural component of themselves attributable to their age, surroundings, work, etc.

Afsana Gibson-Chowdhury is the founder of Gibson Chowdhury, Clear Collaborative Mediation and a renowned advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion among legal, dispute resolution and . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Anticipating AI-Generated Law Journal Submissions

Last week, I was asked to provide a peer-review of an article submission to a law journal.

After reviewing it thoroughly, I began to suspect that at least some of the content may have been AI-generated.

What Gives?

First off, there were at least two citations that led to dead ends. By now we all know this is a dead give away.

Second, there was little to no language linking paragraphs together. So there might have been two or three paragraphs written on a distinctive topic, but no language to alert the reader that a new topic was about to . . . [more]

Posted in: 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. PierreRoy & Associés 2. IFLS at Osgoode 3. Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada 4. Barry Sookmant 5. Meurrens on Immigration

PierreRoy & Associés
Responsabilités d’administrateurs d’entreprise : ce que vous devez savoir

Si vous êtes l’administrateur d’une entreprise aux prises avec des difficultés financières, vous

. . . [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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Dans une affaire de violence conjugale et postconjugale, la juge de première instance a commis 2 erreurs de principe en omettant d’évaluer correctement le risque que l’imposition d’une peine avec sursis à l’accusé poserait pour la collectivité; une peine d’emprisonnement de 6 mois est substituée aux 10  . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Environmental Regulation Is Not “Constructive Expropriation”

On April 4, 2024, the Alberta Court of Appeal released its decision in Altius Royalty Corporation v Alberta, 2024 ABCA 105 (CanLII).

The appellants own a royalty interest in a coal mine. In 2014 they acquired royalty interests in the Genesee coal mine. This coal fuels the Genesee power plant in Alberta.
By 2012 federal performance standards, the end of life of the three coal-fired plants was determined to be 2039, 2044 and 2055 (para 3).

They claim their interest was constructively expropriated (paras 2 and 5) when the government of Canada amended the regulations to require the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

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

When Practicing Law Is Slow Death

It started as soon as I began my law career as an articling student. A lawyer gave me a task on Friday due Monday, meaning I would lose my weekend. I felt a little bit of pride – who, little old me, tasked with something so important? But I soon learned what is urgent is rarely important, and important rarely urgent. Having “uncovered every rock” and discovered nothing further, I watched my research memo fall into the abyss of make-work legal projects, more for show and profit, productivity measured more in money than in legal progress. I think I gained . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Perils of Remaining Silent

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

The interim decision of Caroline Sand, Member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in 2024 HRTO 233 (CanLII) shows what can happen when a party is invited to participate but decides not to. As it turns out, the technique of putting one’s head in the sand works for ostriches but not for employers who seek to avoid liability for human rights complaints. . . . [more]

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

Thursday Thinkpiece: Suing for Silence : Sexual Violence and Defamation Law

Periodically on Thursdays, we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Suing for Silence : Sexual Violence and Defamation Law

Author: Mandi Gray
Publisher: UBC Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2024
ISBN: 9780774869171
Page count: 180 pages; 6 x 9

Excerpt: Introduction

In summer 2017, I received a Facebook message from Lynn, a Canadian tattoo artist in her late twenties. Women from all . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Thursday Thinkpiece