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Archive for ‘Justice Issues’

Recent Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

Written wholly by Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, and PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario

In February 2018, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics released a report that summarized issues and recommendations concerning the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The report was authored by Bob Zimmer, the Chair of the Standing Committee, and presented to the House of Commons in the first session of the 42nd Parliament.

More specifically, the report was generated following the decision to undertake a review of PIPEDA. This review began February 14, 2017; it consisted of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet

Pay Transparency Legislation Introduced

On March 6, 2018, the Ontario government tabled Bill 203, Pay Transparency Act, 2018 to close the wage gap between women and men in the province by imposing significant obligations and restrictions on employers relating to the disclosure of information about the compensation of employees and prospective employees. The government says it will spend up to $50 million over the next three years on the initiative. . . . [more]

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

An Administrative Model of Family Law Dispute Resolution

In our present family justice system, disputes are presumptively resolved in court, with provincial and territorial legislation acknowledging the possibility of out-of-court resolution with differing, and sometimes indifferent, degrees of emphasis. The Canadian common law tradition of resolving family law disputes in court dates to the establishment of the English Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes by the 1857 Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act, but, apart from custom and legislative preference, there is otherwise no particular reason why it must be the courts which deal with family law disputes.

Traditional court processes have always struck me as the worst . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Draft OPC Position on Online Reputation and Public Consultation

On Friday, January 26, 2018, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) released a draft of their position regarding online reputation and on how Canadians can better protect their online privacy and rights.

The draft report is the result of a 2016 consultation on online reputations. Through this consultation, the OPC was soliciting input from interested stakeholders about new and innovative ways to protect reputational privacy. Reputation and Privacy is one of the OPC’s four strategic privacy priorities. A summary of the 28 submissions received is posted online on the OPC website.

Summarizing the report

The draft . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet

Outcomes From the Calgary Symposium on Children’s Participation in Justice Processes

Children’s Participation in Justice Process: Finding the Best Ways Forward was a two-day national symposium held in Calgary, Alberta on 15 and 16 September 2017 that brought together a broad, multidisciplinary spectrum of leading stakeholders to share information and dialogue about how the voices of children and youth are heard, how their interests are protected and how their evidence is received in justice processes. The symposium was preceded by a half-day conference on the fundamentals of family law in Canada on 14 September 2017, designed for mental health professionals and symposium participants who were not justice system professionals, intended to . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Consistency in Case-by-Case Privilege for Religious Communications

Solicitor-client privilege has been described by the Court in Lavallee, Rackel & Heintz v. Canada as a principle of fundamental justice and civil right of supreme importance in Canadian law. The Court went further in R. v. McClure and stated at para 35, “solicitor-client privilege must be as close to absolute as possible to ensure public confidence and retain relevance.”

Not all forms of privilege though are so strongly protected. For forms of privilege that is not historically protected on the basis of class or category, the courts have employed the test originally set out in the 1961 tet by . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Two Improvements Our Courts Can Implement for Self-Represented Litigants

Recently Chief Justice Wagner announced that the Supreme Court will modernize its headnotes by adding a summary written for regular folks. This summary will be posted on the Court’s website and its Facebook page. This change is a response to the way people are getting information. Today people learn about information from social media and websites in addition to traditional news broadcasts.

Justice Wagner’s initiative should be followed by our lower courts. Many self-represented litigants read cases arising from trials or motions. These cases can be hard to understand, even for lawyers. Our courts should be supplementing these dense decisions . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Keeping Kitchen on the Bench

Late last year, with the appointment of Sheilah Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada, Penny Collenette of University of Ottawa Law reflected in the Toronto Star on whether we appreciate our Supreme Court justices enough,

…it is not uncommon for justices to retire from the bench before their retirement date. The case load and the isolation of the position can be wearing. Working intensely with eight colleagues from different backgrounds and different regions of the country in an austere setting can cause friction.

She refers to a new book by Prof Backhouse, A Life, which covers the life . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Healthy Respect Between Judiciary and Executive

As we enter 2018, we begin the new year with a new Chief Justice, and an opportunity to reflect on the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin’s 17 years in this role, the longest in the entire history of Canada.

A well-experienced jurist, who has been on the bench since 1981, her role on the Court has had a discernible impact on the development of the Charter and its interpretation. The Charter is one of the most important national symbols of Canada, outranking even the flag, the national anthem, the RCMP, and even more than hockey. The CBA Presidents who . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Courts of the Future and the Aging Population

“Images of the future are shaped by experiences of the past.” – Michael Lewis in the Undoing Project

The Globe and Mail recently reported about the court’s obstacles with handling an aging population. The article is titled: “Case of Calgary man with dementia highlights challenges courts face as population ages

The defendant Fred Van Zuiden recently turned 87 years old. He grew up in Nazi-occuped Holland. As a young Jewish boy he hid in strangers’ homes and a chicken coop. In October 2016, he was charged with second-degree murder of his wife. He called 911 after his wife’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Sears Shortcomings Highlight Regulatory Deficiencies

The Canadian Press conducted a survey recently of journalists, nearly 47% of whom voted the closure and controversies of Sears Canada as the 2017 Business News Story of the Year.

The public interest in the story was fuelled in no small part by its iconic status, but also the $270-million pension deficit that is unlikely to be fully serviced in light of other outstanding debts. As Michael Powell, incoming president of the Canadian Federation of Pensioners points out, it really shouldn’t be so significant,

Sears should not be the Canadian Press 2017 Business News Story of the Year

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Regulating Proportionality in Civil Litigation

The rules of civil procedure in Manitoba are about to undergo significant changes. Amendments to the Court of Queen’s Bench Rules, effective January 1, 2018, will introduce an overarching requirement that the Court considers proportionality in making orders and directions under those Rules.

A new Practice Direction outlines the breadth of the changes about to come into force in respect of case management of civil proceedings, scheduling of trials, use of judicially assisted dispute resolution and summary judgment proceedings.

The Practice Direction describes the objectives underlying all the changes as follows:

Animating the comprehensive amendments to the Court of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation