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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Free North Declaration: Let’s Parse Its Call to Arms


A group of lawyers have entered the fray against Covid-19 restrictions, issuing a document with the ringing title, “Free North Declaration” (“Declaration”) (see here for the version dated November 23, 2021). A strident endorsement of individual freedom, the document picks up on the canards that have permeated the debate over these many months.

By identifying themselves as “Canadian lawyers”, one assumes the originators of the Declaration seek to give it a veneer of authority that many protests against the various Covid-related restrictions governments have imposed lack. Here I explore the document, identifying what in my own view are legitimate . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

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

Musings: Workplace Norms Meet Covid Requirements

In my last post, I discussed whether private employers and other entities can require proof of vaccinations (spoiler alert: I concluded they can, subject to human rights requirements). In this post, I consider how normal expectations of privacy in the workplace are giving way to requirements intended to control the spread of Covid-19. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

You Can’t Make Me Get Vaccinated…Can You?

While there have always been “vaccine deniers”, or parents refusing to get their children mandatory vaccinations, I don’t think we’ve seen the degree of vehement objection as we have the protests against the Covid-19 vaccines. Yet vaccines have been proved to be the most effective way to bring the coronavirus under control. While there have been “breakthrough” cases of vaccinated people, most recent hospitalizations and deaths have been of unvaccinated people. And so the issue now is, “how about mandatory vaccinations”? Here I discuss the factors relevant to answering this question. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Does Canada Need ‘Right to Repair’ Law

Those of us who view the “no user serviceable parts inside” phrase as a challenge rather than a warning will sympathize with the right to repair movement.

The movement is a growing phenomenon. It arises from frustrations when manufacturers of everything from electronics to cars to McDonald’s ice cream machines make it difficult for anyone else to repair what they make.

The poster child for the movement is farm equipment manufacturers that refuse to give access to software on the machines. That prevents both equipment owners and other repair shops from servicing them. Other methods used by manufacturers include making . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Return to Work: Psychological Barriers to Reorganization

As the rate of COVID-19 vaccination increases in Ontario, many companies are asking their employees to return to the office in person. As a result, the “return to work” planning has sparked many discussions about improving the workplace. For example, “Six Steps to Make Your Legal Workplace Equitable” published in May 2021. Despite the proliferation of helpful articles on improving our workplaces, we still face barriers to adoption.

In the book The Behaviorally Informed Organization, there is an excellent article about confronting barriers to change. In the article, “Gut Check: Why Organizations that Need to be Behaviourally . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Rainbow Cupcakes at the Office for Pride: That’s So Sweet – and Sort of Strange?

This submission comes from WeirFoulds LLP Law Library Manager Nairne Holtz, who is a member of the firm’s EDI (equality, diversity, inclusion) committee. When Nairne was asked to write a piece in support of legal history and Pride month in Ontario, the end product turned out to be more of a personal account. In the spirit of Canadian legal storytelling, and in support of Pride, Slaw is happy to be able to share Nairne’s story.


I met my wife at work, a Bay Street law firm, in 1996. You could say we met cute. I was working in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

5 Kind of Litigators That Might Exist

*These characters are fictional. Any resemblance is purely accidental. This is humour.

1. The pick’m-up-truck-driving small town litigator

Small’s number is written on the local jail cell wall. Besides the odd vacation and discovery, Small’s only ever known this little town with one traffic light. Small pulled some strings to get the county judge’s kid a try-out on the hockey team. The court registrar, bailiff, trial coordinator, and, heck, all the staff, know Small on a first name basis. Small doesn’t go through security because Small has a key to the side door into the library. At the hearing Small . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

There Ought to Be a Law: Vaccine Queue Jumping

As coronavirus vaccines have begun to be available, we have seen several incidents of people “jumping the queue” and obtaining vaccines for which they are not eligible. Eventually, this should not be a problem, but now, when vaccines are scarce, it has been important to prioritize who is to be vaccinated in the first and next groups. Although different in different provinces (since vaccine distribution is a provincial matter), these groups have generally included residents and staff in long-term care homes and health-care workers, particularly vulnerable people and those who care for them. Should there be a penalty when others . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Adducing Sensitive Evidence and Writing Decisions: Where Do We Draw the Line?

In my November 17th Slaw post “Making the Hard Decisions: Ethical Lawyering”, I discussed Dean Embry’s refusal to make certain arguments and call certain evidence and witnesses in his representation of James Sears, editor of Your Ward News (YWN), a community newspaper. Sears was convicted of spreading hate and, despite his accepting these views about what might be successful in his defence, a ground of his appeal was that Embry was incompetent because of his (Embry’s) failure to argue the truth of the content of YWN. In this post, I’m raising another issue related to the trial decision in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Miscellaneous

Cheifetz, Apportionment of Fault (1981) – PDF Available

Apportionment of Fault In Tort (1981) – David Cheifetz

An unrestricted PDF of Cheifetz, Apportionment of Fault in Tort is now available. The text has been out of print for about 2 decades.

The “price”, for Canadian purchasers, will be a donation of CDN $20 to either the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children or the Vancouver Children’s Hospital. Purchasers from other countries should chose a suitable children’s hospital or equivalent in their jurisdictions.

If you want the PDF: Send a request to me at with a copy of the donation confirmation and the email address to which you want . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Does the Proposed 25% LSO Fee Reduction Make Any Sense?

The last six months have been a challenge for everyone. The impacts of the pandemic have differed but no one has been spared. Lawyers and paralegals are no different. We have all been affected, in varying degrees and in varying ways. For many of us, the fact that we provide professional services rather produce goods or provide retail services has helped as many professional services need not be provided in person. Remote work has been possible for many. But some have been particularly affected. The incomes of those who are employed, whether in business, government, larger firms or otherwise, have . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law