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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Study Permits & Uncertainty

In July 2023, IRCC Minister Marc Miller was put in charge of our immigration system and he has been focused on fixing problems while addressing the growing anti-immigration sentiment within Canada. On one side, he inherited many years of Liberal promises to welcome and support international students and to meet lofty goals. To that end, he remains committed to the goal of 485k new permanent residents in 2024, 500k in 2025 and 500k in 2026. On the other side, Minister Miller has overseen a series of decisions to cut programs, increase restrictions and add roadblocks to previous pathways. Applicants most . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Does Legality Always Capture the Purpose? the Example of the Granting of Citizenship

We have several expressions denoting the relationship of a set of circumstances to the law: does they conform to “the letter of the law”? Should we apply “black letter law”? Or do they not meet the strict confines of the law, but are in “the spirit of the law? Is the law permitting or proscribing this particular set of circumstances? Of course, there are many other words and phrases associated with law. In this post, I consider whether simple legality really captures the purpose or sense of granting citizenship.

Under the current requirements, those who satisfy the qualifications for citizenship, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

What Don’t You Understand About Apprehension of Bias?

This post is a detour from my series on section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal Working Families decisions (see here and here (SCJ) and here (ONCA)). (See those posts here, here, here and here). In this post I provide some thoughts about a way to think about “the special rapporteur affair”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Graphing Interactions of Responses to Legal Problems

One of the interesting things that came out of my research into the results of the Canadian Legal Problems Survey is how people pursue different courses of action to resolve their legal problems and how the different courses of action interact.

Here is a graph of the frequency of course of action and and how actions co-occur. The actions are ordered from left to right in order of how helpful people found the action to be.

You can see an accessible and animated version of the graph with data available for download here. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Freedom Is Just Another Word….

There’s much to say about the so-called “truckers freedom convoy” camped in Ottawa since January 29th. Its namesakes have also spent time in other major cities in Canada (right now the serious problem is in Ottawa), as well as at the Coutts, Alberta border with the United States. Those involved in the convoy and their supporters call it a “protest or demonstration by patriotic Canadians” (or, indeed, their organizers have touted a “revolution” or extra-election removal of the current governmental system); those affected or otherwise concerned about it call it an “occupation, blockade or siege” or described it as “sedition”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

What if Florida Were a Canadian Province?


If the state of Florida were a province in Canada, on the one hand, people might find it easier to travel to warmer climes when winter really hits snowy and cold part of Canada. On the other hand, they might find Canada too expensive to travel for long-term winter escapes. But that’s not my topic today. I’m more interested in an article in The Globe and Mail discussing the quandry facing health care providers in that state, caught as they are between opposing vaccine mandates. What if this conflict existed in Canada?


Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Time and Relative Dimensions in Slaw

As part of a holiday party gift-exchange mixup, you have been accidentally given a time machine. Since the Rules of Professional Conduct don’t specifically say you can’t tamper with history, you may now use it to travel throughout all of the past and future. You decide to visit great legal moments along the timeline, because you’re weird.

Respond to the following scenarios with the choice that seems the most appropriate.

1. You are present as the Code of Hammurabi is finalized in 1750 BC. Impressed by your Fitbit, Hammurabi invites you to add a line to the Code. What do . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

What Do We Have the Right to Expect of Lawyers’ Conduct?

Do we have the right to expect lawyers to conduct themselves “better” or at a “higher plane” than ordinary mortals [😉] (that is, everybody else)? Or, put another way, do we have the right to impose on them what we, and perhaps others, consider to be acceptable behaviour?

Three recent situations involving lawyers make me wonder whether we do. I’m thinking of the expectations some people — I think mostly women — have who believe lawyers have an obligation to represent someone accused of sexual assault and the complainants in a particular way (focusing on the example of Marie . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

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