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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

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

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

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

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

Discrimination Based on Physical Disability Costly for New Brunswick Employer

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

In December 2023, the Vice-Chairperson of the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board (Board) confirmed that the employer discriminated against an employee when the employer terminated his employment following an injury. The Board also concluded that the employer bullied, harassed and belittled the employee. Consequently, the Board awarded $10,000 as general damages, which included damages for injury to the employee’s dignity, feelings, self-respect and self-worth. Further, the employer was required to participate in a one-day human rights training course on the duty to accommodate. . . . [more]

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

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Keeps Gate Closed to Individual Respondent

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

In a succinct interim decision, 2024 HRTO 225 (CanLII), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Tribunal) explained when it might grant an application to expand the list of respondents to a human rights complaint. It’s not as simple as one might think. In this case, the complainant sought to add a former employer as a respondent in his individual, personal capacity, to her sex discrimination complaint. The targeted individual was a majority shareholder and director of the employer. . . . [more]

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

The Law and Democracy: The Example of Mandate Letters

INTRODUCTION

The Supreme Court of Canada recently decided in Ontario (Attorney General) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner) that the public is not entitled to see the mandate letters that the Premier of Ontario issued to his cabinet ministers in 2018. The SCC disagreed with the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC), the unanimous Ontario Divisional Court and the majority of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, all of whom concluded that the cabinet records exemption under the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) did not apply to the letters.

In this post, I do . . . [more]

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

Cost(s) of Slow Processing

Legal procedures are often slow. “The slow wheels of justice,” as the saying goes. Within the immigration context, backlogs, delays, and lengthy processing take this saying to another level. Applications may take years. Families suffer from lengthy periods of separation while Visa Offices (some more than others) provide scant insight into their workflow. During the recent “modernization”, IRCC has added many online tools to address this perennial issue, including status bars, portals, and various means of communication. In certain situations, Officers are supposed to adhere to standard processing times.

For clients (or counsel) who reach a high level of frustration, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Apostille Convention Now in Force

The Hague Convention on the Abolition of All Forms of Legalization (known as the Apostille Convention) is now in force in Canada. Here is a link to the text of the Convention.

The practical result is that to use Canadian public documents (including confirmation of notarial status and signatures) in about 120 foreign countries, one will not have to go through the two-step process of getting the document authenticated by the province (and/or the federal government) and then ‘legalized’ by the consulate (or embassy) of the country of destination. Here is a list of the countries that are parties . . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology, Substantive Law: Legislation

Successor Employer Estopped From Firing Workers

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

In 2023 CanLII 111663 (BC LA), a British Columbia successive employer learned that it couldn’t take over with a totally clean slate. It ran into a roadblock when it tried to implement its plan to fire some incapacitated workers who were unlikely to ever return. While legal, perhaps, it ran up against the principle of estoppel, making it unfair to proceed as it wished. The case is a cautionary tale to unionized employers looking to change course on important issues. . . . [more]

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

AWOL Court Clerk Justly Suspended

Written by Daniel Standing, LL.B., Content Editor, First Reference Inc. A decision of the Ontario Grievance Settlement Board, 2023 CanLII 115148 (ON GSB), confirms that dishonesty, attempts to shift blame and a lack of remorse are not a winning combination of factors for an employee seeking to overturn a disciplinary measure. In this case, the employee went AWOL for personal reasons, giving the employer a clear path to just cause for imposing discipline. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Beware the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Invitation?

I was intrigued by the Ontario Court of Appeal’s “Supplementary Reasons” in Working Families Coalition (Canada) Inc.v. Ontario (Attorney General) (“Supplementary Reasons”), recently reported in the December 15, 2023 Ontario Reports. On March 6, 2023, the Court of Appeal released its decision in the Working Families Coalition’s (“The Coalition”) challenge to the third party spending limits added to the Elections Finances Act (“EFA”). (I wrote a six post series on section 3 and other issues under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, using the Superior Court of Justice decisions (here and here) and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Legislation