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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Legislation’

The Law and Democracy: The Example of Mandate Letters


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

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

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

Challenging the Constitutional Order: Where Does the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act Fit In?

Challenges to the existing constitutional order in Canada are not new. My use of the phrase “constitutional order” highlights that one of the reasons (although not the only one) for these challenges has been to create chaos or (more mildly) to disrupt the constitutional status quo. Here I refer to several recent examples of the how governments and individuals and groups may challenge the constitutional order and consider where the amended Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada (see amendments here) fits along the continuum. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Notwithstanding Clause: Let’s Be Real!

INTRODUCTION The Ford Government’s invocation of section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Bill 28 prohibiting education workers from striking and imposing a contract on them has once again raised cries of “this isn’t what the notwithstanding clause is for”. Really? What exactly did everyone expect to happen? Here I explain why I think section.33 has always been a ticking time bomb — and that there’s nothing that can be done about it except through strength of public opinion. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Bill 7: Targeting the Elders

INTRODUCTION At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, elders living in long-term care homes suffered a major burden. They experienced a disproportionately high number of deaths from the virus. This was not only because they were older, but also because of the conditions existing in the homes, some of which preceded the pandemic, but others of which reflected inadequate pandemic practice. Once again, through Bill 7, More Beds, Better Care Act, 2022, elders are potentially sacrificed in efforts to rescue the Ontario healthcare system. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

The Emergencies Act

INTRODUCTION When Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act in mid-October 1970 in response to a request by Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, I was a grad student in Political Science at McMaster University. Justification was the “state of apprehended insurrection” existing in the province. Some of us posted a petition against its invocation in a hallway near our offices; someone tore it down, and we put it up again. We protested. In fact, protesting was illegal under the War Measures Act, but no one outside Quebec bothered about that. I remember telling people I knew that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Ontario Work-Life Balance and Right to Disconnect Law

On December 2, 2021, the Ontario government’s Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 to promote healthy work-life balance, the right to disconnect and to further enable competitiveness by banning unfair non-compete agreements that are used to restrict work opportunities, among other employment law-related changes, received royal assent with some amendments. Before Bill 27 was ordered for third reading, the Standing Committee on Social Policy applied amendments that were approved to some of the following provisions of the Bill: . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Could Capping Billables Force Work-Life Balance?

Before the pandemic, many lawyers may have longed for more flexible time, and the ability to work more from home. The past year and a half may have challenged those professed goals, especially for those who have other responsibilities or distractions in the home. Working from home does not necessarily mean more personal time, and it does not necessarily mean that there will be less work. As lawyers slowly make their way back to the office, they’re also revisiting the perpetual struggle to find enough time for self-care and care of others. One of the ideas that has started to . . . [more]

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

Top Court in British Columbia Clarifies Law on Distracted Driving

Written by Daniel Standing LLB., Editor at First Reference Inc. According to Transport Canada, distracted driving happens when the driver’s attention is taken from the road and is focused on something else, like texting, talking to someone in the car or on the phone, eating or drinking, or using the entertainment or navigation system. It is a serious problem; statistics in the National Collision Database reveal that distracted driving contributed to an estimated 21 percent of fatal collisions and 27 percent of serious injury collisions in 2016. In response to the threat posed by distracted driving, all Canadian jurisdictions introduced . . . [more]

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

Accommodating Employees With Disabilities: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You!

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

Employers of workers with disabilities need to know the ins and outs of their duty to accommodate. The law intends the accommodation process to be collaborative, allowing the employer, union and employee the ability to make suggestions, compromise and, hopefully, arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. In Singh v Dodd’s Furniture (No. 2), 2021 BCHRT 85, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal found that a furniture store discriminated against its worker after it received some bad advice about how to go about accommodating him. The furniture store made an “ill-informed . . . [more]

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

The Agricultural Employees Protection Act: How Much Protection?

In my last post, I considered the Ontario Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal’s (“AFRAAT) and Ontario Divisional Court’s rejection of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s (“UFCW”) constitutional challenge to the Agricultural Employees Protection Act (“AEPA”). Here I argue that the AFRAAT and the Divisional Court have reinforced the distinctions between the AEPA and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”). In doing so, they refused the Supreme Court of Canada’s invitation in Fraser to be flexible in their interpretation of the AEPA. . . . [more]

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