Canada’s online legal magazine.

Summary Judgment on Pandemic Constructive Dismissal

Over a year ago, the provincial government introduced new emergency leaves for workers sick from COVID-19. This was soon followed by special provisions for termination and severance under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), which many people speculated was likely unenforceable and would be deemed constructive dismissal.

Justice Broad of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently dismissed a motion for summary judgment on April 16, 2021, in Coutinho v. Ocular Health Centre Ltd., where the defendant unsuccessfully attempted to rely on these special termination provisions. This is likely the first reported decision in Ontario to interpret these regulations. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : En tenant compte à la fois de la préservation des droits constitutionnels fondamentaux de l’accusé et de la sécurité du public en salle d’audience, la Cour prévoit que les témoins, qui n’ont exprimé aucune réserve à cet égard, retireront leur couvre-visage afin de témoigner.

Intitulé : R. . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at Slaw.ca.

Current postings on Slaw Jobs:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

How Focusing on Small, Consistent Activities Can Generate Big Opportunities

I saw a version of this poster on LinkedIn a few months ago and it immediately resonated with me. I suspect many of my legal marketing colleagues would feel the same.

I often hear from lawyers that it’s difficult for them to find the time for marketing and business development and that they don’t know where to start. My response is almost always the same – start small, keep it simple, and focus on your strengths.

START SMALL

Or in other words, figure out what you can do in 0.1 (six minutes)

  • Get online – Make a habit of using
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Marketing

No Expectation of Perfection in Taking Reasonable Precautions Under OHSA

By Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, HRinfodesk

Sometimes just doing enough is insufficient. In a nutshell, this was the decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in Liquor Control Board of Ontario v Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2021 CanLII 15607 (ON LRB) when it ruled on the employer’s measures in combatting COVID-19, which were deemed insufficient by a health and safety investigator. . . . [more]

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

You Jump, I Jump: The Perils of Over-Identifying With a Client

Over-identifying with a client can impair objective representation. The Law Society of British Columbia’s “Common-sense Guidelines for Family Law Lawyers” includes nine “Best Practice Guidelines for Lawyers Practicing Family Law”. The second one is that “lawyers should strive to remain objective at all times” and should not “over-identify with clients or be unduly influenced by the emotions of the moment.” In the midst of doing some research recently, I did a search on CanLII of professional misconduct decisions involving family lawyers and I came across an interesting relationship. Of the first thirteen decisions that I looked at, five . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

The Post-COVID Library

It’s been over a year since WHO formally declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since that time, our lives—both personal and professional—have changed. With many people working from home and the need to lessen physical contact, law libraries have had to change how they provide library services. Of these changes, which ones are likely to stick around and what are the long-term implications?

Death of the looseleaf?

I know, we’ve been predicting the death of the looseleaf for years. And yet, despite all predictions, looseleafs are still with us. Will COVID-19 be the thing that kills them off?

The value of having . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. R. v. Desautel, 2021 SCC 17 (CanLII)

[18] Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, says:

The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.

Les droits existants — ancestraux ou issus de traités — des peuples autochtones du Canada sont reconnus et confirmés.

It is clear from the text of s. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Challenging Bill 21: The Decision on Section 33 of the Charter (Among Other Things)

In 2000, in an article in the UNB Law Journal (Vol. 49, 169) about section 33, entitled “Section 33 of the Charter: What’s the Problem, Anyway? (Or, Why A Feminist Thinks Section 33 Does Matter)” I said, “Whatever merits it might have, dressed up as a means to represent the will of the people against the follies of unelected courts, recourse to section 33 may actually legitimate the continuation of prejudice.” (p.169) Bill 21 (SQ 2019, c12), An Act respecting the laicity of the State, illustrates the scope of section 33 to have a significant impact on freedom of . . . [more]

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

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on practice, research, writing and technology.

Research & Writing

Font Wars
Neil Guthrie

You may have seen that the US District Court for the District of Columbia has issued guidance (it isn’t framed as a directive, exactly) on its preferences for typefaces in documents submitted to the court. Briefs (as they call them in the USA) must be at least 14-point in size (judges tend to be older, and presumably need large-print formats), and in . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

What Will the Future of Law Practice Be?

Earlier this year, I attended a virtual, all-day workshop, Building the Next Legal Practice, by the Center of Legal Innovation in Australia for LegalTech Week. At the event, were asked to envision the future legal industry of 2025.

Compared to Canada, Australia has had non-lawyer ownership for over 20 years and as such, Australian lawyers operate under a different regulatory environment. Australian lawyers had very different predictions for the future of practicing law than a similar group of Canadian lawyers would. I will elaborate on some of these and then relate them to the Canadian context.

1. Half of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Tech-Savvy Law Librarians for the New Era

This submission is part of a column swap with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) bimonthly member magazine, AALL Spectrum. Published six times a year, AALL Spectrum is designed to further professional development and education within the legal information industry. Slaw and the AALL Spectrum board have agreed to hand-select several columns each year as part of this exchange. 

The role of the law librarian continues to evolve in exciting and challenging ways. In the mid-2000’s, we saw many librarians in the law firm and corporate world expand their work beyond traditional legal research to include responding to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information