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Why a Scent-Free Policy Not a Solution in the Detection of Cannabis Impairment

There is a recent article that suggested that implementing a scent-free or fragrance-free environment policy would help employers know if their employee is high at work from cannabis use, and what actions to take when they catch them high at work.

Most people are familiar with smoking dried cannabis in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes or water pipes-but people can consume cannabis in many forms, including: “vaping”; eaten in cannabis-infused foods called “edibles” (e.g., cooking oils and drinks); applied as oils, ointments, tinctures, cream and concentrates (e.g., butane hash oil, resins and waxes); and of course, ingested as oral pills and oral . . . [more]

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

Physician Billings Are Not Personal Information in Ontario

Canada’s unique health care system, which is publicly funded but largely privately administered, is one of the most important political and public policy issues in our society.

Negotiations between physicians and the government in Ontario in past years has been strained, with the parties unable to achieve an agreement on Jan. 15, 2015. In the years that have followed, there has been greater scrutiny of these negotiations, especially by members of the public who are concerned about the effect on patient care. Ontario spends $11.6 billion on compensation to doctors, $7.9 billion of which is fee-for-service under the Ontario Health . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Constitutionality of Reconstituting the City of Toronto

On Oct. 20, 2018, the City of Toronto its 86th municipal election, the largest city in Canada, with?the 6th largest government in the country and?nearly 8% of the entire country’s population.?On July 27, 2018, just a few months before this election, the new Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that he will reduce the number of city council seats from 44 to 25.

There have been calls supporting and opposing this exact change, years before Premier Ford won the provincial election this year. Other cities around the world have effectively functioned with similar numbers in representation. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Information Needed to Assess Children’s Lawyer Function

The involvement of children in our legal system is one that requires particular sensitivity and care, given their own limits of autonomy, but also the long-lasting consequences that the justice system can have on them. Access to information as to how our system works is central to this ability to assess its function.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently reversed in?Ontario (Children’s Lawyer) v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner)?a decision that would release information held by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL), which will make any independent review of their function by third-parties more challenging in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employer’s Unilateral Change of Bonus Provisions Unenforceable

The Ontario Superior Court recently awarded 30 months’ notice period and bonus payments in full during that notice period to a long-service employee. The Judge noted that termination without cause in this case resulted in forced resignation as comparable employment was not available for the 62-year-old employee who had devoted 37 years to the company, and was therefore entitled to 30 months’ notice period. Moreover, the altered conditions of employment whereby bonus payments would only be payable if employed on date of payout was struck down as it was not appropriately communicated to affected employees-as the Judge noted that posting . . . [more]

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

Judicial Review Properly Initiated at Divisional Court

The first stop in the lawsuit against the Statement of Principles concluded this month, with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upholding a motion by the law society to transfer the matter to the Divisional Court.

The Amended Application in this matter disposed of the injunctive relief originally sought, and instead seeks a number of declarations, including an interpretation and content of what the Statement of Principles obligation means, that the requirements are?ultra vires?the?Law Society Act, and challenging the constitutionality of the requirements.

It’s the latter relief, the constitutionality of the Statement of Principles, that . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Threat of Creeping Charterism

Far-right American groups tout the threat of “creeping sharia.” Comparable groups in Canada appear to be warning of a threat of a different kind, of the influence of the Charter in Canadian society.

If this seems puzzling, you’re not alone. The Charter is part of the Canadian constitution, arguably the most important legal document in our entire system. And yet, it becomes a convenient scapegoat when courts make decisions that some aspects of society disagree with.

What I’m talking about is Prof. Bruce Pardy, who criticized the Court’s decision in?Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Telus Texts Not Intercepted When Stored

Many Canadians confuse the law when it comes to recording telephone conversations, likely due to exposure to American concepts in the media. Although the Wiretap Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. § 2511) contains a one-party consent rule, a dozen states have a two-party consent that supersedes American Federal law, and given its presence in California (Cal. Penal Code § 632), it’s likely that this is often the source of the misunderstanding in Canada.

In Canada, we have Part VI of the Criminal Code, which states,

Consent to interception

?Where a private communication is originated by more than one person

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Right to Terminate Group Benefits at 65 on the Road to a Successful Challenge

The number of workers over the age of 65 has risen significantly in recent years. The increasing number of older employees who choose to remain in the workplace, combined with the elimination of mandatory retirement across Canada, has put into question the issue of the termination of benefits after an employee reaches the age of 65.

While most employers routinely terminate benefits at age 65, the changing workforce demographic has created a demand for benefits coverage for older workers. However, providing benefits to employees past the age of 65 can be difficult because insurers either will not provide the coverage, . . . [more]

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

“A Trial Is Not a Tea Party,” Is What They Will Say

You can expect to hear, “A trial is not a tea party,” from a lawyer on the other side, sometime in the near future.

That lawyer will likely be acting in an obstinate, demeaning, impolite, or even aggressive manner, and this quip will come quickly in defence of their conduct.

The reason I can predict this with absolute certainty is the?recent??Supreme Court’s decision in?Groia v. Law Society of Upper Canada,?released this week, which evaluated the law society’s discipline hearing decision in 2013. The discipline involved Groia’s defence in?R. v. Felderhof,?of a mining . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Juror Research Online and Mistrials

With a smartphone in every pocket, and easy access to the law in every home, when does independent research by a juror become sufficient for a mistrial? The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently explored this issue during a personal injury trial in?Patterson v. Peladeau,?where Justice Hackland dismissed the motion for mistrial.

At issue for the mistrial motion was an unusual jury question on the first day of deliberations. The content of the note inferred that the jury had been discussing the liability issue at trial, but in an context of a statutory reference that was not at . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Published Criteria for Reasonable Accommodation Under Quebec’s Face Covering Law

On May 9, 2018, the Quebec government published its criteria for reasonable accommodation under an Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies (the Act, previously Bill 62) that requires among other things, Quebecers to leave their faces uncovered in order to provide or receive public services.

Under the Act, employees and members of public bodies and certain other bodies, as well as elected persons, must exercise their functions with their face uncovered. In addition, persons who request a service from one of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation