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Last Build Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:00:49 +0000

 



Monday’s Mix

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:00:49 +0000

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Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Canadian Securities Law 2. Risk Management & Crisis Response 3. Administrative Law Matters 4. The Lean Law Firm 5. Susan On The Soapbox

Canadian Securities Law CSA: EU Trading Venues with Canadian Participants Subject to Canadian Rules (Unless Exempt)

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have issued . . . [more]




Cloud Data Should Stay Grounded in Border Searches

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 04:14:52 +0000

Crossing the American border with electronic devices has long been a concern for both the public and lawyers in Canada. Border officials have always had more power to inspect or search electronic devices than domestic police, but this has also raised some concerns for American citizens as well.

While the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), does not apply to data stored on a personal device, this information is still protected in the U.S. under the Fourth Amendment. The notable exceptions to this include search incident to arrest and border searches. The Supreme Court of the United States has justified this . . . [more]




Trade Secrets – the Other Intellectual Property

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 12:00:47 +0000

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Alongside the traditional forms of registerable intellectual property managed by intellectual property offices, patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial designs (and integrated circuit topographies), one of the most valuable forms of intellectual property for many businesses is trade secrets.

Trade secrets encompass almost anything of a confidential nature that can provide a competitive advantage. Trade secrets include know how, processes, customer/supplier lists, formulas, processes and methods. Trade secrets are not registered with any government authorities but can be maintained indefinitely.

To be preserved, trade secrets have to be kept confidential, This is typically done through a combination of physical, technological and . . . [more]




Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 12:00:38 +0000

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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.

CONSTITUTIONNEL (DROIT) : Les appelantes échouent dans leur tentative de contester la validité constitutionnelle des articles 51, 52 et 58 de la Charte de la langue française, portant sur la langue du commerce et des affaires.

Intitulé : 156158 Canada inc. c. Attorney General of Quebec, 2017 QCCA 2055 . . . [more]




Access Copyright v. York University, and the Friends of Intellectual Property

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 12:00:32 +0000

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Last summer, York University declared that it will appeal the July 12, 2017 ruling of the Federal Court of Canada that was made in favor of Access Copyright, whose tariff on course materials, approved by Copyright Board of Canada, the university refused to pay. Instead of paying a set fee per student, York had relied on its interpretation of fair dealing to guide its faculty’s use of course readings. The court’s decision, delivered by Justice Michael L. Phelan, has been much commented upon, and I seek to add but a late footnote’s worth of further context as an educator and . . . [more]




Regulation, Statutory Interpretation, and Questionable Libation

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:00:39 +0000

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Generally speaking, products we ingest like food, beverages, drugs and nutritional supplements are subject to basic regulations so we as consumers know what we are putting into our bodies. Things like ingredients, quantity, and source come to mind as basic information that should be available on packaging, or otherwise be readily discernable when interacting with these regulated products. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of consumers and producers alike, the legislation and administrative regimes in Canada that strive to ensure that food and beverage labeling and classification is intuitive and transparent remain works in progress. Shifting consumer demands and habits, developments . . . [more]




Electronic Wills Down Under and Closer to Home

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:00:57 +0000

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This column canvasses some recent developments in the law affecting electronic wills and reviews the Canadian position.

The forms an electronic will might take have been tested down under in recent years. Consider if the law anywhere in Canada would have, or should have, produced similar results.

Australia

In Yu, Re [2013] QSC 322, the High Court of Queensland gave probate to a will contained in the iPad of the deceased Mr. Yu, who had killed himself. The will was done up like a traditional will, i.e. with the heading ‘last will and testament’, and it contained many of the . . . [more]




The Statement of Principles and Inter-Bubble Communication About Racism

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 12:00:49 +0000

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There has been significant controversy in Ontario over the new Law Society requirement that every licensee “adopt and to abide by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in their behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public”.

The nature of the Statement of Principles controversy

Much of the controversy has focused on concern that the requirement compelled expressions of belief and accordingly raised the issue of freedom of speech. This was not an unreasonable concern for at least two reasons. As Alice Woolley pointed out in her op-ed column published in . . . [more]




Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 12:00:38 +0000

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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. Maclean v. The Barking Frog, 2013 HRTO 630

[2] The facts of the case before me are relatively straightforward. The applicant is a young man who lives in London, Ontario. Late in the evening on September 6, 2012, he and some friends went to a local bar, The Barking Frog, and approached the doorman to inquire as to the cover charge. . . . [more]




CanniMed Sues Aurora Cannabis for $725,000,000

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:00:17 +0000

2018 began with a bang in the Canadian cannabis industry.

After the markets closed this past Friday, January 12, 2018, CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. (“CanniMed”), announced that it had commenced a lawsuit against Aurora Cannabis Inc. (“Aurora”) and a number of large CanniMed shareholders.

In the announcement, CanniMed indicated that the claim was for $725 million in damages resulting from the defendants’ (alleged) “unlawful actions that have negatively affected the appreciation of the value of common shares of CanniMed and prevented CanniMed from pursuing alternative change of control transactions for the benefit of the CanniMed shareholders.”

While the press release contained . . . [more]




What Lawyers Need to Know About Blockchain

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:00:04 +0000

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As I am writing this, one bitcoin is traded at about USD$17,600. In 2013, bitcoin traded at about USD$100. I thought it was a scam at the time and did not buy any. Since then I’ve changed my mind and started thinking, writing, and building about and around bitcoin and other blockchain technologies. It helped that I am both a computer programmer and a lawyer and that I had economics training. So if you are a lawyer and you missed the bitcoin rush but interested in catching up in your knowledge, read on.

Bitcoin is one way of using a . . . [more]




Pulling the Plug on Big Tech

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 12:00:51 +0000

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One of the biggest changes the technological revolution has given rise to is the rise of the dominant business model of providing free services to people in exchange for an extraordinary wide licence to exploit their data. There is a cost to us that we don’t see, but we are starting to see that it is having a large and incremental impact on our communities, our societies, and our lives. The “Big Tech” digital gatekeepers such as Facebook, Google, Snapchat, etc. refine and exploit our data and have by now laid waste to the advertising multiverse and turned that once . . . [more]




Monday’s Mix

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 12:00:25 +0000

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Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Eloise Gratton 2. Barry Sookman 3. Legal Post Blog 4. Canadian Combat Sports Law Blog 5. The Court

Eloise Gratton VTech Data Breach Enforcement Actions – Guidance for Data Security and Privacy Law Compliance

The January 2018 OPC finding and settlement of VTech data breach enforcement actions . . . [more]




Keeping Kitchen on the Bench

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 02:24:54 +0000

Late last year, with the appointment of Sheilah Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada, Penny Collenette of University of Ottawa Law reflected in the Toronto Star on whether we appreciate our Supreme Court justices enough,

…it is not uncommon for justices to retire from the bench before their retirement date. The case load and the isolation of the position can be wearing. Working intensely with eight colleagues from different backgrounds and different regions of the country in an austere setting can cause friction.

She refers to a new book by Prof Backhouse, A Life, which covers the life . . . [more]




Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:00:57 +0000

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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.

FISCALITÉ : L’article 1138 paragraphe 4 de la Loi sur les impôts ne distingue pas les «opérations intervenues entre la société de personnes et ses membres» selon qu’elles sont de nature courante ou en capital; les éléments d’actif qui peuvent être retranchés en vertu du paragraphe 3 b) in fine . . . [more]




Evidence Versus Prediction

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 12:00:26 +0000

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What is the point of all that time-consuming and expensive study of and training in law, jurisprudence and rational thinking if, once into the real world, it is all thrown aside in favour of feelings and emotions, fairground fortune-telling, astrology, belief in the power of positive thinking and gambling like a sad addict?

It seems to me that people attempting to influence serious lawyers or sell to them should realise that the latter are sometimes cautious and risk-aware for the very good reason that they are supposed to rely primarily on evidence and logic before making judgments. While, obviously, the . . . [more]




Seeing (And Feeling) the Family Justice System Through the Eyes of the Therapy Dog

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 12:00:43 +0000

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On behalf of the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab, I’m lucky enough to be part of a team that is working with families and family-serving agencies and services in Kamloops BC to improve the family justice system. We call the initiative “Pathfinder” and it is a collective of people, organizations and government supported by Access to Justice BC. We are using a human-centred service design approach that tries to see the system from the perspective of the families who are transitioning through separation and divorce. I hope to share more about this fascinating initiative in a future post. . . . [more]




Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 12:00:16 +0000

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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 Vader, 2018 ABQB 1

[21] Applying that test to this case, leads to these conclusions. In this case, the evidence as found by the trial judge supported the inference that the Accused possessed both items as weapons. Again, on the evidence found by the trial judge, the possibility that the items were possessed for a non-violent use was not . . . [more]




Beware the Legal Precedent

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 12:00:08 +0000

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Any legal tech company or firm that tries to systematize legal agreements have faced the challenge of finding that perfect agreement as the precedent for automation. That perfect agreement, be it shareholder agreement, employment agreements, or a master service agreement that all lawyers can agree on, that will be the perfect epitome of that agreement. Without such a thing, firms and legal technology companies alike are left with little hope of standardizing and automating a key legal task: the drafting of legal agreements.

There are many reasons law firms and legal tech companies would want to identify a model agreement: . . . [more]




Tips Tuesday

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 12:00:14 +0000

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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 research, writing, and practice.

Practice

A New Way to Look at Law Firm Marketing Plans Sandra Bekhor

You’ve been hemming and hawing about whether or not it would be worthwhile to develop a marketing plan for your firm. Meanwhile, there’s been no change to the status quo, even though you’re not actually satisfied that you’re meeting your practice goals. Well, here’s a new way to look at the problem. …

Writing

Miscellaneous Little Things . . . [more]




Trending: The Digital Justice Filter Bubble

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 12:00:09 +0000

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Attend any conference on digital justice and you’ll hear about smart systems, expert systems and solution explorers, you’ll be told that eBay’s automated dispute resolution program resolves over 65 million cases each year. Access to justice, 24/7, in your pyjamas. Modern and efficient, it gives people what they want.

The future’s so bright, you better wear shades.

Then come the Q and A’s, and someone asks about individuals who don’t have computers, who aren’t computer literate, who won’t be able to effectively represent themselves no matter the amount of online information. “Of course” comes the standard response, “we will need . . . [more]




Legal Podcasts

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 20:25:01 +0000

Over the winter break, I was able to catch up on many podcasts gathering cyberdust on my iPhone’s chips. With 2018 upon us, this may be a good time to review some of my favourite commuting companions and feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below. In no particular order…

The Docket

Listening to Michael Spratt@mspratt and Emilie Taman @EmilieTaman chat about Canadian legal issues, their family and anything else that catches their attention is just like pulling up a chair into their family room. The tone is casual. The topics are timely and the banter . . . [more]




The Problem of Change

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 12:00:24 +0000

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Several mass media pundits currently argue that change is accelerating and that technology is mostly responsible. Such change is affecting employees and persons about to enter the job market.

I feel that these changes are due in part to the “creative destruction” of the capitalistic system.

Do commercial firms become less efficient as they increase in size and grow older?

I submit that over time a firm is challenged by both growth and technological change. History shows that only a few firms are able to survive these challenges.

The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune . . . [more]




Monday’s Mix

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 12:00:02 +0000

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Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Ontario Condo Law Blog 2. Canadian Class Actions Monitor 3. Global Workplace Insider 4. Eva Chan 5. Le Blogue du CRL

Ontario Condo Law Blog Suggested new year’s resolutions for the new Condo Authority

It’s customary in late December to ponder resolutions for the coming year, especially . . . [more]




An Algorithm’s Charter Rights

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 04:15:34 +0000

Everywhere I go during the holidays I seem to be surrounded by Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant. While these computers don’t yet talk the way do, it did have me thinking about the expression rights that might be protected by the Charter.

In 1996, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in Daniel J. Bernstein et al., v. United States Department of State et al. that software source could be protected under the American First Amendment,

…the particular language one chooses change the nature of language for First Amendment purposes. This court can

. . . [more]



Reputational Harm of Legal Blogging

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 14:00:10 +0000

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No, not the author’s reputation. The subject’s.

In early December, the Americans celebrated legal blogging with the ABA Journal Web 100, and on December 31st, Canada did likewise with the 2017 Clawbies. In between, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPCC) posted a summary of submissions received in its ongoing study into the privacy issues surrounding Online Reputation. Legal blogging wasn’t explicitly mentioned, but it’s hard to see how the subject can be avoided.

The original consultation document notes that “dating sites, sites that re-post court and tribunal decisions, and, overwhelmingly, the so-called revenge and . . . [more]




End of Year Legal Information Update From Washington, DC

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 12:00:52 +0000

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Winter has arrived here with cold (for us) temperatures and some icy snow. But there is good news coming from some U.S. government information sources. In October the Law Library of Congress, where I volunteer, announced a new chatbot service.

“We are excited to announce the release of a new chatbot that can connect you to primary sources of law, Law Library research guides and our foreign law reports. The chatbot has a clickable interface that will walk you through a basic reference interview. Just click “get started,” respond “yes” or “no” to its questions, and then click on the . . . [more]




Welcome to 2018 With New Employment and Labour Law Rules and Obligations Across Canada

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 16:51:44 +0000

Welcome to 2018 and a load of new employment and labour law rules and obligations across Canada.

As most of you already know, a number of new or amended laws and regulations came into effect on January 1 or will come into force later in 2018 across Canada, including marijuana legalization and higher minimum wages in Ontario, Alberta and other jurisdictions. Here is a brief reminder of the new or amended rules you need to be aware of and implement to ensure compliance.

Federal/National (applicable across all jurisdictions)

1. Legalization of recreational marijuana

The federal government intends to legalize recreational . . . [more]




Justice Innovation Lessons of 2017

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 12:00:15 +0000

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What did 2017 bring? Lots of hard work, but was the dial on justice innovation moved?

Let me briefly beat my drum again why I we must ask this question every year; ministers of justice, chief justices, MPs, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, justice NGOs, tax payers, voters, and revolutionaries.

The past few months, the organisation I run, HiiL, put all the data that it has collected on justice needs and experiences the past four years together. Almost 70.000 voices. Twelve countries. Africa, the Arab world, and Europe. A new Trend Report based on this data will come out in the first . . . [more]




Reinventing Competence

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 20:22:04 +0000

What do lawyers need to be competent for the practice of law today, and even more, for tomorrow?

The critical importance of at least a foundational knowledge of the law, and the ability to conduct appropriate research to find the answers to what one doesn’t yet know, is generally acknowledged. As well, lawyers should be capable advocates, creative problem-solvers and effective counsellors. Also important are communication skills, facility with relevant technologies and business acumen. The list goes on, including both hard and soft skills, developed through law school and articles and then on the job thereafter.

A debate I attended . . . [more]