Friday weekly wrap-up

By Kim Covert August 24, 201824 August 2018

Friday weekly wrap-up


This, but not like that: Saying they agree with the result of the judge’s decision in Canada Without Poverty v AG Canada, but not necessarily the logic used to reach it, the ministers of Finance and National Revenue announced they will appeal the decision. That announcement came just a week after the government announced it would change the parts of the Income Tax Act that the judge in that case struck down, which keep charities from carrying out non-partisan political activities.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould promises to “advance change” on mandatory minimum sentences after an Ottawa judge last week joined the long line of judges who’ve rejected mandatory sentences as cruel and unusual. The Justice Minister told Lawyer’s Daily that she believes judges should have the discretion to decide on appropriate sentencing, but “we need to ensure that we will put in place sentencing reform that will stand the test of time.”

A new mandatory course at the University of Windsor law school this fall will teach aboriginal law – not just how the law affects aboriginal people, but indigenous legal traditions themselves. Cultural competency – ensuring lawyers  are trained in “intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism” as pertains to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples – was one of the calls to action coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

What goes on in the jury room stays in the jury room, according to a law passed in 1972. It promotes frank debate and protects the jury from reprisal. But it also means stressed-out jurors can’t discuss what went on in the case with mental health professionals, whose support following some trials might be critical. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced this week that she’ll look at possible changes to secrecy provisions as part of the government’s ongoing review of the criminal justice system.

Is it a cutting-edge law school or a sure contributor to the articling crisis? Ryerson University’s Law Practice program has been one of those love-it-or-hate-it ideas since before it launched in 2014 as a pilot project. The university has now submitted its application to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to have its law school approved, and should find out within the next six months whether it has received the green light – and provincial funding.

Short-term gain for long-term pain? To date, Brexit has given a bit of a goose to the UK legal sector, with lots of Brexit-related business coming through the door. But it can’t last. The president of the Law Society of England and Wales says the “knock-on impact of Brexit in the wider economy,” will likely be negative. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Christina Blacklaws says the legal sector could be £3B poorer by 2025.

On-boarding a new pet can be a tricky time – the piteous howls of a new pup left alone all day can be heart-breaking (not to mention possibly condo-noise-regulation-breaking). So a company in the U.S. has made it policy to give new pet parents a week’s “paw-ternity” leave to give them a chance to make the new pet feel at home. In Canada, the focus so far has been at the other end of the life cycle – whether to give pet parents bereavement leave when a beloved pet dies. A few Canadian companies are adopting that policy. Can legislation broadening the definition of family be far behind?

Those are the highlights as we saw it. Until next week!

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