Immigration Minister Jason Kenney makes welcome changes to refugee bill

May 14, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s rare and refreshing to see a member of Stephen Harper’s cabinet offer to amend a punitive piece of legislation.

“We have listened to parliamentarians on Bill C-31 (which overhauls Canada’s refugee system) and as a result we have a stronger bill,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told fellow MPs. “The government is open to reasonable suggestions.”

The changes he is proposing won’t satisfy refugee advocates, human rights activists or the opposition parties. But they would alleviate one of the harshest provisions of the legislation.

The original version of the bill, tabled in February, said asylum seekers who are part of “mass arrivals” would face mandatory detention for 12 months with no review. The amended version would require an initial review within 14 days, a second review six months later.

To read more:–immigration-minister-jason-kenney-makes-welcome-changes-to-refugee-bill


Toronto-area teen shares domestic abuse story

May 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Toronto-area teen shares domestic abuse story

Categories: Uncategorized

Family Law Equalization Claims and Bankruptcy – Schreyer v. Schreyer (2011 SCC 35)

July 18, 2011 Leave a comment

The parties married in 1980, separated in 1999 and filed for divorce in 2000. Before a master undertook the valuation, the husband made an assignement in bankruptcy without listing the wife as a creditor. She did not receive any notice of the assignment as well. Husband’s bankruptcy was discharged in 2002. The master subsequently proceeded with the valuation and found that the wife was entitled to an equalization payment of $41,063.48. The Court of Appeal held that the wife’s equalization claim was provable in bankruptcy and had been extinguished by the discharge of the husband’s bankruptcy.

On July 14, 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed with the Manitoba Court of Appeal, and dismissed the wife’s equalization claim. Manitoba is an “equalization jurisdiction”, and not a “division of property jurisdiction”. Ontario is also an “equalization jurisdiction”. The wife did not have any proprietary right in the husband’s property, and was therefore only a creditor of the husband.

As to the effect of bankruptcy, the wife’s claim was provable in the husband’s bankruptcy. It was neither proprietary, nor was it exempt from the effect of a discharge as a claim for support or maintenance. Upon the discharge of the husband,  he was released from all claims provable in bankruptcy, including the equalization claim.

Link to the case: Schreyer v Schreyer (2011 SCC 35) –


May 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Employment News

TheStar Toronto votes to contract out garbage pickup

May 18, 2011 1 comment

TheStar Toronto votes to contract out garbage pickup.

Mayor Rob Ford has won his biggest victory since storming into office, setting the stage for a new era of privatization with a garbage contract that slashes 300 unionized city jobs.

“We’re getting this city turned around,” Ford crowed Tuesday night after council voted 32-13 to start a bidding process that, if it unfolds as predicted, could see a private waste hauler collect garbage from 165,000 households between Yonge St. and Etobicoke’s eastern edge.

“It’s respect for taxpayers, and this is another huge victory for us,” he said, predicting full private collection in Toronto’s west side by early 2013 will provide a stark contrast with city-provided collection in the east which will go private as well.

Rather than bow to defeat, CUPE Local 416 president Mark Ferguson claimed a “partial victory” that he thinks could scuttle the rush to shove 300 of his members with “temporary” classification out the door.

Councillor Ana Bailão’s successful motion requiring the city manager to conduct an “independent review” of private bids — to verify they would be cheaper than city collection —means the vote is “not a defeat at all,” Ferguson insisted.

“I believe that once real and true and verifiable numbers are brought back to this council, that the facts will win the day and fury will take a back seat.”

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee, expressed confidence in the city figures. Ferguson “may be looking into his own little crystal ball and wanting to see certain things,” he said.

Council also defied Ford 23-21 in favour of Councillor Josh Matlow’s motion to ban Progressive Waste Solutions from bidding on the contract. The company recently hired Geoff Rathbone, the city waste manager who recommended privatization.

And, facing a revolt by council centrists, the mayor announced Tuesday morning he was dropping a staff recommendation that, after council approved the tender process, a staff committee — rather than council — be allowed to award the actual contract.

Councillor Sarah Doucette, who voted against the measure, expressed dismay that private companies sometimes provide no pensions and few sick days. Doucette said she needed more information from the city before she could be convinced that outsourcing was a prudent fiscal decision.

“I don’t know if it’s going to save us anything, because I haven’t seen the correct numbers,” Doucette said.

Staff will now develop a “request for quotation” bidding process, with a contract expected to return to council for approval in the summer or fall of 2012. Predicted savings are $6 million per year, while privatization efforts involving pickup from parks and vacuum street cleaners could save another $2 million.

The mayor went on the attack early Tuesday, saying those who voted against him would be exposed as “tax-and-spend socialists.”

“We’re going to divide ourselves up today into two groups and it’s going to be very simple for the taxpayers to see,” Ford said. “You’re going to have one side of council that is going to support high taxes, big spending, out-of-control union contracts,” he continued, to a chorus of boos from orange-clad union members who packed the public gallery.

“We’re going to have the other side of council that is going to demonstrate restraint in spending . . . have respect for taxpayers’ dollars, that want to have accountability at City Hall, that are sick and tired of the tax-and-spend socialists at City Hall.”

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said CUPE members have only themselves to blame. Opinion polls have shown Torontonians’ strong support for private garbage collection is rooted in the 39-day strike in 2009 that saw stinking piles of trash around the city, and union members forcing residents to wait, bags in hand, at temporary dumpsites.

“Taxpayers want to be respected, even with their garbage. And that’s what brought us to this point,” he said.

With files from Daniel Dale

How they voted

Toronto City Council has voted 32-13 in favour of contracting out garbage collection from Yonge St. to the eastern edge of Etobicoke.

Ford allies

Mayor Rob Ford Yes

Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1) Yes

Doug Ford (Ward 2) Yes

Doug Holyday (Ward 3) Yes

Gloria Lindsay Luby (Ward 4) Yes

Peter Milczyn (Ward 5) Yes

Mark Grimes (Ward 6) Yes

Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7) Yes

James Pasternak (Ward 10) Yes

Frances Nunziata (Ward 11) Yes

Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12) Yes

Karen Stintz (Ward 16) Yes

Cesar Palacio (Ward 17) Yes

David Shiner (Ward 24) Yes

Jaye Robinson (Ward 25) Yes

John Parker (Ward 26) Yes

Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34) Yes

Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35) Yes

Gary Crawford (Ward 36) Yes

Michael Thompson (Ward 37) Yes

Mike Del Grande (Ward 39) Yes

Norm Kelly (Ward 40) Yes

Paul Ainslie (Ward 43) Yes

Mushy Middle

Josh Colle (Ward 15) Yes

Ana Bailao (Ward 18) Yes

Josh Matlow (Ward 22) Yes

Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32) Yes

Chin Lee (Ward 41) Yes

Raymond Cho (Ward 42) Yes

Ron Moeser (Ward 44) Yes


Anthony Perruzza (Ward 8) No

Maria Augimeri (Ward 9) No

Sarah Doucette (Ward 13) No

Gord Perks (Ward 14) No

Mike Layton (Ward 19) No

Adam Vaughan (Ward 20) No

Joe Mihevc (Ward 21) No

John Filion (Ward 23) Yes

Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27) No

Pam McConnell (Ward 28) No

Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29) No

Paula Fletcher (Ward 30) No

Janet Davis (Ward 31) No

Shelley Carroll (Ward 33) Yes

Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38) No

Contracting electronically in employment

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment
[Dave Cutler / Illustration Source]
Click here to see full sized version.

As e-commerce and electronic communications become more prevalent and expansive, employment lawyers must be ready to advise clients in the area of electronic contracting.

In 1999, the Canadian Uniform Electronic Commerce Act was adopted as a model for electronic commerce laws in Canada. All Canadian jurisdictions, except the Northwest Territories, have adopted similar legislation to govern contracting electronically.

In Ontario, electronic contracts are governed by the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 (ECA). This legislative framework presents novel legal issues and opportunities in the employment context, from initial employment contracts to mid-contract amendments and new policy implementation.

In order to permit electronic contracts, documents and signatures to have the same legal effect as their written counterparts, the ECA employs functional equivalency provisions. For example, it provides that so long as certain preconditions are met, an electronic document will satisfy a legal requirement that a document be in writing, an original, and even in a specified non-electronic form.

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Marriages of convenience

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

In a recent expose into how some individuals are abusing the immigration system, CBC has documented the marriages of convenience. The November 10, 2010, CBC news story titled – Marriages of convenience problems persist highlights the role of human smugglers, narcotics, and sex traders in this big money business. This sort of abuses often makes the legitimate applicants’ application process even more difficult and lengthy. While acknowledging that there is a problem, it is also to be stressed that the officers of the CIC are also at a loss as to how to screen for these people.

In the case of spousal sponsorship from Sri Lanka or India, it has been reported the Visa officers had requested honeymoon photos and photos of typica hindu weddings to prove that actual wedding took place. While not completely disagreeing with these requests it is also to be pointed out that not all the couples from Sri Lanka or India would opt to have a typical and the more grand traditional weddings these days. The onus is therefore on the applicant to prove the legitimacy of their wedding. But, the visa officers need to also be sensitive to these changes and be open to evidence that would demonstrate a real marriage, albeit without a grand Hindu wedding ceremony or a honeymoon at a holiday location.

Another problem that has been rearing its scary face is the problem of bribes by visa offices. It has been reported that visa officials in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India have reportedly asked for bribes even from couples that were able to demonstrate legitimate marriages to fast track their applications. This is a shame if this is actually happening and definitely warrants a full scale investigation.