Man looking out a window at cityscape

COVID-19 Has Changed The Framework Through Which We View And Engage With The Criminal Court System

“Lord, Make me an instrument of Your Peace…” Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Many years ago, when I was learning about the importance of seeing things from other perspectives, I was taught a very useful exercise: Picture yourself at the top of a hill, looking out at the most beautiful view imaginable. Between you and the view is a small wall, set with three windows. One of the windows is circular; one is square and one is diamond-shaped. You look through the circular window and admire the scenery through it. You move to the square window and realize that, even though you are looking at the same scene, it appears different. When you gaze at it through the diamond-shaped window it is even more different – it could be an entirely different landscape. Step away from the wall, and it changes and expands even more dramatically.

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Investing in community to reduce crime requires teamwork

Investing in our Community to Reduce Crime

In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, a public movement has begun to “defund the police”. 

As I understand it, very few people are calling for the abolition of the police as an institution. Rather, most are calling for a transfer of funds presently being invested in policing toward investment in community programs and resources. The rationale being that many community programs have the potential to lead to better outcomes at a lower cost. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

Although “defunding the police” is not the choice of words that I would have used, the underlying concerns warrant serious consideration. 

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What To Do if Your Long-Term Disability Benefits Are Terminated

You worked for an employer for several years and then became ill or injured. You were placed on short-term disability, and then unfortunately, your condition was serious enough that you applied for and received long-term disability (“LTD”) benefits. Despite your desire to get back to work, and taking every possible step to recover and feel well, you are still not able to return to your previous job.

If you have not looked closely at your LTD policy, you might assume that you will continue to receive those benefits. Surely, you legitimately cannot do your previous job, and this is what those benefits are for. Do not be shocked if, as you approach the point where you have been receiving LTD benefits for two years, you receive a letter from the benefits provider telling you that your benefits will be terminated on the second anniversary of the start of your LTD claim.

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Insurance costs money but doesn't always pay out

National Insurance Awareness Day: The Issues With Insurance And What You Can Do About It

How many of you knew that June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day? I did not until recently. In my legal practice, I deal with insurance companies on a daily basis. Insurance touches almost every part of our lives. If you drive a car, by law you must buy insurance. If you own a home with a mortgage, you will need insurance. Many people protect loved ones by buying life insurance and disability insurance. We buy travel insurance to protect us when we are travelling.

Insurance is everywhere.

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Examples of the tools of civil jury trials in Ontario

Is This The End of the Civil Jury in Ontario?

On June 5, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Doug Downey, Ontario’s current Attorney General, called for input on temporarily suspending civil juries. The reality is that the civil courts have been essentially shut down since mid-March. Civil cases already take a back seat to criminal and family law trials. When the courts open, there is going to be a large backlog of cases that need to be dealt with and civil cases will be at the back of the line.

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Lawyer using video call technology due to Covid-19 distancing measures

COVID-19 Forces Lawyers to Embrace New Technologies

The practice of law is by its nature a conservative endeavor; resistant to adaptation and slow to accept change. This is largely a positive attribute as it prevents radical changes and keeps the legal system functioning in a consistent and predictable way.

But there are ways that this conservative tendency has not been positive. One example of this is lawyers’ slow adaption to technological change. To this day, service of legal documents by fax is the norm. For any millennials reading this who have never heard of a fax, for our purposes consider it an old fashion form of email that was popular in the 1980’s.

With the Covid-19 epidemic shutting down Ontario Courts and disrupting life as we previously knew it, the legal profession is being forced to adopt more current technological standards.  

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Major Junior Hockey players on the ice

Are Junior Hockey Players Employees Like The Rest Of Us?

It is a cold January evening somewhere in Ontario. You are sitting in an arena with thousands of other fans. You have paid good money for tickets, for popcorn, hot dogs and maybe even a beer. A large number of the crowd bought and paid for sweaters, toques, ball caps, and scarves bearing the colours and logo of their chosen team. You (and the thousands of others) have paid a pretty penny, but it is all worth it - you get to see the fastest team sport on earth, the owners and coaches and other team staff are making a good living, and the players are living their dream and are surely earning a good wage – I mean we all know how much high-level athletes earn right?

That last part may be true at the highest levels of professional hockey but, in this scenario, you happen to be watching a game at the elite level of Junior Hockey in Ontario – one of the traditional stepping stones to pro hockey. There are millions of dollars being spent by the fans, so those young men, aged 16 to 20 must be sharing the wealth, right? Well, maybe not to the degree that you might think.

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