Brenda Lauritzen


WillCheck.ca Launch

Jen and I are very excited to announce a project that has been a long time in coming… WillCheck.ca!

We can’t count the number of phone calls we get from members of the public or lawyers looking to find if a will exists. In other provinces there are different solutions to help with this issue that run by different organizations, but we found that in Ontario we were sorely lacking!

So with the help of a FOLA Legal Innovation Award, we set out to see what we could do. We launched the result, Will Check, at our Solicitors conference a couple weeks ago, and got some great feedback!

So what is Will Check and how will it help? In summary:

  • Will Check is a wills registry to store the location information for wills (not the wills themselves), curated by the CCLA Library.
  • If we get a request for a will, ideally we can look up the lawyer who holds the original of that will. We only provide the contact information of that lawyer, not any information about the will itself.
  • Currently requests and submissions can only be made by members of the LSUC.
  • We are beginning the project focused for those who practice in the East Region.
  • The site features simple forms to fill out, making registering wills quick and easy.
  • Sample release available to get client approval.

We will be continually improving and hopefully expanding based on feedback, and are optimistic that this will become an invaluable resource for solicitors who practice in the area of wills and estates. If you have any comments, we’d love to hear them! Let us know.


Ottawa Blog Roll: May 2017

Please find below links to blog posts or articles authored by the Ottawa legal community in May.

Civil Litigation

Boating Insurance Coverage
– Dan Cunningham, Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP

“I Thought I Was OK”—The Invisible Accident Injury
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Is a 6-Year Delay Too Long for Scheduling a Medical Malpractice Trial?
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Jurors in Motor Vehicle Accident Trials: Should All Insured Drivers Be Excluded?
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Is an All-Terrain Vehicle an “Automobile”?
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Are Long Term Disability Settlements Deductible From Other Awards?
– Andrea Girones, Girones Lawyers

Condominium Law

Countdown to your Next AGM (Under the New Condo Act)
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

Condos Have More Time Before Changes to Insurance Regime
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

Steps Required by Condos to Allow for Electronic Service of Documents on Owners
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

Contract Law

Gym Memberships
– Paul Franco, Mann Lawyers

Corporate Commercial Law

Ontario Scale Up Vouchers Program
– Paul Franco, Mann Lawyers

Not-for-Profit Corporations: It May be Time for You to Transition!
– Maria-Cristina Harris, Mann Lawyers

Private Right Of Action Under Anti-Spam Law
– Maria-Cristina Harris, Mann Lawyers

Thinking Ahead to Ensure Your Business is Sale-Ready
– Megan Wallace, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP

Criminal Law

Milling Around In The World Of Internet Privacy
– Dallas Mack, Mack’s Criminal Law

No One Truly Knows a Nation Until One has been Inside Its Jails
– Michael Spratt, Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP

Judicial Poetry
– Michael Spratt, Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP

May 2017 Criminal Law Round-Up
– Anne Marie McElroy, McElroy Law

Digital Privacy And Cell Phone Searches
– Anne Marie McElroy, McElroy Law

April 2017 Criminal Law Round-Up
– Anne Marie McElroy, McElroy Law

Employment & Labour Law

Mo Money Mo Problems (A Review of Termination Pay Obligations for Large Payrolls)
– Sean Bawden, Labour Pains

Continue Reading…


Summer Webinar: CanLII & Lexbox

Nothing says summer like sitting inside at your office desk!

Ok well, I guess that’s not quite how the saying goes. But at least you can break up the monotony and brush up on your research skills (plus get a substantive CPD hour!) by attending our upcoming webinar on CanLII & Lexbox, taking place on Thursday, June 29, 2017 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM.

You’re probably familiar with Canada’s great free legal research tool CanLII, but we’ll go beyond the keyword search and show you how to quickly find what you’re looking for. We’ll also look at Lexbox, which is the nifty app for Google Chrome that allows you to save your research and set up notifications for when new cases come out or legislation is amended.

Registration is $10 to attend, HST included. Please register here!

The day before the session, we’ll send you an email with the link you need to get into the webinar. You will need computer speakers or headphones in order to listen.

See you then!


Information Security Checkup

Are you protected? The WannaCry ransomware wreaked havoc on the world’s information systems this weekend and it continues to spread; and you know what they say, the best time to make sure your information systems are up-to-date is yesterday. The second best time, of course, is now. Trust is infinitely harder to regain than it is to lose, so it’s important you don’t fall into the “it won’t happen to me” fallacy. It’s important you take the time to make sure your firm and your personal information systems are adequately secured.

Here are some bare minimum steps you should be taking to protect your data.

  1. Ensure all of your software is legitimate and up-to-date. WannaCry, as does other malware, propagates itself through flaws discovered in older versions of software. Microsoft patched the vulnerability a month ago, but the ransomware was still able to target systems that had not made the update. It is extremely important to make sure that your software has installed the latest patches. Equally as important is that your software is not so old that it is no longer being supported by the developer.
  2. BACKUPS, BACKUPS, BACKUPS. I can’t stress this enough: you need to consistently backup your data! Attacks such as WannaCry can be easily avoided by just restoring your files from a recent backup. If you’re dealing with your personal system, there is plenty of free software out there to do this, and some low cost cloud options as well. Make sure you can restore your systems easily in case of an emergency.
  3. Don’t click on links from emails until double-checking. Even if it’s seemingly from someone you know, double-check where the link goes first by hovering, or checking with the person who sent it. Better safe than sorry.
  4. Use a password manager. Many problems occur because passwords are too simple and open to a brute force solution by a computer. Additionally, reusing the same passwords on different sites allows easy unauthorized access. Use different, complex passwords on different sites, and use a password manager so you don’t have to worry about remembering all the variations.
  5. Have you been pwned? Check if your email address or passwords have been included in any breaches, and be emailed if it is in any future breaches. If you administer multiple emails across a domain you can check if any are on the lists. If you are; don’t panic! Change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.

All of these might sound a little obvious, but they are simple safeguards to take especially when you are dealing with potentially sensitive information.

 


Ottawa Blog Roll: April 2017

Please find below links to blog posts or articles authored by the Ottawa legal community in April.

Civil Litigation

Contingency Fees
– Bryan Delaney, Delaney’s Law Firm

Changes to the Ontario Insurance Act that will directly impact on your Auto Insurance Benefits – Consumers Beware
– Kevin Cantor, Mann Lawyers

Distracted Driving: Still the #1 Cause of Road Fatalities in Ontario
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Condominium Law

Is your Condo Ready for the Legalization of Marijuana?
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

Condo Arrears Include Legal Fees
– Jocelyn Duquette, Condo Adviser

The Final Version of the Licensing Regulations for Condo Managers is Officially Out!
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

Corporate Commercial Law

Federal Not-for-Profit Corporations: Board Removal – No; Board Suspension – Yes
– Michael A. Chambers, Maclaren Corlett

Securities Alert – Social Media Tips for Reporting Issuers
– Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP

Criminal Law

Lessons For Canada From 13th
– Anne Marie McElroy, McElroy Law

Police Accountability: There is No Right to Silence
– Michael Spratt, Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP

Common Privacy?
– Dallas Mack, Mack’s Criminal Law

Privacy Limitations Defined
– Dallas Mack, Mack’s Criminal Law

March Criminal Law Round-Up
– Anne Marie McElroy, McElroy Law

Employment & Labour Law

Women Without Heels and Full Makeup Need Not Apply
– Dana Du Perron, Nelligan O’Brien Payne

Solidarity and Sacrifice: US Athletes Fight For Equality
– Andrew Reinholdt, Nelligan O’Brien Payne

Wrongful dismissal – when does the limitation period clock start running?
– Andrew Vey, Vey Willetts LLP

Termination Clause Unenforceable due to ‘Potential Violation’ of Minimum Standards
– Paul Willetts, Vey Willetts LLP

Continue Reading…


Asked and Answered: O’Brien’s Jury Charges (1998)

We’ve had a couple inquiries for the O’Brien’s Jury Charges (also known as Civil Jury Charges) publication at the library now. It was first brought to our attention by a student tasked to find it, as it had been referenced in the case Iannarella v. Corbett, 2015 ONCA 110 (CanLII) as follows:

[8] In charging a jury regarding the onus of proof for rear-end motor vehicle collisions, trial judges often use a variation of the standard liability instruction from O’Brien’s Jury Charges (1998), which provides:

A prudent motorist should drive at such rate of speed with his vehicle under such control that he is able to pull up within the range of his vision. If there is any difficulty in seeing because of weather conditions, then common sense dictates that he should travel more slowly. In other words, “if you can’t see where you’re going don’t go”. If the road is icy or slippery, then even more care should be taken. In a case where a vehicle is struck without the driver of the rear vehicle having seen it until it was too late to avoid a collision, then you should ask yourselves; (1) Was he keeping a proper lookout? (2) If he was keeping the best lookout possible, was he going too fast for the lookout that could be kept in the circumstances?”

Members of the jury, generally speaking, when one car runs into another from behind, in the absence of any excuse for such a collision, the driver of the rear car must satisfy you that the collision did not occur as a result of his negligence.

Not being able to find the publication listed anywhere under that particular name, we began to suspect that perhaps it was associated with our other more prominent precedent set of a similar name, O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms and Precedents. Search as we did though, we could find no evidence to that effect either.

So we starting asking around in our librarian circles. At first, except for references to the publication found in other cases as well, we could find no other trace.

Eventually, Jen managed to connect with someone at the National Judicial Institute, the only place we could find that actually had a copy, who had some more information on this little mystery. There is some question about whether the Jury Charges were written by Judge W. David Griffiths and later updated by Judge Joseph W. O’Brien, or vice versa, but either way it was an older set of charges from the late 1990s that seemingly had not been kept up to date, though still useful and quoted since. Since copyright and ownership was somewhat in question, it was clear that it was to remain an internal document available only to judges.

So while we couldn’t actually get our hands on a copy, we count that as a mystery solved.


Ottawa Blog Roll: March 2017

Please find below links to blog posts or articles authored by the Ottawa legal community in March.

Civil Litigation

The Defence of “Fair Comment”
– Owen Bourns, Ottawa Litigation

Corporate Damages for Defamation
– Owen Bourns, Ottawa Litigation

A Deadly Season for Ontario Snowmobilers
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Did a “Secret Policy” Deprive Hundreds of Workers of Their Full WSIB Injury Awards?
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

The Streamlining of International Rules: Changes aimed at improving efficiency, transparency
– R. Aaron Rubinoff & John Siwiec, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McGougall LLP

Condominium Law

Condo Managers Will Not Be Able to Solicit Proxies Under the New Condo Management Services Act
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

A Requisition for a Special Owners Meeting can Lead to a Defamation Case
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

What can Condo Corporations do When Owners Display Signs of Mental Incapacity?
– Rod Escayola, Condo Adviser

Corporate Commercial Law

Securities Alert – Disclosure of Cyber Security Risks
– Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP

Criminal Law

Restoring Public Faith In The Courts Around Sexual Assault: Judicial Education Is Not Enough
– Anne Marie McElroy, McElroy Law

Women In Criminal Law
– Anne Marie McElroy, McElroy Law

ASAP: Constitutional Or Evidentiary Requirement, It Depends
– Dallas Mack, Mack’s Criminal Law

Institutional Bias Favouring Crown Attorneys Preventing Level Playing Field
– Michael Spratt, Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP

Jim Watson and the Sound of Cowardice
– Michael Spratt, Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP

Continue Reading…


#ThrowbackThursday: Minister of Finance’s New Budget Shoes

It’s everybody’s favourite time in Ottawa: BUDGET WEEK! Yay!

Ok, so maybe it’s not that exciting. For our throwback this week I went digging for interesting tidbits in really old budgets, but those also turned out to be not so exciting! Who knew.

What I did come across though, was a strange tradition that the Minister of Finance would wear new shoes when presenting the new budget to the House. A little further searching as to the origins of this revealed that the Library of Parliament did their own thorough investigation into this tradition, and summarized it into a beautiful chart that I could not possibly hope to outdo. As it turns out, Donald Fleming was the first confirmed minister to wear new shoes, for the budget day in 1960, and it’s unknown where or how this custom came about.

Nevertheless Bill Morneau has again followed suit this year, sporting a $250 pair from the Edmonton company Poppy Barley.


Research and Writing Tools on WestlawNext

Apparently it’s research week on the blog, with a great resource highlighted yesterday by Jen. Another resource on this topic oft overlooked is the research and writing section in WestlawNext, which you can find by scrolling down to the bottom section of the homescreen and clicking on “Research and Writing Tools”. This section is excellent for use by students and other legal professionals looking for the basics on how to get started on a topic.

This will bring you to the screen below, where you can find a template for a memo, an excellent research checklist that will guide you through the research process, and guides to the Canadian Abridgment (the Abridgment is still, by the way, on our list of most useful underused tools).

Check it out!

We also have a free WestlawNext training session upcoming on April 6, 2017, so RSVP to that if you would like to learn more about how to most efficiently use the platform, or if you just need a refresher!