Brenda Lauritzen

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!

CCH Content Now on Lexis Advance Quicklaw

We’re happy to report that former CCH looseleafs have been added to our Quicklaw Subscription. You can now access the following resources in electronic format on our library computers:

  • Canadian Insurance Law Reporter
  • Ontario Real Estate Law Guide
  • Ontario Corporations Law Guide
  • Canadian Commercial Law Guide
  • Canada Corporations Law Reports
  • Canadian Estate Administration Guide
  • Canadian Family Law Guide
  • Canadian Employment Benefits & Pension Guide
  • Canadian Labour Law Reporter

The easiest way to get to these is to click on “Browse” in the top toolbar, and then click on Sources. From there you can browse or search for whatever you would like! There are now also a wealth of newsletters available that you can subscribe to, including Ontario Real Estate Developments, Canadian Family Law Matters, Accident Benefits Cases Summaries, Labour Notes, and many more.

Still feeling a little iffy about the new Quicklaw Advance inferface? Come join us for a free training session on March 22! All are welcome; please RSVP here.

Ottawa Blog Roll: February 2017

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

Civil Litigation

So You Want to Appeal… (Part 3): Appealing a decision from Small Claims Court
– Megan E. Fife, Maclaren Corlett

What is Vision Zero and How Can It Prevent Traffic Injuries and Fatalities?
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Driverless Cars: Just as Safe for Pedestrians?
– Frank Van Dyke, Van Dyke Injury Law Blog

Suing a Landlord for Negligence: Limitation Periods
– Najma Rashid, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Blog

Dog Walkers Beware! Important Dog Bite Decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal
– Andrea Girones, Girones Lawyers

Condominium Law

More Regulatory Proposals for the Condo Industry
– Rodrigue Escayola, Condo Adviser

New Disclosure Obligations for Condo Directors
– Rodrigue Escayola, Condo Adviser

New Mandatory Training for Condo Directors
– Rodrigue Escayola, Condo Adviser

Licensing of Condominium Managers-What does it mean to have an address for service in Ontario? (Blog No. 7 in a Series)
– James Davidson, Davidson Houle Allen LLP

Licensing of Condominium Managers – What information (about licensees) will be available to the public? (Blog No. 8 in a series)
– James Davidson, Davidson Houle Allen LLP

Proposed Regulatory Changes: Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO), Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) and the Condominium Authority Tribunal
– Kristen Bailey, Davidson Houle Allen LLP

Summary of Draft Regulations under the Condominium Act – Director Training
– James Davidson, Davidson Houle Allen LLP

Corporate Commercial Law

Conflict of Interest: An Often Misunderstood Concept
– Michael A. Chambers, Maclaren Corlett

Is Your Promissory Note a Security?
– Paul Franco, Mann Lawyers

Anticipating Increased Interest in Canada as a Place to do Business
– Dirk Bouwer, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP

SECURITIES ALERT – Regulators Review Rights Offerings
– Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP

Criminal Law

Conservatives Are Up to Their Old Disingenuous Tricks
– Michael Spratt, Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP

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

Avoiding An Otiose And Absurd Result
– Dallas Mack, Mack’s Criminal Law

Cataloging The Basis For An Inventory Search
– Dallas Mack, Mack’s Criminal Law

Intentionally Present
– Sarah Sullivan, Mack’s Criminal Law

Continue Reading…

State of Washington & State of Minnesota v. Trump

It’s hard to stay away from the news these days, but those closely following the appeal from Trump’s Immigration Ban in the United States might be interested to see that due to interest in the case, the 9th Circuit has put up a webpage for all of the related court documents. Some light reading for those inclined.

There’s been quite a legal flurry north of the border in response to the ban as well. Courthouse Libraries BC has arranged an upcoming webinar entitled “Canadian Lawyers and the Impact of the US Executive Orders (Muslim Ban)”, to take place on Monday, February 27th, 3:30-4:30 PM EST. BC lawyer Peter Edelmann will be joined by US attorney Nikhil Shah to discuss:

  • The EO and whom it affects.
  • The effects of the various injunctions (MA, NY, CA, etc.) and appeals and what this means practically for affected people seeking access to the US.
  • Legal procedure and rights at the US Border.
  • Some expectations/predictions re future banned countries.
  • Canada’s next possible moves (e.g. Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement).
  • Information about the Canadian and US lawyer alliances/participation in this crisis.
  • What you, the lawyer on the front lines (or who wants to get involved) needs to know, e.g. what you can accomplish v. what you should expect.

You can register for the webinar here.