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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

LEGAL AID ONTARIO CONSULTATION

Legal Aid Ontario has announced there will be sessions to hear from clients, community legal clinics, lawyers and others to discuss problems racialized communities face when trying to get legal services.

The non-profit corporation has put a consultation paper on its website for discussion, after the Racialized Communities Strategy was launched last year.

“What we’re focusing on this fall is talking directly to people from all of these various communities in addition to continuing our discussions with the organizations that serve them,” says Kimberly Roach, lawyer and policy counsel for the strategy, in information posted on the Legal Aid Ontario website.

“We want to hear about the hurdles they’re facing when it comes to getting the legal help they need. And we want to work together on solutions.”

LAO said written submissions can be sent in through the website or by emailing rcs@lao.on.ca.

ACT APPLIES TO ONLINE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

An Ontario Court of Appeal judge has ruled that the Libel and Slander Act applies to an online newspaper article. In John v. Ballingall, 2017 ONCA 579, Justice Mary Lou Benotto said it would be “absurd” to have different laws that apply to both online and print editions of newspapers.

The case relates to a Toronto rapper, Darren John, who sued reporter Alex Ballingall, Toronto Star Newspapers and the Torstar Corporation.

John launched the legal action after an online article and a print article ran in December 2013 addressing how John had been charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm and criminal harassment for rap lyrics in one of his songs.

His claim was dismissed for not complying with a six-week notice period and three-month limitation period under the Libel and Slander Act, but John launched an appeal arguing the act did not apply to online articles and that a two-year limitation period under the Limitations Act should be applied instead. However, the appeal failed.  

“The regime in the [Libel and Slander Act] provides timely opportunity for the publisher to address alleged libellous statements with an appropriate response that could be a correction, a retraction, or apology,” said the ruling.

CAUTION FROM LAW SOCIETY

The Law Society of Upper Canada has warned lawyers about subscribing to CanLaw or the Canadian Lawyer Index, which can be accessed online.

“The Law Society strongly recommends against subscribing to this service,” says a notice from the LSUC. The notice explains that J. Kirby Inwood, the index’s president, is not a licensee of the LSUC.

LAW TIMES POLL

Law Times reports that an Ontario judge ruled the province failed in its obligation to consult indigenous communities before it approved a quarry on traditional lands. Readers were asked if they thought the province is adequately fulfilling its overall duty to consult with indigenous communities. About 21 per cent said yes, the province is trying its best to fulfil the duty to consult, except in rare circumstances.

Another 79 per cent said no, the province could be doing a much better job at fulfilling its duty to consult.

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Law Times Poll


A Law Times column argues it’s time for provincial laws dedicated to stopping defamatory publications on the Internet. Do you think that new legislation will help counter defamatory statements online?
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