Monday, December 21, 2015

Legal Aid Ontario announces new CEO
Legal Aid Ontario will ring in the New Year with a new president and chief executive officer. David Field, a long-time senior executive at the organization, will take on both roles, effective Jan. 1.

Replacing Robert Ward, who announced his retirement earlier this year, Field comes with a 33-year financial and strategic planning career in the public sector that includes his work as the director and chief financial officer with the business and fiscal planning branch at the Ministry of the Attorney General and as director, financial planning and business management branch at both the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

“David is well equipped to provide value for our clients, and continued support for our staff, service providers, and the many other professionals who serve those clients,” said John McCamus, chairman of LAO in a press release. “He will play a key role in supporting and furthering LAO’s mandate to assist the poor and marginalized with their legal needs, and he looks forward to actively engaging with LAO’s many dedicated stakeholders in the social justice community to achieve this objective.”

LAO stated that in his most recent role as vice president of strategic planning and compliance at LAO, Field has been instrumental in LAO’s development of modern management methods to benefit client service and organizational effectiveness.

He has worked in various capacities for the Government of Ontario since 1982 and holds an MBA in public administration from York University as well as a BA in political science from the University of Waterloo.

Thomson Reuters and MaRS Discovery District collaboration
Thomson Reuters has announced a collaborative agreement with MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, one of the world’s largest innovation hubs. The new alliance aims to create bridges between the start-up community, legal practitioners, and the business world to foster innovations that advance the legal industry.

Thomson Reuters, Law Times’ parent company, will sponsor MaRS’ LegalX Cluster, which connects technology, high-growth ventures, and the legal industry. The Legal Executive Institute and other Thomson Reuters businesses will facilitate events and other initiatives connecting LegalX communities with law firm leaders to build relationships, as well as encourage partnerships and innovative solutions.

“We want to accelerate the dialogue between lawyers, technologists, designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs to drive change,” said Neil Sternthal, managing director for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, for the Legal business of Thomson Reuters. “The LegalX Cluster uniquely connects these groups.
We envision that this collaboration will help industry, startups, lawyers, government and academia exchange knowledge, ideas and resources to jointly develop the future of the legal industry.

Can’t shed the CRA shackles, ever
Federal Court of Canada Justice James Russell chided a self-represented plaintiff in Edmonton who was taking his shot at freeing himself from the Canada Revenue Agency. Seeking $750 million in tax-exempt relief and an order preventing the CRA from having any interaction with him in any way again, stemming from his frustration in dealing with the agency during an assessment and audit, John Beima was essentially told by the justice “‘good luck’.”

“The plaintiff wishes to be paid a large sum of money from the public purse on a tax-free basis and to never again have to deal with CRA. I am not being critical of the plaintiff. He is a self-represented litigant and he has every right to seek relief where it is due and justiciable in the Federal Court,” Russell wrote in his ruling of last week, adding there was no “scintilla of a cause of action” in the matter.

“However, the nature and scope of the extraordinary relief he seeks suggest he may be acting in a somewhat unrealistic fashion.”

Beima took aim at a long list of government employees, judges, and even the former prime minister, leading the judge to rule his claims equated to “a rant against government employees, certain members of the judiciary, and the Government of Canada by someone who believes that CRA should be ordered to stop ‘having any interaction in any way shape or form with the [applicant] ever again.’.”

Law Times Poll
No cherry picking by the Law Society of Upper Canada, says the bulk of respondents to last week’s Law Times online poll. Almost 78 per cent of respondents say Western University law school students who used a vulgar name for their co-ed intermural hockey team should not be investigated by the LSUC for their team moniker. About 22 per cent said the LSUC should get involved because the team was bringing the profession into disrepute.

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