Monday, June 2, 2014

HARPER NOMINATES NEXT PRIVACY COMMISSIONER
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has nominated assistant deputy attorney general Daniel Therrien as the next federal privacy commissioner.

A member of the Quebec bar since 1981, Therrien has held several senior federal legal roles throughout his career with his current position including the public safety, defence, and immigration portfolio. He’ll replace interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier, who has been in the role since December 2013. The nomination still requires approval of the House of Commons and the Senate.

“He is a well-qualified candidate who would bring significant expertise in law and privacy issues to the position,” said Harper.

Therrien’s nomination is a controversial one with critics pointing to his direct role in the government’s security policies as an impairment to his job as privacy commissioner.

LEGAL AID TRENDS
Criminal charges that are eligible for legal aid certificates have gone down along with all criminal charges in Canada, according to Legal Aid Ontario.

“Criminal charges received in Ontario’s courts have decreased by 5.7 per cent over the past three years, and charges which were covered by LAO have decreased by 8.5 per cent,” LAO said in a recent analysis.

“Charges covered by certificates and duty counsel assists very closely follow the trends of the charges received in the Ontario Court of Justice. Total applications received have decreased by eight per cent compared to the same period last year.”

New refugee legislation has also decreased certificate applications by 50 to 60 per cent, according to LAO, but calls to its telephone service have increased as a result.

Since 2010, the number of assistance calls answered through LAO’s toll-free line has increased by 101 per cent, it noted in its update.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 75 per cent of respondents believe the Law Society of Upper Canada should find a way to report lawyers suspected of crimes to police.

The remaining participants felt there are too many legal barriers preventing the law society from reporting cases to police who have other ways of getting the information.

While critics feel the current system allows people to get away with crime, others say the law society can’t pass along the information it has gathered because while lawyers have the right to remain silent before the police, the same privilege doesn’t apply with law society investigations.   

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