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The pendulum swings

Editorial Obiter

If nature exists within a continuum, continually returning to a balanced state, then I think it’s fair to apply the same principles to our social structures. Some Ontario lawyers have been responding to the recent labour law changes promised by the provincial government by highlighting their clients’ frustration with the backing and forthing of expectations. Jodi Gallagher Healy, a London lawyer, says her clients consider Bill 148 an overreach by the previous Liberal government.

“Labour law is often like a pendulum. It swings one way and then it swings the other depending on what kind of government is in power,” she says. “Some of the employers I work with were of the view that, under the Liberals, the pendulum swung too far.”

The pendulum approach is an appropriate one, though a sense of annoyance with the expense and effort to meet changing policies is also fair. There is a cost incurred by uncertainty. (And for that matter, there is a cost to flexibility.)

That is why, beyond how Ontario law impacts us, lawyers would do well to review an excellent set of stories looking at intellectual property law, which highlights changes made and changes that should be made.

One feature illuminates how trademark law is modernizing after two rulings that allow foreign businesses to keep their marks, even without having physical properties in Canada.

Another addresses Canada’s (embarrassing) placement on the U.S. Trade Representative’s priority watch list for intellectual property rights over what it says is “poor border enforcement generally and, in particular, lack of customs authority to inspect or detain suspected counterfeit or pirated goods shipped through Canada.” Two columnists — Doron Gold and Sarah Molyneaux — look at how law firms must become more flexible at meeting the needs of their employees and judging prospective employees.

Part of imparting great advice is foreseeing which way the pendulum will go.

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