Your Only Source of Paralegal News – May 28

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    Paralegal Scope is the only legal media that covers Convocation meetings and Law Society events for paralegals. Keep on top of what’s happening with the professional regulator! Click on a title below to get news briefs.

Paralegal Competence Update, Convocation Reports - May
Ontario's Proposed Immigration Act - LSUC Raises Concerns With Committee
Complaints are Down: Tribunal Committee Report
Regulating Legal Entities -- Plans Moving Forward
Paralegal Discipline: Feb. -- May
Paralegal Practice Updates
Toronto YMCA

Photo: thestar.com

Paralegal scope of practice is much more than tickets and small claims. Whether looking to branch out into a new practice area, or stay relevant with your current client focus, explore what’s new and important to Ontario paralegals.

Statutory Interpretation on Appeal of MPAC, Assessment Act

In Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Toronto v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, 2015 ONCA 130 (CanLII), the Ontario Court of Appeal found that the wording of an Act dating to 1923 means that the organization’s leased premises are not tax-exempt.

The question before the court was whether the leased premises are buildings or lands of the Toronto YMCA occupied and used for its purposes, and therefore exempt from municipal property taxation by virtue of s. 10. The YMCA had applied for an exemption from property taxation for premises it occupies in four buildings located in the City of Toronto. It sought a declaration that all space used and occupied by the Toronto YMCA in respect of the subject properties is exempt.

Decision Hints at Future of Lawyer-Paralegal Partnership Liabilities

Does a law firm owe a duty of care to clients of a paralegal who works in association with the law firm? In a motion to dismss — Cruz v. McPherson, 2014 ONSC 4841 (CanLII) – Superior Court found that a claim for vicarious liability against a law firm that had a partnership relationship with a paralegal is a “novel but legally tenable tort claim.”

Social Justice Tribunals — Important Changes You Need to Know

Paralegals who work in the Social Justice Cluster of tribunals will see significant changes in this practice area. This includes Landlord and Tenant Board jurisdiction, document filing, co-op housing applications, and possible online resolution for Ontario tribunals.

Justice David Paciocco Photo: Ottawa Citizen

Justice David Paciocco Photo: Ottawa Citizen

POA Court: Victim Surcharge Update

An Ottawa judge has upheld the federal Victim Surcharge. Justice Bruce Glass, of the Ontario Superior Court, ruled that the payment is neither a fine nor a punishment; rather, it is “merely a consequence of getting a conviction.” The case is R. v Tinker, Judge, Bondoc & Mead, 2015 ONSC 2284 (CanLII).

An Ottawa lawyer has filed an appeal of the Tinker decision. He will argue at the Court of Appeal that surcharges of $100 per summary conviction offence and $200 per indictable conviction, violate the Charter and have a disproportionate effect on low-income offenders and those with disabilities.

Other Court News That Affects Paralegals Across Ontario:

HTA Amendment Could Help to Shut Down Unlawful Taxi Services
New Regional Senior Justice of the Peace; New OCJ Judge
A Breach is a Breach, No Matter How Small
Scent allergy

Photo: Vancouver Sun

Paralegal Kristin Bisbee summarizes a recent case that highlights the risks of ignoring the terms of a tribunal settlement. How much accommodation is enough, and what can an Applicant do if an employer breaches the terms?

As an employer, you’ve received an Application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and you are now at the Mediation stage. You bring your best “good faith” game and enter into a settlement where you believe you have compromised quite a bit, but you believe it’s enough to put this all behind you. Who is going to hold you to that settlement, anyway?

In a recent case from the HRTO – Currie v. Ontario (Children and Youth Services), 2015 HRTO 478 (CanLII) — the employer was found to have breached its undertakings within the Settlement and they paid heavily for it.

The duty to accommodate lived on, despite no expressly written duty in the settlement agreement; the worker’s need for accommodation still existed
The HRTO has a mechanism by which either party can fill out a document (Form 18, “Application for Contravention of Settlement”) and file it electronically with the HRTO, indicating that they believe a contravention of a settlement has occurred. This will not re-open the original allegations of discrimination and must be done within six months of the alleged contravention or if there is a series of events, within six months of the last alleged contravention. This mechanism is not available to those who did not first make an Application to the HRTO.

Paralegal Scope is among the contributors chosen to add content to CanLII Connects, giving good legal writers significant exposure for their writing skills. Recent CanLII cases related to paralegal practice:

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Relax — Emond Exam Prep Course Available

Paralegal Candidates preparing to write the new licensing exam in August have a new way to calm their nerves.

Emond Publishing, widely regarded as one of Canada’s leading academic law publishers, has developed a five-day preparation course which will cover substantive law in the key competencies that will be tested in the revised the paralegal exam.

When Candidates write the exam in August, they will be the first cohort to be tested on substantive law, in addition to ethics and practice management. The P1 exam will be longer and cover more material than before. Attending lectures on the substantive content, walking through some sample questions, and the ability to ask questions, can help relieve the anxiety and stress.

Held in Toronto the week of June 22 at Osgoode Hall Law School, the course includes evening in-class lectures from 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm Monday to Thursday, and a full-day lecture on Saturday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.

Emond Exam Prep Course has lined up an all-star list of instructors. Dynamic and experienced, presenters include law professors, senior lawyers, judges and a tribunal vice-chair. Subjects covered include:

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