Blog

Blog
Member Highlight - Roberto Aburto

Member Highlight - Roberto Aburto

Published on:
Published on:
April 18, 2021

The CHBA is pleased to announce our very first Member Highlight. The initiative aims to bring us closer together as a community within our profession by making it easier to get to know a bit about each other. The CHBA membership ranks are filled with exceptional lawyers, law students, and NCA candidates. Let’s get to know one another!


Meet this month's highlight – Roberto Aburto


Roberto has been an active CHBA member for many years. He has participated in and organized CHBA events in Ottawa. As a partner at Gowling WLG, Roberto’s practice focuses on municipal law and real property disputes. He is also on the Board of Trustees for the County of Carleton Law Association.


Roberto’s father immigrated to Canada from Mexico to attend university. Roberto is the youngest of five brothers, and the first in his family to attend law school. Roberto is also the father of two fur babies and one human baby – a daughter that has captured the hearts of him and his wife. Roberto is proud of his Hispanic heritage and the Hispanic legal community, and proudly supports the Mexican national soccer team.


Roberto is a champion of the CHBA Mentorship Program. He has been a mentor since the program’s first iteration in 2019 and we cannot thank him enough for his time and dedication to the CHBA and its Mentorship Program. The Mentorship Program is very important to the CHBA and its members. It directly supports student members at the outset of their careers and welcomes them to our profession and the CHBA. This year, Roberto is a mentor to two bright law students.


Roberto decided to share his Member Highlight with his two current mentees. Given Roberto’s consistent generosity, we are not surprised.

I could not be prouder to be a mentor in the CHBA’s Program. It is a model that I am hoping will be replicated by other organizations. As a mentor, it is privilege to see the energy and passion of those looking to enter the Ontario legal market. I do my best to listen, and to try to match my mentees with opportunities and perspectives, even if I cannot provide those myself.

- Roberto Aburto

Roberto has been an exceptional mentor to me. He has been a constant source of support and guidance about law school, the job search process, the OCIs, and even some personal issues related to my relocation to Toronto. Moreover, hearing from the experience of Roberto in the field has been an invaluable insight into the Canadian legal market and the opportunities that are available for an internationally trained lawyer like me. It is encouraging to know that I have someone in my corner who invests in my success and happiness as an individual.

- Maria Estela Anaya

When I started my process to become licensed in Canada, some colleagues stressed the importance of having a mentor in the legal career. I joined the CHBA because I was looking for an association where I felt connected in a certain level to my background. I learned about the mentorship program and was really impressed with the profile of the members that are part of the association, so I was really looking forward to finding my mentor among the members, that’s when I was connected with Roberto. Roberto has been a guide for me in this competitive process and all the nuances that come along with it. One of the great qualities of my mentor (Roberto) is that he listens to all my concerns and questions, most importantly he gives you honest advice and reassures you when in doubt. A great part of my advancement in my process to become a lawyer in Canada has been greatly due to the mentorship that Roberto has provided to me. For future mentees, either you are starting or are already working in the legal profession, having a mentor is an essential part of your career and the CHBA has a great mentorship program. For future mentors, there is always a word or a piece of experience that you can share with future generations that will help them navigate the complexities of the legal profession, and believe me, they will feel inspired to continue this legacy.

- Natalia Castro


Mentorship within our community is an investment that will only continue to strengthen the CHBA and our profession.


We thank Roberto, Natalia, and Maria Estela for their contributions to our first Member Highlight. Clearly, the CHBA and its Mentorship Program has impacted all in a positive way and we hope this encourages senior members of the CHBA to continue to support those starting their journeys.

Stay tuned for next month’s Member Highlight!

Read More
The Life and Times of Kamala Harris at WHS

The Life and Times of Kamala Harris at WHS

Published on:
November 17, 2020
Published on:
April 10, 2021

The election of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States of America has spurred interest in a high school situated on Saint Catherine Street, Montreal, Quebec, namely Westmount High School (WHS). The day after she won the election, many cameras were directed at WHS. The formative years of person have a lasting impact - they often form and shape their views on life – which is likely why the media has shown such a keen interest in WHS. As a graduate of WHS, the question posed of me is: Did you know Kamala Harris and what was it like to go to high school with the Vice President of the United States. I remember Kamala Harris from the hallways of WHS, but I do not have any specific memory of her. However, I can speak to the school that she attended from 1978-1981.

Westmount was made up of very wealthy Anglo-Canadians that lived in isolation to the rest of Montreal and the world, often enjoying their own exclusive social clubs. It is home to the Bronfman family, to name a few. WHS served the catchment area of Westmount. WHS was part of the Protestant School Board of Montreal (PSBGM), a school board that had been guaranteed its existence under the Canadian constitution in 1867, even though the majority of the student body was not protestant. The school offered an excellent education, with the privileged parents placing pressure on the school to meet the highest educational standards. The school often scoured the country in search of the very best teachers. By 1976, the school had a higher ranking than most private schools.

The situation changed dramatically in 1976 and the ensuing years. Kamala Harris attended WHS for the period 1978 to 1981. A time of great change for the Anglo community of Montreal. This was a period where the Parti Quebecois, a separatist party, came to power in Quebec and moved towards separation. The result was a mass exodus of Anglo- Quebecers, many of which dominated the economy and that happen to live in Westmount.

The exodus of the Anglo community left WHS in a difficult situation. A school where the catchment area of Westmount could no longer sustain the school. In response, the PSBGM removed all regional restrictions to attract a greater number of students. A school that was once for the wealthy was now open to all. Of course, Westmount was surrounded by a number of less affluent neighbourhoods, which included St Henri (Little Burgundy), Lasalle and Verdun. The parents of surrounding neighbourhoods saw an opportunity to seize on a free education from a school that was highly rated.

After 1976 and during the time that Kamala Harris attended the high school, the school had a very different composition. While I am hesitant to generalize, a third of the school was made up of the children from Westmount that drove to school in Porsche’s, a third from white families that came from working class neighbourhoods - such as Lasalle and Verdun - and a third that came from Little Burgundy - the poorest of neighbourhoods made up of immigrants from the Caribbean, mainly Jamaica.

The integration of these three groups into a single school was anything but harmonious. There was de facto segregation between the black and white student body. Two universes that existed independently of one another, never interacting. There was also de facto segregation between the white children. The white children from Verdun and Lasalle – made up of Irish working class families- did not socialize with the privileged white children from Westmount. The segregation was most noticeable during March break, when most of the children from Westmount would come back from holidays at their cottages, having enjoyed a week of ski in the Laurentians, while the children from Little Burgundy, Verdun and Lasalle did not even own a pair of winter boots.

The result was that by 1980, the ranking of the school dropped dramatically. Out of 400 secondary schools in Quebec, WHS was now one of the five worst high schools in the province. The parents from Westmount reacted and many enrolled their children to private schools located in upper Westmount. Selwyn House and ECS were now the schools of choice. The school was no longer under the control of the parents from Westmount.

The black students from Little Burgundy came from difficult backgrounds. Young teenagers that faced many of the challenges of new Canadians, in addition to acute racism. The result was a group of angry teenagers. The anger became apparent to me at the bus stop in front of the school in 1982. One day, while I was boarding the school bus, I remember a French-Canadian bus driver uttering racist words at a black teenager. The teenager was fearless in his demand for respect. He grabbed the driver by the collar, dragged him off the bus and disfigured him with punches. The event stopped short of a murder, but only because it was intercepted by the only black teacher in the school, who grabbed the teenager by the arm and repeated over and over: “I understand your anger son, but this is not the way. Let him go”. This event marked me - a teacher that understood disenfranchisement well and was looking to ease the pain of a teenager that faced a difficult existence.

WHS encouraged the de facto segregation. The high performers, who were predominantly children from Westmount, were, as a matter of policy, directed into French immersion and the science stream. The parents of these children valued education and even hired the teachers of WHS to be part-time tutors. The students that were not high performers, many of which were from Little Burgundy, Lasalle and Verdun, were directed into typing and wood working. The parents of these children were often less focused on education and many were simply trying to exist.

The absence of a concerted effort by the school to integrate the three groups created a clear divide that lasted until the day I graduated in 1983. As I look back at my experiences, a number of children from Westmount went far in life, occupying positions as judges, academics and lawyers. Many of the disenfranchised children did not. Many were not even armed with basic French languages skills that could allow them to get jobs in Quebec.

In the case of Kamala Harris, she came from a more affluent and educated background. Her mother worked at the Jewish General In Montreal and made a good living. She did not fall into one of the three groups that I have identified and for which I have generalized. Neither did I. However, she lived this Darwinian experience, an experience that marked me and probably her. An experience that where we saw first hand how a community perpetuates itself from one generation to another. How the affluent remain affluent and how the disenfranchised remain disenfranchised.

Read More
Measuring the Latin American population in Canada – why is it important?

Measuring the Latin American population in Canada – why is it important?

Published on:
November 3, 2020
Published on:
April 10, 2021

The numbers of the Latin American population in Canada are highly controversial. The Latino community argues that the data does not represent the demographic reality and the population is largely underrepresented. Problems with self-identification are highlighted as a main obstacle to having the right numbers. Additionally, the Canadian census does not categorize race and ethnic origin separately like the United States Census Bureau. Both issues will be discussed below.Although the immigration of Latin Americans to Canada is relatively new compared to other groups, it has increased significantly in the past few decades. For example, only between 1996 and 2001, the number of people declaring themselves as Latinos rose by 32%, while at the same time the overall population grew only by 4% (Lindsay 2007, 7). According to the Canadian official statistics, in 2001, around 250,000 people were reporting Latin American origins; later modifications adjusted the number to 611,000. In 2016, the official number was about 640,000 or 2% of the population, but after the adjustment, it reached 1 million. However, there are many issues related to the way the population is measured that raise doubts about the official data.First of all, self-identification methods pose a unique challenge for the measurement of the Latin American population. The Survey on Canadian Latin Americans (Armony 2014, 21) demonstrated that while other groups focus more on religious backgrounds, Latino communities in Canada tend to define themselves based on ancestry, language and place of origin. Even though scholars agree that self-identification is a crucial tool to avoid assuming fixed identities, it can cause a different kind of bias. In the case of Latinos in Canada, a self-declaration about ethnicity could result in a pattern of racialized Latin Americans declaring themselves as having a Latin origin while white descendants do not.The categories used in the Canadian census are another significative issue for the Latino community. In the visible minority question, the respondent must choose between options like “white”, “Chinese”, “black”, or “Latin American”. The main problem is the confusion between the concepts of race and ethnicity. Despite not making any direct reference to race, it is implied that the question is treating the Latin American origin as a racial category. It is also possible to declare more than one ethical group/race. However, if someone reports being Latin American and white, he or she will not be counted as Latin American for the visible minority variable. Considering that the information about the visible minority population is the primary source for equity programs (Statistics Canada 2017a, 1), not counting white Latinos makes a significant difference for the community.Besides the visible minority variable, there is another question on ethnic origin that asks “What were the ethnic or cultural origins of this person’s ancestors?”. It is allowed to write many different origins, and they give some examples of possible answers such as “French”, Chinese”, “Mexican”, or “Italian”. As the reference guide emphasizes, ethnic origin responses are a reflection of each respondent’s perception of their ethnic ancestry (Statistics Canada 2017b, 1). Statistics Canada aggregates all nationalities from Central and South America in order to reach the total amount of Latin Americans in Canada. However, this aggregation is problematic because people from Caribbean countries are not counted at all. For instance, Belize and Guyana are taken into account, whereas Cuba and Dominican Republican are not (Armony 2011, 19).By contrast, the United States census treats Hispanic origin and race as different categories. There is a specific question asking if the person has a Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin and another question asking explicitly about the race. Therefore, when individuals declare themselves as Hispanic, the Census Bureau assumes that they are only Hispanic regardless of their answers to the race question. The reason for taking this approach is that Hispanics can be of any race. In 2015, the Census Bureau tested a new format to have only one question about race and ethnicity (Mathews et al. 2015), so that it would be possible to categorize someone as Hispanic and white at the same time. However, the 2020 census did not adopt this format.Even though Latin Americans still underrepresented in Canadian official statistics, some recent changes were vitally important to start correcting the Canadian numbers. A reclassification of the 2016 census adopted the definition of the Canadian Hispanic Congress, including those who have only one Hispanic parent. After the reclassification, the total population that was around 640,000 increased to over a million. Nonetheless, the greatest challenge still ahead, it is necessary to debate the categories of race and ethnicity in the Canadian census.References Armony, Victor. 2014. “Latin American Communities in Canada: Trends in Diversity and Integration.” Canadian Ethnic Studies, 46 (3), p. 7-34.Lindsay, Colin. 2007. “The Latin American Community in Canada”. Analytical Paper - Profiles of Ethnic Communities in Canada. Statistics Canada.Mathews, Kelly, Jessica Phelan, Nicholas A. Jones, Sarah Konya, Rachel Marks, Beverly M. Pratt, Julia Coombs, Michael Bently. 2015. 2015 National Content Test Race and Ethnicity Analysis Report. The United States Census Bureau.Statistics Canada. 2017a. Ethnic Origin Reference Guide. Ottawa: Ministry of Industry.Statistics Canada. 2017b. Visible Minority and Population Group Reference Guide. Ottawa: Ministry of Industry.

Read More
Judicial Diversity Highlighted at CHBA's 2020 Hispanic/Latin American Heritage Month Celebration

Judicial Diversity Highlighted at CHBA's 2020 Hispanic/Latin American Heritage Month Celebration

Published on:
October 25, 2020
Published on:
April 10, 2021

On October 20, 2020, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) and the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA) held their fifth annual Hispanic/ Latin American Heritage Month Celebration. Due to the current pandemic, the festivities were delivered for the first time by way of digital format.This year’s program provided a timely discussion on judicial diversity. The issue is particularly important to the Hispanic and Latin American community in Canada as a whole, given that there are currently no federally appointed Latino judges and only one provincially appointed Latino judge. Within the legal profession, Latinos have one of the lowest levels of representation. Although the statistics are not readily available and often vary, it is estimated that there are around 300 to 400 Latino lawyers currently serving a community of approximately 1.2 million persons of Hispanic and Latin American origin in Canada.

LSO Treasurer, Teresa Donnelly, and CHBA President, Antonio Urdaneta, opened the “Diversity in the Canadian Judiciary” event by outlining the importance of having a more diverse judiciary. They emphasized how the justice system is strengthened when the public sees themselves reflected on the bench. This sentiment was echoed in greetings provided by past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), Pedro Jaime Torres-Diaz, and former Chief Judge of the Trenton Municipal Court, Carmen Garcia. A special musical performance by the Payadora Tango Ensemble was also showcased to highlight the richness of Hispanic and Latin American culture.The keynote speaker of the “Diversity in the Canadian Judiciary” program was Judge Peter Reyes Jr. of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. He mapped his unlikely trajectory from being the son of uneducated migrant farmworkers from Mexico to becoming the first-ever Latino judge appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. He explained his active involvement in the judicial process as an advocate and later, as an applicant. He also highlighted the important work of the HNBA over the past 40 years. In particular, he explained the HNBA’s crucial role in vetting and supporting diverse applicants to both the state and federal courts in the U.S. In recent years, these efforts have culminated most notably in the appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.Following his initial remarks, Judge Reyes Jr. joined a Canadian-led panel on judicial diversity, which was moderated by Alexander Gay Moreno, a professor at the University of Ottawa and senior lawyer at the Department of Justice. Other distinguished panelists included Katie Black of Black & Associates, Natalia Rodriguez of Conway Baxter LLP, and Justice Bovard of the Ontario Court of Justice.Ms. Black discussed her recent role assisting former Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould to reform the judicial appointments process. She discussed the role of Judicial Appointment Committees and the rigorous process that judicial candidates need to go through to become judges. She also noted how equity-seeking groups like the CHBA have a central role to play in providing valuable feedback to the Minister of Justice regarding potential candidates in their community.Ms. Rodriguez spoke about the importance of diverse representation on the bench. She emphasized the need for litigants to feel that their lived experiences were being recognized by the court, especially in family and criminal matters. She also spoke about her experience on a civil case while clerking for one of the few racialized judges on the Ontario Court of Appeal. She noted how in that particular case, the judge’s lived experience assisted the court to achieve a just result by taking into account the obvious racial factors at play.Justice Bovard spoke about his unconventional path to becoming a judge. He explained how, beginning with his early years in El Salvador, his biggest barrier was always himself and his own perception of what he could accomplish in life. It was not until he was in university and saw some of his peers applying to law school that he began to consider a career in law as a potential path for himself as well. Later on, when he applied to become a judge, Justice Bovard decided to frame his diverse cultural background as an advantage and to use his unique experience working with marginalized communities as an example of his strong commitment to serving the public.The panel concluded with a number of practical tips for those wanting to become a judge in future. These include:• Start grooming yourself early and work on building a good reputation in the legal community.• Focus on developing skills that will help you become a good lawyer such as taking public speaking courses, writing legal articles, shadowing other lawyers, and running trials.• Study the questions on the judicial appointment application as well as the profiles of others who have already been appointed to the bench.• Do significant community work at home and abroad.• Get involved in different legal organizations like the Canadian Bar Association, the Advocates Society, and equity-seeking groups like the CHBA.

A full recording of the “Diversity in the Canadian Judiciary” event will be soon available at:https://lso.ca/about-lso/initiatives/edi/cpd-equality,-diversity-and-inclusion-requirement

Read More
Lunch with Luis & Guest: Marcela Saitua

Lunch with Luis & Guest: Marcela Saitua

Published on:
May 22, 2020
Published on:
April 10, 2021

Lunch with Luis Guest: Marcela SaituaBack when we could still frequent restaurants, I had the great pleasure of sitting down for lunch with Marcela Saitua. We went to Richmond Station in downtown Toronto and spent two very cool hours talking about our backgrounds, our interests, and our experience in the legal profession in Canada. The lunch, above all, really highlighted how all our journeys (professionally and personally) are unique and challenging and, ultimately, how important it is to connect with one’s roots.By way of introduction, Marcela is a civil litigation mediator who was born in Chile right before the 1973 Chilean coup d’état. For those that don’t know Chilean history too well (like me), the coup d’état involved the overthrowing of the president, Salvador Allende, by the army and the national police, which resulted in an extended period of social unrest and political tension in Chile.Marcela told me about how the unrest caused her family turmoil and eventually led them to leave Chile to go to Peru, then the Netherlands, and eventually arriving in Toronto when she was 3 years old. This was accompanied by a hilarious anecdote of a 3-year-old Marcela getting frustrated in school because she could communicate in Spanish and Dutch but not in English – a frustration I’m sure many of us immigrants have felt at one point or another in a new country.What became abundantly clear from our lunch was that from an early age Marcela was interested in different cultures and that this interest would become integral life in her personal life and her development as an advocate, and finally a mediator.To better understand her journey, Marcela described how she came from a science-oriented family and that law had never crossed her mind as a career path. She had originally gone to university for science and about halfway through decided to change course to History and French. However, with a degree in those subjects, she did not know what path to take afterwards so she “fell into law” when she decided to complete a combined Master of Arts in International Relations and a J.D. from the University of Toronto.Once Marcela became a lawyer, she worked as a civil litigator for almost ten years before “falling into” something else - mediation. How that happened though is amazing!Being married to a criminal defence lawyer, Marcela described how she felt that her passion for her career as a litigator did not compare to that of her husband. This led her onto a path of trying out a “work-share” and then trying out litigating part-time – each with its own pitfalls that did not satisfy her career-wise. Eventually, this led to a friend recommending that she try her hand at mediation because, among other things, the roster of mediators in the GTA needed a fresh of breath air from the overwhelming number of older, white men at the end of their legal careers.What her friend did next is the stuff of legends. He started introducing her to other lawyers as a mediator during the annual Advocates’ Society End of Term Dinner – before she had even considered mediating. Next thing she knew, she was seriously contemplating the idea, her husband convinced her to give it a try, and the rest (as they say) is history.Marcela noted that she loves mediating for a number of reasons. First, it allowed her to be resolution-oriented instead of adversarial. She noted that she never had a passion, as some do, to be confrontational or combative. Her interest lay in the challenge of finding common ground for parties involved in complicated disputes. Second, she is able to bring a different perspective to mediations due to her background and travel experience. Third, it has given her the opportunity to set her own schedule and focus on her family.In this regard, I’ve never met such an incredible role-model. Marcela’s first priority is her family and in particular, her children. A huge sports fan herself (and particularly a Blue Jays fan), her kids play sports year-round and she acts as a self-titled “Momager”. She also goes on travel adventures with her family and explores her other interests of hiking and photography.One of the most illuminating parts of our lunch was that, similar to me, she has struggled with parts of her identity. Marcela noted that she grew up in an obviously Chilean household where she spoke Spanish and often ate empanadas, pastel de choclo, and manjar (dulce de leche for many of us). However, outside of home she saw herself as a Canadian and didn’t pay much attention to her Hispanic heritage. That sentiment extended to the early parts of her legal career as well.That being said, Marcela noted that as she grew into her career, she started to notice that there weren’t many Hispanics around. So she started to speak her mind on the lack of representation and the cultural awareness that the legal profession so desperately needs. It became apparent that being a Hispanic woman could be a disadvantage – because there was a lack of fit or simply because of being an ‘other’ in an environment – but it shouldn’t be. In fact, embracing her roots has been integral in her success and, at times, has helped her connect with her clients in ways that others would not be able to.So in addition to her career as a mediator and her life as a Momager, Marcela made it a priority to contribute to the legal profession by taking on leadership roles with the Roundtable of Diversity Associations (RODA) and the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association – where she was a past President and Executive Director. Her involvement in these equity-seeking organizations has obviously resulted in their growth and increased presence, which helps all of us young, diverse lawyers navigate a very different legal field than the one she started off 20 years ago.To end off our lunch, I asked Marcela what she would recommend to young Hispanic lawyers trying to figure out their careers and find a place in the legal world. Her answer was simple but impactful: “Reach Out! There are so many of us that have gone through our own unique journeys in law and all you can do is reach out and ask as many questions as you can. We love helping and teaching the future of the profession!”Final Note: To say that it’s been a while since my last LWL would be an understatement. To those that have asked me about it, I apologize for the delay. In particular, an apology is owed to my wonderful guest, Marcela Saitua, since we had this lunch originally in February 2019. Since then, the Raptors won the NBA Championship, the Blue Jays called up all of their young stars, and a global pandemic has struck. There is no excuse for my delay other than my own fear that my column would not do justice to the incredible lunch we had.

Read More
Coronavirus Leaves (ON)

Coronavirus Leaves (ON)

Published on:
March 23, 2020
Published on:
April 10, 2021

On March 19, 2020, Ontario’s Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 (the “Emergency ESA”) received Royal Assent. These amendments particularly impact the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”)’s unpaid job protected leaves regime by expanding the Emergency Leaves. Emergency Leaves in Ontario were three:

  • Sick Leave (up to three days per year);
  • Family responsibility Leave (up to three days per year); and
  • Bereavement Leave (up to two days per year).

While we have the Emergency ESA in force in Ontario, those employers and employees covered by the ESA will have the (unfortunate) opportunity to use two more justifications for unpaid job protected leaves (the “Coronavirus Leaves”). These leaves are based on:

  • Declared Emergencies; and
  • Infectious Disease Emergencies.

The Coronavirus Leaves hopefully are temporary and are meant to allow employers to assist its employees to prioritize SARS-CoV-2 a.k.a. Coronavirus (or COVID-19) over work, if necessary. It also enables employers to protect its workplace from an infectious disease.Let’s review some questions about the Coronavirus Leaves: what – exactly – are the Coronavirus Leaves? To whom the Coronavirus Leaves apply? Do employees have to provide evidence about the Coronavirus Leaves? How long are the Coronavirus Leaves?

1. Declared Emergency Leave

The Emergency ESA’s Declared Emergency Leave, which is sourced in a government official-based order that affects a specific employee, mandates employers to grant an unpaid leave of absence to that employee(s) who will not be performing the duties of his or her job because of:

  • an emergency declared by the Lieutenant Governor in Council or the Premier – currently in force; and
  • an order was made based on the:
  • Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA);
  • Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA);
  • employee is needed to provide care or assistance to a specified individual (below); or
  • any other reason that may be prescribed during the time of the Declared Emergency.

2. Designated infectious disease

The Emergency ESA's Designated Infectious Disease is sourced in a specific employee facing the Coronavirus. Employers must grant an unpaid leave of absence to an employee who will not be performing the duties of his or her job because he or she is:

  • under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment;
  • acting in accordance with an order under the HPPA;
  • in quarantine, isolation or is subject to a control measure directed by a public health official, a qualified health practitioner, Telehealth Ontario, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada, or a municipal council or a board of health;
  • under an employer’s direction in response to its concern that the employee may expose other individuals to the infectious disease;
  • providing care or support to a specified individual (below);
  • directly affected by travel restrictions; or
  • any other reasons that may be prescribed.

3. Specified Individuals

The Coronavirus Leaves cover employees, whether because of a government official-based order that applies to that employee or because of an employee having or being expose to the Coronavirus. It also applies when an employee must provide care or support to a specified individual. The Emergency ESA added six groups of specified individuals for a total of 13. These are the employee’s spouse and/or:

  • parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
  • child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
  • child who is under legal guardianship of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
  • brother, step-brother, sister or step-sister of the employee;
  • grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
  • brother-in-law, step-brother-in-law, sister-in-law or step-sister-in-law of the employee;
  • son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
  • uncle or aunt of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
  • nephew or niece of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
  • spouse of the employee’s grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece;
  • person who considers the employee to be like a family member;
  • individual prescribed as a family member for the purposes of this section.

If an employee requests an unpaid job protected Coronavirus Leave of absence in relation to these Specified Individuals, the employer must grant the Coronavirus Leave.

4. Evidence

The Emergency ESA allows employers to ask the employee to support their Coronavirus request with any evidence reasonable in the circumstances. The Emergency ESA is not specific as to what the employer can ask for, as long as it is a reasonable request.It also tells employers to be flexible as to when to expect the reasonable evidence requested, at a time that is reasonable.The Emergency ESA has one prohibition though. Employers cannot ask for a certificate from a qualified health practitioner as evidence, when the employee is asking for the leave because he, she or a Specified Individual is exposed in some way to the coronavirus requiring the leave.

5. Length of the Coronavirus Leaves

The three usual emergency leaves - sickness, family emergency and bereavement - lasts a few days. The length of the Coronavirus Leaves is unpredictable.In case of a government official-based order supported by the declared emergency, the leave will end on the day the emergency is terminated or disallowed.In case of an individual emergency for the coronavirus, the leave will last for as long as the circumstances referred above, i.e. being in quarantine or self-isolation, or providing care or support to a Specified Individual, remain in place.Do you have a workplace policy to manage the Coronavirus and any other infectious disease?Antonio F. Urdaneta - antonio@workplacelegal.ca - is a marathon runner, a workplace lawyer, investigator, compliance coach, and thought leader at Workplace Legal. He uses coaching skills and tools to inform, advice and represent workplaces in digital and physical legal challenges and endeavours. He writes his own posts.For health guidance/information about the Coronavirus please visit the Government of Canada site.

Read More
To My Peer VolunteerS

To My Peer VolunteerS

Published on:
March 13, 2020
Published on:
April 10, 2021

We could have made this post about collaboration, teamwork, generousity, joint effort, and/or the impact of volunteering in Canada, but I prefer that the example speaks for itself.It’s been two years. Two years of ‘boring’ conference calls and ‘tedious’ emails. Let me tell you, it was totally worth it!This past Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, I personally felt empowered, engaged and included at the ITLNCA NetworkS Career Expo 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. And this was because of you!You, volunteers, Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA), Arab Canadian Lawyers Associations (ACLA), Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association (HCLA), South Asian Bar Association (SABA), Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) and Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL).You, volunteers, Toronto Region Immigrants Employment Council (TRIEC), Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD), NCA Network (NCAN), RobertHalfLegal and the Ontario Bar Association (OBA).You, volunteers, for resumes and cover letters, Michael, Meghan, Iva and Brianna; for online presence, Raj and Andrea; boutique firms Jones & Co.’s Yixian and Lewis & associates’ Alex; full-service firms Gowlings’ Shemara and Marco, McCarthy Tétrault’s Oksana and Bruna, Bennett Jones’ Jessie, Dentons’ Deepshika and McMillan’s Chiedza; NCAN’s Stacy; for recruitment, RobertHalfLegal’s Sadia and his team; for transitioning training, Law Practice Program’s Gina; for law chambers, Dezso and Isabel; and for the event space, drinks and food - and hand sanitizers, OBA (and their amazing staff!) and the CHBA.Last but not least, you volunteers, the Steering Committee who generously dedicated hundreds of hours to organize these events and gathered all these wonderful people and organizations together, OsgoodePD’s Michael, RobertHalf’s Julia, ACLA’s Dania, SABA’s Richa and Jasmine, FACL’s Melissa and Timothy, HCLA’s Yonida and Athan, NCAN’s Samantha, CABL’s Thelson, TRIEC’s Sathya, OBA’s Erinn and CHBA’s Antonio (me) and Priscila.The ITLNCA NetworkS Career Expo 2020 was the fourth and last event of the ITLNCA NetworkS Association’s first cycle.Prior to the Expo, ITLs and NCAs were able to attend three well-thought-out events organized by the Steering Committee: (i) Skills Alignment, (ii) Surviving the NCA at Osgoode’s ITL Day 2019 (inspired by the event “Surviving the NCA Process: Tips for a Growing Breed of Global Minded Lawyers” organized by Saba’s Richa, back in 2018), and (iii) the webinar ITLs Navigating Money & Regulations available in three short videos, here https://itln.ca/videosOn behalf of ITLs and NCAs out there, I want to conclude this post with my pinned tweet: “People choose to volunteer their time to help improve their communities or opine in social media. There is no right or wrong answer to this, just everlasting meaningful impact. THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS for your generous time!”Feel free to email info@itln.ca if you have comments or feedback about these events.

Read More
Holiday Drinking and Social Host Liability

Holiday Drinking and Social Host Liability

Published on:
December 17, 2019
Published on:
April 10, 2021

As the holidays approach, it is important to be aware of your legal responsibilities as a host when serving alcohol at your home.For many years, the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Childs v. Desmormeaux, 2006 SCC 18, has been the leading case on social host liability. The case involved a drunk party guest who crashed head-on into another car while driving home from a private BYOB New Year’s Eve party. One of the passengers in the other car died and three others were seriously injured. The Supreme Court case found that the homeowners who hosted the party were not liable for injuries caused by the intoxicated guest who attended their party. Many Court cases have been dismissed since then on the basis that there is no duty of care owed by a social host to guests or third parties.That being said, more recently in Williams v. Richard, 2018 ONCA 889, the Court of Appeal for Ontario re-visited the reasoning in Childs v. Desmormeaux. The Williams case involved a pair of co-workers who would regularly meet for drinks at a home owned by one of their mothers. On the day in question, the pair consumed 15 beers within a three-hour period. One of the men then left the residence to pick up his children and their babysitter. While driving home, the man was involved in an accident, which resulted in him being killed and his children being seriously injured.In its analysis, the Court revisited the legal principles in Childs v. Desmormeaux and the legal cases that have come after that decision. Specifically, the Court noted that there is not clear formula for determining whether a duty of care is owed by social hosts to their guests or third parties. It found that whether or not a social host has a legal duty will depend on both foreseeability and proximity.The foreseeability aspect looks at the host’s knowledge of the intoxicated person’s state or plans to engage in an activity that is dangerous and could cause harm. The issue of proximity depends on whether there are facts that suggest that the host should have done something more to prevent something bad from happening. This could exist in a situation in which there is a paternalistic relationship between the parties or where the host was creating an inherently risky environment for guests at the party.The take-home message from Williams v. Richard is that the issue of whether or not a social host is responsible for damages caused by guests consuming alcohol at their home will depend on a thorough review of the facts on case-by-case basis.In order to avoid unfortunate situations as described above, you should consider taking the following steps to help your guests celebrate the holidays as safely as possible:

  • Check your home and entrances for potential hazards.
  • Ensure that you and/or you co-hosts stay sober so you can keep a better eye on your guests.
  • Be pro-active about dealing with guests that have been problematic at past events.
  • Avoid making alcohol the focus of your party. Have activities that all guests can participate in.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Have lots of food on hand to mitigate the effects of alcohol.
  • Monitor over-consumption and stop serving alcohol well before the party ends.
  • Make a plan in advance to ensure that guests who become intoxicated get home safely or stay the night.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!Veronica Marson is a director of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (2015 to present) and a commissioner on the ABA's Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities (2018 to present). She currently works as a plaintiff-side personal injury and insurance lawyer at the law firm of Singer Kwinter in Toronto.

Read More
Are You Still Curious About Coaching?

Are You Still Curious About Coaching?

Published on:
July 10, 2019
Published on:
April 10, 2021

If you Google ‘Business Coaching’, you’ll likely get more than 7,000,000 hits. ‘Career Coaching’: 2,8M. ‘Life coaching’: 20M. ‘[Blank] coach’ seems to be a thing. Particularly, after all sport coaches in all sports in the history of the world, and Tony Robbins.Talking about sports, I bet Canadians are pretty happy with having Toronto Raptors’ coach Nick Nurse in the house, instead of Peter Horacheck (worst ranked Toronto Maple Leafs’ coach). And, what about a coach for a specific skill? Like, increasing your basketball shooting accuracy - with NBA shooting coach Dave Love. Or, watching in YouTube, a puck-shooting coach named Tim Turk (with 553 views), to improve your hockey’s shooting mechanics. Or, what about watching NBA’s 2x MVP, Steve Nash demonstrating a new App that tells you what’s wrong with your free-throws. I’m not promoting these coaches (App included), I’m making a point.Coaching is important to grow the different pieces of our career and business in a complex world with information overload. And, selecting what you want to develop, and find a coach for that particular purpose is as important as your decision to improve yourself.Getting coached and the coach are not just browsing LinkedIn profiles or social media favorites to find a [blank] coach, and magically achieving results. Not all coaches are a Nick Nurse, Dave Love, Tim Turk or the free-throws’ App. More importantly, the results they can help us achieve, vary widely.The Law Society of Ontario’s Coach and Advisor Network (CAN) tells participants that “Coaching is an approach for managing change: moving an individual from where they are ‘now’ to ‘where they want to be’. It builds capacity and motivates individuals by raising their awareness about their strengths and how to leverage them to create change. It is a conversation and a process that occurs over time, between the Coach (volunteer) and the Participant (person being coached). Through conversation, goals are identified and actions to achieve them are planned.”I was a privileged CAN’s participant in “Curious About Coaching?”, a webinar where two Nick Nurse-type of coaches, guided by legal sector’s futurist lawyers and adult educators from CAN, talked about what coaching for lawyers and paralegals is. I invite you to watch it.In this webinar, I was able to learn a few more easy things that I can do to improve my next experience with legal business and career coaching:

  • have a ballpark idea of what I want to achieve in the short term;
  • be open to clarify my priorities with my coach and list small steps to take;
  • expect the process to help me achieve one or two goals at a time;
  • be prepared to take action.

After my experience with coaching, I concluded that it is a perfect process to help us, legal professionals, to improve our careers/businesses in the legal sector, because the process is mindful of time constrains, and it assists us to manage information overload.And there seems to be a value added for the public. I see more legal consultants, advisors, solicitors and litigators including coaching tools and skills to deliver their legal services, based on what we have learned from the CAN’s experience. I expect that this coaching-styled ‘package’ would improve communication with clients, manage expectations better and set and account for clearer steps.Do you have a coach? Get it at Coach and Advisor NetworkAre you looking forward to giving back to the community as a Coach? Apply to be a coach.Antonio Franco Urdaneta is a marathon runner and Director of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (2019-21). He is a workplace lawyer, compliance coach and workplace investigator in the Great Toronto Area. Contact him at: antonio@workplacelegal.ca

Read More
Canadá Suspende Deportaciones de Venezolanos

Canadá Suspende Deportaciones de Venezolanos

Published on:
April 17, 2019
Published on:
April 10, 2021

Debido a la crisis política y humanitaria de Venezuela, el gobierno de Canadá, a través de su agencia Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), ha decidido imponer un aplazamiento administrativo a las órdenes de extracción de personas destinadas a ese país. Este aplazamiento fue hecho efectivo en los últimos días del mes de enero del 2019.Cuando una persona extranjera recibe una orden de extracción en Canadá (removal order en inglés), no puede permanecer legalmente en el país. Existen tres tipos de órdenes de extracción emitidas por Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) y CBSA:

  • Orden de salida (departure order). Las personas sujetas a esta orden deben salir de Canadá dentro de los 30 días después de que la orden toma efecto
  • Orden de exclusión (exclusion order). Una orden que prohíbe el reingreso a Canadá dentro de 12 meses a 5 años, dependiendo del caso, a menos que se haga una solicitud especial de retorno a Canadá
  • Orden de deportación (deportation order). Una prohibición indefinida al reingreso a Canadá a menos que se haga una solicitud especial de retorno a Canadá

Al agregar a Venezuela a la lista de aplazamientos administrativos de extracciones (administrative deferral of removals o ADR por sus siglas en inglés), todas las ordenes de extracción a este país quedan temporalmente diferidas hasta que la situación en el país se estabilice.Este aplazamiento de extracciones a Venezuela les brinda la oportunidad a aquellos venezolanos que, por ejemplo, perdieron un proceso de refugio, de seguir con sus procesos humanitarios o solicitudes migratorias dentro de Canadá sin tener que salir del país a corto plazo.Las personas que tienen una orden de extracción diferida también pueden tener acceso a permisos de trabajo o estudio humanitarios, si cumplen con ciertos parámetros.Cabe destacar que el aplazamiento de extracciones o deportaciones no aplica a personas extranjeras que sean inadmisibles a Canadá por motivos de criminalidad, violación de derechos humanos, crimen organizado, u otros motivos de seguridad.Andrew Carvajal es un abogado de Toronto y socio de Desloges Law Group con especialidad en derecho migratorio, derecho administrativo y litigio en la corte de causas menores.

Please note that this article was first published in the Spring 2019 Edition of BEST Magazine. To access the original article, please visit:http://online.flipbuilder.com/rfif/awax/

Read More
Cannabis Legalization and Family Law

Cannabis Legalization and Family Law

Published on:
March 22, 2019
Published on:
April 10, 2021

Much has been said about the merits of legalization of cannabis in Canada. Regardless of where people fall within the acceptance - condemnation spectrum, it is here to stay. While Parliament has provided the overall framework and limitations, judicial decisions will now further shape its boundaries one case at a time.To date, the courts have dealt with the use of marijuana, in the context of the breakdown of a matrimonial/common law relationship, as a substance that falls into the same category as other illegal, impairing and addiction-inducing substances. The severity or leniency of the judicial decisions varies depending on local provincial laws, applied on a case by case basis, which will now be limited by a new legislative threshold.

In Family Law the use of marijuana has historically impacted the issues of parenting and the generation of income for the purposes of determination of child support and spousal support.In the context of parenting, the legal test to decide custody and access to children of the relationship is the best interests of the children. The use of marijuana by a parent or both parents has commonly been wielded as a sword that is believed to lead to impaired judgement and poor decision-making, lowered reflexes, and on many occasions the culprit that lies at the root of conflict in the relationship, all contrary to the best interest of the children.The consumption of marijuana has been traditionally compared with the consumption of alcohol, and even cigarette smoking, cast as a moral judgement on the user and his/her ability to make decisions in other areas of their lives believed to be equally reprehensible.The more lenient opinions held about parents that consume marijuana approve of its use so long as the conduct is judicious when caring for children. For example, using it outside of the home when the children are present; or after they have gone to bed; or ensuring they do not drive while impaired; or not using it to the point that it interferes with the normal daily life such as leading to work absenteeism, falling asleep while the minor children are in their care, failing to feed the children, failing to meet scheduled activities, etc.The stricter more conservative views advocate for zero tolerance on the consumption of marijuana, or alcohol for that matter, to protect the environment the children live in where they can learn and grow safe from addictive influences and conflict. From this perspective, marijuana is viewed as a mind-altering substance that can lead to conflict between the parents, loss of trust in the other parent's ability to care for the children, questionable parent behaviour that is dangerous and irresponsible; overall an inappropriate substance to expose the children to.Measured against the above sliding scale, the excessive consumption of marijuana to the point of addiction will most likely lead to limitations on custody and access of the children. On the more lenient side of the spectrum, courts are more likely to impose certain conditions on its use to spare the children from direct detrimental effects, not unlike social alcohol drinking or smoking cigarettes, for the health and safety of the children that include designated smoking areas in the house away from the children and not driving when under the influence.When assessing the consumption of marijuana, the court would most likely make enquiries about the history of use of marijuana, the history of abuse of other substances, when marijuana is most likely to be used and whether it is in the presence of the children, medical issues of the children and that require a stricter awareness and level of attention from the parent when caring for the children and medical need by the parent.The legalization of marijuana also raises issues associated as to whether the sale and earnings generated from a previously illegal activity should now be revisited retroactively to include such earnings into the calculation of income; or to include such earnings on a going-forward basis.Considering the multitude of factors that impact the determination of the best interests of the children, the use of marijuana being just one more factor to look at, the impact will slowly develop by the court system on a case by case basis and as prudent parents just make sure your children are safe.

Claudia Falquez-Warkentin is a partner at Davis Spine Falquez LLP, practicing in the areas of family law and wills & estates law. Claudia has two law degrees, having earned her first law degree in Colombia, South America and then graduating from the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario and is the first woman with foreign legal training to be called to the Ontario Bar. An active participant in the community, Claudia has served as a Director in the Hispanic Ontario Lawyers' Association (currently the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association), Vice-President of the Canadian Children's Organization, mentor through the Canadian Colombian Professional Association, President of the Cross Cultural Learner Centre, Chair of the Canadian Colombian Professional Association (London Chapter), Director of the Sunfest Arts Committee and at Bethany Centre.

Please note that this article was first published in the Spring 2019 Edition of BEST Magazine. To access the original article, please visit:http://online.flipbuilder.com/rfif/awax/

Read More
Substance or Form: Are Burritos Wraps?

Substance or Form: Are Burritos Wraps?

Published on:
March 11, 2019
Published on:
April 10, 2021

Most people would never think of this question as a legal one, but in a recent 2018 decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (2432714 Ontario Inc. v. Heffner Development Group Limited, 2018 ONSC 1034 (CanLII)), this was a principle question at issue, in the context of an injunction relating to a leasing dispute.Justice Sheard stepped in to settle a dispute between the restaurant tenant, that operated a Pita Pit at the New Hamburg plaza and the landlord of the plaza. The landlord agreed to lease a unit to Holy Guacamole, a Mexican restaurant which offered tacos, burritos and quesadillas on its menu. The issue was that Pita pit had signed a lease with the landlord which included a clause that prevented the landlord from leasing any unit to a restaurant that sold similar foods to that sold by Pita Pit, namely pitas and wraps. The lease provided:

  • 2.02 The Leased Premises are leased to the Tenant(s) for the purpose of operating, conducting, and carrying on, in, and from the whole of the Leased Premises pitas and wraps (hereinafter defined as the “Primary Product(s) and/or Services(s)) and for no other purpose save and except that the Tenant(s) may also sell the Secondary Product(s) and/or Service(s) as provided in Section 2.06 of this Addendum B, Use of Leased Premises. Sale of alcohol, pizzas, chicken wings, panzerotti and Italian sandwiches are not permitted.
  • 2.03 … the Landlord covenants and agrees that throughout the Term and any Extension Term(s), the Landlord shall not lease any portion of the Centre, other than the Leased Premises, to be used for the sale of the Primary Product(s) and/or Service(s).

Pita Pit took this matter to court seeking an injunction stating that tacos, burritos and quesadillas are “prepared by taking savoury foods and wrapping them in a tortilla”, which constitutes the making of a wrap. The landlord on the other hand, held that Holy Guacamole’s menu was quite distinct to the wraps offered by Pita Pit.I think most of us would agree that it is the contents inside a wrap, a tortilla or even a sandwich that give the product a unique status. The landlord in this case argued that wraps and burritos are distinguished by the cultural origin. Holy Guacamole’s food is Mexican inspired, whereas pitas have Arabic origins. This on its own is a sufficient difference between the two types of food, given the distinctive cultural influence in the flavours, spices and ingredients used to make each of them.Pita Pit filed evidence from Daniel Pashman, a food journalist and commentator who purported to provide an expert opinion on whether the food sold by Holy Guacamole consists of wraps. Mr. Pashman has gained notoriety for his publications on “is a hot dog a sandwich”.[1] Mr. Pashman stated that the foods sold by Holy Guacamole, just like that of Pita Pit’s, are delivered by way of a wrapped covering, suggesting that this was enough to make them the similar. He described Holy Guacamole’s food as “burrito wraps, taco wraps and quesadilla wraps”, but who has ever referred to a burrito as a “burrito wrap”, or a taco as a “taco wrap”?As an injunction was sought by the landlord, the test considered by the Court is that set out by the Supreme Court in RJR Macdonald, namely: (1) that there is a serious issue to be tried; (2) whether irreparable harm will be suffered if the injunction is not granted; and (3) a consideration of the balance of convenience.Surprisingly, Justice Sheard ruled in favour of Pita Pit and granted an injunction to keep Holy Guacamole from opening its doors. She found that there was a serious issue to be tried as to whether the food sold by Holy Guacamole included wraps. In my opinion, she did not give as much importance to each product’s distinct qualities, as she did to the similarity in the way they are delivered, that is by way of a wrapped covering. The standard that was met was only whether there was a serious issue to be tried; so stay tuned for a more determinative statement on this critical topic.

[1] A hot dog is a sandwich according to Mr. Pashman.

Roberto Aburto is a Partner practicing in municipal law at Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP’s Ottawa office. Layla Piedra Abu Sharar is a law student at the University of Ottawa. Roberto and Layla are proud members of the CHBA’s mentor/mentee program.

Read More
♪♫ CBER Claus Is Coming to Town♫♪

♪♫ CBER Claus Is Coming to Town♫♪

Published on:
January 7, 2019
Published on:
April 10, 2021

The blog post Was the Law Practice Program invented by Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison? invited us to shift the discussion about lawyering (business or calling) to the “somehow” of producing and delivering legal services. This post includes an invite to action about that “somehow”. But first, let me tell you what recently happened to Jose.Jose, a seasoned lawyer in Ontario, listened to his voicemails. A woman named Maria, with limited English-speaking skills left a message:Hi. My Boss fired me. I told I’m pregnant. I cry all the time. I hear Carranza in the radio. They told, you help me. Please. My number is 5190B00Z03. Me llamo Maria y que Dios me le pague, Mr.Jose’s intuition told him: the file is worth nothing, and I’m busy with billable work. He saved Maria’s voicemail for later.Almost three weeks passed by, and Jose was running out of billable work (and more importantly, cash flow to pay for his overhead and employees). He followed up with potential clients in his radar and got a hold on most of them. Jose called Maria last. On that Thursday, late in the evening, Maria was tired of trying to find representation, she was about to let it go.Speaking with Maria, Jose thought that the file was worth something, but she couldn’t afford his retainer by the hour. He also found out that Maria had an “ok” offer from her former employer. The deadline to accept or decline the offer was on top of them, Monday. He convinced Maria to retain his firm, because he planned to give the file to his recent call associate, Camila. As soon as he finished with the call, Jose texted Camila: “Good case for you. Come to the office early in the morning.” Camila was excited about this opportunity, and immediately responded to Jose:Great!!! I’ll make arrangements for my kid. I’ll be there earlier than usual. See you in the morning. And, hey Jose … thank you very much :DOn Friday morning, Camila got to her desk at 8 a.m. She dogged in the computer, and tried to find the mystery file, unsuccessfully. At about 9:30 a.m. Jose texted Camila:I have to take my kids to their grandma. Everything is all right. I’ll be there asap. Start reading my notes, I saved them in the file “Maria”; it’s in the clients’ folder (shared drive).The notes were short. Camila finished the document under five minutes. She took the initiative to start researching about what she thought was the legal issue. Eventually, Jose got to the office and after he responded to important emails, he gave Camila instructions:All right Camila, this is an emergency. It’s a good case, but on contingency. You’ll do most of the work. The deadline is Monday. I need you to find out how much we should ask for. We also need a demand letter ready to be sent Monday morning. Formalize the retainer. Call Maria if you need to.Camila immediately cancelled her weekend plans with her family. She saw no other choice but to work until Maria’s letter was sent. Camila’s husband was sad because they were both looking forward to spending quality time with their toddler. And, there was a substantial cancellation fee to pay as well (luxury that they couldn’t afford).If you were Jose, what would you have done differently? Forward the voicemail to Camila as soon as you received it, for her to explore the case and report back to you? Evidently, this may be one way to solve a one-time issue. If it were a one-time issue. But, we know that generating leads, screening potential clients, assessing financial viability of new files, and executing retainers are not a one-time thing in a law practice.As in courtroom advocacy and boardroom negotiations, managing the workflow of a law firm (no matter its size), the answer is more complicated than this. I think it starts with assessing the firm’s practice environment and work culture, which in the case of Jose’s firm, I can see (at least) these deep-rooted problems:

  • using habits and intuition as a substitute of firm’s policies and procedures;
  • lack of awareness of the firm and employees’ capabilities;
  • failure to provide timely and uniform instructions, and symmetric information to employees;
  • lack of business goals and lack of target market;
  • mistakenly thinking that the practice is sustainable no matter what happens.

May the Force be With You!

In June 2015, the Benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada (as it then was) - now the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) - in Convocation (Convocation), established the Compliance-Based Entity Regulation Task Force (Task Force), to make recommendations about how to better deal with current legal sector’s challenges, such as:

  • increasingly complex working environment(s);
  • the proliferation of new ways to deliver legal services (including new technologies);
  • the more-for-less clients’ expectations; and
  • globalization;

A few months later, in its May 26, 2016 Report to Convocation: Compliance-Based Entity Regulation - or CBER - (2016 Report), the Task Force recommended Convocation to:

  1. “[…] seek an amendment to the Law Society Act to permit Law Society regulation of entities through which legal services are provided”; and
  2. “[…] approve development of a regulatory framework for consideration by Convocation based on the principles of compliance-based regulation set out in this report”. [Bold added]

I understand from the 2016 Report that the current legal sector’s challenges are not to be overcome by keeping regulations as they were originally designed (over the individual lawyer, i.e. Jose), and perhaps that the legal sector’s regulatory framework needs to evolve, which means to develop the regulation of entitiesthrough which legal services are provided (i.e. Jose’s firm) based on the principles of compliance-based regulation:

  1. Practice Management;
  2. Client Management;
  3. File Management;
  4. Financial Management and Sustainability;
  5. Professional Management;
  6. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and
  7. Access to Justice.

At this point, I think, and I trust that you would agree with me, that forwarding Maria’s voicemail to Camila faster would not be a policy or procedure that survives CBER. This is barely a habit. Instead, I agree with the Task Force that the entities through which legal services are provided (hopefully, filled with lawyers and paralegals) would help themselves manage their workflow by having appropriate policies and procedures based on these principles.No worries, you are not alone in this endeavour. More recently, in the May 24, 2018 Report to Convocation: Compliance-Based Entity Regulation - or CBER - (2018 Report) the Task Force recommended Convocation to:

  • invite participants to review the practice assessment tool developed by the Task Force and included in the 2018 Report, and to give the Task Force their feedback; and
  • launch a consultation with focus groups moderated by an outside facilitator.

It seems that CBERclaus is coming to town, and I expect (or hope) to see it fully deployed within the next 5-10 years.

Invitation to Action

What can Jose do? If you are feeling a little bit like Jose (or Camila), recognize that these changes cannot be done overnight. Take baby steps, and winnow your exclusive 2019 CHBA’s invite to action:

  1. Check out the “Draft Practice Assessment Tool” designed by the Task Force at: https://lso.ca/about-lso/initiatives/compliance-based-entity-regulation and choose 3 or 4 things you want/need to develop/improve in 2019 - sounds like a great New Year’s goal to me!
  1. Contact LSO’s Coach and Advisor Network (CAN) and get yourself a coach (or as many coaches as you need) at: https://lso.ca/lawyers/practice-supports-and-resources/coach-and-advisor-network
  1. Enjoy your growth; and
  1. Consider participating in the upcoming Task Force’s consultation.

On behalf of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association’s Board (or “La Pandilla de los 7”), I wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2019, and we look forward to working with you in the following months.¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Feliz Ano Novo!Antonio Franco Urdaneta is a marathon runner and the Memberships Director of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (2017-19). He is a multi-lingual workplace law-coach, investigator and lawyer located in the Great Toronto Area. Contact him at: antonio@schiblelaw.com

Read More
Overcoming Disenfranchisement

Overcoming Disenfranchisement

Published on:
December 17, 2018
Published on:
April 10, 2021

I watched a documentary a few days ago on a well-known Canadian artist by the name of William Kurelek. A first generation Canadian, with a domineering Ukrainian father that insisted on making sure that the Ukrainian language was spoken at home. The father rejected Canada in favor of his homeland and left his children without the ability to speak English until they entered primary school. The end result was a person that felt seriously disenfranchised from society and that had no real sense of belonging. A man caught between two realities – that of his father’s Ukrainian world and that of his new home. These feelings of disenfranchisement caused him to develop inner rage, all which fed his beautiful art. The reason why I mention this artist is that a number of his experiences have been felt by many first-generation Canadians that are asked to straddle two realities, that can often clash. Now, this is my story. We arrived in Canada in 1975. My father, mother sister and I. We did not speak English or French. We spoke only Spanish. I was enrolled in an English primary school, only to be told by a teacher that I was mentally deficient because I did not know my vowels. “You mean that you do not know your V-O-W-E-L-S?!”, uttered the teacher in the presence of thirty-two students, all chuckling. I was meant to feel shame at who I was. What I did not know was the English word “vowel”. I indeed did know my vowels, but in Spanish. That was largely irrelevant to the teacher. In their eyes, I was a dumb latino immigrant that would, at best, become a fruit-picker en los campos. My sister and I were quickly shuffled off to a class of students that had hearing disabilities, where we sat in a room calling out the word of the picture that was shown to us on q-cards. This was the preferred integration approach by a school board that did not have a clue of what it was doing. The fact that I was in a room with students that could not pronounce certain sounds made little difference to them. I was a write-off. I was a dumb latino immigrant. For years, I pronounced the word “UMBRELLA” as “UM-BELLA” (without an "r") since that is the sound that was echoed by the students that had hearing disabilities. My sister and I endured. At home, my father was a very dominant latino figure - a machista. A man where his word carried the day in the house and where you could not contradict him without facing a consequence. Latino pride reigned. He had a vision of the world that was anchored in what he had been taught in Lima, Peru- strong Catholic values, with a narrow view on the role that women should play in society. My sister and I straddled his world and our world for years. We endured. My father’s relationship with his children and wife was also marred with domestic violence. A woman was no more than an object that should cater to a man’s needs. He was entitled to beat her to get her to do what he wanted. The result was a divorce and further chaos for the children. Financially, we were not well off. My father brought home a pay cheque, but never enough to buy a house. We moved from apartment to apartment, never unpacking boxes, knowing that it would soon be time to move once the lease was up. I left home at sixteen, with my bags, never to walk through the door of my father’s home. I rejected his world forever. I followed the footsteps of my sister that left a year before I did. I wandered from basement to basement, at the mercy and generosity of friends. The end result is that by the time that I started University, I was very angry. Angry at what I had been dealt by life. The very same anger that is felt by many disenfranchised first-generation Canadians that are asked to straddle two worlds, which often clash. I write this blog not to tell you about my life’s story, but to tell all first-generation Hispanic Canadians that what you live may not be unique and that you are not alone. I write this blog to say that we all have responsibilities towards the Hispanic community, both collectively and individually. We must come together and offer support, both through networks and role models. I was lucky. I turned anger into something constructive. I became a fearless advocate, never allowing an opponent to intimidate me. This is not always the case with anger. Anger can be destructive. We have a role to play in making sure that there is flawless integration and that none of our first generation Canadian Hispanics feel disenfranchised.Alexander Moreno Gay is Senior Litigation Counsel at the Department of Justice. He is a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa (Faculty of Law), where he teaches Civil Procedure to second year law students. He is also the author of the Annotated Arbitration Act of Ontario, 1991. He maintains a broad civil litigation practice, with an emphasis on commercial and trade disputes. He has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. He has represented clients in arbitrations, mediations and before regulatory tribunals and boards, including the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT), the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC), the Environment Canada Board of Review, the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) and the Competition Tribunal.

Read More
Cannabis in the Workplace

Cannabis in the Workplace

Published on:
October 1, 2018
Published on:
April 10, 2021

The context in Canada relating to both medical and adult-use cannabis is changing. Medical cannabis use has been increasing dramatically, from approximately 7,900 users in Canada in 2014, to approximately 296,702 in 2018. Adult-use of cannabis will also be legal in the near future, with the development of the Federal Cannabis Act and there is an expected increase in use across the country.Legalization of adult-use cannabis is expected to increase access and reduce the negative stigma associated with cannabis. With both medical and adult-use cannabis projected to increase in the coming years, the question is: how do we deal with this change in the workplace?

Consumption of adult-use of cannabis in Ontario will be prohibited in the workplace and restricted to private residences by Ontario's Cannabis Act. Smoking or vaping in the workplace, including medical cannabis, is set to be prohibited in the workplace by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (though there are some exceptions).Despite these restrictions, issues will still likely arise. What about an individual that consumes cannabis prior to coming to work who may or may not be impaired? Or medical cannabis users that consume cannabis at work via a non-smoking method such as a topical cream or edible? Or low-dose THC use? Or consumption of CBD (a cannabinoid – a compound found in cannabis – which is used to treat patients)? Employers have an obligation to create a safe work environment, which they can discharge in relation to cannabis by prohibiting impairment in the workplace. In addition, employers have the right to insist that employees not be impaired at work. Sources of rules employers may use for disciplinary actions include: collective agreements; workplace policies; legislation; and the common law. However, an employee’s consumption of cannabis in the workplace may be protected by law.AccommodationAccommodation in the workplace may be required under the Human Rights Code of Ontario, unless doing so would cause undue hardship upon the employer. Either a prescription for medical cannabis use, or a cannabis dependency, are likely to trigger accommodation requirements. Absent establishing undue hardship, an individualized accommodation plan will need to be developed for any employees who may require them.Accommodation of workplace cannabis use will be more prevalent in non-safety sensitive positions. In safety sensitive positions, there will be a stronger argument for undue hardship on the employer with respect to attempting to accommodate an employee who may be impaired in the workplace. Regardless, to allow for an individualized accommodation plan, an employer must be aware that there is a need for such plan to begin with. Workplace policies, therefore, may require disclosure of a medical prescription or dependency on cannabis. Failure to comply with policies should have associated penalties for violating the policy, up to and including – potentially – termination of employment.It is also important to remember that not all forms of cannabis consumption lead to impairment.Determining ImpairmentGenerally, employers should not be focused on identifying cannabis use, but rather on preventing impairment in the workplace. Generally, in non-safety sensitive positions the employer will not have the right to test its employees.For safety sensitive positions however, testing may be used in limited circumstances. For example:

  • Reasonable cause to suspect an employee is impaired on the job;
  • Significant accidents or ‘near-miss’ incidents; and,
  • As part of a ‘Return to Work Agreement’ or Minutes of Settlement.

It’s much easier to proceed with testing when contemplated by a workplace policy or included in a collective agreement. Random testing, however, is very rarely permitted.The judge in ATU, Local 113 v Toronto Transit Commission (2017 ONSC 2078) accepted a test of 10 nanograms of THC in one millimetre of saliva as being indicative of cannabis use in the previous four hours; the judge accepted that cannabis use in the previous four hours meant a likelihood of impairment. However, an arbitrator in Newfoundland recently decided – relying on current information published by Health Canada – that a person who consumes cannabis may be impaired for up to twenty-four hours after consumption. Evidently, testing for cannabis impairment is very much a live issue, and we will likely see development in the coming years as the science behind the issue is furthered. In addition, we will likely see the per se limit established for driving while impaired be relied upon in the workplace context.Closing ThoughtsEmployers should be aware of the differences between safety sensitive positions and non-safety sensitive positions when developing accommodation plans. The way employers may test for impairment, standards for accommodation plans, and the prevalence and effect of cannabis use in the workplace are all issues that are in flux. Until clear jurisprudence is developed, employers should focus on ensuring that the workplace is safe for everyone while at the same time preventing the breach of an employee’s human rights.Employees should be aware of their privacy and human rights, but also of their obligation to refrain from attending the workplace while impaired and the duty to follow the reasonable and lawful instructions of their employer – including following workplace rules and policies.For assistance in navigating this changing landscape or for further information, please contact mtorres@brazeauseller.com.

Read More
Lunch with Luis - First Guest: Juan Carranza

Lunch with Luis - First Guest: Juan Carranza

Published on:
September 21, 2018
Published on:
April 10, 2021

Being the first Lunch with Luis (“LWL”), I think it is important to express my goals for this column and to thank you for reading! Specifically, I endeavour to highlight exceptional Hispanic lawyers in Canada and to have candid discussions with them regarding their life journeys. For the inaugural LWL, I had the great pleasure of sitting down for lunch with personal injury lawyer Juan Carranza of Carranza LLP and I could not be happier to have had the opportunity to do so.We sat down for lunch at Panchita’s Kitchen and Bakery to have some pupusas (traditional Salvadoran dish of a thick corn tortilla stuffed with a savory filling). From the get-go, the restaurant choice showed me the kind of person with whom I would be sitting down to chat. A small, humble restaurant across from Juan’s offices, the walls were decorated with traditional Salvadorian décor and the food was nothing short of exceptional. Juan began by telling me how often he would frequent Panchita’s and that he thought it a fitting restaurant to sit down with another lawyer from Central America.Once we got through the initial pleasantries and ordered some food, Juan and I dove right in to his life. He spoke with a captivating warmth about his youth and his early immigration to Canada. Juan then regaled me with tales of him navigating through a B.A. at York University and then staying at York to study law at Osgoode Hall. Ultimately, he would end up becoming the first Central American lawyer to be called to the Law Society of Upper Canada (now the Law Society of Ontario) and paving the way for young Hispanic lawyers such as myself.

What was particularly striking to me about Juan was his fixation with using his knowledge and skills for the benefit of others. We talked of the common perception of personal injury lawyers as being “ambulance-chasers” and how he thought that this was a very cynical view of his area of practice. In fact, Juan spoke passionately about how, in his practice of over 20 years, he has helped people of all walks of life – no matter the culture, religion, wealth, gender, or language – to obtain justice. In this regard, he has seen all types of severe injuries that deeply affect the lives of his clients and the frustrations that they face when healing and adjusting to their injuries. Juan often underscored that his role was not only to be legal counsel, but to be an integral member of the client’s support group through what can only be described as difficult times. Juan then explained that he is able to accomplish this “by often going to clients’ homes to see how they are living and how their injuries have impacted their day-to-day life.” He ultimately emphasized that “you get to know people in the most intimate ways” when dealing with these files and that you have to respond to people appropriately, including “appreciating the cultural differences that inform a client’s experience.” As Juan put it, his ‘mission is his client.’Naturally, our conversation then shifted to the importance of access to justice and, in particular, the barriers to accessing justice. We talked at length of what Juan described as the greatest barriers to justice in his view, namely: language, culture, and money. Juan pointed to the many people who suffer catastrophic injuries who are often also part of a more vulnerable sector of society. Because of this reality, Juan noted that his “original interest while in law school had to do with refugees from Latin American countries and the transition to personal injury was natural because it was also vulnerable people who needed help.”Many clients struggle with English, let alone the legalese that lawyers like to use. On top of a language barrier, many clients come from different cultures with different standards, so they may not even recognize that they have certain rights! And of course, money is a tremendous barrier for the average person with modest means.Throughout our chat it became clear that one of Juan’s top priorities is to provide accessible, empathetic, personal, and down-to-earth representation for his clients. He emphasized how important it is for all lawyers to be culturally aware/competent to provide the best service to clients when they are at their most vulnerable. In this regard, Juan spoke of the many practices that Carranza LLP has adopted, including, giving talks to other lawyers about the need of cultural competence, preparing all sorts of legal materials in plain language (and in as many languages as possible) to allow for greater accessibility to legal information. “We want to be, if not pioneers, promoters for the idea of cultural awareness”.Finally, we capped off the lunch with a coffee in Juan’s office. This setting was also quite telling of the person with whom I had effortlessly spent two hours. All around his office there were plaques and pictures of kids’ sports leagues he had supported throughout the years, pictures of family, and little Hispanic knickknacks. Juan’s office revealed the essence of a man who has spent his life tirelessly working to contribute to his local community, to contribute to his profession, and to working with people in need of help; all while balancing the life of a family man.

Throughout this inaugural LWL, it became clear that Juan is tremendously passionate about lifting up those around him and that includes the young, up-and coming Hispanic lawyers. His contributions to the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association and to the Hispanic community as a whole cannot be understated. In speaking of the importance of the CHBA, he spoke with great pride about how the organization has developed into a substantial group of lawyers with ever-expanding resources and value to further the interests of the Hispanic community. In Juan’s view, organizations like the CHBA, and equity and diversity initiatives such as those put on by the Law Society are vital for the advancement of Hispanics in Canada.I am grateful to have had an opportunity to sit down with Juan Carranza and simply digest the wisdom he was glad to impart on a young guy like myself. The ultimate takeaway was that it’s on every one of us to lend a helping hand where possible. The Hispanic community has grown significantly in Canada and the number of Hispanics in need of legal services has also grown tremendously. There have been trailblazers in the legal community, like Juan, who have laid a foundation for future generations of Hispanic lawyers. As such, it’s incumbent on the rest of us to do our part and continue to work for the collective good.Luis A. Hernandez is a Canadian-Nicaraguan lawyer working at Horlick Levitt Di Lella LLP. He was admitted to the Law Society of Upper Canada in June 2017. Luis received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Windsor in 2016. Luis’s training has been primarily in condominium law and civil litigation.

Read More
Proceso de Acreditación en Ontario para los Abogados Certificados en el Extranjero

Proceso de Acreditación en Ontario para los Abogados Certificados en el Extranjero

Published on:
October 14, 2017
Published on:
April 10, 2021

Cada provincia es autónoma y puede tener diferentes requisitos, en particular la provincia de Quebec.Los abogados que hayan obtenido su titulo en el extranjero deberán realizar la acreditación de sus credenciales y podrán optar por los siguientes dos procesos:I- ACREDITACION DEL TITULOEsta acreditación deberá ser realizada ante el Comité Nacional de Acreditación (NCA- National committee of Accreditation) que tiene como finalidad evaluar el entrenamiento legal y profesional de personas con titulo legal extranjero y de formación diferente al sistema “common law” de Canada. Lo evaluado por este comité es aceptado en todas las provincias de Canadá.Para aplicar a este comité nacional de acreditación no se requiere estar dentro de Canadá, puede hacerse fuera del país enviando los documentos, tampoco se requiere ser ciudadano o residente canadiense. Entre otros, los documentos que se requerirían son:a) -Diplomas-Certificación de materias cursadas y notas obtenidas, debidamente selladas.b) Si usted ha estado inscrito en alguna entidad del gobierno o privada que regule su profesión y expida o le permita obtener su licencia como abogado, deberá aportar una prueba de ello, mediante una carta de esta entidad o una certificación que determine que usted ha estado inscrito y no ha tenido ningún inconveniente. Es de anotar que si ha tenido que realizar exámenes para poder aplicar podría hacerse llegar las notas obtenidas en estos exámenes.c) Deberá enviar una carta de referencia de sus empleadores o una declaración juramentada en la cual determine la experiencia que tiene o ha tenido en su país, practicando su profesión en la rama legal.d) El formulario de aplicación del Comité nacional de acreditación (NCA) debidamente, diligenciado. Incluya en orden cronológico de sus estudios profesionales y de los trabajos realizados después de que dejo la facultad de derecho.e) Adicional al formulario de aplicación usted debe suministrar:- Original de notas obtenidas y de materias cursadas.- Determinación de los cursos que usted realizo en su programa académico para ser abogado, con el numero horas de clases a la semana y de semanas por año que tiene el curso. Usted puede suministrar esto a través de un calendario o prospecto de la facultad de derecho.- Si tuvo que presentar el Law School Admission Test (LSAT) debe enviar el resultado obtenido.- Prueba de que usted domina el idioma ingles, mediante los resultados del TOEFL (resultados de al menos 600 en la prueba de papel o 250 en la prueba de computador) o, El Michigan English Language Assessment Battery con un resultado de al menos 90, o IELT ( International English Language Testing System) con un resultado de al menos 7.0.En el caso de esta prueba, se recomienda comunicarse con el encargado del comité de acreditación para confirmar si puede ser obviada en caso de dominar el idioma sin haber presentado alguno de estos exámenes, mientras se hace la valoración de sus estudios, pero se debe tener presente que las universidades requieren alguno de estos exámenes.Para mayor información sobre estos exámenes, visite o escriba a:Test of English as a Foreign Language website www.toefl.orgEducational Testing ServiceP.O Box 6151Princenton, New Jersey08541-6151USA.Michigan English Language Assessment BatteryEnglish Language InstituteMELAB OfficeUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan 48104U.S.AInternational English Language Testing SystemUniversity of CambridgeLocal examination Syndicate1 Hells Road, Cambridge CBI2EU U.K.f) El valor de la aplicación en el Comité Nacional de Acreditación (NCA) es de $535 dólares canadienses, pagaderos mediante un cheque certificado (solo de cuentas canadienses) o Money order a la Federation Law Societies. Estos valores están sujetos a cambio al igual que las modalidades de pago, para lo cual se recomienda verificar los mismos antes de realizar cualquier pago y cuando se vaya a aplicar.DOCUMENTOS1- Si usted desea que cualquier documento original le sea devuelto, debe enviar separados todos los documentos con una copia de los mismos; porque sino lo hiciere el Comité Nacional de Acreditación (NCA) no le devolverá sus originales.2- Todos los documentos deben ser traducidos al ingles, para ser enviados, se les recomienda realizarlos preferiblemente en sus países de origen por lo costosas de las traducciones que hay en Canadá; y sobretodo, debido a que desde las universidades que los expiden deben venir todos los documentos con los sellos de rigor, y los sobres estar sellados y dirigidos directamente al Comité nacional de acreditación (NCA).Los documentos se deben enviar a:The National Committee on Accreditation c/oFaculty of Law, Common Law SectionUniversity of Ottawa57 Louis PasteurOttawa, Ontario K1N6N5CanadaTeléfonos: 613-562-5204Fax: 613-562-5722El horario de atención al publico es de 8:30 a 4:30 Lunes a Viernes.Para cualquier información o asistencia se debe de comunicar con Fran Russo a los teléfonos en mención o a el e-mail fran.russo@uottawa.caWebsites www.flsc.cawww.flsc.ca/en/foreignlawyers/guidelines.aspAdicionalmente, y para conocer mas detalladamente todo el proceso se recomienda visitar la pagina, del Ministerio de ciudadanía e inmigración de Canadá: www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/english/working/career/professions/lawyers.shtmlDURACIONEl comité procesa aplicaciones durante todo el año, en el orden en que se van recibiendo; Y se toman al menos dos meses desde que se recibe la aplicación hasta cuando se analizan toda la documentación y el comité da una decisión de la evaluación realizada. Este tiempo podría variar si se envía información incompleta o están mal aportados los documentos.DECISION Y RECOMENDACIONES DEL COMITE NACIONAL DE ACREDITACIONEl Comité Nacional de Acreditación puede tomar una de las cuatro siguientes recomendaciones:1- Usted es elegible para recibir el certificado de calificación y también para aplicar al proceso de obtener la licencia de abogado. La Law Society of Ontario, reconoce la calificación como equivalente a la graduación obtenida de una Facultad de derecho de Canadá.2- Usted deberá presentar y pasar algunos exámenes en áreas especificas de la legislación canadiense. Estos exámenes se pueden realizar de dos maneras:a) Solicitar permiso y registrarse como un estudiante especial en un programa de leyes y tomar estos exámenes como parte de los programas de estudios. Algunas universidades exigen para esto el examen del LSAT y otros requisitos, vea en cada Law School los requisitos requeridos. Una vez culminados estos estudios se deberán enviar al comité nacional de acreditación para su análisis.b) Presentar los exámenes del Comité Nacional de Acreditación. Estos son establecidos de enero a agosto y dependerá de si pasa los iniciales o no para continuar su tramite.3- Usted deberá estudiar un determinado numero de créditos-horas de los estudios de leyes en una facultad de derecho (Law school) canadiense. Antes de esto usted deberá obtener una evaluación por cada crédito de su programa de estudios y de la experiencia que se tenga de su país de origen.4- Usted deberá aplicar y pasar completamente el programa de undergraduate L.L.B program, que es el Bachelor of Law y equivale normalmente a estudiar tres años en una facultad de derecho (law school).TIEMPO DE VALIDES DE LA EVALUACION REALIZADA POR EL COMITE NACIONAL DE ACREDITACION (NCA).El comité, mantendrá en sus archivos su aplicación por un tiempo máximo de cinco (5) años, desde que se aplico y durante este tiempo usted podrá solicitar nuevamente una nueva evaluación o aportar nuevos documentos que sean de su beneficio. Tiempo después deberá aplicar nuevamente para una nueva evaluación.II - ESTUDIAR EL PROGRAMA DE BARCHELOR EN LAW (L.L.B) DE LAS FACULTADES DE DERECHO (LAW SCHOOL) DE LAS UNIVERSIDADES AUTORIZADAS EN CANADA.Este programa de estudio es full-time y su duración es de tres años, No obstante, en algunas universidades se tiene programas especiales, que permiten desarrollarlo como part-time denominado Special Students, pero esto dilataría el tiempo de obtener el titulo.Para ingresar a estas facultades de leyes, se debe de proceder a aplicar para su admisión a traves del Ontario Law SchoolService ( OLSAS) y pagar la inscripción, que es una división el Ontario Universities Application Center (OUAC) y su dirección es:170 Research LaneGuelph, Ontario N1G5E2Telefono: 1-519-823-1940Fax: 1-519-823-5232E-mail: olsas@ouac.on.caWebsite: www.ouac.on.caSe debe de tener en cuenta que la recomendación del Comité Nacional de Acreditación (NCA) no le permite ingresar automáticamente a la Universidad-Facultad de Leyes (Law school) de Canadá. Debe aplicarse y cumplir los requerimientos que cada Universidad exige, para lo cual se recomienda ubicar en la cual se desea estudiar y visitar la facultad de leyes (law school) antes de cualquier aplicación para tener claro los requisitos que se necesitan y enviar la documentación pertinente al Ontario Law School Service.Las Universidades Canadienses son muy competitivas, se debe de analizar las fechas (deadlines) limites de aplicación para no perder las oportunidades y realizar los exámenes, y tener los documentos requeridos a tiempo.Estas son de:- Noviembre 1 para el primer año de estudios y se empezaría a estudiar en el año siguiente de aplicación.- Mayo 1 para admisiones de Segundo y tercer año de los programas LLB, si existe espacio (asumiendo que se tiene la carta de autorización para completar unos cursos, o si se es aplicante del Comité Nacional de Acreditación – NCA)PERSONAS MADURASSe recomienda analizar al momento de aplicar mirar que universidades tiene este programa, ya que para estos casos se guardan unos cupos que le permiten acceder a las personas mayores a la law school, debido a la demanda y competencia que hay de todos los estudiantes. También se tiene en cuenta a quienes están surtiendo el tramite ante el Comité nacional de Acreditación.TITULO Y NOTAS OBTENIDOS A ENVIAR AL ONTARIO LAW SCHOOL SERVICE (OLSAS).En caso de acudirse directamente, sin haber surtido el tramite ante el Comité Nacional de Acreditación (NCA) se debe proceder a realizar una evaluación de nuestros títulos, para luego ser entregados en el OLSAS al momento de registro, mediante alguna de las siguientes entidades:-Departamentos de estudios comparados de las universidades o-World Education Service (WES)45 Charles Street East, Suite 700Toronto, OntarioM4V1S2Teléfono: 416-972-0070Fax: 416-972-9004website: www.wes.orgSe informa que el estudio de los títulos debe ser de documento por documento es decir de todas las materias, para obtener un análisis global. Ya que existen otros certificados que solo son para trabajo, son menos exigentes y los costos varían.EXAMENES DE LSATPara ingresar a las universidades- facultades de derecho de Canadá deben de presentar el Law School Admission Test, por esto se tiene que ve las fechas limites de inscripción y de presentar los exámenes ya que para inscribirse en el OLSAS exigen por lo menos haberse registrado para presentar este examen. Los resultados del examen serán enviados a OLSAS por la entidad encargada de hacer los exámenes directamente, para que OLSAS envie los documentos directamente a las universidades que usted escogió. Para mayor información visite la pagina web: www.lsac.org.PASOS ADICIONALES UNA VEZ OBTENIDO EL BACHELOR DEGREE, CUMPLIDOS TODOS LOS REQUISITOS ANTERIORES O HABERLE SIDO RECONOCIDO SUS ESTUDIOS TOTALMENTE POR EL COMITE NACIONAL DE ACREDITACION (NCA),PARA OBTENER LA LICENCIA DE ABOGADO.Para poder ejercer como abogado y obtener su licencia una vez se ha surtido el tramite anterior se deben cumplir tres requisitos:1- Exámenes para la licenciaHay dos exámenes separados, con libros abiertos, son uno para Barrister y el otro para Solicitor. Pueden ser en ingles o francés.El de Barrister comprende un análisis de la competencia en ética, responsabilidad profesional, de conocimientos (en derecho publico, procedimientos criminales, derecho de familia y litigio civil) y el establecimiento y mantenimiento de relaciones entre Barrister – cliente.El de Solicitor comprende un análisis de la competencia en ética, responsabilidad profesional, de conocimientos (en real estate, derecho de negocios, confianza, administración y planeación del estado) y el establecimiento de la relación entre el solicitor – cliente.Estos exámenes toman varias horas y son en noviembre y marzo de cada año.2- Programa de Responsabilidad Profesional y de HabilidadesEs un programa obligatorio que dura cuatro semanas, de lunes a viernes. Es medio tiempo y es ofrecido por Law Society una vez al año. Usted podrá practicar y demostrar sus habilidades analíticas, de entrevistar, escribir, interceder, resolver problemas legales y conducir situaciones como abogado.3- Programa de practica (Articling)Si se encuentra registrado en el NCA puede empezar a buscar esta posición mientras completa los requerimientos para obtener la certificación de calificación y es un programa de practica en la rama legal en una oficina de abogados o en el departamento legal dentro del gobierno o de una compañía privada.Posterior a esto y cumplidos a satisfacción cada paso anterior, se surte el proceso de CALL TO THE BAR, lo cual es una ceremonia en la que se recibe por la Law Society’s el certificado para poder ejercer como Barrister (Asesor) y Solicitor para las cortes.

Read More
Guiding Tips for Lawyers Seeking to Requalify in Canada

Guiding Tips for Lawyers Seeking to Requalify in Canada

Published on:
October 14, 2017
Published on:
March 31, 2021

General Counsel, CSA GroupPresume the law firm or organization you are applying to knows nothing about your school or work experience. It is your job to educate them.If you are a recent graduate, be aware that grading systems in other countries may be completely different. The potential employer may have trouble understanding what your diploma meant, or how the grading system worked and what it meant in terms of your class standing. The potential employer may not know what the entrance qualifications for your school were.Your law school results mean less and less the longer you have been in the workplace. If you have a lot of work experience in your home country, the potential employer may not know the reputation or work of your firm or company. Tell them what the company did, what size it was, what type of work you did, what its reputation was and why it is relevant to what you are applying for.Toronto is an extremely multi-cultural place. Coming from somewhere else is not as much of a distinguishing factor as you think it might be.Aside from core legal skills, employers are looking for you to demonstrate:English: both oral and written, needs to be perfect. Take extra classes if your English is shaky. Although Toronto is extremely multi-cultural, a heavy accent can reinforce people’s cultural biases or stereotypes, particularly if locals find you difficult to understand. Consider taking classes to help reduce a heavy accent.Organizational and computer skills. Familiarity with basic word computer programs like MS Word, PowerPoint and Excel are critical. It is a cultural norm here that you may be expected to self-manage a lot of administrative tasks such as creating your own documents, presentations and spreadsheets; booking appointments and travel arrangements; scanning and photocopying that might have been handled by clerical support staff in your home country. This is viewed as part of the job here, particularly in an in-house or government department where there is very little administrative support. Law firms may have more clerical support.Research the organizations to which you are applying. A shotgun approach where you send a resume to every firm in a database is not helpful and wastes everybody’s time. If you are interested in family law, do not apply to firms that specialize in commercial law. Research your target firm or organization and see if you can find out if they do any business relevant to your home country, in which case your contacts, language and skills from your homeland may be a real selling point.Particular legal specialties in which international experience and foreign language skills may be an asset include IP and international arbitration.Research the process to become qualified as a lawyer. Don’t expect a potential employer to explain this to you or help you with it. The national accreditation certificate is a mandatory requirement that everyone from another country needs to requalify to practice law in Canada. It establishes your credentials but does not help distinguish you from the other applicants.Be aware that right now there are more people trying to enter the legal field than there are jobs. It is tough for local people too; locals are also having trouble finding jobs and articling positions.Be aware that not all difficulties in finding an articling or legal position are related to racism or cultural bias. It is a very competitive market right now.Be open minded about career possibilities. Don’t limit yourself to practicing law. Think about other jobs a law degree can lead to. Check the library for some books that can give you suggestions. Two that I have used include: “Alternative Careers for Lawyers” by Hillary Mantis, published by the Princeton Review and “What Can You Do With a Law Degree? A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law” by Deborah Arron.Be prepared to move backwards or sideways in the short run to succeed in the long run. If you had a very senior position with a lot of experience in your home country, be prepared to accept that an articling position is a junior role and you will have to do work that you used to assign to students or junior lawyers.Accept that as you adjust to your new surroundings, you may have to report to and accept instructions from someone much younger and possibly less experienced than you are. Do not view this as demeaning. Accept that despite your many years of experience in your homeland, at this time and in this context, a younger person may have more expertise than you do while yougrow accustomed to Canada.Beware of Cultural norms: No cultures are better than others, but be aware that you may be entering a culture that may be different. Cultural competency means watching, listening and learning how people relate to each other, with a goal of relating to people and responding in ways that put people at ease and doesn’t make them uncomfortable.Depending on your homeland, you may not be used to women in the workplace. Be aware that women compete equally with men in the Canadian workplace. Be prepared that your supervisor and colleagues may be female and will expect to be treated with the same respect as a male supervisor and colleagues.Toronto is an extremely culturally diverse city. Expect to work with people from many different cultures and belief systems including co-workers who may be openly gay. All are different but all need equal respect.In both Canadian and American culture, there is a cultural concept called a “low power differential”. This means, for example, that there is less of a social gap between senior managers and their workers than might exist in other countries and cultures. Mostpeople communicate with each other on a first name basis, including colleagues, managers and clients. Addressing someone as “Mr.” or “Ms” and their surname is never exactly wrong, particularly the first time you might them. However, it might be considered too stiff and formal in many circumstances and would be a signal that you don’t quite get the local culture – particularly around co-workers who would think it was odd. Not wrong, but unusual. In my company, for example, everybody addresses the President & CEO by his first name only. Everybody.Clarifying uncertainty: Another subtle cultural concept in Canadian/US culture is clarifying uncertainty or ambiguity. Here, the person delivering a message is expected to be very clear about their message and expectations. If you don’t understand what the person meant, ask. It is the speaker’s social responsibility to clarify anything that you do not understand.Use your networks and contacts. In your homeland, your firm may have been part of an international association like Lex Mundi or a trade association like INTA, the International Trademarks Association. Many Canadian firms are part of these international networks and associations as well. Find out if someone from your old workplace in your homeland can use their connections through one of these networks or associations to introduce you to a firm in Canada. A recommendation from a network partner or association member can help give the Canadian law firm or employer some assurance of the standard or quality of your work experience in your homeland.Reach out to unofficial networks. There are many groups that provide support for lawyers from different ethnic groups, like the Hispanic Ontario Lawyers Association, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, or the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto. Join groups that are relevant to you for mutual support and to find mentors from more senior members of the community who have already made the transition.The Law Society of Upper Canada and the Bar Association have mentor programs. You can apply to work with a mentor who can provide you with guidance.Bridging the gap: Employers know and understand that even though you may have been a very successful lawyer in your homeland, economic necessity may have required you to take another job to support yourself and your family while you requalify and look for a job in Canada. Employers have seen applications from lawyers who have been working as security guards and taxi drivers; whatever they can find. Most people here do have some exposure and sensitivity to the difficulties of immigration and resettling. Everybody understands that you may have to do lower paying work to get yourself through the process. Your challenge is to bridge the gap by finding some opportunities to do volunteer legal services so you can demonstrate that you have been keeping in touch with the law and legal developments over the past few years while you requalify. Consider working at legal clinics or volunteering for research projects through the Pro Bono program. Try to avoid having the non-legal experience as the top line on your resume.So, what else can you do with a law degree? When I went to law school I was convinced that practicing law meant working at a major law firm. In fact, only a minority of lawyers in Ontario work at big law firms. Within 10 years of graduating law school, not a single member of my graduating class at Osgoode was left at one of the major Toronto law firms. So, what did everybody do?· Some left to start their own firms.· Some went to practice law in the government.· Some went in-house and work in companies.Many others have left the profession of law entirely. Here is a list of the paths that some of my friends and colleagues have followed outside the legal profession:· Legal editor / writer at legal publishing company· Commercial / technical writer – writes annual reports for companies.· University/college professor· Primary school teacher· Advertising· Executive director of trade association· Property management· Financial advisor to individuals· HR recruitment· Started an IT company with her brother that dealt with some kind of telecommunications equipment. Neither of them were engineers. They were simply entrepreneurial and took a lot of risks that paid off.· Ran a company that sold wind turbines.· Investment counselor for publicly traded company –key contact for brokers· Runs engineering consultancy. Before that he worked at an industry trade association.· Importer / wholesale of ceramic pottery from Mexico· Labour relations negotiator on staff in HR department of company· Government relations / advisor to politician· Privacy consultantThere are a lot of jobs in compliance: bank compliance, mining (environment/OSH, bribery/corruption, conflict minerals), retail (corporate social responsibility auditing); pharmaceutical (Health Canada/ FDA) but personally I don’t know people who have entered these fields. I just see a lot of job ads for those types of positions, and it would be a natural extension from a legal background, probably with some sector specific education or accreditation.

Read More
Was the Law Practice Program invented by Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison?

Was the Law Practice Program invented by Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison?

Published on:
October 25, 2017
Published on:
April 10, 2021

The Law Practice Program (“LPP”) is an innovative eight-month program from Ontario, for the law grads and internationally trained lawyers who wish to get licensed to give legal advice and legal services as a lawyer in Canada (“Lawyering”). It combines rigorous and demanding on-line training and experiential learning with a hands-on work term. The traditional alternative to the LPP is articles of clerkship or articling.Before we talk about the LPP, let me tell you a story.When Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, died in 1931, the New York Times captured among others, the opinion of Nikola Tesla (the inventor of the alternating current system) about Edison. Tesla said: “[...] His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 percent of the labor. But he had a veritable contempt for book learning and mathematical knowledge, trusting himself entirely to his inventor's instinct […].”What Is More Important: The Bulb that Captures the Light or How We Produce and Distribute the Light to Bulbs?Imagine for a second that law was the light. And, you use this light to read at night before going to sleep. Imagine, if we only had Edison’s light bulb invention without Tesla’s alternating current invention. Imagine, how many people could read before going to bed, and, conversely, how many people would not be able to? Lawyers usually argue whether Lawyering is a vocation or a business. Whether you consider it to be one or the other, the hard-fact is that Lawyering is a service. And, as legal service, it needs to be produced and delivered “somehow”.THE LIGHT BULB APPROACHIn a world without internet, with computers and nation-states in infancy, without cloud-based software as service (SaaS), no handheld devices, and intuitive legal project management, consumers expected their lawyers to provide legal services in person, one-on-one, and at the lawyer’s office.Lawyers were supposed to read hundreds of pages from paper-based secondary sources, which only lawyers had full access to, and had the appropriate training to understand the physically written legal words. Then, deliver, probably, in a dissertation-like mode, legal advice or services to clients. This is the Edison-light bulb approach to Lawyering.THE ALTERNATING CURRENT APPROACHCurrently, to produce and deliver any services in a soundbite world, in a digital economy, entering the era of the internet of things (“IoT”), with connected consumers, cloud-based SaaS, pervasive hand-held devices (which may include a Chatbot messaging platform), and lean methods (or if you prefer, a Kaizen method, or both), Lawyering faces a great challenge.The Challenge seems to be, how to “smoothly” integrate the legal sector infrastructure of the industrial economy to new methods of producing and delivering legal services in a digital economy. Firstly, consumers have more direct and immediate access to concise digitally written legal words. Secondly, consumers are no longer willing to pay for the efforts of the service providers, rather they prefer to pay for the value added.In my opinion, the LPP is tackling this challenge by expanding lawyers training to a Tesla-Alternating Current approach to LawyeringTHE LIGHT BULB AND THE ALTERNATING CURRENTFernando Garcia, Nissan Canada’s general counsel, seems to recognize that lawyers today should not stop at inventing the light bulb like Edison, but, go beyond, and improve production and distribution of legal services like Tesla with the Alternating Current. Interestingly, Garcia envisions a “plus-shaped” lawyer, who is skilled and knowledgeable of the law, with a broad understanding of technology, business, project management, human resources, data security, risk management, politics, critical interpersonal and empathy skills, value diversity and inclusiveness, and understands, and can adapt to unique approaches. Sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it?I would argue that similar to Edison, lawyers in the twentieth century had “veritable contempt for book learning” “trusting [themselves] entirely to [their] inventor's instinct[s]”. Garcia’s plus-shaped lawyers, evidently, need to have the same contempt for book learning and instincts dynamics, but, this time adding Tesla’s plus-shaped characteristics. By the way, a physical book is no longer necessary.The LPP seems to be training Garcia’s plus-shaped lawyers, within a TeslaAlternating Current approach to Lawyering.MY LPP EXPERIENCEIn my first four months of training as an LPP candidate, I learned (although I was not aware I was doing so), legal project management, legal-tech, knowledge management, business operations, business development, among other plus-shaped skills, while I thought I was only practicing substantive areas of law.Once I finished this training, I was placed with a local law firm for four months. I felt I hit the ground running because every time I received an assignment, such as document review, legal research, legal memoranda writing, interviewing a client, and so on, I knew what items I needed in order to produce what the supervising lawyers asked me to do, and I knew what the end-product looked like. I basically knew the inputs and the output because I had the training, checklists, templates and sources from the on-line training and experiential learning of the LPP.So, the Light in A Bulb or Energy Running in AC?The light is the light, whether you use one lamp with one bulb, and you move from room to room, sharing the light slowly with everyone you desire to; or whether you produce it and distributed it in the alternating current system and capture it with many bulbs, without you physically moving from room to room.The challenge for lawyers is not the light, the challenge is the “somehow” of Lawyering. How can we bring the light to more people, faster, better and more affordable, and never less profitable nor riskier? My view is that the LPP is arming legal services providers with tools to answering this question in the twenty first century, by 3 mixing the Edison-Light Bulb and Tesla-Alternating Current approaches. Evidently, the LPP was neither invented by Tesla nor Edison.Antonio F. Urdaneta is the Memberships Director of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (2017-19). Antonio is an associate lawyer at Schible Law, and focuses his practice on workplace law and wrongful dismissals. He is also a legal innovation enthusiast, and if you invite him for a coffee or tea, be prepared to hear about legal automation, legal processes, legal-tech, global rule of law and/or law and economics.

Read More
October is Hispanic Heritage Month in Ontario

October is Hispanic Heritage Month in Ontario

Published on:
October 26, 2017
Published on:
April 10, 2021

This past October 26th, the Hispanic and Latin American community and its friends got together in the landmark building Osgoode Hall, in downtown Toronto, for the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration (HHD) organized by the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) and the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA).The evening brought a panel discussion focused on how legal professionals can best serve the needs of Latin American and Hispanic clients, and how Latin American and Hispanic legal professionals and others can use diversity to deliver services to clients.The CHBA’s President, Veronica Marson introduced the Keynote speaker Pedro Jaime Torres-Diaz, immediate past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (U.S.), delivered an empowering speech. Before joining the panel “Legal Professionals as Leaders for Diversity: Tackling Service Delivery” he invited the Community in Canada, to champion the next generations of Hispanic and Latin American talents, in the legal sector and across professions and trades.He then joined the panel, a group of business and legal Hispanic and Latin American thought leaders in Ontario. Nissan Canada’s General Counsel Fernando Garcia, Vice President of the Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Monica Linares, and Certified Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law Andres Pelenur, who together with Torres-Diaz and the panel chair CHBA’s director Wendy Lopez, deliver a clear message to the audience: promote diversity and inclusion, and embrace your role shaping the future of the Hispanic and Latin American community in Canada.Ritmos y Danzas del Peru, a non-for-profit organization that promotes dances and folklore from Peru, wrapped-up the evening with their graceful Northern Marinera Dance, which the audience enjoyed in the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Métis, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.The CHBA would like to thank all of our volunteers, sponsors and organizations who made donations namely, Telelatino/Univision Canada, MacLeod Law Firm, Singer Kwinter, Baro Toronto and Corona Canada. The CHBA is already planning the 2018 HHD. We look forward to seeing you next October!

Read More