Class Actions: Moving Beyond Borders

As class proceedings in Canada continue to bloom from their relative infancy, the courts will play a key role in guiding the future directions of such proceedings. Now is the time for courts in Canada to lay the foundations for what is sure to become a class action packed future.  As part of this class action expansion into the Twenty First century, I will focus on the development of the jurisdictional boundaries at play within Canada in the context of class proceedings.

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Fluoride in Your Water Supply: Poisonous or Miraculous?…You Decide

Chances are that if you live in North America, your tap water contains trace amounts of Fluoride intentionally added to the water supply by local, provincial or state governments.

The obvious benefits asserted by proponents of Water Fluoridation are that when added in trace amounts, Fluoride will safely and effectively combat tooth decay. Proponents also claim that Fluoridation Promotes societal health even to the disadvantaged and most vulnerable. Read more

Bedbug Barristers: An Emerging Legal Niche

Bedbug outbreaks are reaching pandemic proportions.  These critters multiply quickly and spread easily and thousands of bedbug sightings are reported every year in Toronto alone at increasing numbers. Bedbugs know no boundaries and have been known to infest living environments ranging from Motel 6 to five star hotels, and multi-million dollar condominiums. If you have blood in your veins, then you are susceptible to infestation regardless of your personal wealth or living quarters. Anybody can get bedbug infestations and nobody is immune. Read more


Many may argue that the Ontario Small Claims Court system is a sad legal mechanism for carrying out effective justice. That I do not doubt. However, I believe the answer really depends on who you ask. The Small Claims Court is designed to be “For The People”, but in practice, the procedures and formalities are enough to confuse many lawyers at times. Navigating the Small Claims Court system without a solid legal understanding can be like Scuba Diving with an air tank full of hornets.  From the layman’s stand point; the small claims court system is an inconvenient process with legal headaches and complexities beyond belief. For the young lawyer however, it may be just the perfect training ground. Read more


In the past, condominium corporations in Ontario have often been faced with legal challenges relating to the human rights of the condo’s residents, which the courts have resolved one way or the other. These disputes included matters involving reasonable accommodations, accessibility issues, and the rights to own pets.

However, issues associated with unit owners retrofitting common elements with religious fixtures such as Mezuzah’s have not been tested in court. This is an interesting issue to watch for. Read more

Car Accident Victims in Ontario Face Legal Hurdles After Their Injuries

The summer has officially arrived.  Along with the arrival of summer comes the thrill of driving; the long weekends; the cold beers; and of course lots of tragic car accidents. Who will sustain “permanent and serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function or sustain permanent serious disfigurement” and be entitled to general damages for pain and suffering? The answer to this question is dependent on how the Ontario courts apply what has become known as the “Threshold Test.” Read more

British Petroleum’s Impending Liability: When the Oil Driller Gets Drilled

Following BP’s recently failed attempts to plug up its leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the economic and environmental impacts associated with the leak have reached a historically unprecedented level. By comparison, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska ended with a $500 million dollar judgment against Exxon, drastically lowered from $5 billion on the ruling of the United States Supreme Court. However, the potential losses the BP leak will impose on the 5 Gulf States alone affected by this leak are staggering. Estimates of anticipated liability associated with BP’s oil leak have already been suggested to fall anywhere from $20 to $50 billion dollars in actual damages, not including punitive damages.

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The History:

In 1920, Canadian politician Duncan Campbell Scott, head of Canada’s Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 until 1932 spearheaded Canada’s Policy of Assimilation. In doing so, he stated:

“I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill” Read more

Benevolent Contribution or Shameless Self Promotion?: Law Firm Naming Rights in Hospital Facilities

There has been some recent controversy surrounding the issue of personal injury law firms obtaining rights to promote their business names in hospital wings and other publically funded medical facilities across Ontario in exchange for making financial contributions to such facilities.

For example, in Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, its visitor’s lounge prominently displays the name of a top personal injury firm on a large sign. This prominent display would no doubt attract the attention of seriously injured patients who may be in the market for some legal representation. Read more

Greenwashing in the Consumer Marketplace: Marketers Will Make Green as Long as Consumers Go Green

The recent practice of what has become known as “Greenwashing” refers to the act of companies dishonestly or insincerely branding their products as environmentally friendly when in fact they are not nearly as environmentally sound as consumers are lead to believe. The challenges associated with Greenwashing are quickly becoming an invitation for legal intervention on many fronts and may likely continue to develop into a niche legal practice with an abundance of opportunity. Greenwashing claims are becoming extremely popular, and lawsuits and class actions in relation to Greenwashing claims have only seen the tip of the iceberg according to industry experts.

Although misleading advertising and false labeling is not uncommon amongst many industries, I’ve decided to focus specifically on these issues as they relate to  Environmental Marketing because of the immense consumer fixation on “Going Green” and companies’ determination to meet this consumer need. Read more

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