December 15, 2020

Author:  Robert Monti

As soon as men decide all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil they set out to destroy – John Locke

Vaccines are now shipping and being administered in Canada. They are projected to become widely available to the public by April 2021. Public health officials are saying the Pfizer vaccine is effective and safe. They are also optimistic that the Moderna vaccine will receive approval shortly.

Employers are now able to strategize a way for the safe physical return of some or most of their employees who have been sequestered at home. At full strength, most workplaces will not be able to maintain physical distancing. Ensuring all employees are vaccinated will be viewed as the safest option, once a vaccine is widely available beyond front-line workers.

Personal privacy, autonomy, and freedom of choice as to what goes into our bodies are fundamental underpinnings in our democratic society. Will that fundamental freedom be subordinated to safety concerns in the case of COVID?

Employers have had to balance the right and obligation to take reasonably necessary steps to maintain a safe workplace, and the employee right to privacy for decades.

Read more: Mandatory Worker Vaccination: Looming Battle between Safety and Personal Freedom →

December 11, 2020

Author:  Dylan Dilks

The Rules They Are a-Changin’

 Come gather ‘round people, wherever you roam, you’re probably reading this while working at home.

I can’t write or sing like Bob Dylan, but what I can do is let you know that as of January 1st, 2021, the Rules of Civil Procedure are a-changin’, and the changes will be welcome news for just about everyone who doesn’t own stock in the fax machine market.


Say goodbye to the old-fashioned method of appearing before the court “in person.” Forget about fighting traffic in the morning rush to get to your 10:00 motion only to be third on the docket and not before the Court until 1:30 pm. Gone are the days of circling the parking garage at 161 Elgin for 15 minutes before finally settling on an inevitable ticket for parking on Cooper Street.

Now, before a step in a proceeding, a party shall identify if they want the step to be attended in person, by telephone conference, or by video conference. The opposing party may object to the method of attendance by filing a Notice of Objection. If a Notice is filed, a case conference is convened by the court or the parties, depending on the step to be taken, and the court will make an order considering 8 factors, including the open-court principle, the importance of the evidence and issues, the importance of observing a witness’ demeanour, and any other relevant matter. This applies to all hearings, including mediation and discovery.

In assessing costs, the court has an added factor to consider: whether a party unreasonably objects to proceeding by telephone or video conference (57.01(1)(h.1)).

 The Fax Gets the Axe

If you were planning to get the lawyer in your life the gift of a brand-new fax machine over the holiday season, I’m sorry to say that you are officially behind the times. In 2021, the use of fax machines will finally come to an end.

All references to anything fax-related have been deleted from the Rules. Moving forward, your backsheets should contain a reference to your email address instead. Service by email without consent is now permitted. If your email address isn’t listed on the backsheet, the Court can communicate with you by way of the email address listed on your LSO profile.

I pause to wonder what will happen to all of those old, sad fax machines. Do they join the VCR in the “Worst Technology Ever” Hall of Fame? At the very least, let’s all do our part to ensure that we properly recycle our old electronics.


As you probably heard in one of the many CaseLines training sessions offered in the latter half of 2020, CaseLines is going to be the standard for document sharing with counsel and the Court.

CaseLines is now part of the Rules and is mandatory if the local Court uses the system. CaseLines is not a substitute for service or filing, it is simply a universal method by which documents are shared. There are new timelines for submitting documents to CaseLines: most motion materials must be submitted by the time the motion confirmation form is due. For other materials, submissions are due 5 days in advance of the hearing.

What Else?

Other worthwhile changes welcomed are:

  • An Order on a motion to be removed as lawyer of record under Rule 15 must include the client’s email address
  • When serving documents by email, the email message must contain the name and phone number of a person to contact in the event of a transmission problem

The enabling regulation for these changes, and many more, is available here.

All in all, these changes mean that I’ll be spending more time in the MBC Law Virtual Courtroom®™ and less time in the line at Tim Hortons and chugging my coffee before entering the courtroom.

And to my friends in the Ottawa Bar and across the province, let’s all rejoice in these changes. In the immortal and paraphrased words of Bob Dylan, if your time (or that of your clients) is worth savin’, you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone, for the Rules they are a-changin’.

MBC is excited to have Robert Monti join our team.  Rob brings over 25 years of experience in labour and employment law and will be an asset for our team and our clients.  

June 10, 2020

Harold Geller prepared an article for the Ontario Bar Assoication to highlight the requirement for sound financial advice that an advisor should provide to a senior.  The article can be found here.  

June 10, 2020

Harold Geller was quoted in The Advisor's Edge about what can happen when there is a downturn in the markets.  

"Advisors could be found negligent if they didn’t help clients establish plans that accounted for income losses, and balanced needs with risk."Advisors could be found negligent if they didn’t help clients establish plans that accounted for income losses, and balanced needs with risk."

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