New labour relations legal landscape on the horizon following Appeal Court decision

A new legal landscape governing labour relations may be in the horizon in Quebec following a Court of Appeal decision that found that the provincial Labour Code breached the Canadian and Quebec Charters by prohibiting first-level managers from unionizing.

“It’s a very important decision because it kind of creates a crack in the legislative scheme that we have in Quebec with regards to labour relations,” said Shwan Shaker, a labour and employer senior associate with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. “It’s kind of opening a breach to allow low level managers to unionize. But it’s important to keep in mind that this is really case-by-case.”

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Quebec appeal court serves timely reminder over linguistic rights

Less than a year after delivering a stinging rebuke to the Quebec government over recurring systemic unmitigated delays in securing trial transcripts that disproportionately affect English-speaking appellants, the Quebec Court of Appeal served a timely reminder over the importance of linguistic rights after it ordered a new trial for a convicted drug trafficker whose right to be tried in English was violated.

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Landmark ruling for trans rights

Quebec, once on the forefront of trans rights, is now joining the ranks of most Canadian jurisdictions after Quebec Superior Court declared unconstitutional several articles of the Civil Code of Quebec that discriminated against trans and non-binary people.

In a long-awaited ruling by trans, non-binary and intersex people, the “critically important” decision affirms that having your identity acknowledged and recognized by the State is a core aspect of the right to equality and the right to dignity, assert legal experts. The judgment, lauded as the most sweeping in its scope in Canada involving the constitutional rights of trans people, found that six provisions of the Civil Code violated rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

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Landmark decision issued by Quebec appeal court over the freedom of peaceful assembly

Less than a month after the Quebec Court of Appeal struck down a Quebec City municipal bylaw that compelled organizers of public demonstrations to submit their plans and itinerary to city police, the City of Montreal officially shelved its own controversial protest bylaw.

The landmark decision, commended as a “genuine advance” on the “least judicially explored freedom,” is the first decision by a Canadian appellate court that comprehensively examines the scope of the freedom of peaceful assembly (2c) as a separate Charter right, distinct from the freedom of expression (2b) or association (2d), according to legal experts.

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Legislation that forced government lawyers and notaries back-to-work unconstitutional

A Quebec court ruling that declared unconstitutional a special law that forced provincial government lawyers and notaries to put a halt to the longest Canadian strike by public civil servants may give them much-needed ammunition to persuade the Quebec government to introduce binding arbitration, according to legal experts.

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Landmark ruling on medically-assisted death may set the stage for further challenges

A landmark ruling that invalidated the “reasonably foreseeable” death clause of both the federal and Quebec laws on medically assisted dying may lay the groundwork for further legal challenges seeking to broaden its coverage, according to legal experts.

In a ruling hailed as an “elegant demonstration of sense and sensibility,” Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin struck down the end of life requirement under section 26 of Quebec’s End-of-Life Care Act and the reasonable foreseeability of natural death requirement under the Criminal Code, holding that it breached section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, prerequisites that prevented some people from accessing the end-of-life procedure. The federal law also contravened section 7 of the Charter.

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Quebec Appeal Court provides more guidance over Mr. Big operations

The Quebec Court of Appeal ordered a new trial for a Quebec man convicted of second degree murder after it held that an out-of-court statement he made was involuntary, evidence yielded by a Mr. Big kind of operation was inadmissible and the trial judge should have given more detailed instructions to the jury.

The decision, exceptionally published in French and English, appears to have slightly broadened the kind of cases that may fall into the Mr. Big category and provides a timely reminder that the confessions rule is not subject to a negative inquiry, according to criminal lawyers.

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Quebec appeal court broadens reach of fundamental rights for legal persons

A numbered company that was ordered by a lower court to pay the minimum fine for acting as a building contractor without holding a license won a significant legal battle appeal after the Quebec Court of Appeal held that legal persons are entitled to protection against cruel or unusual treatment or punishment within the meaning of s. 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The majority decision, bound to raise eyebrows, appears to broaden the array of fundamental rights available to legal persons, dismisses the notion that s.12 of the Charter cannot apply to legal persons, and suggests that proportionality may have more sway under the Charter than under the Ontario Provincial Offences Act in providing relief from mandatory minimum fines, according to legal experts.

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Quebec appeal court rules woman wearing hijab was entitled to be heard in court

A day after Quebec premier-elect François Legault suggested he would be ready to invoke the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ban religious symbols for civil servants, the Quebec Court of Appeal court ruled that a provincial court judge erred when she denied a hearing to a woman wearing a hijab.

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