The Value of Detailed Notes

Lawyers are taught to take detailed notes. Every conversation with a client, whether in person or by telephone, or written in a document or email, is recorded in order to back up actions taken and matters billed. It’s what you turn to when your client says “I didn’t tell you to do that” and you face a complaint.

Recent estates litigation in Ontario turned on the exemplary note taking of Solicitor Barry Smith. As noted by Gans, J.:

[32]      I digress to make one observation. Smith, who had been Helen’s, if not Eugene’s, solicitor for at least 7 years by the Spring of 2011, would best be described as an ‘old-school’ solicitor. He was not only a generalist, who made ‘house calls’, but was a man who was involved or involved himself with every aspect of a client’s affairs. He made copious notes to file, which I found to be unassailable in terms of providing me with the details of the events as they unfolded during the Spring and into the Summer of 2011.

This case involved all the usual suspects: a large estate, a testator recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a power of attorney clash, and undisclosed codicils. But it was the note-taking by Mr. Smith that persuaded the judge that Mrs. Kates was competent.

When reading Kates Estate, 2020 ONSC 7046, don’t ignore the footnotes. There are some very interesting comments there as well.

The Importance of Keeping Good Notes”, Richard Worsfold and Reshma Kishnani, The Lawyers Daily, January 29, 2021.

Judicial Consideration of Mandatory Roadside Breath Tests

If you practice impaired driving law, you may want to review this decision from Saskatchewan Provincial Court on the constitutional validity of mandatory roadside breath tests as implemented by Bill C-46.

In R. v. Morrison, 2020 SKPC 28, M.M. Baniak, J. delivers a discerning judgment on a variety of issues: notice for delay, a voir dire re Charter challenges blended into the trial itself, analysis of s. 320.27(2) of the Criminal Code including a discussion of Parliament’s legislative intent by analysing the words of the preamble to Bill C-46, and a discussion of the judicial meaning of “immediately”.

[172]      Obviously, s. 320.27(2) also has a deleterious effect.  Every person in a free and democratic society should, to the greatest extent possible, be free from a warrantless search or seizure especially when no grounds or reasonable suspicion exist.  This becomes even more concerning when that search or seizure incriminates the person.

[173]      However, the new provision, even though it eliminates the reasonable suspicion requirement, is grounded to an extent on the premise that it is a supplemental investigative tool that is not determinative of a person’s guilt and is subject to judicial review.  The search is restricted to provision of breath samples.  It does not extend to a person’s belongings or his living space.

Even if it’s not applicable in Manitoba, I think it’s a good example of all the elements that can be considered in a decision.

Additional Commentary:

Saskatchewan court rules mandatory roadside breath testing constitutional / Kyla Lee (The Lawyers Daily, August 24, 2020)

eLex June 2020

Table of Contents

News Substantive Law Legislation
In the News Administrative Law Federal
Court Notices & Practice Directions Bankruptcy Law Provincial
Discipline Digests Civil Litigation  
New Library Resources Corporate & Commercial  
  Criminal Law  
  Family Law  
  Labour & Employment  
  Wills, Trusts & Estates  


In the News

Court Notices & Practice Directions

All COVID-19 Notices and Practice Directions are available here.

Provincial Court (Winnipeg Centre)
Re: Scheduling of Criminal Code Dispositions

New Library Resources

Trotter, Gary T. The Law of Bail in Canada, 3rd ed.
All aspects of judicial interim release from all jurisdictions in Canada.

Substantive Law

Administrative Law

Canada (Attorney General) v. Poirier, 2020 FCA 98. Appeal from Appeal Division of the Social Security Tribunal. Respondent applied for disability pension under CPP but was denied by General Division which determined that he had residual work capacity, but his attempts to find alternative work weren’t serious. Appeal division concluded the General Division made an error of fact and reversed the decision. For judicial review, the standard of review is reasonableness. Locke, J.A. allowed the appeal and remitted it for reconsideration by a differently-constituted panel of the Appeal Division. 

Jhanji v. The Law Society of Manitoba, 2020 MBCA 48. Applicant was suspended from the practice of law pending completion of disciplinary proceedings. Court of Queen’s Bench judge dismissed his appeal of the interim suspension. Applicant now appeals that appeal. Applicant has not shown any basis to intervene in the discretionary decision of the Complaints Investigation Committee. Appeal dismissed. 

Stadler v. Director, St Boniface/St Vital, 2020 MBCA 46. Does requiring a disabled recipient of income assistance to apply for CPP retirement benefits early (age 60) pursuant to s.12.1(2) of Manitoba Assistance Regulation infringe on his equality rights under s.15 of The Charter? Appellant original appealed to the Social Services Appeal Board which determined it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the Charter arguments. In 2017 this court determined that it did (2017 MBCA 108). A new panel of the Board upheld the decision, and the appellant appealed again. Appeal allowed. 

Alejandro Gonzalez, The Evolution of the Duty to Consult: A Framework for Improving Consultations, Negotiations, and Reconciliation, 2020 10-1 Western Journal of Legal Studies 1, 2020 CanLIIDocs 680, retrieved on 2020-06-04. 

Alice Woolley and Amy Salyzyn, Protecting the Public Interest: Law Society Decision-Making After Trinity Western University, 2019 97-1 Canadian Bar Review 70, 2019 CanLIIDocs 1599, retrieved on 2020-06-04.

Bankruptcy Law

9354-9186 Québec inc. v. Callidus Capital Corp., 2020 SCC 10. Appeal from Quebec of an ongoing proceeding instituted under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act. Two decisions by the supervising judge are at issue: whether a supervising judge has the discretion to bar a creditor from voting on a plan of arrangement where they determine that the creditor is acting for an improper purpose; and whether the supervising judge can approve litigation funding as interim financing. Analysis of s.11 of the CCAA. Appeal allowed, supervising judge’s order reinstated. SCC determined that the Court of Appeal failed to treat the supervising judge’s decisions with the appropriate degree of deference. Joint reasons for judgment: Wagner C.J. and Moldaver J. (Abella, Karakatsanis, Côté, Rowe and Kasirer JJ. concurring).

Bannerman Lumber Ltd. et al. v. Goodman, 2020 MBQB 76. Application for a declaration under s. 178(1) of the BIA that a debt should survive discharge of bankruptcy. The specific provision states that an order of discharge does not release the bankrupt from any debt or liability resulting from obtaining property or services under false pretences. “An issue of importance in the present case is the degree of knowledge required to establish deceit.” (para. 10). Applicants are successful. 

Tyler McNaughton. Case Comment – Re Brennan. Canadian Bankruptcy Reports (Articles) (2020) 77 C.B.R. (6th) 20 (WLNC, request a copy). (2019 ONSC 4712). 

Civil Litigation

Albo v The Winnipeg Free Press et al, 2020 MBCA 50. Appeal regarding contractual interpretation. Parties negotiated a contract for consultation leading to the defendant publishing a series of articles. Opportunity arose to compile the articles into a book. Plaintiff was unaware and sued for royalties. Analysis of “good faith performance of the contract” (para 43). Appeal dismissed. 

Green v University of Winnipeg, 2020 MBCA 49. Applicant seeks leave to appeal an order declaring him a vexatious litigant. Leave denied. 

Linda R. Rothstein. Inside the Woodshed: Preparing the Direct Examination of a Key Witness in a Civil Trial, 38 Adv. J. No. 4, 20-22 (Spring 2020) (LAQL – request a copy). 

Carla L. Maclean, Lynn Smith & Itiel E. Dror. Experts on Trial: Unearthing Bias in Scientific Evidence, (2020) 53 U.B.C. L. Rev. 101 – 139 (LAQL – request a copy). 

Corporate & Commercial Law

Laliberté v. Canada, 2020 FCA 97. Appeal of whether a trip to the International Space Station is a shareholder benefit versus a stunt-type promotional event. Minister of National Revenue (MNR) assessed the appellant with a shareholder benefit equal to the cost of the trip. Tax Court ordered that the appellant be reassessed based on a shareholder benefit equal to 90% of the cost of the trip. Appeal dismissed. 

Roofmart Ontario Inc. v. Canada (National Revenue), 2020 FCA 85. Appeal of order under the “unnamed persons requirement” (UPR) of the ITA and ETA. MNR was investigating compliance in the residential construction industry. Studies have estimated that as much as 20% of residential construction is unreported. CRA identified the appellant as the subject of a UPR due to the size of its business, its clientele and its location. Appellant raised three objections: that the application is ultra vires; the Federal Court erred in its application of the statutory criteria; and the Court applied the incorrect burden of proof. Appeal dismissed. 

State Industries Ltd. et al. v. Summers Equipment Inc. et al., 2020 MBQB 77. Defendants are seeking the setting aside of an Anton Piller Order (APO) authorized in September 2018. The plaintiffs claim the defendants breached the implied terms of their employment agreements. Onus is on defendants to satisfy the court that the APO should be set aside on the basis that the plaintiffs failed to comply with their duty of candor and disclosure. Analysis of the evidence presented to grant the APO along with the counter-argument. Bond, J. determined that order should not be set aside. 

Nygard International Partnership v. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation et al., Nygard International Partnership v. Prowse, Nygard International Partnership v. Neal, 2020 MBQB 71. Three motions to dismiss for delay, in accordance with Queen’s Bench Rules 24.01 and 24.02. Summary of the principles to review in determining if the delay is unreasonable or not is set out in para. 18. Master Clearwater found mixed results.

Ryan Morasiewicz. Should an Outdoor/Adventure Business Adopt a COVID-19-Specific Liability Waiver?, MLT Aikins (Vancouver), published May 9, 2020.

Criminal Law

R. v. Ahmad, 2020 SCC 11. Two appeals combined on the application of the law of entrapment.  In each appeal police received an unsubstantiated tip that a particular phone number was used in a drug operation. Police officers called the numbers and requested drugs and arranged meetings with the person who answered. At trial, both accused argued that the charges should be stayed on the basis of entrapment. SCC held that appeal by A. should be dismissed; appeal by W. should be allowed. Present: Wagner C.J. and Abella, Moldaver, Karakatsanis, Côté, Brown, Rowe, Martin and Kasirer JJ. Dissenting on W.: Wagner, C.J., Moldaver, Côté, and Rowe JJ.

R. v. Neepin, 2020 MBCA 55. Appeal of manslaughter sentence. At issue is whether the trial judge erred in principle in findings of fact, how he addressed the accused’s the moral culpability in light of these factors and the Gladue factors, and whether the sentence is harsh and excessive. Appeal allowed and sentence reduced to seven years. 

R. v. Nelson, 2020 MBCA 53. Appeal of convictions for aggravated assault, robbery with a firearm, and three weapons offences. The victim in this instance was unable to identify the accused but a witness did and gave a videotaped statement. The witness did not show up for trial until she was detained on a material witness warrant. The witness declined to review her statement and could not recall some details while testifying. Key issue at trial was whether there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the identity of the attackers. Issue on appeal is whether the trial judge erred in allowing the witness to testify after reviewing her prior statement. Appeal dismissed. 

R. v. K.N.D.W., 2020 MBCA 52. Crown appeal against sentence. Accused was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to two years less a day. Crown argues that the sentencing judge erred by underemphasizing the brutal nature of the sexual assault and the risk posed by the accused given his prior record, and failing to take into account the traumatic impact on the children. Appeal allowed, sentence increased to five years. 

R. v. Thompsett, 2020 MBCA 47. Accused seeks leave to appeal his sentence and a restitution order. Accused breached his judicial interim release by leaving a residential treatment program on the day he arrived. He asserts the sentencing judge erred in principle by considering the breach conviction as an aggravating factor. On reconsideration of restitution order, fresh evidence showed the amount should be varied as requested, with Crown consenting. Leave to appeal allowed, appeal from sentence dismissed. 

R. v. Miles, 2020 MBCA 45. Accused appeals conviction for second degree murder on the basis that the verdict was unreasonable. He  argues that the trial judge erred in assessing the evidence of a key witness, erred in the application of the law regarding inferences and post-offence conduct, and erred in the finding that the accused’s intoxication did not negate the intent to commit murder. Appeal dismissed. 

Re DNA Warrant for Malcolm, 2020 MBPC 23. Reasons for the need of a police officer to swear an information to obtain a DNA warrant before a provincial court judge. Reconsideration of decision of Judge Pollack from 2010 (Winnipeg (City) Police Service (Re)). Krahn, A.C.P.J. determines it is acceptable for police officers to submit their informations to obtain DNA warrants sworn before a commissioner for oaths. 

R v Jachetta, 2020 MBPC 21. Decision on legal test to stand fitness for trial. Accused had been disbarred for misappropriation of trust funds and then charged by police with criminal breach of trust, fraud, false pretences and theft. “For accused to be fit, he must possess the ability to engage with the trial process in a meaningful way” (para 35). Krahn, A.C.P.J. finds he is unfit to stand trial. 

Paul L. Moreau. COVID-19 and the Tertiary Ground.“This article examines the considerations of Canadian jurists of the impact of the pandemic on decisions of judicial interim release.” 2020 CanLIIDocs 676

Adelina Iftene and Jocelyn Downie. End-of-Life Care for Federally Incarcerated Individuals in Canada, 2020 14-1 McGill Journal of Law and Health 1, 2020 CanLIIDocs 551, retrieved on 2020-06-04.

Family Law

Usman v Usman, 2020 MBCA 54. Appeal of two orders made by chambers judge regarding the division of property acquired during the marriage. Appellant was found in contempt of the first order (Everett order) and given an extension to comply with it. When the matter came up again, he had still not complied with it (Dueck order) so respondent was given carriage to sell the property. Appellant has continued to refuse to cooperate. Appeal dismissed, costs to the respondent and appellant was ordered to pay costs to the court because he did not include a copy of reasons from one judge for his appeal book. 

CFS Western Manitoba v. C.J.P. et al., 2020 MBQB 74. Children had been placed with grandparents and great-grandparents under temporary orders. Issue is whether children, being returned to mother, need to continue to be in need of protection. Onus is on Agency to prove children are still in need of protection. Order is based on the best interests of the children. Abel, J. also comments on use of judicial resources in resolving this matter, and effect of COVID-19. 

Gray v. Gray, 2020 MBQB 69. Father seeks order on issues related to property, interim child support including a contribution towards special or extraordinary expenses; mother seeks interim spousal support and a no contact or communication order. Father has primary care and control of children. Trial on the issues is set for end of November 2020. Some issues determined on summary judgment. 

Cory Giordano.  Family Law: Stays; Child-Custody & Access. CanLII ConnectsCase Comment: Jonzon v. Yuill, 2020 ABCA 219

Kathleen Hammond. Relationally Speaking: The Implications of Treating Embryos as Property in a Canadian Context, (2019) 32 Can. J. Fam. L. 323 – 386. (LAQL – request a copy).

Labour & Employment

Lairenjam v. Unifor National Council 4000, 2020 FCA 96. Complaint with Canada Industrial Relations Board alleging Union had breached its duty of fair representation. Applicant lost his job when Ministry of Transportation issued a ticket for failing to maintain his truck in a safe operating condition. Union declined to support his grievance because he already had four Step 3 discipline assessments. CIRB dismissed the complaint, then six months later the applicant asked for reconsideration due to new developments. CIRB declined to review; this is a an application for judicial review. Standard of review is reasonableness. Review dismissed. 

Brandon (City) et al. v. Brandon Professional Firefights’/Paramedics’ Association, 2020 MBQB 73. Application for order quashing an arbitrator’s award regarding banked overtime. Standard of review is reasonableness as articulated in Vavilov. City argued that arbitrator exceeded her jurisdiction and erred by imposing a split onus on the issue; Union argued that while it, as the grievor, bore the legal onus of proof, the arbitrator properly imposed a shifting evidential burden of proof (para 11 and 12). Application is dismissed and the award upheld. 

Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union v. The Minister of Finance for the Government of Manitoba, The Honourable Scott Fielding, 2020 MBQB 68. Application for an order of mandamus to appoint an arbitration board to settle matters respecting the collective agreement renewal. Keyser, J. concluded that MGEU is entitled to the mandamus relief.

Wills, Trusts & Estates

Durand v. Durand et al., 2020 MBQB 70. Application by widow of deceased to remove one co-executor, due to a conflict of interest, and replace him with another. The estate is a farm corporation. Widow is dependent on payments from the spousal trust to supplement her pension. All other beneficiaries support mother’s application. Application granted. 

Estates, Trusts and Pensions Journal, (2020) Vol. 39, No. 3. (Request a copy). 



43rd Parliament, 1st Session
An Act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act
Statute of Canada: 2020, c. 8
Show Details

43rd Parliament, 1st Session
An Act respecting Canada emergency student benefits (coronavirus disease 2019)
Short Title
Canada Emergency Student Benefit Act
Statute of Canada: 2020, c. 7
Show Details

43rd Parliament, 1st Session
An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (illness, injury or quarantine)
Show Details

43rd Parliament, 1st Session
A second Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19
Short Title
COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2
Statute of Canada: 2020, c. 6
Show Details


42nd Legislature, 2nd Session

House adjourned May 27, 2020 until the call of the Speaker. 

60Hon. Mr. Fielding
Minister of Finance
The Appropriation Act, 2020 (COVID-19 Response)PDFSM 2020, c. 14
61Hon. Mr. Fielding
Minister of Finance
The Loan Act, 2020PDFSM 2020, c. 15
62Hon. Mr. Fielding
Minister of Finance
The Fuel Tax Amendment and Retail Sales Tax Amendment ActPDFSM 2020, c. 12

ONCA on Post-verdict Delay

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released a decision reducing the appellant’s 30 month sentence by five months for unreasonable post-verdict delay. R. v. Hartling, 2020 ONCA 243, concerns the amount of time it took to submit a Gladue report to the court.

From the decision by Benotto, J.A.

[96]      The post-verdict delay is another matter. It took 14 months after conviction for the sentence to be imposed. This delay was not caused by ineffective judicial management. It was not caused by the appellant, nor was it caused directly by the actions of the prosecutor. It was caused by the lack of institutional resources to obtain a Gladue report.

[97]      Immediately upon conviction, trial counsel obtained an order for a Gladue report from the trial judge. However, court administration services denied funding. At the time – as difficult to understand as it seems – there was only one Gladue writer in the Algoma district. There were no Gladue writers provided by Aboriginal Legal Services in the Algoma district. Therefore, there were only two options: (a) paying privately out of pocket; or (b) obtaining Legal Aid funding. Ultimately, the appellant, with the assistance of his counsel, chose to pay privately.

Further commentary is available from The Lawyers Daily.

Manitoba Law Blogs Roundup

A bi-monthly round-up of blog posts from the Manitoba legal community for the months of January and February 2020

Clarke Immigration Law

Success: Residency Obligation Appeal, February 20, 2020
Refugee Law & Climate Change, February 14, 2020
Success: Regaining Status, February 10, 2020
Success Stories, January 29, 2020
Poem for 2020, January 9, 2020
Lessons From 2019, December 30, 2019
Sponsor Parents – 2020, December 9, 2019
RNIP – Manitoba, December 9, 2019

Robson Crim Legal Blog

R. v. K.G.K, or Rather, K.G.K v. The Canadian Judiciary ,by J Mayan Jan 7
R. v. Javanmardi, 2019 SCC 54 (CanLII), by B Parks Jan 10
Section 8 of the Charter, Our Privacy and Our Devices, by Blairder L.E. Yankovitch Jan 21
Poisoned by Prejudice: Sexual history as inadmissible evidence in R. v. Goldfinch, by J Pelland
The Potentiality for Infringing on s 12 Charter Rights by Imposing Mandatory Minimum Sentences, by A Ennis 
Jan 29
Causation and Group Assault,by M Markaj Jan 31
The Charter: A Missing Element, by GS LeBeau Feb 4
A Win for Personal Liberty, by D Kingdon Feb 6
Charter Right to a Speedy Trial in Youth Cases – R. v. K.J.M. (2019), by C Scofield Feb 6
An Analysis of R v Jovel 2019 MBCA 116, by Benderez Moon Feb 11
R. v. K.J.M.: The Jordan framework for delay and the youth criminal justice system, by D Reid Feb 11
Denis v Côté: Balancing Journalism and Justice, by P Gutowski Feb 18

Matthew Gould Blog (criminal Law)       

What is Blood Alcohol Concentration? February 13, 2020
What You Need To Know About DUI Charges In Canada January 16, 2020

Pitblado Law Blog

Pre-incorporation contracts: a trap for the unwary January 29, 2020

Taylor McCaffrey

Sexual Orientation and the Road to Equality, by Jeff Palamar February 13
‘Tis the Sneezin’ – Does the Seasonal Flu Give Rise to the Right to Refuse Work? by Jamie Alyce Jurczak            February 13

Decisions of the Week – Sentencing

We get many requests for decisions on sentencing, particularly where parties are aware of a particular sentence, however, often the decision is not reported. Last month the Provincial Court of Manitoba published several sentencing decisions, some of which are highlighted here.

R. v. Alcantara, 2019 MBPC 67 challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentence for the offence of luring.

[1]          …. Counsel agree that the Court should first determine the fit and appropriate range of sentence, given this offender’s personal circumstances and need not examine the constitutional issue if the Court determines that the fit and appropriate sentence is within the range set out by the mandatory minimum. On the other hand, if the Court determines that a one year sentence is grossly disproportionate for Mr. Alcantara, the constitutionality of the sentencing provision is engaged, and the Court must determine if one year in jail amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for Mr. Alcantara.

R. v. Alcantara (Rolston, P.J.)

R. v. Little, 2019 MPBC 60 concerns the appropriateness of a joint sentencing submission. Along with a pre-sentence report, the Court ordered a supplementary Gladue-style appendix for further consideration of the offender’s circumstances.

[45]        … I am therefore, given his youth, his vulnerability and his Gladue and s. 718.2(e) factors (which apply to all offenders), of the view that the jointly proposed sentence should not be confirmed, that something less will be adequate and purposeful in the offender’s unique and most unfortunate circumstances. …

R. v. Little (Corrin, P.J.)

R. v. Goodman, 2019 MBPC 77 describes the difficulty of arriving at an appropriate sentence when the offender, with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder commits a serious offence.

[1]            Sentencing is often described as more of an art than a science.  This is because although the Criminal Code sets out sentencing principles, the Court must still balance them in light of the circumstances of the offence and the offender. 

R. v. Goodman (L.M. Martin, P.J.)

All of these decisions offer significant analysis in their reasons and guidance for future sentences. The library also has other resources available for finding sentencing decisions, in print and e-book format. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for help crafting your submissions on sentencing.

The library will be closed on Monday, May 20th for Victoria Day