Federalism, Pensions and the limits of Partisanship in Canada

[a version of this post was published by the Globe and Mail on August 10, 2015] Can the Federal and Provincial governments work together on policy matters on which they disagree? The answer in Canada is simple – they can and they must. This issue has come to a head around the  Ontario’s Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) proposal, which the Provincial Government has developed because it believes the Canada Pension Plan is inadequate, and which the Federal Government has stated it will not help administer through its existing Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) infrastructure . The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan will be phased in over two years and will be offered at companies without employee pension plans. Self-employed Ontarians also may be able to opt-in. Companies with sufficient retirement plans will be exempt, and the lowest-income earners will not be required to contribute. While the ORPP could be run entirely by Ontario, this would increase the cost and could decrease the effectiveness of the scheme.  The sniping of the Federal and Ontario Governments on this issue began shortly after its announcement, and will no doubt continue to intensify over the course of this unusually long Federal election campaign.  Continue reading “Federalism, Pensions and the limits of Partisanship in Canada”

Justice by Design

Has our justice system developed as a series of ad hoc measures, policies and programs or has it been designed according to a planned vision? This question is being asked more broadly in Law Schools as legal academics and lawyers bring design principles to the question of where and how people access justice. It is a question which may lead to suprising, disruptive and absolutely necessary answers. Continue reading “Justice by Design”

Visionary Donors for Accessible Legal Education

In March of 2015, a remarkable milestone was crossed. Osgoode’s largest ever student led fundraising campaign, aimed at debt relief and financial accessibility, crossed its goal of raising $125,000.00 to coincide with Osgoode Hall Law School’s 125th Anniversary. Our aim was for Osgoode’s Alumni to match that amount through this year’s Annual Fund campaign but, inspired by our students’ ambition, the Osgoode Annual Fund raised a record amount, far exceeding the $125K match. And the Law School itself matched the $125K as well. So, in total, in this first year of making debt relief a campaign priority, Osgoode has been able to set aside close to $400,000.00 in new and much needed accessibility funding. While the aggregate numbers are meaningful, so is every individual donation that made it possible. In this and a series of posts to follow, I profile some of the visionary donors who are investing now to ensure those who receive an amazing legal education at Osgoode are not precluded from putting it into action because of high debt loads. One such donor is Richard Bogoroch, the founding partner of Bogoroch & Associates LLP. Continue reading “Visionary Donors for Accessible Legal Education”

The Wellspring of Jewish Life at York

The first time I found my way to York’s sprawling (and then mostly barren) campus was as a teenager, to help assemble a Jewish magazine called Images. I was tagging along with my older sister, who was somehow involved in the publication (though she never attended York). This would have been in 1979 or so. Little did I know how much Jewish community life, or York University, was to feature in my future. This blog series is intended to paint a picture of Jewish life at York – not the stories you will typically read, but the more interesting and personal ones. Each entry will be by a member of the York community – past and present – with a story to tell. The first one will be my own. These will also be cross-posted at CIJA’s The Exchange. Continue reading “The Wellspring of Jewish Life at York”

Is Art a Fad or the Future of Legal Education?

This post was first published on the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (CALT) blog on April 7, 2015 at http://www.acpd-calt.org/?page_id=2357

As this term and academic year draw to a close, the thoughts of several Deans will turn to broader trends and lessons learned. I wanted to share one such development based on my experience at Osgoode Hall Law School. This year more than any other, it is becoming apparent that art in legal education is no fad but. Art no longer seems like an interesting distraction or peripheral gloss in legal education, but is becoming central to our mission and how we can best fulfill it. Continue reading “Is Art a Fad or the Future of Legal Education?”

C51 and the Unbearable Lightness of Oversight

Bill C-51 has emerged as a showdown between those who are fearful and want more security in an insecure world and those who are fearful and want more freedom from the things the first group might have in mind to make us more secure.

While a version of the Bill will almost certainly pass (the Tories have a majority government with, arguably, a pretty clear mandate for exactly the policy approach they are adopting), its reverberations into the election campaign to come brings additional heat and intensity to the debate. While the opposition parties differ on whether this should happen before or after the aforementioned election, they are united in the desire for more oversight. It is hard to argue against more oversight, but also, as I suggest below, perhaps too easy simply to argue for it.

I suspect few – and perhaps remarkably few – of those who argue for more oversight have a clear sense of what it would involve, its possibilities, and perhaps most importantly, its limits.

Continue reading “C51 and the Unbearable Lightness of Oversight”

Racialized Licensees, the LSUC and Catalysts for Change

I offer the thoughts below in response to the call for input by the “Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group” and specifically to their consultation paper “Developing Strategies for Change.” [and please note this submission was submitted March 1, 2015 and will be cross posted by the Law Society in due course]

I wish to begin by applauding the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) for this initiative and for highlighting the voices of racialized licensees, and more broadly the value of diversity, in our community. Having demonstrated that change is needed, however, the LSUC must now do all it can to deliver on that change, and be seen to have done all it could in that regard!

Continue reading “Racialized Licensees, the LSUC and Catalysts for Change”

Dying with Dignity – Now Comes the Hard Part

[this commentary originally published by Canadian Lawyer at http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/5460/Carter-dying-with-dignity-now-comes-the-hard-part.html]

I have not run into anyone yet without strong views to share on the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday in Carter to strike down the assisted suicide prohibition in the Criminal Code. In my circles, those views have been mostly positive but I respect the depth of feeling on this issue and those for whom assisted suicide is antithetical to their beliefs, whether religious or based on policy concerns in the desire to protect the welfare of vulnerable people. Many will be writing on the leadership demonstrated by the Court, or the impact of Carter on Charter jurisprudence, or how this represents yet another setback for the Harper Tories from the McLachlin Court. My interest is more in where we go from here.

Continue reading “Dying with Dignity – Now Comes the Hard Part”