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Vancouver Litigation & Appeals Law Blog

Business litigation: Supreme Court orders Google to block sites

The Supreme Court of Canada has told social media giant Google it cannot display websites of a company accused of counterfeiting the products of a Canadian technology company. That goes for displaying those sites anywhere in the world. The ruling stunned advocates of free speech in British Columbia and around the world. 

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 and upheld a lower court injunction in British Columbia against Google being able to display commercial content regarding trade secrets. But critics of the ruling say the decision will give Google more power, not less. Content laws are different in local areas of every country and the decision, as critics see it, may cause conflicts.

Employment disputes: Human Rights Commission returning to B.C.

After a 15-year absence, the Human Rights Commission will be returning to the Pacific Province. That is good news for British Columbia employees and employers embroiled in employment disputes. The NDP government recently made the decision regarding the Commission which was put on the back burner by the Liberals in 2002 and replaced with a tribunal.

British Columbia is the only province without a Human Rights Commission, and apparently, the move comes at the right time. The Premier has said incidents have surfaced over the last couple years involving hate and racism against religious and ethnic groups. Proponents of reinstating the Commission say it would educate people regarding human rights, curtail discrimination and support those who are the victims of racism and discrimination.

Employment disputes: New B.C. government and workers' rights

Worker safety and safeguarding non-unionized workers are just two things the new NDP government is focusing on when it comes to labour issues. Employment disputes in British Columbia are governed by the Ministry of Labour. Harry Bains, the new labour minister, says he is all about supporting workers.

The minister said that while most employers follow the rules, there are exceptions, and he cited the number of complaints at the government's Employment Standards Branch (ESB) -- which include alleged unpaid wages, abuse and exploitation -- as being testament to those breaches of law. The government is also concerned about a 16-page self-help package employees need to fill out prior to filing a complaint with the ESB against employers. In fact, the minister will be exploring whether changes need to be made to B.C.'s Employment Standards Act.

Civil litigation: Woman no human smuggler, police apologize

A woman accused and acquitted of human smuggling has received an apology from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The British Columbia resident launched a civil litigation suit against the police after they made public statements about her while they were conducting a criminal investigation. A police spokesperson said the RCMP realizes public statements made against the woman were improper.

Supreme Court Clarifies Personal Liability Of Directors In Oppression Cases

The Supreme Court of Canada has recently clarified when personal liability attaches to directors of organizations. In the case, Wilson v. Alharayeri, the court upheld the decision of a lower court to hold a director personally liable for taking advantage of his position to deny a minority shareholder a benefit.

B.C. employment disputes over the use of the bathroom

A former security guard has blamed the loss of his kidney on the fact that his former employer wouldn't let him access the bathroom when he had to go. The 59-year old British Columbia resident was a guard working for a private company. He had the job of guarding government buildings and was assigned to the health building in Victoria. He says that the employment dispute arose when his bosses wouldn't let him leave to use the bathroom.

Agency sues B.C. government over alleged foster care abuse

The government of British Columbia is facing a lawsuit that claims a girl was wrongfully taken from her parents and abused after being placed into foster care. The Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia (PGT) alleges that three years ago in April, the Plaintiff was taken from her home and put into foster care, even though there was no lawful reason to do so. The PGT, an independent corporation protecting the legal and financial interests of children, alleges the girl was also removed from her parents without proper procedures being followed. 

The PGT filed a Notice of Civil Claim in the British Columbia Supreme Court. The claim alleges that in a two-year period, the girl named in the suit experienced a series of abusive acts while she was in foster care. The girl was allegedly physically assaulted and abused by her foster parents and suffered verbal and emotional abuse as well. The foster parents aren't named in the lawsuit.

What civil litigation entails in British Columbia

Anyone who has been injured or hurt in some way may consider being compensated for their pain and suffering and/or financial loss. In British Columbia, as in all of Canada, a civil lawsuit could potentially be launched. There are important facts to know about the civil lawsuit process.

Any party, including individuals, companies, partnerships, etc. can be involved in this process. Civil litigation concerns torts (the legal term for a civil wrong, injury or harm), contractual and other disputes or claims under the law. In civil cases that end up going to Trial, proof depends on the balance of probabilities. Simply put, a Judge has to be convinced that one party's argument is more probable than the other. 

When B.C. workplace faux pas can lead to employment disputes

When a superior gives an employee negative or critical feedback about his or her job performance, the employee's feelings may be a little hurt, but does that mean he or she has been emotionally abused? When it comes to employment disputes in British Columbia, there are guidelines in place that spell out when an employee could take a superior to task in various situations. That could be anything from bullying to working overtime hours without compensation.

During the course of the performance feedback, if the manager was aggressive or intimidating, habitually used foul language or humiliated the employee, that may likely be harassment. Ignoring an employee or withholding information that causes a worker hardship in carrying out his or her job duties can also be a reason for an employee to have a concern that may result in an employment dispute.

Civil litigation: Canadian Supreme Court Rules against Google

The tech industry is alarmed about the possibility of global censorship and fears that one country's citizens will have to abide by rules of another country. This followed a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that a British Columbia Judge was entitled to make an international Judgment in an intellectual property case that went to civil litigation. In that case, the Judge issued Google with an injunction that ordered it to delete search results related to pirated goods worldwide and not only in Canada.

The Judge noted that the ruling would not affect freedom of speech. She said the Court Order was only issued to bring about the de-indexing of websites that are violating Court Orders by facilitating unlawful sales of products. The particular case was brought by a manufacturer of industrial networking gear against a rival company that allegedly misused the Plaintiff's Trademark in online marketing. The company asked the Court to order Google to block search results that led potential buyers to the rival company.