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Ottawa General Practice Law Blog

Your workplace rights if you have a disability

You have been willing to make sacrifices to achieve the things you want to accomplish. This may include long nights working to make extra income, denying yourself luxuries to save your money or years taking courses to obtain your degree or certification. You are well qualified for the job you seek. Only one thing holds you back: your physical or mental disability.

Fortunately, Ontario laws provide opportunities for you to pursue the job you want despite any barriers your health may present. These laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or potential employees who may have disabilities but who are otherwise qualified for the position. Your first step toward protecting your rights under these laws is to understand what they are and how they apply to your circumstances.


There are many situations where you may be asked to agree to be appointed a Power of Attorney for Property. The most common would be for an elderly parent, grandparent or other relative. This role of attorney for property should not be taken on without the full knowledge of the responsibilities and liabilities that come with this appointment.

Is your boss trying to force you to quit?

You may be among the many who fantasize about walking away from their jobs. When your job gets stressful, it may be satisfying and even comforting to think of leaving behind a toxic and unfair work environment and perhaps forcing your employer to scramble to find someone of your caliber to replace you.

In real life, however, there are serious ramifications for quitting a job. The most painful may be that you lose the right to termination pay and any other benefits for which you qualify if your employer fires you. On the other hand, you may feel that recent changes your employer made have caused your situation to be unbearable. In fact, you may have legal options if your employer has given you no choice but to quit.

What do you do if an employee is facing criminal charges?

If you are an employer, and you have an employee facing criminal charges – unrelated to the business - you may ask yourself “what implications will this have on the business?” The answers may lead many employers to suspend the employee in question until there is a conviction or the charges are dropped to avoid bad press or protect a reputation.

In many cases where a suspension is implemented, there is a question of payment during the suspension. However, an article posted on Canadian Employment Law Today, poses another question – was the suspension even necessary?

Vice & Hunter LLP Paralegal Jennifer Gravel Vanasse wins the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award for 2019

Vice & Hunter LLP is pleased to announce that Jennifer Gravel Vanasse has been awarded the 2019 William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award by the Law Society of Ontario. Jennifer was among the first paralegals to obtain her license from the Law Society in 2008. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated exceptional skill and commitment to her profession. Having worked at Vice Hunter LLP since 1988, she has demonstrated the utmost devotion to the firm and its clients. She has also contributed to the development of the paralegal profession through her long-standing involvement with the Paralegal Committee of the County of Carleton Law Association, her presentation of continuing professional development programs for paralegals, and through her mentoring of paralegal students and other licensees.

Clean Hands in Real Estate Disputes (Nuisance and Trespass)

Sometimes neighbours don't get along. The source of the dispute may arise from someone placing his fence or eaves trough on or over their neighbour's property without consent. That is called a continuing trespass to land. It may also be that someone will divert water from their land to their neighbour's land causing damages. That is called a nuisance. Or there may just be a personality conflict between neighbours, and this same conflict leads one neighbour to aggravate tensions by committing a trespass or a nuisance on his neighbour's land.

Elder abuse: Durham Region's mobile unit will respond to calls

A new mobile response team is set to come to the aid of vulnerable people in trouble. The Durham Region of Ontario has initiated the Vulnerable Person Outreach Project (VPOP) with the help of the Durham Regional Police Service. The mobile unit will have a nurse, social worker and a specially trained police officer on board to respond to calls from those in trouble and those people could include seniors experiencing elder abuse.  

The unit will focus on homeless persons who may have special needs in terms of support. A Proceeds of Crime grant will enable the unit to help these people for at least two years. The program also aims to assist front line workers who respond to these calls.

Estate beneficiary advice: Are there inheritance rights?

People who believe they have been named in a will yet are still waiting to hear any news about the estate after a couple years may be wondering what they can do. When it comes to estate beneficiary advice in Ontario for  this type of situation -- those concerned have every right to ask questions of the estate's executor as to the status of the estate. Beneficiaries have rights and those rights include knowing what is available to them.

Disclosure rights are also known as accounting rights. If asking simply isn't getting a beneficiary anywhere, he or she can follow formal procedures to force an accounting. Beneficiaries have the right to know what assets were part of the estate in the first place, what of those have been sold and details of what debts have been paid. If an executor has been working with a lawyer, the lawyer could be asked to answer those questions. 

Employee rights: Ontario Tories cancel number of labour reforms

The new provincial Conservative government has decided to cancel a number of labour reforms brought in by the previous government. Some Ontario labour groups are saying the reforms regarding employee rights are unfair to workers, mean-spirited and reckless. Among the decisions are a freeze of the minimum wage at $14 an hour for two years and axing the two paid sick days.

The minimum wage was supposed to jump to $15 an hour in January 2019, but will stay put until 2020, and likely won't reach $15 until 2024. Also, temp agency workers will still have a tough go of getting unionized since the government is also repealing measures making it easier for them to do do. Also on the chopping block is the protection afforded to workers who say no to a last minute shift without fear of punishment.

There are ways to prevent financial elder abuse in Ontario

Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable sectors of society. Elder abuse in any form is unconscionable, including trying to bilk seniors out of their hard-earned money. Ontario has laws in place to prevent this from happening, yet unfortunately, it still does.

Sadly, financial abuse of elders is often at the hands of those they love and trust the most -- family members. Seniors who suffer from dementia are particularly susceptible. For instance, an Ontario woman was recently convicted of fraud after cleaning out her mother's bank account. Her mother has Alzheimer's disease. Elders very often also fall for scams which are initiated over the telephone or the internet, and because of embarrassment, many seniors don't report these types of abuses.

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