Defamation Law – What is a “Broadcast” or “Newspaper” under the Libel and Slander Act?

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Internet Defamation, Libel, Online Defamation, Slander0 Comments

We write further to our blog which discussed the short deadlines under Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act (“Act”) that apply to defamatory content which is considered a “broadcast” or “newspaper”[1]. The Act states that: No action for libel in a newspaper or in a broadcast lies unless the plaintiff has, within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge, given to the defendant notice in writing, specifying the matter complained of, which shall be served in the same manner as a statement of claim or by delivering it to a grown-up person at the chief office of the defendant. An action for a libel in a newspaper or in a broadcast shall be commenced within three months after the libel has come to the knowledge of the person defamed, but, where such an action is brought within that period, the action may include a claim for … Read More

Defamation Lawyers and the Inference of Publication

Josef FinkelAppeals, Business Defamation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Cyber Libel, Defamation, Internet Defamation, Online Defamation0 Comments

In our blog Toronto Defamation Lawyers – Libel and Slander Law in Ontario, we suggest that in order to be successful on a defamation claim, one would have to prove that the allegedly defamatory publication was “published”, among other things. The court of appeal has provided some clarity on what it means to “publish” defamatory content. In Zoutman v. Graham, 2020 ONCA 767 (CanLII), the court contends on an appeal from a summary judgment motion, that a defamation claim requires proof that the “words were communicated to at least one person other than the plaintiff”. On the original summary judgment motion, the motions judge acknowledged that there was no evidence that the allegedly defamatory postings were viewed by anyone other than the parties and their lawyers. However, the motions judge drew an “inference of publication” from the totality of the circumstances. In drawing the inference of publication, the motions judge … Read More

China International Arbitration Award Enforced by Ontario Court

Josef FinkelArbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards0 Comments

Tianjin v. Xu, 2019 ONSC 628 (CanLII) involved an application under the International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017, SO 2017, c 2, Sch 5 (the “Act”) for an order recognizing and making enforceable in Ontario an arbitral award of the Chinese International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC”). Respondent’s Defences The respondent argued that the arbitration award should not be enforced in Ontario because: Service: The respondent did not receive notice of the arbitral proceeding or the appointment of arbitrators; and Jurisdiction: The Ontario Superior Court of Justice did not have jurisdiction to enforce the arbitral award because the arbitration was not an “international commercial arbitration”. Service The court found that there is no requirement that service of notice of the arbitral proceedings or of appointment of arbitrators be effected in accordance with the CIETAC Rules. Rather, the court opined that the respondent was given “proper notice” of the proceedings and … Read More

Internet Harassment: New Tort Recognized in Ontario

Josef FinkelBusiness Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Harassment0 Comments

Following up on our previous blog in which we advise that the Ontario Court of Appeal decided that there is no common law tort of harassment, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has now recognized the new tort of online harassment. In the recent decision, Caplan v. Atas, 2021 ONSC 670 (CanLII), the court recognized the inadequacies in the current legal system’s responses to internet defamation and harassment matters. The court opines that while defamation law and freedom of speech have created a balance in society which promotes both free democratic debate and protection of one’s reputation simultaneously, the internet has “cast that balance into disarray”. Recognition of the New Tort of Harassment The difficulty in the cases before the court was that the defendant was not deterred from further egregious conduct even in the face of multiple severe consequences. The defendant was also impecunious, so compensation was not a … Read More

B.C. Court Claims Jurisdiction over International Online Defamation Case

Josef FinkelArbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Defamation, Forum Challenges, Online Defamation0 Comments

This blog post is further to our blog on the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision in v. Goldhar, 2018 SCC 28 (CanLII) (“Haaretz”) wherein the SCC opined that Israel was a more convenient forum for an online defamation claim brought by the plaintiff in Ontario (even though the SCC recognized that Ontario had jurisdiction over the matter). The SCC considered a number of factors in its decision (all outlined in our blog). In the recent Supreme Court of British Columbia (“BCSC”) decision, Giustra v Twitter, Inc., 2021 BCSC 54 (CanLII) (“Giustra”), the BCSC confirmed that even where jurisdiction is found, a court can decline to exercise its jurisdiction under the principle that its court is not the most convenient forum for the hearing of the dispute (largely following the tenets laid out in Haaretz). The court in Giustra cited Haaretz in pointing out that the applicable law in … Read More

It’s not all about Intent! – Court of Appeal Confirms Test for Civil Conspiracy

Josef FinkelAppeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes0 Comments

In the recent decision Mughal v. Bama Inc., 2020 ONCA 704 (CanLII), the Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision in an action alleging civil conspiracy, among other things. The underlying action involved a plaintiff seeking the return of his investment in a corporation. On appeal, it was alleged that the trial judge applied the wrong legal test for and misapprehended the evidence to find commission of the tort of conspiracy to injure. The appellate court concluded that the trial judge applied the correct test for establishing civil conspiracy to injure as follows: Whether the means used by the defendants are lawful or unlawful, the predominant purpose of the defendants’ conduct is to cause injury to the plaintiff; or, Where the conduct of the defendants is unlawful, the conduct is directed towards the plaintiff (alone or together with others), and the defendants should know in the circumstances that injury … Read More

Do it, Don’t Just Say it! Court of Appeal refuses to Rule on Arbitration Clause

Josef FinkelArbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Moving Litigation to Arbitration0 Comments

On a recent motion before the Court of Appeal in Paulpillai Estate v. Yusuf, 2020 ONCA 655 (CanLII), Jamal J.A. clarifies that a party needs to bring a motion if it wants the proceeding to be referred to arbitration. In the underlying decision, Paulpillai v. Yusuf, 2020 ONSC 851 (CanLII), the motion judge noted that the responding parties “have maintained in their affidavit evidence that the matter should have proceeded by way of arbitration, but at no time did they bring a motion seeking to stay these proceedings or to compel the Applicants to proceed by way of arbitration”. Accordingly, the motion judge found that the responding parties have waived their right to seek to have the issues in the action determined by way of arbitration. In agreement with the motion judge, Jamal J.A., writing for the Court of Appeal, clarifies that, even though (a) there was an arbitration clause … Read More

Can The Condo Corporation Register A Lien On My Condo Unit?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Building | Property Management, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Condo Litigation, Creditors Rights, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

A recent Divisional Court decision, Amlani v. YCC 473, 2020 ONSC 5090, confirmed that there are two separate ways to register a condo lien depending on whether the amount is related to common expenses (or “condo fees”), or related to compliance and enforcement expenses. A condo lien may be registered without a court order when the condo corporation seeks to recover unpaid condo fees.  However, condo corporations are required to obtain a court order to register a lien when seeking to recover legal fees and expenses incurred for compliance and enforcement matters. Background The condo owner, a smoker for 56 years, purchased the unit after confirming that smoking was allowed. A few years later, the neighbour complained about the smell of smoke but the issue was resolved after the the condo corporation sealed certain openings at its own cost. When new complaints about the smell of smoke came up again … Read More

Nick Poon Comments on Anti-Black Racism in Commercial Lease Dispute for The Lawyer’s Daily

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Nick Poon was recently asked by The Lawyer’s Daily to comment on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in Elias Restaurant v. Keele Sheppard Plaza Inc., 2020 ONSC 5457. The Lawyer’s Daily article is found here: Court cites ‘prejudices’ to Black tenants in overturning landlord’s eviction bid. In this case, the tenant was a husband and wife team that operated a successful restaurant/bar offering African and Caribbean cultural foods primarily to the black community.  The tenant had spent $150,000 in leasehold improvements when it took over the lease in 2013.  The lease included two further 5-year renewal options, upon delivery of written notice at least six months before the lease expired. Although the tenant attempted to contact the landlord, both before and after the deadline, to start the renewal process, the landlord appeared to have avoided its telephone calls.  The tenant brought an application for relief from forfeiture after … Read More

Online Defamation and Use of Pseudonyms

Josef FinkelArbitration, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Defamation, Injunction & Specific Performance, Norwich Order, Online Defamation0 Comments

Online Defamation (“Cyber Libel”) Many of our defamation matters come from the internet. These cases take many forms, from defamatory articles, to social media posts, to negative reviews of a business or person. Courts have recognized that online defamation or “cyber libel” is far more perverse than other forms of defamation. This is because internet users can reach the global population within seconds by publishing defamatory remarks about an individual or a business. As such, cyber libel can be significantly more damaging to a person’s business and/or reputation than other forms of defamation. Posting via Online Pseudonyms Some individuals go so far as to create aliases to post malicious and defamatory comments about others on the internet. In Ontario, you can sue an anonymous defamer by naming them as “John Doe” and/or “Jane Doe” in your claim against them. There are methods to determine the identity of these anonymous defamers, … Read More

Toronto Defamation Lawyers – Libel and Slander Law in Ontario

Josef FinkelArbitration, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Online Defamation0 Comments

Defamation is the tort of false publication (whether written or oral). Typically, a publication which tends to lower a person’s reputation in the opinion of reasonable members of society, or to expose a person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, is defamatory and will attract liability. The major piece of legislation governing the law of defamation in Ontario is the Libel and Slander Act. According to the Act, you can be defamed in two ways: via either (1) Libel and/or (2) Slander. What is Libel? Defamatory communications may be by words, pictures, sounds, or other forms of communication.  They may be published on the internet, in social media postings, on websites, online reviews, chat rooms, or in other forms of broadcast. The dissemination of such defamatory comments or communications to the public is libelous. What is Slander? Slander is the public utterance of words that are meant to disparage a person … Read More

Construction Law Lawyers – An Overview of Construction Law

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Construction Liens, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes0 Comments

Construction law and practice, largely governed by the Construction Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.30 (the “Act”), is a specialized field of law which has unique attributes, processes and deadlines. One cannot contract out of the application of the Act and must abide by its provisions. Without going into the various intricacies, the following is a brief primer on some (not all) key parts of the Act for those that may need legal assistance with a construction related dispute. The Initial Contract A construction project will typically start with a contract between a property owner and a general contractor. For a fee, the contractor takes on the responsibility of overseeing the project and supplying services and/or materials to the construction project. The Subcontracts The contractor often needs help from tradespeople (“subcontractors” or “subtrades”) with various aspects of the project like plumbing, painting, etc. For such assistance, the contractor tends to enlist … Read More

Is it a Gift or a Loan?

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Gift Law0 Comments

Have you loaned money to a friend or relative who now refuses to repay you and alleges that the loan was actually a gift? Or are you on the other side of this problem wherein your friend or relative gifted you a sum of money a while ago but is now demanding repayment? These issues come up most often in the private sphere where parties to a transaction do not habitually document all of their ventures. Nevertheless, verbal loan or gift agreements of this sort are still enforceable. Litigation involving a disagreement about whether a transaction was a loan or a gift is typically commenced by the transferor (i.e. the person who has transferred the funds) who claims that the transfer was a loan and not a gift. If you require assistance in either commencing such a claim in the Superior Court of Justice or defending against same, we have … Read More

Toronto Lawyers for Mortgage Defaults – Assessing your Bank’s Bill

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Commercial, Mortgage Enforcement, Mortgage Litigation, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Once a mortgage has been defaulted on, banks and other mortgage lenders will often charge mortgagors (you-the borrower and their customer) exorbitant and excessive fees, whether it be intentional or not. Time and again, we have seen these fees levied at exponentially greater amounts than lenders are reasonably entitled to charge under the circumstances. The charging of such unreasonably high fees has not been viewed favourably by the courts. In the midst of Covid-19 related complications and with other financial difficulties remaining on the horizon, many property owners have been unable to continue to pay their mortgages on a consistent basis. One difficulty that presents itself for home owners in this type of situation is the ability of their mortgage lenders to sell their properties via “power of sale” proceedings. A power of sale is meant to pay off secured mortgage lenders for the amount that they are owed under … Read More

Toronto Debt Recovery Lawyers | Enforcement of Judgment Lawyers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer, Arbitrator and MediatorCivil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Finance Litigation, Fraud Recovery, Gift Law, Lenders | Borrowers, Loan and Guarantee, Promissory Note Claims0 Comments

Domestic and, US and Other Foreign Debt, Judgments and Awards We are often consulted or retained in connection with recovery of large local debt or foreign debt, including casino debt, or to seek recognition  and enforcement in Ontario, Canada, of judgments, orders, or arbitration awards obtained in Ontario, other provinces of Canada, US and other foreign jurisdictions. We are sometimes retained to work with the assistance of lawyers practicing debt recovery in other jurisdictions, including, those located offshore. Claims on Loan Guarantee We can advise and represent those claiming payment on a guarantee, and those named as guarantor of a loan. Loan or Gift? | Loan or Investment? Disputes sometimes arise when either a payment advanced or transfer is alleged to be a loan rather than a gift, or alleged to a loan rather than an investment, or vice-versa. We have relevant experience in both domestic and cross-border litigation. Injunctions and Other … Read More

B.C. Bans Evictions if Commercial Landlords Fail to Apply to CECRA: A Similar Ban Coming to Ontario?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Real Estate Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Although the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) opened for applications last week, complaints about the program have continued from both small business tenants and commercial landlords. Small business tenants have complained that landlords continue to refuse to apply to CECRA, the eligibility requirement for a revenue loss of at least 70 percent was too high and the number of months of relief should be expanded.  Today, Ontario extended the state of emergency until June 30, 2020 although Premier Doug Ford stressed that the gradual and safe re-opening of the economy would continue.  It is unlikely most eligible tenants will be able to make their full rent payment on July 1, 2020, even if they receive rent relief for the months of April, May and June, 2020 under CECRA.  Landlords have complained that the application process is too confusing, costly, time-consuming and risky.  Under CECRA, landlords are required complete … Read More

COVID-19 | Ontario Announces More Businesses to Reopen During First Stage

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Following on our previous blog last week entitled COVID-19 | Ontario Allows More Businesses To Reopen Soon, the Ontario government announced today plans for stage 1 to reopen the province, including allowing more businesses to reopen and/or relaxing restrictions on the delivery of goods and services. While the reopening of more businesses is welcome news after eight weeks in quarantine, Premier Doug Ford warned that individuals must still continue to practice social and physical distancing, and businesses should only reopen if they are ready to comply with the strict public health guidelines.  We cannot risk moving one step forward, but moving two steps back. The following is a list of some businesses that may reopen or expand their services on the following dates: May 16, 2020  Golf courses may open to the public but clubhouses only for washroom access and restaurants only for take-out (previously, golf courses could only prepare … Read More