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The latest news from the Federation of Ontario Law Associations
formerly
The County and District Law Presidents’ Association (CDLPA)

The Federation of Ontario Law Associations (FOLA) represents the interests of more than 12,000 practising lawyers working in communities across Ontario.  Our members are typically private-bar lawyers who are business owners as much as they are professionals.

FOLA Newsletter - In The Trenches

February/March 2014

September/October 2013 Issue

April/May 2013 Issue

March 2013 Issue

February 2013 Issue

January 2013 Issue

Report of the May 2016 Plenary

The report of FOLA's May 2016 Plenary is available here.

CDLPA Goes to China

Back by popular demand!  CDLPA is pleased to offer its fourth opportunity to travel with colleagues and friends to visit Asia.  This time, the trip dates are April 9 – 20, 2016, departing Toronto.   The (fantastic!) pricing remains the same as the last trip and the program remains first-rate and highly rated.  The only difference in the itinerary is that this trip includes an extra day in Shanghai for self-directed exploration of this great city.  This is something almost all the travellers on the previous trips requested and the tour operator was able to accommodate this demand for this tour. It adds a day to the itinerary, including a night in Shanghai, but there is no additional charge.  

Please note that in the previous trips to mainland China, the tour operator offered assistance to secure a travelers visa but some problems occurred  because of changes that were made by the Chinese government in the middle of the process.  To avoid problems this time, anyone who signs up for the trip will be directed to the Chinese Visa offices in Ottawa or Toronto.  The process is straightforward and does not take much time. 

All the details are included in the attached brochure and registration forms (form 1 and form 2).  
Deadline for registration is December 1, 2015

CDLPA Goes to Thailand & Hong Kong

CDLPA is pleased to offer another destination to CDLPA’s travel program.  After two incredibly successful trips to mainland China, CDLPA is partnering again with Citslinc International Inc. to provide an extremely affordable nine day, all-inclusive tour of Bangkok, Pattaya and Hong Kong.  This trip will depart Toronto on October 31, 2015 and will be a nine day tour.  Prices are a little higher than the previous trips to mainland China, reflecting the higher cost of travel to Thailand, but are still extremely affordable.  

All the details are included in the attached brochure and registration form.  
Deadline for registration is July 24, 2015.

2014 Annual Report

The 2014 annual report of CDLPA is available here.

Report of the November 2014 Plenary

The report and summary of the CDLPA's November 2014 Plenary is available here.

CDLPA Goes to China

CDLPA is pleased to offer this second 10 day trip to China departing April 1st, 2015.  The trip organized this past September was a great success receiving rave reviews from all the participants.  The trip is open to any lawyer in Ontario and their spouse for an incredible, all-inclusive price of $2,600 pp.  For an additional $500 pp, the April 2015 trip can also include a side-trip to Xi’an, to see the famous “terra cotta warriors”.  The full brochure is available here as well as the registration form.

Report of the May 2014 Plenary

The report and summary of CDLPA’s May 2014 Plenary is available here

MAG seeks input from Legal Community on Law of Negligence in Ontario

The Ministry of the Attorney General is seeking the input of the legal community on proposed changes to the law of negligence in Ontario, particularly with respect to how it applies to municipalities. An explanation of the proposed changes is available below.

On behalf of the County & District Law Presidents’ Association (CDLPA) and TLA, we are asking our members to provide comment on the proposed changes before February 14, 2014.

We invite TLA members to send opinions directly to the contacts in the Justice Policy department of the Ministry as follows:

Judy Hayes at judy.hayes@ontario.ca; or
Andrea Strom at andrea.strom@ontario.ca

Please be sure to copy TLA on your submission (cc: info@tlaonline.ca) so we may track the number of submissions by our members and the positions taken.

The note from the Ministry of the Attorney General follows:

You may be aware that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario has asked the government to consider modifications to the law of negligence, to address concerns about increases in the cost of municipal liability insurance.  The Ministry of the Attorney General has been working with AMO for the past two years to develop practical solutions to municipal concerns.

The input of the legal community, particularly the plaintiff’s bar, would help to ensure that any approach brought forward is measured and appropriate in the circumstances.  To that end, I am asking that you consider two proposed approaches to this issue, and provide us with your thoughts.

The following two models are currently under consideration:

  • Saskatchewan model:  This modification to joint and several liability was adopted in Saskatchewan in 2004. Under the Saskatchewan model, the burden of making up for a shortfall due to an impecunious defendant is divided among the remaining defendants and the plaintiff in proportion to their fault, rather than solely among the defendants.

  • Multiplier:  Under this rule, a municipality would never be liable for more than two times its proportion of damages, even if this means that a plaintiff does not fully recover.  Because this rule has the potential to result in an innocent injured plaintiff being unable to fully recover, the proposal is to limit its application to the specific subset of cases that have been seen by municipalities as imposing the most significant and unfair burden – automobile accident cases.

In 2011, the Law Commission of Ontario reviewed the application of joint and several liability to corporations under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (OBCA).  The Law Commission’s conclusion was that joint and several liability should continue to operate for OBCA corporations.  

The Law Commission did not examine the particular issues affecting municipalities, which differ from most corporations in a number of important ways:

  • Municipalities are statutorily required to provide certain services, such as snow removal, and cannot limit their liability for these matters through contract.
  • Municipalities cannot spread new costs proportionately across service users, as their primary source of revenue – property taxes – does not necessarily reflect use or ability to pay.
  • Municipalities are limited in their ability to create multiple corporate structures or to declare bankruptcy.

Municipal liability insurance premiums have increased significantly in the past ten years, and many municipalities have substantially increased their self-insurance through deductibles.  Municipalities have indicated that the increasing costs of municipal liability reduce the public funds available for other important public services.

The problem of increasing municipal liability costs does not lend itself to simple solutions.  I hope that, with your input, we can develop some balanced options to address this longstanding concern of Ontario’s municipalities.

Report of the November 2013 Plenary

The report and summary of CDLPA’s November Plenary is available here.

Practice Resource Centres and CPD

The core of CDLPA's position is, and always has been, that adequate staffing, physical premises, and resources (including legal research materials) need to be maintained in each county. This is necessary to ensure that all lawyers across the province have access to adequate resources in order to properly service their clients, regardless of the size or location of the jurisdiction.  The August update from CDLPA Chair, Janet Whitehead, explains the concept in detail.  Ms. Whitehead also outlines the Law Society's response to concerns that its CPD material would be discontinued in DVD format.  For the full update, please click here.

CDLPA 2013 Plenary Summary

The County and District Law Presidents’ Association (CDLPA) semi-annual plenary meeting was held in May, 2013. TLA President Miriam Young attended on behalf of the Toronto Lawyers Association.The Plenary addressed topics related to real estate issues, libraries, Legal Aid, Bill 51/courthouse access and security, the CDLPA advocacy initiative and included presentations from the Law Society and LawPro on professional activities of significance to lawyers throughout Ontario.

For more details, see the following link to the summary of and transcripts from the event.