The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Omar Ha-Redeye

Closing argument

Separate schooling and making sense of Canada’s identities

By Omar Ha-Redeye June 18, 2018 18 June 2018

Separate schooling and making sense of Canada’s identities

 

Canada had at its outset two founding peoples, legally and constitutionally speaking, which makes it unique among the world’s nation-states. It’s a narrative, of course, that discounts the foundational role played by this country’s Indigenous Peoples. More on that later.

To ensure British and French identities would both continue as part of the Canadian Compact, section 93 of the Constitution Act enshrined public funding for separate schools for Protestants and Catholics – though only where such schools existed before a province entered into Confederation.

Much has changed since 1867. The case for separate schooling is increasingly being challenged as both secular groups and religious minorities gain influence across Canada. Many provinces have renegotiated their relationships with separate schools.

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Closing argument

Minimum wage, maximum benefit

By Omar Ha-Redeye March 7, 2018 7 March 2018

Minimum wage, maximum benefit

 

Your morning coffee might be a bit more expensive in 2018, partly due to increased labour costs. But it will be worth it in the long run.

Across Canada, provinces are raising their minimum wages. Alberta has the most ambitious plan, with an increase to $13.60 on Oct. 1, 2017, and plans to raise it to $15 by Oct. 1, 2018. Ontario is close behind, raising the minimum wage to $14 on Jan. 1, 2017, with plans to go to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019.

The Bank of Canada responded with a study estimating that Ontario’s move could cost up to 60,000 jobs. The traditional arguments underpinning these conclusions are that higher wages mean a more expensive payroll, reducing the ability of employers to hire people.

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Closing argument

Lawyers will pay our fair share of tax – if others do too

By Omar Ha-Redeye December 7, 2017 7 December 2017

Lawyers will pay our fair share of tax – if others do too

 

Selling more taxes is rarely a popular political move, especially in difficult financial times. But even if we don’t like them, taxes remain necessary.

An effective justice system could be described as a hallmark of a civilized society. Without legal institutions, individuals and businesses lack effective conflict resolution systems. Not only does this create uncertainty for capital investment and commercial activities, but, at worst, these disputes can devolve into violence.

Maintaining a legal system that works effectively, however, does not happen without significant support from government in the form of administrative services and other funding. For this reason, there is a deep and necessary relationship between the legal profession and the payment of taxes.

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Closing argument

Cleaning the cobwebs – and some outdated presumptions – from the Criminal Code

By Omar Ha-Redeye September 15, 2017 15 September 2017

Cleaning the cobwebs – and some outdated presumptions – from the Criminal Code

 

The federal government is finally doing some housekeeping of the Criminal Code with Bill C-51. It may find some hidden cobwebs – and according to some, there may even be monsters under the bed.

The Criminal Code is a place where old, obsolete, or even unconstitutional laws languish in purgatory. Most governments have been content to simply ignore these outdated provisions, knowing that most would never actually be used. The result is a long, rambling and sometimes unnecessarily confusing statute.

Sometimes, the Code is sufficiently complicated to confuse even the judges. 

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Closing argument

Standing up for vulnerable litigants

By Omar Ha-Redeye June 16, 2017 16 June 2017

Standing up for vulnerable litigants

 

It is very easy to turn a blind eye to areas of law that fall outside of our professional expertise. This is especially true of family law – but it would be a mistake to do so because we have a shared interest in ensuring the system functions properly.

By all accounts, family law is in crisis right across Canada; some courts report that between 60 and 70 per cent of litigants represent themselves. As the CBA’s Equal Justice Report notes, self-represented parties typically experience poorer outcomes. The cost of family law trials, however, means litigation is inaccessible for everyone except the very rich or the very poor.

That’s not to say family law hasn’t changed for the better in some ways. It has adapted to reflect changing social norms, including reforms geared to the realities of same-sex couples, surrogacy laws and changing family dynamics. 

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Omar Ha-Redeye practices out of Fleet Street Law in Toronto. He is a Professor at Ryerson University and Centennial College. He sits on the board of directors of the OBA and co-chairs its Young Lawyers Division.

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