Repost from Constraining a Landlord’s Ability to Terminate a Residential Tenancy by Raising the Rent

Please find below a link to an interesting article published today on by Professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton of the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. The article comments on Milner’s Aloha Mobile Home Park (1998) Ltd v Jenkins2014 ABQB 229 (CanLII), and looks at the issue of landlords increasing rents as a way to evict residential tenants. 

Posted in Civil Litigation, Housing Law | Tagged | 1 Comment

Moratorium on the Issuance of Labour Market Opinions for Food Services Sector Occupations

On April 24, 2014, the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Jason Kenney, issued a statement “announcing an immediate moratorium on the Food Services Sector’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program” in response to the media frenzy over allegations of employer abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).  This moratorium will affect numerous Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) who are already working in Canada, or who had plans to come to Canada to work in the Food Services Sector.  With this moratorium, employers are unable to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) authorizing them to either hire or continue the employment of a TFW – ESDC has suspended processing of all LMO applications for food service industry positions.  In addition, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has put a hold on processing all Work Permit applications that are based on a valid LMO for a job in the Food Services Sector.  This includes LMOs and Work Permit applications for both skilled and semi-skilled positions.  The moratorium is expected to remain in effect until the completion of an ongoing review of the TFWP. This blog post explores the implications the moratorium has for immigration lawyers and their TFW clients.

Continue reading

Posted in Immigration Law, Public Policy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Relating “Equitable Relief and Residential Tenancies” to Alberta

Last week, we discussed the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in Metro Housing Corp v Ganitano (2014 BCCA 10). The justices concluded that termination of a tenancy under the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act for late or non-payment of rent was properly characterized as a forfeiture imposed by statute, not contract. They thus determined that the Law and Equity Act could not grant the tenant equitable relief from the forfeiture of the residential tenancy. This week, we relate the case to Alberta law and discuss whether the same result would have obtained here.

Continue reading

Posted in Housing Law, Human Rights / Constitutional Law | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Equitable Relief and Residential Tenancies

It is very rare – and hence worthy of note – for a residential tenancy matter to wind its way to a court of appeal.  On January 13, 2014 the British Columbia Court of Appeal released its decision in Metro Housing Corp v Ganitano (2014 BCCA 10), after hearing arguments the Attorney General of British Columbia, the Rental Owners and Managers Society of British Columbia, and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre Society.  This case raised an important issue with a constitutional element on the nature of the rights contained in the British Columbia Residential Tenancies Act, the adjudication of which has legal implications here in Alberta as well.

Continue reading

Posted in Housing Law, Human Rights / Constitutional Law | Tagged | 5 Comments

Homeless Connect…to Legal Services

This last Sunday (October 20, 2013), Homeward Trust held its 11th bi-annual Homeless Connect event at the Shaw Conference Centre. The event brings together service providers and community agencies from across the city to provide a “one-stop shop” of services for the over 1,500 attendees that are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness. Although legal service providers like ECLC and Student Legal Services (SLS) have participated for several years, for the first time the major legal service providers organized themselves not by agency, but rather combined to form a “legal hub”. This setup allowed not only interagency cooperation to provide more holistic services to low-income clients (161 of them over the 5-hour event!), but also led to the collection of very interesting data on the incidence of various legal problems among the city’s homeless population.

Continue reading

Posted in Agency News | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Landlord and Tenant Issues after the Flooding in Southern Alberta

The Centre for Public Legal Education in Alberta (CPLEA) has developed a new resource called After the Flood for Landlords and Tenants in Alberta. You can find it at their blog, , as well as a link to an audio Q&A version.

Posted in Housing Law, Legal Resources | Leave a comment

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!

A recent report on the discovery of body lice in Edmonton’s homeless population is a reminder of the daily challenges faced by low-income individuals.  While body lice appears to be primarily a problem for those without homes, even those who have the benefit of housing can experience major disruptions in their lives because of infestations of bedbugs and other pests in their residential premises.  It is therefore a good time to consider how residential tenancies law in Alberta applies in these types of situations.

Continue reading

Posted in Civil Litigation, Housing Law | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts on Panhandling and Robbery: A Response to McKay-Panos’ ABlawg Post of January 18, 2013

Two weeks ago, published an interesting case comment by Linda McKay-Panos on a recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision clarifying the distinction between aggressive panhandling and robbery. McKay-Panos examines the Court’s reasoning and findings, and concludes that the line between the two is “fairly fine.” You can read the case comment here, and the original court decision, R. v. Ajang, 2012 ABCA 364 [Ajang] here.

While the legal distinction between aggressive panhandling and robbery may be a fine one, as McKay-Panos points out, that fine distinction has big consequences: panhandling is (usually) legal, while robbery is a criminal offence which attracts a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The comment and the case interest me because they reveal the uncomfortably close intersection between social and criminal justice issues, and the degree to which our criminal law is informed by society’s discomfort with poverty. This post will briefly discuss Canada’s history of criminalizing begging and other poverty and socio-economic class-related behaviour, and suggest that, despite changes to our Criminal Code, the law continues to  criminalize poverty (albeit in less obvious ways than in our past).

Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Law, Public Policy | Tagged , | 6 Comments

A Summary of Free Client-Ready Legal Resources in Alberta

There are many occasions when poverty law advocates, including lawyers, would benefit from written legal information to provide to clients: for example, when they meet clients with several presenting issues, but can address only 1 or 2; or just to provide robust, take-away information for clients to reference in the coming days and weeks.

While there are many legal resources available on the internet, the challenge for poverty law practitioners is knowing which legal resources can reasonably be expected to be accurate and regularly updated. At this time, there is no central information portal providing links to all resources available in the province, although I understand that one may be in the works. Until that is up and running, good sources for written legal information that advocates can provide to clients include:

Continue reading

Posted in Legal Resources | Leave a comment

Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument (OPCA) Litigants

Jonnette Watson Hamilton has posted on a very useful summary of and commentary on Justice Rooke’s recent 156 page decision on Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument (OPCA) Litigants.  This issue is relevant to practitioners of poverty law as desperate low-income individuals are vulnerable to the “gurus” who peddle these arguments, particularly where there is a psychological condition that predisposes the individual to a view of the world that is consistent with the theories propagated by OCPAs.  The ECLC occasionally sees these types of arguments raised in our evening clinics, and Justice Rooke’s decision contains a list of costs and other consequences that advising lawyers can use to hopefully dissuade individuals from becoming OPCA Litigants.  An evening clinic appointment with a volunteer lawyer is likely the only opportunity a low-income individual who has been exposed to OPCAs will have to receive accurate legal advice.

Continue reading

Posted in Civil Litigation | Tagged | 3 Comments