Labour law does not forbid Dofasco-Steelworkers’ plan

The battle for the hearts and minds of Dofasco workers begins today, wrote the Hamilton Spectator March 20. The United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal Dofasco have struck a deal that allows the union to talk to the company’s 3,500 non-union workers on company turf without interference to negotiate a first contract and have it ratified by a vote. The move could see a union at the Hamilton steelmaker for the first time in its 96-year history.

According to labour law experts, while it’s uncommon to certify unions through a contract vote in Canada, labour legislation does not forbid it. Sara Slinn, professor in York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said if a union and employer can demonstrate they have a collective agreement, it’s enough to earn certification from the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Women’s Court hopes to end equality rights neglect

A group of female lawyers have formed the Women’s Court of Canada to rewrite key Supreme Court of Canada decisions from a feminist perspective in hopes of ending what they call a recent neglect of equality rights, wrote the Law Times March 17.

The WCC came out of discussions a few years ago at a conference of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund where a group of some 30 female lawyers were pondering the future of equality law. The WCC is now made up of academics, activists, and litigators. Its first set of judgments has been published in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law. Their publication was celebrated earlier this month during International Women’s Week at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. The schools held a reception and symposium under the theme “rewriting equality.”

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law co-editor Janet Mosher, who is an Osgoode professor, says the initiative dovetails with her publication’s goals.“It creates the opportunity to open conversations about different conceptions of equality,” she says. “It creates a written record of some of those ideas. There’s lots of academic work about equality, and I think one of the really significant contributions is to put those alternative conceptions into the form of judgments, to show the way alternative conceptions of equality can actually shape the judicial decision itself.”

McMurtry a busy retiree

Former Ontario chief justice and attorney general Roy McMurtry (LLB ’58) just got a little bit busier in his “retirement” after being named chancellor of York University, wrote the Law Times March 10.

Among his many accomplishments as a trial lawyer, member of the Ontario legislature and attorney general, McMurtry is the founder and president of the Osgoode Society, which was created in 1979 to promote the writing of Canadian legal history. Last year he received Osgoode Hall Law School’s Award of Excellence and the President of the Canadian Bar Association’s Award of Merit.

Ogilvy Renault chips in

York University’s Building Osgoode campaign has received a shot in the arm from Ogilvy Renault LLP, in the form of a $300,000 donation, wrote the Law Times March 17.

“We are committed to help Osgoode’s students learn and build their future in today’s technologically demanding, global marketplace,” said Jacques Demers, managing partner of the firm’s Toronto office. “We are indeed fortunate, as many of our firm’s leaders are Osgoode alumni, and places like the Ogilvy Renault classroom are where tomorrow’s leaders in law will come from. We are very pleased to invest in them.”

The firm’s gift will be put towards a technology-enhanced classroom at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. The room, which will include the refurbishment of an older classroom, will be professionally designed and include 95 seats, with excellent acoustics and lighting, comfortable furniture, and electronic learning tools.

Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan said the Ogilvy Renault Classroom “will provide a richer learning experience for Osgoode students. Ogilvy Renault has demonstrated a strong commitment to Canadian legal education and we are very grateful to the firm for helping to ensure that our students have a learning environment of the highest quality.”

On air

  • Thabit Abdullah, history professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about the war in Iraq on CTV Newsnet March 19.