Posts by Claudia Pedrero

How will Ontario’s increase in small claims court limits affect access to justice?

October 31st, 2019 by Claudia Pedrero

This article was first published on rabble.ca

As of January 1, 2020, Ontario will increase the value of claims that can be brought before the province’s small claims court. Soon, the maximum claim that can be filed will increase from $25,000 to $35,000.

Small claims court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice that hears civil disputes. If a person has a claim that exceeds the maximum limit for small claims court, they need to pursue the case through the Superior Court of Justice or go through small claims court and limit the amount of the claim.

Ontario’s intent is to make it “faster, easier, and more affordable to settle claims,” while trying to alleviate some of the backlog at the provincial Superior Court of Justice, which the province notes is one of the busiest courts in Canada.

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Community land trusts a model for community-led land stewardship

April 25th, 2019 by Claudia Pedrero

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Last week marked the first meeting of the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts held on Canadian soil.

The group’s meeting in Montreal was attended by community land trusts from across Canada, most of them from British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. It’s indicative of a rise in popularity of this alternative model of land ownership, as communities grapple with increasingly unaffordable housing prices, and commercial development changes the social, cultural and economic diversity of neighbourhoods. The Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts is seeking to share the collective experience and expertise of Canadian land trusts while expanding the footprint of this model of land ownership.

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Seniors Co-Housing:
Re-Thinking Traditional Housing Models for Canada’s Growing Senior Population

March 28th, 2019 by Brian Iler and Claudia Pedrero

This article was originally prepared for the Ontario Bar Association’s Real Property Law & Elder Law program on March 22, 2019

The Toronto Star recently featured a High Park co-housing project – Wine on the Porch. That project, its story, and a small handful of others like it, has helped spark renewed interest in co-housing (or collaborative housing) in Ontario.

That story began:

“It began half in jest — two couples enjoying their annual weekend getaway, strolling the streets of Stratford, Ont., wistfully admiring the pretty Victorians and wondering aloud about the future.

“Would it be feasible to avoid the loneliness that creeps with age by joining forces in a private home with room for shared meals and laughter and cosy nooks for private chats or reading?”

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The ‘right’ to cannabis in housing

October 25th, 2018 by Claudia Pedrero

This article was first published on rabble.ca

With the arrival of legal cannabis last week, Canadians are now free to consume and — in some provinces — cultivate cannabis at home. This new freedom has come with many questions around the extent to which governments and property owners can restrict consumption. Does cannabis legalization mean that people have a protected right to smoke and grow cannabis? What about rules that seek to limit this freedom?

These questions cropped up in human rights cases across the country once medical cannabis became legal. With the legalization of cannabis, it is worth looking at how restrictions on recreational cannabis interact with the obligations of service providers such as landlords to accommodate medical cannabis users.

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Province plans to make legislative changes that will help transitional housing providers

May 26th, 2017 by Claudia Pedrero

Bill 124, the proposed Rental Fairness Act, 2017 passed its third reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario last week. This bill has received significant attention in the past few weeks for the important changes it could make to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the RTA).

The press has focussed on the fact that Bill 124, if passed into law, will increase rent controls to include units built after 1991 and require landlords who want to take over a unit for their own use to compensate a tenant or provide them an alternate unit.

However, there is another important change to the RTA which deserves attention: those providing transitional housing and rehabilitative or therapeutic services will be exempt from the RTA for tenancies that lasts four years or less.

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Employers take note: Make sure your employees’ termination clauses don’t exclude benefits and severance pay under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

May 16th, 2017 by Claudia Pedrero

With the provincial government looking at instituting a minimum wage of $15.00/hour, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA) is generating headlines this week.

But one of the biggest pitfalls for employers in the ESA made judicial news at few weeks ago: the Ontario Court of Appeal further clarified employers’ obligations when terminating employees in its decision Wood v Fred Deeley Imports Ltd. (Wood) released earlier this year.

The important take-away from this case is: if the termination clause in an employment contract excludes even one obligation under the ESA the entire termination clause is unenforceable. As a result, the employee becomes entitled to common law reasonable notice discussed in more detail below. The employment clause will also be void even if the employer meets the ESA obligations that were excluded from the termination clause.

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