Posts by Lauren Blumas

AODA updates 2015 – will you comply?

October 14th, 2014 by Lauren Blumas

Summer is over and 2015 is around the corner. As the calendar flips over into the New Year, most organizations will be subject to additional requirement under Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the AODA) via the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (the Regulation).

The Regulation applies to “every organization that provides goods, services or facilities to the public or other third parties and that has at least one employee”. The application is intended to be broad and indeed captures most of our clients.

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CoopZone offering co-op development courses

July 28th, 2014 by Lauren Blumas

CoopZone Developers’ Network Co-operative is a network of people and organizations in the co-op sphere with a common goal of supporting the growth and development of co-operatives across Canada. The Network provides services which can help you to start a co-op or to nurture and grow an existing one. As a member of the CoopZone Legal Network Steering Committee, I can attest to the value of the services and expertise the Network provides. The CoopZone Legal Network and the Developers Network are designed to bring together organizations and experienced professionals to share their knowledge and service co-operative entrepreneurs.

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Elder Law: Law Commission to Consult the Public on Capacity Issues

July 8th, 2014 by Lauren Blumas

Making decisions on behalf of an elderly family member as he or she becomes incapable of doing so is a familiar issue for many of our clients. This is particularly fragile territory for housing providers as their tenant and member populations age. They have the tough job of working with tenants and members and their families as the issue of incapacity arises. This can lead to major conflict, some of which ends up in the courts.

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Considering social enterprise

May 12th, 2014 by Lauren Blumas

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology undertook an extensive review of the Canadian Business Corporations Act back in 2010 and recommended consultation on 4 discrete issues, one of which was the rules applicable to incorporation of socially responsible enterprise.

Much of the discussion since has focused on introducing a hybrid corporate vehicle similar to the Community Contribution Company form available in B.C. In a nutshell, these corporations are somewhere in-between a non‑profit and a traditional business corporation. They operate with a community purpose and can have shareholders. They are also subject to an asset lock that is intended to ensure that a majority of the assets are fed back into the community, as opposed to shareholders, upon dissolution.

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What is Creed? Ontario Human Rights Commission seeks input

February 11th, 2014 by Lauren Blumas

There has been a lot of confusion around “creed” as a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) over the years. During our recent outing as presenters at the Golden Horseshoe Co‑operative Housing Federation conference, we were asked to define creed. The answer to this question is not straightforward. Generally speaking, courts and tribunals interpret creed to be the same as religion. Other decisions have left open the possibility that creed includes spiritual practices and non‑religious beliefs.

Fortunately, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is in the process of updating its Policy on Creed (last revised in 1996) that can be used as a tool by employers, service providers and housing providers to develop best practices. In the meantime, the OHRC has released its report titled Human Rights and Creed Research and consolation report, which addresses the confusion about the definition of creed, current social trends on how we identify as Canadians, and some preliminary questions on the scope and limitations of creed.

The report helpfully points out the difficulties organizations face regarding creed, identifying for example, sincerity of belief as a challenge to providing appropriate accommodation for creed beliefs and practices.

The policy is still very much in its early stages. The OHRC is looking for input from stakeholders on key questions outlined in the report. If you want to be part of the conversation, you can email your comments to the OHRC at with your thoughts on what a helpful policy might look like.

The report can be found here (pdf).



Iler Campbell at Golden Horseshoe Winter Workshop

February 5th, 2014 by Lauren Blumas

The Golden Horseshoe Co‑operative Housing Federation hosted its annual housing Winter Workshop conference on January 25, 2014. Despite the weather, the turnout was impressive. The workshops covered a range of practical topics including re‑financing, member participation, arrears, the duty to accommodate (presented by Iler Campbell) and the legal implications of hoarding (presented by Iler Campbell).

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