Motor Vehicle Repairs

Written by  |  Thursday, 20 May 2010 08:43  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services One of the realities of living in this area is the need for a source of reliable transportation. There are no buses, no taxis, no subways, and except for volunteer drivers, good neighbours, family members or friends and/or the Rural Routes program, you’re on your own. For most of us that translates into owning a motor vehicle of some sort and, as we all know, they need maintenance and repairs. Motor vehicle repairs are one of the most common sources of complaints to the Ministry of Consumer Services. The Ministry is responsible for the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, (the “CPA”) the key piece of legislation in Ontario that aims to protect consumers. The CPA covers anyone who…

Modernizing Legal Aid Services

Written by  |  Thursday, 29 April 2010 08:44  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services If you need legal help in Ontario and cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, you may be able to take advantage of one of the programs operated by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). Whether or not you can receive help from LAO will depend primarily upon the nature of your problem and your financial circumstances. Like many organizations, LAO is relying on technology, including the internet and a toll-free number, in lieu of “face to face” personal services to deliver more cost-effective assistance. As a result, this spring saw the closure of many legal aid Area Offices, such as the one in Kingston, as LAO transformed and modernized its process for taking legal aid applications and issuing…

HST is Coming!

Written by  |  Thursday, 01 April 2010 08:46  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services Ontarians will begin paying the new Harmonized Sales Tax on July 1st, 2010. It combines the existing sales taxes, the GST (a federal tax of 5%) and the PST (a provincial tax of 8%) into one 13% sales tax. While politicians and accountants have already discussed, and will no doubt continue to discuss, the good and bad of this new tax, the focus of this column is to encourage low income individuals and families to file an income tax return this year in order to take advantage of the higher tax credits and lower tax rates intended to help offset the extra expense associated with this new tax. The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) extends to goods and…

Don’t Call Me!

Written by  |  Thursday, 25 February 2010 09:26  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services (Editor’s note – warning, this column contains some wishful thinking about the outcome of the Olympic men’s hockey tournament) It’s the last period of Canada vs. the USA in the final Olympic hockey game and the telephone rings: “Are you interested in a new way to save money on …” You interrupt the caller and likely say some choice words and before slamming down the telephone advise the telemarketer to: “not call you again, EVER!” Unfortunately the telemarketing firm does not have to take your request seriously unless you have also taken advantage of the “National Do Not Call List” started in 2008 by the Canadian Radio Television Commission (CRTC) to try to reduce your chances of…

Courts of Sharbot Lake – Revisited

Written by  |  Thursday, 18 March 2010 10:25  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services The Legal Clinic in Sharbot Lake has been producing a “Legalese” column for more than 20 years. For one reason or another, we sometimes find ourselves looking at our old columns and when we do, it’s interesting to see how the law and the legal services available to our Community have changed. However, it is also disappointing to see how some needs continue to be ignored. Even the best justice system is of little importance if it cannot be accessed by all our citizens, and not just by those who live in large urban centres, or those who can afford the time and expense to travel to those centres. Many problems end up before the Courts, and…

Talk to Me

Written by  |  Wednesday, 03 March 2010 19:00  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services You can talk to me. What you tell me stays with me. In fact, as a lawyer, I have very little choice in the matter. Every lawyer in Ontario is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct as set down and enforced by the Law Society of Upper Canada. One of those rules deals with the confidentiality of information received from a client. If a lawyer fails to abide by that rule or any of the other rules, he or she can be punished with sanctions ranging from being reprimanded to being suspended or disbarred. If a client is to receive proper advice and representation, it is essential that the lawyer be fully informed. Obviously, this isn’t…

Changes to Legal Aid

Written by  |  Thursday, 18 February 2010 09:27  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services Significant changes are coming to Legal Aid Ontario. The most dramatic changes will be noticed initially by people seeking Legal Aid Certificates to retain lawyers in Criminal or Family Law matters as set out in the following information release from Legal Aid Ontario. At Rural Legal Services we shall still be offering the full range of clinic law services, and at least until further notice, taking applications for Legal Aid Certificates. TRANSFORMING CLIENT SERVICE DELIVERY Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is transforming how it delivers services across the province. In keeping with our mandate to provide high-quality and cost-efficient legal aid services, LAO is making greater use of technology, streamlining administration and increasing front-line client services to make…


Written by  |  Thursday, 04 February 2010 09:28  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services We live in an increasingly complicated world. A world of voice mail with confusing menus rattled off at break neck speed by electronic voices, “self-help” kits and forms that seem to require at least a college diploma to understand and, of course, internet web pages that are supposed to answer all your questions. Increasingly it is a challenge to get to talk to a “real” person about your problem or concern. If your problem involves legal issues, who can you call or where can you go, to actually talk to a human being about your rights and obligations? Well, if you live in northern Frontenac or northern Lennox & Addington counties, you could start by contacting Rural…


Written by  |  Thursday, 28 January 2010 09:52  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services Insurance is one of those things that we often don’t think about – until we need it! In fact many of us just tune out when it comes to this topic. After all, there are so many different types to consider: life, mortgage, fire, disability, automobile, wage replacement, critical illness and so forth. Then there is the seemingly endless advertising that assures us of the reliability of older drivers, or else starts with the question “Are you hard to insure?” Unfortunately some types of insurance cannot be ignored. A failure to have proper insurance for your automobile can result in serious and costly trouble, while failure to have insurance on your home can result in tremendous hardship…

Changes to the Law in 2009 to Remember in 2010

Written by  |  Thursday, 14 January 2010 09:53  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services The law is always changing. Each year brings an almost unbelievable onslaught of new legislation, amendments to existing legislation and supporting regulations and, of course, new interpretations of the law by our Courts. Lawyers are supposed to keep up with it all and, believe it or not, so are you. One of the sacred rules of our legal system is that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. Of course, the reality is that nobody can really keep up with all the changes, but you are expected to know about the law as it might affect your daily life. So what happened in 2009 that might affect you? If you like to talk and drive you should…

Eyes on the Road

Written by  |  Thursday, 12 November 2009 08:47  |  Published in Legalese
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services Earlier in the week while on route to Kingston I noticed the driver in the adjacent car talking animatedly on his hand-held cell phone. The gentleman was either blissfully unaware of or deliberately ignoring Ontario’s new law banning the use of hand-held devices while driving. As of October 26, 2009 the “Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009” makes it illegal for drivers on Ontario roads to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communication and entertainment devices. The only exceptions to this rule are for police, firefighters and paramedics using them in the course of their duties and for individuals calling 911. Although hands-free devices are still permitted,…

Modernizing the legislative framework of not-for-profit corporations

Written by  |  Thursday, 15 January 2009 06:37  |  Published in Legalese
by Peter Graham, Lawyer, Rural Legal Services The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has undertaken a project to review and reform the Ontario Corporations Act (CA) in order to develop a new legal framework to govern the structure and activities of charities and not-for-profit corporations in Ontario. The update of the legislation promises to modernize and improve the basic corporate governance rules for not-for-profit corporations. The Ministry has requested feedback on several issues including the incorporation process, corporate powers and capacity, directors and officers, membership and corporate finance. The consultation process has been going on since May of 2007 when the first of three discussion papers was released. I propose to review some of the key issues under consideration. Further details may be obtained…
Page 3 of 3

News From Across Frontenac

Click Here for More