⚖️ So artificial

To: Hearsay Readers

“Hallucinate” is Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year. AI’s knack for creating false information has given the word broader use outside of psychedelic circles. The example cited to explain the word of the year choice? The lawyers who wrote a legal brief filled with remarkably helpful (but hallucinated) precedents.

— Dylan Gibbs

TODAY’S DOCKET

  • Future of work: Ontario employment changes require AI disclosure 

  • Roundup: CRTC won’t regulate podcasts

  • Overseas: UK Supreme Court says government can’t deport migrants to Rwanda

  • Legal practice: Trial, it’s no joke

EMPLOYMENT

New Ontario worker protections include disclosure of AI-based hiring practices

Robot reviewing resumes

Ontario is bringing in new rules to protect workers — mostly related to job postings and service workers.

The most topical change? Employers using artificial intelligence to “screen, assess, or select applicants” will need to disclose that fact in their job postings. Ontario is the first Canadian province headed in this direction, but New York adopted a similar rule in July.

The proposed changes also say employers can’t advertise Canadian experience as a job requirement. The province says the change removes barriers for foreign workers, but the effectiveness of the change is up for debate.

  • The legislation doesn’t say employers can’t hire based on Canadian experience, just that they can’t put those requirements in their job postings.

  • The Ontario Human Rights Commission already treats Canadian work experience requirements as presumptively discriminatory. Employers demanding Canadian experience need to show it’s a genuine requirement for the job.

  • The Commission also notes that employers tend to ask about Canadian experience in more subtle ways, rather than putting the requirement in a job posting.

The changes also bring in new protections for service workers. If employers take a cut of their employees’ tips, they’ll need to post the policy somewhere visible in the workplace and preserve a copy of the policy. Plus — if it wasn’t already covered by the more general, “pay your employees” rule — employers need to pay for trial shifts and can’t dock pay just because a customer dines and dashes.

HEARSAY ROUNDUP

Canadiana

🎙 The government issued its final guidance on Canada’s regulation of online streaming services. Content creators can breathe a sigh of relief — the government directed the CRTC not to regulate video game broadcasters and social media creators, including podcasts.

⌛️ Courtroom staffing shortages delayed a sexual assault trial in Toronto, leading to a stay of proceedings.

🤝 The BC Supreme Court said the province breached its collective agreement with Crown attorneys when it forced them to run bail hearings after work hours and on weekends.

Beyond the border

🛩 The UK Supreme Court said the government can’t deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. In response to migrants smuggling themselves across the English Channel, the British government made an agreement with Rwanda in 2022 — Britain would pay Rwanda to take some of the migrants off its hands. Based on Rwanda’s poor human rights record and broken asylum system, the Supreme Court held there’s a substantial risk that Rwanda will send the asylum seekers back to their country of origin. That means Rwanda isn’t a safe third country and Britain can’t just treat asylum seekers like an exportable commodity.

PRACTICE

Judge declares mistrial after lawyer jokes about Charles Manson in front of jury

Bearded witness in courtroom preparing to be sworn in

A recent Ontario case suggests it’s not a great idea to joke with your colleagues about the resemblance between a witness and Charles Manson. Mid-trial, a lawyer pulled up a photo of Charles Manson and laughed with his co-counsel. A juror saw the photo, realized the lawyers were laughing about the witness on the stand, and told the judge about it.

The judge wasn’t impressed. She said it was “inexcusably disrespectful to the witness and highly prejudicial”. She didn’t think she could fix the problem with a jury instruction, so she ordered a mistrial.

The judge was even less impressed when the lawyer brought an application asking the judge to recuse herself. It sure seemed like the lawyer brought the application just to avoid paying costs for the mistrial.

Thankfully, the lawyer remains unfazed and is now speaking to the media about the judge’s improper ruling. No press is bad press.

Decision report card:

◻️◻️◻️😃◻️ Factual interest

◻️😐◻️◻️◻️ Legal interest

◻️◻️◻️◻️🤷‍♂️ Killer comedy

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