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When There’s a Will, There’s a Way – Protect Your Assets and Your Family

Whether you are organizing meals for the next week, researching or booking accommodations for next year’s vacation, or making arrangements for something unpleasant – like having a will or trust set up to deal with our assets after death – planning ahead is important. While most of us are none too thrilled about the concept of planning for our own deaths, when the inevitable happens, having a will in place can make things much easier for our loved ones.

What Does a Will do Anyway?

In essence, a will lays out a plan for how you want your assets to be distributed. Perhaps you have been listed among the beneficiaries of a departed relative or friend and, as a result, received some extra property or funds. In order for you to receive these additional assets, the benefactor’s wishes were most likely set out in a will. A formal will is a legal document that essentially states who should inherit what – and how much – once you pass on. While there isn’t a legal requirement to have a will drawn up by a lawyer, consulting with a lawyer can ensure that your will is properly drafted and true to your wishes.

Do I Really Need A Will?

Without a doubt, yes.

Without a will in place, you have no control over what happens to your assets after death. If one dies intestate – without a will – their estate is distributed according to provincial legislation. In cases where the departed has no will, the courts appoint a trustee to manage and distribute your estate. This person is often your closest relative. It’s important to know that the process of settling your estate can be lengthier and more expensive than if you have a will. Another issue to consider is that most provinces do not have provisions for common law spouses.

Consider a Trust Fund

Trust funds are not just for the wealthy – anyone is able to set one up. There are many types of trusts. Among other things, trusts can help minimize estate taxes after-death, protect beneficiaries against their own inability to handle finances, help protect privacy (terms of wills become public after death, terms of trusts do not), and enable the grantor to maintain control over how their assets are used. For more information on trusts check out our resource section here.

How Do I Make a Will?

The cost of drafting a will is cheap compared to the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones will be cared for according to your wishes.

Depending on the experience of your lawyer, and the complexity of your needs, drafting a will will run you in the area of $500-2000.

Here are some important tips:

  1. Appoint an executor – they are the ones who will be responsible for settling your estate according to the wishes outlined in your will once you pass on. They will also be responsible for overseeing any other outstanding necessary financial obligations (such as debts and taxes) prior to distributing your assets. It is common practice for another family member or long time friend to be assigned this this role.
  2. Set guardians for any children under the age of 18 (make sure to discuss this with your potential guardians).
  3. Once you have drawn up your will, ensure that the original is kept in an extremely safe spot as the original copy of the will is required for probate.
  4. Update your will as factors and situations change in your life. What you wrote down at age 30 might drastically need to be changed at age 50.

Need help drafting a will? Search our listing of qualified local wills, estates and trusts lawyers to find the best lawyer for your needs.

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

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Why Should (or Shouldn’t) I get a Prenup?

Prenups can be a significant source of contention between couples as they set out to embark on the next stage of their journey together.

Should we get a prenuptial agreement? Should we not get a prenuptial agreement? The debate can be intense and can lead to a lot of negativity at a time that is supposed to be one of the happiest in your lives.

I don’t think there’s one right answer. In fact, whether you should or shouldn’t get a prenup can be very situation specific.

To help you make the best decision, Team Kabuk has taken a closer look at both sides of the story and compiled a list of the usual suspects when it comes to the arguments for and against. Full disclosure: while I personally believe strongly in the prenup, I do not actually have one (either making me a huge hypocrite or the ideal person to write this story).

The case against getting a prenup

Most of the arguments we’ve heard against the prenuptial agreement were based on trust and belief in the relationship.

Here’s some of the things we heard when talking to those not in favour of the prenup:

  • Prenups mean less incentive to work on making your marriage last. They give you an easy way out.
  • Prenup are coercive. Typically the stronger party (financially) in a relationship presents the prenup to their partner. The other party may not feel they have a choice if they want the wedding to go ahead.
  • Prenups are unbalanced, favoring the party with more assets.
  • Prenups are unromantic. Think Barney and Quinn in How I Met Your Mother. To them the prenup represented a lack of trust in each other, which ultimately caused them to not go ahead with their marriage (on the flip side, one might argue that without the discussions over the prenup they might not have identified their issues and gone ahead with a disastrous marriage) .
  • “I don’t believe in divorce.”

The case for getting a prenup

By way of contrast, supporters of the prenup argue that with the Canadian divorce rate fluctuating between 35% and 42% prenuptial agreements are just good sense.

Think of car insurance. No one (or at least no one I know) gets into that car planning on having an accident, yet we’re all required to get insurance anyways on the off-chance that we do. By that token, we enter into marriage hoping that it will last forever. A prenup is there as support in the case that that marriage ends.

Here’s some of the things we heard when talking to supporters of the prenup:

  • Prenups allow you to hash out ‘what if’ details while you are still on good terms.
  • Prenups can serve as a test of how well you can communicate on important issues, helping you to identify issues. If you can’t come to an agreement on important things, perhaps there is a case for reconsidering marriage.
  • Prenups make more sense today than in yesteryear. The average marriage age has increased and people have more assets than previous generations did.
  • Prenups are important to protect children from a previous marriage.

Are people who get a prenup more likely to divorce?

The jury is still out on whether people who get prenups are more likely to divorce. Indeed, I’ve come across sources that support both sides (and none that seem to be statistically significant). If you see a good source, please send it our way!!!

Looking for more information on getting a prenuptial agreement in Canada? We can help! Check out our primer on prenuptial agreements or use Kabuk to find family lawyers and book an appointment with the best family lawyer for your needs. It’s free to use!

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

Know your rental rights!

We’ve all known, or heard of, someone who has had a nightmare rental experience. In fact many of us have nightmare rental stories of our very own. But what are our legal rights when push comes to shove? What do we do in the case of a landlord-tenant dispute?

If you are looking to rent, it is important to be educated on your rights as a tenant and understand what is – and what isn’t – legally acceptable for your landlord to do.

First Things First

As with everything else, before you move in, it’s advisable to have a written contract that spells out the terms and conditions of your rent. Make sure to read the contract carefully before signing to understand your rights and responsibilities and any restrictions.

Here are some things that should be included in the agreement:

  • When is rent due?
  • Length of the agreement.
  • Who is responsible for paying for the utilities?
  • Can you have a pet/smoke in the unit?
  • When can you terminate the agreement? How much notice must be given?
  • Conditions under which you can be evicted.
  • etc

If you need help understanding the terms of your rental agreement, you can consult with a real estate lawyer. We can help you find the best lawyer for your needs here.

Money Talk

For many of us, rent is our number one expense. Indeed, a recent report by TD Economics indicated that renters in Toronto are spending close to 50% of their pay on housing costs. This is significantly higher than the golden rule of spending 30% of your income, but unavoidable when you consider average rental prices. The average two-bedroom rental unit in Toronto was $1251 with a bachelor pad going for $896.

Upon moving into a new apartment, the landlord is able to charge whatever prices they want. After that, annual rent increases are capped (this is governed at the provincial level). In Ontario, landlords must provide 90 days notice for a rent increase, and may only increase rents once every 12 months. The maximum allowable rent increase in Ontario in 2016 is 2.0%. Ontario landlords may also apply for above average rent increases.

To learn about guidelines in other provinces, check out the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

It is standard practice for landlords to collect a last month’s rent deposit upon signing a rental agreement, and potentially a key deposit (the amount is not to exceed the cost of replacing the key). A “damage”, “incidental” or any other type of deposit is not legally allowed in Ontario.

Knock Before You Enter

A landlord may need to enter your unit at some point in time, however prior notice must be given. Twenty-four hours is the minimum amount of time that must be given. Your unit can only be accessed between the hours of 8am-8pm by the landlord.

A landlord may only enter for the following reasons:

  • To make a repair
  • Perform a maintenance inspection
  • Show the unit to future tenants if you have given your formal notice of terminating your lease agreement

No Arctic Temperatures Please

Canadian winters can chill you to the bone, but you shouldn’t need to wear your gloves inside. When you sign a rental agreement, your landlord has a legal duty to provide tenants with heat from September 1 until June 15 and at a minimum temperature of 20°C.

A landlord must also provide “vital services”  to its units. These vital services include heat, hot and cold water, electricity, and fuel. The only time that these essentials can be temporarily disabled is if maintenance and repair work is being done to them. Even if you have been delinquent in your rental payments (hopefully that will never happen), a landlord does not have the right to turn off anything.

Names and Numbers to Keep on File

While we can’t cover everything in this blog post, we hope that we have given you a good general overview of some of key issues you might face. Here are some numbers and resources to keep handy and on file:

Looking for more information on rental rights in Canada? We can help! Use Kabuk to find real estate lawyers and book an appointment with the best real estate lawyer for your needs. It’s free to use!

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

EnviroDiamond’s patent adventure

The patent application process can be overwhelming and is many an entrepreneur’s number one nightmare! Unfortunately, intellectual property is not something you can simply afford to ignore. Indeed, sometimes patents are the best way to protect your invention (more information on the different forms of IP is available here).

To help demystify the process for all of you, we wanted to get you the real scoop on patent applications. What better way than to take a look at one start-up’s patent adventures? As a SaaS start-up, patents haven’t formed a huge part of Kabuk’s IP strategy yet, so we turned to our start-up network to find a great case study for you. We found one in EnviroDiamond Technologies, a fellow RIC Centre incubator alumni (read all about our great experiences in the program here). A big thank you to founder Daren Swanson for helping us out and making this post possible.

EnviroDiamond

Daren - Explosives Lab in BeijingFirst things first – a bit of background on EnviroDiamond. EnviroDiamond’s technology is explosive (pun definitely intended)! They’ve developed a process that creates nanodiamonds from high velocity explosions. The resultant nanodiamonds are more affordable and of better quality than those produced from existing detonation methods. Nanodiamonds have a multitude of industrial and medical uses including usage in drug delivery and chemotherapy treatment. The possibilities are endless.

To protect its innovative technology, EnviroDiamond decided to go the patent route. This is their story.

How it all began

It all began in 2007, when Daren started the long patent process by filing a provisional patent application. Provisional applications establish an earlier patent filing date. They are less expensive and the disclosure requirements are less comprehensive than filing for a patent so in many cases they allow inventors to file and establish that earlier date while still working to perfect their invention. A provisional patent application can protect you for 12 months, with global coverage for countries that are part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

At the end of the year, Daren decided to go forward and enter the PCT phase to file for international protection. The PCT phase lasts 30 months from the initial filing date and allows one to delay the costs associated with filing multiple national patents. Once this phase expires, one needs to decide whether to file for non-provisional patents – and – in which countries to do so. Knowing that the information in the application becomes public domain in the countries not applied in can be an important consideration in developing one’s patent strategy.

Selecting geographies with care

Daren selected the geographies which he wanted patent coverage by looking at where his ultimate consumers reside, though he noted that for nanodiamonds producers and consumers typically reside in different countries, some with politically unstable climates or plagued with quality control issues.

Daren ultimately decided to file in the US (41% of the global nanodiamond market), Japan (42%), the EU (14%), Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa, and India. Daren’s patenting strategy covers 97% of the countries that consume nanodiamonds and ~60% of those who produce it.

When asked whether all patents are equal, Daren mentioned that the US seems to be most rigorous and passing that test is viewed very positively.

How it’s panned out so far

7 years later and Daren is thrilled to have patents in hand for the US, Japan, South Africa and Mexico.

Second Page US PatentCropped

South Africa was the first to come in, with the US following in 2013 and Mexico last November. Daren’s Japanese patent wasn’t granted until this month – five years from filing once the PCT phase expired in 2010.

The battle still continues with the remainder.

Lessons learned

  • Process more expensive than initially thought: When Daren started the process, he thought it was a simple matter of the ~$3,500 to file each application. Fast forward to 2015 and Daren has spent over $100k to date. The reality is, there is a lot of back and forth involved. The costs can really add up, particularly when you are working with both a local law firm and foreign law firms to coordinate the process. The foreign law firms act as mediators between the patent office and your lawyer, meaning that you could be easily doubling billable hours when compared to filing locally. It is for this reason that Daren notes that selecting a lawyer with a solid foreign affiliate network can be important when filing for international patents. On top of lawyer fees, it can cost ~$5k for document translation (such as alleged overlapping patents or ‘prior art’).
  • Takes way, way longer than anticipated. When he started the process, Daren thought it would take a couple of years, but five years later is still working on several geographies.
  • Plan and think creatively about phrasing. How you phrase your claims is very important. Daren says its a good idea to spend some time brainstorming how you can circumvent your patent before filing. For instance, Daren notes that in his original patent he patented an explosive that when detonates produces Nanodiamond. In hindsight, he should have filed for an explosive comprised of dry ice and magnesium. Because of how his claims were phrased, they decided to file a continuation or follow-on patents to fill in the gaps – and that’s expensive.

Daren notes that a lot of people he talks to at US industry conferences say they don’t choose to file patents outside of the US, as the perception of global attitudes regarding IP in other countries is that it’s not as respected. However, Daren says that, looking back and knowing what he does today, he still wouldn’t have changed his geographic strategy.

What’s next for EnviroDiamond?

Preliminary tests and analysis have demonstrated that EnviroDiamond has a financial viable diamond yield. The company is thrilled to have already have a couple of customers lined up and a processing partner in place. The company is now actively looking to raise financing to go to market.

Interested in learning more about EnviroDiamond? E-mail Daren directly at GlobalSolutions@Envirodiamond.com.

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

When it doesn’t matter who’s right anymore

I don’t think that there are many people out there who don’t know at least one person who has been through a divorce. Divorces can be excruciatingly difficult on all involved… and that’s even before you get the legal system involved.

Most of the divorcees we’ve talked to told us they wished more than anything for it “just to be over”. Not everything works out and you just want to move on with your life. At some point, it doesn’t matter who’s right anymore. You just want closure.

The last thing you want is to go through what will inevitably be a lengthy, expensive, and highly emotionally draining court battle.

Unfortunately for those involved, the family court proceedings are anything but quick and painless.

Family court proceedings can be lengthy 

It’s hard to believe but an incredible ~290,000 family proceedings are heard in Ontario every year. Unfortunately, only around half of family law cases are resolved in a year or less. In fact, a quarter of family law cases take over two years!

Family court is not cheap

With average legal fees in Canada running at ~$14k per party – that’s right $28k in total at a time when you’re already both taking a hit in ‘disposable income’ by virtue of the separation – it’s no wonder many can’t afford to hire a lawyer. Unfortunately, those figures aren’t representative of what you’ll pay if your case goes to trial. Contested divorces which result in trial can run you about $36k PER PERSON on average!!!!!

You might think, isn’t that what legal aid is for? Alas, according to this study by the Law Society of Upper Canada, while 16% of Ontarians are living below the poverty line, only 7% qualify for full representation under legal aid.

No choice but to self-represent

It’s no wonder that so many choose to self-represent, or are forced to as they run out of money for legal fees. An estimated 50%-80% of family litigants are self-represented.

Unfortunately, those self-representing often get a worse outcome than those using lawyers. The University of Calgary Faculty of Law has put a great post out on some of the challenges here. The Canadian Bar Association has put out another great piece here. Ultimately, one of the biggest challenges to a self-represented litigant is navigating the family system on their own. Another problem is having unrealistic expectations about outcomes. This can sometimes lead participants to go to court rather than settle which, as we’ve seen above, can cost a whole lot more.

Is there a better way?

Family reformOur very own Legal Innovation Zone is spearheading an initiative to improve this process for everyone. You can learn all about their Family Reform initiative here. This will be 4-months of intense community collaboration to envision and build better processes for family law. The first session takes place this Saturday so, if you haven’t already, register here. We’re excited to be part of this change!!!!

As you all know, Kabuk is working hard to get better outcomes for all Canadians too! You can weigh in by taking our survey here. Check out our resources on family law in Canada or use Kabuk to find family lawyers and book an appointment with the best family lawyer for your needs. It’s free to use!

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

Have you ever needed legal advice?

Have you ever needed legal advice, but did not know where to start your search?

Have you had an urgent legal need, but could not find a lawyer fast enough to get advice?

Did you need legal advice and thought the process of looking for a lawyer was great as it was?

Either way we need your help.

Please take this quick survey to shed light on your experiences and help us improve how people find lawyers! Your answers are anonymous and we will never contact you using information provided unless you win a prize.

justice-law-423487_1280Until the need arises, you might not think that looking for legal services would be a complicated problem. Unfortunately, when push comes to shove, getting the right legal advice can feel like navigating through a maze with a blindfold on. Yet, most of us will need legal advice at some point in our lives.

Why is it so hard to get legal advice when we need it? Shouldn’t things be simple?

Digging deeper in our first survey ever!

We dig deeper and try to get the answers that matter in our first ever survey on legal services in Canada! You can take the survey here.

Canadians – weigh in and tell us about your experiences with the legal system in Canada. How is it working for you? How is it not? What can we do better? As a thank you for your input, we will be entering all eligible survey participants into a monthly draw for some great prizes including four $20 Starbucks gift cards (stay tuned by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter). Our first prize draw will take place November 15th!

The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous.

Share

Your feedback can really make a difference! Please share our survey with your friends, family and colleagues and help us change the world.

It will only take 5 minutes.

Terms and conditions

No purchase is necessary. This survey is open only to legal residents of Canada aged 18 and above.

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

Why the hell should I vote?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that the Canadian Federal Election is only 10 days away. The question is, will you be casting your vote to help shape the future of our country? If you’re a younger Canadian, the chances are not so great. Did you know that while 61% of eligible Canadians exercised their right to vote in the last election, only 38% of those 18-24 showed up to vote (compared to 75% of those 65-74)? This gap has been growing since the ’80s. Not cool.

Do politicians really want you to vote?

While we hear a lot about the need to engage the younger audience and get them out to vote, the real truth of the matter is that the youth vote probably scares the bejeezus out of our politicians. Isn’t that a great reason for voting in itself?

I’m not talking the pot party people!

Are politicians happy that you’re not voting? Look at the platforms of the big three political parties in Canada. What action or element is aimed at the youth? We hear a lot about seniors, childcare, family reunification and middle-class families. Youth unemployment? Not so much.

It can be argued that politicians are counting on you not to vote. The only way to change this thinking? Showing them that you will get out to the polls.

Let’s see what happens when the young do vote

Saying “my vote won’t make a difference” couldn’t be farther from the truth. Look at what happened in 2013 in Italy when the youth came out to vote, pulling the Five Star Movement from obscurity to front stage as Italy’s largest party.

It’s your right to voice… that wasn’t always the case

Canada is a democracy where all Canadians over the age of 18 have the right to vote regardless of gender or ethnicity. That didn’t happen overnight.

Women can thank the war for their right to vote.

Our ancestors fought hard to transform the privilege to vote into a right for everyone. It may seem like ancient times to you and I, but it hasn’t even been a century since Manitoba led the way in 1916 as the first Canadian province to give women the right to vote. World War I was a turning point, as with so many men away at war, women were vaulted into a more active role in the labour market and economy.

It wasn’t until the 1921 federal election that women were legally allowed to vote nationwide…. but not if they were Asian or Aboriginal. It took nearly another four decades – until 1960 – before women were allowed to vote no matter their ethnicity. That’s not so long ago, is it?

Should it be against the law not to vote?

Did you know that in some countries voting is mandatory?

According to an article published by pbs.org in 2014, it is compulsory for citizens to vote in elections in 22 countries. Some of these countries include Australia, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand.

In Australia, negligence in not voting results in a small monetary fine. Other countries like Brazil have stronger penalties. For instance, non-voters might have difficulties obtaining government documents like a passport or other services provided by public offices. If someone fails to turn out to an election in Singapore, they will have their name removed from future electoral polls.

What do you think about compulsory voting? Is it a great thing, or a violation of freedom of speech?

Not voting is a still a vote of sorts

I don’t think people have the right to complain about our government unless they actually voted. Think of your non-vote as a vote for the party that bugs you the most.

It is an easy excuse to fall into the mentality of “my vote doesn’t matter” or there is “no one worth voting for”.

The truth? Your vote absolutely matters! When you don’t vote, you are essentially letting other people – who might have vastly different views – decide for you. I mean look at how many people think the youth should work for free. Do you want this guy determining your vote?

Educate yourself on the party’s platforms and vote for what you believe in on October 19th. Want to know where the three parties stand when it comes to immigration? Check out our recent blog post titled “Where Do the Three Parties Stand on Immigration”.

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

Harassment? No thanks!

Workplace harassment is never acceptable, yet happens all too often. According to a 2014 Angus Reid Survey, 43% of Canadian women and 12% of men reported that they had experienced workplace harassment. That’s over a quarter of all Canadians!

Every employer in Ontario has a legal duty to provide employees with a workplace that is free from harassment. In Ontario, roles and responsibilities are governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Human Rights Code.

Ontario workplaces with six employees or more are required by law to have a written workplace harassment policy in place. Unfortunately, all too often, claims of harassment are not taken seriously. The same Angus Reid survey that we quoted above found that 25% of those reporting harassment to their employer found management “unresponsive and dismissive”.

What is workplace harassment?

But what exactly is workplace harassment? According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, harassment occurs when someone makes unwelcome comments or physical contact or engages in threatening or intimidating behaviour. While harassment is generally a behaviour that occurs and persists over time, one-time incidents of a serious nature can also be harassment.

Some examples of workplace harassment include:

  • Humiliating, degrading or insulting comments, pictures, objects or actions
  • Unwelcome physical contact
  • Sexual demands
  • Sexually suggestive comments
  • Sexual violence

How to recognize workplace harassment

Harassment isn’t always black and white. Not all offensive behaviour is harassment. Rule of thumb seems to be whether the harasser should have known their behaviour was unwelcome.

For instance, an isolated incident of a offensive remark or a pat on the back is probably not going to be classified as harassment. Further, normal management duties (such as providing constructive criticism or warranted disciplinary action) are generally not considered harassment (read more about that here).

Not sure if you are being harassed? You might want to consult with an employment lawyer. Check out Kabuk Law to find the best employment lawyer for your needs.

What to do if you think you are being harassed at work

Here are some steps to take if you believe workplace harassment has occurred:

  1. Let the perpetrator know that the behaviour in question is unwelcome.
  2. Keep a record of all unwelcome incidences (dates, times, details, etc).
  3. If you feel unsafe, or if a criminal harassment offense has occurred, you should contact the police immediately.
  4. Get a copy of your work’s anti-harassment policy and report the incident according to the protocol laid out in your workplace’s anti-harassment policy. This is often the human resources department.
  5. You have the option to file a discrimination complaint to the human rights tribunal. This can be a good option for those who feel they cannot report the incident, or in cases where your claims of harassment have not been taken seriously.
  6. You might also want to consult with a lawyer to talk about your legal rights and options and to potentially pursue legal action.

Looking for more information on workplace harassment and employment law in Canada? We can help! Use Kabuk to find employment lawyers and book an appointment with the best employment lawyer for your needs. It’s free to use!

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.

Where do the Three Parties Stand on Immigration?

With the Canadian election coming up fast, immigration has quickly become a hot topic in Canada. Canada is one of the most diverse, culturally rich places in the world. Part of this, no doubt, is because of our welcoming of new ideas and cultures. Every year, ~250,000 immigrants come to Canada, bringing with them their unique identities.

My husband is an immigrant to Canada so this is an issue that resonates at a very personal level. With that in mind, we set out to bring you a primer on each party’s stance towards immigration. However, finding objective information on each party’s stance towards immigration in Canada was a lot harder than we thought it would be. The Liberal party was the only one of the three with an official backgrounder on its immigration platform (maybe they are out there, but I certainly couldn’t find them easily). As for the Conservatives and the NDP, much of the information we provide here was available only through third-party news sources. How are Canadians supposed to form objective opinions without official facts direct from the source?

That being said, as best as we can, here is a summary of each party’s stance towards immigration.

The Conservative party’s platform on immigration

The Conservatives platform is to stay the course on immigration policy. Since 2007, the Conservatives have made a number of changes to immigration policy. These changes include:

  • Introduced 10-year “super visas”, allowing family members to visit more frequently and stay longer, without putting a drain on the Canadian economy.
  • Fast-tracked permanent residency application process for skilled immigrants.
  • Capped new applications for sponsorship of parents and grandparents at 5,000 (compared to the 25,000 in 2013) to reduce application backlog.
  • Increased time of financial sponsorship commitment to 20 years (from 10) when sponsoring parents and grandparents to reduce burden on welfare system.
  • Introduced two-year permanent residency waiting period for spouses as a way to reduce marriage fraud.

The Conservatives party promises:

  • On refugees, the government is on track to resettle 10,000 Syrians by September 2016 and 23,000 Iraqis by the end of this year.
  • Ensure fair education equivalency exams to increase recognition of foreign credentials.
  • Grant automatic Canadian citizenship to children adopted from abroad by Canadian parents.

The Liberal party’s platform on immigration

Key points from the Liberal’s platform on immigration include:

Refugees

  • Increase the Canadian government’s direct sponsorship of Syrian refugees to 25,000.
  • Spend an additional $200 million this fiscal year and next on improving refugee processing capabilities.
  • Contribute $100 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to support critical relief activities in Syria.
  • Restore the Interim Federal Health Program for refugees.

Family reunification

  • Double the budget for family class (i.e. sponsoring family members to join you in Canada) immigration processing.
  • Increase allowable new applications for parents and grandparents to 10,000 (from 5,000 today) each year.
  • Increase maximum dependent age to 22 (from 19 currently).
  • Eliminate 2-year permanent residency wait for new spouses entering Canada.

General

To read the Liberal party’s backgrounder on its immigration platform, click here.

The NDP party’s platform on immigration

While I couldn’t find an official backgrounder on the NDP’s website, NDP candidate Paul Dewar has provided a good summary on the NDP’s platform here. The NDP also sent me an e-mail with further detail on their platform.

Key points from the NDP’s platform on immigration include:

Refugees

Family Reunification

  • Eliminate cap on sponsorship of parents and grandparents.
  • Eliminate 2-year permanent residency wait for new spouses entering Canada.
  • Introduce one-time opportunity for Canadians to sponsor relative who is not part of the Family Class.

General

  • Eliminate new immigrant landing fees and processing fees for refugees.
  • Increase immigration to a targeted 1%+ per year.
  • Work with provinces to increase recognition of foreign credentials.
  • Repeal Bill C-24.

Vote. It’s your civic duty.

The federal election is October 19th, but you can get out as early as this weekend to vote. Advanced voting days are October 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th.

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