Labour law is a well-established practice within our firm. For more than a decade, we have guided employers and trade unions through all aspects of collective bargaining and dispute resolution. This includes negotiations, grievance arbitrations, hearings before various provincial and federal tribunals and litigation taken to all trial and appellate levels of both provincial and federal courts. We offer management, unions and employees an opportunity to discuss matters that arise within the workplace and provide clear, concise advice as to the options that may be available and the actions that they must take to achieve the desired result.
Whether an employer or an employee, it is important to know your rights within the workplace. Current economic conditions have led to work force adjustments, such as employment dismissals, that fail to follow judicially established standards. It is for this reason that our firm offers sound advice to both employers and employees to ensure that they have followed and maximized both employer and employee rights under the law. These include, for example, government legislation concerning occupational health and safety concerns. It is important that employees and employers are aware of these changes and abide by them. For example, matters concerning harassment in the work place impose a high onus on employers to act in case of complaint. Similarly, employees have the right to make justifiable complaints and expect to have them dealt with expeditiously. Our firm is experienced in advising employers and employees alike as to their rights in first attempting to avoid situations that would invoke the law and after the fact as to actions to be taken to restore a harmonious working environment.
Although many view the drafting of a Will with distaste, it is one of the most important documents that you will ever sign, particularly if you have children under the age of eighteen. A properly drafted Will ensures that guardians are chosen for your children and that your estate will be disposed of in the manner you want. Over the years we have drafted many Wills with each reflecting the unique desires of our clients. For example, in instances of large estates, we have structured family trusts and other provisions that maximize the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries. We work closely with accountants to ensure that our clients understand the tax implications of their bequests and minimize their impact on the estate to the greatest extent possible.
Powers of Attorney
Many people do not realize that a Will only becomes operative at and after the time of death. They are lulled into a false sense of security that matters such as child guardianship will be determined according to their Will, even while they are alive. An example of where this confusion may arise is with a person who has lost mental capacity through illness or accident. Child matters, as well as management of economic, personal and medical affairs must be handled through another document known as a Power of Attorney. Our firm has been advising its clients to use Powers of Attorney for years and within this document, we often incorporate components of what many know as a "living will." While we always hope that the need for such a document will not arise, experience has shown us that having such a document has prevented undue distress for our clients during an already trying time.
We also offer our clients assistance in processing an estate in case of death. This includes determining the assets, applying to the Court for Probate, transferring assets including land if necessary, final tax returns, financial reconciliations and all other processes required by law. We are experienced in all matters concerning estate law and have successfully represented clients in contentious estate matters including instances where the deceased has not left a Will or an existing Will is contested.
Our firm provides all services required in the purchase and/or sale of residential and commercial property including completion of the necessary documents for submission to the Land Titles Office. We also offer our services to clients regarding registration of mortgages, mortgage amendments and renewals, caveats and liens.
Commercial leasing is governed by a variety of statutory considerations and therefore, obtaining sound advice before entering into such an agreement is important. Each lease must be carefully reviewed to ensure that it is "workable" while still meeting the needs of both the lessor and lessee. Our firm has had the opportunity to work with both landlords and tenants in reviewing and interpreting leases, dealing with problems that may arise between the parties and in determining what actions are to be taken in case of default by either party. It is important that both landlords and tenants know what they expect of each and know their rights when conditions agreed to have been breached. Our firm is experienced in dealing with such matters and puts that experience to use for our clientele.
Building & Construction
Over the years, we have represented a variety of trades within the construction industry. We have advised them in contract matters such as interpretation and applicability and remedies in case of default. We understand that the operational uniqueness of the construction industry often differs from that of other industries. Labour subcontractors, progress payments, bonding, deficiencies and builders' liens name only a few of these differences. Whether a contractor or an owner, our firm can provide advice on the many issues that are distinctive to the building and construction industry.
Our firm offers advice to new business owners and those already established. We provide comprehensive services in registering a corporation or business, seeking appropriate licensing and reviewing and advising on business leases or mortgages and shareholder agreements. Established businesses have also found our services valuable in dealing with customers on a day to day basis or when considering reorganization and expansion. Additionally, we represent small and large businesses alike in all dispute resolution whether it is with an employee, a licensing agency, a landlord or another business. We also offer debt collection services for businesses whose customers may be less than diligent in repayment.
We also represent a variety of firms manufacturing product for not only local, but national and international use. We advise them on contract and export matters.
Our firm enjoys the privilege of having "grown up" with and representing national and inter-provincial transportation clients. Indeed, our aviation and trucking clients have been of the fastest growing and most successful businesses in the province. Within such an environment, we have not only assisted, but learned a great deal from, imaginative and intellectually challenging executives. Our services span the spectrum of business sales and purchases, licencing, insurance, craft sales, purchases, leasing and maintenance, brokerage contracts, financing and storage.
Intellectual property refers to property resulting from a mental process. Governments have designed the law concerning matters such as patents, trademarks and copyright to protect that property. The senior practitioner of our firm has a Bachelor of Science degree, with a joint major in Mathematics and Computational Science. His subsequent work in systems analysis and design developed a keen interest in the law of intellectual property even before his study of the law. Consequently, practicing in this area was natural for our firm. Over the years, our business clients–particularly those in publishing, printing, design and the print media–have given us many opportunities to advise and assist with the necessary documentation and procedures required in obtaining protection for their intellectual property.
Whether married or living in a common law relationship, our firm is active in advising our clients with respect to the use of various legal tools to structure their affairs in the most advantageous manner possible. We help with joyous events such as adoptions and assist in minimizing the difficulty in trying times such as guardianship applications for dependant adults or relationship breakdowns. We aid in avoiding cohabitation problems through prenuptial and cohabitation agreements. However, when problems cannot be avoided, we assist in negotiation of interspousal agreements settling issues concerning custody of, access to and maintenance for children, spousal maintenance, division of property, separation and divorce. When agreement cannot be reached, we provide effective and experienced courtroom representation.
Those who have been exposed to the process of quasi-judicial tribunals such as the Labour Relations Board, Human Rights Commission or Unemployment Insurance Commission, will know that they cannot appeal their decisions in the way most court decisions can. Aggrieved individuals must seek judicial review of the decision that is often a relatively difficult process of determining whether or not the decision was fair or fell within the jurisdiction of the tribunal. The senior practitioner of our firm articled to and practiced with one of the most experienced administrative law and appellate lawyers in the country. That exposure, in tandem with the firm's labour, employment and general litigation practice, has given us extensive experience in this unique area of the law.
In these difficult times of restraint, we have encountered substantive economic restructuring by governments at both the provincial and federal levels. This has resulted in not only alteration of the manner in which governments deliver their services, but what has now commonly become termed as "off loading." They are now passing on the proverbial "buck" to municipalities. While municipal councils possess individuals of considerable knowledge, skill and expertise, we have discovered that those talents have become frustrated in their attempts to deal with government bureaucrats. That is where we come in. A number of urban and rural municipalities have retained us to help their communities in dealing with government. Sometimes that will involve assistance in drawing proposals or helping with negotiations, either as spokesperson or simply an advisor. On occasion, we remain "in the back rooms," so to speak, with the government never knowing of our assistance. On others, we have been in the front row. Our role is helping representatives to be the best advocates they can for their community.
Often, the intricacies of insurance polices, whether automobile or home and property, result in confusion to the policy holder. This is particularly so when personal injury has resulted. The occurrence of personal injuries, however, is not limited to automobile accidents. For example, such injuries can result from a slip and fall, medical malpractice or an assault. Depending on the circumstances, your injuries may be actionable under the law. In other insurance matters such as home and property loss, we have represented both insurers and claimants in resolving the differences that sometimes arise between them in properly assessing and apportioning responsibility and losses.