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Category Archives: Ethical Issues

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Playing by the Rules

Posted in Ethical Issues
The Law Society of Upper Canada’s amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers and paralegals came into effect on October 1, 2014.  The new Rules are based on the Model Code of Professional Conduct proposed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.  The Law Society’s Professional Regulation Committee approved the amended Rules … Continue Reading

Piljak Estate v. Abraham: Is Excised Human Tissue Personal Property?

Posted in Ethical Issues, Health / Medical
A recently released endorsement considered the question of whether excised human tissue may be considered property for the purposes of Rule 32.01 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.  Rule 32.01 allows the court to make an order for the inspection of real or personal property provided it is necessary “for the proper determination of an … Continue Reading

Rights to Embryo Inheritance Decided in China

Posted in Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, Litigation
The first Chinese dispute involving the inheritance rights to a preserved embryo was decided late last week. With recent developments in assisted reproductive technologies and cryopreservation of genetic materials, it is possible for viable sperm, eggs, and even embryos to survive the individuals from whom they were obtained. Last March, Liu Xi and Shen Jie … Continue Reading

Toronto Lawyer Makes a Posthumous Argument for Assisted Suicide

Posted in Ethical Issues, In the News
A Toronto criminal lawyer suffering from ALS, a terminal, incurable disease, sent a letter to his friends and colleagues before he died arguing posthumously for assisted suicide.  Edward Hung, who travelled to Switzerland for assistance in ending his life, argued that Canada’s laws against assisted suicide are “unjust.” In his letter, titled Approaching Death, Mr. … Continue Reading

Medically Assisted Suicide Heats Up At Federal Liberal Party Convention

Posted in Ethical Issues, Health / Medical, In the News
On February 23, 2014, the Federal Liberal party of Canada passed a resolution which aims to de-criminalize medically assisted suicide. The resolution was passed during the party’s biennial policy convention, echoing the Quebec legislatures current legislative reform proposals and foreshadowing the Supreme Court of Canada’s vow to revisit the controversial issue for the first time … Continue Reading

Brain Death: Two Tragic Cases at the Junction of Medicine and the Law

Posted in Ethical Issues, Health / Medical, In the News
Sorrow makes us all children again — destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.         - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American author On December 9, 2013, 13 year old Jahi McMath underwent complex surgery at Children’s Hospital Oakland to remove her tonsils, adenoids, uvula and bony structures in her nose in an … Continue Reading

Organ Donation: Will P.E.I. Be The First Province to Wade Into the Presumed Consent Waters?

Posted in Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, General Interest, Health / Medical, In the News
Across Canada, there currently exists an ‘opt-in’ framework for organ donation. Also known as ‘express consent’, this framework is defined by the presence of an explicit mechanism (e.g. signing of a donor card or registration with a regional organ donation society) by which one makes their wishes known. Our least populated province may be the … Continue Reading

Public Policy Revisited

Posted in Ethical Issues
In determining whether a testamentary document is valid, one must consider whether there are any conditions found within the testamentary document that are contrary to public policy.  In other words, in order to determine the validity of a condition, one must look to the beneficiary to determine whether he or she must perform an action … Continue Reading

Do Egyptian Mummies Have the Right to Privacy?

Posted in Ethical Issues
Mummies are exhumed and studied in the name of science, but should they have the right to rest in peace?  Scientists are tackling the issue of whether there are ethical reasons to reconsider performing invasive procedures on ancient mummies.  If studies were performed on modern tissue samples, consent would be required.  But, a mummy cannot … Continue Reading

Can You Help Your Kid?

Posted in Ethical Issues
  Parents, inherently, try to help their children.   Initially the help your kids need is easy to determine; food and sleep, being the obvious requirements. As they get older, their needs change. It starts with something simple like homework, generally progresses to how to deal with the high-school break up, maybe eventually getting into the existential “What … Continue Reading

Right to Die Debate Still Alive

Posted in Ethical Issues
In 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled (with a five to four majority) in the Rodriguez case that section 24(b) of the Criminal Code was not unconstitutional in prohibiting assisted suicide. The following quote from the decision succinctly explains the reasoning of the Court: “Assisted suicide, outlawed under the common law, has been prohibited by … Continue Reading

Religion and Organ Donation

Posted in Ethical Issues, Litigation
“No religion prohibits organ donation.” This is according to an article posted on the Toronto Star’s “Health Zone”. The article by Barbara Turnbull entitled “Religious leaders confront myths that stop faithful from donating organs” notes that in the GTA, just 12% of the population has registered as organ donors.  This may be a factor of the … Continue Reading

No More Excuses. BeADonor.ca

Posted in Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Ethical Issues, Health / Medical, In the News
No more lineups at your local ServiceOntario kiosk.  No more downloading forms (only to have them wait patiently by the front door for the mail strike to end, but I digress).  At long last, residents of Ontario can now register online as an organ and tissue donor on a new website: BeADonor.ca. In August 2010, I blogged about the tedious … Continue Reading

Heir Tracing May Get a Facelift

Posted in Ethical Issues
A Vancouver court is about to make a decision that will have a significant impact on the world of Estate litigation. The issues before the court, related to sperm-donation, have become so much a part of our culture that a movie dealing with some of the same issues is nominated for four academy awards. A Toronto … Continue Reading

Succession Planning for Lawyers

Posted in Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Ethical Issues, Executors and Trustees
  Estates lawyers are particularly good at advising others as to the importance of an air-tight succession plan. But when it comes to our own succession planning, there are special considerations that lawyers, or any professional, should take into account. Sole practitioners make up 23% of Ontario lawyers.   When you add the number of solos to those working … Continue Reading

Admission to a Psychiatric Facility under the Ontario Mental Health Act

Posted in Capacity, Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, Health / Medical
Yesterday’s blog spoke to the issue of an Application for Psychiatric Assessment (Form 1) under the Mental Health Act R.S.O. 1990. To review, upon completion of the psychiatric assessment, the patient must either be released or admitted as an involuntary patient, a voluntary patient, or an informal patient. • Involuntary Patient: Before you become an involuntary … Continue Reading

Guardianship in Canada – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning

Posted in Beneficiary Designations, Capacity, Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, Guardianship, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, PODCASTS / AUDIO, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, TOPICS
  Listen to Guardianship in Canada This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Suzana Popovic-Montag speaks with Rodney Hull about how the law has changed in Canada as it pertains to the appointment of guardians. Rodney suggests that today’s laws (post-1994) are clearer than they were in the past. If you have any … Continue Reading
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