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Jul 20, 2017

Education Law Blog

Students’ Right Against Search and Seizure

 

Today’s blog piece is an attempt to explain whether students are, to an extent, protected from search and seizure on school properties. This is a complicated issue that involves Charter arguments, specifically, s.8 of the Charter, which states “Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure.”

While students fit under the definition of “everyone” under s.8 of the Charter, whether a search is unreasonable depends on the grounds for the search, and whether the student would have a reasonable expectation of privacy over the searched items.

 

Locker Search

The most common form of searches at school is, perhaps, a locker search. School lockers are usually properties of school boards, and students may only use lockers with the school’s permission. If, from the outset, a school had advised a student that his or her right to the locker is subject to locker searches, that student would have reduced expectation of privacy. In that case, if the school has reasonable grounds/suspicion to search a student’s locker, the school might not be violating that student’s Charter rights by conducting the search.

 

Body Search

The case of R. v. M.R.M., [1998] 3 S.C.R. 393 sheds some light to this issue. In M.R.M., a vice-principal conducted a body search on a student attending a school dance, and found a bag of marijuana in the student’s socks. The vice-principal had, before the dance, received information from several students that M.R.M. was selling drugs on school property.

 

The Supreme Court of Canada held that M.R.M.’s Charter right was not violated, because the vice-principal had reasonable grounds to believe that the student was in breach of school regulations and that a search would reveal evidence of that breach.  The search was conducted in a reasonable and sensitive manner. 

Moreover, the Court in M.R.M. developed the following principled approach:

(1)  A warrant is not essential in order to conduct a search of a student by a school authority.

(2)  The school authority must have reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a breach of school regulations or discipline and that a search of a student would reveal evidence of that breach.

(3)  School authorities will be in the best position to assess information given to them and relate it to the situation existing in their school.  Courts should recognize the preferred position of school authorities to determine if reasonable grounds existed for the search.

(4) The following may constitute reasonable grounds in this context: information received from one student considered to be credible, information received from more than one student, a teacher’s or principal’s own observations, or any combination of these pieces of information which the relevant authority considers to be credible.  The compelling nature of the information and the credibility of these or other sources must be assessed by the school authority in the context of the circumstances existing at the particular school.

 

Sniffer Dogs

 

In R. v. A.M., 2008 SCC 19, the police visited a school and used sniffer dogs to sniff out students’ backpacks. The police found marijuana and magic mushrooms in a student’s backpack.

The Supreme Court of Canada held that the dog sniff violated A.M.’s Charter rights, because the police had searched the backpacks without a warrant, and a student would have reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to backpacks.

The issue of search and seizure on a school property often comes up when there are drugs and weapons involved. A student in that situation likely requires assistance of a criminal law lawyer.

While our office does not provide criminal law services, we would gladly assist a student facing suspension or expulsion as a result of a locker search, body search, or dog sniff. Once again, our legal services are free.

 

For a printed copy of this blog, click here.


 

This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777 or visit www.kclc.ca.  If have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

Jul 06, 2017

Education Law Blog

Expulsion Part IV: Program for Expelled Students

 

Today’s blog is about the procedure that follows if, unfortunately, a pupil is expelled after an expulsion hearing, or after an appeal hearing in front of the Family Services Review Board.

The Ontario Ministry of Education has some answers at http://edu.gov.on.ca/eng/safeschools/suspexp.html

Here are some excerpts from the website above:

 

 

What happens when students are expelled?

 

When students are expelled from their school only, the school board will assign them to another school in the board.

When students are expelled from all schools in the school board, the school board must offer them a program for expelled students. When students complete the program, they can apply to return to school.

Parents will receive written notice of expulsion. It will give them information on the new school or the school board program the student can access. It will also include information on how to appeal the expulsion.

 

 

What programs and supports are offered when students are expelled?

 

When students are expelled only from their school and moved to another school of the board, school boards must make supports and resources available to the student at that school where necessary. These supports could include anger management or individual/family counselling that are aimed to help engage and motivate students and encourage positive behaviour.

When students are expelled from all schools in the school board and agree to participate in the program for expelled students, the principal will hold a planning meeting with school and school board staff, the student, and parents (wherever possible) to identify the objectives of the Student Action Plan.

This plan identifies the academic component and supports to promote positive behaviour the student will receive in the program. The program will be based on the student’s needs, the nature and severity of the behaviour, as well as mitigating and other factors. The plan should be reviewed regularly by the school to determine the student’s progress in meeting the objectives of the plan.

 

To print a paper copy, click here.


 

This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777 or visit www.kclc.ca.  If have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

 

 

Jun 23, 2017

Education Law Blog

Expulsion Part III – Mitigating Factors

This week I want to introduce some of the mitigating factors that a school principal must consider, before recommending a pupil be expelled.

If my memory serves me right, one of my past blog pieces (Suspension Part II: Appeal Process and Ground of Appeal) contains a list of mitigating factors. Here it is again:

•          The pupil does not have the ability to control his or her behaviour.

•          The pupil does not have the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour.

•          The pupil’s continuing presence in the school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person.

•          The pupil’s history.

•          Whether a progressive discipline approach has been used with the pupil.

•          Whether the activity for which the pupil may be or is being suspended or expelled was related to any harassment of the pupil because of his or her race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation or to any other harassment.

•          How the suspension or expulsion would affect the pupil’s ongoing education.

•          The age of the pupil.

•          In the case of a pupil for whom an individual education plan has been developed,

i. whether the behaviour was a manifestation of a disability identified in the pupil’s individual education plan,

ii. whether appropriate individualized accommodation has been provided, and

iii. whether the suspension or expulsion is likely to result in an aggravation or worsening of the pupil’s behaviour or conduct.

This list will not help you if you do not know how to apply these factors. Instead, how about we analyze a fact scenario together? Below is a made-up fact scenario that I have used to educate other lawyers.

TC is a twelve-year-old boy attending Grade 5 at KCLC Elementary School.

TC suffers from a mild learning disability and had a history of behavioural problems.

Previously, KCLC Elementary School had implemented several disciplinary measures including a lunch time detention, two informal one-day suspensions, and a formal two-day suspension.

Approximately three weeks ago, TC used a pellet gun in a park adjacent to the school and the pellets struck another student of the school, causing some bruising on the student’s legs.

The principal conducted an investigation, during which he asked TC questions without advising him that he did not need to answer the questions without his parents present. TC admitted playing with the gun in the park, but claimed that he borrowed the pellet gun from a fellow student and did not purposely fire the pellet gun at the victim. TC stated that he was shooting at bugs on the ground and accidentally fired a pellet at that student.

The principal, after suspending TC for 20 school days, recommended to the school board that TC be expelled.

To aid the school board in making a decision at the expulsion hearing, KCLC Elementary School referred TC to Dr. L, for a psychological assessment to determine his potential for future violence. Dr. L was of the opinion that TC was at low risk for acts of extreme violence and would be unlikely to be involved in a weapon-related incident, although he is still at risk for general misbehaviour.

 Now, what mitigating factors can TC use to depend himself at the expulsion hearing?

Here are some of my answers (which might differ from yours):

1.         TC does not have the ability to understand the consequences of his action, given his age and learning disability. The question that the principal should consider is: would a 12-year-old boy with a learning disability be able to foresee that using a pellet gun to shoot bugs on the ground would result in another student being injured?

2.         TC’s continuing presence in school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person. Is TC likely going to injure another person with the pellet gun that he borrowed from another student? Probably not! At least that’s what Dr. L has suggested.

3.         The school principal has not exercised the progressive discipline approach. Prior to this incident, the longest that TC has been suspended was two days. Going from a two-day suspension to a 20-day suspension pending expulsion is extreme, and violates the progressive discipline policy.

4.         The incident did not happen on school ground. The accident that took place in the park would not have affected the school climate negatively.

5.         Expelling TC would have a negative impact on his education. This is especially true, considering TC’s learning disability.

TC and his parents should also be asking these questions:

1.         Did the principal investigate thoroughly? Were all witnesses questioned, including the injured student and the student from whom TC borrowed the pellet gun?

2.         What about the fact that TC was questioned in the principal’s office without his parents present, and that no one told TC that he did not have answer any of the principal’s questions?

3.         Was TC accommodated enough before the incident? If TC has received sufficient accommodation, would it have prevented the incident from happening?

Think about these mitigating factors before going into an expulsion hearing. Of course, if you are unsure about the hearing, or if you would like to receive free legal advice, contact our office.

To print a copy, click here.

 

 


 

This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777 or visit www.kclc.ca.  If have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

Jun 06, 2017

Education Law Blog

Expulsion Part II – Expulsion Hearing

 

While I explained the decision making process to expel a student in my last blog piece, today I want to give an overview on how a student can prepare for the expulsion hearing.

So, you are near the end of the 20-day suspension period, and you have just received a notice that the school principal, after completing an investigation, has recommended to the school board that you be expelled. An expulsion hearing is scheduled on the last day of your suspension period. What do you do?

The first thing that you should do is requesting an early resolution meeting with the school board. This meeting is your chance to “settle” before going into a full-blown hearing. At the meeting, you should ask the school board what they think has happened and why the principal has recommended an expulsion. Try to explain what has really happened and why you have reacted the way you did. Focus on how much this suspension/expulsion would have impact on your future education. You should explore the possibility of a record of suspension instead of expulsion. If the school board decides that you are to have a record of suspension, ask them whether it is possible to turn the suspension into a conditional suspension, where the record would be expunged on a certain date if no similar incident occurs before that date.

If you are successful at the early resolution meeting, the school board may ask you to sign a “minutes of settlement”. Be careful about the kind of release the school board would ask for. Sometimes it means giving a release that bars you from initiating any legal procedure relating to the suspension decision against the school board. 

If you and the school board are unable to resolve this dispute at the early resolution meeting, you should prepare for the expulsion hearing and start by requesting disclosure. It is every student’s right to obtain full disclosure from school board, so that she can use that information to defend herself in an expulsion hearing.

What disclosure should you ask for? Here is a non-inclusive list:

  • The school principal’s investigation report and written reasons as to why the principal has recommended an expulsion.
  • Any notes relating to the alleged incident that has lead to the principal’s decision to suspend you. These notes would include violent incident reports, hand-written notes produced by the principal and any other school staff who have witnessed the alleged incident, and witness statements from students who have witnessed the incident.
  • Any correspondence between the school staff regarding the alleged incident, including internal e-mail exchanges.
  • Any surveillance camera footage of the alleged incident.
  •  A copy of your IPRC and IEP, if you are a special-needs student.

The disclosure shall be provided in a timely-manner, because you sure are going to need some time to prepare for the expulsion hearing.

Once you obtain the disclosure, review it carefully and compare it with your own version of the alleged incident. Are there any inconsistencies between the school’s story and yours? What caused these inconsistencies? Pay careful attention to whether the school principal has thoroughly conducted an investigation after the alleged incident occurred. Did the principal question all witnesses?

As the names of student witnesses will most likely be redacted on the disclosure, you will not be able to identify which student said what. Try to remember who was present at the incident, and figure out whether any of these witnesses can testify for you.

Shortly before the expulsion hearing commences, you would be required to exchange your position, your witness list, and your witness statements with the school board.

Read the school board’s witness list and witness statements, and consider how you could counter these statements. State your position clearly. Most of the time, you will be arguing that you should not be expelled because:

  • The school has not gotten the whole picture of what happened. You have not done what they said you have done. Or, if you have done any of these things, you had reasons…
  • You should not be expelled due to disability-related behavior.
  • The principal’s investigation was inaccurate.
  • The alleged incident occurred outside of the school property, and what happened does not affect the school climate negatively.
  • What you have done does not warrant an expulsion, because the principal has not considered all mitigating factors before deciding to recommend the expulsion.

You are probably wondering what I am talking about when I mention “mitigating factors.” That, my friends, will be the topic of my next blog piece.

If you wish to find out more about how you can prepare for the expulsion hearing, Justice for Youth and Children, a non-for-profit legal clinic, has some extremely helpful tips here: http://jfcy.org/en/blog/category/expulsion-2/

Contact our office for free legal services if you are facing an expulsion. We can be reached by telephone at 613-541-0777, Ext. 0 or my email at kclcrecp@lao.on.ca

To print a copy, click here.

 


This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777 or visit www.kclc.ca.  If have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

 

 

Apr 13, 2017

New ODSP Medical Reviews

For more information about the new ODSP Medical Review process, check out the Income Security Advocacy Centre's blog.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate contact us at 613-541-0777.

 

Apr 07, 2017

Education Law Blog

Today's blog piece is about expulsion. Here are some fun facts:

  • In the school year of 2013-2014, 452 students were expelled in Ontario.
  • Of the 452 students, 53 were female students, and 399 were male students.
  • 93% of the expelled students were secondary students.
  • 30% of the expelled students were students with special education needs.

What do these numbers tell? A male secondary school student with special education needs is more likely to be suspended than students in other categories. While the proportion of the expelled students being special education needs students does not seem terribly high, it is worth noting that "students with special education needs" are defined as students who are identified as exceptional by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in place. Students who have an IPRC in place are often students with a severe disability. Many special-need students have IEP only and would therefore qualify as "students with special education needs."

In other words, the actual proportion of expelled students being special-needs students might be a lot higher than 30%. These students need every ounce of education to succeed in life, and being expelled is simply bad news for them.

The activities that can lead to an expulsion are listed under the Education Act s. 310(1). These are situations where a principal must suspend a student, for:

  • Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm
  • Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person
  • Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner
  • Committing sexual assault
  • Trafficking in weapons or illegal drugs
  • Committing robbery
  • Giving alcohol to a minor
  • Bullying if the student has previously been suspended for engaging in bullying, and the student's continuing presence in the school creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of another person.
  • Hate crimes

A mandatory suspension would typically last for 20 school days. During these 20 school days, a principal shall commence an investigation to decide whether to recommend an expulsion to the school board. A principal has no jurisdiction to expel a student. Only a school board may expel a student after an expulsion hearing.

If a student is expelled, he or she may be expelled from the school, or from all schools in the school board. When a student is expelled from his or her school, that student may transfer to another school of the school board, or to another school under a different school board. If a student is expelled from the entire school board, he or she would have to attend a school under a different school board.

For students expelled from the school board, a support program should be available, and the principal shall develop a Student Action Plan, where it identifies the academic program that an expelled student must complete before transferring to another school under a different school board.

Being suspended for 20 school days pending an expulsion is certainly stressful. If you would like to find out how you could appeal an expulsion, my next blog piece talks about the appeal process.

If you are facing an expulsion and would like to receive legal advice, please contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic for free legal services.

 


This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

Apr 05, 2017

New Medical Review Process

To read more about the new medical review process, read this bulletin.

Mar 23, 2017

Education Law Blog

Suspension Part III: Appeal Hearing

While my last blog piece talked about the appeal process and grounds of appeal for discretionary suspensions, this week's article is about the appeal hearing itself. If you have reached this stage in the appeal process, it means you have exhausted the early resolution meeting and did not come to an agreement with the school board.

I regularly advise all my clients to prepare for the appeal hearing as soon as they have filed the notice to appeal. Because the school board is obligated to hold an appeal hearing within 15 school days of receiving the notice, the appeal hearing can happen sooner than you think.

What does the appeal hearing look like, and who can participate? The appeal hearing is held in front of the appeal hearing committee, which is composed of school board trustees. The two opposing parties would be your child and his/her representatives, and the principal. The hearing could take up to two hours. The hearing typically follows the following pattern:

 

1.     The hearing committee explains the rules.

2.     Either party may bring forward preliminary issues if there is any.

3.     The student and his/her representative make an opening statement.

4.     The principal and his/her representative make an opening statement.

5.     The student and his/her representatives call their witnesses and conduct direct examinations.

6.     The principal and his/her representative conduct cross-examinations on the preceding witnesses.

7.     The principal and his/her representative call their witnesses and conduct direct examinations.

8.     The student and his/her representative conduct cross-examinations on the witnesses.

9.     The student and his/her representative make a closing statement.

10. The principal and his/her representative make a closing statement.

11. The hearing committee makes a decision.

Here are some of the things you should do to prepare for the hearing:

1.    Read the school board’s policy carefully. Each school board has its policy about the hearing process. Ask the school board for a copy, as they have a duty to provide it.

2.    Ask for disclosure. You should have a chance to review all the notes relating to the incident leading to the suspension. At least one week before the hearing date, ask the school board to provide you with disclosure.

3.    Review the disclosure. The disclosure should tell you which students or school staff witnessed the event, and what your child disclosed. When you are reading the disclosure, ask yourself:

  • Did the principal conduct a thorough investigation? Were all witnesses questioned?
  • Did the disclosure tell a different story than what your child has told you?
  • Should the school have done anything to prevent the incident from happening?
  •  Was action provoked? Was your child being bullied?

4.     Formulate your argument by utilizing the mitigating factors which I wrote about in my previous blog piece.

5.     Think about what witnesses to call. Would your child be okay with testifying at the hearing and being cross-examined? Does your child have a friend who is willing to testify?

Before going into the hearing, you should be aware of your rights, which include:

  • The right to present any relevant evidence
  • The right to make a statement
  • The right to call witnesses
  • The right to conduct direct examinations on your witnesses
  • The right carry out cross-examinations on the principal and any of the school board's witnesses

If the hearing committee denies any of these rights, do not concede. These rights are guaranteed under the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, to ensure that each person receives a fair hearing.

At the end of the hearing, the hearing committee will decide to:

  •  Confirm both the decision to suspend and the duration of the suspension, OR
  •  Confirm the decision to suspend but shorten the length, OR
  •  Quash the decision to suspend and expunge the record of the suspension.

The student shall receive a written decision shortly after the hearing. This decision is final. The only way to appeal this decision would be to proceed with a judicial review application to the Divisional Court.

If you are about to proceed with a suspension hearing, or if you have lost a suspension hearing and wants legal advice on the possibility of initiating a judicial review application, please do not hesitate to contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic for assistance.

 

 


This blog, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic, provides general legal information only about current laws.

Mar 09, 2017

Education Law Blog

Today I am writing about the appeal process and the grounds of appeal, which you may utilize to appeal a discretionary suspension. For those of you who do not know what a discretionary suspension is, it is a situation where a school principal invokes the Education Act, s.306 (1) to suspend a pupil.

Why should anyone appeal a school suspension? The simple answer is, school suspensions are not always fair. There are times where a principal has not conducted a thorough investigation or carefully considered the mitigating factors. The more complicated answer is:

  • Students miss education when they are suspended, and schools do not always provide them with alternative means of education. The more they are suspended, the farer behind they become. It is a downward spiral.
  • Students who appeal suspensions may be less likely to be suspended again. Ever heard of the saying “The squeaky wheels get the grease?”
  • Records of suspension may affect a student’s chances of getting admitted to a good university/college.
  • Peer-reviewed journal articles have shown that school suspensions are not an effective mean to modify a student’s behaviour.
  • Often, students who are suspended are children with a disability and are suspended for disability-related behaviour. That is not fair.

That being said, what exactly do you have to do to appeal a school suspension? Here are some tips.

Send a written notice to appeal the suspension as soon as possible. A written notice must be sent within 10 school days of the commencement of the suspension to appeal the suspension. If you miss the deadline, you may still be able to appeal the suspension if:

  • You never received the notice of suspension or you only received it after 10 school days of the commencement of the suspension.
  • The notice of suspension is defective. The notice does not state the reasons and the durations of the suspension. The notice does not tell you whom you should send your notice to. The notice does not tell you the appeal procedure to appeal the suspension. The notice does not come with a copy of the school board’s appeal policies.

When drafting the notice to appeal the suspension, consider stating why you think the suspension shouldn’t have taken place. A principal shall consider the following mitigating factors before deciding to suspend a pupil:

  • The pupil does not have the ability to control his or her behaviour.
  • The pupil does not have the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour.
  • The pupil’s continuing presence in the school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person.

A principal should also consider:

  • The pupil’s history.
  • Whether a progressive discipline approach has been used with the pupil.
  • Whether the activity for which the pupil may be or is being suspended or expelled was related to any harassment of the pupil because of his or her race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation or to any other harassment.
  • How the suspension or expulsion would affect the pupil’s ongoing education.
  • The age of the pupil.
  • In the case of a pupil for whom an individual education plan has been developed,

i.   whether the behaviour was a manifestation of a disability identified in the pupil’s individual education plan,

ii.  whether appropriate individualized accommodation has been provided, and

iii. whether the suspension or expulsion is likely to result in an aggravation or worsening of the pupil’s behaviour or conduct.

 If you believe the principal hasn’t considered these factors, you should put that into your notice to appeal the suspension.

 

Other arguments you may utilize include (but are not limited to):

  • The alleged incident did not happen
  • The pupil was trying to defend him/herself
  • The pupil was suspended for disability-related behaviour (this is a human rights argument)
  • This is the first time the alleged incident takes place. The principal should have exercised progressive discipline.
  • The principal should have considered exercising alternative means of disciplining the pupil (something that has educational value, such as extra assignments)

After receiving the notice of the suspension, the school board shall contact you about the next step. Most school boards would offer an early resolution meeting, where you would have an opportunity to resolve the dispute without proceeding with a suspension hearing. It is important for you to show up at that meeting, so that you may find out more about what exactly happened, and whether the school board might be agreeable to:

  • Revoke the suspension
  • Reduce the duration of the suspension
  • Revoke the suspension if nothing else happens until a certain date (a conditional suspension)

If you and the school board are not able to come to an agreement at the meeting, the school board shall hold an appeal hearing within 15 school days of receiving your notice.

What happens at the appeal hearing? Well, that would be the topic for my next blog piece.

 If your children are suspended by a principal, or if you are about to proceed with a suspension appeal hearing, I strongly advise that you contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic, where I may represent students in a suspension appeal hearing for free.

 


This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer, Kingston Community Legal Clinic, provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777 or visit www.kclc.ca.  If have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

 

Feb 23, 2017

Education Law Blog

Suspension Part I: Discretionary Suspension v. Mandatory Suspension

This blog piece discusses the types of suspensions that a principal can exercise to discipline pupils, and the activities that can lead to suspensions.

 

It is important for a pupil and the parents/guardians to distinguish the different types of suspensions, because the appeal processes differ.

Under the Education Act there are two types of suspensions, namely, discretionary suspensions and mandatory suspensions. Discretionary suspensions arise from situations where, under the Education Act, a principal can choose whether or not to suspend a student, whereas mandatory suspensions are situations where a principal must suspend a student.

Activities that may lead to discretionary suspension are listed under the Education Act, s.306 (1):

  • Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person
  • Possessing alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Being under the influence of alcohol
  • Swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority
  • Committing an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property at the pupil’s school or to properly located on the premises of the pupil’s school
  • Bullying
  • Any other activity that is an activity for which a principal may suspend a pupil under a policy of the board

Activities that may lead to mandatory suspensions are listed under the Education Act, s.310 (1):

  • Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm
  • Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person
  • Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner
  • Committing sexual assault
  • Trafficking in weapons or in illegal drugs
  • Committing robbery
  • Giving alcohol to a minor
  • Bullying if the pupil has previously been suspended for bullying and the pupil’s continuing presence in the school creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of another person
  • Any activities listed in s.306(1) that is motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other similar factor.

When a principal invokes the Education Act s.310(1) to suspend a pupil, the principal must conduct an investigation, during which the principal shall make all reasonable efforts to speak with the pupil, the pupil’s parents/guardians, and any other person who may have relevant information. Once the investigation is completed, the principal shall make a recommendation to the school board regarding whether to expel the pupil or not. Essentially, a mandatory suspension is a suspension pending possible expulsion.

For discretionary suspensions, a principal must issue a written notice of suspension to the pupil’s parents/guardians. The notice shall be issued promptly, and shall contain:

  • The reason for the suspension
  • The duration of the suspension
  • Information about any program for suspended pupils to which the pupil is assigned
  • Information about the right to appeal, including a copy of the board policies governing the appeal and the name and contact information of the supervisory officer.

For mandatory suspensions, a principal would also need to issue a notice containing reason of the suspension, the duration of the suspension, and information about assigned programs. However, there is no immediate right to appeal a mandatory suspension. A pupil can appeal a mandatory suspension only after the principal decides not to recommend expulsion. If the principal recommends expulsion, an expulsion hearing would take place.

The maximum duration of a suspension, regardless of whether it is discretionary or mandatory, is 20 days.

By now you are probably wondering what to do if you receive a notice of suspension. The first thing you should do is figuring out, from the notice:

  • who issued the notice and when was the notice issued
  • whether this is a suspension under s.306 or s.310
  • what is the duration of the suspension
  • what program is assigned to the pupil during the suspension
  • what is the alleged activity

Once you have an idea of why a pupil is suspended, you should decide whether to appeal the suspension or not. My next blog piece talks about the appeal process for a discretionary suspension and the mitigating factors that a principal should consider prior to suspending a pupil.

If you would like to appeal a suspension or an expulsion decision, kindly contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic to find out whether you are eligible for our free legal services.

 


 This column is written by Sandra Hsia,Staff Lawyer t the Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

Jan 19, 2017

Education Law Blog

Corporal Punishment

Today I am writing about how our law deals with corporal punishment on children.

Corporal Punishment under the Criminal Code

Contrary to what most people may believe, the Criminal Code of Canada permits corporal punishment on a child, as s. 43 of the Code states:

Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances. (emphasis added)

What does a force that “does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances” mean? Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada (Attorney General) 2004 SCC 4 is the leading case on this issue. The court in Canadian Foundation, at paragraph 37, specifies that corporal punishment is harmful to:  

  • A child under two years of age, because it has no corrective value

  • Teenagers, because if can induce aggressive or antisocial behaviour

The court further states that corporal punishment is physically and emotionall harmful when:

  • Objects, such as rulers or belts, are used
  • Slaps or blows to the head are involved

These types of punishment are not reasonable. What then, is reasonable punishment? The court, at paragraph 40, states that “Teachers may reasonably apply force to remove a child from a classroom or secure compliance with instructions, nut not merely as corporal punishment.” However, corporal punishment stemming from the teacher’s “frustration, loss of temper, or abusive personality” is not reasonable.

Corporal Punishment under Child Protection Rules

In Ontario, a Children’s Aid Society (CAS), under the Child and Family Services Act, may intervene with a family if it suspects that a child is being abused by caregivers. The Child and Family Services Act, s. 37(2) set out circumstances under which a child is in need of protection.

Considering these circumstances, it is fairly likely that CAS would intervene if parents practice corporal punishment on their children. In Children's Aid Society of Rainy River v. B.(C.), 2006 ONCJ 45, CAS intended to assign a child into foster care because the child’s mother was alleged to have practiced inappropriate physical discipline on the child, on occasions swore at her child, and engaged in sexually provocative behavior via the internet using her web-cam when the child was in the house. While the court finds this type of behavior is hardly model of good parenting skills, there was not enough evidence establishing “real likelihood of harm”. The court therefore ordered the child not to be assigned into foster care.

If you suspect that your children have been inappropriately disciplined in school, please do not hesitate to contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic for free legal advice.

For my next blog piece, I intend to discuss school suspensions and the type of activities that may cause a student to be suspended. Stay tuned!

 


This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Staff Lawyer, at the Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

Jan 17, 2017

Energy Contracts

Energy Contracts – New Consumer Protection Rules

Good news! Effective January 1, 2017, there are new rules that protect consumers from predatory energy contracts. A summary of the rules are:

  • You cannot sign you up for an energy contract with an energy retailer while they are at your home.
  • Energy retailers may still come to your home and leave your information, but they may not leave a contract.
  • An energy retailer may approach you at your home, but there are limits on the time of day, and the number of times they may do so.
  • An energy retailer may not provide a gift card, gift certificate or other financial incentive, or any equipment, product or service, at your home to be redeemed after entering into, amending or renewing a contract.
  • An energy contract cannot be automatically renewed or extended.
  • If you enter into or renew a contract, you may cancel it within 30 days of getting your second bill under the contract. You have to pay those bills, but you won’t have to pay a cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel a contract the 30 days allowed for doing so, you may have to pay a cancellation fee. No matter how you entered into the contract, including online, you later have to confirm that you still want the contract.
  • You should be contacted within 10 – 45 days after you entered into the contract. If you do not want to continue with the contract, you must say so and you will not have to pay a cancellation fee.

For more information, check out the Ontario Energy Board's website.

 


This column, written by Kimberly Hurt, Licensed Paralegal, Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

Jan 03, 2017

Education Blog

Immigrants’ Attendance Rights

Being a new immigrant in Canada can be challenging, especially when you have children. This article discusses immigrants’ right to education, and explains the circumstances under which an immigrant can obtain education free of charge.

Any immigrant under the age of 18 has a right to attend a local school. What about children of unlawful immigrants?

Schools cannot refuse to admit children whose parents are in Canada without immigration status. The Education Act s.49.1 says A person who is otherwise entitled to be admitted to a school and who is less than eighteen years of age shall not be refused admission because the person or the person’s parent or guardian is unlawfully in Canada.”

Further, the Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum No. 136

[1] makes it clear that schools cannot refuse admission because the parents are unable to produce any of the following:

  •  Proof of immigration status or application for legal immigration status
  •  A work permit or social insurance number
  •  Health documentation that is different from that required of all other children
  •   Other documentation not required for other children seeking admission to school

However, proof of Canadian citizenship may be required for children seeking admission to a school in a French-language school board.

As for school fees, the Education Act s. 49(7) says the school board shall not charge a fee if:

  • The student is part of an educational exchange program
  • The student’s parents/guardians are in the military
  • The students’ parents/guardians are refugees
  • The student is awaiting determination of immigration status and his/her parents/guardians are Canadian citizen residents in Ontario
  • The student’s parents/guardians have a working permit to work in Canada

If you are an immigrant and you or your child is denied admission to a local school, kindly contact our office for advice.

 

Interested in learning about legal issues regarding corporal punishment in school? Stay tuned for the next blog piece!

 



 

 

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This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Lawyer, Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 



 

Dec 19, 2016

Education Law Blog

 

Ontario Residents’ Right to Attend a Public School without Paying a Fee

 

Any resident pupil, between the ages of 6 to 21, has a right to attend a school in a school section, separate school zone, or secondary school district, without payment of a fee. What is a resident pupil then? Under the Education Act, there are two types of resident pupils: one for the English-language public school boards, and one for the French-language public school boards.

The qualifications are quite similar. A resident pupil is a person between the age of 6 and 21, who resides in the school section, and whose parents or guardians also reside in the school section. For the French-language public school board, there is one added requirement. That is, the student must be a French-speaking person, and the parents/guardians support the student’s decision to attend a school governed under the French-language public school board.

What if a student’s parents do not live in Ontario, but send the student to Ontario to live with a relative?

Chou v. Chou, [2005] W.D.F.L. 2741, would shed some light on this issue.

In Chou, the parents of the student lived and worked in Hong Kong, although they were Canadian citizens. The parents sent their daughter to live with her aunt in Ontario. The School Board insisted that the daughter was not a resident pupil and asked her to pay non-resident school fees. The aunt applied for a judicial review of the School Board’s decision, and the judge in Chou ruled that since the aunt had lawful custody, the daughter was a resident pupil and had a right to attend school in her school section without paying a fee.

You may be wondering, what then, does lawful custody mean? Chou taught us that if a child lives with and is subject to the day to day care and control of an individual, with the parents’ express agreement, that individual would have “lawful custody” of the child.

What if a student wants to attend a school outside of the school zone?

Every resident pupil has a right to attend a school, although not necessarily a school of the student’s choice. There are a number of reasons why a student might want to attend a school outside of the school zone. For example, a student can attend a school outside of the school zone if that other school is more accessible.

What does “more accessible” mean? Bareham v. London Board of Education, 46 O.R. (2D) 705, says that accessibility must be considered in both geographical and temporal sense. It is a function of distance and travelling time. Further, the Education Act says that when a student should be allowed to attend the more accessible school if the student lives:

  • more than 3.2 km from the school that the student is required to attend, OR,
  • more than 0.8 km by the shortest distance to a transportation point (ie. bus stops)

Sometimes, a student may wish to attend a particular school because of a special education program that is offered at that school. If that is the issue here, then I would encourage you to contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic for advice.

 

This column, written by Sandra Hsia, Lawyer, Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

Dec 02, 2016

Education Law Blog

Education Law Blog

Exclusion: What It Is and How You May Appeal It

In my last blog piece, I promised I would write about Ontario residents’ right to attend a school without paying a fee. I lied. Because I want to write about something that has become a common approach in Ontario schools, and therefore affect a lot of students.

This week, I want to talk about exclusions. For those of you who are not aware of this term, it is a situation where a school asks parents or guardians to pick up their children before the school day is completed. During the course of my employment, I have dealt with cases where a child with special needs was asked to stay home for weeks. Sometimes, the child was placed in a program in lieu of school attendance. Other times, the child simply stayed home and received no education.

A Principal’s Discretion to Exclude a Student

Where does a school get its discretion from? The Education Act s. 265 (1)(m) states that a school principal may:

(m) subject to an appeal to the board, to refuse to admit to the school or classroom a person whose presence in the school or classroom would in the principal’s judgment be detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of the pupils (emphasis added)

This Discretion is Limited

The Education Act s. 265 (1) (m) gives a principal fairly broad power to ban a student from school premises without suspending or expelling a student. You may want to ask, is there no limit on this power? Can a principal exclude a student because it is his or her judgment, that a student’s presence is detrimental to him/herself or to other students? Bonnah (Litigation Guardian of) v. Ottawa-Carleton District School Board [2003] O.J. No. 1156 is an Ontario Court of Appeal case explaining what "detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of the pupils" means.

In Bonnah, a student with a disability who is identified as exceptional by the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (we will talk more about this committee later), is transferred to another school because the principal was concerned about him being a safety risk to himself, other students, and staff. Bonnah’s parents appealed this decision, and the Appeal Court held that an exceptional student’s right to retain current placement in a class or school cannot be overridden by any implied power to transfer for safety reasons, including the Education Act s. 265 (1)(m).

More importantly, Doharty J.A. examines the Education Act s. 265 (1) (m), and states:

Obviously, a principal can properly exercise these powers only where the safety concerns are genuine, and the principal's response to those concerns is a reasonable one in all of the circumstances. If it were shown that a principal used these powers to circumvent an obligation to leave an exceptional pupil in his or her placement pending an appeal, the court could intervene by way of judicial review just as it could if a principal used these powers for any other improper purpose.

Essentially, the lesson from Bonnah is this:

  • A principal may only exclude a student when there are genuine safety concerns.
  • A principal’s decision must be a reasonable one. A principal cannot exercise this power to unilaterally change a student’s placement. If a student is in a special education program full-time, a principal cannot exercise discretion to change it to a part-time program.

So, what does a “reasonable decision” look like? It might have been reasonable for a principal to send a student home early, when a student is having a bad day in school and creates an unmanageable risk, and an in-school suspension has no effect. It is not reasonable, when a student has a bad day in school, and the principal prohibits him/her from attending school for weeks.

What Exclusion Really Is

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Exclusion is a de facto suspension or expulsion. Exclusion has the same effect of a suspension or expulsion, in the sense that students would miss their education all the same. In fact, it is worse than a suspension or an expulsion, because:

  • A suspension can only be 20 days at the maximum. Under the Education Act, there is no limit as to how long a student may be excluded from school.
  • Suspensions and expulsions are appealable, and schools are required to issue a notice, which must include the appeal procedure, to parents when they decide to suspend or expel a student. When it comes to exclusions, there is no such requirement under the Education Act. As a result, parents are often not aware that they have a right to appeal exclusion.

What Should You Do if You are Excluded Constantly or for a Prolonged Period of Time

Any student or parent who does not agree with the exclusion should ask the school to provide you with a written decision with reasons. A school cannot deny this request. After reviewing the reasons, a student or parent may appeal this decision to the school board.

If you wish to appeal such a decision and require some legal advice, you may contact us.

For my next blog piece, I shall comply with my promise and write about Ontario residents’ right to attend a school without paying a fee.


This column, written by staff at the Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

Nov 18, 2016

KCLC's Education Law Blog

Welcome to the Kingston Community Legal Clinic Education Law Blog. This blog has been created by Kingston Community Legal Clinic. The lawyers and paralegals in this clinic provide free legal services to eligible clients. The legal services include providing legal advice and representation regarding housing, social assistance, and education law.

In this blog, we will introduce our newly launched education law project, give an overview of various legal issues in education law, and discuss recent developments in Canadian education law.

This blog updates on a bi-weekly basis, and plans to cover legal issues including:

  • Ontario Residents’ Attendance Rights
  • Immigrants’ Attendance Rights
  • Corporal Punishment
  • Suspension Part I: Activities that may lead to suspension
  • Suspension Part II: Mitigating Factors and Progressive Discipline
  • Suspension Part III: Appeal Hearing
  • Expulsion Part I: Activities that may lead to expulsion
  • Expulsion Part II: Mitigating Factors and Progressive Discipline
  • Expulsion Part III: Appeal Process
  • Expulsion Part IV: Program for Expelled Students
  • Students’ Right Against Search and Seizure
  • Special Education: IPRC
  • Special Education: IEP
  • Human Right: Students’ Rights Against Discrimination
  • Canadian Education Law: Recent Developments

If you are an Ontario resident and want to attend a school out of your school district, check out the next article that discusses Ontario residents’ attendance rights!

________________________________________________________________

This column, written by staff at the Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777. If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668- 8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca

Nov 07, 2016

Annual General Meeting

The meeting takes place on Thursday, November 17, 2016 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm in the Delahaye Room at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston. Please RSVP by Monday, November 14, 2016 to Rachel Evans, Office Manager at evansr@lao.onca

Jul 13, 2016

Did you live at a Schedule 1 institution?

 

For more information and assistance, read this.

Jun 13, 2016

Man Declared a Tenant

To read the complete article, click here.

May 14, 2016

Knights Inn tenant faces eviction

To read the article, click here.

Apr 15, 2016

Motel Tenants Take Action

To read the article, click here.

Sep 20, 2016

Motel Legal Rep calls process tainted

Read more here http://www.thewhig.com/2016/09/19/motels-legal-rep-calls-process-tainted

Dec 10, 2015

Seniors and Law Enforcement Together

 

Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) is a new initiative in South Frontenac to mobilize seniors to become involved with local police and other service agencies that focus on senior's needs in their community.

Issues that a SALT committee can assist seniors with include:

  • Crime prevention, in particular fraud
  • Telemarketers
  • Mail scams
  • E-mail scams
  • Injury prevention
  • Writing Wills/Power of attorneys
  • Financial information
  • Fire prevention

If you would like to be involed with SALT or would like more information, please contact:  Constable Roop Sandhu, Community Services Officer, Frontenac OPP at 613-372-1932, Ext. 6955 or by email at roop.sandhu@opp.ca.

 

 

 

Nov 26, 2015

Learn Law: November 2015

LEARN LAW
Is a reverse Mortgage a Good Idea for you?

In recent years an increasing number of seniors have been using “reverse mortgages” as a source of income. Seniors who can be described as “house rich, but cash poor” may find this option very attractive. However, if you or a loved one is a senior and is considering taking out a “reverse mortgage” there are a number of things to consider.

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

Normally with a mortgage, you borrow a certain amount of money and pay it back over a period of time through monthly payments. With a reverse mortgage the lender gives you a lump sum of money, or an agreed upon amount in intervals, but you make no payments. The interest is added to the balance of the loan and the loan grows steadily. When the homeowner dies or sells their home, the loan must be repaid from the proceeds of the sale of the home.

Advantages and disadvantages of a reverse mortgage

On first glance it seems like this is a great way to access cash as a senior, especially if you have inadequate retirement savings or income and find yourself cash strapped. There are no regular payments, you do not need to sell your home and can continue to live in it. Additionally, the income is tax free and does not affect Old Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits. However, there are some drawbacks that must be considered.

First, the costs of a reverse mortgage are much higher when compared to other types of mortgages. Additionally, the homeowner must pay for a home appraisal fee, application fee, and a closing fee. There is also a penalty if you sell your house or move out within three years of getting the reverse mortgage. Finally, you must pay the fees for independent legal advice.

An example of the high costs of a reverse mortgage is if you borrow $150,000 after 10 years you could owe almost $270,000. This is just the cost of the interest and does not include the additional fees mentioned.

You should also keep in mind that if the reverse mortgage is outstanding at your death your estate must pay the balance, leaving much less money for your children or other heirs.

Alternative Options

 If you or a loved one is considering a reverse mortgage, you should be sure you understand the consequences and options. What may seem like an attractive choice at first reveals itself to be far more expensive and provides less flexibility than the alternatives. If you own your home a secured line of credit may provide a much lower cost of borrowing and also give you greater flexibility in repayment. There is also the option to sell the home and downsize to a smaller residence freeing up much needed cash.

 

More Information:
www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/eng/resources/publications/mortgages/Pages/Understa-Comprend.aspx
 
 
Print

This column, written by staff or volunteer lawyers with the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre (CALC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777 or visit www.kclc.ca. If have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

 

Nov 19, 2015

Medical legal partnerships could improve health of

 

We are looking to improve how we can reach people who may benefit from legal as much as medical help.  For more information, please read Elliot Ferguson's article in the Kingston Whig Standard.

 

Nov 04, 2015

Annual General Meeting 2015

The Board & Staff of Kingston Community Legal Clinic invite you to our Annual General Meeting. 

Guest speaker Dr. Nav Persaud will discuss "Health, Justice and Health Justice." Nav Persaud is a Staff Physician and Associate Scientist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and an Associate Editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Together with his colleagues at St Michael's Hospital and allied legal clinics led by ARCH Disability Law Centre, he helped to create the Health Justice Initiative. The Initiative carries out direct legal services to patients, legal education to health care providers and our patient population, and law reform activities. Nav was educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford.

Light refreshments will be served.

WHEN:           Tuesday, 17 November 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

WHERE:         Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall - 216 Ontario Street Kingston, Ontario K7L 2Z3

 

Please RSVP by Thursday, November 12, 2015 to:

 

Rachel Evans, Office Manager

Online: kclcagm2015.eventbrite.ca

 

Phone:  613-541-0777,Ext. 22

 

Email:  evansr@lao.on.ca

If you require special accommodation (including accommodation for disabilities), please advise Rachel Evans at 613-541-0777 x. 22 or evansr@lao.on.ca by Thursday, November 12, 2015.

Sep 10, 2015

Deferral of the Employment Related Benefit

 

See the full bulletin at:  www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/news/releases/2015/20150909.aspx

Sep 01, 2015

E-Filing Now Available at LTB & Small Claims Court

LEARN LAW

 E-Filing Now Available at Landlord and Tenant Board and Small Claims Court

 

 

Ontario Courts and tribunals are now providing some online filing of claims and applications.

If you have internet access, you may be able to file and pay fees from your computer and not have to go to a courthouse or Government Information Centre (GIC).

 

Small Claims Court

In the Ontario Small Claims Court, you can file a claim electronically if you are suing a person or business for a fixed amount of money (e.g. a debt owed to you under a contract) and the amount is $25,000 or less.  It’s a simple, convenient way to file a claim in Ontario Small Claims Court without ever setting foot in a courthouse.

 

Using this service you can prepare and submit all required forms, pay fees and receive all the official court documents you need to file a fixed claim. Then, if the person you are suing does not dispute the claim, you may apply for and receive a court decision. 

 

For more details see the Small Claims Court E-Filing Service User Guide

www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/scc/e-filing/small_claims_e-filing_user_guide.pdf

 

Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

 

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is now accepting electronic filing of select landlord and tenant applications.  Four applications are currently available for e-filing.

The two applications that tenants can file online are:

  • T2: Application about Tenant Rights, and 
  • T6: Tenant Application about Maintenance.

 The two applications that landlords can file online are:

  • L1: Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes, and 
  • L2: Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant.

 The e-file tool is a user-friendly alternative to paper applications, which are still accepted by the LTB via fax, mail, or hand-delivery to an LTB office or select GICs.

Fee Waiver

A fee waiver is available if you are a low-income person who wants to file a court or Landlord and Tenant Board claim.  Generally a fee waiver will be granted if you are on some kind of social assistance or low, fixed income.  Sometimes you have to provide an affidavit to support your application for fee waiver.

Unfortunately, a fee waiver cannot be requested online, so those with limited resources still have to go to a courthouse or GIC to access services.

 General free legal information is also available at:  Your legal rights – http://yourlegalrights.on.ca  

 

______________________________________________

 

Article adapted from Social Justice Tribunals News – August 12 (www.sjto.gov.on.ca/en/latest-news/#ltb) and Suing in Small Claims Court (www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/scc/#filing)

 

 

This column, written by staff or volunteer lawyers with the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre (CALC), provides general legal information only about current laws. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights. Call Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777 or visit www.kclc.ca.  If have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

 

 

Jul 31, 2015

Can A Landlord Legally Take A Tenant's Belongings?

 

Can a Landlord legally take a tenant’s belongings

Has your landlord threatened to take or throw out your belongings? This article will help explain when it is legal for your landlord to take your things according to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The RTA is the law that applies to most rental housing in Ontario. The RTA may not apply if you share a kitchen or bathroom with the owner or rent from another tenant.

It is illegal for your landlord to take your things because you did not pay rent or because you caused damage to your rental unit. Your landlord cannot stop you from taking your belongings with you when you move out.   

However, your landlord may take or throw out your things if you leave them behind when you move out.

 

If you move out after giving notice to your landlord or agreeing to move out:

You have until the last day of your tenancy to move all your belongings. This is the last day you occupy the unit at the end of a lease or at the end of giving 60 days notice. If belongings are left behind after this day, the landlord may take or throw them out right away. If you want to prevent your landlord from throwing out your things, you should ask them to agree in writing. If you need more information on how to give notice, see the resources below.

 

 

 

 

If you move out without giving notice to your landlord:

Your landlord must give you written notice that they plan to get rid of your things if you have abandoned your rental unit. Your landlord has to wait 30 days after giving you this notice to sell or take your belongings. Your landlord can leave this notice at your place – it is not mandatory to personally give it to you or call you. Your landlord must let you collect your belongings at a reasonable time if you contact them within this 30 day period. Your landlord does not have to leave your belongings in the rental unit during this 30 day period. Your landlord can ask you to pay the cost of moving and storing your belongings.

You have 72 hours to collect your belongings when you are evicted by the Sheriff. Your landlord must keep your things safe during this time. Your landlord must let you get them between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during this 72-hour period. Your landlord can either keep your things in your place or move them to a safe place nearby.

If your landlord has taken your things or has broken the law, you should get legal advice. If you are living on a low income and have questions about this or other housing issues, you can get free legal advice by calling the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre at 613-966-8686 ext 0 or 1-877-966-8686 ext 0.  

Article adapted from Community Legal Education Ontario’s May 2015 Issue of “On the Radar: When can a landlord legally take a tenant’s belongings?”: www.cleo.on.ca/en/whats-new

General free legal information is also available at:

 

 

LEARN LAW

Shoplifting Demand Letters

If you or your child have been caught shoplifting, you may get a letter demanding that you pay the store money. This letter, which may come from the store or a lawyer, may ask you pay between $300 and $800 to cover the cost of trying to catch shoplifters. The letter may warn that you will be taken to court if you do not pay. In most cases the stolen items have already been returned, so the store has not suffered any losses. The person who shoplifted may also have been charged with a criminal offence.

If you get one of these letters, you are not legally required to pay. To force you to pay, the store must bring a lawsuit against you and prove their claims in court. It is rare that the store choses to do so when the amounts claimed are relatively low. If the store does bring a lawsuit against you, what happens in court will depend on the facts of the case.

In Ontario, you can be legally required to compensate someone for trespassing on their property. In one case (Hudson’s Bay Company v. White), the court ordered a person to pay for trespassing and punitive damages in the amount of $500. However, the person who was ordered to pay that amount never defended the claim and was not charged by the police. If you are charged by the police, the court may order that you pay less money and may not order punitive damages.

Letters from Collection Agencies are different than letters from a store or a lawyer. Collection Agencies can affect your credit rating if you do not pay the amount claimed. However, you are not legally required to pay the amount claimed until it has been proven in court.

If you receive a demand letter from a Collection Agency, you should respond immediately. Send a letter by registered mail to the Collection Agency and state that you dispute the amount claimed. Keep a copy of the letter.

Once you have done this, the Collection Agency should stop contacting you. The store will then decide whether to bring a lawsuit against you.

You should order a copy of your credit report to make sure that your credit has not been affected. You can also make a complaint to the Ministry of Consumer Services. You can find a tip sheet on dealing with Collection Agencies on our website: www.communitylegalcentre.ca/legal_information/Tips/Consumer/CollectionAgenciesTipSheet.pdf.

If you receive a Statement of Claim or a Plaintiff’s claim, get legal advice immediately. These are legal documents that start a law suit. To dispute the amount claimed, you will need to file a Statement of Defence. You do not have much time to file this, so you must act quickly.

If you are under the age of 18, the information above still applies to you. If your child has been caught shoplifting, a demand letter may be addressed to you. The store would have to show that you as a parent were negligent in some way to be successful in claiming money against you in court. In one case in Manitoba (D.C.B v. Zellers Inc.), the court ordered Zellers to pay back money that a parent paid to them in response to a demand letter. The court said that the parent was not required to pay the money, so the store could not keep it. This type of case has not come up in Ontario yet.

More information can be found at:

 

A copy to print, can be found here.

 

Adapted from Justice for Children and Youth:

http://jfcy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ShopliftingDemandLettersApril-20121.pdf

 

http://www.kclc.ca/uploadDocs/Shoplifting%20Demand%20Letters.pdf

May 18, 2015

When can a landlord legally take a tenant's belong

 

For more information, please read On the Radar, produced by Community Legal Education Ontario.

Apr 27, 2015

Budget 2015

 

For more information, check out the Income Security Advocacy Centre's response to the budget.

Apr 16, 2015

How to improve the delivery of front line services

 

Community legal clinics across Central and Eastern Ontario have come together to consider how to improve the delivery of front-line services. The East and Central Region Transformation Project is about creating new ways to provide access to justice for the poorest residents of East and Central Ontario.  For more information on the project please visit www.ecrtp.ca.

 

As part of this project, Kingston Community Legal Clinic is seeking feedback from current and former clients.  Please take a few minutes to complete the online survey before Thursday, April 30, 2015.  To fill out a paper copy of the survey, please drop by the Legal Clinic regular during office hours.

Apr 07, 2015

Income and Health Benefits for Seniors

 

For more information about the income support and health benefits available to seniors, read this.

 

 

Mar 26, 2015

Ontario Introduces a new program

Ontario has announced that it will be introducing a program to assist low-income families with the cost of electricity as of 1 January 2016.

Under the proposed Ontario Electricity Support Program, qualifying individuals could be eligible for a $20 to $50 monthly credit that would be applied directly to their hydro bills, based on the size of the household and income.

The province will also be removing the Debt Retirement Charge for all residential consumers.

See news release.

Mar 20, 2015

The Rights of Children & Youth Workshop

For more information about this session, please see the flyer.

 

Mar 16, 2015

It's Nearly Tax Time

 

It is nearly tax time.  Individuals and families with low income should file their taxes as soon as possible.  Use this calculator to find out what credits and benefits you may be eligible for. 

If you need assistance completing your taxes, The Community Volunteer Tax Program hosts tax preparation clinics

 

Mar 11, 2015

Co-op Eviction Proceedings

 

Since June 1, 2014 eviction proceedings commenced by non-profit housing co-operatives (co-ops) will be held before the Landlord and Tenant Board. Kingston Community Legal Clinic represents tenants and co-op members in eviction proceedings. 

Eviction proceedings from co-ops have several distinct features from regular eviction proceedings that service providers should be aware of in order to refer clients to the legal clinic in a timely fashion:

1.      Co-ops hold an in-house eviction proceeding prior to the eviction proceeding before the Landlord and Tenant Board. Service providers that are aware of an upcoming co-op Board meeting to terminate a co-op member's membership and occupancy rights should refer the co-op member to the legal clinic.

2. A co-op Board can only serve a "notice of termination" on a co-op member only after it has terminated the member's membership and occupancy rights in its in-house eviction proceeding. Unlike the landlord and tenant relationship, which allows landlords to serve notices of termination when they believe there are grounds for eviction, a co-op Board can only serve a notice of termination after it has already terminated the member's membership and occupancy rights in its internal process established by the Co-operative Corporations Act. There are various forms of notices of termination which a co-op Board can serve on a co-op member, each containing different implications for the co-op member. Services providers should refer their clients to the legal clinic once they have received a notice of termination.

3. Once the co-op has filed an application for termination of membership and occupancy rights, the co-op member must complete and file a response which addresses all allegations in the application. This is the most significant difference between a co-op eviction and a regular eviction process. The response is to be filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board and served on the co-op no later than the date specified in the Notice of Hearing. The implications for failing to file a response are severe: the Landlord and Tenant Board can deem the co-op member to accept all of the facts and allegations in the co-op's application. The legal clinic will assist co-op membership prepare and file their response. Co-op members should not undertake to file a response on their own without legal advice.

4. Co-op eviction proceedings are scheduled for two hearings, unlike regular landlord and tenant eviction applications which are only scheduled for one hearing. The first hearing, which is called the Case Management Hearing, is similar to a mediation process in that it allows the parties to settle some or all the issues in dispute. The Landlord and Tenant Board can deem a co-op member to have accepted all facts and allegation in the eviction application and the hearing may proceed without them if they fail to attend the Case Management Hearing. The second hearing is called the Merits Hearing, which a contested adjudication process.


The legal clinic expects a slight increase in the number of eviction proceedings from co-ops because prior to June 1, 2014 co-ops had to seek an eviction from the Superior Court of Justice, which was a lengthier and more costly process.

Service providers should also be aware that the Landlord and Tenant Board does not have the jurisdiction to hear applications by co-op members.

If you have any questions about the co-op eviction process or to refer a client please contact Kingston Community Legal Clinic at 613-541-0777

Written by John Helis, Staff Lawyer.


For a printable verision of this article, please go to our resources page.

 

Mar 09, 2015

LTB Launches New Forms April 1, 2015

 

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) will be updating its forms effective April 1, 2015.  You can preview these forms on the LTB's website, but remember do not use them until April 1, 2015.

Feb 10, 2015

Changes to ODSP employment benefits are delayed


According to a news release, the government is postponing these changes because some of the details still need to be finalized, and because of complications resulting from the transition to SAMS.
The current suite of employment-related benefits, including the ODSP Work-Related Benefit, will continue to be available until the new Employment-Related Benefit is implemented.
See full news release.
 

Feb 10, 2015

A recent decision about overpayments

 

Read ISAC's fact sheet for more information.


La version française est disponible ici.

Feb 06, 2015

Are You Representing Yourself in Family Court?

For more information, check out the information sheet.

Feb 04, 2015

Changes to ODSP employment benefits are coming

Effective April 2015, three employment benefits that are being elimimated are:

Employment Training and Start-Up Benefits – provides us to $500 to help with expenses when starting a training program, new job or employment-related activities

Employment Transition Benefit – provides lump-sum payment of $500 to anyone making the transition to work

Work Related Benefit – provides $100 per month to anyone with any income from work, training or self-employment.

The new Employment-Related Benefit (ERB) will be a discretionary benefit that is not intended to provide support to people who are already working, unless those supports will help people advance their career.  It will focus on providing support to people who are preparing to return to the workforce.

A person with a disability who receives ODSP will be eligible for a maximum of $1800 each 12-month period.  Non-disabled adult family members will be eligible for the maximum of $1,200 per 12-month period.   There will be some flexibility in these maximum amounts so that people who have higher employment-related expenses may be able to receive more funding.

An employment plan will need to be developed with an employment service agency and eligiblity for funding will depend on how the funds relate to the plan.  The person will work with an employment counsellor to identify the supports or training they require to get a job and what those supports will cost.  The employment counsellor will make a recommendation to her ODSP caseworker about funding these expenses from the ERB.  The caseworker will make the final decision.

The current benefits end March 31, 2015 and the ERB will start on April 1, 2015.  Non-disabled family members of people with disabilities on ODSP who have been receiving the $100 Work-Related Benefit will immediately lose that benefit.

People with disabilities who are receiving the Work-Related Benefit will not lose the benefit in April.  A transition period will apply until September 30, 2015.  During that time, if they have employment income, they will continue to receive the $100 work-related benefit, but only if they have continuous monthly employment income. 

The full amount of any Work-Related Benefit that a person receives from April 1 and September 30, 2015 will count toward their ERB eligibility.

This benefit will be a discretionary benefit.  This means that people will not be able to appeal negative decisions to the Social Benefits Tribunal.

The foregoing is a modification of an article appearing on the Income Security and Advocacy Centre’s website.  While acknowledging that the primary material is ISAC’s, I take responsibility for all opinions expressed herein.

 

This column, written by Kimberly Lonsdale, Licensed Paralegal with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic, provides general legal information only. If you need legal advice you should contact a lawyer or licensed paralegal. If you are living on a low income you may be eligible for free legal help. Contact your local community legal clinic if you need help with income programs, workers’ or tenants’ rights, consumer problems, or human rights.  If you have a criminal, family or immigration law problem, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or visit www.legalaid.on.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 17, 2014

Sexual Harassment at Work

For more information about sexual harassment at work, read this article.

Dec 16, 2014

More people on ODSP facing medical reviews

Read this month's On the Radar.

If you have received a letter from the Disability Adjudication Unit saying that it is conducting a medical review, please contact us at 613-541-077 or to find the nearest legal clinic, visit the Legal Aid Ontario website.

 

 


 

Nov 12, 2014

KCLC Annual General Meeting 2014

 

The Board & Staff of Kingston Community Legal Clinic invite you to our Annual General Meeting.  Guest speaker Ross Finnie, Director of Education Policy Research Initiate, University of of Ottawa will discuss "Helping Children Overcome Barriers to Higher Education."

Light refreshments and will be served.

Please RSVP at Eventbrite by Friday, November 21, 2014.

If you require special accommodation (including accommodation for disabilities), please advise Rachel Evans at 613-541-0777 x. 22 or evansr@lao.on.ca by Friday, November 21, 2014.

 

 

Nov 04, 2014

Disability Tax Credit Consultations

Harper Government launches consultations on the Disability Tax Credit and aims to establish maximum promoters’ fees

 

Engagement results will help the CRA to simplify the DTC application process and ensure persons with disabilities are protected from excessive fees

November 4, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario - Canada Revenue Agency

The Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue, today announced upcoming consultations to support the Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act, a private members bill initiated by Cheryl Gallant, Member of Parliament for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. The Act limits fees that can be charged for helping to complete a disability tax credit request, and ensures that more money remains with persons with disabilities and their caregivers.

The consultations will provide Canadians with disabilities, their caregivers, promoters, tax professionals, qualified practitioners and members from the general public with an opportunity to provide feedback on how the CRA can both simplify and clarify the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) application process. This feedback will also help our Government develop regulations under the Act that establish the maximum fee that can be charged or accepted from a client for completing a disability tax credit application and claiming the disability amount.

In addition to the in-person consultations, Canadians may also provide feedback through an online consultation tool, available now.

Anyone wishing to register to participate for an in-person consultation or to submit feedback online can do so by going to www.cra.gc.ca/dtcconsultations.

Quick facts

  • Starting this month the CRA will begin both in-person and online consultations with Canadians surrounding the disability tax credit.
  • Consultations will be held in four cities: Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal and Halifax. Feedback is also being accepted online here.
  • According to CRA data, approximately 1.1 million taxpayers are currently eligible for the DTC, and approximately 50% of them are seniors.
  • For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, approximately 620,000 individuals claimed the DTC on their Income Tax and Benefit Return, for a total amount of $986 million.

 

Quotes

“Through these important consultations, we want to hear from persons with disabilities, tax preparers, qualified practitioners and Canadians in general. We want input on how the provisions of the Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act can be effectively implemented, how we can simplify the disability tax credit process to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities and those who care for them. We must ensure that people with disabilities are not paying excessive fees for help in completing a DTC request.”

- The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue

“Our government strives to simplify processes to better serve taxpayers and works to ensure that legislation, programs, and services take into account the rights and interests of all Canadians. Starting today, we are seeking public input on simplification of the disability tax credit process to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of persons with disabilities and their caregivers who need it most.”

- The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue

“Our Government is committed to working with the community to ensure persons with disabilities and their supporting family members are well-served by the federal services intended to support them. I am proud to see the Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Act being implemented to protect citizens from excessive fees.”

- Cheryl Gallant, Member of Parliament for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke

 

 

 

Associated Links

Oct 31, 2014

Legal Aid Financial Eligiblity Rates Increase

Ontario is moving forward with a plan that will allow over one million more people to qualify for legal aid services.

Ontario will raise the income level -- also known as the eligibility threshold -- at which people can qualify for legal aid assistance. Once fully implemented, an additional one million low-income people will have access to legal aid services -- more than double the number of people eligible for legal aid services today.

The 2014 budget includes an initial investment of $95.7 million to increase the eligibility threshold by six per cent for the first three years of the plan. The first increase will take place on Nov. 1, 2014.

Enhancing access to legal services is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

LEARN MORE

 

Oct 22, 2014

2014 Rent Increase

Oct 09, 2014

Increases for OW and ODSP rates Fall2 014

The 2014 Ontario Budget provided for increases to OW and ODSP rates, which start September 30 for ODSP and October 1 for OW.  The Income Security Advocacy Centre's  latest rates sheet outlines the new Basic Needs and Maximum Shelter rates, the latest Ontario Child Benefit amounts, and increases to other benefits. Download the rates sheet in English and French below:

Aug 14, 2014

Lost your Job? Entitled to pay or notice?

For more information, read this article.

Jul 10, 2014

Collection Agencies: What You Should Know

Collection Agencies ("Agencies") are businesses hired to collect debts.

Does the Collection Agency have to follow any rules when contacting me?

Yes. There are rules in the Collection Agencies Act. Some of these rules are:

  • Agencies must send you a letter explaining the debt they are collecting
  • After first speaking with you, Agencies can only contact you about the same debt 3 more times in a 7 day period
  • They may send you mail in addition to the 3 contacts
  • Contact must be during certain hours:  Monday to Saturday between 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. or on Sunday between 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., and not on public holidays
  • Agencies cannot use "threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language"

 Agencies may contact:

  • Anyone, if you consent
  • Another person to locate you
  • Any person who has guaranteed your debt
  • Your employer to confirm employment information or with your written consent
  • Your employer about a wage assignment arising from a court decision

What if the Collection Agency is breaking the rules?

You can write a complaint to the Agency. Send a registered letter to the Agency and keep a copy. If the problem continues, you may file a complaint with the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services https://www.ontario.ca/consumers/filing-consumer-complaint

What if I agree with the debt the Collection agency says I owe?

You can arrange to repay the debt. If you cannot repay the debt right away, explain your situation to the Agency and try to negotiate a repayment plan. If you reach an agreement, send a letter to the Agency confirming this. Keep a copy. Only repay a debt to the Agency in a way that gives proof of payment.  Never give personal information to the Agency (e.g. bank account information).

What if I disagree with the debt the collection agency says I owe?

Explain that you disagree with the debt to the Agency. Send a registered letter to the Agency stating you disagree with the debt, the reasons why you disagree and that you want the matter to go to court. The Agency must stop contacting you after you have given this notice.

Can I be sued?

An unpaid debt can end up in court.  If your creditor (the person to whom you owe money) wins at court, the court will issue an order. An order from the court allows your creditor to take action to seize your assets or garnish your wages.  Social Assistance payments (for example, Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program) cannot be garnished.

Where can I get help if I have too much debt or credit problems?

Contact your local not-for-profit credit counselling agency for assistance with your finances and debt issues.  K3C Credit Counselling provides assistance throughout Frontenac County.  See http://www.k3ccreditcounselling.org/ for more information.

  • Kingston Office       417 Bagot Street, Kingston, ON         613-549-7850 or 1-800-379-5556

 

More information can be found at:

 


 

 


 

This column provides general legal information and not legal advice. It was drafted by staff lawyers from community legal clinics, or Legal Aid Ontario, and volunteer local lawyers. The law can change. You should contact a lawyer to determine your legal rights and obligations. If you are living on a low income, you may be eligible for free legal help from LAO (criminal, family or immigration) or your clinic (income security programs, employment law, tenants' rights, consumer law, education law or human rights). You can reach LAO at 1-800-668-8258 or visit them online at www.legalaid.on.ca. Contact your local clinic (Kingston Community Legal Clinic) at 613-541-0777 for more information or visit www.kclc.ca

Jul 03, 2014

Moving Out of Your Rental Unit

Moving out of your rental unit:

what you should know

Are you a tenant, and thinking of moving?  This article will look at some things it is important to know before you move.

Do I have to give notice?

Yes. You must give 60 days written notice to end your tenancy. In most cases notice will be given for the last day of the month. For example, if you want to move out on December 31, you should give notice on or before November 1 to move out on December 31.

You must give 60 days written notice whether you are a month-to-month tenant or if you decide to leave at the end of the written lease period.

You can use an N9 form to give notice:

http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/csc/_ltb/_forms/documents/form/stel02_111572.pdf

Keep a copy.

 

What if I can't give 60 days written notice or I want to go before my lease is up?

If you are a month-to-month tenant and do not give 60 days written notice you may end up owing rent money even after you move out. If you have a lease, you are responsible for the rent until the lease ends. "Lease breaking" can be difficult and expensive for you.

If you cannot give 60 days written notice or want to move out before your lease is up, you should ask your landlord if they will agree to let you end your tenancy early. If there is an agreement, you should get it in writing. You can use an N11form:

http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/csc/_ltb/_forms/documents/form/stel02_111574.pdf

You and your landlord both need to sign this form. Keep a copy. An agreement in writing may help you to avoid owing rent money after you move out.

If your landlord does not agree to end your tenancy early, you should call your local community legal clinic for more information on your options.

My landlord gave me a list of things I need to clean before I move out. They say they will charge me if I don't do what they've asked. Can they do this?

A tenant must keep their rental unit clean up to the standard that most people would consider ordinary or normal cleanliness. If you are worried about being charged it may be a good idea to take pictures of your apartment before you move out.

After you move, you could get a bill if your landlord decides the rental unit was not properly cleaned. They could send the bill to a Collections Agency or sue you in Small Claims court. If you disagree with the bill, you should call your local community legal clinic for more information.

Low-income tenants in the City of Kingston, Township of South Frontenac and Township of Frontenac Islands can get free legal advice about housing problems or a threatened eviction by calling the Kingston Community Legal Clinic at  613-541-0777, Ext. 0.

General free legal information for tenants is also available at:

·                 Community Legal Education Ontario - http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/legal-topic/housing-law?gclid=CN_Hh-eRqb8CFQypaQodDJ4AHw

·                 Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario - http://www.acto.ca/en/tenant-info/tenant-tip-sheets.html

·                 Kingston Community Legal Clinic  http://kclc.ca/legal_housing.cfm

 Free legal information for landlords is available at the Landlord's Self-Help Centre. You can access this information online at http://www.landlordselfhelp.com