Corporate Damages for Defamation

A corporation can be defamed just like a person, however, there are unique challenges and considerations where the defamed party is a corporation that are important to be aware of.  The main More »

The Defence of “Fair Comment”

The threshold in Canada for a finding of defamation is not particularly stringent.  In order to prove defamation (libel or slander) against a particular defendant, a plaintiff must show on the balance More »

Construction Liens 101

You will often hear aggrieved parties in various commercial / civil disputes assert, forcefully, that they want to place a lien upon the property of the party that harmed them.  As if More »

Making a Claim for Extras? Follow the Contract!

Ross-Clair v. Canada (Attorney General) (“Ross-Clair”)[1] is a March 2016 Court of Appeal decision that reaffirmed the Court’s willingness to enforce specific contract requirements in order for contractors and subcontractors to secure More »

Pay When Paid Clauses

Pay when paid clauses are highly contentious provisions in the construction industry that all sub-contractors need to be aware of.  In the normal course, a contractor must continue to pay a sub-contractor More »


Types of Damages in Defamation Actions

In an action for defamation a plaintiff may be entitled to an award for the following types of damages: (a) general, (b) special, (c) aggravated, and (d) punitive.

General Damages

General damages in defamation cases flow from the defamatory publication and are to compensate the plaintiff for any harm to his or her reputation or emotional well-being. This is often referred to as compensation for the “sting” of the defamation.[1]

Libel & Slander Act v The Internet

Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act[1] contains certain notice and claim requirements and deadlines which, if not followed, will act as a bar against any potential action for defamation.  In particular:

  • Section 5(1) provides that no action for libel in a “newspaper” or in a “broadcast” lies unless a plaintiff, within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge, gives written notice to the defendant.
  • Section 6, for its part, states that an action for a libel in a “newspaper” or in a “broadcast” must be commenced within three months after the libel has come to the knowledge of the person defamed.

Primer on Fraudulent Conveyance Claims

The Fraudulent Conveyances Act provides that the court can declare a transfer of property void if the intention of the person who made the transfer was to defeat or delay his or her creditors. [1]  This can happen where an individual is attempting to hide assets from a creditor or ex-spouse.

The statute is designed to stop a debtor from hiding assets from creditors by fraudulently transferring the assets to another person.  If it is applicable, an Order under the statute makes property that was fraudulently conveyed available for execution on behalf of the creditors of the transferor.[2]

Contractor/Sub-Contractor Entitlement to Payment for “Extras”

In a “fixed price” or “stipulated price” contract the contractor has agreed, by way of successful bid or non-bid agreement, to perform the work set out in the contract documents (which would include tender documents) for a fixed price.  [Note the term contractor will be used herein, although the term sub-contractor could be substituted throughout].  Further, below sets out the general or typical rules, but keep in mind that the specific contract rules the day and it may modify what is and is not compensable extra work and the steps that are required to be taken by a contractor who seeks to claim for extra work.  If you have an issue regarding the interpretation of a construction contract or with respect to a claim for the payment of extra work you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Update on the Duty to Perform Contracts Honestly

Just over a year ago the Supreme Court arrived at its decision in Bhasin v. Hrynew where the Court established that there is a free standing duty of honesty in contractual performance, which essentially means that “parties must not lie or otherwise knowingly mislead each other about matters directly linked to the performance of the contract”.  I previously wrote about that decision here.

The Bhasin decision has since been considered in over 95 decisions across Canada, over 40 of which are from Ontario.   Below is a brief summary of several recent Ontario decisions where a breach of the duty to perform honestly has been found to have occurred.