Articles by our Lawyers

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Defamation Lawyer, Gil Zvulony successfully defended an Anti-SLAPP motion for his client. The case involved postings about a real estate agent on WeChat.

An Anti-SLAPP motion seeks to have a legal proceeding dismissed because it is a proceeding that limits freedom of expression on a matter of public interest (Gag Proceeding). Mr. Zvulony was one of the first to test Ontario’s anti-SLAPP legislation in the courts in another case.

The full day motion was argued virtually using Zoom. The judge found in favour of Mr. Zvulony’s client and dismissed the Anti-SLAPP motion.

In his judgment, the judge thanked Mr. Zvulony for the superb quality of his oral and written submissions. The case can be found here: Niu v. Cao, 2020 ONSC 5407 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/j9kt8>

DISCLAIMER: This description is intended only to provide information about the activities and experience of our lawyers and should not be understood as a guarantee or assurance of future success in any matter. 

Gil Zvulony, internet lawyer is offering virtual notarization services (notary public services by remote video connection) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gil Zvulony is a licensed lawyer and notary public in and for the province of Ontario, Canada.

Virtual notarization is when an oath is administered or a document’s signing is witnessed by a notary public over a live video chat rather than at a physical meeting place.

A paper notarial certificate attesting to the oath or signing is later sent by mail and a video recording of the meeting is made.

Virtual notarization may be appropriate when a physical meeting is not possible, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our price for virtual notarization is $99 per document or signature notarized plus HST. You can pay us by Visa, Mastercard, or Interac e-transfer.

Wills, Powers of Attorney, Certified Copies cannot be notarized virtually.

You will need a smart phone or computer capable of exchanging high quality video and still images.

Disclaimer: Some jurisdictions, courts, and institutions may not accept a document that has been notarized virtually. It is up to you to ensure that virtual notarizations meet your legal requirements. We are not responsible if your document is rejected because it was notarized virtually. We do not provide you with any legal advice regarding what you are signing.

If interested please fill out the form below or call our office at 416-483-3500 x 707 to set up an online meeting.

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    By Karen Zvulony, Toronto Employment Lawyer

    Due to the fallout from the Covid-19/ Corona-virus pandemic, many employers have had to layoff employees, that is they have temporarily reduced employee hours or have had to stop them completely. Can an employer do so and expect an employee to return to work when business resumes to normal? 

    A temporary lay off occurs when an employer significantly reduces an employees work hours, or fails to provide them with any work and tells them to stay home but expects to recall the employee back to work at some future time. The employer does not tell the employee that their employment has ended. 

    In Canadian common law, the general rule is that employers do not have any legal right to “lay off” employees temporarily. There are some important exceptions to this general rule, such as unionized employees, if an employment contract provides for temporary lay-offs, if the nature of the employment contemplates layoffs (i.e. seasonal workers), or if the employee agrees to the layoff arrangement.  

    If an employee is temporarily laid off (Covid-19 related or not) and, it does not meet any of the one exceptions noted above then the law of Ontario treats that lay-off as a termination of the employment relationship.

    The employee could then claim any entitlements the employee may have such as damages for wrongful dismissal (i.e. for severance/pay in lieu of notice).  

    If the employee is later recalled to work, then any entitlement to damages for wrongful dismissal would be limited to the period of layoff. 

    Does Covid-19 Change the General Rule?

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    Would it be different for employees who are laid off because the government has mandated that their employer’s close their business due to Covid-19? It is too soon to tell for sure, as the courts have not dealt with this issue, but it is reasonable to presume Covid-19 precautions will change the general rule. 

    An employer who has been forced to close because of a government order due to Covid-19, could make a strong argument that the employment contract has been frustrated rather than terminated. 

    Frustration of contract refers to situations when the contract is incapable of being performed due to an unforeseen event (or events), and through no fault of either party. Whether or not the current pandemic would be considered as a “frustrating event”, is a legal argument that the courts will no doubt have to deal with. 

    If an employment contract is frustrated, then the employer is not terminating an employee, but rather the employment contract has simply come to an end. Since there is no termination, the employee would not be entitled to common law damages for severance or pay in lieu of notice. However, the employee is not completely out of luck as the Ontario Employment Standards Act provides that an employer must provide an employee with termination pay and severance in the event of frustration. This amount would be limited to the minimums outlined in the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

    If you have been laid off due to Covid-19, you may be entitled to severance. As each case is different, it is best to speak to an employment lawyer to see what your entitlements may be. 

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    The fear and danger of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused significant economic upheaval in Canada. Employees have had to cope with the crisis and adapt to the current reality.

    We have identified a number of legal issues in the form of employment law questions from an employee’s perspective resulting from the COVID-19 situation.

    If these questions affect you then you may wish to speak to Karen Zvulony our employment lawyer who can discuss your particular situation with you and offer some answers to your legal questions.

    Coronavirus Questions from An Employee’s Perspective

    • Does my employer have to pay me if I am unable  to work due to Covid-19? 
    • Can I lose my job if I have Covid-19?
    • Can I lose my job if I am looking after someone with Covid-19?
    • Am I entitled to any additional severance if my employment is terminated at this time? 
    • Does my employer have to accommodate me to work from home? 
    • Can I lose my job if I have to look after children who are home from school due to Covid-19 and cannot work as a result?
    • If I have paid holidays/vacation do I have to exhaust this first if I am not able to work due to Covid -19 or can I save my vacation pay/days and apply for EI? 
    • If I have paid sick days do I have to use my paid sick days before collecting a benefit from the government? 
    • If a family member is sent home due to a potential contact with a positive Covid-19 person can my employer refuse to allow me to come to work? If so, do they have an obligation to pay me?
    • Can my employer force me to self-isolate? If so, do they have to pay me during this time? 
    • Can I tell my employer I do not feel comfortable coming into work even though the company is still open and I am not showing symptoms?
    • A co-worker recently returned from abroad, I am nervous, can I refuse to go to work? 
    • Can my employer force me to get a doctor’s note?
    • What happens if my employer is refusing to give me an ROE because they say I can continue to work on a limited basis?
    • I am limited for what I can do while working at home. Can my employer make me take a pay cut or reduce my hours?
    • I am under a probationary period with my employer. How will this affect me being laid off during the Covid-19?
    • I was on sick leave unrelated to COVID-19 and am now able to return to work. My employer is saying to stay home. What do I do?
    • Can an employer still terminate me during this time, even if my job has not been affected by COVID-19?
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    The fear and danger of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused significant economic upheaval in Canada. Businesses and individuals have had to cope with the crisis and adapt to the current reality.

    We have identified a number of legal issues in the form of employment law questions from an employer’s perspective resulting from the COVID-19 situation.

    If these questions affect you or your business then you may wish to speak to Karen Zvulony our employment lawyer who can discuss your particular situation with you and offer some answers to your legal questions.

    Coronavirus Questions from An Employer’s Perspective

    • Do I have to continue to pay employees who have tested positive for Covid-19 or are in quarantine? What about employees who have chosen to self-isolate?
    • I have been forced to close my business temporarily, what are my obligations to my employees? Does it make a difference if I voluntarily choose to close? 
    • As an employer, what are my liabilities if an employee in my workplace tests positive for Covid-19?
    • Can I fire an employee who has Covid-19 and did not report it?
    • I have an employee that was underperforming for some time and want to terminate them now, can I?
    • Am I required to allow employees to work from home? 
    • What are my obligations if an employee refuses to come to work? 
    • What if an employee cannot work remotely or otherwise due to childcare responsibilities due to the school closures?
    • If I have to lay off some employees but not all, how can I lay off without showing favoritism or the employee claiming a Human Rights issue?
    • I recently hired some employees who have not yet started, given the current situation, I no longer have work for them, what are my obligations if any?
    • Can I retract any offers of employment due to the current situation? 
    • What if one of my employees is using this crisis as an excuse?
    • Can I stop an employee from travelling? 
    • Can I give an employee the option of taking a wage cut/reduced hours in lieu of a layoff or termination? 
    • What can I ask employees or potential employees about their health?
    • Can I fire an employee that refuses to come to work because they want to self-isolate, yet I see on their social media that they are out in public places? 
    • I have an employee that has family members whom they live with that recently returned from abroad, can I refuse to allow them to return to work? If so, do I have to pay them? 
    • Do I have to give employees severance who are terminated due to Covid-19? 
    • Do I have to rehire the same employees back after they have been laid off due to Covid-19?
    • Do I have to accommodate employees to work remotely from home? What if this is not possible? 

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    Due to the current Covid-19 (corona-virus) outbreak and the advice of public health authorities to practice “social distancing”, we have decided to temporarily close our physical office.

    Operations will continue remotely.

    Our lawyers are available to meet with our clients or consult new clients by telephone or video conference. Our support staff are equipped to support our lawyers and clients remotely.

    If you wish to deliver something to our office then please call us ahead of time to make appropriate arrangements.

    We hope to return to our office when this pandemic passes.

    Thank you,

    Gil Zvulony

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    Toronto Internet lawyer discusses the law with respect to online pranks and challenges.

    Toronto Defamation lawyer Gil Zvulony spoke recently with the national media about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s threat of defamation proceedings against opposition leader Andrew Scheer. Mr. Zvulony believes that Trudeau faces an “uphill battle” in court and that a defamation lawsuit in Ontario would likely get dismissed under Ontario’s Anti-Gag Proceedings law.

    A video Clip with the CBC is below.

    The interview with the Post Millennial can be found here:


    Trudeau risks more by suing Scheer: defamation expert

    Trudeau takes big risk, for faint hope at winning libel suit against Scheer: defamation expert

    Toronto lawyer and defamation expert Gil Zvulony says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s threat to sue Conservative leader Andrew Scheer over comments he made about the PM’s conduct involving ex-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould is “a bad move”.

    By Blogtrepreneur (Legal Gavel & Closed Law Book) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

    Gag Proceeding Dismissed

    Toronto Defamation Lawyer Gil Zvulony successfully represented his client in the Ontario Court of Appeal, in a precedent setting case that was one of the first to test Ontario’s anti-SLAPP legislation (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) in the courts. A good background on the case was published by Maclean’s magazine at the time of the lower court decision: How a Real Estate Developer’s Efforts to Silence a Critic Failed. That article described the dispute as “a defamation lawsuit filed by a Goliath of the syndicated mortgage industry against a veritable David of real estate analysts.”

    The  Court of Appeal sided with Mr. Zvulony’s client and agreed that the lawsuit should be dismissed under the new law. The Court found that “this lawsuit had the strong indicia of a true SLAPP.” The Court found that the “contract” being sued on, a contract that sought to silence Mr. Zvulony’s client from speaking about the defendants, would not be enforced as it unduly interfered with Mr. Rabidoux’s right to express himself on matters of public interest. It is one of the few Canadian decisions to examine the enforceability of a “contract of silence”.

    In addition to having the lawsuit dismissed Mr. Zvulony’s client was awarded his full indemnity costs in the lower court and his costs of the appeal.

    • Court of Appeal Decision: Fortress Real Developments Inc. v. Rabidoux, 2018 ONCA 686 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/htqb7>
    • Lower Court Decision: Fortress Real Developments Inc. v Rabidoux, 2017 ONSC 167 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/gwt81>

    DISCLAIMER: This description is intended only to provide information about the activities and experience of our lawyers and should not be understood as a guarantee or assurance of future success in any matter. 

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    What are the legal repercussions when someone is the subject of a false and damaging statement in the workplace. Are there any special considerations that apply to the workplace?