Canadian Lawyer

April 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.canadianlawyermag.com 7 tant question regarding the ability of the Board to consider the Charter in making deci- sions under each of the statutes over which it has jurisdiction." The implications of this case — and a similar one launched earlier by Stadler — are important for social assistance allowances in Manitoba and across Canada, says Stadler's lawyer, Karen Burwash. She notes that most provinces have similar rules. "There are a lot of people who are on social assistance because of some form of disability who through no fault of their own have to go on social assistance," says Burwash. Stadler had decided he preferred to apply for OAS/GIS at 70 instead of 65, as it would increase his benefits by 36 per cent. The board suspended his social assistance income based on a provision in The Manitoba Assistance Act that recipients of social assistance must apply for other programs as soon as eligible. The board argued that it "does not have the jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of its own legislation" and can't determine whether the regulations infringe on Stadler's Charter rights. Stadler's case is the second he has taken to court to fight a Manitoba Social Services Appeal Board decision. The computer engi- neer, who isn't able to work because of a phys- ical disability, took his first case to the appeal court to fight a 2014 decision saying he had to apply to collect his Canada Pension Plan at age 60, rather than at age 65. In May, the court of appeal found that Stadler's Charter rights were violated in being forced to apply for CPP at 60. University of Manitoba law clinic goes online Q&A L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic: » Named after University of Manitoba alumnus [LLB/80] » Clinic offers help to small businesses, entrepreneurs, arts organizations on a pro bono basis » Organized by Nick Slonosky [LLB/79] » Lisa Fainstein [LLB/79], former associate dean academic, is program adviser » Number of students enrolled in clinic this academic year: 31 Nick Slonosky Organizer L. KERRY VICKAR BUSINESS LAW CLINIC Nick Slonosky is one of the organizers of a revamped business law clinic at the University of Manitoba. Originally a class for 12 third-year students who would go to law firms for practical experience, the new online format allowed students to work virtually with law firms and clients to help Manitoba entrepreneurs and innovators with legal problems on a pro bono basis at a time when the pandemic has made them strapped for cash. Canadian Lawyer caught up with Slonosky to talk about the class. You knew this year's version of the L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic was going to be different. But were there any surprises? We received an overwhelming interest from the student. Students, especially those interested in business law, were telling us, "Look, we want that that experience, we want that course." It ended up that one- third of the graduating class this year participated in the course, more than 30 students. What role did COVID-19 play in how the course was developed? We knew it would have to be an online experience. It was also the perfect time to do this. We realized that because of the pandemic, many small businesses, arts organizations and startups are hurting and probably need help. Many of them likely can't afford legal services. We said, OK, folks, if you are in this category, we're happy to talk to you. So, the law school decided to open a virtual, online version of the course to as many students as possible. The result of that was that 31 students or about one-third of this year's graduating class at the law school joined the course, making it one of the largest university-based business law clinics in Canada, helping others on a pro bono basis. What was the goal for students taking the course? For students, it was a chance to learn skills including client, risk and transaction management, entity choice and formation, drafting techniques, legal research, regulatory compliance, good governance, stakeholder activism and social responsibility. The clinic's goal is to expose students to the practical aspects of corporate and commercial law carried out with professional responsibility and a sense of public obligation. What has been the response from businesspeople using the services of the clinic? They are so grateful that, during a pandemic, when money is tight, there's a service like ours offering to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. In fact, we've had clients who say they don't have a lawyer so have gone online to try to prepare some legal document. And they are just so thankful that we can review what they've done, because the last year has been pretty rough. So, they are happy that somebody is prepared to even talk to them without having to pay. We know that small business is what's making jobs for Canadians and our students are here to give it to them, which makes me so proud. "There are a lot of people who are on social assistance because of some form of disability who through no fault of their own have to go on social assistance." Karen Burwash

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