Archive for the ‘Lawyers’ Category

Federal Court’s unilingual decisions unacceptable

Posted on: May 1st, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

The Federal Court of Canada needs to push forward on posting judgments in both official languages, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) has spent the last decade investigating the time lag between the release of original decisions online and the translated version, which can often take months or even years. But the office has failed to come to a resolution with the Courts Administration Service (CAS), which is responsible for the release of decisions by the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Tax Court of Canada.

“It’s quite shocking that you can be waiting that long for a decision in your language,” Deliscar tells

The OCOL received its first complaint on the matter back in 2007, with most concerning decisions posted in English without the French versions. However, some refer to French-language decisions and their outstanding English counterparts.

In 2015, the OCOL concluded that CAS had breached the Official Languages Act, but Interim Commissioner Ghislaine Saikaley has expressed frustration at the lack of action since then, even demanding a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada to settle the matter.

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Pets are property, not children: judge

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

A Saskatchewan court decision should serve as a reminder that Canadian law does not treat family pets in the same way as children, no matter how much their owners might like them to, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Danyliuk recently rejected an interim exclusive possession application that asked him to take a “custody approach” to the question of where two family dogs should live after the couple’s separation.  

Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish, says she’s not surprised to see pet owners using child custody proceedings as the template for their cats, dogs and other creatures.

“Some people will spend as much time, money and effort on their animals as their own children, but pets are generally considered property in law, which is something I think many people don’t know,” she tells “When you do a will, you can bequeath the family dog or cat just like you would any other piece of property.”


Grandparents’ rights bill feeds misconceptions

Posted on: March 9th, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

New provincial legislation could exacerbate grandparents’ misconceptions about their rights in custody cases, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

Bill 34, which recently received royal assent at Queen’s Park, amends the Children’s Law Reform Act to explicitly include grandparents as people who can initiate a custody application in court. The bill also forces judges to consider their emotional ties with their grandchildren when deciding what is in the best interest of the child.

But Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a firm that offers legal services in English, French and Spanish, says the new legislation changes little in practice.

“The grandparent advocacy movement has been around for quite some time, but it really seems to be picking up steam,” Deliscar tells “I think much of it comes from the fact that people think grandparents have a legal right to see their grandchildren when, in fact by default, they don’t.”

Deliscar says she’s glad the bill didn’t result in any more substantive rights.  

“I personally think it’s dangerous to give too many people rights to custody and access. If you’ve got two sets of grandparents, plus the parents, that can make for a really complicated situation,” she says. “Ultimately, it’s parents who are supposed to do what’s best for their children.”   

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Eight Ways Shy Lawyers Can Find Mentors

Posted on: February 23rd, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

This article was previously published in Attorney at Work.



Eight Ways Shy Lawyers Can Find Mentors

I have always considered myself an introvert. I always admire those individuals who show no restraint as their laughter booms across the room, or who talk nonstop and excitedly to someone they have just met. But, alas, that has never been me.

As such, I struggled, particularly early on in my legal career, to connect with the colleagues and mentors all lawyers need to know to advance and succeed in their career. Through trial and error, I learned how to find the right ones to connect with who could mentor me, either formally or informally. To my delight, there are many ways to find mentorship and help from fellow lawyers, whether you are new to the practice of law or a seasoned practitioner. The questions never end.

1. State Bar and Law Society Mentorship Programs

Most state bars and law societies have mentorship programs to assist solo and small firm lawyers in finding the support they need. Senior and midlevel lawyers volunteer their time to provide short-term or long-term mentorship to lawyers who self-identify via a separate mentoring application. It has been well-documented that solo practitioners often struggle to build strong networks, and these programs aim to fill that gap. The programs are already paid for as part of your annual dues and licensing fees, so why not take advantage of the help?

Added bonus: Some mentorship and coaching programs qualify for continuing legal education credits. Ask your CLE regulator for information. I have personally benefited from a mentorship program provided by my provincial regulator, which I used at a time when I was restarting and rebranding my practice. Mentorship programs can focus on specific practice areas, or target specific demographics.

2. Voluntary Bar Association Mentorship Programs

Akin to state bar and law society mentorship programs, many voluntary bar associations also offer mentorship programs. Again, these programs are normally included in the membership fee, so file an application if you are looking for support.

3. Lawyer Referral Services

Lawyer referral services are not just for the public, although that is their main purpose. I have had lawyers use the law society’s lawyer referral service to find me when they needed to refer a file and didn’t have the name of a specific lawyer. I have also used lawyer referral services myself to refer out files and to ask specific substantive law questions. There are also many private lawyer referral services online that can connect you to a potential mentor. In addition, if you are member of a roster such as an employee assistance program (EAP) lawyer roster, ask the roster manager for a referral to a lawyer who could assist you. I did exactly that when I needed some help, and it has been a valuable relationship.

4. Executive Members of Bar Association Committees

Lawyers who volunteer their time for bar leadership positions are typically “in the know.” Bar association involvement exposes executive and committee members to hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers throughout their tenure. Thus, they are usually in a good position to refer you to the right lawyer.

5. Volunteer Programs

Do you volunteer for charities, nonprofits or other organizations? Programs that explicitly require lawyer volunteers are fantastic ways to connect with potential mentors. You already have one thing in common from the start: a shared passion for a charitable cause.

6. Webinars, Seminars and Conferences

I have had great experiences making contacts at CLE programs and continuing those relationships after the event. I wound up getting some estate law advice from an attorney I met at a conference and, in turn, I connected her with a lawyer in her jurisdiction when she needed help with succession planning for her firm. Another lawyer I met years ago at a conference for junior litigators mentored me informally, and I referred files to him.

If the thought of going to any in-person CLE makes you cringe, try volunteering to be part of the event’s planning committee (or even a speaker). Involvement in planning an event automatically draws attendees to you.

7. Other Legal Professionals

Do not overlook the vast knowledge of non-lawyer legal professionals, especially those who have worked supporting attorneys and law firms for many years. Administrators, marketing professionals, paralegals, court clerks and even process servers can be excellent sources of information to direct you to the right lawyer for a mentorship relationship.

8. LinkedIn and Other Social Media Sites

LinkedIn is a great tool for finding lawyers to connect with, especially if you need to locate a lawyer outside your particular jurisdiction. I have met lawyers primarily via LinkedIn and Twitter who I would not have connected with otherwise. It is relatively easy to take the online relationship offline by meeting for a networking lunch, for example. I am always amazed at how many local lawyers connect first online. I have also had lawyers from other countries contact me for a variety of reasons, and I have done the same.

If They Don’t Know You Need Assistance, They Can’t Give It

I have learned that my shyness and trepidation in reaching out was unfounded. In my experience, lawyers have always been willing to help, whether through short-term or long-term mentorship commitments or by answering a quick question on the spot. Some help, if not most, will be free. But shy or otherwise, infringing on another’s busy schedule beyond what they have agreed to offer is a fast way to end a relationship. I always offer to pay, especially when significant help is requested. I see it as an investment in my continuing legal education.

In addition, I truly believe people get help when it is evident they are willing to do the work themselves to move their careers forward, and when the mentees show that they will pay that help forward someday.

This article was previously published in Attorney at Work.

“Top Family Law and Estates Law Cases of 2016” Webinars – Jan 31/17 and Feb 7/17

Posted on: January 30th, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar is offering a pair of online sessions this winter in partnership with, aimed at highlighting 2016’s top cases in both family and estates law.

On Jan. 31, Deliscar, founder of Deliscar Professional Corporation, will present the ‘Top Family Law Cases of 2016’ webinar at 1 p.m., which will highlight the key decisions from Ontario case law in 2016 that will have the most impact on family law practice. Course materials will include live links to the cases to be discussed.

And on Feb. 7, Deliscar will offer a one-hour webinar on the ‘Top Estate Law Cases of 2016’ at 1 p.m., where she will discuss key legal decisions that affect estates law. Course materials will include live links to the cases to be discussed.

Each course is eligible for 60 minutes of Substantive CPD content.

For more information or to register, click here.

SCC Selection Process and the Question of Bilingualism for Indigenous People

Posted on: December 8th, 2016 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

The government’s new Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) selection process should take into consideration that indigenous candidates are bilingual but the languages might not always be French and English, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

“Instead, they may speak French and Cree or English and Mohawk or any other First Nation language — and that should still be recognized,” she tells the online legal news service.

Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, says requiring all candidates to be fluent in French and English would exclude many indigenous judges from that top appointment because they’re not bilingual in both of the official languages but speak two other languages.

“I support the notion of bilingualism for judges totally, but I think bilingualism for First Nations candidates may not be English and French,” she says.

Deliscar, who speaks and practises law in English, French and Spanish, agrees with Sen. Murray Sinclair, former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who told the Canadian Press that requiring indigenous candidates to be “functionally bilingual” in both English and French creates unfair barriers for them.

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OBA Diversity Recommendations a Great Step Forward

Posted on: November 10th, 2016 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

The Ontario Bar Association’s (OBA) adoption of an organization-wide diversity statement and recommendations for change are great steps toward understanding the issue and to open a dialogue, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

“There has been a great deal of discussion about diversity in the profession over the last couple of years in Canada and the United States, and it has come to light that some lawyers might not feel as comfortable or as supported as they should be,” she tells “This problem should be addressed. It doesn’t just affect those lawyers; it also affects the people they serve.”

Deliscar, principal at Deliscar Professional Corporation, says it’s important there is an acknowledgement from the OBA, a voluntary professional organization and considered the voice of the industry, that there is a problem and more discussion is needed.

She weighs in on the issue after the OBA approved a series of recommendations following a panel discussion by the organizations’s Equality Committee. The discussion focused on diversity in leadership, as well as inclusion and representation within the OBA.

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“Nuts and Bolts of Your First Family Law Trial” – Webinar – October 25, 2016 – 1-2 p.m EDT

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

On Oct. 25, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar will present an online course aimed at providing counsel with best practices to use in order to successfully conduct a family law trial.

During the Nuts and Bolts of Your First Family Law Trial webinar, presented via from 1-2 p.m., Deliscar, founder of Deliscar Professional Corporation, will outline why family law counsel should always be prepared to conduct a trial should negotiations be unsuccessful.

Topics on the agenda include:

  • The structure of a family law trial
  • Trial management conferences
  • Pleadings as a foundation for trial preparation
  • Serving and filing documentary evidence
  • Preparing your client
  • Identifying and preparing witnesses
  • Identifying and preparing expert witnesses
  • Using the Family Law Rules to your client’s advantage
  • Dealing with self-represented litigants
  • Managing client expectations

The webinar is accredited for 15 Professionalism minutes and eligible for 45 Substantive minutes of CPD content for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s CPD requirements.

For more information or to register, click here.

Diversity Training should be part of Annual PD for Lawyers: Deliscar

Posted on: October 12th, 2016 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar says it would be beneficial if the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) considered requiring that all lawyers practising in Ontario take a course on diversity as part of their annual professional development.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened in Ontario because the LSUC has taken a number of steps to look at various issues around diversity, including how francophone clients in Ontario are serviced,” she tells “The law society has also looked at issues facing ethnic minority lawyers practising in Ontario showing great interest in ensuring that every licensee has a voice and that their experiences are documented.”

Deliscar’s comments on the issue come after an LSUC working group proposed that the regulator step in to ensure law firms and other legal workplaces take measures to eradicate systematic racism in the legal profession and to penalize those who fail, reports the Toronto Star.

The Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group studied the issue over the last four years and the LSUC benchers are expected to vote on the recommendations in its report on Dec. 2.

Deliscar notes that the New York City Bar Association and a coalition of bar groups for women and minorities are calling on the state court system to require attorneys to take courses in diversity and inclusion as part of their biennial registration.

The group said in a letter to a judge that it wants them to report a completion of the diversity CLE hours as part of their 20 hours of non-ethics credits, reports the New York Law Journal.

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Legal Aid, LSUC and the need for education around language rights

Posted on: September 27th, 2016 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Legal Aid Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada — through continuing education for lawyers — should reinforce the right to an interpreter in court for accused persons whose first language isn’t English, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

“Even for those lawyers who cannot attend, the promotion of this type of professional development will create a level of awareness about the issue — it will let lawyers know about what their obligations are under the different pieces of legislation, specifically when it comes to access to justice in different languages,” she tells

Deliscar comments on the issue following the Brampton case, R. v. Khandal, 2016 ONCJ 446 (CanLII), in which a judge dismissed an impaired driving charge against a man who wasn’t given access to a Punjabi interpreter when he spoke to a lawyer following his arrest, violating his right to counsel.

Police did try to accommodate the man’s language needs, but their conduct “fell below the standard of care reasonably expected of them in the circumstances,” Ontario Court Justice Paul Monahan wrote in his decision.

Bikkar Khandal was arrested on Oct. 8, 2015 at a RIDE spot-check in Mississauga. Once he was arrested and taken to the police station, officers called duty counsel, who provide free legal advice over the phone to people under arrest. The police officer requested a Punjabi interpreter, says the judge’s ruling.

The duty counsel lawyer, however, conducted the legal consultation with Khandal in English.

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