Archive for the ‘Lawyers’ Category

Official Languages Act review a good first step: Deliscar

Posted on: June 10th, 2019 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

The federal government’s review of the Official Languages Act is a welcome development, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

“It is time this decades-old law was brought up to date,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish.

“Many people have a hard time understanding what their language rights are, so we need more public education alongside that review.”

According to The Canadian Press, the government is planning a series of meetings across the country to address the 1969 Act, which “enshrined Canadians’ right to receive federal services in English or French.”

The news report quotes Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly as stating the government wants to help minority-language communities “meet the new challenges they face.”

Deliscar tells that many people don’t know which government services are offered in French, with the confusion compounded by the fact that some people don’t understand what the municipal, provincial or federal governments administrate.

She gives the example of licence plate renewal being a provincial service while passports fall under the federal umbrella, with only the latter available in both French and English everywhere in Canada.

“People think that since they are living in Canada, they can get French services anywhere they go, but that is not true,” Deliscar says.

Many people aren’t sure if they will be dealing with the federal or provincial levels of government,” she says. “All they know is that they just want to get it done.”

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Supreme Court decision a boost for language rights

Posted on: March 9th, 2019 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

A Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision shows how more judges are recognizing the importance of language rights, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

The unanimous nine-judge panel’s ruling upheld a Federal Court of Appeal judgment which overturned a Tax Court decision after the judge was found to have violated the official language rights of an insurance company’s lawyer and its witnesses.

According to the judgment, the trial judge ignored their wishes to testify and communicate in French because they were bilingual, while another party in the case spoke only English fluently.

“We’re seeing more and more that judges are becoming aware of how important language rights are as a part of access to justice,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish.

“It was pleasing to see the court recognize that these are principles of natural justice, and these rights are not something to be ignored anymore,” she adds.

The case involved a self-represented individual appealing the minister’s assessment of his employment with an insurance company during the year 2012. His former employer intervened, and several representatives were called to testify in court.

When one expressed a desire to speak French, the self-represented appellant requested an interpreter because of his basic French skills. Instead, the judge granted a break for counsel to reach a compromise, which resulted in the witness giving evidence in English.

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WEBINAR: “Top Estate Law Cases from 2018” – February 7, 2019

Posted on: January 24th, 2019 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

On Feb. 7 at 1 p.m., Suzanne Deliscar, founder of Deliscar Professional Corporation,in cooperation with, will present a webinar entitled Top Estate Law Cases from 2018. This one-hour course will look at key legal decisions that affect estate law cases. Course materials will include live links to the cases to be discussed.

This course is eligible for 60 Substantive minutes in Ontario.

To register, click here.


No new wills after testamentary capacity lost

Posted on: December 15th, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Family members create problems for themselves when they encourage a person to sign a new will after they’ve lost testamentary capacity, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

Ontario’s Court of Appeal recently upheld a trial judge’s decision to invalidate two wills made by a successful businessman within months of his diagnosis of brain cancer following a seizure.

The unanimous appeal court panel found the judge made no errors when ruling the man had lost testamentary capacity when he signed the new wills, which disinherited his daughter, his only child.

“No one is helped when you have someone sign documents when they’ve clearly lost capacity,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish. “People struggle with this idea, but once someone has lost capacity, they can’t execute any more documents. It’s too late.”

Still, she says beneficiaries who want to challenge a will for any reason need to back up their claims with evidence.

“People think it’s easy to challenge a will, but you really do need to have proof. You can’t just say you believe the testator lacked capacity, was unduly influenced or there was some other problem with the execution if it can’t be supported by evidence,” Deliscar explains.

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No way around French Charter for businesses operating in Quebec

Posted on: November 18th, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Businesses that want to operate in Quebec must abide by the province’s Charter of the French Language, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

A group of 11 Anglophone-owned Montreal businesses challenged the constitutionality of the French Charter after they were fined for violating provisions regarding product packaging, publications and commercial advertising.

However, the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the fines, and the Supreme Court of Canada recently refused the businesses’ leave to appeal to the nation’s top court.

“What’s important here is that the French Charter was deemed constitutional, which means there’s no way around it if you want to do business in Quebec,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish. “Operating in Quebec is not like any other province, and you have to follow the French Charter.”

She explains that the translation industry in Quebec was watching the decision closely because the French Charter forces many companies that want to expand their operations into the province from predominantly English-speaking jurisdictions to produce French-language versions of many of their internal and external materials.

Sections 51 and 52 of the French Charter require product packaging and company publications — including websites — to be in French as well as English, while s. 58 mandates that the French text in commercial advertising be “markedly predominant” when sharing space with content in English.

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Use of customs agents for traffic stop interpretation raises concerns

Posted on: October 21st, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Police should handle their own language interpretation services rather than calling in border officers for assistance, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

A recent story by Michigan-based M Live Media reported that local state police were using customs agents to assist with translation issues during traffic stops in the area around Detroit.

“I can see why it would raise concern, especially in the current climate in the U.S. regarding illegal immigration,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish. “There needs to be a division between the two functions because a traffic stop has absolutely nothing to do with customs and border protection.”

Deliscar says non-English speakers may feel intimidated by the involvement of border agents and the prospect that a traffic stop could turn into an investigation of a person’s immigration status.

“Although state police are not supposed to be involved in immigration enforcement activities, mixing the two forces in this way could give the impression that they are working together,” she says. “It makes more sense to use another department or a neutral party.”

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Multilingual lawyers and interpreters flock to Mexico-U.S. border

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

A recent mobilization of lawyers and interpreters at the U.S.-Mexico border is a good reminder of the value of multilingual professionals, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

According to the American Bar Association Journal, the group’s president recently travelled to South Texas as part of its effort to reunite families separated by the immigration policy of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

The bar association has teamed up with the American Immigration Lawyers Association to create the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project and recently put out a call for Spanish-speaking lawyers to improve communication with clients.

“When crisis occurs, it’s a great opportunity for multilingual lawyers to put their abilities to practise law and speak another language to use,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish.

“If there aren’t enough interpreters there, it’s very helpful to have lawyers who can converse with and offer legal advice to people in their native tongue,” she adds.

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Resources for Family Law Cases subject to Hague Convention

Posted on: May 17th, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Family law litigants serving documents abroad must make sure they do so in compliance with an international convention on the subject, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish, explains that a landmark 2016 Divisional Court decisionconfirmed that family law litigants in Ontario are subject to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention).

She says that cross-border mobility means that an increasing number of her family law cases have an international dimension, with the bulk of them featuring a party based in the U.S., a signatory of the Hague Convention.

“Canada is also a signatory, and it’s very important to ensure that documents are served in accordance with the procedures the convention sets out,” Deliscar says, adding that Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has created a number of resources to help lawyers and litigants with compliance, in partnership with the province’s Ministry of the Attorney General.

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Webinar: “Diversifying Your Practice to Reach Ethnic Communities” – May 1, 2018

Posted on: May 1st, 2018 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

On May 1, join Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar for a one-hour webinar aimed at lawyers who wish to market their practices to specific ethnic communities or language groups.

Deliscar, founder of Deliscar Professional Corporation, will share tools and best practices, and cover topics including:

— Why target specific ethnic groups/language groups in law firm marketing;

— Mediums to use when targeting specific ethnic communities;

— Using social media to target specific ethnic communities;

— Finding qualified translators and interpreters;

— Cultural sensitivity; and

— Providing legal services in other languages.

The webinar offers one hour of professional content accredited by the Law Society of Ontario.

To register, click here.


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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