Recorded communications between parties will only be admitted as evidence if the communication is with the person recording it and not with a third party. Recorded communications by a third party may be admitted as evidence if the person being recorded is made aware that they are being recorded. There are limited situations where an illegally obtained recording may be admitted into evidence where the probative value to a judge outweighs the prejudice to the person being recorded.
Generally, Judges do not admit recordings of conversations between parent and child or between parents and third parties like doctors or supervisors. Recordings are also excluded unless the issue before the judge is the parties’ interaction post-separation. Specifically:
Judges admit recordings if it is the only way to know the truth about the parties’ interactions regarding the children. Judges encourage the use Emails, texts and communication books since they provide a permanent record of the parties’ interactions and encourages the parties to be on their best behaviour.
A good rule of thumb is to always assume that your communications between the other party, whether written or by telephone, are recorded and such recordings can be used against you in court. In addition, you should always discuss with your lawyer your intention to record your ex prior to doing so.
When a marriage is ending, who gets the family pets? Are they merely property to be divided between the parties separating, or are they more than just property and the best interests of the family pet, like the best interests of the children, ought to be taken into consideration when deciding who gets the family pet?
Currently, the law in Ontario is that family pets are no different than property. That means that, generally, whoever brought the animal into the marriage will retain ownership of that animal. Cases where the animal was brought into an existing marriage are obviously more difficult. There are some judges who have recognized that family pets are more than just property and have attempted to consider what was in the best interests of the animal when deciding custody of that animal, however, that is not currently the law in Ontario. Treating pets as property may seem antiquated but with the various issues to deal with during a divorce, keeping pets out of litigation is likely the wisest course.
An alternative route such as mediation may provide a more cooperative, less-rigid context in which to settle pet-related issues. In mediation, ex-spouses can have greater flexibility to contemplate the best interests of the pet and create customized solutions for custody, visitation and financial support.
It may not seem fair that your after-work activities could affect your employment, but it’s an implied term of every employment contract that the employee will faithfully perform his or her duties, including refraining from behaviour that negatively impacts, or is likely to negatively impact, the employer’s legitimate business interests.
That means racist or sexist comments made on social media, or video’s of yourself engaging in less than desirable activities, could result in discipline from your employer or even termination. Generally, your actions or comments can negatively impact your employer where:
• The nature of the conduct prevents the employee from continuing to perform his or her duties (e.g., loss of credibility in a position of trust)
• Co-workers are reluctant to continue to work with the employee as a result of learning about his or her conduct
• There is a risk of injury to co-workers or members of the public
• The conduct has harmed or will harm the employer’s reputation or brand
Nowadays, employers often perform social media checks on their employees and it is more common for members of the public to contact your employer if they find your conduct particularly offensive.
Some may remember in 2015 there was an offensive trend of heckling female reporters on air by yelling “F--- her right in the p----.” The trend was known by the acronym FHRITP. Outside a Toronto FC soccer game in 2015, a group was asked by a reporter why they did it and why they thought it was funny. One in the group, Shawn Simoes, stepped forward to defend the conduct. Ultimately, it became known that Simoes worked for Hydro One and the incident became synonymous with Hydro One, which obviously had a negative impact on its reputation. Simoes’ was quickly fired although it's not known whether he was terminated for cause or not. The lesson here is that even though you may be “off the clock”, you still have a duty not to engage in public behaviour that could harm the reputation of your employer.