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The Advocates’ Society has just announced that Eric R. Williams of Williams Litigation Lawyers LLP, is the 2024 recipient of The John P. Nelligan Award for Excellence in Advocacy. The award is presented to an advocate from Ottawa and the surrounding region who exemplifies excellence in advocacy. The award will be presented to Eric at the annual Ottawa Honouree Reception and Dinner, starting at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 9th, 2024, at the Château Laurier. You can view the award criteria and obtain information on tickets here.

Eric Williams is devoted to the law. He founded his own firm in 1978, of which he is now Counsel, and has achieved recognition for his work by being selected and named by his peers as one of the best lawyers in Canada. He has represented clients in all areas of civil and corporate litigation — at every level of Court in Canada—acting as counsel in over 185 civil court trials and appeals.

Drawn to the challenge of complex cases, Eric has a remarkable ability to articulate the connection between the facts and the law. His approach is characterized by diligence, hard work, and a sense of humour. He is regularly referred litigation by other lawyers, particularly in complex matters or appeals.

Since 2006, Eric has been voted by his peers as one of “Canada’s Best Lawyers” in the categories of Appellate Practice, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, and Insurance Law. Outside of Canada, his accomplishments as an advocate are also recognized, as he was invited into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2006.

Eric served the Ottawa community as a Deputy Small Claims Court Judge for over 15 years. He also informally acts as a mentor and teacher to lawyers both within and outside the firm on issues of advocacy. Eric is known as a lawyers’ lawyer with a reputation characterized by a high level of professional integrity. Congratulations Eric on this well-deserved recognition!  Those who wish to provide any messages to Eric can do so here.

CONGRATULATIONS to Eric Williams for once again being selected by his peers for inclusion in the 18th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2016 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 6.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers for:

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada for work in:

In response to the COVID pandemic, the Federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”), which was designed to provide workers who were laid off or had their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic with financial relief. However, there has been limited commentary from the courts on how this impacts an employee’s entitlement to notice pay.

This issue was examined by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Iriotakis v Peninsula Employment Services Limited, 2021 ONSC 998. In this case, the 56-year-old Plaintiff had worked for the Defendant for 2.33 years, with a base salary of $60,000.00, increased by sales commissions to a total of $145,186.30. His position was Business Development Manager, but his duties were not managerial in nature.

With regard to mitigation of damages, the Defendant argued that the CERB payments received by the Plaintiff ($2,000.00 per month) should be taken into account in calculating the appropriate notice period.

In examining the unique circumstances of the CERB, Dunphy J distinguished it from Employment Insurance benefits, commenting that “…CERB cannot be considered in precisely the same light as Employment Insurance benefits when it comes to calculating damages for wrongful dismissal. CERB was an ad hoc programme and neither employer nor employee can be said to have paid into the program or “earned” an entitlement over tome beyond their general status as taxpayers of Canada.”

Dunphy J found that, “on balance and on these facts” [emphasis added by Dunphy J], I am of the view that it would not be equitable to reduce Mr. Iriotakis’ entitlement to damages from his former employer by the amount of CERB given his limited entitlements from the employer post-termination relative to his actual pre-termination earnings.” He declined to offset CERB payments from the Plaintiff’s entitlement to notice pay.

Although Dunphy J’s comments suggest that the deductibility of CERB benefits may change on a case-by-case basis, the fact that the Court declined to offset the CERB payments in this case is a welcomed sign to employees that may be in a similar circumstances. However, considering the fact that the Plaintiff was earning a healthy income of around $140,000.00/yr prior to his termination, it is certainly questionable when it would be “equitable” to offset CERB payments from notice pay.


Williams Litigation Lawyers is now a limited liability partnership (LLP) as permitted by the Partnership Act and the Law Society Act, which Acts outline the exposure of partners and the firm under this new arrangement.  All other aspects of current solicitor/client relationships remain the same. 

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