Rolling with SOLUS: registering for Certificate courses at Queen’s

Arrow goes through maze

Cut through registration confusion with our SOLUS guide!

Queen’s has a number of standalone learning sites: you’ll be taking your courses in OnQ, for instance, and registering for the Certificate and its courses through our own course manager, SOLUS.

SOLUS is a powerful tool – and can be a little daunting for the first-time user. Here’s a quick primer on how to find and enroll in the courses you want to take:

1. Be enrolled at Queen’s!

We strongly encourage you to enroll in the Certificate program before taking Certificate courses. That being said, if you’re not already a Queen’s student, you will need to enroll at Queen’s in some capacity before SOLUS is available to you. If you’re not a registered student at the university, none of the below steps will work.

2. Login to the SOLUS Student Centre

Once you’ve enrolled at Queen’s, you’ll have your NetID and password. You’ll need those to log into the SOLUS Student Centre.

a. Visit and log in using your NetID and password.
b. Click the “SOLUS” banner on the upper right of the page.





3. Check your “Enrollment Appointment” to see when you can enroll in classes

Enrollment AppointmentAlmost as important as enrolling in classes is knowing when you can enroll in classes. Queen’s lets students get a “sneak preview” of when enrollment opens up for them. Here’s how it works:
In SOLUS, a window will appear on the right side of your screen telling you when you can start adding courses to your SOLUS shopping cart, and when you can enroll.
This window traditionally appears on the second Monday of July for fall and winter courses, and the first Monday of February for summer courses.
Make a note of when your shopping cart will open and when you can formally enroll for classes.

4. Choose your classes

Adding classes to your “shopping cart” can be done before you formally enrol. Either way, the process is the same:
a. In the “Academics” section of your SOLUS page, click “Enroll.”
b. Choose the right term that you want to take classes in. “Fall” classes start in September; “Winter” classes start in January; “Summer” classes start in May.
c. The easiest way to find Certificate courses is to search for them: click “Class Search” and the “Search” button. Then select “Law Studies” under “Subject”, keep “Undergraduate” as the Course Career and select “Online” as your Mode of Instruction.
d. From the search results, click the blue class name for the class you’re interested in. Confirm it’s the right class in the Class Detail page, then click “Select Class” at the bottom of the page.
e. Confirm all the class information, then click NEXT to view your shopping cart, and finally enroll.
This PDF walks through every step of the process with screenshots.

5. Tracking Your Fees

If you’d like to see all the activity associated with your account, select “Account Activity” in the dropdown under “Finances” in the SOLUS Student Centre.

6. Enjoy Your Classes!

SOLUS can be hard to navigate for the first-timer. If you’d like even more information on how it works, you can visit the SOLUS help page at the Queen’s University registrar site — it has more, and more detailed, instructions on our course registration system.

Unpacking pipeline challenges: Fundamentals of Canadian Law Episode 11

Oil Pipeline

The Kinder Morgan / Government of Canada pipeline is being challenged by both provinces and Indigenous groups. What laws pertain to these challenges?

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the Kinder Morgan — soon, Government of Canada — pipeline.British Columbia has challenged it, as have several Indigenous groups. But what laws govern their ability to challenge this national project? We explore first the distinction between federal and provincial powers with Associate Dean Cherie Metcalf, teacher of the Constitutional Law module in our Introduction to Canadian Law course… and then dive into Indigenous and Aboriginal law, chiefly the “duty to consult,” with the creator and instructor of our Aboriginal Law course, Hugo Choquette.

Curious about the cases Hugo cites in his portion? Here are the links:

Haida Nation:

Chippewas of the Thames v Enbridge:


Tsleil-Waututh Nation Assessment of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline:×17.pdf

What protects workers in Ontario? Oh — it’s OHSA!

From Employers to Employees – OHSA Defines Safety in Ontario

Occupational Health and Safety

Employees in Ontario are protected by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

If you’re at work or own a business in Ontario, odds are the Occupational Health and Safety Act is relevant to you. OHSA applies to almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in the province. Under the Act, employees, supervisors, and employers have certain rights and responsibilities to ensure that employees are not hurt at work or subject to violence.
Let’s break it down by category – from bosses, to supervisors, to employees.

Employer Responsibilities

Employer responsibilities are in section 25 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Some of these include:

  1. Take Reasonable Precautions: Employers must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers.
  2. Equipment, Materials and Protective Devices: Employers must provide the required equipment, materials and protective devices, to ensure that they are in good condition, and to ensure that they are being used properly by workers.
  3. Appointing Competent Supervisors: Employers are also under a duty to make sure that site supervisors know enough and have enough experience and training to keep workers safe and healthy while they work.
  4. Create Health and Safety Policies and Procedures: Employers are also required prepare and review a written occupational health and safety policy and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy.
  5. Cooperate with the Health and Safety Committee: Employers have a duty to cooperate and assist the health and safety committee representatives.
  6. Health and Safety Training: The Ministry of Labour says that what you don’t known can hurt you. Employers are required to ensure that their employees complete a health and safety awareness training program before they start work—you have probably completed one of these programs if you have ever been employed. This training should tell the employee about both their and their employer’s duties and rights under the Act, common workplace hazards and occupational illnesses that they could be exposed to, WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), and the roles of health and safety representatives, joint health and safety committees, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Supervisor Responsibilities

The main duties of supervisors are listed under section 27 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. These include:

  1. Take Reasonable Precautions: Like the employer, supervisors also have a duty to take every reasonable precaution for the protection of a worker.
  2. Ensure Safe Work: Supervisors have a duty to ensure that workers are working in a safe manner with protective devices, measures and procedures required by the Act and are using or wearing required equipment, protective devices or clothing.
  3. Provide Information and Instructions: Supervisors are also required to advise workers of potential or actual dangers to their health and safety and to provide them with written instructions respecting the protection measures and procedures.

Worker’s Rights and Responsibilities

Workers have the right under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all of which relate to the right to be safe at work. The three main rights of workers are:

  1. The Right to Participate: Workers have the right to report workplace hazards and to participate in resolving health and safety concerns with their employers and their workplace’s health and safety committee.
  2. The Right to Know: Workers have the right to know about any hazards in their workplace and to receive training before beginning work on the types of hazards they may be exposed to and how to respond to those hazards.
  3. The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: Under Part V of the Act, workers have the right to refuse or stop work where their health or safety is in danger.

Workers not only have rights under the Act, they also have responsibilities. This is to ensure that neither they, nor their co-workers are subject to hazards or violence at work. These responsibilities are listed under section 28. Some of these responsibilities include:

  1. Reporting Workplace Hazards: Under the Act, workers have a responsibility to report hazards they know of to the supervisor or employer as soon as possible so that the hazards can be investigated and remedied.
  2. Wearing Protective Equipment: Workers have a responsibility to wear or use the protective equipment that is required by the Act or by their employer. This includes a duty not to disable any protective elements on machines that the worker will be using.

This is just some of what the OHSA covers. If you’re a worker – or business owner – in Ontario, you should know what’s in it and how it applies to you! And if you’re interested in workplace issues, consider the Workplace Law course in the Queen’s Certificate in Law.

– Isabelle Crew

You Don’t Really Own “Your” Land – Fundamentals of Canadian Law 10

Bayeux tapestry - Norman invasion of England

What does William the Conqueror have to do with property law in Canada? A lot! Find out more in this podcast.

Property law is complex — fee simple, escheats, and William the Conqueror all come into play when we’re talking about ownership of property in Canada. Fortunately, the Dean of Queen’s Law, Bill Flanagan, took some time out of a busy schedule to drop by and shed some light on both the laws governing land, and the “finders keepers” principle of personal property.

Join us for a fascinating conversation about history, the Crown, property ownership, playground rhymes, and more!

What Kind of Property Rights Can I Hold?

Property as a legal concept is best understood not as an object, but as a bundle of rights that a legal person possesses. The pertinent legal question isn’t what you “own” but what you have the right to do with it. We are going to focus on “real property”, which is a type of property that is associated with land and things that are attached to it (e.g. a house). The law on this is different from “personal property”, which is property not attached to land—like your laptop.

You can have many different types of interest in real property. They are different not because the type of property is different (e.g. house versus farm), but because of what the person who holds the property has the legal right to do. There are many different rights that attach to real property interests—they are wide ranging and will vary depending on the nature of the proprietary interest.

Fee Simple

The most basic kind of proprietary interest is an interest in fee simple—this is what most people are referring to when they say they “own” a house, a cottage, or a farm.

Cottag with for sale sign

“Owning” property in Canada actually means having certain rights over it. Your grandpa’s cottage is governed by the rights your grandpa has over that property…

A fee simple estate is the highest and most complete interest in the land that can be recognized by law. The owner of the fee simple estate can exercise all rights of ownership over the land infinitely.

For example, my great-grandfather owned a cottage on a piece of land up near Algonquin Park. In legal terms, what he had was a fee simple estate.

With the fee simple estate, he had a bundle of rights. For example, he held the right to:

  • Occupy the property;
  • Exclude others from the property;
  • Sell the property;
  • Rent the property (we will discuss leaseholds and residential tenancy in another post);
  • Divide the property into smaller fee simple estates;
  • Destroy the property;
  • Use the property as security, for example, by taking out a second mortgage; and
  • Will the property to his children after he died.

Unless he granted anyone else any rights, he was the only person who held these rights. His rights under fee simple were complete and indefinite.

In 2005, he passed away. What happened to his fee simple interest in that land and cottage after that? A fee simple interest has no end date— it is indefinite, meaning that it survives even after a person dies, which means that it can be willed to another person who will possess all the same rights. Even where a fee simple estate is not willed, it still exists and descends intestate to the owner’s heirs—again, this is because it is indefinite.

My great-grandfather willed the property to my great-uncle, who decided to sell it. When he sold the property, he sold the fee simple—he didn’t just sell the cottage and the land, he sold all the rights that attached to it. Because the fee simple is absolute, it means that he no longer held any rights to the property.

This is just fee simple, we’ll look at other property rights in future posts!

— Isabelle Crew, Queen’s Law’18

The Most Expensive Comma in the World — Fundamentals of Canadian Law

Comma dreams of moneyWhat’s in a comma? A lot of zeroes, sometimes — Law 204/704 developer Peter Kissick joins us to talk about a legendary case involving a comma, utility poles and $2.1 million dollars. That’s a gateway to a broader conversation about contracts: what they are, how they work, and what most of us are getting absolutely wrong.

Comma in question

The comma in question: this piece of punctuation cost a Canadian company over $2 million.

What Did I Agree To? Contracts in our Everyday Lives

Contracts govern many aspects of our day-to-day lives—they are one of the fundamental ways that society is ordered. You likely engage in dozens of activities governed by contract every day, usually without considering the legal relationships you are entering into and engaging in.

At its most fundamental level, a contract is an agreement that will be enforced because it represents the communication of a commitment to engage in a reciprocal measured exchange – in other words, the exchange of valuable promises that in turn create obligations to do or not do something.

Contracts are everywhere!Communication and exchange are central to the formation of a contract. For a contract to be formed there must be offer and acceptance, and there must be consideration (something of value must be exchanged… contracts are not the same as gratuitous promises, where one of the parties receives no benefit of value).

While there are many more rules that relate to when and how contracts are formed this basic definition can help us understand when we might enter into a contract.

In this post we will discuss some everyday activities you likely engage in, and their contractual nature.

We can consider a few examples from my day today:

The first thing I did when I woke up was to check my phone and respond to emails. I have a contract with my phone company—in consideration for me paying a certain fee every month, they provided me with a phone, as well as with access to their cell towers. I accepted this offer when I signed my phone contract and began using their service.

When I checked my email account, I was in a contractual relationship with Google. When I send or receive content through a Google Service I give Google and its affiliates a worldwide license to use that content for certain purposes, per the Google Terms of Service. As consideration for those licences, Google provides me with access to its Services. Google offers these services publicly and I enter into a contract by creating an account and agreeing to the Google Terms of Service.

Dealing with email is hungry work, so I decided to grab breakfast at a campus coffee shop. I ordered a bagel and a large tea. The cashier told me that the total would be $5.05, which I paid in cash. Two minutes later I was handed a bagel and a large tea.

When I handed the cashier the money, I entered into a contract with the coffee shop. As consideration for a bagel and a large tea, I provided $5.05. I communicated my acceptance of their posted offer to provide tea and a bagel for $5.05 by ordering from the cashier and providing money. They fulfilled the terms of the contract by providing me with my food and beverage.

As you’ve seen, contracts have already been a part of just the very beginning of my day. Take a minute to think about your day so far: what have you done that has involved an offer, acceptance, and consideration? How many contracts have been involved with in the past hour? Can you think of one or more contracts that are allowing you to read these worlds right now?

Contracts are central to the ordering, not only of big businesses, but our everyday lives.

– Isabelle Crew

Who cares about constitutional law? — Fundamentals of Canadian Law 008

Canadian ConstitutionFor the average Canadian, the Constitution can seem pretty abstract. How does it affect me, a normal person, in a daily way? The answer is profoundly. For a clearer understanding of why public and constitutional law matters so much, we sat down with Jonathan Shanks, who has developed Law 205/705, Public & Constitutional Law, which launches this summer as part of the Certificate in Law. He breaks down why the constitution and public law matter so much to all of us, every single day.

How do you fit into constitutional law?

Woman and constitution intermixed

Your relationship with the Canadian Constitution may seem abstract, but it’s a document that has a daily effect on your life as a Canadian.

People sometimes think that public and constitutional law is an abstract concept – big ideas that don’t affect our daily lives.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

The rule of law, constitutional rights, judicial review, and federalism—these are central issues in public and constitutional law that affect us in a real and practical way.

At its most fundamental level, to understand public law and constitutional law is to understand power.

Specifically, how governments exercise power, and the relationship between the exercise of that power and the public.

Public and constitutional law establish the institutions and organs of government and grant them powers, but they also limit the exercise of government power. This ensures that power is not exercised arbitrarily, unequally, or absolutely. This defines how the government interacts with you!

Rule of Law

The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized the rule of law as a fundamental aspect of Canada’s Constitution. For example, in British Columbia v Imperial Tobacco, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that the rule of law embraces three interrelated principles:

  1. The law is supreme over all;
  2. Society must be governed by law;
  3. The relationship between the state and the individual must be regulated by law.

These rule of law principles provide stability and predictability in the legal system.

Constitutional Rights

Entrenched in the Constitution Act, 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides constitutional protection for human rights in Canada. The Charter includes provisions ensuring Fundamental Freedoms, Democratic Rights, Mobility Rights, Legal Rights, Equality Rights and Language Rights. The Charter is part of the supreme law of Canada. Laws enacted by Parliament and the legislatures and all government action must be consistent with the Charter. Any limits on Charter rights must be justifiable in a free and democratic society. The Charter also provides that “[a]nyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by [the] Charter, have been infringed” may apply to a court to have that infringement remedied. Charter rights are another important restraint on government power and how the law can impact us.

Judicial Review

Judicial review generally refers to the process through which the exercise of legal power can be challenged in the courts. The Courts can review both laws and government action for compliance with the Constitution and other legal norms. Courts are not the only bodies that can make legal decisions. Parliament and the legislatures have established a wide range of administrative tribunals.  These are designed to be less cumbersome, less expensive, less formal, and less time-consuming than courts. Tribunals can often resolve disputes in their area of specialization more expeditiously and more accessibly. Examples of tribunals include the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the National Energy Board, and many, many others. Because these bodies are delegated power by legislation, their authority is confined to the bounds of the delegation—another example of the rule of law at work! To avoid arbitrary, unreasonable, and biased, those who are affected by the decisions of these bodies can apply to the courts to have these decisions reviewed.

boot crushing people

The power the government has over us is limited and defined by the Constitution, and explored in public law.


Federalism refers to the constitutional division of the power to make laws between the federal Parliament and the provincial legislatures. Federalism is one way that the Constitution recognizes the unity of Canada with the diversity among the provinces. Matters of national importance tend to be within the authority of the Parliament of Canada, while local matters are left to the Provinces. For example, the federal Parliament can make laws in relation to, among other things: trade and commerce, currency, criminal law, banking, and national defence. The provincial legislatures can make laws in relation to, among other things: property and civil rights in the province, municipal institutions, and the administration of justice.

Interpreting the division of powers can be legally complex, but on a day-to-day level it impacts whether you are interacting with the federal or provincial government.

— Isabelle Crew

Be a Court Case Detective – Fundamentals of Canadian Law 007

Detective in a computer

You, too, can be a court sleuth — thanks to CanLII and the expert guidance of professor Mary Jo Maur!

Dive into the amazing world of case research with professor Mary Jo Maur, developer and instructor of Law 201/701 — Introduction to Canadian Law in this edition of the podcast! We plunge into the amazing world of CanLII, a Canadian online database that collects court decisions from across the nation, with a dizzying array of search options and ways to find exactly the information you’re looking for.

It’s pretty amazing! Mary Jo walks us through how to find almost anything related to court outcomes on CanLII, and also some valuable pointers on how to read the cases once you find them. If you’ve ever wanted to know — well, anything — about court cases and outcomes from coast to coast, this is 20-odd minutes you won’t regret spending with us.