Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AALL Spectrum Article on Discovery Tools in Law Libraries

The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), has an article on Discovery Layers in Law Libraries - A progress report on how our institutions are implementing this new technology.

Also called "web scale discovery" tools, these systems claim to offer a unified search of all of a library's offerings through a single interface. They are based on a pre-harvested centralized unified index of an institution's licensed and local collections, including journal databases, library holdings, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions, etc. to allow fast, simultaneous searching.

The author of the AALL Spectrum article ran into some of the same problems we did at my place of work when we looked into discovery tools:
"Most concerning are the restrictive and expensive licensing policies of the largest legal information publishers [i.e. Westlaw and Lexis - my note],whose materials are by and large unrepresented in discovery layer systems because of these restrictions. What is the benefit of marketing such a tool to our students and faculty if their most vital sources of information are nowhere to be found in the system?"
Here is an earlier Library Boy post on the subject: Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference - Web Scale Discovery (March 3, 2011).

You can find the full table of contents for the current December 2011 issue of the AALL Spectrum on the AALL website.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Special Report on National Security Organizations and Human Rights in Canada

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has released a report entitled Human Rights Accountability in National Security Practices. It recommends that Parliament pass legislation requiring national security organizations to publish tracking data showing how they meet obligations to respect human rights.

"The Government of Canada’s national security organizations operate in a challenging environment. They must protect Canada from complex domestic and foreign threats that evolve constantly. At the same time, they must respect human rights as they are defined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

"The effectiveness of these organizations depends in part on their capacity to earn and maintain the trust of the general public. Respect for human rights is not just a legal obligation; it is critical to earning that trust."

"National security and human rights objectives must not be pursued with an either/ or approach. The challenge is to find an appropriate balance. This fact has been acknowledged by the government, Parliament, the courts and national security organizations themselves. Yet, national security organizations have faced questions about the extent to which they respect human rights in the course of their work in Canada, and internationally"

"Concerns have been raised about issues such as the profiling of individuals on grounds that are prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act (the Act). Such concerns were reported as recently as March 2011, by the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism. Specific cases have linked Canadian officials and security organizations to human rights abuses involving Canadians at the hands of governments in other countries."

"Since 2001, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) has produced research papers on national security and human rights. This research has brought together contemporary evidence and analysis to help inform Parliamentary and public debate."

"The Commission has looked at issues such as Canada’s national security environment and human rights; racial or ethnic profiling; and how Canadian security organizations report on human rights issues in their work."

(...)

"Analysis of a decade of research clearly shows that there are no means to assess the human rights performance of Canada’s national security organizations. Not only is there no accountability framework in place, national security organizations are not required to collect and report data on human rights performance in practice."

"This Report recommends that Canada’s national security organizations be required to demonstrate, with the support of evidence, that they are committed equally to the protection of national security and the respect for human rights, not just in word, but in practice."

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill on Adding New House of Commons Seats

The Library of Parliament has made available its legislative summary of Bill C-20: An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and the Canada Elections Act:
"The bill amends the Constitution Act, 1867 by readjusting the number of members and the representation of the provinces in the House of Commons. The bill also amends the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act to streamline the readjustment process and to ensure that the next readjustment can be completed prior to the next general election."
Under the new legislation:
  • Ontario will receive an additional 15 seats
  • British Columbia will receive an additional 6 seats
  • Alberta will receive an additional 6 seats
  • Quebec will receive three new seats which will be proportionate to its share of the population
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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Canadian Legal Publisher Price Trends for 2012

The Vendor Liaison Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Librarians (CALL) has compiled some preliminary information about price trends for Canadian law publications in 2012.

There is information for publishers such as Carswell, CCH, Éditions Yvon Blais, Irwin Law, LexisNexis Canada, and Wilson & Lafleur.

Compare with last year's price trends.

More information on library-vendor relations can be found on the Committee's section of the CALL website.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

CanLII Search Acccelerator

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, has created a search tool that lets users highlight text or a reference to a case or statute and automatically launch a search in its database.

It is called the CanLII Search Accelerator.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

European Court of Human Rights Factsheet on Environmental Cases

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has published a series of Factsheets that describe important jurisprudence of the institution on a number of subjects.

The ECHR recently updated its Factsheet on environment-related cases. It covers cases about noise, industrial pollution, deforestation, urban development and passive smoking.

The ECHR hears complaints from individuals living in any of the member states of the Council of Europe about violations of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Council of Europe is one of the continent's oldest political organizations, founded in 1949. It has 47 member countries.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Library-Related International Copyright Developments

The World Intellectual Property Organizations’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (WIPO SCCR) is meeting in Geneva from 21 November to 2 December.

Member states will, among other things, consider a draft treaty on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives. The draft treaty was prepared by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) in collaboration with others.

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has observer status at the WIPO SCCR.

IFLA and CLA have both made statements in support of the draft treaty.

A background document on why this treaty is necessary was prepared by IFLA and its partners, and presented at the meeting.




[Source: Canadian Library Association]

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Survey to Improve Supreme Court of Canada Judgments Website

Lexum, the designer and operator of the CanLII website of free Canadian legal information, is also in charge of the online publication of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Lexum has developed a small survey "to help Lexum informatique juridique inc. (Lexum) improve its Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada site and, more generally, its services to the Canadian legal community".

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Monday, November 21, 2011

November 2011 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World

The Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World newsletter, published by Library and Archives Canada (LAC), highlights issues pertaining to government and recordkeeping practices in the public and private sector.

The November 2011 issue has just been published on the LAC website.

It includes:
  • news items from Canada and around the world
  • announcements of upcoming events (meetings, workshops, seminars)
  • project and product news in areas such as digitization, archives, open source, e-government, access to information and Web 2.0 initiatives
  • selected papers and readings (white papers, presentations, reports)

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

2010-2011 Annual Report of Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Earlier this week, Canada's Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart tabled her annual report to Parliament on the Privacy Act, Canada's federal public sector privacy law.

In the report, Stoddart is very critical of how personal information is being handled by Canada’s airport security authority, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other federal departments and agencies:

"While there is much to applaud, the record is not unblemished."

"In an audit of airport security measures, for instance, we looked inside the private rooms where officers review images generated by full-body scanners and found a closed-circuit television camera and a cellphone. We did not find many such devices with recording capabilities — but nor did we find none, as the rules require."

"We also found highly sensitive documents related to security incidents stored on open shelves and in boxes where passengers may be present."

"But of even greater concern to us was that security authorities were collecting more personal information than permitted under their mandate — on incidents that were not threats to air safety and that, in some cases, were not even illegal."

"A separate audit of the RCMP’s control over its operational databases also raised concerns over the stewardship of personal information."

"For example, when a person receives a pardon for a past crime, or is found to have been wrongfully convicted of an offence, the RCMP is supposed to block access to any information about the incident in its database. This hasn’t been happening, so even though people have a right to get on with their lives, information about their past can continue to be shared."

"Without question, the state needs personal information to govern. No government could avert a terrorist attack, fight crime, issue a passport or administer the tax system without data about individuals."

"Modern information technology facilitates the process. Data can be collected more rapidly and in greater quantity than ever before. It can also be processed, manipulated, transformed, stored and disclosed more readily than ever before."

"The stated objective of all this data management is better program delivery, strengthened public safety, and more effective governance and accountability."

"But, as this report describes, so much personal information in the hands of government can also pose risks to the privacy of individuals."

Other highlights:
  • Biometric identifiers: Citizenship and Immigration Canada submitted Privacy Impact Assessments for two initiatives involving the use of fingerprints and other biometric identifiers for immigration control. The OPC [Office of the Privacy Commissioner] recommended ways to strengthen privacy safeguards for vulnerable populations such as refugee claimants.
  • Passenger behaviour observation: A Privacy Impact Assessment for a new pilot project to observe airport travellers for suspicious activity raised several concerns, including the potential for inappropriate risk profiling based on characteristics such as race, age or gender.
  • Personal data breaches: The OPC received a record number of reports of breaches of personal information in 2010-2011. One involved a malfunction of the new My Service Canada Account website, a day after its launch, which allowed an estimated 75 users to see financial and other personal data of previous visitors to the site.
  • Follow-up to past audits: During follow-ups on three audits originally conducted in 2008 and 2009, the entities that we audited indicated that 32 of 34 of the OPC’s recommendations had been fully or substantially implemented. For example, the RCMP reported that it had removed tens of thousands of surplus files from its exempt databanks, in compliance with the Privacy Commissioner’s recommendations.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill To Abolish Firearms Registry

The Library of Parliament has published a legislative summary of Bill C-19: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act. The bill proposes abolishing the federal government's long gun (shotguns and rifles) registry and destroying all of the associated data. Under the current legislation, long guns are neither prohibited nor restricted, but require registration:

"Under the Firearms Act, all firearms, including shotguns and rifles, were required to be registered by 1 January 2003. Every registered firearm is given a separate registration certificate, which is valid for as long as the person owns the firearm and the firearm continues to be a firearm. All transfers of firearms made after 1 December 1998 also require approval, so that a new registration certificate can be issued to the new owner."

"An amnesty is currently in place to protect certain individuals from criminal liability for unauthorized possession of an unregistered, non-restricted firearm, while they are taking steps to comply with the licensing and registration requirements of the Firearms Act. The amnesty, which is in effect until 16 May 2013, applies only to individuals who hold a valid firearms licence or who held a licence that expired on or after 1 January 2004 (...)"

"Bill C-19 amends the Criminal Code so that failure to hold a registration certificate for a firearm that is neither restricted nor prohibited does not give rise to any of the offences relating to unauthorized possession of a firearm, and does not allow police to seize that firearm."
It is possible to follow progress of the bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Royal Society of Canada Calls for Decriminalization of Euthanasia

In a report released yesterday, a Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel proposes that assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia should be decriminalized for competent individuals who make a free and informed decision that their life is no longer worth living.

The panel concludes:
  1. That there is a moral right, grounded in autonomy, for competent and informed individuals who have decided after careful consideration of the relevant facts, that their continuing life is not worth living, to non-interference with requests for assistance with suicide or voluntary euthanasia.
  2. That none of the grounds for denying individuals the enjoyment of their moral rights applies in the case of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. There are no third-party interests, self-regarding duties, or duties toward objective goods that warrant denying people the right to assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. Prophesied undesirable social consequences are not sufficient to negate the right to choose assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.
  3. That health care professionals are not duty-bound to accede to the request of competent and informed individuals who have formulated the uncoerced wish to die, but they may do so. If their religious or moral conscience prevents them from doing so, they are duty bound to refer their patients to a health care professional who will.
The report examined the experience of foreign jurisdictions where assisted dying has been allowed and proposes a system modelled after countries such as the Netherlands where patients may request assisted suicide or euthanasia when a doctor has determined they are competent to make the decision, and have done so voluntarily.

The panel also urges provincial governments to create policies to make clear the circumstances under which Crown prosecutors will not proceed with charges (that is, where there has been a free and informed decision to request assistance to die made by a competent individual).

More background:

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Law Reform Ideas Incorporated Into British Columbia's New Family Law Act

This is a follow-up to yesterday's Library Boy post entitled British Columbia's New Family Law Act.

Earlier this week, the proposed Family Law Act was introduced in the British Columbia legislature after a major review of family legislation in the province. It is intended to overhaul the Family Relations Act.

The British Columbia Law Institute, a law reform body, reported yesterday that the legislation will implement recommendations for changes to family law contained in four of its reports:

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

British Columbia's New Family Law Act

The Stream, the blog of Courthouse Libraries BC, has a post about The New Family Law Act: A brief background and a shorter synopsis.

The Act (FLA) was introduced yesterday in the British Columbia legislature and comes after a major review of family legislation in the province. It is intended to overhaul the Family Relations Act:
"Although some aspects of the FLA are a modest update of the Family Relations Act, such as the act’s discussion of child support and jurisdictional overlap between the courts, the FLA
  • imposes new and radically different legislative schemes on a number of traditional family law subjects (care of children, enforcement of court orders),
  • codifies certain common law principles (conflicts of laws, fairness in negotiation processes),
  • establishes novel regulatory mechanisms on matters new to provincial law (assisted reproduction, parenting coordination), and
  • repeals some subjects of long standing in the FRA (parental support, statutory offences)."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the subject include:

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New European Court of Human Rights Factsheet on Reproductive Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has published a series of Factsheets that describe important jurisprudence of the institution on a number of subjects.

The ECHR recently added a new Factsheet on reproductive rights. It includes key cases and pending applications before the Court.

The ECHR hears complaints from individuals living in any of the member states of the Council of Europe about violations of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Council of Europe is one of the continent's oldest political organizations, founded in 1949. It has 47 member countries.

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Supreme Court of Canada; New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of November 1-15, 2011 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library does not lend materials from this list, which is provided for information only."

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loan to authorized libraries.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Interview with Retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Charron

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly features an interview with retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Charron:
"The court’s most prolific author of majority and unanimous criminal law judgments says she leaves satisfied after 23 years of judging at all levels (...)"

"Justice Charron says she doesn’t anticipate practising law again, but she doesn’t rule out eventually doing some law-related work, such as conducting a commission of inquiry."

"Asked how she managed to author the bulk of the criminal law majority decisions in a court that has been sharply divided over search and seizure, police powers, and the right to counsel, the former Crown counsel replies: 'I was on the court at a time when there were likeminded people on how we should resolve these cases — ​perhaps I was persuasive in some cases'."

"Indeed, her conviction that working on an appellate court is a highly collegial and institutional (rather than individualistic) exercise and that judgments are generally strengthened, rather than weakened, by incorporating multiple perspectives likely helped those majorities materialize."

"Justice Charron analogizes appellate judging to looking at a coffee of cup: viewed from one angle it has a handle, but from another angle it doesn’t. Drawing on others’ perspectives, wisdom and knowledge produces a more complete and accurate picture, she explains."
She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on August 30, 2004 after having sat on the Ontario Court of Appeal. She officially retired from the Supreme Court on August 31, 2011.

As readers know, Justice Ian Binnie also retired this year from the Supreme Court of Canada. Earlier Library Boy posts about Binnie include:

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is Number of Women Appointed as Judges Dwindling?

The Globe and Mail’s Kirk Makin reported over the weekend that Appointments of female judges slump under Harper's Tories:
"Only eight women have been appointed to the federal judiciary this year, compared to 41 men. Figures for 2010 were only slightly less skewed, with 13 women and 37 men being given judgeships."

"The discrepancy is likely to rekindle calls for reform to an opaque process that provides the government with considerable leeway to choose candidates for undisclosed reasons."
A spokesperson for Justice Canada explained that the overall record is somewhat better, with 30 per cent of the 420 judges appointed by the federal government since 2006 being women.

Judges appointed by the federal government include judges of superior and appellate courts, the Federal Court of Canada, Tax Court and the Supreme Court of Canada.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quebec Legal Info Service CAIJ Launches New Website

CAIJ, the Centre d'accès à l'information juridique (the network of law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association), has a revamped website with many new research features:

  • the UNIK search engine that allows for simultaneous keyword searching in its caselaw, commentary and Quebec and federal legislation databases
  • the eDoctrine collection of free full-text commentary and textbooks including the Développements récents (annual reviews of areas of law), the Collection de droit (Bar School materials), proceedings of the annual Quebec Bar Association congresses and a growing number of treatises from Wilson & Lafleur
  • the eLOIS collection of annotated laws (right now in beta): so far, CAIJ offers the Civil Code of Quebec, the provincial Labour Standards Act and the provincial Business Corporations Act - for each section, there is a legislative history, links to parliamentary debates, and links to case law and/or commentary
  • enhanced legal news
Some great features that haven't changed include the free JuriBistro TOPO service, the CAIJ knowledgebase of some 2,700 questions and answers compiled by CAIJ's legal researchers based on real inquiries received from lawyers from across Quebec.

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Upcoming Webinar on Using Yahoo Pipes to Create RSS Feeds for Legal Practice Groups

The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) will soon be holding another session in its CALL Webinar Series.

Michel Gamache of the firm Heenan Blaikie LLP in Montreal will be talking on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 about "Yahoo Pipes: Slicing and Dicing RSS Feeds for Legal Practice Groups". The webinar is at 1:00 -2:30 p.m. EDT.

The registration form and details regarding costs can be found on the CALL website:
"Yahoo! Pipes has been around since 2007, yet it doesn't seem to have caught the eye of many librarians. However, this is a valuable and simple tool that can be used in the context of web monitoring and information delivery."

"This webinar will help you understand what Yahoo! Pipes is all about. You will learn how to create, aggregate, filter and customize feeds. You will also learn how to create widgets so that the contents you manipulate can be made available on intranets."

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Safer Railways Act

The Library of Parliament has published a legislative summary of Bill S-4: Safer Railways Act:
"Bill S-4 is virtually identical to Bill C-33, which was introduced in the House of Commons during the 3rd Session of the 40th Parliament. Bill C-33 was studied by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and was reported back to the House of Commons with amendments on 11 March 2011. It died on the Order Paper when the general election was called on 26 March 2011."

"The text of Bill S-4 incorporates the amendments adopted by the Standing Committee and otherwise differs from Bill C-33 only in the addition of one new paragraph and in some minor wording changes included for clarification."

"The Railway Safety Act was implemented in 1989. It sets out a regulatory framework to address, for railways under federal jurisdiction, matters of safety, security and environmental impact. Transport Canada notes ... that the Canadian rail industry has changed significantly since the Act was amended in 1999: operations have become increasingly complex, and traffic is growing rapidly."

"The department points out that, in February 2007, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities launched a full review of the operation and efficiency of the Railway Safety Act through an independent advisory panel. According to the department, the findings indicated that although the Railway Safety Act is fundamentally sound and efforts have been made to improve rail safety, more needs to be done. The advisory panel’s final report, Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety, published in November 2007, included 56 recommendations for the improvement of rail safety, some of which require legislative changes to the Railway Safety Act."

"A study of rail safety was also carried out by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, which issued its own report in May 2008. It included 14 additional recommendations, many building on the recommendations from the Railway Safety Act review."

"In a backgrounder on Bill S-4, the department notes: 'The Government of Canada agrees with the findings of both reports, and is implementing the recommendations and amending the Railway Safety Act to further improve rail safety in Canada'. "
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill in Parliament via the LEGISinfo website.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Helping Self-Represented Litigants With Literacy Problems

This week's issue of The Lawyers Weekly reports on how Ontario judges are trying to help self-represented litigants with low literacy levels understand court proceedings [Frozen moment of judicial compassion]:
"The growing number of self-represented litigants in family court is alarming. But even more alarming is the fact that a significant percentage of self-represented people lack the basic literacy skills to properly understand their proceedings. Canada-wide, 15 per cent of adults have serious problems dealing with any written materials and a further 27 per cent struggle with anything beyond simple reading tasks (...)"

"The National Judicial Institute has been aware of the literacy problem in the courts for some time and has provided seminars and resources so that judges are sensitive to the issue. Now it’s time for lawyers to become equally aware. Justice [Stanley] Sherr [Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto] recalls one case in which the stakes were high — the Children’s Aid Society was seeking Crown wardship with no access to the parents — and luckily he was advised just before the trial that one of the parties might have problems reading the affidavit evidence of the Children’s Aid. 'I made a ruling that the direct evidence had to go in viva voce instead of by affidavit, and that the party could bring in a support person to help read the materials'."

"The justices are quick to point out that while these accommodations may lengthen the time required for trial, the primary goal of the court system is not efficiency but justice. Nevertheless, it’s important to enable those with low literacy to be fully engaged in their proceedings and to allow justice to be efficiently administered. Justice Sherr advises that low literacy is now acknowledged as an access to justice issue, and in Ontario there are accessibility co-ordinators in each courthouse."

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Copyright Modernization Act

The Library of Parliament has prepared a legislative summary of Bill C-11: An Act to amend the Copyright Act:

"Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, was introduced in the House of Commons by the Minister of Industry, the Honourable Christian Paradis, and received first reading on 29 September 2011. The bill is a reintroduction of Bill C-32, which was introduced in the 3rd Session of the 40th Parliament. Bill C-32 had received second reading and had been referred to a legislative committee of the House of Commons which heard witness testimony on the bill until the 40th Parliament was dissolved in March 2011."

"The bill adds new rights and exceptions to the Copyright Act. As noted in the bill’s summary, the objectives of Bill C-11 are to:

  • update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet, so as to be in line with international standards;
  • clarify Internet service providers’ liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright;
  • permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form;
  • allow educators and students to make greater use of copyright material;
  • permit certain uses of copyright material by consumers;
  • give photographers the same rights as other creators;
  • ensure that [the Copyright Act] remains technologically neutral; and
  • mandates a review of [the Copyright Act] by Parliament every five years."

"Whether the bill will achieve these objectives is a subject of debate amongst the various stakeholders affected by copyright reform, including authors, artists, musicians, record labels, book publishers, collective societies, libraries, museums, school associations, software developers, retailers, and consumers."

It is possible to follow the progress of the bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

FINTRAC 2010-2011 Annual Report on Money Laundering in Canada

Yesterday, the 2010-2011 annual report of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) was presented to the federal Parliament.

FINTRAC is an independent Canadian government agency with a mandate to assist in the detection, deterrence and prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

It uses information received from financial institutions to identify suspicious transactions that could be associated with organized crime or terrorism. If it suspects wrongdoing, it sends the information to the Mounties, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other services, which can choose to launch investigations.

During the reporting year, FINTRAC provided 777 cases referrals to police and other institutions. More than 600 deal with money laundering.

The report also summarizes a number of the criminal investigations that were assisted by its financial intelligence during the year.

Unfortunately, the report does not contain stats about how many case referrals have led to arrests and convictions.

FINTRAC was established and operates within the ambit of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and its Regulations.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Judges and Social Networking Sites

There is a lot of attention paid to the impact of jurors, reporters and members of the public using social networking technologies in the courtroom.

There is not as much material on the ethics of judges using the same tools such as Facebook or Twitter.

Michael Crowell of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has written a paper on Judicial Ethics and Social Networking Sites that looks at the issue:
"For some time now state bar regulatory agencies have been addressing the effect of electronic communication on traditional ethical rules for lawyers ― the extent to which law firm websites constitute advertising, whether e-mail inquiries establish an attorney/client relationship, and so on. Likewise, judges hearing cases have faced new legal issues involving electronic discovery and searches of computers. Judges are becoming familiar, too, with problems of jurors communicating with the outside world and conducting their own research via their Blackberries, smart phones and other devices."

"Compared to the information available on those other electronic communication issues, there is relatively little reference material for judges concerning their own social networking and the Code of Judicial Conduct. The purpose of this paper is to share some information addressing questions of judges’ personal use of social networks."
The paper deals with the situation in the United States.

Participation in social networks by judges in the U.S. has reached a level that prompted the Florida judicial ethics committee to issue an edict in 2009 that judges and lawyers should not be Facebook 'friends,' to avoid appearance of conflict in the event they end up in the same courtroom. Other US state committees on judicial ethics have also taken positions warning judges about the perils of networking.

The Canadian Judicial Council has not yet drafted rules for Canadian judges but it appears to be monitoring the situation south of the border. It has produced a number of recent publications on IT security but no definite guidelines about judges and social networks seem to exist at the moment.

The Council is made up of 39 members and is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin.

Council membership consists of the chief justices, associate chief justices, and some senior judges from provincial and federal superior courts across the country.

The federal Parliament created the Council in 1971 to promote efficiency, uniformity, and accountability, and to improve the quality of judicial service in all superior courts of Canada.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Sixth Winter Institute on Statistical Literacy for Librarians February 2012

The University of Alberta Libraries will be hosting its sixth Winter Institute on Statistical Literacy for Librarians (WISLL) in February 22-24, 2012 in Edmonton:
"Librarians are facing more statistical information than ever before because of the electronic dissemination of statistics over the Internet. Concomitant with this are greater demands for statistics from user communities. Greater availability to statistics online, however, has not made this information necessarily easier to find or to retrieve. This Institute provides training in the strategies and tools for finding statistics and providing them in formats directly useful to users. This Institute is valuable and relevant to professionals working in academic, public and special libraries"
Topics to be covered include:
  • A framework for thinking about statistics
  • How statistics are derived from data
  • The importance of definitions, standards and classifications to understanding statistics
  • Using metadata to find statistics
  • Knowing how to interpret statistical metadata
  • Evaluating statistical sources
  • Choosing official and non-official statistical sources
  • Tools and strategies for locating statistics
  • How to cite online statistics
  • Finding and using statistics based on geography
  • Addressing the challenge of finding statistics for small geographic areas
Registration opens on November 14, 2011. The conference is restricted to 30 participants on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:07 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of October 16-31, 2011 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library does not lend materials from this list, which is provided for information only."

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loan to authorized libraries.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:05 pm 0 comments links to this post