Monday, November 23, 2020

REALM Project Test Results for COVID Virus Survival on Library Materials

Research conducted as part of the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project has been testing how long the virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 remains detectable on various library surfaces and materials.

In a sixth series of tests, the Project looked at five materials commonly used in furnishings, exhibits, and equipment found in museums, libraries, and archives:

"The tests examined architectural glass, marble, countertop laminate, brass, and powder-coated steel. Samples of each material were inoculated with active virus, allowed to dry, and then placed in an environmentally controlled chamber with no outside light or air."

"Results show that after two days, SARS-CoV-2 virus was no longer detectable on the brass and marble. After six days, virus was not detected on the glass, laminate, and powder-coated steel."

REALM is a collaboration between OCLC, an international library services cooperative, the US government agency Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle, an R&D organization.

Further details and results from previous tests are available on the OCLC REALM Project website.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:42 pm 0 comments

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of December 2020 Hearings

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of upcoming appeals that will be heard in December.

To find out more about any particular case, click on the docket number in parentheses next to each case name to find docket information, case summaries as well as facta from the parties.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:29 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Update on Remote and Indigenous Communities from the Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19

The Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19, which is co-chaired by Chief Justice of Canada Richard Wagner and federal Justice Minister David Lametti, recently published an update about what it has been doing to improve the justice system for northern, remote, and Indigenous communities:

"The Action Committee identified some of the common challenges and concerns for these communities, suggesting ideas for change, as well as key principles that should be reflected in any future response."

"The Action Committee is also of the view that any action taken to respond to the pandemic must be consistent with advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership as the foundation of transformative change."

The Action Committee is mandated to ensure that Canada’s chief justices, provincial and territorial ministers of justice, heads of court administration, and other officials responsible for the administration of justice are supported by the best available public health information, practices, and resources as they work to adapt and restore court operations in response to COVID-19.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:16 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 16, 2020

Legislative Summary of Federal Bill to Create National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

 The Library of Parliament has published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-5: : An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation):

"Bill C-5 aims to respond to call to action number 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) by creating a statutory holiday for federally regulated employees, to be known as the 'National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.' The proposed holiday will take place on 30 September each year to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis residential school survivors and their families and communities. The holiday will also ensure commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools" ...

"Between the late 1800s and the late 1990s, the federal government and several Christian churches operated a system of residential schools for Indigenous children. The schools were part of a federal policy designed to assimilate Indigenous people into Canadian society. Children were often taken forcibly from their homes to attend the schools, and some were forbidden from practising their cultures or speaking their languages. Some children also experienced emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse at the schools."

"The TRC was established in 2008 under the terms of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Among other matters, it had a mandate to document the history and legacy of residential schools. The TRC's 2015 final report included 94 calls to action, covering areas such as health, education and justice. Specifically, call to action 80 called upon the federal government to work with Indigenous people to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday."

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

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:26 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Statistics Canada Report on Crime During COVID-19

 Last week, Statistics Canada published a report on Selected police-reported crime and calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic, March to August 2020:

"During the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 17 police services across Canada reported that selected criminal incidents were down by almost one-fifth (17%) compared with the same period a year earlier. In contrast, the number of calls for service rose 8%, particularly wellness checks, mental health calls and calls to attend domestic disturbances."

"When the physical distancing measures that were introduced in mid-March to control the pandemic started easing in May, and businesses, services and public spaces gradually re-opened throughout the summer, the volume of crimes and calls for service began to rise."

According to the report, the police services surveyed serve 59% of the Canadian population.

Incidents reported to the police declined in 12 of the 13 categories measured. The only exception was for uttering threats by a family member.

Canada's national statistical agency cautions readers. Some of the categories included sexual assault and spousal violence and these are known to be underreported and accessing victim support services can be more difficult during the pandemic due to lockdown measures.


Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:39 pm 0 comments

November 2020 Issue of In Session - E-Newsletter of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The November 2020 issue of In Session is available online. 

It is the monthly e-newsletter of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) and contains news from CALL committees and special interest groups, member updates and events.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:30 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 09, 2020

Legislative Summary of Federal Bill on Citizenship Act Amendment

 The Library of Parliament has published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-8: An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94):

"Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94), was introduced in the House of Commons on 22 October 2020 by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. The bill aims to modify the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship, a change requiring an amendment to the Citizenship Act. The current Oath of Citizenship has not been modified in over 40 years (...)"

"In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) presented its six-volume final report and 94 calls to action. The TRC spent six years hearing more than 6,500 witnesses across Canada to shed light on the legacy of residential schools and to pave the way to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The federal government committed to implementing the calls to action in the areas that fell within its jurisdiction."

"In one of two calls to action pertaining to citizenship, the TRC called upon the federal government to replace the Oath of Citizenship with the following:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen."

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

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:34 pm 0 comments

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Most Recent Issue of Canadian Law Library Review

 The most recent issue of the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR) is available online.

Check out the 2 feature articles:

  • A Critical Look at Law Librarianship in the 21st Century, p. 11

  • Artificial Intelligence in Canadian Law Libraries, p. 16

The CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL). It is an open access publication.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:20 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Legislative Summary of Federal Bill on Medical Assistance in Dying

The Library of Parliament has published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-7: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying):

"Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) was introduced in the House of Commons by the Minister of Justice on 24 February 2020 and received first reading that same day. With the prorogation of the first session of the 43rd Parliament, that bill died on the Order Paper, but it was reintroduced in identical form and with the same number, C-7, on 5 October 2020."

"The bill includes the federal response to the September 2019 Superior Court of Quebec decision in Truchon c. Procureur général du Canada, which related to the federal Criminal Code (the Code) provisions on medical assistance in dying (MAID) and Quebec's Act respecting end-of-life care. That decision declared that the Code requirement that a person could be eligible for MAID only if natural death was 'reasonably foreseeable' was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

"The amendments to the Code that are proposed in Bill C-7 also address some issues that have been raised since the Code provisions on MAID were first introduced in 2016. The bill amends the Code provisions on MAID by establishing a separate set of procedural safeguards for individuals whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable and making some amendments to the safeguards that apply in the case of individuals whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable."

"The bill also amends the eligibility criteria by establishing that mental illness is not an illness, disease or disability for the purpose of determining eligibility for MAID."

"Following the tabling of the first Bill C-7, in the previous session of this Parliament, the Department of Justice presented a report on the results of consultations that had been held by the federal government in January and February 2020. Those consultations sought input from Canadians on issues relating to MAID, including whether MAID should be available to a person whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness."

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

 

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:15 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

51 Sets of Presidential Election Rules in the United States

 I can't wrap my head around this but this is the reality for our neighbours to the South.

The National Conference of State Legislatures in the United States has prepared an explanation called After the Voting Ends: The Steps to Complete an Election:

"An election isn’t over when the polls close. It’s over when election administrators complete their postelection activities and the election results are certified. As with everything else related to elections, state law governs these postelection processes—and there are 51 models. (The states plus Washington, D.C.)."

There are explanations for how and where and when different states count ballots, including mail-in ballots; deadlines for certifying the results; the rules for contesting the results; rules for interpreting the intent of voters whose ballots are marked ambiguously or incorrectly completed, etc.





Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:23 pm 0 comments

Monday, November 02, 2020

October Issue of Connected Bulletin on US Courts and Social Media

 The October 2020 issue of Connected is available online. The bulletin covers news about the impact of social media on courts.

One of the articles is about how American court communications officials should prepare for the chaos that may ensue if a contested US presidential election ends up in litigation.

The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:28 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Law Commission of Ontario Issue Paper on AI and Algorithms in Criminal Proceedings

 The Law Commission of Ontario has published an Issue Paper on The Rise and Fall of Algorithms in American Criminal Justice: Lessons for Canada.

It looks at the potential use, impact and regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms and automated decision-making in Canadian criminal proceedings:

"The specific subject of this paper is algorithmic pretrial risk assessments. These are AI or algorithmic tools that aid criminal courts in pretrial custody or bail decision-making (...)"

"Algorithmic pretrial risk assessments are an important case study in the use of AI and algorithms in criminal justice. Bail proceedings adjudicate and balance fundamental liberty and public safety issues while needing to ensure high standards of due process, accountability and transparency."

"The use of these tools has expanded rapidly across the United States, to the point where these systems are probably the most widely implemented AI or algorithmic tools to aid decision-making in criminal proceedings in the world. This expansion has been the catalyst for an unprecedented and rapid evaluation of how algorithmic tools in criminal proceedings are designed, developed and deployed. Suffice to say, this reform has not gone smoothly. In the space of a few short years, there has been an extraordinary backlash against the use of these systems, including by many of the same organizations and stakeholders who enthusiastically supported their development in the first place."

"The LCO believes an analysis of the American debate can provide Canadians with important insights and lessons about the use of AI and algorithms in criminal proceedings. The LCO further believes that many, if not most, of these lessons are applicable to the use of these tools in civil and administrative decision-making as well (...)"

"The paper pays particular attention to issues regarding racism and data discrimination. Anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism has been a long-standing concern in Ontario’s justice system. Accordingly, any analysis of AI and algorithms in criminal proceedings must address these issues clearly and comprehensively. Perhaps not surprisingly, the LCO has identified many unexplored, unregulated and poorly understood issues respecting data, discrimination, algorithms and the law. The paper also considers this technology from the related and overlapping perspective of access to justice for low-income and vulnerable communities."

"The paper concludes with an analysis of regulatory issues and options to assist Canadian policymakers and stakeholders identify, discuss and decide appropriate options and instruments for the Canadian criminal justice system."

This is the first of three (3) Issue Papers on the topic of AI by the Commission as part of its project on AI in Criminal Justice System in Ontario.


Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:19 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

English Law Commission Consultation on Harmful Online Behaviour

 The Law Commission of England is holding consultations on what it calls the Reform of the Communications Offences:

"Reform of the law is needed to protect victims from harmful online behaviour including abusive messages, cyber-flashing, pile-on harassment, and the malicious sharing of information known to be false. The Law Commission is consulting on proposals to improve the protection afforded to victims by the criminal law, while at the same time provide better safeguards for freedom of expression. We launched our consultation paper on 11 September 2020, and the consultation period will run until 18 December 2020."

In its consultation paper, the Commission makes a number of proposals:

"The proposals include:

  • A new offence to replace the communications offences (the Malicious Communications Act 1988 (MCA 1988) and the Communications Act 2003 (CA 2003)), to criminalise behaviour where a communication would likely cause harm.
    • This would cover emails, social media posts and WhatsApp messages, in addition to pile-on harassment (when a number of different individuals send harassing communications to a victim).
    • This would include communication sent over private networks such as Bluetooth or a local intranet, which are not currently covered under the CA 2003.
    • The proposals include introduction of the requirement of proof of likely harm. Currently, neither proof of likely harm nor proof of actual harm are required under the existing communications offences.
  • Cyber-flashing – the unsolicited sending of images or video recordings of one’s genitals – should be included as a sexual offence under section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This would ensure that additional protections for victims are available.
  • Raising the threshold for false communications so that it would only be an offence if the defendant knows the post is false, they are intending to cause non‑trivial emotional, psychological, or physical harm, and if they have no excuse."

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:58 pm 0 comments

Monday, October 26, 2020

Article on Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Racism

Gideon Christian from the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary published an article on Slaw.ca today entitled Artificial Intelligence, Algorithmic Racism and the Canadian Criminal Justice System that looks at how data used to train AI tools can perpetuate biases:

"Recidivism risk assessment is the process of determining the likelihood that an accused, convicted, or incarcerated persons will reoffend. The process is aimed at assisting in the determination of the appropriate limitation on the freedom of the subject. With innovation in technology especially in the area of artificial intelligence (AI), recidivism risk assessment tools built on AI technology are now well-developed and used in the criminal justice system. Algorithmic tools are increasingly being used in the Canadian criminal justice system in pre-trial, sentencing, and post-sentencing phases in predicting the future criminal behaviour of accused, convicted, or incarcerated persons. The increasing use of AI technology in recidivism risk assessment in the criminal justice system raises many legal issues. I will discuss three of such issues in this blog post."

"The first issue relates to what I refer to as algorithmic racism. This arises from the use of historical data in training AI risk assessment tools. This has the tendency to perpetuate historical bias which are replicated in the risk assessments by these AI tools. The second issue relates to the legality of the use of AI risk assessments by judges in sentencing decisions. I argue that AI risk assessment based on data from a general population has the tendency to deprive a convict of the right to an individualized sentence based on accurate information. Third, there is the problem with the proprietary nature of the methodology used in the AI risk assessment tools. This is especially the case where offenders challenging their criminal sentence seeks access to these proprietary trade secrets."

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:43 pm 0 comments

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of November 2020 Hearings

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of upcoming appeals that will be heard in November.

To find out more about any particular case, click on the docket number in parentheses next to each case name to find docket information, case summaries as well as facta from the parties.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:35 pm 0 comments

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Victoria Law Reform Commission Papers on Improving the Response to Sexual Offences

The Victoria Law Reform Commission (based in Melbourne, Australia) has published a series of issues papers for an inquiry into Improving the Response of the Justice System to Sexual Offences:

"The issues papers describe the current state of the law justice system and ask questions about how to improve it. 

  • Guide to the Issues Papers
  • A Working Together to Respond to Sexual Offences: Systems 
  • B Sexual Offences: Key Issues in the Criminal Justice System 
  • C Defining Sexual Offences 
  • D Sexual Offences: Report to Charge 
  • E Sexual Offences: The Trial Process 
  • F People Who Have Committed Sexual Offences 
  • G Sexual Offences: Restorative and Alternative Justice Models 
  • H Sexual Offences: Civil Law and Other Non-Criminal Responses"

This is part of a consultation process launched by the Commission which will produce a report by 31 August 2021.

In its work, the Commission will focus on:

  • barriers to reporting sexual offences: what prevents people from reporting sexual harm
  • why reports of sexual harm may not proceed through the justice system
  • how to reduce the trauma of victim survivors in the justice system
  • how to improve data collection and reporting
  • the best ways of responding to sexual offences—including alternatives to the justice system


 

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:21 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Legislative Summary of Federal Bill Banning Conversion Therapy

 The Library of Parliament has published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-6: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy):

"The definition of 'conversion therapy' included in the bill, as paraphrased by the Department of Justice, is 'a practice that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation to heterosexual, to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviours, or to change an individual's gender identity to match the sex they were assigned at birth'."

"The preamble of Bill C-6 states that conversion therapy causes harm to persons who are subjected to it, particularly children. It harms society more broadly by promoting myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation and gender identity, such as the notion that these personal characteristics can and should be changed. Consequently, the bill aims to discourage and denounce conversion therapy by criminalizing certain activities related to it, with the further intention of protecting 'the human dignity and equality of all Canadians.' It amends the Criminal Code (the Code) in order, among other things, to prohibit anyone from

  • advertising services related to conversion therapy;
  • forcing persons or causing a child to undergo conversion therapy;
  • removing a child from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad; and
  • receiving a material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy."

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:50 pm 0 comments

Legislative Summary of Bill C-3: An Act to amend the Judges Act

 The Library of Parliament has published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-3: An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code.

Among other things, the bill would require that judges appointed to superior courts (i.e. under federal jurisdiction) in any Canadian province would have to undertake to participate in continuing education on matters related to sexual assault law.

The summary points out:

"The provinces are responsible for appointing provincial court judges. The majority of criminal cases in Canada – including sexual assault cases – are heard in the provincial courts. The provisions of Bill C‑3 amending the Judges Act apply only to judges of superior courts, because it is outside Parliament’s jurisdiction to legislate in relation to provincially and territorially appointed judges."

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:46 pm 0 comments