Tuesday, March 31, 2009

University Law Lectures on YouTube

The YouTube video sharing portal has created a special section with videos from higher education establishments worldwide.

Known as YouTube EDU, it features many class lectures from prestigious law faculties.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:22 pm 0 comments

Library of Parliament Publication on Forensic DNA Analysis

The Library of Parliament recently published New Frontiers in Forensic DNA Analysis: Implications for Canada's National DNA Data Bank:

"DNA evidence has been used in criminal investigations since 1986; it was first used in Canada in 1988. In the two decades since, DNA identification has become an integral part of the work carried out at forensic science laboratories across the country. The use of DNA identification was further expanded in 2000 with the establishment of the National DNA Data Bank, which allows investigators to rapidly screen DNA evidence against the DNA records of thousands of previously convicted criminals and evidence from other crimes."


"Genetic research is evolving, and current technologies used in forensic DNA analysis are almost certain to be altered by future scientific advances. Furthermore, changes in legal restrictions and social attitudes regarding the acceptable uses of genetic information can change restrictions on the use of forensic DNA analysis. This paper examines three areas in which new DNA investigation methods are already changing the application of forensic DNA analysis internationally, or are likely to do so in the near future: "

  1. "New analysis methods for comparing degraded DNA samples;
  2. DNA database searches that identify suspects by their genetic similarities to relatives; and
  3. Analysis methods which could generate a physical description of a suspect based on DNA evidence."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:17 pm 0 comments

Monday, March 30, 2009

Law Librarians Do Not Twitter According to Survey

According to a recent informal survey conducted by Law Librarian Blog, law librarians have not adopted Twitter, the micro-blogging communications tool:
"My personal opinion is that the use (or the perceived use) of RSS feeds by patrons trumps Twitter and the job at hand for law librarians is to identify and communicate to library patrons helpful feeds including, I guess, Twitter sources instead of alerting patrons to news and developments in 140 characters or less. For law library/librarian communications, I find Twitter to be a harmless web communications sideshow. Perhaps that's all Twitter was intended to be."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:30 pm 1 comments

Friday, March 27, 2009

Toronto Law Librarians and Canadian Legal Publishers Meet

As reported on slaw.ca, the Toronto Association of Law Libraries organized a forum yesterday with representatives from Canadian legal publishers CCH, Irwin Law, Canada Law Book, Carswell, LexisNexis and SOQUIJ:
"To their credit, the publishers participated despite being potentially exposed to a crowd of law librarians who have been concerned over a number of issues, including rising costs, duplicative formats (print, CD-ROM and Internet), and duplicative content."

"It was a good session without too much overt 'marketing' by the publishers. Most of them seemed appropriatively defensive. It is likely fair to say that the 'conclusion' of the meeting was for more ongoing communication and dialogue between publishers and users. The publishers acknowledged, quite obviously, that they were in a service business and if they were not meeting user needs, they would lose business. They also pointed out that their organizations - like those of their customers - were also under costs pressures in the current economy."
On a related topic, see the Library Boy post of December 6, 2008 entitled Canadian Legal Publisher 2009 Price Trends.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:20 pm 0 comments

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New OECD Book on Identity Theft

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published a book on Online Identity Theft:
"The potential for fraud is a major hurdle in the evolution and growth of online commerce. E-payment and e-banking services -- the focus of this book -- suffer substantially from public mistrust."

"Given the growth of online ID theft, many OECD member countries have taken steps to ensure that consumers and Internet users are adequately protected. These steps encompass various measures: consumer and user-awareness campaigns, new legislative frameworks, private-public partnerships, and industry-led initiatives focused on technical responses."

"The purpose of this book is threefold:
  • to define ID theft, both online and off-line, and to study how it is perpetrated;
  • to outline what is being done to combat the major types of ID theft; and
  • to recommend specific ways that ID theft can be addressed in an effective, global manner."
It is possible to browse (but not copy) the entire book online.

The OECD is a forum of the world's advanced industrial economies. Canada is a member.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:34 pm 0 comments

April 2009 issue of the AALL Spectrum

The April 2009 issue of the AALL Spectrum is available online.

It is the monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Articles that caught my attention include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:28 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

United Nations Report on Climate Change and Human Rights

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concludes in a recent study that human rights safeguards must be integrated into any policies and measures to address climate change.

The OHCHR study is being considered by the United Nations Human Rights Council during its current session from 2 to 27 March, and it will be made available to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, in December.

The document explains how the rights to life, food, and water are under specific threat from the anticipated impacts of climate change.

It also emphasizes that adverse effects of climate change on human rights affect some groups harder than others, with women, children and indigenous peoples being particularly vulnerable. This vulnerability is described as being potentially aggravated by political factors, such as discrimination and unequal power relationships.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments

University of Ottawa JuriGlobe Website on the World's Legal Systems

I found a reference to the JuriGlobe site today on the Canadian legal blog slaw.ca.

According to the site:
"JuriGlobe is a research group formed by professors from the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, which focuses on the development of a multilingual information data bank, accessible to all on the internet, containing general information relating to the different legal systems in the world, to the different official languages and to some of the most important international commercial conventions, as well as other multilateral commercial tools."
The site also offers bibliographies about the world's legal systems.

[Source: slaw.ca]


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:16 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Only 15% of UK Public Sector Databases Respect Privacy Laws

According to a report published this week by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust in the United Kingdom, 11 of the 46 biggest public sector databases maintained by the British government, including the national DNA database, clearly breach data protection and privacy rights laws.

The Trust funds work on civil liberties and democratic reform.

Some of the findings:
  • Fewer than 15% of the public databases assessed in this report are effective, proportionate and necessary, with a proper legal basis for any privacy intrusions.
  • Britain is out of line with other developed countries, where records on sensitive matters like healthcare and social services are held locally. In Britain, data is increasingly centralised, and shared between health and social services, the police, schools, local government and the taxman.
  • The benefits claimed for data sharing are often illusory. Sharing can harm the vulnerable, not least by leading to discrimination and stigmatisation.
The report divides the examined databases into categories such as Code Red (in breach of the law, should be scrapped), Code Amber (significant problems, perhaps unlawful; may need to be shrunk, or split, or individuals may have to be given a right to opt out), and Code Green (in line with privacy and human rights laws).

Of the 46 databases, only 6 were given a Code Green rating.

More information:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:31 pm 0 comments

Research Paper on Mental Health Issues in the Canadian Criminal Justice System

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics has released a research paper on the feasibility of collecting data on the involvement of adults and youths with mental health issues in the criminal justice system. (82 pages, PDF):
"The results of the feasibility study will help guide future consideration of the development of ongoing data collection to gather information on the nature and extent of the involvement of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system."

"The feasibility study has three main goals:
  1. to provide an overview of the history of societal and legislative treatment of mental illness in Canada and studies on the relationship between individuals with mental illness and the criminal justice system;
  2. to consult criminal justice stakeholders on their information priorities, data collection, barriers to data collection, and the feasibility of collecting data on the contact of individuals with mental health issues in the criminal justice system; and
  3. to propose viable options for data collection involving police, courts, and corrections." (...)
"In response to a demand from the justice community, this current report focuses on issues related to mentally ill individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system through calls for service to the police, or as accused or offenders in the criminal court and correctional systems. It does not examine issues involving persons with mental illness who are victims of crime."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:21 pm 0 comments

Monday, March 23, 2009

AALL 2009 Legal Research Teach-In Kit

The Research Instruction & Patron Services Special Interest Group of AALL (American Association of Law Libraries) today released its 2009 National Legal Research Teach-In Kit.

The Kit includes games, handouts, research guides, exercises, and PowerPoint presentations on a variety of legal research topics.

The National Legal Research Teach-In is an annual campaign to encourage law librarians in the United States to share materials and ideas for legal research instruction. This is the 17th year that the activity has taken place.

The Research Instruction & Patron Services Special Interest Group compiles the materials that other librarians can use to develop their own instructional activities at their institutions.

A magnificent idea.

It is possible to look at the National Teach-Ins from previous years on the AALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:01 pm 0 comments

Sunday, March 22, 2009

World Water Day 2009

Back in 1992, the United Nations designated March 22 of each year as World Water Day. This year's theme is "Shared Water - Shared Opportunities", with the focus being on transboundary waters, a topic certainly well-known to Canadians.

Various resources from agencies such as UNESCO and the United Nations Economic Commission are available on the webpage of the UN-Water Task Force on Transboundary Waters.

Last year on this day, I published a Library Boy post entitled World Water Day - Water Law Resources that listed a compendium of water law resources, both Canadian and international.

As well, last week, Istanbul hosted the 5th World Water Forum, the largest international gathering of NGOs, government officials and policy experts on water issues. The Business and Human Rights Resource Center has more on the subject of the Forum.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:59 pm 0 comments

Canadian Human Rights Commission Study on Police Profiling

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) have released a joint study on profiling in the national security context.

Entitled The Effectiveness of Profiling from a National Security Perspective, the study looks at whether the use of profiling techniques by law enforcement agencies makes any real contribution to national security while also protecting human rights:
"The very definition of profiling raises issues, in terms of not only the current ethical debate, but also the empirical research on its usefulness and many functions ... More specifically, the term profiling is often used in a context that renders it analogous to discrimination. Authors who adopt this definition ... designate this practice as the act of targeting an individual because of his race or ethnic membership without other reasonable clues for suspecting an individual of a crime. However, most of the empirical literature on profiling approach this construct from a purely descriptive point of view of criminal investigation methods and instead designate the cataloguing of sociodemographic particularities as well as individual and psychological dispositions, personality traits, geographic location and the criminal and legal history of various types of criminals (...)"

"The purpose of this report is to evaluate the effectiveness of various types of profiling as identified in empirical literature on the subject. More precisely, the aim of this project is to evaluate, with the help of a critical review of the literature, whether various profiling methods are sufficiently developed and sophisticated to justify their application to national security. Finally, the results of this research, as well as the conclusions drawn from this evaluation, will be used to make recommendations for the Canadian Human Rights Commission with respect to what consideration this method of investigation should be given."

"This report will cover the empirical effectiveness of profiling as observed in various researched and applied contexts. The report will begin with an introduction to the methodological framework and research criteria used to evaluate the effectiveness of profiling. This will be followed by a presentation of the results of empirical research into the effectiveness of behavioural and geographic profiling as well as its admissibility in court. The next section, which will focus specifically on the preventive aspect of profiling, deals more specifically with its applications in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, school shootings and the prevention of recidivism in incarcerated individuals. Decision-making in situations of uncertainty, notably cognitive bias and heuristic decisions manifested when a person is compelled to make a decision in matters of security based on limited, insufficient or ambiguous information, will be covered in the sixth section of the report. Finally, conclusions drawn from empirical results and limits inherent to the research published to date on the subject of profiling will be presented in the final section."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:47 pm 0 comments

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Video on the European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has produced a video entitled The Conscience of Europe (15 minutes, .wmv format) that describes the history, role and functioning of the institution.

The video gives concrete examples of cases the Court has dealt with in its 50-year history.

It is a very interesting pedagogical document that shows how the Court deals with every imaginable kind of real, everyday issue.

The Court is an institution under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (AKA European Convention of Human Rights) that was drawn up by the Council of Europe.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:49 pm 0 comments

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Concordia University Hosting WILU 2009 Information Literacy Conference

Concordia University in downtown Montreal is hosting WILU 2009, the Workshop for Instruction in Library Use, an annual Canadian conference on information literacy. The event is taking place May 25-27, 2009.

Registration opened earlier this week.

The WILU 2009 website also has information about past conferences.

WILU was founded in 1972.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:43 pm 0 comments

Web 2.0 Technologies Cause Headaches, Lead to Mistrials in the United States

According to a March 17, 2009 New York Times article entitled As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials Are Popping Up:
"The use of BlackBerrys and iPhones by jurors gathering and sending out information about cases is wreaking havoc on trials around the country, upending deliberations and infuriating judges (...)"

"Jurors are not supposed to seek information outside of the courtroom. They are required to reach a verdict based on only the facts the judge has decided are admissible, and they are not supposed to see evidence that has been excluded as prejudicial. But now, using their cellphones, they can look up the name of a defendant on the Web or examine an intersection using Google Maps, violating the legal system’s complex rules of evidence. They can also tell their friends what is happening in the jury room, though they are supposed to keep their opinions and deliberations secret."
Writing in the Wisconsin Law Journal, Anne Reed comments that people had better get used to the situation:
"... you're wasting your energy if you think you can stop social networking jurors. Go to http://search.twitter.com and search 'jury duty'; at any given moment during the business day you'll find people tweeting from courthouses all over America."
In her Deliberations blog, Reed has a piece from March 18, 2009 about the phenomenon south of our borders:
"Over the last two years we've accumulated posts on jurors who blog (lots of those, actually), jurors who read blogs, jurors on Facebook and other social networking sites, jurors on Twitter, jurors researching the case on the Internet, jurors who comment on news stories, how to ask jurors about social networking, how to find jurors' on-line writing, why it matters, and how to deal with problems when they arise. The way things are going lately, there will probably be many more."
[Source: WisBlawg - University of Wisconsin Law Library]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:22 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quebec Government Introduces Bill That Would Make Electronic Laws Official

The Quebec Government yesterday introduced Bill 18 in the National Assembly.

Officially known as An Act respecting the Compilation of Québec Laws and Regulations, one of its effects would be to give official status to electronic versions of Quebec statutes.

Section 17 of the Bill reads:
"17. The laws published by the Québec Official Publisher on its website, including the Civil Code and the Act respecting the implementation of the Civil Code, are the laws of the compilation and have official status as of (insert the date of coming into force of this Act)."

"Within 24 months following that date, the Minister is to review the administrative version of all regulations, published on that website, with a view to identifying those which, in the Minister's opinion, are of such a nature as to justify their inclusion in the compilation, and to carrying out any updating and consolidation activities the Minister judges appropriate. All regulations published on that website on (insert the date occurring 24 months after the date of coming into force of this Act) have official status as of that date; the Minister may, however, before that date, indicate upon the publication of certain regulations that they have been revised and that they have official status as of the date of that publication."
The Bill would also simplify procedures for updating and consolidating laws and regulations.

As of November 30, 2008, electronic copies of Ontario statutes and regulations on the e-Laws website are considered official copies of the law in that province.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:46 pm 0 comments

Law Schools and Academic Law Libraries on Twitter

A growing number of law faculties and academic law libraries have started using Twitter feeds to communicate with students and the greater public.

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law happens to be one of them.

Twitter, of course, is a micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' short text-based updates known as tweets.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:35 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Survey About Upcoming New Edition of McGill Guide to Legal Citation

The 7th edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (AKA The McGill Guide) will soon be coming out.

The editors of the Guide at the McGill Law Journal are asking for reader input about any changes to make the famous legal citation bible more user friendly.

They ask that people not forget to press "SUBMIT" at the end of the survey.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:07 pm 0 comments

Why So Many Web 2.0 Tech Projects Fail

Meredith Farkas, who writes the Information Wants To Be Free blog, published a sobering post last weekend entitled It’s not all about the tech - why 2.0 tech fails that describes a talk she recently gave at a conference:
"I think one of the biggest reasons for problems with 2.0 technologies is also one of the major reasons why so many libraries are using them — they’re just so easy to get started with. It takes five minutes to start a blog, a wiki, a del.icio.us account or a MySpace page. And yet, keeping 2.0 technologies going takes significantly more time and effort. Blogs need to be posted to, MySpace pages need to be updated, and wikis need content. And something that people are very excited about maintaining in the first month or two of its existence might lose its allure over time. If there isn’t a plan for how you will maintain the tech from the get-go — be it scheduling posting and moderation, updating the software, etc. — it’s very possible that it will be abandoned when staff become less enthusiastic about it or they just get busy with other things. Libraries need to plan for the implementation and continued maintenance of 2.0 tech in the same way they plan for the technologies they pay a small fortune for. Even 2.0 tech costs money in terms of staff time, so it’s important to take it just as seriously as costly tech."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:00 pm 0 comments

Library Movers and Shakers 2009

Library Journal recently unveiled its 2009 list of Library Movers and Shakers:
"Together, these individuals comprise the coming generation of library leadership. They've embraced library technology, particularly library 2.0, 'to provide exceptional service and kick-ass collections that respond to the real interest of patrons,' as one of this year's Movers so aptly phrased it."

"Overachievers all, they represent a Who's Who of creativity and library trends in the field."
The 2009 list includes 51 individuals, divided into categories for Community Builders, Trendspotters, Activists, Tech Evangelists, Marketers, Innovators, and Advocates.

Among the group is Canadian Dean Giustini, University of British Columbia Biomedical Branch Librarian (Tech Evangelists category).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:48 pm 0 comments

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Joint UK/Scottish Law Commission Review of Insurance Contract Law

The Law Commission (United Kingdom) and the Scottish Law Commission have been conducting a joint review of insurance contract law since 2007.

In July 2007, they published a Consultation Paper outlining proposals for the reform of insurance law in the areas of pre-contractual information and warranties.

In 2008, they published a summary of responses on consumer insurance reform as well as a summary of responses on business insurance reform.

This month, they published a policy statement on consumer insurance reform, judged to be the area most urgently in need of change:
"This paper is part of the Law Commissions’ joint review of consumers’ obligations to give information to insurers before entering an insurance contract. It considers the legal consequences where an intermediary acts negligently or dishonestly in transmitting pre-contract information from consumer to insurer (...)"

"It is therefore important to know whom an intermediary acts for when helping a consumer complete an insurance application. Unfortunately, the law in this area is uncertain, as the courts and the FOS [Financial Ombudsman Service] struggle to apply early 20th century cases to a rapidly changing market place (...)"

"In this paper we propose a new statutory code, based largely on the existing law. Where the current law does not provide clear answers, we have supplemented it by drawing upon FOS practice and industry understanding."

"The aim is to find a balance. Insurers should bear responsibility for those intermediaries within their control, and have appropriate incentives to exercise that control in a way that prevents problems from occurring. Insurers should not, however, be liable for the actions of genuinely independent agents."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:10 pm 0 comments

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Court Employees Are Fastest Aging Group Among Justice Personnel

According to a recently released Statistics Canada report entitled Aging of Justice Personnel, court employees are the most rapidly aging group among all justice system personnel in Canada.

The report, published in the March 2009 issue of Juristat, also reveals that court personnel are aging more rapidly than the Canadian labour force as a whole.

Most of the data is from the 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses of population. There is some complementary data from other sources as well.

Court employees include legal secretaries, court recorders and medical transcriptionists, court officers and justices of the peace, court clerks, judges, lawyers and Quebec notaries, paralegal and related occupations, and sheriffs and bailiffs.
"Overall, the median age (43 years) of court workers is higher than that of Canadian workers as a whole (41 years). In the court workers' group, only 1 person in 20 is under the age of 25, while in the Canadian labour force, 1 worker in 6 is in the same age group ... Workers in all other age groups account for a higher proportion among courts workers than among Canadian workers as a whole. This is possibly due to the fact that most of the tasks performed by court workers require a level of expertise that is only rarely achieved by young workers (...)"

"The median age for all court personnel rose from 36 years in 1991 to 43 years in 2006. This seven-year increase is greater than that for Canadian workers as a whole, whose median age climbed from 36 years to 41 years. This rapid increase in median age stems from the fact that the number of court personnel under 30 years of age fell 29% between 1991 and 2006, a marked decline compared to that of all Canadian workers under age 30 (-8%). In contrast, the number of justice workers in their fifties tripled during the same period, while for the Canadian labour force in general, this number did not quite double ..."
The report looks at the overall growth in the numbers of employees in the justice system as well as the specific demographic trends among police officers, private security officers, and correctional officers.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:17 pm 0 comments

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Library and Archives Canada Survey on Digital Preservation Activities

A researcher by the name of Kathleen Shearer is conducting a survey of digital preservation activities in Canada on behalf of Library and Archives Canada (LAC):
"The Canadian Digital Information Strategy (2007) identified preservation as one of the major digital challenges for Canada. This survey is directed to Repository Managers to learn about the current digital preservation capacity in select Canadian organizations and to gain an understanding of the collections being preserved, how they are being preserved, and what resources are being devoted to preservation. The survey is divided into six sections: (1) Introduction, (2) Information about the repository, (3) General policies and practices, (4) Preservation practices, (5) Preservation resources, and (6) Challenges."
Ms. Shearer explained in a post to a library listserv: "Details of individual repositories will not be disclosed. Aggregate results will published in a report that will be made available on the LAC website in spring/summer 2009."

If readers know of any Canadian digital repository or collections managers, and/or database managers, they are being asked to forward the survey URL to them.

Earlier Library Boy posts about Canadian digitization projects include:
  • Digitization of Early Canadian Government Documents Continues (November 21, 2005): "The non-profit organization Canadiana.org has just received another grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage's Canadian Culture Online program to help it complete its Canada in the Making digitization project (...) Canadiana.org will be able to add a further 250,000 pages ... These will include selected Acts, Debates and Sessional papers from the Colonial period to Confederation, and from 1867 to 1900" [the description page for this project has moved]
  • CALL 2007 Pre-Conference: Managing Digital Collections (May 5, 2007): "The 2007 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries begins this weekend in Ottawa and continues until Wednesday, May 9, 2007. Today, there was a pre-conference session on Creating and Managing a Digital Collection Project: From policy to technical requirements."
  • Canadian Digital Information Strategy Issued for Comments (October 31, 2007): "Over the past 2 years, LAC [Library and Archives Canada] consulted with over 200 organizations: publishing and media producers, creators, rights bodies, academics, provincial and federal officials, and heritage institutions. The strategy being proposed is based on the following vision: 'Canada's digital information assets are created, managed and preserved to ensure that a significant Canadian digital presence and record is available to present and future generations, and that Canada's position in a global digital information economy is enhanced' (...) The draft strategy document highlights a number of current digitization projects in Canada and contains an extensive bibliography on international strategies, preservation, and digitization."
  • Responses to Draft Canadian Digital Information Strategy (February 16, 2008): "Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has issued the Canadian Digital Information Strategy in draft form for comment. Comments are due by Nov 23, 2007 (...) Responses from individuals and organizations have now been posted on the Library and Archives Canada website."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:04 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

UN Database on Violence Against Women

In 2006, the United Nations General Assembly called on the Secretary-General of the organization to establish a database on the nature and consequences of violence against women, and on the impact and effectiveness of policies and programmes to combat it.

The database was launched last week.

There are a number of ways to search the data:
  • Country pages
  • Advanced search (type of government or policy measure; form of violence; country/region; year; and keyword)
  • Good practices
Sources for the information include:
  • States parties' reports to human rights treaty bodies
  • Information provided by Member States in follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995); for reports of the Secretary-General; and in statements made at the United Nations
  • Information available through relevant United Nations entities
UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, has more background on the justice system and violence against women in its recent report Progress of the World's Women 2008/2009.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:28 pm 0 comments

Annual Statistical Report on the Canadian Correctional System

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government Publications includes Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview: Annual Report 2008.

It contains information about crime rates, victims, offender populations, parole statistics, and the correctional system.

The document was produced by the Public Safety Canada Portfolio Corrections Statistics Committee, composed of representatives of the Department of Public Safety Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada, the National Parole Board, the Office of the Correctional Investigator and the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (Statistics Canada).

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:17 pm 0 comments

Law Librarian Mentoring Program

The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has launched a mentoring program.

The goal of the program is "to facilitate the creation, development and maintenance of mutually satisfactory mentoring relationships between new CALL members, or those CALL members pursuing new professional development opportunities, and their experienced colleagues".

Matches will be made based on self-selected mutual interests.

The Kick-Off Reception for the program will take place at the CALL Conference in Halifax on Saturday, May 23, 2009.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:10 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recent Library of Parliament Legislative Summaries

The Library of Parliament has prepared legislative summaries for the following federal bills now before the House of Commons in Ottawa:
  • Bill C-3: An Act to amend the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act: "The bill is identical to an earlier Bill C-3, which was introduced on 3 December 2008, during the 1st Session of the 40th Parliament, and died on the Order Paper when Parliament was prorogued the following day. It consists of an amendment to the definition of 'arctic waters' in the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act to extend the geographic application of the Act from 100 to 200 nautical miles offshore Canadian land north of the 60th parallel of north latitude. "
  • Bill C-4: Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act: "The NPCA provides for the phased repeal of the Canada Corporations Act (CCA), while in particular replacing Part II of the statute that governs federally incorporated non-profit corporations (NPCs or corporations). Certain provisions are designed to apply to entities currently subject to Part III of the CCA, which governs corporations without share capital incorporated by a special Act of Parliament. The NPCA also provides for the continuance of certain corporations with share capital that are currently subject to part IV of the CCA under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) ... ndustry Canada news releases concerning the NPCA have stated that the proposed legislation is intended to make it easier for non-profit corporations to take advantage of the protections afforded by incorporation and the predictability and accountability offered by a modern corporate governance framework. They also state that the bill’s primary purposes are to modernize and improve corporate governance in NPCs, eliminate unnecessary regulation, and offer flexibility to meet the needs of the non-profit sector."
  • Bill C-5: An Act to amend the Indian Oil and Gas Act: "The Indian Oil and Gas Act and Indian Oil and Gas Regulations, 1995 provide the legislative framework for the management of oil and gas on First Nation lands. Introduced in 1974, the Indian Oil and Gas Act has remained largely unchanged since that time."
  • Bill C-8: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act: "The bill addresses issues relating to family real property on reserves by providing that a First Nation has the power to enact laws relating to'the use, occupation and possession of family homes on its reserves and the division of the value of any interests or rights held by spouses or common-law partners in or to structures and lands on its reserves' (clause 7(1)). Where a First Nation does not have such laws in force, whether established under the bill, under the First Nations Land Management Act, or under a self-government agreement, provisional federal rules established in the bill will apply."
  • Bill C-9: An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992: "The proposed amendments aim to enhance security and safety during the transport of dangerous goods. As amended by Bill C-9, the Act would remain focused on the prevention of incidents during the offering for transport, handling, transporting and importing of dangerous goods. According to information provided by Transport Canada, it would also enable a prevention program and a response capability for the Government of Canada in the event of a security incident involving dangerous goods."
  • Bill C-11: Human Pathogens and Toxins Act: "The intent of the bill is to promote safety and security with respect to human pathogens and toxins, including listed micro-organisms, nucleic acids, proteins, or toxins, by requiring everyone who conducts activities involving these human pathogens or toxins to take all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of the public. Departmental background information provided for Bill C-11 defines human pathogens as micro-organisms capable of causing disease in humans, such as salmonella and influenza. Toxins can be produced by or derived from such micro-organisms and these too are capable of causing disease in humans."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:12 pm 0 comments

Social Networking Usage Overtakes E-Mail Worldwide

According to a recent Nielsen report, social networks like Facebook and blogs have become the fourth most popular online category worldwide – ahead of personal e-mail.

The Nielsen figures for December 2008 were: search 85,9% reach; general interest portals 85,2%; software company sites 73,4%; "member communities" (social networks and blogs) 66,8%; e-mail 65,1%. Usage for social networks/blogs is growing twice as fast as the four other categories.

Nielsen tracked usage between December 2007 and December 2008 in Spain, US, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, France, Australia and Switzerland.

Other key findings:
  • One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites.
  • The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to "Member Community" Web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group
  • Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:43 pm 1 comments

Monday, March 09, 2009

CALL Conference 2009 Program Online

The full program of the upcoming conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is online.

The conference takes place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, May 24-27, 2009.

Among the topics:

  • Immigration and refugee policy
  • Embedded librarians
  • Librarian job satisfaction
  • Talmudic and sharia law
  • Library leadership
  • User training
  • Libraries in prisons
  • Sharepoint and KM
  • E-discovery
  • Law of palliative care

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:27 pm 0 comments

New Zealand Law Commission Report on Invasion of Privacy

The New Zealand Law Commission has published an "issues paper" entitled Invasion of Privacy: Penalties and Remedies. This is part of a public consultation process.

The paper "reviews the adequacy of New Zealand's civil, criminal and regulatory law to deal with invasions of privacy. In particular, it looks at the tort of privacy and surveillance."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:12 pm 0 comments

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Guide to International Refugee Law Resources on the Web

LLRX.com has published an updated research guide by Elisa Mason on International Refugee Law Resources on the Web:
"The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is now over 50 years old. What impact has this instrument had on resolving refugee problems and how effective has it been as the principal standard for the international protection of refugees? Although the total refugee and asylum-seeking population has dipped since the early 1990s, over 30 million 'persons of concern to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees' can still be counted in the world today. Moreover, debates continue regarding the nature of the protection that refugees should be granted, the role of the international community, and the obligations of receiving countries towards refugees."

"This guide directs readers to some of the key texts and resources available on the Web that can help shed light on, and provide a context for, many of the issues currently being deliberated in the refugee law arena."
Elisa Mason is an independent researcher in the field of refugee and forced migration studies. She has worked with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Forced Migration Online (FMO) project at Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre (RSC).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:19 pm 0 comments

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Historical Versions of Statutes on CanLII

The free legal information portal CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) has launched its new legislative publishing service that provides historical versions of statutes and regulations from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and the federal government:
"The main improvements introduced by this new approach are:
  • Versions of statutes and regulations reflect real changes;
  • Legislative updates are carried out on a weekly basis;
  • Versions’ dates correspond to legislative changes, such as entry into force, amendment or repeal;
  • You can search a legislative text as it was legally binding on a particular date in the past. Historical coverage is approximately five years;
  • You can compare two different versions of a particular document;
  • You can noteup statutes’ sections;
  • RSS feeds are available to inform you about legislative changes of a particular statute or database"
The above features will be added to other provincial jurisdictions later this year.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:01 pm 0 comments

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Survey on Canadian Law Library Budgets

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is taking a survey of Canadian law library budget expectations.

Results will be posted to the CALL listserv.

From South of the border, here are a few items on the same topic:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:13 pm 0 comments

Report on National Summit on Library Human Resources

The Canadian Library Association has released the final report of the National Summit on the Future of Library Human Resources.

The meeting was held in Ottawa, October 2008:

"On October 6 and 7, 2008, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) hosted the Canadian Library Human Resources Summit, in Ottawa, to focus on key issues that present challenges to the library community in the areas of recruitment and education. Approximately 115 library stakeholders representing key associations, employers, unions, government officials, educators, and other stakeholders in the Canadian library community took part in the Summit (...)"

"The outcome of the summit was to identify the strategies and key actions required over the next 5-6 years to move towards the goal of ensuring an adequate supply of well-educated, well-trained librarians and information professionals in order to meet Canada‘s knowledge and information management needs in the first three decades of the 21st century. "

"The Summit objectives were the following:

  • To identify promising strategies that will help address the current and future human resource issues;
  • To identify the actions that participants and stakeholders will undertake to implement the strategies over the next 5-6 years;
  • To determine how the library community can move forward in a coordinated and collaborative way."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:05 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Supreme Court of Canada: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of February 1 to 15, 2009 is 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 8:57 pm 2 comments

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Updated Research Guide on Comparative Law

Those busy folks at GlobaLex (New York University Hauser Global Law School Program) have updated their Comparative Law research guide.

It describes:
  • the differences between Comparative Law, Conflict of Laws and Unification / Harmonization of Law
  • print sources (books and journals)
  • organizations and institutes
  • research guides
  • multi-jurisdiction print and web resources
  • resources on specific topics (constitutional, family, labour, IP, tax and commercial law)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:37 pm 0 comments

Is Access to Canadian Court Records Too Restrictive?

That's the question raised in this week's issue of The Lawyers Weekly in an article entitled Access to information: law and reality miles apart:

"There’s a growing chorus of complaint that access to key court documents — informations setting out criminal charges, exhibits tendered during trials, youth court dockets — has become increasingly restrictive, despite a growing body of Charter jurisprudence that demands greater openness. Understaffed court offices and lack of training for front-line officials compound the problem."

" 'You have to go through hoops — very time-consuming and expensive hoops — in a lot of cases. to get access,' complains Tracey Tyler, The Toronto Star’s legal affairs reporter, who has been covering the courts for two decades."
I helped organize a panel on the related issue of Access to Electronic Court Records and Privacy at last year's annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Saskatoon. Some of the panelists' presentations on the issue are online (scroll down on the page to May 26, 2008, 3:30 PM). Participants included Mr. Justice Gerald N. Allbright, Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan; Mr. Gary Dickson, Q.C., Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner; Frédéric Pelletier of CanLII; and Paul Schabas representing Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:16 pm 1 comments

Monday, March 02, 2009

March 2009 Issue of Info Trends Focuses on Education

There is a new issue of Info Career Trends. This month's edition deals with education:
  • To MLIS or not to MLIS?: "When considering whether to earn an MLIS, pay is just one variable. You also need to consider the transferability of the skillset, the value of professional training versus learning on the job, what librarians and other info pros are asked to do that the MLIS doesn’t cover, other options for professional training beyond the MLIS, and the value of the MLIS as a professional credential. Ultimately, how can career information workers ensure that we get the education and training we need to be successful?"
  • Learn by Doing: Hands-on education through internships: "The classroom provides an important channel for theoretical learning and information-sharing (whether in a classroom on the quest for your MLIS, or in an online continuing education seminar), but there is simply no replacement for practical on-the-job education. Interns are given the opportunity to work in a learning capacity, rather than being confined by a job description that can limit the ability to work in other areas. Further, interns are often encouraged to rotate among multiple departments or help develop new library projects and initiatives, all of which works to your educational advantage."
  • Four Skills I Wish I Learned in Library School: "When you are unable to learn such skills through formal coursework, how do you go about picking up related competencies? Below, find ways to learn several library-related skills. [deals with event planning, exhibit space design, marketing and project management]"
  • Seriously, Play!: "My educational experience in library school was wonderful, but we all know that we learn much more on the job than could possible be covered in school. However, I wish I had learned two things in particular before graduating: That playing is underrated and necessary, especially when learning new technology, and; How to make online library resources and services accessible to everyone. I learned these two lessons after my formal schooling ended, but believe they are important for all librarians to know."
  • No One Taught Me How to Teach: "Like many of my colleagues, I graduated from library school with no formal training in information literacy instruction. I knew that as an aspiring academic librarian, I would eventually have to teach — but I just figured I’d worry about it when the situation presented itself (...) After going through the recovery stages of teaching failure — blaming library school, blaming students, blaming myself, soothing pain with lattes — I set out to improve my teaching skills. Two years later, this process is far from complete. I’m constantly learning and growing as an instructor, but I have managed to take part in a number of professional development activities that have compensated for my lack of formal teaching training. If you too need to supplement a somewhat weak teaching background, there are some very concrete steps you can take to do so."
  • Everything I need to know… I didn’t learn in library school: "I admit that I jumped into librarianship without knowing exactly what I was getting into. I knew that I enjoyed helping people, investigating the unknown, and organizing information. What I didn’t know were the nitty-gritty details of a librarian’s day-to-day work life. Sure, I picked up a lot of clues while working on my master’s degree, but there are many things I wish I’d learned."
  • Determining your Niche through Continuing Education: "Having insight into the ongoing needs of my workplace helps me determine the direction of my continued education, which I feel is extremely important to my professional advancement: I evaluated my previous education and experience to decide what additional skills I need to maintain and increase my value in the field; I decided what areas I’m truly interested in learning more about; I considered what areas the library I work in and the field as a whole tend to lack; Finally, I determined how to go about finding the training and funding necessary to sharpen my skill sets."
  • Skill Check: Utilizing Your Nontraditional Library Education: "During graduate school, I found my classes composed of teachers, social workers, businessmen, stay-at-home moms, religion majors, philosophy minors, secretaries, musicians, and lawyers (...) What weren’t similar, though, were the responses about the education and career paths my classmates took to end up sitting in a library class. This intrigued me. How could so many individuals, with so many different interests, be motivated to enter the same profession? I believe this is because librarianship embraces, not only the library skills you learned in your cataloging class and collection development course, but also the skills you learned as a business major, as a candidate for your Juris Doctor, as a biologist, or as a history major. It offers an opportunity to maintain your interest in anthropology, psychology, business, or religion, while also forging a new interest in information services – the best of both worlds."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:28 pm 0 comments

Sunday, March 01, 2009

New Federal Bills on Gangs and Drug Crimes

Last week, the federal government moved forward on its criminal justice agenda.

It introduced new legislation to combat organized crime and gangs.

The Act to amend the Criminal Code (organized crime and protection of justice system participants) would:
  • make murders connected to organized crime automatically first-degree, subject to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years;
  • create a new offence to address drive-by and other reckless shootings. This offence would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison, with a maximum of 14 years; and
  • create two new offences of aggravated assault against a peace or public officer and assault with a weapon on a peace or public officer. These would be punishable by maximum penalties of 14 and 10 years respectively.
It also reintroduced legislation providing mandatory minimum prison sentences for serious drug crimes.

The Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act would introduce:
  • a one-year mandatory prison sentence for dealing drugs such as marijuana, when carried out for organized crime purposes or when a weapon or violence is involved;
  • a two-year mandatory prison sentence for dealing drugs such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamines to youth, or for dealing those drugs near a school or in an area normally frequented by youth;
  • a two-year mandatory prison sentence for the offence of running a large marijuana grow operation involving at least 500 plants;
  • increased maximum penalties for cannabis production from 7 years to 14 years imprisonment; and,
  • tougher penalties for trafficking date-rape drugs.
The federal justice minister Rob Nicholson said the changes don't target drug addicts who may sell just to support their habit. The proposed legislation would allow addicts to be diverted to specialized drug treatment courts that could hand out suspended sentences if the addict goes through a treatment program.

Opposition parties have commented that they support the anti-crime initiatives in principle but some would like to examine the proposal for mandatory minimum sentences, which are very controversial, in further detail in committee.

The justice minister added that the organized crime and gang bill would not be treated as a confidence vote in Parliament.

Earlier Library Boy posts on mandatory minimum sentences include:
  • Library of Parliament Mini-Review of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (March 22, 2006): "The document states that studies show that a direct cause and effect relationship between mandatory minimums and a decline in crime rates can not be drawn; as well, given the many factors that can explain crime trends, studies on the effects of such sentences are considered difficult to interpret."
  • Updated Library of Parliament Report on Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Gun Crimes (March 10, 2007): "The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament recently published an update to its legislative summary entitled 'Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Offences Involving Firearms)': (...) The document includes sections on:History of Minimum Sentences for Firearm Offences; Constitutionality of Mandatory Minimum Sentences; Effect of Mandatory Minimum Sentences on Gun Crime ...; Effect of Imprisonment Generally; Incidental Effects of Mandatory Minimum Sentences; Description and Analysis."
  • Supreme Court of Canada Rules on Mandatory Minimum Sentences (March 3, 2008): "Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously in R. v. Ferguson that Parliament has the right to create mandatory minimum criminal sentences and have those measures enforced by reluctant judges."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:01 pm 0 comments

Two International Humanitarian Law Resources from Switzerland

The UK academic website Intute has spotted 2 very useful resources in international law:

  • Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project: this is an initiative of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights that reports on the "application and implementation of international law in armed conflict. Through its global database, the Project aims ultimately to report on every State and disputed territory in the world, addressing both the legal norms that apply as well as the extent to which they are respected by the relevant actors."
  • Trial: Track Impunity Always: this is a Swiss-based organization whose goals include "the fight against impunity for the perpetrators accomplices and instigators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of torture. TRIAL will go to court and defend the interests of the victims of such acts before the Swiss courts and the International Criminal Court." The organization monitors international criminal cases, providing profiles of people under investigation or on trial, and notes on legal procedure.
[Source: Intute]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:47 pm 0 comments

2007-2008 Report Cards Criticize Federal Government on Access to Information

Last week, the federal Information Commissioner Robert Marleau issued his 2007-2008 "report cards" that evaluate the performance of federal institutions in responding to information requests under the federal Access to Information Act.

Mr. Marleau reported that six out of the 10 institutions surveyed last year underperformed. They were the RCMP, Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Public Works, Canada Border Services Agency and Health Canada:
"The most significant finding is that the 30-day timeline intended by Parliament is becoming the exception instead of the norm. The institutions reviewed this year process, on average, less than half of their requests in 30 days ..."

"But there is a disturbing trend toward greater use of time extensions and for longer periods of time. And this trend is not justified by the proportional increase in the number of information requests."


These systemic issues [that affect access requests] include: widespread deficiencies in information management; the negative impact of the consultation process; chronic gaps in HR capacity and training; and lack of effective executive leadership when it comes to access to information."

"For years now and from different quarters, concerns have been raised about the deteriorating state of information management within government. The poor performance shown by institutions is symptomatic of what has become a major information management crisis. A crisis that is only exacerbated with the pace of technological developments."

"Access to information has become hostage to this crisis and is about to become its victim." [from the press release]
Despite the overall pattern of criticisms, the Commissioner did praise 2 of the reviewed departments and agencies for outstanding performance: Justice Canada and Library and Archives Canada.

Justice Canada's evaluation is noteworthy because it had received a failing grade in each of the previous three years.

More background:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:15 pm 0 comments