Thursday, February 25, 2021

Fair Dealing Week in Canada

The library world is celebrating Fair Dealing Week in Canada right now, with a host of activities across the country.

As the Fair Dealing Canada website explains:

"The Canadian Copyright Act allows the use of material from a copyright protected work (literature, musical scores, audiovisual works, etc.) without permission when certain conditions are met. People can use fair dealing for  research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, and news reporting. In order to ensure your copying is fair, you need to consider several factors such as the amount you are copying, whether you are distributing the copy to others, and whether your copying might have a detrimental effect on potential sales of the original work (...)"

"Fair dealing has a large, positive impact, including for:

  • Educators and students at all levels,
  • Creative professionals (journalists, authors, filmmakers, musicians, etc.),
  • Individuals who want to use, copy or share portions of copyright protected works in their daily lives."


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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Successful Onboarding to Help New Employees Succeed

It is the time of year when we start planning for the arrival of summer employees and reviewing our orientation and training practices.

The January/February 2021 issue of AALL Spectrum, a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, offers some helpful advice in an article on Successful Onboarding: Creating an Environment Where New Employees Can Succeed.

The articles looks at various components of the onboarding process:

  • Goals for Orientation and Onboarding
  • Before the New Employee Arrives
  • Mentorship
  • After Arrival
  • Process Training with Peers

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

New European Court of Human Rights Factsheets

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.

Recent additions include:

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. Canada is an observer.

The ECHR is not to be confused with 2 other major international courts based in Europe:

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Process to Select Who Will Replace Justice Rosalie Abella on Supreme Court of Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week announced the selection process for the next appointment at the Supreme Court of Canada given the retirement of the Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella on July 1st.

Justice Abella's biography is on the Supreme Court of Canada website.

You can learn more about how the process works on the website of the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada.


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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Registration Open for 2021 Virtual Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries

Registration is now open for the next annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries taking place virtually Wednesday, May 26th – Friday, June 4th, 2021. 

The program is divided into 5 themes:

  • Data and Legal Information
  • Services and Technology
  • Social Justice
  • History Meets Innovation
  • Resilience and Reinvention

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Victoria Law Reform Commission Consultation on Jurors who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind or Have Low Vision

The Victoria Law Reform Commission is conducting a public consultation on more inclusive juries

The Commission wants to find out what reforms are needed to improve access for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision who wish to serve as jurors in the state of Victoria.

It issued a consultation paper in December 2020 and will be gathering input until the end of February.

From the terms of reference:

"The Juries Act 2000 (Vic) provides a list of people who are ineligible to serve as jurors. Among those excluded are persons with ‘a physical disability that renders [them] incapable of performing the duties of jury service’, and those who are ‘unable to communicate in or understand the English language adequately’."

"Although people who are deaf, hard or hearing, blind or have low vision are not expressly precluded from jury service, prohibitions on allowing interpreters or communication assistants into the jury room mean that, for many, such service would not be possible."

"The project will examine the current legal framework to consider whether legislative change is required, what practical supports would be necessary, and whether there are specific circumstances in which such jury service should be limited. In conducting this review, the Commission will have regard to: 

  • Relevant legal and practice developments in domestic and international jurisdictions. 
  • Current practice and statistics in Victoria relating to excusal and disqualification of people who are deaf, hard or hearing, blind or have low vision as jurors. 
  • The common law rule prohibiting any non-jurors from being present in jury deliberations (the ‘thirteenth person’ rule). 
  • The interaction with discrimination law and human rights in Victoria. 
  • The interaction with peremptory challenges and crown stand-asides. 
  • The resourcing and training implications for court and jury offices staff and judicial officers. 
  • The importance of a fair trial and confidence in the jury system."

Appendix B of the consultation paper provides information about the experience of many other jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions include New Zealand, England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the United States, and Canada.

The state of Victoria is in south-eastern Australia and its capital is Melbourne.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Canadian Bar Association Task Force Report on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19

The Canadian Bar Association has released the report of its task force on justice issues related to COVID-19:

"With an eye towards harnessing the promise of change for a more resilient, accessible and modern system beyond the pandemic, this report discusses how different Canadian jurisdictions and sister democracies are adapting their justice systems to address the pandemic. It then examines how best to properly implement new measures to avoid their main risks or unintended side-effects — paying particular attention to access to justice and confidence in the justice system, judicial independence, self-represented litigants and the open courts principle. The report also discusses the importance of sustainable investment in the justice system."

"The report then makes recommendations on how the justice system can become more responsive to meet the needs of, first and foremost, individuals who rely on the justice system to resolve their legal problems."

"Two principal themes underlie this report. First, there is no turning back. The pandemic propelled the justice system into a long-awaited modernization. We must continue forward and build on the measures, procedures and innovations implemented in response to the pandemic and focus on the needs of the users of the justice system. Second, new measures and technology must be deployed in a manner that enhances access to justice — rather than unintentionally inhibit it."

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Canadian Bar Association Podcast Interview With Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner

In the most recent episode of  The Every Lawyer podcast, Yves Faguy, editor in chief of CBA National Magazine, talks with Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Richard Wagner.

Chief Justice Wagner answered questions about the court’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, and his temporary role as administrator of the Government of Canada until a new Governor General is appointed. 

A full transcript of the conversation is available.

The podcast is a production of the Canadian Bar Association.

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Monday, February 15, 2021

REALM Project Test 7 & 8 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 that causes COVID-19 remains detectable on various library surfaces and materials.

In test series 7 and 8, the Project looked at 4 materials commonly used in library materials: hardcover book cover, softcover book cover, plastic protective cover (for hardcover books), and expanded polyethylene foam (for storage and shipping).

"For Test 7, materials were held at colder (34 to 36°F; 1 to 4°C) temperatures; for Test 8, materials were held at warmer (83 to 84°F; 28 to 29°C) temperatures. For both tests, relative humidity remained the same as previous tests (...) The book cover materials were tested in a stacked configuration, the foam in an unstacked configuration. The Test 7 materials (colder temperature) were examined on days 2, 6, 8, 9, and 10; Test 8 materials (warmer temperature) were examined on days at 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8."

"Results show that attenuation rates for materials held at the colder temperature were significantly slower compared to the warmer and ambient temperatures. At day 10, the final Test 7 timepoint, the amount of active virus present remained nearly unchanged from the T0 measurement for all materials except hardcover book cover. In contrast, in Test 8, by day 6 the virus was undetected on all materials except the plastic protective cover; this was a slightly faster attenuation time than what occurred at ambient temperatures. The virus was undetectable on the plastic protective cover at day 8. This data may suggest that additional considerations may need to be evaluated regarding outdoor collection boxes, or storage in colder conditions. For institutions using quarantine periods, this research can impact when to start the quarantine 'clock' once a material is brought into a controlled environment. Data also suggests that, when possible, storage in warmer areas may help to shorten the length of quarantine."

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.

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Sunday, February 14, 2021

Five Questions with Julie Boon, Great Library, Law Society of Ontario

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has been running a series of member profiles called Five Questions With...

The most recent interview is with Julie Boon, Reference Librarian at the Great Library, Law Society of Ontario (Toronto):

"How has being involved in CALL helped you professionally?
CALL has helped me professionally in that I have met some really, really great people through the organization. Whether it was through the CALL mentorship program or the CALL Conference in 2019, it has given me the opportunity to meet amazing professionals I otherwise may not have crossed paths with. Recently, CALL has acted as a balm to the isolation and disconnect that the pandemic has brought into everyone’s lives in some way. Attending virtual conferences and tutorials has maintained my feeling of connection to the legal industry and its professionals, which has been a huge relief (...)"
"What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to break into the legal information industry?
Don’t be intimidated! There is a lot to learn, but it’s kind of great in a lot of ways to be working in an industry where there is so much to know and understand – it never gets boring! Plus, it’s important to remember that even if you don’t remember every legal concept, term or piece of jargon off the top of your head, it doesn’t mean that you’re bad at your job, or not learning quick enough. Far from it! There is a vast ocean of legal information in the world, and even those legal professionals who have worked in the industry for years and years still need refreshers from time to time. Just remember that there are people out there, like your colleagues, who are probably happy to lend a helping hand!"

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

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 feature article: "Accessing Justice Through Information: The Public Library", p. 11

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

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

February 2021 Issue of In Session - E-Newsletter of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

 The February 2021 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.

In the current issue, there is news about:

  • the nomination deadline for the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing
  • the Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Survey
  • the CALL Mentorship Program
  • a Project Profile about the migration of Law Society of Saskatchewan databases to a mobile-friendly and cloud-based database platform
  • the Government Law Libraries SIG's blog post about the Supreme Court of Canada library
  • the Copyright Committee
  • the co-op hiring process at the University of Western Ontario
  • research grants from the CALL Committee to Promote Research

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Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Law Library of Congress Most Viewed Reports of the Past Decade

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. produces many legal research reports every year on how various countries tackle important issues.

Yesterday, the library's blog In Custodia Legis had a post about the top-ten most viewed reports in this past decade.

Two reports about Canada made the list:

The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of more than 2 and a half million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world. 

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Monday, February 08, 2021

Recent Legislative Summaries from Library of Parliament

The Library of Parliament has recently published a number of legislative summaries if bills currently being debated.

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Sunday, February 07, 2021

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of February 2021 Hearings

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

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.


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Thursday, February 04, 2021

CanLII Adds Law School Course Readings to Its Commentary Collection

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, has started adding law school course readings to its commentary collection.

The first ever class materials added to the site are for An Introduction to Civil Procedure: Readings, by University of Windsor Faculty of Law Professor Noel Semple. The materials include decisions, legislation, articles, and lecture videos.

CanLII is a portal funded by Canada’s provincial and territorial law societies to make legal information content (court judgments, tribunal decisions, statutes and regulations, commentary) available to Canadians free of charge.

In recent years, it has been expanding its offerings of legal commentary, including law reviews, reports, newsletters and thousands of case commentaries.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Statistics Canada Report on COVID-19 Misinformation

Statistics Canada has released a report entitled Misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic:

"The COVID-19 pandemic was accompanied by an infodemic—an overabundance of information, some which is true and some which is not, which made it very difficult for people to find facts and reliable sources. Misinformation in the context of COVID-19, can endanger the population’s health, especially if the news that spreads is about false prevention measures or treatments, or if it undermines the population’s trust in health services and public or political institutions (...)"

"This article uses data from the Canadian Perspectives Survey Series (CPSS) 4: Information Sources Consulted During the Pandemic, which was conducted from July 20 to 26, 2020 among Canadians aged 15 and over living in the 10 provinces. The focus is on information found online by Canadians who used online resources to learn about COVID-19, as well as COVID-19 information sharing.  In addition, the article examines the verification methods used by Canadians to check the accuracy of information found online as well as suspected information seen online about COVID-19."

Among the findings:

  • Only one in five Canadians always checked the accuracy of online COVID-19 information, 37% saying they often check. However roughly 36% of Canadians reported that they only sometimes (24%) or rarely (12%) checked the accuracy of COVID-19 information they found online
  • Half of Canadians shared COVID-19 information they found online without knowing whether it was accurate
  • Consulting other sources was the strategy most commonly used by Canadians to verify the accuracy of information about COVID-19 found on the Internet


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Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Call for Proposals for New Librarians Symposium 2021

The New Librarians Symposium, an event for early career information professionals, is hosting its 2021 session on June 11 and has issued a call for proposals for short lightning talks. 

The deadline for submitting a proposal is March 5th, 2021:

"The theme of this year’s New Librarian Symposium is Libraries and Labour: Organizing for Action. This year, we would like to interrogate what labour challenges the profession currently faces. What questions do you want to explore around labour, working conditions, and power structures? What does action look like for you, in the context of your role or organization? How are current provincial, statewide, or federal governments impacting labour? What are the most pressing labour issues our profession or its organizations need to address in order to survive? What does labour mean to you and how do you engage in asserting or fighting for your rights? (...)"

"Topics for lightning talks may include, but are not limited to:

  • Labour unions and their service to their membership
  • Power structures and their influence on early career professionals
  • The impact of a global pandemic on expectations around service and job performance
  • Civil rights advocacy from within/without a stable position or union protection
  • Precarious employment and labour
  • Interrogating employer rhetoric around labour, worker rights, work-life balance, and wellness
  • The influence of organizational health on individual workers and service quality
  • Personal stories about getting engaged in labour issues and why this work matters
  • Library leadership and labour
  • Caregiving, work-life balance, and their intersections with labour
  • Emotional labour, hope labour, or other forms of invisibilized labour
  • Contract / collective agreement negotiations
  • Academic status and the implications for labour
  • (In)equity and salary negotiation
  • Reinforcing and upholding racial inequity/white supremacy in publicly funded institutions"



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Monday, February 01, 2021

Videoconferencing and Its Challenges to Criminal Justice

Ayodele Akenroye of the Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies at the University of Toronto published a very thoughtful piece last week on about Videoconferencing Technologies and How It Challenges the Fundamental Tenets of Our Criminal Justice System in Canada.

Akenroye, who is also a Tribunal Member with the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, analyzes many of the positive aspects brought about by the accelerated adoption of videoconferencing for court hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there are also some less positive consequences, not only in terms of unequal Internet access and lack of privacy for many people. 

There are also potential negative consequences for the administration of justice and for the procedural rights of the accused:

"Reducing our judges to a computer interface showing just their heads and shoulders weakens their legitimacy, depersonalizes the entire judicial process and drastically minimizes effective judicial engagement which is one of the hallmarks of therapeutic justice frequently deployed by our judges in Gladue, mental health and drug treatment courts all over Canada (...)"

"Also, the all familiar long-standing court rituals ... standing up when the judge enters, and bowing to the court on departure, all have performative effects of casting the judge as legitimate, an independent authority and the custodian of our community values. It also sets the stage for the acceptable civil modes of address as well as respectful and polite behaviour expected from all the courtroom participants. Virtual hearing tends to remove some of these perceptual cues which normally trigger the performance of this long-standing symbolic and performative rituals."

"While critics could argue that these rituals should be done away as being relics of the past, some judges would not easily agree with dispensing with them. Judges reported that some litigants were unruly while remotely participating in court proceedings, emboldened by the fact that they are not in the same room as the judge and are on their own territory, as such they don’t have to be told what to do or how to act in their own environment (...)"

"Beyond the above, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that virtual hearing could result in constitutional violations and worse outcomes for accused persons. Several studies have shown that cases where hearings are conducted remotely via videolink or through the use of videoconferencing technologies are less beneficial to the accused persons, as the accused persons are less likely to seek legal advice and representation largely because they do not understand the significance of the process."

An interesting corrective to overenthusiastic portrayals of a totally virtual, seamless, barrier-free justice system.


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