Thursday, April 29, 2021

Supreme Court of Canada Publishes 2020 Year in Review

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its Year in Review for 2020. It is an annual document describing the Court’s activities in the preceding year. 

It outlines how the institution pivoted quickly to adjust to the crisis of the worldwide pandemic and explains the Court's activities and structure, while highlighting some of the landmark rulings last year.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Canadian Judicial Council Guidelines for Management of Requests for Bulk Access to Court Information by Commercial Entities

The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has published new guidelines for the Management of Requests for Bulk Access to Court Information by Commercial Entities:

"Courts across Canada are grappling with requests by commercial entities for bulk access to Court Information to aggregate, analyze, repackage, commercialize and distribute it, particularly court decisions, orders, and other documents typically found in Court Records."

"This demand has traditionally been driven by publishers of research systems and precedent databases. Increasingly, however, requests are coming from a more diverse range of organizations, some motivated by intent to apply advanced analytics or machine learning algorithms to predict individual and collective decision-making outcomes based on features such as judges or counsel names, and fact patterns."


"While access to Court Information must be a core tenet underpinning ‘open justice’, it is also important to balance this by mitigating the risk that inadvertent release of private or sensitive information residing in court files does not cause harm to vulnerable people, undue distress or a risk of identity theft arising from malicious use."


"The objective of this report is to propose a common approach and guidelines to assist Canadian courts responding to requests for bulk access to Court Information. The proposed mechanisms are aimed at recalibrating the core principles of ‘access’ and ‘open courts’ in the context of digital information and online service delivery. Access issues were much easier to navigate at a time when court information was held in paper files and the need for physical attendance at a courthouse effectively meant that information was practically obscured and thereby protected from broad, inappropriate use. It is now more challenging to balance ‘access’ principles with other important principles including preserving integrity, safeguarding the administration of justice, protecting the reputation and integrity of the court and the judiciary, and mitigating risks associated with misuse of private or sensitive information."

"The Framework specifically identified some potential risks associated with an overly cavalier approach to the ‘open courts’ principle in an era where Court Information is stored in electronic rather than paper format, where sensitive Judicial Information and private data is intermingled with other information on court files and databases and when the effective protections afforded by practical obscurity are no longer present."

"A more recent, emerging consideration, many will see as a risk, is the trend towards application of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to Court Information. While there are some potential benefits from these developments, there are also some risks associated with incorrect predictions and the ramifications of reliance upon the output from biased or poorly designed machine learning models. The key question here though is whether it is the role of the judiciary to make determinations about the quality or effectiveness of such services and whether courts are in any event resourced to wade into such territory."

The CJC's  role is to ensure the proper conduct of federally appointed judges. This includes the power to investigate the conduct - and not the decisions - of federally appointed judges when a complaint is made against one of them.

The Council also makes recommendations on issues relating to court management and technology.

It is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

REALM Project - New Research and Resources on COVID-19 Vaccines and Variants

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.

Last week, it published updates relating to New research and resources on vaccines and variants.

It includes information on mask policies in US libraries, archives, and museums, volunteer management during a pandemic, signage templates and COVID-19 communication guides, as well as a briefing on research on vaccines and variants by R&D organization Battelle.

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

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

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Tips for Researching International Human Rights Case Law

The DipLawMatic Dialogues blog posted an article yesterday with Tips for Researching International Human Rights Case Law:

"In the universe of international human rights documentation, case law has a special place. Human rights case law is human rights in action. It confronts general norms with concrete facts and requires a decision about whether or not the general norm has been violated. Human rights case law brings general norms to life. The point of this post is to offer tips for researching human rights case law in each of the systems of protection that are in operation in the world today."

There are tips for finding human rights jurisprudence involving the United Nations system of treaties, as well as case law from the European Court of Human Rights (Council of Europe), the European Court of Justice (European Union), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.

DipLawMatic Dialogues is published by the Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Law Commission of Ontario Issue Paper on Artificial Intelligence

The Law Commission of Ontario has published an issue paper on Regulating AI: Critical Issues and Choices.

The document proposes a comprehensive framework to ensure governments using AI and automated decision-making (ADM) systems protect human rights, ensure due process and promote public participation.

From the executive summary:

"The context for this analysis is the extraordinary growth in the use of AI and ADM by governments across the world. This technology promises many benefits, while also raising significant risks to human rights, due process, procedural fairness, access to justice and the trustworthiness of justice-system and government decision-making."

"The Government of Canada’s Directive on Automated Decision-making ('the federal Directive') is the most significant initiative to directly regulate AI and ADM in Canada to date."

"Many other governments, including the Government of Ontario, have begun to consider AI and ADM regulation as well."

"The LCO has analyzed the federal Directive and several alternative models in order to answer a series of important questions:

  • What issues should AI and ADM regulation address?
  • Which model (or models) best ensures AI and ADM transparency, accountability, protection of human rights, due process and “trustworthiness” in governments and related institutions?
  • Are there gaps in the Canadian regulatory landscape?
  • Is regulation in Canada robust or comprehensive enough to meet the proven challenges of these systems?"

"Ensuring that AI regulation is responsive to these issues may help Ontario and other Canadian jurisdictions develop a regulatory framework that maximizes AI and ADM’s potential benefits, while minimizing potential harm."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:10 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Federal Budget Highlights of Interest to the Library and IM Community

The website published a document with highlights of interest to the Canadian library and information management community from yesterday's federal budget.

There are announcements relevant to:

  • Access to Information and Privacy
  • Accessibility
  • Anti-Racism
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Arts, Culture, and Heritage
  • Broadband
  • Charities, Non-Profits, and Community Organizations
  • Data
  • Digital Economy
  • Digital Government
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education & Higher Education
  • Indigenous Matters
  • Infrastructure
  • Mental Health
  • Museums
  • Training
  • Youth Employment


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:58 pm 0 comments

Monday, April 19, 2021

Job Hunting Tips for New Library Grads

Erin Clupp, Research Librarian in Norton Rose Fulbright’s Vancouver office, has penned a post on job hunting tips for new library grads on the blog of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries:

"Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed library school and are a freshly minted information professional. What is an exciting time in your life can also be overshadowed by what comes next: the dreaded job hunt, heightened by the fact that we are still struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Despite this being a challenging and unprecedented time to enter the workforce, there are still many exciting opportunities that await you. Here are some tips and words of advice that I hope are helpful and comforting as you navigate through this next phase of your career ..."

The author breaks down her advice into 5 categories:

  1. Manage your expectations but be kind to yourself
  2. Beyond the library – be flexible and think outside the box
  3. Take a leap – consider a move!
  4. Networking - Building relationships
  5. Be prepared – do your research!


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:48 pm 0 comments

April 2021 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World

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

The April 2021 issue has just been published.

It includes:

  • news items from Canada and around the world
  • announcements of upcoming Canadian and international events (meetings, conferences, seminars)
  • project and product news in areas such as digitization, archives, open source, e-government, access to information etc.
  • listings of papers and readings (white papers, presentations, reports)

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Law Library of Congress Report on Acquisition of Citizenship through International Adoption

The Law Library of Congress has published a comparative law report on the Acquisition of Citizenship through International Adoption:

"This report surveys acquisition of citizenship through international adoption in 18 countries around the globe. It provides a general overview about the main legislative instruments governing international adoption and acquisition of citizenship in each of the surveyed countries. The report shows that, in most of the surveyed countries, citizenship laws are the main piece of legislation governing the acquisition of citizenship through intercountry adoption. However, adoption laws in Italy regulate the acquisition of citizenship of adopted foreign children."

"The report sheds light on the required process and procedures of adoption in the surveyed countries. In Brazil, Canada, Israel, Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK), Turkey, China, France, and Russia, the adoption process entails the release of the health and criminal records of the adoptive parents as well as their income to determine their eligibility to adopt children."

"Some of the surveyed countries obligate the adoptive parents to attain a certain age before they submit their adoption application. For instance, in Germany, Japan, and Israel, the adoptive parents must not be under the age of 25 years old. Canada and Sweden require a person not to be less than 18 years of age to adopt a child. While the prospective adopters in the UK must be over the age of 21, China requires the age of the adoptive parents not to be younger than 30 years old. In Turkey, adoptive parents must not be younger than 30 years old or be married for at least five years. In France, adoptive parents’ must not be younger than 28 years of age."

"In addition to the age requirement, countries impose other requirements. For example, Israel requires that the adopted child be of the same religion as the adoptive parents. The court will waive this requirement if it is satisfied that the adoption will not have an adverse effect on the child’s welfare. Brazil, Israel, and Sweden mandate a social and psychological assessment report of the adoptive parents. Sweden also requires an adoptive parent to register the adoption with the Tax Authority. Turkey stipulates that married couples may adopt if they have been married for at least five years. Russia prohibits adoption by unmarried or same-sex couples."

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

Over the years, it has published dozens of comparative law reports which are a treasure trove for legal research on a huge variety of issues.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:00 pm 0 comments

Canadian Government Consultation on Copyright Framework for Online Intermediaries

The Canadian government has published a consultation document on the topic of copyright and online intermediaries. Intermediaries include Internet service providers, cloud storage services, web hosting services, social media and search engines:

"Canada's copyright framework establishes liability for intermediaries that infringe copyright or serve primarily to enable infringement by others. This liability is counterbalanced by certain protections, including "safe harbours" where intermediaries merely provide the technical means by which others infringe copyright by using the intermediaries' services. Some intermediaries are also subject to obligations to forward notices of claimed infringement received from copyright owners to the intermediaries' users. Recently, certain intermediaries have also been ordered by courts to disable access facilitated by the intermediaries' services to potentially infringing content or activities."

"This framework is the subject of mounting debate and study. Many rights holders have argued that it effectively diminishes their remuneration for uses of their content online and impairs their enforcement efforts. They have therefore argued in favour of modifying the safe harbour protections to incentivize public content-sharing services to pay rights holders equitably for uses of their content on those services' platforms. They have also advocated for imposing greater obligations on intermediaries to prevent or stop infringement. By contrast, many intermediaries and others have argued that Canada's laws sufficiently protect copyright online and intermediaries' current protections from liability and enforcement obligations promote an open Internet, advancements in online services and economic growth in Canada (...)"

"The Government is considering how best to respond to these trends and perspectives. Possible Government actions could be to:

  • clarify intermediaries' safe harbour protections against liability for copyright infringement, including how intermediaries' knowledge of infringement and content-related activities affect their liability as well as their attendant obligations;
  • compel remuneration of rights holders through collective licensing of their copyright-protected content on certain platforms;
  • increase transparency in rights holders' remuneration and online uses of their content; and
  • clarify or strengthen rights holders' enforcement tools against intermediaries, including by way of a statutory 'website-blocking' and 'de-indexing" regime."

Earlier this year, the governmment consulted on how to implement Canada’s commitment under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement to extend the general term of copyright protection. 

Another consultation on the intersection between copyright and artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will be launched by summer 2021.

Comments may be e-mailed to until May 31, 2021.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:52 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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

The April 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.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Book on Government Information in Canada Wins America Library Association Award

The 2019 University of Alberta Press book entitled Government Information in Canada has won the 2021 Margaret T. Lane / Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award.

There is a downloadable open access version available.

The Award is handed out every year by the Government Documents Round Table, which is part of the American Library Association:

"Canadian Government Information Systems mirror many of the federal, state, and local systems in the Unites States, yet publications dedicated to librarianship of Canadian government information are surprisingly rare.  While reviewing literature on government information reference services, it was found that the most recently published book on the subject was nearly forty years old.  Thankfully, Government Information in Canada: Access and Stewardship was published in 2019.  Wakaruk and Li have brought together chapters from various sources and authors to fill this gap."

The editors are Amanda Wakaruk (University of Alberta) and Sam-chin Li (University of Toronto).

They explain that the book:

  • bridges a decade-long literature gap for Canadian government information since the publication of Olga Bishop’s Canadian Official Publications,
  • aims to document both the current state of government information in Canada and the 'state of the discipline' of government information librarianship from a practitioner’s perspective,
  • provides both an overview of what has changed in the government information ecosystem and highlights evolving strategies for continued access to these important resources.

Table of contents:

I Historical Overviews
1 Government Publication Deposit Programs: The Canadian Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Landscapes
Graeme Campbell, Michelle Lake, and Catherine McGoveran
2 Official Publications and Select Digital Library Collections at Library and Archives Canada, 1923 to the Present
Tom J. Smyth
3 Parliamentary Information in Canada: Form and Function
Talia Chung and Maureen Martyn
4 Commissions and Tribunals
Caron Rollins

II Provincial Landscape
5 Alberta Government Publishing
Dani J. Pahulje
6 Saskatchewan Government Publications Deposit in the Legislative Library
Gregory Salmers
7 Inside Track: Challenges of Collecting, Accessing, and Preserving Ontario Government Publications
Sandra Craig and Martha Murphy
8 Digitization of Government Publications: A Review of the Ontario Digitization Initiative
Carol Perry, Brian Tobin, and Sam-chin Li

III Looking Forward: Collaborative Stewardship
9 GALLOP Portal: Making Government Publications in Legislative Libraries Findable
Peter Ellinger
10 The Canadian Government Information Digital Preservation Network: A Collective Response to a National Crisis
Amanda Wakaruk and Steve Marks
11 Web Harvesting and Reporting Fugitive Government Materials: Collaborative Stewardship of At-Risk Documents
Susan Paterson, Nicholas Worby, and Darlene Fichter 

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:27 pm 0 comments

Effect of COVID-19 on Law Libraries

An article entitled The Effect of COVID-19 on Law Libraries: Are These Changes Temporary or a Sign of the Future? was published recently on the SSRN publication portal.

It is free to create an account to download PDFs.

The article appeared in the latest issue of the Washburn Law Journal.

From the abstract:

"Due to the public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the traditional roles of the library were altered spontaneously. These sudden changes, coupled with the reality that libraries often struggle for relevance in an ever-changing legal education landscape, force one to ask the existential question: what will come from this crisis and what will academic law libraries look like on the other side? This Article examines the responses from academic law libraries to COVID-19-related changes and emphasizes the need for strong communication skills and effective crisis management strategies from our library leaders, and also discusses which of the changes necessitated by the pandemic should be temporary and which of the changes speak to the future of academic law libraries."

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

Monday, April 12, 2021

More Background Papers on Judicial Bias from Australian Law Reform Commission Releases

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of January 24, 2021 entitled Australian Law Reform Commission Releases First in Series of Background Papers on Judicial Bias.

As part of its inquiry into the laws that govern impartiality and bias in that country's federal judiciary, the Australian Law Reform Commission has started releasing a series on background papers on the issue.

After a primer on judicial bias published in the winter, the Commission recently published 2 more documents:

  • Recusal and self-disqualification: "This background paper is focused on the practical matter of how courts manage claims (and the potential for claims) by litigants that the judicial officer deciding their matter is, or might appear to be, biased."
  • The Federal Judiciary – the Inquiry in Context: "This background paper provides an overview of the composition of the federal judiciary; the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth courts; the workload of those courts; and the frequency of complaints against judicial officers (noting that such complaints may not necessarily be in relation to an allegation of impartiality or bias). It also gives a preliminary analysis of information available in judgments over the past five years concerning applications for disqualification on bias grounds."
The Commission hopes to publish a Consultation Paper in April 2021 with questions and draft proposals for public comment.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:56 pm 0 comments

Spring 2021 Update by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA), of which the Canadian Association of Law Libraries is a member organization, has published its Spring 2021 Update.

It highlights initiatives of the CFLA in recent months.

There is news relating to copyright, cataloguing and metadata standards, intellectual freedom, and Indigenous matters.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:48 pm 0 comments