Thursday, June 15, 2023

May 2023 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 May 2023 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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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:04 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

American Library Association Report on Binding Services for Print

Core, a division of the American Library Association, has released the 2022 Core Library Binding Survey: A Report of Findings.

It is based on a survey on current library binding practices in the United States.

The survey was conducted to gain a better understanding of who is using library binding as a preservation and access method, how they are using such services, and the challenges that face the community.

There were responses from 94 institutions, most of them academic.

Questions included:

  • To whom does your bindery unit report?
  • What did you spend on library binding for each of the fiscal years below, NOT including staffing?
  • How many items did you send to the library binder in each of these fiscal years? (2018 to 2022)
  • What percentage of your current library binding program is made up of each of the following material types? (e.g. monographs, government docs, etc.)
  • If your institution has off site storage, do you regularly bind items going directly to storage from acquisition?
  • What type of library binder do you use?
  • etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:34 pm 0 comments

Government of Canada Publications Usability Survey

The Government of Canada Publications Directorate, in partnership with the Human-Centred Design Office, is working to improve and modernize the search experience on its website

At my place of work, we often search the site when looking for federal government publications on various topics.

To assist in setting a usability baseline, the Directorate has developed an anonymous short survey (a standard set of 10 questions).

The survey should take approximately 3 minutes of your time. 

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:05 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Canada Bar Association Podcast on Misuse of Non-Disclosure Ageements

A recent episode of The Every Lawyer, a podcast of the Canadian Bar Association, dealt with The Misuse of NDAs.

The guests were:

  • Jo-Anne Stark, a lawyer who operates Stark Solutions Legal Coaching and Consulting, an outfit that offers virtual help to self-represented litigants
  • Julie MacFarlane, Distinguished University Professor (Emerita) at the University of Windsor
  • Ronald A. Pink, K.C., a practitioner in pensions and benefits law, collective bargaining for public and private clients, municipal law, and labour and employment law
  • Jennifer Khor, Supervising Lawyer and Project Manager for the Community Legal Assistance Society’s SHARP Workplaces Legal Clinic


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Monday, June 12, 2023

Recent Research Reports from Correctional Service Canada

Correctional Service Canada, which administers federal prisons, has a research unit that periodically publishes its findings.

Here are 2 of its recent publications:

  • The Adverse Childhood Experiences of Canadian Federal Offenders: "Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) refer to instances of abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction that have been linked to a number of negative health, neurological and behavioural outcomes in adulthood. Ten ACEs have been identified in the literature: emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect, violent treatment towards mother, household mental illness, household substance use, parental separation or divorce, and having an incarcerated household member (...) Results suggest that the majority of offenders (80% men; 86% women) had experienced at least one ACE. Men and Indigenous women were most likely to experience substance misuse in the household, whereas non-Indigenous women were most likely to experience abuse or neglect. Notably, Indigenous men and women had the highest rates of exposure across all ACE categories and were more likely to have exposure to multiple ACEs when compared to the other ethnocultural groups considered. Increased exposure to ACEs were associated with a number of negative institutional and community outcomes, such as substance use, institutional charges, institutional incidents as an instigator/associate or victim, recorded incidents of self-injurious behaviour, correctional program drop-out, and revocations of conditional release with and without an offence. In some cases the association between institutional and community outcomes and ACE factors varied across gender and ethnocultural groups."
  • Comparing Characteristics, Institutional Adjustment, and Post-Release Success of Security Threat Groups: "The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) defines a Security Threat Group (STG) as a formal or informal offender group, gang, organization or association, consisting of three or more individuals ...  STG affiliated offenders pose a number of operational  and behavioural challenges in correctional settings. Operational staff attempt to limit the criminal activities of STGs while at the same time ensuring that offenders affiliated with STG groups who have compatibility issues are managed in separate units or institutions when necessary.  Understanding the specific characteristics and behaviours of various STG groups may assist in the management of these offenders during incarceration and identify how CSC can best support their reintegration into the community."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:01 pm 0 comments

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Globe and Mail Series on Canada's Underfunded Access to Information System

The Globe and Mail newspaper has published the fruits of its month-long research project called Secret Canada, an investigation into what it describes as Canada's broken access to information system.

As part of the project, journalists interviewed well over 200 experts and filed more than 500 freedom of informastion requests to every level of government. This included federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as major municipalities, police forces, hospitals and school boards across the country.

They also created a database about freedom of information requests in Canada, videos and a podcast.

One of the articles in the series describes some typical situations:

"A developer from Cornwall, Ont., is perplexed to find that his building permits are suddenly being denied. He files a request under freedom-of-information law for copies of any city records about him or his company. Three months later, he’s told he will need to pay a $1,963.50 processing fee. When he does, he receives pages of mostly blanked-out paper, a full box of his own building applications and files and a note that 3,500 records are being fully withheld."

"In Saskatoon, a woman wants to learn about the outcome of a police investigation in which she was a complainant. She submits a freedom-of-information request and specifically asks for a copy of her witness statement, as well as copies of e-mails that she had provided as evidence. In response, the police service refuses to release those records without redactions, because of privacy concerns – privacy concerns about records she supplied."

"A wildlife protection organization is skeptical of an Alberta government claim that scores of wild horses need to be culled to prevent ecological damage. They believe the assertion is based on data that was given to the government by a ranchers’ association. The activists request those records, and are told they will need to pay the association for a copy. The price tag: $110,022.15."

"These cases, which are among hundreds reviewed by The Globe and Mail, are a snapshot of the frustrations and stonewalling Canadians encounter every day when trying to access public information using the legal framework governments have created."

They found an underfunded, understaffed system. Government agencies were often uncooperative, if not downright unresponsive. And delays and refusals were routine. 


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:51 pm 0 comments

Thursday, June 08, 2023

House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights Report on Reforming Canada's Extradition Act

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has released a report on Reforming Canada's Extradition System:

"According to customary international law, states are responsible for prosecuting and penalizing criminal offences committed within their jurisdiction. However, they cannot enforce their laws outside of their jurisdiction. Thus, extradition is the process by which 'an accused or convicted person located in one country is surrendered to another country for the purpose of prosecution or for the imposition or enforcement of a sentence.' The Extradition Act (the Act) provides a framework for this procedure in Canada."

"The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the extradition process serves two objectives: 'the prompt compliance with Canada’s international obligations to its extradition partners, and the protection of the rights of the person sought.' According to experts who support reforming the Act, this balance needs to be re-established. The shortcomings of the Act were highlighted by the Diab case, which was shocking for Canadians. Hassan Diab was extradited to France and detained for three years in a maximum-security prison before being released, without ever standing trial. Some legal experts see this case as proof that the Act must be reformed, because according to the independent review of his extradition prepared by lawyer Murray Segal for the Department of Justice, the Crown did comply with the Act, despite the consequences Mr. Diab faced."

"According to some members of the Canadian legal community, the biggest problem is the legal foundation for extradition and its subsequent interpretation by Canadian courts, particularly in regard to international human rights law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (...)"

"On 22 September 2022, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (the Committee) agreed to undertake a comprehensive study on reforming the 1999 Extradition Act and to invite witnesses to provide recommendations to the Committee on how to modernize the current system so that the civil liberties of all Canadians and permanent residents of Canada are upheld in extradition proceedings."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:13 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Law Library of Congress Interview With Olivia Kane-Cruz, Librarian-in-Residence

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has posted an interview with Olivia Kane-Cruz, Librarian-in-Residence

It is part of an ongoing series of interviews about the kinds of work staff do behind the scenes:

"How do you describe your job to other people?
At the heart of my job, I am a reference librarian; I help provide access to legal resources. But I also get to do many different projects as part of my job. For example, I am currently working on the inventory for the bills and resolutions for the 117th Congress, I co-presented a webinar on Recent Developments in U.S. Foreign Relations Law and Research Strategies, and I had the opportunity to lead a group of six interns to create a navigation aid for the Statutes at Large digital collection (...)"

"What is the most interesting fact that you’ve learned about the Law Library?
We only have about 1% of the law collection in the Law Library Reading Room and the rest of the collection is in the closed stacks or in the off-site storage. The most interesting fact to me, is the Law Library’s closed stacks is located underneath our feet in the Madison Building and is approximately two football fields of compact shelving."

The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of almost 3 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:55 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

LawBytes Podcast on Proposed Federal Bill on Right to Repair

In the most recent LawBytes podcast, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist talks with Alissa Centivany and Anthony Rosborough about a private member's bill making its way through the House of Commons that would recognize the right to repair goods and appliances:

"The right to repair would seem like a political no-brainer: a policy designed to extend the life of devices and equipment and the ability to innovate for the benefit of consumers and the environment. Yet somehow copyright law has emerged as a barrier on that right, limiting access to repair guides and restricting the ability for everyone from farmers to video gamers to tinker with their systems. The government has pledged to address the issue and Bill C-244, a private members bill making its way through the House of Commons, would appear to be the way it plans to live up to that promise."

"Alissa Centivany, an assistant professor in the faculty of information and media studies at Western University and the principal investigator of a SSHRC-funded research project on the right to repair and Anthony Rosborough, who completing his doctoral thesis at the European University Institute in Florence and is set to take up a joint appointment in Law and Computer Science at Dalhousie University later this year, have been two of the most outspoken experts on this issue in Canada."

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:05 pm 0 comments

Monday, June 05, 2023

CBC Report Card on Implementation of Calls for Justice of National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Canada's public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), has created a report card on the implementation of the recommendations in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

According to the CBC:

"It’s been four years since the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released 231 calls for justice."

"Those calls tackled 18 areas needing reform, including education, justice and health."

"To date, only two of the 231 calls have been completed — and more than half haven’t even been started, according to CBC’s analysis."

"Here’s a look at the status of each of them."

That Inquiry final report was issued in June 2019.

After more than 3 years of meetings and gathering testimony, the Inquiry made 231 calls for action to government, institutions and the larger Canadian public to help address endemic levels of violence directed at Indigenous women and girls and what the report calls 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) people.

One of the supplementary reports explains the legal reasoning behind the Inquiry's declaration that the disproportionate levels of violence suffered by Indigenous women and girls in Canada could be considered a form of "race-based genocide (...)  empowered by colonial structures, evidenced notably by the Indian Act, the Sixties Scoop, residential schools and breaches of human and Indigenous rights, leading directly to the current increased rates of violence, death, and suicide in Indigenous populations".

Among its findings, the report stated that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or to go missing than members of any other demographic group in Canada.

At the time of the release of the final report, the CBC website condensed the calls for action for easier understanding.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:59 pm 0 comments

Thursday, June 01, 2023

New Université de Montréal Library School Thesis on Services to Inmates

The Université de Montréal website Papyrus just published the text of Romy Otayek's Master's Thesis on library services to Quebec prison inmates, Portrait actuel des services de bibliothèque dans le milieu carcéral québécois (text in French).

It is an infrequently studied topic in Canada:

"The presence of a library in a prison environment brings benefits to prisoners. It is a source of leisure, education and access to information in a highly secure and limiting environment. The prison library is supported by the statements of the United Nations for the treatment of prisoners, the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) which highlight its benefits. Studies have been conducted in different countries in the presence, management and roles of the prison library in different types of correctional institutions. However, very few studies have been published in Canada and none in Quebec since 1973. Thus, the research aims to draw a portrait of the library services offered in detention facilities under Quebec's jurisdiction. The realization of this descriptive research has been done through a documentary research and a survey with the people managing the libraries using an online questionnaire. The results of this study show that all establishments offer library services in detention centres under provincial jurisdiction in Quebec. The results show that prisoners cannot use services on site or directly access documents in almost all establishments. In addition, there is a lack of diversity in the document supports, few activities are proposed, and no technological resources are accessible. These results enrich a section of librarianship that is little treated by providing current data on the situation in the province’s detention facilities. They shed light on an often invisible segment of the population for whom the library is important and pave the way for future research on the subject." [English abstract]

 Other Library Boy posts on the topic:

  • New UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Book on Prison Libraries (October 28, 2019): "The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning has published the first UNESCO publication on prison libraries, highlighting their contribution to the personal development and education of incarcerated adults and young people (...) The open access e-book was launched at the most recent conference in August of the  International Federation of Library Associations in Athens."
  • Most Recent Issue of the Canadian Law Library Review (March 8, 2023): "Check out the feature article on p. 9 by Danielle Noonan Readers’ Advisory Services in Canadian Prisons: 'Library services in Canadian prisons have often been influenced by American standards. There is little research on libraries in Canadian prisons, and of that research it is evident that readers’ advisory services in prisons are nearly nonexistent. The following article  overviews 1981 and 1984 recommendations to the Correctional Service of Canada and a 2003 national survey about the operation of prison libraries. Through a comparison of the  American Library Association’s criteria and the current state of Canadian prison libraries, this article identifies the issues and proposes solutions that would enable prison librarians  to meet the recommended standards for readers advisory services in prisons'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:17 pm 0 comments

Documents on Artificial Intelligence in Canada

I just got back from the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Hamilton, Ontario (conference program).

Not surprisingly, a lot of attention was devoted to the topic of artificial intelligence.

The opening keynote talk was given by Prof, Teresa Scassa of the University of Ottawa on “Regulating AI in Canada: Bill C-27 and the AI and Data Act”. 

It just so happens that the current issue of the Canadian Bar Review has published an article of hers on the topic of her presentation:

"Canada’s  Bill  C-27,  The  Digital  Charter  Implementation  Act,  includes  a  proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA). If passed, the AIDA would establish a series of obligations regarding the use of anonymized data in AI systems; the design, development and making available for use of AI systems  generally;  and  the  design,  development  and  making  available  for  use of high-impact AI systems. The bill is challenging to fully understand, as many of these obligations are left to be fleshed out in regulations, including even the definition of the “high impact” AI, to which the AIDA will apply. Oversight of the regime will be the responsibility of the Minister of Industry, who  is  also  responsible  for  supporting  the  growth  of  the  AI  industry  in  Canada."

"This  paper  analyzes  the  AIDA  and  the  context  into  which  it  was  introduced.  This  context  includes  a  rapidly  evolving  AI  landscape,  as  well  as  important  governance  initiatives  emerging  internationally,  including  from  the  European  Union  and  the  United  States.  It  also  explores  a  set  of  constraints  on  Canadian  law  and  policy  developments  in  this  space.  Part  2  considers  how  the  AIDA  is  meant  to  be  both  ‘agile’  and  a  form  of  risk  regulation, and it measures the AIDA against these concepts. In Part 3, the paper considers the scope of the AIDA and a few of the particular constraints that  shaped  it.  These  include:  the  cross-sectoral  nature  of  AI  technology,  Canada’s constitutional division of powers, and the Canadian tendency to address public and private sector actors separately. Together, the two parts of the paper provide a view of the context and constraints that have shaped the  AIDA,  casting  light  on  some  of  the  challenges  faced  in  regulating  AI,  and surfacing important issues for the consultation and engagement that is necessary to properly regulate AI in Canada."

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

Another interesting article (forthcoming) is Mapping Artificial Intelligence Use in the Government of Canada by Paul Daly, also a University of Ottawa professor:

"On the one hand, technological advances and their enthusiastic uptake by government entities are seen as a push toward a Canadian dystopic state, with friendly bureaucrats being replaced by impassive machines. On the other hand, embracing technology is considered a confident move of the Canadian administrative state toward an utopian low-cost, high-impact decision making process."

"I will suggest in this paper that the truth—for the moment, at least—lies somewhere between the extremes of dystopia and utopia. In the federal public administration, technology is being deployed in a variety of areas, but rarely, if ever, displacing human decision making. Indeed, technology tends to be leveraged in areas of public policy that don’t involve any settling of benefits, statuses, licenses, and so on."

"We are still a long way from sophisticated machine learning tools deciding whether marriages are genuine, whether tax payers are compliant or whether nuclear facilities are safe. The reality is more down to earth."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:02 pm 0 comments