Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Canadian Bar Association Podcast Episode on Latest Supreme Court of Canada News

The most recent episode of Modern Law, a Canadian Bar Association podcast hosted by Yves Faguy, features a conversation with Nadia Effendi of the law firm BLG:

"Mary Moreau of Alberta has been tapped to fill the vacancy left by Russel Brown on the Supreme Court. Nadia Effendi gives us some background on Justice Moreau and what her nomination means.  Effendi also discusses the Supreme Court’s latest rulings in the IAA reference, Mason v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), La Presse inc. v. Quebec, as well as upcoming hearings in AGC v. Power, Yatar v. TD Insurance, and Attorney General of Ontario, et al. v. Mike Restoule. She also weighs in on the SCC’s decision to produce plain-language summaries of oral decisions."

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

Monday, October 30, 2023

Auditor General Report on Inclusion of Racialized Employees in the Canadian Public Sector

The Government of Canada Weekly Acquisitions List can be a great way to discover new research reports published by various public bodies and agencies of the federal government.

In a recent edition of the list, there was a link to a document from the Office of the Auditor General entitled Inclusion in the workplace for racialized employees : independent auditor's report.

"Many initiatives have been undertaken in the public service over decades to address known barriers and inequities in the workplace. None of these resulted in the full removal of barriers and in the achievement of equity (...)"

"To assess progress made to foster an inclusive organizational culture in the federal public service, we selected 6 organizations responsible in whole or in part for providing safety, the administration of justice, or policing services in Canada. Together, they employ about 21% of workers in the federal core public administration. We found that while all organizations we examined had established equity, diversity, and inclusion action plans, there was no measurement of or comprehensive reporting on progress against outcomes for racialized employees in each organization. As a result, the 6 organizations did not know whether their actions had made or would make a difference in the work lives of racialized employees."

"Practices for gathering and analyzing disaggregated data were also mixed across the 6 organizations. None examined performance rating distribution or tenure rates for racialized employees, and only some examined survey results and representation, promotion, and retention data at disaggregated levels. These differing approaches make it difficult to track and report on results for racialized employees or progress in inclusion across these federal workplaces."

"Not using data to understand the lived experiences of racialized employees in the workplace means that organizations and the public service as a whole are missing opportunities to identify and implement changes that could yield improved employment experiences for racialized employees. For example, we found that the 6 organizations we examined did not analyze complaint data to inform how they handled complaints of racist behaviours and related power imbalances despite racialized employees’ concerns about the existing processes. As well, organizations were not always using performance agreements for executives, managers, and supervisors to set expectations for desired behaviours to foster inclusion and create accountability for change (...)"

"The 6 organizations we examined had continued to focus on meeting workforce representation goals, including aligning the composition of their workforce with that of Canadian society. While this established approach is an important first step, it is not enough to fuel a sustained shift in organizational culture. Employment equity legislation in Canada has existed since the 1980s, so it alone is not enough to achieve the meaningful change to a workplace that is not only diverse but truly inclusive."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:07 pm 0 comments

Statistics Canada Article on Court Outcomes in Gender-related Homicide Cases

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat published an article last week about Court outcomes associated with the gender-related homicide of women and girls in Canada, 2009/2010 to 2020/2021.

This type of homicide involves homicides that were committed by at least one male accused who was an intimate partner or a family member of the victim, or who sexually assaulted the victim as part of the homicide, or who killed a victim that police identified as a sex worker.

The article looks at how cases are processed through the criminal court system. It also also examines how these cases' outcomes compare with those of non-gender-related homicides of women and girls (homicides of women or girls with no evidence of the gender-related criteria mentioned above) and with homicides of men and boys.

Among the highlights:

  • 58% of persons who were accused of a gender-related homicide of a woman or girl were found guilty of any charge in the case. This proportion is higher than what was found among persons accused of a non-gender-related homicide of a woman or girl as well as those accused in a homicide case with a male victim (50% each).
  • Of all adults convicted of any charge in a case that had at least one homicide charge and where sentencing details were known, more than nine in ten (93%) persons accused of committing a gender-related homicide of a woman or girl were sentenced to custody, similar to those accused of committing a non-gender-related homicide (92%) and persons accused of a homicide against a male victim (92%).
  • Of those who were sentenced to custody, adults convicted in a case of gender-related homicide had an average of 12.5 years left to serve after given credit for time in custody, three years longer than those convicted of a non-gender-related homicide of a woman or girl (average 9.2 years), and six years longer than when the victim was male (average 6.1 years).
  • Cases of gender-related homicide took, on average, 603 calendar days to complete in court, measured by first appearance to final decision. These cases took 89 days longer, on average, to complete than non‑gender-related homicides of women and girls and 103 days longer than cases involving the homicide of men and boys.
  • In cases of attempted murder, aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault, fewer differences in court outcomes were documented when the case was gender-related compared to when it was not. While cases of gender-related violence contained more charges on average than those with a non-gender-related female victim or male victim, similar proportions of persons accused in these crimes were found guilty of any charge in the case and sentenced to custody. However, persons convicted of a gender-related violent offence received shorter sentences, on average, than those convicted in non-gender-related cases.

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

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Progress Report of the Action Committee on Modernizing Court Operations

The Action Committee on Modernizing Court Operations has just published its 2022-2023 Progress Report.

The Committee is a national leadership body co-chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Arif Virani.

It was initially established in May 2020 as the Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19.

Its role is to facilitate information sharing about innovative practices to modernize court operations and improve access to justice for court users.

From the introduction:

"(...) While the health and well-being of all court users remained one of its bedrock considerations, the Action Committee gradually shifted its focus to addressing the legacies of the pandemic, including the use of technology in the courts and strategies to reduce backlog and delays. By sharing lessons learned and best practices on these topics, the Action Committee is helping to pave the way towards court modernization and improved access to justice."

"With this continued mandate comes a responsibility to ensure that Action Committee’s guidance reflects a broad and representative array of perspectives and experiences. Accordingly, the Action Committee has worked with Indigenous partners to create an Indigenous Advisory Group that will work with the Action Committee to incorporate Indigenous perspectives in its guidance. Relatedly, the Action Committee will strive to solicit and incorporate the perspectives of other equity seeking groups."

"To complement this transition, the Action Committee reviewed and updated its Terms of Reference to ensure they captured the planned scope of its work and operations. In addition to reducing the Action Committee’s focus on health and safety protocols tied to the specific demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Terms of Reference highlighted the Action Committee’s commitment to consider the legacy effects of the pandemic and acknowledge that, though an extraordinarily difficult and demanding time, it also led to unprecedented innovation in the courts, as well as new and creative partnerships. The Action Committee also added Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples to its Key Principles and Considerations."

"Amid this evolution, the Action Committee has remained committed to its role as a hub for coordination and collaboration. It has continued to work with partners across the Canadian justice system to highlight best practices adaptable to individual courts to assist them in delivering justice."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 0 comments

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Mary Moreau Nominated to Supreme Court of Canada

The Honourable Mary Moreau has been nominated to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada, which was created by the resignation of Russell Brown. 

Justice Moreau, a franco-Albertan, served as the Chief Justice of the Alberta Court of King's Bench.

She has experience in criminal law, constitutional law, and civil litigation. She litigated matters involving minority language rights and Charter rights. 

She also co-founded the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Alberta, an organization dedicated to promoting French language rights in the province.

She was president of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association from 2011 to 2012. She is also a member of the Action Committee on Modernizing Court Operations, co-chaired by the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice of Canada.

Her appointment will mean that a majority of the Justices of the Court will be female for the first time in Canadian history.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:21 pm 0 comments

Supreme Court of Canada Calendar of November 2023 Hearings

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

To find out more about any particular case, click on the case name to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties and any interveners.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:31 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act

The Government of Canada Weekly Acquisitions List can be a great way to discover new research reports published by various public bodies and agencies of the federal government.

In a recent edition of the list, there was a link to a report about the Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act:

"We are honoured to have been appointed by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions as the independent Expert Panel to conduct the legislative review of the Cannabis Act (the Act). As the Expert Panel, we will offer our observations and advice—based on our own expertise—independent of outside influences, including our professional affiliations. We take our mandate, independence, and impartiality extremely seriously, and have devoted significant time to this important work."

"After almost a century of prohibition, Canada became the first major industrialized nation in the world to legalize and regulate cannabis when the Act and its regulations came into force. The Act allowed for the production, sale, and distribution of cannabis. The purpose of the Act is to protect public health and public safety, including by providing access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis, and by enhancing public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use (...)"

"Parliament’s decision to mandate an independent review three years after the Act came into force in 2018 recognized that there would inevitably be some gaps between what Parliament intended to achieve with the legislation and other supporting measures, and how those elements actually worked. However, it was clear that these gaps, and the modifications necessary to address them, would only become apparent once there had been some practical experience with the new framework. The primary purpose of this review, therefore, is to identify how the new framework is working in practice to date, and to provide recommendations to make it more effective."

"This report marks the completion of the first phase of our work, which was focused on engaging with stakeholders and experts to consider evidence and collect opinions and perspectives. For the second phase of our work, we will re-engage stakeholders in multi-sectoral roundtables and host other discussions to gain a deeper understanding and fill any knowledge gaps from our first phase. We will then prepare a final report for the Ministers, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament by March 2024 with our advice and recommendations. Our final report will be based on the data that we have gathered and what we have heard."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:26 pm 0 comments

Monday, October 23, 2023

Recent Library of Parliament Legislative Summaries

The Library of Parliament in Ottawa has recently published a number of legislative summaries of important federal bills.

Among them are:

  • Legislative Summary of Bill C-42: An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act: "The bill strengthens the government’s commitment to the implementation of a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry of corporations governed under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA)2 in furtherance of its efforts to bolster Canada’s anti–money laundering and anti–terrorist financing regime (...)"
  • Legislative Summary of Bill S-13: An Act to amend the Interpretation Act: "The bill amends the federal Interpretation Act 2 to include a non-derogation clause on upholding Aboriginal and treaty  rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. A non-derogation clause is a statement in a law that indicates the law should be interpreted to uphold, and not diminish, other pre-existing rights. Bill S-13 aims to ensure that all federal legislation is interpreted to uphold constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights."

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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Alberta Law Reform Institute Report on Electronic Wills

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) has published its final report on the Creation of Electronic Wills:

"ALRI conducted extensive consultations with the public and estate planning professionals to assess what people expected from the law when making their will. ALRI heard from over 400 members of the public and held in-depth roundtable consultations with trusted estate planning practitioners from across the province. Our consultation results confirm that people want to be able to create wills using electronic tools."

"ALRI recommends that electronic wills should be permitted in Alberta. The formalities for electronic wills should mirror the formalities for paper wills, but they should be accomplished in electronic form. In other words, electronic wills should be:

  • Readable as electronic text,
  • Signed by the testator, using an electronic signature, and,
  • Signed by two witnesses, who are both present at the same time, using an electronic signature."

"Final Report 119 also makes recommendations regarding remote witnessing, electronic holograph wills, video formats and the dispensing power. These recommendations aim to bring certainty, predictability, and accessibility to the law, while embracing technological advancements and maintaining the integrity and security of the testamentary process."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:06 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Serials Price Projection Report for 2024

Library services provider EBSCO Information Services has just published its 2024 Serials Price Projection Report.

The report estimates that the overall effective publisher price increases for academic and academic medical libraries are expected to be (before any currency impact) in the range of three to four percent for individual e-journal titles, two to three percent for e-journal packages and four to five percent for print titles.

The report has some interesting comments about the impact of currency fluctuations:

"The percentage of nonlocal currency spend varies by country and institution based on the library’s collection (...) For customers in the U.K. and Eurozone countries, generally 50 to 60 percent of content spend is priced by publishers in their local currencies. Libraries in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa, and other countries generally have much higher ratios of spend allocated to titles priced in other currencies and therefore can expect currency fluctuations to have a more significant impact on their budgets. As always, and depending on library location geographically, EBSCO recommends customers add an additional 2 to 4 percent to the estimated price increases when budgeting to protect themselves from a possible shift in currency in which they are invoiced between now and the time subscription payments are made."

"Based on the assumption that the majority of a library's serials spend will be for e-journal packages with the remainder split primarily between individual e-journals and fewer print journals, we estimate the overall effective price increase for 2024 to be in the range of 3 to 4 percent before considering currency impact."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:53 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

October 2023 Issue of In Session E-Bulletin of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The October 2023 issue of In Session has been published. 

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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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:33 pm 0 comments