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Towards Cannabis Legalization in Canada

Canada’s official cannabis legalization date is set for October 17th, 2018.  Legally, how did we get here?

In 2015, the Federal Government proposed legalizing cannabis.  Without a blueprint or roadmap to follow, the Government strove to explore the available evidence and balance a variety of health-related goals.  Behind their desire to consider legalization, the Government acknowledged that cannabis use is widespread, that criminalization has become a burden on the justice system, that organized crime benefits from criminalization, and that support for change is high among Canadians.

In December 2016, the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization issued its recommendation report, A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada.  After extensive consultations with domestic and international experts, Canadians, and interest groups, the Task Force brought forward almost 100 recommendations.  The report suggested a legislative framework for cannabis legalization in Canada.  Almost 30,000 submissions were made during the Task Force’s public consultations.

Five short months later in April 2017, the Government introduced Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act and Bill C-46, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code in the House of Commons.  Bill C-45 legalizes cannabis and advances several public health objectives.  They include protecting youth and controlling access.  More information about the Cannabis Act can be found here.

Bill C-46 amends the Criminal Code by creating new tools to identify drug impaired driving.  Identifying drug impaired driving is one of the larger challenges that has arisen due to legalization.  Several concerns still exist about the roadside screening procedures for cannabis use.

In the rapid leadup to legalization, each province has been required to draft its own cannabis legislation.  Legally, the Federal Government holds authority for cannabis production, licensing, tracking, and medicinal purposes.  Each Province is responsible for drafting a legislative framework to handle cannabis retail, distribution, public use, home cultivation, and minimum age limits.  You can learn more about the division of Federal and Provincial responsibilities here.

In the leadup to Saskatchewan’s own cannabis legislation, the Provincial Government conducted a province-wide survey in October 2017.  Notably, this survey received the highest response rate of any Saskatchewan Government survey ever.  Introduced in March 2018, Bill 121, The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act passed quickly through the Legislature and received royal assent in May 2018.

Saskatchewan’s bill aims to curtail criminal cannabis, protect youth, advance public health, and regulate legal use.  The legal age for cannabis use in the province has been set at 19.  Use in public spaces has been prohibited.  A zero-tolerance policy is in effect for driving.  Finally, the Province has established a private retail model for cannabis retailers that will be regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA).  Last month, the SLGA held a lottery to grant 51 cannabis retail permits to potential retailers.  SLGA has indicated that additional permits may be made available if demand warrants it.  You can read more about Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Framework here.

This post was inspired by a session at CALL/ACBD 2018: Cannabis Panel presented by Myrna Gillis, Matt Herder, Robert Strang, and Bob Purcell. 

Sources   

Gillis, M., Herder, M., Purcell, B., & Strang, R. (2018). Cannabis panel. Plenary Session at CALL/ACBD 2018.

Government of Canada (2018). Cannabis legalization and regulation.  Retrieved from http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

Government of Canada. (2016). A Framework for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.  Retrieved from http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/task-force-marijuana-groupe-etude/framework-cadre/alt/framework-cadre-eng.pdf

Government of Canada. (2018). Introduction of the cannabis act: questions and answers.  Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/introduction-cannabis-act-questions-answers.html#a2

Government of Saskatchewan. (2018). Canada’s cannabis act. Retrieved from https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/cannabis-in-saskatchewan/canadas-cannabis-act

Government of Saskatchewan. (2018). Saskatchewan’s cannabis framework: framework and survey results. Retrieved from http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/13/106026-SK-Cannabis-Framework.pdf

At the Leading Edge of Innovative Service: The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library

By Alan Kilpatrick

The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library supports the legal information needs of members, articling students, and the public by providing an online and print library collection, high quality legal research services, and a variety of Saskatchewan focused legal publications.  Our Library is committed to providing you with the legal resources you need to practice in the most convenient digital formats available.

Innovative Service
We provide two full-service libraries in the Regina Queen’s Bench Courthouse and the Saskatoon Queen’s Bench Courthouse.  Unstaffed rural libraries are in Prince Albert, Battleford, Yorkton, Lloydminster, Meadow Lake, Swift Current, Estevan, and Moose Jaw.

Members and articling students can access our comprehensive print legal collection through the Library catalogue: books, journals, loose leafs, statutes, case law reporters, and other legal reference materials.

Our Reference Librarians, Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick, provide high quality legal research services.  We are your legal information experts and can quickly and efficiently find whatever you are looking for.  Please contact us if you have questions about an online service we offer, require assistance locating a textbook, case, statute, or journal article, would like advice about legal research, or would like a point of law researched.  Do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.  We are here to help.

Online Members’ Section Resources
The Members’ Section of the Law Society website is our online law library.  It is your gateway to all the amazing online resources, databases, ebooks, and subscription products the Library has subscribed to.  These resources are available directly on your desktop wherever you are in the province.  Members and articling students have an individual login to the Members’ Section.  Please contact us at (306) 569-8020 or webmaster@lawsociety.sk.ca if you have trouble logging in.

Key resources in the Members’ Section include:
• Westlaw Next Canada
• O’Briens Internet
• HeinOnline
• Irwin Law e-library
• Emond Publications eBooks
• rangefindr

Contact Us
Please contact or visit the Library if you have any questions.

Copyright Act Review – An Update

By Alan Kilpatrick

Copyright matters.  The law surrounding copyright has a tremendous impact on learning, creativity, and the expression of ideas in Canadian society.

Libraries, like ours, have a particular interest in ongoing copyright law developments.  In addition to the landmark 2004 copyright decision that involved the Law Society of Upper Canada Library, CCH Canadian Ltd v Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13, copyright impacts everything libraries do.  It plays a defining role in what we can provide to members, how we interact with online resources, interlibrary loans, and so on.

The current copyright environment has been focused largely on the mandatory five-year parliamentary review of the Copyright Act that took place in May 2018.  Section 92 of the Act mandates this review, the first of which took place in 2012.  Taking place in several phases last month, the review consulted witnesses from specific sectors, Indigenous interest groups, and legal experts.  A cross-country public consultation was also conducted.  Ken Fox, our Saskatoon Reference Librarian, described many of the issues at play in the exciting leadup to the Act’s review in this blog post.  The review’s results are expected in 2019.

During the review, Canada’s library community advocated for fair and equitable use of copyright-protected materials.  The library sector placed particular emphasis on the importance of the fair dealing exception in Section 29 of the Act.  The Act includes several “exceptions” to copyright infringement that permit copying without permission for specific purposes and under certain conditions.  Exceptions are intended to balance the interests of those who own copyright-protected material and those who use copyright-protected materials.

We look forward to the results of the review process.  As a member of the library sector, we will continue to advocate for fair and equitable copyright.

You can learn more about copyright from these previous Legal Sourcery posts:

Copyright Law Basics (1) – Copyright is a Balancing Act
Copyright Law Basics (2) – Owner’s Rights
Copyright Law Basics (3) – User Rights and Fair Dealing

This post was inspired by a session at SLA 2018: Copyright and Libraries 2018 presented by Kate Langrell and Christina Winter. 

Source:
Langrell, K., & Winter, C. (2018). Copyright and Libraries 2018. Session at SLA 2018.

New Icons Improve HeinOnline’s Usability

By Alan Kilpatrick

HeinOnline is a popular online law library that provides over 2000 legal journals from Canada, the United States, and the Commonwealth as well as an impressive historical collection of case law and legislation from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Recently, HeinOnline launched a new series of “information icons.”  These icons make it easier to stay up-to-date with the details about a particular legal journal.  Located to the left of each title, the information icons will help you learn more about a journal and the last time it was updated:

Hovering over an icon with your cursor reveals that icon’s purpose.  It’s often challenging to identify information about specific journal titles in large electronic databases.  This is why HeinOnline’s new information icons are so helpful and appreciated.

Members can access HeinOnline through the Members’ Section of the Law Society website.

Source:
Zurawski, K. (2018, June 27). Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Introducing our New Icons in HeinOnline. Retrieved from https://home.heinonline.org/blog/2018/06/ch-ch-ch-changes-introducing-our-new-icons-in-heinonline/

HeinOnline: 18 Years In the Making

By Alan Kilpatrick

HeinOnline, the extremely popular online law library, is turning 18.  Launched in the early years of the internet in 2000, HeinOnline positioned itself as an electronic pioneer.  Recognizing the potential of the internet to transform legal information services, HeinOnline aspired to become the world’s leading electronic law library.

The resource has grown dramatically over the past almost two decades.  The convenient “one-stop shop” platform now includes over 2000 legal journal titles from Canada, the United States, and the Commonwealth as well as an impressive historical collection of case law and legislation from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Fortunately, Saskatchewan members can take full advantage of this must-have resource.  It is available on demand at your fingertips and on your computer’s desktop in the Law Society Library Members’ Section.  The Law Society Library remains committed to providing members with access to online legal resources, wherever they may be in the province, in the latest and most convenient digital formats available.

Sources Cited
Sabo, S. (2018, May 23). HeinOnline Is Legal!. Retrieved from https://home.heinonline.org/blog/2018/05/heinonline-is-legal/

Build Bridges and Broaden Your Reach

By Alan Kilpatrick

This talk was presented at the 2018 Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference as part of a breakout panel presentation: “Taking the ‘Work’ Out of Networking: Build Relationships, Not a Stack of Business Cards.”

It’s never too early to start networking.  It’s been valuable at every stage of my career.

Networking helped me identify my professional interests and led me to law librarianship.  During my MLIS degree at Western, I wasn’t sure which area of librarianship to pursue.  I gained career insight by joining a variety of student groups, such as the Progressive Librarians’ Guild (PLG) and Canadian Library Association (CLA) student chapters.  I also took advantage of conference student rates and attended diverse conferences such as the Ontario Library Association conference and the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) conference, and by connecting with the wide range of librarians I met at Western.  For example, through the PLG I discovered an interest in the law and its intersection with librarianship.  Through a student position at a campus library where I had a supportive supervisor, I found I enjoyed providing reference services.  Through an internship completed in my final semester with a children’s literacy organization in India, I discovered children’s librarianship wasn’t for me.

During my career as a law librarian, networking has become even more valuable.  Through the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL), I’ve connected with likeminded professionals.  I regularly contact colleagues met through CALL, such as Ken Fox or Ann Marie Melvie, to ask for advice, help answering reference and research questions, and about professional development.  Entering my fifth year of law librarianship, I’ve begun looking at other law librarians in the profession to see how they’ve developed their careers and what paths they’ve taken to get where they are.  This has motivated me in my own professional development.

Recently, I’ve begun to notice that many of the professional opportunities I’ve been fortunate to participate in arose through networking.  For example, a recent opportunity I’ve had regarding copyright librarianship came directly from networking.  It’s never too early to start networking.  Don’t put it off.  It’s worth it.

Get Active.  Joining a professional association is a great way to network.  As a new law librarian, joining CALL and the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) connected me with similar professionals and provided networking opportunities at conferences and social events.

Do more than join.  Volunteer for an association.  Attending conferences where you don’t know anyone can feel awkward.  I certainly felt so.  Volunteering eliminates that awkwardness and enhances your networking.  I found that volunteering, with social media during the CALL conference and as a technology volunteer during the SLA conference provided me with plenty of opportunities to speak with other attendees, presenters, and vendors.

Join a committee to get the most out of professional association networking.  I’ve participated in the CALL Vendor Liaison Committee and currently chair the Website Editorial Board.  I’ve sat on the SLA board for the past two years.  Participating in committees gave me the opportunity to connect with association members on a smaller scale, provided a safe and welcoming environment to practice my networking skills, and has resulted in some of the most gratifying professional experiences I’ve had.

Here’s an important point.  Don’t commit yourself to every volunteer or committee opportunity you’re approached about.  Don’t be afraid to say no and don’t spread yourself too thin.  As a profession, we’re too keen to take on more than we should.  This can lead to burn out which can only harm your professional reputation.  In all your professional endeavours, networking or otherwise, strive to maintain work life balance.  It’s important.

Network widely and wisely.  Don’t limit your networking horizons.

I’ve endeavored to practice networking every day since becoming a law librarian.  I decided to join the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) for the opportunity to practice networking.  As a law librarian, I wasn’t sure if I had much in common with the public librarians that largely make up SLA.  What I’ve found is that networking widely among the information profession, even among non-law librarians, has led to some unexpected and fruitful partnerships I hadn’t anticipated.

Attending SLA events connected me with a diverse group of librarians and allowed me to form several mutually beneficial relationships.  For example, I often call on the unique expertise of the Legislative Library for help answering complex legislative questions.  I offer similar assistance to them for legal reference questions.  Joining forces in this way has enabled me to serve my users more effectively. Chatting with public librarians in SLA led to the recognition that unmet legal needs exist among the public.  This, in part, inspired one of our library’s most promising partnerships, the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project.

Networking isn’t limited to something you do with librarians.  We know that in-person contact with our users is decreasing as the services we provide increasingly occur online.  We need to get out of the library, become visible, and network with our stakeholders to remain successful in the future.

Attend stakeholder conferences in addition to library conferences.  We’ve hosted a booth, and occasionally presented, at the Canadian Bar Association Saskatchewan Branch Mid-Winter Meeting for the past five years.  Attending has allowed us to learn more about our user’s information needs and how to better serve them.  It’s been an opportunity to educate our stakeholders about the library’s value and potential.  Attending has increased my visibility as a law librarian and the relationships I have with lawyers.  Most importantly, it’s increased the visibility and reputation of our library.

Share your story.  We’re all doing interesting things in our libraries and as library professionals.  Tell people about it!  Fellow librarians can learn from your experiences, ideas, and lessons learned.  This can lead to new connections and partnerships.  Sharing your story among stakeholders will educate them about your library’s value.

There are many ways to share your story.  I’ve found Twitter and blogs to be among the most effective.  Twitter allowed me to begin reaching out and sharing my story.  I strategically used Twitter to identify law librarians and stakeholders I wanted to learn from and connect with.  For example, I recall following Michel-Adrien Sheppard and Connie Crosby long before I met them in-person.  I knew they were people I wanted to connect with.

Twitter’s character count does limit the ability to tell a story.  I found that connecting Twitter to a blog results in a great way to tell, and then broadcast, your story.  Write a blog post that tells an aspect of your story: a professional accomplishment, a new workplace initiative, or a library project.  Then, tweet it strategically.  Include a link to your post and the Twitter handles of those you want to share the story with.  It takes time.  Eventually, it does pay off and results in real world connections.

This is what we’ve done with Legal Sourcery, our Law Society Library blog.  For example, I’ve written dozens of blog posts about the potential of law libraries to improve access to legal information and then shared them via my Twitter account.  I strategically targeted other libraries and legal stakeholders throughout the province.  Eventually, someone from the University of Saskatchewan’s Law School read the posts and approached our library to learn more about how libraries could help with regards to access to legal information.  This, in part, has grown into some of the most exiting partnerships my library participates in today.

Embrace new situations.  Networking can be intimidating.  Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.  Networking confidence is something that will naturally develop over time.  This has been my approach for many of my professional firsts: the first shift on the reference desk, the first networking event, the first conference presentation, the first time chairing a committee, and so on.  Embrace new situations that come your way despite any fears you may have.  You never know where they’ll lead to.

To recap, my five networking points are: It’s never to early to start networking, get active, network widely and wisely, share your story, and embrace new situations.

Thank you.  Please feel free to contact me through email, Twitter, or on my blog if you have any questions.

Legal Sourcery: Four Years On

By Alan Kilpatrick

A blog post in celebration of Legal Sourcery’s fourth anniversary.

Can you provide some background on Legal Sourcery? 

On March 12, 2014, the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library launched the Legal Sourcery blog.  The blog was an effort to better promote the library, market the library’s services and resources, and develop stronger connections with lawyers and the public.  Four years later, Legal Sourcery has exceeded our expectations.  With almost 1500 posts and 240,000 views, the blog has been awarded three Canadian Law Blog Awards (Clawbies) in 2014, 2015, and 2017.  It has helped raise the profile of the library both within the Law Society and throughout Saskatchewan’s legal community, shape a visible and reenergised library brand, and position the library at the centre of legal information initiatives in the province.

 How did you choose the name Legal Sourcery?

Coming up with the name was a collaborative endeavour.  Our entire library team participated in brainstorming blog names.  Our goal was to create a clever name that represented who we are, what we do, and the value we offer.  The names we considered included Collawboration, Lawstronauts, Gopher Law, and Wind Chill.  Ken Fox, our Saskatoon librarian, aptly suggested Legal Sourcery during the discussion.  The team voted and decided on Ken’s suggestion.  While legal resources are what the library provides, legal sourcery is the expertise, capability, and value we bring to legal information services.  It’s the esoteric skill we use to help lawyers and the public navigate the depths of the legal resources jungle.

 Why did you choose WordPress?

We decided on using WordPress after investigating the various blogging platforms available.  WordPress is an excellent option for blogging.  It requires little knowledge of coding, features professional templates, and is simple to use.  It’s free and allows the user to join the blogosphere within minutes.

 How do you monitor the number of posts and the content by contributors?

Our aim has always been to publish at least one new post daily in order to attract and retain readers.  To meet this output, we designated one library team member, Kelly Chiu, to become the blog’s coordinator.  Kelly ensures the blog is discussed at staff meetings, maintains a blog queue with content for the upcoming week, and prompts us when additional posts are required.  Without a coordinator, Legal Sourcery would not have succeeded.

Our Director of Legal Resources, Melanie Hodges Neufeld, maintains oversight and approves all posts before they are published.  She works hard to attract guest contributors for the blog from the Law Society, the Saskatchewan legal community, and external organizations

Since first launching Legal Sourcery, the entire library team has committed to writing regular posts on top of our assigned duties.  Traditionally, library staff have written the majority of posts that appear on the blog.  However, this is now changing as the number of guest contributors has increased in recent years.

What challenges have you encountered?

Creating and maintaining quality content with a limited pool of writers is inevitably challenging.  Attracting guest contributors is key to combating blog burnout and fatigue.  Initially, we found it difficult to attract guest contributors or to convince people it was worth their time to write for a blog.  As Legal Sourcery has achieved more popularity and recognition, it has become easier to attract guest contributors.  Thankfully, this has reduced the burden on library staff to produce daily posts.

 What are your most popular posts?

A few facts and figures from Legal Sourcery:

• Total views to date: 238 791
• Total posts to date: 1458
• Legal Sourcery’s first post: Welcome to Our Blog!
• Legal Sourcery’s top post: Cross Referencing Footnotes in Word, April 29, 2014 (25126 views)

 What are your future plans for Legal Sourcery?

At first, our goal with Legal Sourcery was to advertise the resources, projects, and expertise the library offered, in one central place, to Saskatchewan’s legal community.  However, over the past four years Legal Sourcery has evolved into the central hub for all legal news relevant to the Law Society, lawyers, and the public in Saskatchewan.  The 2017 Clawbies panel explained:

The pride of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, Legal Sourcery continued its top-quality blogging in 2017 with a steady stream of useful content … While strictly speaking a library blog, this really could be seen as the go-to source for Saskatchewan legal news. 

The blog now regularly disseminates information about the Law Society, legislative updates, news and events relevant to lawyers, free legal clinics, and content from external organizations like CanLII.  For the past two years, Legal Sourcery has been proud to serve as the official blog of Saskatchewan’s annual Access to Justice Week.

We intend to continue this evolution and to promote Legal Sourcery as the premier source of legal information in Saskatchewan.  Stay tuned for future developments.

Do you have any advice for aspiring bloggers?

Here are some tips for aspiring legal information bloggers:

• Think about your goals and audience. Understanding your goals and who you are attempting to reach will shape your blog’s development.
• Coming up with content for posts is not difficult. Follow lawyers and legal information professionals on social media, the blogosphere, and listservs.  What you learn can be repurposed into blog posts.  Take the time to write about the interesting things you are working on.
• Promote your blog on social media and via word of mouth. I often let our users know about the blog during conversations at the reference desk and refer to it while responding to research enquiries.
• Common sense is key. Keep posts professional, pay attention to spelling, and be cautious when writing about controversial issues.  Always consider how a blog post will reflect on your larger organization.