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The 2019 Canadian Law Blog Awards (Clawbies) Are Here!

By Alan Kilpatrick

Snow underfoot, Christmas music in the air, eggnog, and …Canadian law blogs?  The arrival of the holiday season means that the Canadian Law Blog Awards (Clawbies) are right around the corner.

Created in 2006 by Steve Matthews, the Clawbies highlight great blogs in the Canadian legal sector annually.  Voting is simple.  Write a blog post nominating your favorite blogs and tweet the post using the hashtag #Clawbies2019 by December 20th, 2019.  Steve and the Clawbies team review the nominees and announce the award winners on New Years Eve.

This year is a bit different.  The Clawbies are evolving.  This year’s award is open to any online content or digital publication that is freely accessible: blogs, podcasts, social media, newsletters, online commentary, websites, and videos.

On that note, here are my Clawbie nominations for 2019: Primary Law and Commentary
CanLII, more formally know as the Canadian Legal Information Institute, is an outstanding resource.  As a law librarian, I depend on CanLII’s reliable collection of primary law and growing collection of commentary and ebooks while serving lawyers and the public in the law library.  A major proponent of free access to law and open legal publishing, CanLII’s efforts are worthy of recognition.

Family Law Saskatchewan: Form Wizard
The first resource of it’s kind, Family Law Saskatchewan, was launched in 2015 by Saskatchewan’s Public Legal Education Association.  Providing both plain language information on common family law topics and a court form wizard, the website is making strides in improving access to justice in Saskatchewan.  Users answer plain language interview questions and the form wizard generates the forms and steps necessary to start or respond to a family law action.

National Self-Represented Litigants Project: SRL Resources
The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP), founded by Professor Julie Macfarlane in 2013, researches issues affecting self-represented litigants (SRLs) and creates practical resources for those trying to navigate the legal system on their own.  As a law librarian in a publicly accessible law library, I know how challenging it can be to assist SRLs.  I frequently refer SRLs to the NSRLP’s free collection of resources.  For example, I know of no better legal research guide for SRLs than the NSRLP’s amazing CanLII Primer.

Emond eBooks: Criminal Law Series

By Alan Kilpatrick

We are extremely excited to announce that Law Society members now have access to even more great eBook content right on their desktop or mobile device: Emond’s Criminal Series eBooks.

Emond describes this series, which received the prestigious Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing, on its website:

The award-winning Criminal Law Series offers clear, concise guidance on the practical and procedural aspects of criminal law. Ideally suited for members of the criminal bar and judiciary, this collection covers discrete areas of criminal practice, anchored by the expertise of General Editors Brian H. Greenspan and Justice Vincenzo Rondinelli. Most titles are authored by both defence and Crown counsel, lending balance and comprehensiveness to the series.

You can access these titles simply by logging into the Members’ Resource Section of the Law Society’s website. All members, regardless of location or firm, have the same amazing access!

The addition of this new series means that Law Society members now have access to nearly 400 eBooks through the Members’ Resource Section from Irwin Law, Westlaw Next, Emond Publishing, and vLex Canada.

Legal Resources and Library staff regularly evaluate new digital resources and negotiate with legal vendors in order to provide members with access to the latest online resources. As we continue to evolve the Law Society’s print resource collection towards a largely online one, members can expect to see more online resources and to receive a competitive return on investment from the Library.

If you have any questions about legal resources, ask a Law Society Librarian! We are pleased to provide high-quality assistance to Saskatchewan members in person, on the telephone, or by email.

Legal Researchers Take Note: Canadiana Online is Now Free to Access!

By Alan Kilpatrick

Earlier this year, Canadiana Online’s unparalleled online collection of historical materials became free to access. The collection, available at no charge at, contains more than 60 million digitized pages of books, periodicals, and government publications from early Canadian history.

Why should lawyers and legal researchers take note of this thrilling development? Canadiana Online features an outstanding collection of historical statutes, bills, legal journals, and law reports. Some examples include:

• Bills
• Court Rules
• Criminal Law Texts
• Law Reports
• Lawyer Directories
• Sessional Papers

Notably, we located a digitized copy of the Catalogue of the Law Society Libraries of Saskatchewan from 1912 through Canadiana Online.

Legal researchers should take advantage of the wealth of legal resources available freely online here.  Canadian Online offers a simple search interface with search tips. Search results can be narrowed by multiple search filters and subject headings.

Sources Cited

Ross, R. (2018, November 15). Over 60 Million Pages of Digitized Canadian Documentary Heritage Soon To Be Available At No Charge. Retrieved from:


The Next Generation of Legal Research is Here: Vincent

By Alan Kilpatrick

Meet Vincent! The Next Generation of Legal Research (CPD 240)
Wednesday, October 1st, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST

Are you ready for next generation of legal research technology and biggest disruption Canada’s legal information landscape has ever seen: artificial intelligence?  Don’t miss this Continuing Professional Development webinar with Ken Fox (Law Society Library, Saskatoon), Alan Kilpatrick (Law Society Library, Regina), and Colin Lachance (vLex Canada).

Meet Vincent! The Next Generation of Legal Research (CPD 240) will familiarise you with Vincent, a revolutionary AI powered legal research tool from vLex Canada.  It’s unlike any other resource you’ve used before.  Vincent, powered by Iceberg’s artificial intelligence framework, “reads and analyzes” your legal documents, memos, and briefs.  Doing so, Vincent draws out and highlights the key concepts, authorities, and relevant results.

The Law Society’s library staff have negotiated and secured access to Vincent for all Saskatchewan members.  Members can access this amazing new tool directly on their desktops from the Members’ Resource Section.

Meet Vincent! is accredited for one 1 CPD hour. Registration Fees: $80.00 +5% GST = $84.00. Register Here!

•  AI-powered legal research added to the tool kit of every lawyer in Saskatchewan / Colin Lachance
•  Meet Vincent! / Ken Fox

Saskatchewan’s New Revenge Porn Law

By Alan Kilpatrick

Saskatchewan’s Privacy Act, RSS 1987, c P-24 was recently amended to introduce new avenues for victims of revenge porn to seek damages and justice.  Revenge porn includes the non-consensual distribution and sharing of intimate photographs, films, or videos.

Justice Minister Don Morgan explained that The Privacy Amendment Act, SS 2018, c 28, which came into force on September 15, 2018, “provides victims with a clear path for pursuing legal action against those who have victimized them by sharing their intimate images without consent.”

The new law enables a victim to directly sue the image’s distributor.  The law also creates a reverse onus and places a burden on the distributor to prove they had consent to share the intimate image.  Victims can now pursue an action in either Small Claims Court or the Court of Queen’s Bench.  For damages under $30,000, a victim can pursue a simpler and quicker action in Small Claims Court.

Consult the sources below to learn more.


Fraser, D.C. (2018, September 17). Saskatchewan’s revenge porn law is now in effect, making it easier for victims to take legal action.  Retrieved from

Government of Saskatchewan. (2018, September 17). Legislation To Support Victims Of “Revenge Porn” Takes Effect.  Retrieved from

Green, G.A. (2018, September 18).  Recent Saskatchewan Law Regarding Sharing, Posting, or Disseminating Intimate Images.  Retrieved from

Refreshing Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Copyright Web Presence

By Alan Kilpatrick

This talk was presented at the 2019 Saskatchewan Libraries Association Conference on May 2nd, 2019.  Please find the PowerPoint slides here.   

Good afternoon. In Fall 2017, I began a project to refresh and update Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s copyright website.  One year later, in Fall 2018, we launched a new public-facing copyright site for students, as well as an internal copyright site for staff, faculty, and course developers.  Members of the Sask Polytech community who want to learn more about copyright need look no further than these resources.  We’re excited about these new websites!  I encourage you to check out our new public site at

During the project, I learned about best practices for library copyright websites, information architecture, and about communicating a complex topic like copyright effectively.  I’d like to share what I learned.  I was fortunate to receive this opportunity to work as a casual Copyright Consultant with Sask Polytech’s Copyright Office, Rita Schiller, Tasha Maddison, and Rian Misfeldt on this project.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for allowing me to contribute.

Why Refresh Sask Polytech’s copyright web presence?  The refresh was long overdue.  Our existing copyright site was out of date.  Rian, Rita, and I had several goals in mind.  First, we wanted to update the content, organization, and structure of the site.  Next, we wanted to ensure that Sask Polytech’s copyright site aligned with copyright content from other postsecondary institutions.  We wanted to use the site to better educate the Sask Polytech community about copyright, to promote awareness of copyright compliant practices, and to minimize potential copyright infractions.  Finally, we wanted the site to demonstrate that Sask Polytech takes copyright seriously.

Sask Polytech’s IT department helped us articulate these goals.  They asked us to define the primary goal of the site, the primary demographic, the ideal user scenario, and so.  A recurring theme of this project was collaboration.  The reason this project was successful was because we collaborated with many different groups across campus to accomplish it.

Rian asked me to begin by identifying best practices for academic copyright websites, to look for effective features we might want to include, and to develop recommendations for our own site.  I surveyed a variety of copyright sites from institutions across Canada and conducted a brief literature review.  These three papers, Copyright Practices and Approaches at Canadian Universities, Copyright Communication in Canadian Academic Libraries, and Webpages on Copyright in Canadian Academic Libraries do an excellent job of investigating best practices as well as effective ways to communicate copyright to a postsecondary community.   Here are the best practices I identified.  These extend to any Library copyright website, not just an academic one.

• Copyright websites are visible and accessible: Generally available within a few clicks of the academic library homepage, accessible via the institution’s search engine, and a visible pillar of copyright education.

• They’re clearly worded. Lengthy text passages do a poor job of communicating a topic as intimidating as copyright. To aid comprehension, concise language, broken into short paragraphs, should be used.

• They’re well organized. Most feature a simple main page that introduces copyright. Straightforward links should be provided from this main page to separate pages containing more detailed information on copyright subtopics.

• They’re educational. Many students and faculty lack copyright confidence.  The site should educate visitors about essential copyright concepts and provide basic guidance.  During my survey, I found that there was much similarity regarding the concepts presented on copyright sites.

• They should provide contact information. Users should be immediately alerted as to where they can get additional assistance.  That’s why we provide contact information for our Copyright Office prominently on our site’s homepage.

• They should promote respect for copyright. As an institution, we have a responsibility to promote respect for the law.  The site should include links to relevant policies, court cases, legislation, as well as provide a legal disclaimer.

• Finally, they should promote alternatives. The site should include links to copyright friendly resources: public domain, Creative Commons, royalty free, open access, and so on.

After some discussion, we decided to create two sites: a public-facing one as well as an internal one.  We wanted the public site to focus on Sask Polytech students, potential students, as well as the outside world and to provide a general high-level overview of foundational concepts.  We decided the internal site would focus on our faculty, course developers, and staff and would build on the foundation of the public site by providing guidance regarding copyright and course development.

Copyright is a complex topic.  I found that some academic copyright sites are overwhelming in the way they organize and present content.  I worked hard to make our public site’s sitemap as straightforward as possible.  I modeled it after the simple navigation I found on the University of Regina and University of Alberta copyright sites. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug influenced me to create page names that were as clear as possible.  I didn’t want visitors to be confused about the information they would find on any given page.  What is Copyright?, Why Should I Care About Copyright?, and Get Help, are all examples of this.

While writing the public site’s content, I focused on making the language clear and understandable.  My goal was to provide a good overview without overwhelming visitors.  Many postsecondary copyright sites contain a large amount of Creative Commons licensed content.  For example, copyright sites for the University of Saskatchewan, University of Waterloo, University of British Columbia, and the University of Regina contain content licensed under a generous Creative Commons license.  I took advantage of this and reused some of their content on our site.

I did encounter some academic copyright sites that don’t present concepts in a way that is easily understandable to those who aren’t copyright experts.  For example, many prominently feature fair dealing on their homepages.  Fair dealing is certainly a key concept to know about.  However, the background necessary to enable someone to understand fair dealing isn’t always readily provided.  It’s difficult to really understand what fair dealing is unless you have a grasp of all sorts of foundational concepts.  For example, what is copyright, why should anyone care about copyright, copyright balance, owner’s rights, and user’s exceptions.

Here’s a breakdown of the content on our public site:

• The Homepage introduces visitors to copyright practices at Sask Polytech and prominently features the Copyright Office’s contact information.

What is Copyright? presents visitors with a simple introduction to copyright’s key concepts.

Why Should I Care About Copyright? bluntly explains why visitors should care about copyright.  It features this excellent infographic from the University of Regina.

• It can be difficult to know where to start. Before You Copy presents students with five essential questions they should ask before reproducing content.

Using Copyrighted Materials describes a variety of factors visitors should be aware of when using copyrighted materials: fair dealing, exceptions, licenced resources, obtaining permission, and so on.

Copyright Friendly Resources has links to public domain, Creative Commons, and open access resources.

• Finally, Get Help provides visitors with the Copyright Office’s contact information.  The message stressed here is that the Copyright Office is here to help.

To launch the public site, I worked with Kelly Burke, Sask Polytech’s Digital Ecosystems Librarian, to create a visual mock-up and to upload the content.  Rita, Rian, and Tasha all reviewed the site’s content and provided feedback.

Work on our internal site began next.  It builds on the foundation of the public site.  We encourage faculty, staff, and course developers to review the public site before the internal one.  We wanted this site to contain practical information, real-world examples, and to provide faculty and staff with solid guidance.  Its based on the same best practices as the public site and has an equally straightforward sitemap.

We’ve received some very positive feedback from Sask Polytech staff, students, and faculty.  We wanted to share what we’ve accomplished with you today.  Thank you.  Are there any questions?

Saskatchewan Introduces Claire’s Law

By Alan Kilpatrick

Justice Minister Don Morgan introduced Bill 141: The Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol (Clare’s Law) Act to the Saskatchewan Legislature on November 5th, 2018.  Second reading of the bill occurred on April 2nd, 2019.  The legislation is intended to enable police to inform an at-risk individual about their partner’s violent past.  Saskatchewan, according to the Government’s new release, is the first province in Canada to introduce legislation of this kind.

The bill, also known as Claire’s Law after a British woman murdered by her partner, emerged out of the Government’s Domestic Violence Review Panel.  Earlier this year, the panel’s final report acknowledged that Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence in Canada.  It proposed several recommendations including Claire’s Law.

The legislation would, CBC Saskatchewan reported, enable a concerned party to make an application pursuant to the legislation.  A panel would review the application and determine whether to release information about a violent individual to their partner.

Fittingly, representatives from the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) were present at the Legislature for the introduction of the legislation.  PATHS is a non-profit organization that provides domestic violence support services in Saskatchewan.


Government of Saskatchewan. (2018, May 24). Saskatchewan Domestic Violence Death Review Report.
Retrieved from

Graham, J. (2018, November 5). Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol Act – Clare’s Law –
Introduced In Saskatchewan. Retrieved from

Hunter, A. (2018, November 5). Saskatchewan 1st to introduce Clare’s Law, aimed at stopping domestic
violence. Retrieved from

Two Years On: The Saskatchewan Libraries 2017 Budget Crisis

By Alan Kilpatrick

In March 2017, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that funding to Saskatchewan’s public library system was being reduced.  Shortly after the announcement, widespread public protest emerged throughout the province.  Approximately one month later, the Government reversed the funding cut and committed to a public consultation and engagement process regarding libraries.

The consultation and engagement process took place over two phases:

  1. Report of Saskatchewan Public Libraries Engagement / Government of Saskatchewan (December 2018)
    Throughout fall 2018, MLA Terry Dennis led a panel that met with representatives from each public library system in the province.  The panel asked several questions, learned about the current state of public libraries, and discussed opportunities for the future of libraries.  The panel identified eight themes common to all Saskatchewan library systems.  Each theme is described in this brief report released by Mr. Dennis in December 2018:
    • Funding Structure and Predictability
    • Provincial Public Library Strategic Plan
    • One Card, One Province
    • Communication with the Provincial Library
    • Governance Training
    • Indigenization
    • Value of Public Libraries
    • Legislation
  1. Report of Saskatchewan Public Libraries Engagement Survey / Government of Saskatchewan (March 2019)
    In January 2019, the Government followed up by launching an online survey.  Saskatchewan residents were invited to read Mr. Dennis’s report and provide feedback.  Specifically, the Government wanted to gather public feedback to determine whether the eight themes accurately reflected public opinion.  The survey was open for fifteen days and received more than 5800 responses.  The responses indicate that Saskatchewan residents largely agree that the eight themes represent key concerns for public libraries.

In the coming months, the Government has indicated that it will be using the eight themes and public survey responses to develop a public library sector plan.  No additional information has been provided about the sector plan at the time.

You can learn more at:

Province Seeking Public Input On Report On Saskatchewan Libraries Engagement / Government of Saskatchewan (January 2019)
Report of Saskatchewan Public Libraries Engagement Survey / Government of Saskatchewan (March 2019)
The Saskatchewan Spring of 2017: 34 Days that Shook the Province and Led to the Provincial Government Reinstating Funding to Public Libraries / The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science (2017)

Law Librarian On Site

By Alan Kilpatrick

Need help with your legal research? Law Society of Saskatchewan librarian, Alan Kilpatrick, will be at RPL’s Central Branch as a “Law Librarian On Site” to help guide you through the many legal resources available. Please contact the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library for more information.

Thursday, March 21: 1:00-4:00 pm
Thursday, April 4: 1:00-4:00 pm
Thursday, April 18: 1:00-4:00 pm
Thursday, May 16: 1:00-4:00 pm


Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide Added to CanLII

By Alan Kilpatrick

The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide (formerly the Best Guide to Legal Research) is a free online legal research guide that has been available on the internet for the past twenty years.

The guide was first created and launched in 1998 as a website by Catherine Best, an experienced research lawyer.  Catherine donated the guide to CanLII in 2015 when she retired.  CanLII took over editorship and rebranded the website as The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide.

Earlier this month, CanLII announced that the guide has been fully  revised, converted from a website to a full-fledged ebook, and added to CanLII’s growing commentary section.  The ebook is now maintained by a volunteer editorial board of five prominent Canadian legal researchers:  Melanie Bueckert, André Clair, Maryvon Côté, Yasmin Khan, and Mandy Ostick.

The ebook can be searched with keywords and Boolean operators.  Sections of the text can be copied, pasted, and downloaded to your computer.  It now features 13 chapters covering a variety of legal research topics:

  1. The Importance of Legal Research
  2. Step-By-Step Legal Research Process
  3. Use Commentary to Define and Understand the Issues
  4. Guidelines for Online Research
  5. Researching Canadian Federal and Provincial Legislation
  6. Searching Canadian Case Law
  7. Restate the Issues and Refine Your Strategy
  8. Review and Assess the Case Law
  9. Stare Decisis and Techniques of Legal Reasoning and Legal Argument
  10. If You Get Stuck
  11. When to Stop
  12. Preparing a Legal Memorandum
  13. Legal Citation

I encourage you to check the guide out.  You can learn more from CanLII’s official announcement.


Kilpatrick, Alan. (2016, September 16). The Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research – Tip of the Week.
Retrieved from

Sutherland, Sarah. (2018, October 26). The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide on CanLII.
Retrieved from

Tredwell, Susannah. (2018, October 31). CanLII Adds the Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide
Research & Writing. Retrieved from