Link Round-Up: May 5, 2017

‘Link Round-Up’ gives you a glimpse into the articles that got the most airtime around the Loom Analytics water cooler this week. Published every Friday, article topics include access to justice, big data, legal technology, and what’s happening in the Canadian legal landscape.

  • This Monday marked the 10-year anniversary of Ontario’s Access to Justice Act, the law responsible for allowing paralegals in Ontario to be licensed to practice law within a certain limited scope. On Slaw, Omar Ha-Redeye looked to the future of paralegal services in Ontario, and offers suggestions for how the paralegal scope of practice should change in the years to come.
  • R. v. Comeau, the New Brunswick case that deemed it unconstitutional to limit the amount of Canadian alcohol imported across provinces, will be heading for an appeal with The Supreme Court of Canada. The CBA National breaks down the case and its repercussions for Canadian liquor laws
  • In a baffling ruling coming from the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, it has been decided that “an employer can pay a woman less than a man for the same work if he was paid more in his previous job and the employer used prior salaries as a measure in a reasonable business policy.” Elie Mystal has a few choice words on the circular logic inherent therein over on Above the Law.
  • In better news, Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act received Royal Assent last week, making Nova Scotia the third Canadian province with in force accessibility legislation. Slaw’s Yosie Saint-Cyr breaks down the law
  • While we’re on the subject of accessibility: wanting to succeed where others have failed, British scientists conducting a study released recently in the Journal of Neural Engineering have introduced machine learning to the design of brain-controlled prosthetic limbs. Where neural-controlled prosthetics have hit a wall is in mimicking the kinds of micro-adjustments that are more muscle memory than conscious thought. Unfortunately, conscious thought is exactly what is required for the neural interfaces as they currently exist. Instead, “researchers are training artificial limbs to make decisions once left to the people using them—things like how quickly to accelerate toward a cup of coffee, and what kind of grip to make to pick it up.”
  • Have a healthtech idea as good as limbs that think for themselves? For those ” healthtech innovators” and “open data enthusiasts” out there, the Healthy Behaviour Data Challenge, a joint venture between American and Canadian public health services, has put a call out for technology and app ideas which will improve the collection of health data. “The challenge, which has a prize pool of $165,000 for Canadian entrepreneurs, is seeking innovators who can propose and test innovative ways to track, monitor, and gain insights on physical activity, sleep, and inactive behaviour in order to better understand and improve Canadian health.”