Link Round-Up: May 12, 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.
- While the Trudeau government's 2016 citizenship legislation is still making the rounds in the Senate, the Federal Court has pre-empted several of its key points this week, striking down three provisions in the Citizenship Act as unconstitutional.
Justice Jocelyne Gagné ruled that Ottawa’s powers to strip citizenship from dual citizens, in cases where they believe the citizenship was obtained through fraud or misrepresentation, lacked safeguards.
Thanks to changes brought in under the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, people facing revocation were only afforded a trial if the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration deemed it necessary. Otherwise, their representations would be made only in writing.
After the finding that these provisions of the Act denied Canadian citizens their right to due process, all current revocation cases are now on hold.
- Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has announced that the federal government is working on implementing new gender identity policies across the board, including the redesigning of passports to include a third gender identification option. While a 'sex' field is mandatory under International Civil Aviation Organization rules, the rules do allow for three markers, an 'F', 'M', and an 'X' marker for 'unspecified'.
- On Tuesday, Canada Post came together with LGBTQ+ grassroots activists, government officials, and community members in Toronto to unveil the newest in a set of ten stamps celebrating historical moments in Canada's history. The new stamp, which was unveiled at The 519, a Toronto LGBTQ+ Community Centre, commemorates the 2005 passage of the Civil Marriage Act, the federal bill which legalized marriage equality across the nation.
- Canadian big data research has gotten several big legs up lately:
- In Ottawa, the Canadian government is opening a big data research lab to study Canada's wireless communication spectrum. By leveraging big data, the researchers hope to be able to more reliably predict where on the wireless spectrum the surplus radio wave capacity will be at any given time, thus ensuring more dependable wireless networks for all.
- The University of Waterloo will be launching a data centre that will be the home of the most powerful academic supercomputer in Canada, the Graham system.
- Thomson Reuters has introduced a new legaltech tool this week, Workspace Assistant, which piggybacks on Alexa, the Amazon voice-activated virtual assistant. Using Workspace Assistant, which works on any Alexa-enabled device, lawyers can use voice commands to prompt Alexa to input billable hours, function as a timer, or to get answers to specific legal questions. Robert Ambrogi shares the news, and his thoughts on potential privacy concerns, here.
- Alex Robinson on Legal Feeds reports that the Law Society of British Columbia wants a guarantee from the federal government that Canada Border Service Agents will not ask lawyers for access to their electronic devices. The president of the law society, Herman Van Ommen, wrote the federal government a letter detailing his fears that the practice will have detrimental effects on client-solicitor privilege.
“As the Supreme Court of Canada has made clear, solicitor client privilege is a principle of fundamental justice and is a civil right of supreme importance in Canadian law,” Van Ommen said in a letter to Minister of Justice Jodi Wilson-Raybould and Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale.
“ Its protection must be as close to absolute as possible.”