Federation News Archive - 2018

Federation Names New President for 2018-2019

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is pleased to announce that Ross Earnshaw of Kitchener, Ontario has been elected President for 2018 - 2019. He is a partner in the Waterloo Region and Hamilton offices of Gowling WLG. He studied at Osgoode Hall, obtaining his law degree in 1977, and was called to the Ontario bar in 1979. Every year since 2015, he has been featured in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as one of Canada’s top corporate commercial litigators. He has appeared as counsel before all levels of courts in Canada, as well as before numerous administrative tribunals. Mr. Earnshaw was nominated by the Law Society of Ontario as the Ontario representative to on the Council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in 2016. Ross has also served as a Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario since 2012, chairing or serving on several committees and Task Forces. He also sits on the board of LibraryCo, which oversees the Ontario county courthouse library system, and recently completed a three-year term on the board of the Law Foundation of Ontario, a non-profit organization that works to improves access to legal services for people in all regions of the province. “It is a great honour and privilege for me to lead the Federation during the coming year”, Mr. Earnshaw says. “Although the organization is always dynamic and evolving, we are entering a year of change and renewal, with half of our Council members new in their positions. I look forward to working collaboratively with them and with all the stakeholders of the Federation as we continue to pursue our strategic priorities.” Those priorities, the Federation President says, includes compliance and education programs for anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules. “Another priority is the Federation’s review of how internationally trained lawyers are assessed through the National Committee on Accreditation”, Mr. Earnshaw added, “and the Federation’s national role in reconciliation through our TRC Calls to Action Advisory Committee.” Beyond the courtroom, Mr. Earnshaw has a degree in music from what is now called Western University, and a degree in science from York University. He also knows the value of harmony, as he sings in an a cappella choir called St. George Pro Musica. Please also consult the PDF version of the Federation's News Release.

In Memoriam – Richard J. Scott, Q.C., FEC (Hon.) 1953 – 2018

It is with profound sadness the Federation of Law Societies of Canada announces the sudden passing of Richard J. Scott, Q.C. At the time of his death, Richard was Vice President and President-Elect of the Federation, the national coordinating body for Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies that regulate Canada’s legal profession in the public interest. He was to have become the 84th President of the Federation in November of this year. Richard earned a B.B.A. and LL.B. from the University of New Brunswick, and was called to the bar in New Brunswick in 1976. He practiced law in Fredericton for more than 40 years, originally with the firm Hanson Hachey. In 1980 he moved to Hoyt Mockler Allen and Dixon, and in 2007 he joined McInnes Cooper in a merger of law firms. He had served on the Council of the Federation since 2013, representing the Law Society of New Brunswick. He gave generously of his time serving as a member of numerous Federation committees and as Chair of the Public Affairs and Government Relations Committee. He was a passionate supporter of CanLII, the Federation’s online legal information search engine, and was a former member of CanLII’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Federation Council, Richard had been a dedicated volunteer and leader of the Law Society of New Brunswick for 25 years, including as its President and Bâtonnier for the 2012-2013 term. Richard loved the law and expressed it best through legal research and writing, and appellate advocacy. He enjoyed considerable success as an appellate advocate and was appointed as a “friend of the court” by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal to argue specific points of view not captured by the parties to the proceedings. His passion for law was also reflected in his involvement as a member of the Statutory Rules Committee under the New Brunswick Judicature Act, a member of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal Bar Liaison Committee, and a member of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics. He was appointed Queen’s Council in 2003. Richard was also active in supporting the engineering profession in New Brunswick, teaching the engineering law and ethics course at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) for more than 25 years. In 2017, he was awarded an honorary fellowship in Engineers Canada for his dedication and service to that profession. He was a former President of the UNB Alumni Association, and a former member of UNB’s Board of Governors and Academic Senates. He…

Federation concerned solicitor-client privilege is being challenged by federal government initiatives

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has raised concerns about the impact several federal government initiatives may have on solicitor-client privilege, and about vague directives for border services agents searching electronic devices used by legal counsel. In a letter to the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety, the Federation expresses concerns about the government’s interpretation of “goods” under the Customs Act, and the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) policy guiding its officers’ examination of electronic devices. “CBSA officers are permitted, under the policy, to request passwords to electronic devices if there is a multiplicity of indicators that Customs Act contraventions may be found on the digital device or media” the Federation’s letter explains. “There is no mention of how CBSA officers should conduct themselves in the event a claim of solicitor-client privilege is asserted over the device or media; instead, the policy requires CBSA officers to explain their reasoning in the event of proceeding with a search.” "As you can appreciate, this gap in policy presents significant uncertainty for legal counsel travelling back to Canada with electronic devices.” The Federation’s position is that the CBSA policy should be revised to set out constitutionally compliant steps for CBSA agents to take when a claim of solicitor-client privilege is asserted over an electronic device, or its media. “As unequivocally stated on a number of occasions by the Supreme Court of Canada, solicitor-client privilege must be as close to absolute as possible to ensure that clients communicate openly and confidently with their legal counsel” the Federation continues. “Given that existing CBSA policy is silent on claims of solicitor-client privilege, it leaves CBSA officers with ambiguous instructions on how to proceed, and creates tremendous risk for clients whose lawyers or notaries travel with these materials in electronic form on their portable electronic devices.” The Federation has raised similar concerns about the preservation of solicitor-client privilege under Bill C-59, “An Act Respecting National Security Measures”. In another letter to the Minister of Public Safety, the Federation says that the powers contemplated for two new oversight bodies also compromise solicitor-client privilege. The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) is being created to monitor the anti-terror activities of various government bodies, while the legislation also creates the position of Intelligence Commissioner to strengthen oversight of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). “The Intelligence Commissioner is specifically granted access…

Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) acquires Montreal technology firm

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Lexum Informatique Juridique Inc. (Lexum), a Canadian company that specializes in technology solutions for the publication and management of legal  information online. Lexum has been CanLII’s strategic technology partner since CanLII’s inception. CanLII is a non-profit organization launched in 2001 by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada on behalf of its 14 member law societies to provide efficient and open online access to a comprehensive collection of current judicial decisions and legislative documents. CanLII supports members of the legal profession in the performance of their duties while providing the public with permanent open access to laws and legal cases from all Canadian jurisdictions. Lexum is a software company specializing in the online management and publication of legal information. It provides solutions and services to producers and users of legal information, as well as other organizations that prepare, manage and publish large collections of documents. Lexum began operating in 1993 by collaborating with the Supreme Court of Canada to publish court decisions on the internet. Since then, Lexum has provided a wide range of consulting, development, hosting and support services for many Canadian legal institutions.  “By acquiring Lexum, CanLII will strengthen its leadership position as a legal information provider, and will generate new opportunities to enhance the services that make Canadian legal information accessible to anyone on the Internet” says CanLII President Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay. “I believe that technology and online legal information will play an increasingly critical role in resolving the issue of access to legal services, and in interactions among jurists, citizens, courts, administrative tribunals and governments”. Lexum President Daniel Poulin says that coming 25 years after Lexum was founded, the acquisition by CanLII marks a new stage in the development of the company. “This transaction brings together two organizations that have led major innovation for access to Canadian legal information. CanLII understands Lexum’s corporate DNA and its services, and will provide even more opportunities for innovation." CanLII also acquires Lexum’s “Qweri”, “Decisia” and “Lexbox” software solutions that provide numerous organizations and end-users with document management and publishing capabilities for legal decisions, statutes, regulations, secondary materials and other documents. Federation President Sheila MacPherson describes CanLII as a shining example of how national collaboration among Canada’s law societies can work. “CanLII has grown from a pilot project to become the indispensable go-to legal research tool for Canada’s legal profession. Open public access to legal information is also essential to helping to…