Federation News Archive - 2021

Former Bâtonnier of Québec Becomes Federation President for 2021-2022

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is pleased to announce that Bâtonnier Nicolas Plourde, Ad.E. of Montreal has been elected President for 2021 – 2022. He was nominated as a member of the Federation Council by the Barreau du Québec in 2018, after previously serving as a Council member in 2013-2014. He is a partner in the Montréal boutique law firm Sarrazin Plourde, and is an accomplished litigator with more than 25 years of experience in civil and commercial litigation. Me Plourde earned his law degree from the Université de Montréal in 1993, and was admitted to the Québec Bar the same year. In 1997 he became President of the Young Bar Association of Montréal (YBAM), an organization representing lawyers in the greater Montreal area with ten years experience or less. In 2008, he served as a founding administrator and Treasurer of Pro Bono Québec, an organization offering free legal services in that province. Me Plourde also has extensive experience in the administrative and regulatory aspects of the legal profession. From 2008-2010, he chaired the Barreau’s Legal Aid Committee and in 2010, was appointed Chair of the Barreau’s Governance and Ethics Committee. In 2009 he was elected Bâtonnier of the Barreau de Montréal, and in 2012 was elected Bâtonnier of the Barreau du Québec. Me Plourde is also involved in his community. He was President of the Accueil Bonneau Foundation, an organization that assists homeless people and is currently a board member of Windmill Microlending, which offers microloans to help skilled immigrants and refugees continue their careers in Canada. “Despite the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic, the Federation continues to forge ahead with its strategic priorities,” Me Plourde says. “We will continue our focus on the big issues that lend themselves well to national collaboration and consistency such as the competence of members of the legal profession, whether their pathway to practice is via Canadian law schools or the NCA, the mental health and well-being of the profession, reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, as well as enlisting the help of the legal profession in the fight against money laundering by ensuring that law societies are equipped with robust rules and that the profession is informed about how to comply with them.” He added, “These are just some of the national initiatives that the Federation is known for. Among them, I also count CanLII, the Model Code of Professional…

New CanLII President and CEO Appointed

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada are pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Sutherland of Vancouver as CanLII’s new President and CEO, effective October 12, 2021. The announcement was made jointly by Crystal O’Donnell, the Chair of the CanLII Board of Directors, and Stephen G. Raby, Q.C., President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Ms. Sutherland joined CanLII in 2013 as manager of content and partnerships, and has been the director of programs and partnerships since 2018. She has a Masters of Business Administration and a Master’s Degree, Library and Information Studies, from the University of British Columbia. “Sarah Sutherland has a solid track record of achievement at CanLII and is focused on the future of legal technology”, says CanLII Board Chair Crystal O’Donnell. “Combine that with her passion for CanLII’s mission and her commitment to open access of legal information, and it is clear why Ms. Sutherland is such an ideal fit to be CanLII’s next President and CEO.” Federation President Steve Raby added, “The Federation is very pleased to welcome Ms. Sutherland to her new assignment as CanLII’s President and CEO. Her considerable experience and skills will serve CanLII well as it continues to provide open and free access to Canada’s legal heritage.” In her current role, Ms. Sutherland has been responsible for leading the addition of commentary to CanLII which now features over 19,000 contributions. The CanLII Manual to British Columbia Civil Litigation, also managed by Ms. Sutherland in 2020, won the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing from the Canadian Association of Law Libraries / Association canadienne des bibliotheques de droit (CALL/ACBD) and a "Clawbie" award for one of the “Best Innovative Projects”. She has also initiated a program to identify strategic legal information projects that could improve access to law in provinces and territories across Canada. Ms. Sutherland is also the secretary of the Free Access to Law Movement Secretariat. She presents regularly to national and international audiences on legal information and technology, and writes on the subject with a focus on legal data and artificial intelligence. She is a long-time columnist for Canadian online legal magazine Slaw.ca and recently completed a book on legal data that will be published by Routledge in January 2022 titled Legal Data and Information and Practice. Ms. Sutherland’s priorities as President and CEO include continuing to…

Federation Statement in Support of Afghan Women Judges

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is deeply concerned about the risks to women judges and their families in Afghanistan due to the takeover of that country by the Taliban. An independent judiciary, free from interference or threat, is a cornerstone of the Rule of Law. The existence of that institution in any viable, democratic society is made possible by the efforts and sacrifices of the women and men who are devoted to building it and ensuring its success on a daily basis. Recent news reports suggest that many individuals who have invested in the successful administration of justice in Afghanistan, be they judges, lawyers, or other justice system stakeholders, are under threat. Such reports also underscore that women in the judiciary in Afghanistan are at particular risk arising directly from their efforts to build a fair and effective judicial branch as part of a legal system that comports with international norms. The approximately 270 women judges faced serious threats even before the recent fall of the elected Afghan government. Those threats have been greatly intensified since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, and developments in recent days indicate a rapidly deteriorating situation. We note the commitment of the Canadian government to bring 20,000 at risk Afghanis to Canada. We recognize that evacuating people from Afghanistan is very difficult, but we urge the Canadian government to do everything it can, whether by resuming its evacuation efforts or by working with its international partners, to ensure that Afghan women judges and their families who wish to leave the country are counted among the vulnerable individuals who are worthy of urgent assistance and protection. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is the national coordinating body of the 14 law societies which are mandated by provincial and territorial law to regulate Canada’s 126,400 lawyers, Quebec’s 3,800 notaries and Ontario’s 12,700 licensed paralegals in the public interest.

Statement Regarding the Kamloops Indian Residential School

All of us are still processing news of the discovery of a mass gravesite of children attending the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The reaction to this news has evoked a profoundly wide range of emotions in all Canadians, especially those who are a part of the Indigenous community and more especially the members of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.  Some of those emotions have been shock, profound sadness, grief, and anger. On behalf of the Council of the Federation, I wish to express our condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc peoples and all those affected by the discovery of the mass gravesite, being evidence of tragic events that will forever stain our nation. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to personally reflect on this tragedy and how we might each do a small part in healing the wounds that have been opened and re-opened for many as a result of these events. As legal regulators, one of our roles is to ensure that legal professionals in this country are educated about the legacy of the Indian Residential School system in Canada, as well as the consequences of that policy on Indigenous peoples and communities today. Part of our mission is to ensure that we do not perpetuate historical wrongs. Steve Raby, Q.C., President Federation of Law Societies of Canada

CanLII President to Step Down

Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay has announced his intention to step down as President and CEO of CanLII (the Canadian Legal Information Institute) after six years of service, to pursue new opportunities. He will remain in the position until a successor is found. “It has been a privilege to serve as CanLII’s President and CEO and to work with an outstanding team of dedicated and talented employees,” Beauchamp-Tremblay said. “The product enhancements we released in the last year have completed the vision I had for CanLII when I joined. We have many ideas about what could come next, and I'm excited for the future of the organization, but I feel it's time to let someone else take the lead as CanLII looks ahead to its next Strategic Plan.” “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Xavier” says Crystal O’Donnell, Chair of the CanLII Board of Directors. “He has done an outstanding job leading CanLII and preparing the organization for its future. He was especially instrumental in the acquisition of Lexum, CanLII’s technology provider. Xavier will be greatly missed and we wish him only the best as he embarks on his next adventure.” “With his keen interest in technology and its potential for the legal profession, Xavier provided leadership that brought CanLII to the next level in terms of content and resources” Steve Raby, President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada added. ”The success of those improvements is reflected in the fact the number of visitors to the site increased by 39 per cent from 2018 to 2020, when CanLII recorded 15 million site visits.” CanLII is a not-for-profit organization created by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada with the support of all of Canada’s 14 law societies that regulate Canada’s legal professions in the public interest. It is the premiere source of online Canadian legal information, including legislation, case law and commentaries, and is offered for free to the legal profession and the public. Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay became President and CEO of CanLII in 2015. During his tenure at CanLII, significant enhancements were made to the service to improve the user experience. At the same time, CanLII’s historical primary law collections were expanded, as was its robust open access commentary collection. In 2018, CanLII laid the foundation for its long-term sustainability with its acquisition of Lexum Inc, a Montreal - based technology company that specializes in SaaS turnkey solutions for…