Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research

Tips on Canadian legal research from the Library at Field LLP.
Postings are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the firm.

May 16, 2017

Registrations closes May 31 for ELLA's 15th Annual HeadStart Program

Edmonton Law Libraries Association is proud to present the 15th Annual HeadStart Program

From request to memo, follow the trail of legal research including finding articles, books, case law, and legislation. Research professionals will provide tips, tricks, and inside information on how to find materials, select the most relevant resources, and organize your research memo.

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 – 8:30am to 4:30pm
Edmonton City Hall

Friday, June 16th, 2017 – 8:30am to 12:15pm
Edmonton Law Courts

$80 fee includes program, coffee/refreshments, and lunch on the first day

Many law firms have registered their articling students in the HeadStart program over the years. If you want to begin your article term with a research refresher, talk to your firm about attending our program. To register, contact jsymons AT or download the registration form at

Registration closes on May 31, 2017

November 06, 2015

LegalAve - Alberta family law information

Marsha Guthrie, Manager, Implementation and Partnerships with the Alberta Legal Information Society and Julie Rainey of Alberta Law Libraries for sending the following my way:

New free website for Albertans dealing with family law issues: LegalAve

LegalAve is a free website that brings together existing public legal information under a single virtual "roof" to help people in Alberta dealing with family law issues such as separation and divorce, child support, custody, guardianship, parenting time, partner/spousal support, property division, family violence, and more. The plain language website describes the law in Alberta, the process to follow (such as court forms and court hearings), and common questions about family law issues. LegalAve also has general information about navigating the legal system, including out-of-court resolution options, working with a lawyer, community legal resources, and legal aid. The "Guided Pathway" feature allows users to answer a series of questions about their legal issue and be directed only to the information that applies to them.

Visit as a starting point for family law resources in Alberta.

The website was created by the Alberta Legal Information Society (ALIS), and links to resources from organizations such as the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta, Alberta Courts, Legal Aid Alberta, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, Calgary Legal Guidance, Student Legal Services of Edmonton, and many more. All resources are reviewed and approved for accuracy and currency by the ALIS staff lawyer.

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October 08, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries call for conference proposals

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to speak with members of the Toronto Association of Law Libraries about the synergies between knowledge management, law librarianship and process improvement.  I hope to speak on similar issues at the CALL Conference in May 2016.

Do you have a particular innovation or area of competence to share with your colleagues? Sharing is VERY rewarding.  Perhaps you should consider the next call for proposals that crosses your desk like this one:

2016 Conference Call for Proposals
We are currently accepting conference programming proposals that reflect the CALL Professional Development Pathways.

Even if you are part of a special interest group or committee, you are welcome to independently pitch your own idea! We look forward to reviewing submissions from across the spectrum of our membership until Saturday, October 31st.

Conference Session Submission Form

Lightning Talk Submission Form
We will notify you by December 1, 2015 if your program is selected.

Conference Website
More about the CALL Professional Development Pathways: First proposed in response to the 2014 member needs survey, CALL’s Board approved the Professional Development Pathways in August 2015 after extensive consultations with CALL members. Accompanying the PD Pathways is a Board-approved plan of action to implement this framework for professional development throughout CALL conference planning and regular educational offerings.


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September 02, 2015

Conducting Business and Industry Research

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is advertising some upcoming webinars that will be useful for anyone who has a market research need:

Conducting Business and Industry Research - September 29, 2015, 1:00pm to 2:30pm EST
Summary:This webinar provides an introduction to conducting research on business and industry information. The session will provide tips and tricks for:
  • Defining business and market research
  • Sourcing company lists and finding information on specific businesses
  • Finding and using industry level information, including statistics, financial data, market trends and more
The session explores both free and fee-based sources within Canada 
Speaker:  Heidi Schiller is the Manager of InfoAction, Vancouver Public Library’s fee-based research service. Originally from the U.S., Heidi worked as a business reporter at the Bellingham Business Journal before getting her Masters in Library and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. 
Having attended CALL webinars in the past, I can highly recommend them as having great content and presenters.


April 07, 2015

Commissioners of Oaths in Alberta Have New Rules

~ a slightly modified post~

Waaaay back in 2013 there was an Alberta Bill passed that consolidated the Notaries Public Act and the Commissioners for Oaths Act. These two pieces of legislation are in place to make the rules for notarizing and commissioning documents clear and to provide a way to deal with any problems that crop up, among other things. The Notaries and Commissioners Act SA 2013, N-5.5 will come into force on April 30, 2015.
Some of the changes for Commissioners:

Old legislation: commissioners appointments (if appointed after June 1991) expired on the third birthday after appointment unless cancelled by the Minister in writing.
New legislation: commissioners terms of office are (the same) defined in a regulation [this means that they are much easier to change].

Old legislation: commissioners by virtue of their office who could administer oaths and take and receive affidavits made outside Alberta for use in Alberta, declarations and affirmations included members of a Metis settlement council, a school trustee.
New legislation: For documents and oaths made outside Alberta for use in Alberta, only Saskatchewan side commissioners who live or provide services in Lloydminster, political representatives and active full time officers in the Canadian Forces are listed in the legislation (section 16(3)).

Old legislation: commissioners legibly inserted their name, and if they were appointed by the Minister (rather than by virtue of office) their commission termination date; liable for a fine of $100 if non-compliant.
New legislation: commissioners legibly insert their name, “A Commissioner for Oaths in and for Alberta”, appointment expiry or if by virtue of office, their office status (i,.e Student-at-Law); liable for a fine of $1000 if non-compliant.

Old legislation: penalty for not following the rules or representing yourself as a commissioner when you are not one – $500
New legislation: penalty for not following the rules or representing yourself as a commissioner when you are not one – $5000

New legislation: you can only apply to be a commissioner if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
New legislation: the Minister may establish directives governing the duties of commissioners as well as a code of conduct
New legislation: the Minister may issue written directions to the Judicial Council, Law Society, employers of commissioners and anyone else the Minister considers it to be necessary to administer the act
New legislation: contains consequential amendments to the Alberta Evidence Act regarding oaths made outside Alberta, changing the definition of lawyer and restricting effective guarantees to lawyers (as opposed to Notaries) in the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act. There are also clean up references in other acts.