Month: June 2014

Criminal Sentencing with Rangefindr (Tip of the Week)

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By Alan Kilpatrick

The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library recently purchased an exciting new criminal sentencing resource called rangefindrRangefindr is designed to help lawyers and judges find criminal sentencing ranges in seconds instead of hours. Click on a few tags that describe the kinds of cases you’re looking for (like “Assault,” “First offender,” and “Emphasizes rehabilitation”) and rangefindr tells you what kind of sentences were imposed in those cases. One more click and you can review the judgments themselves.

You can access rangefindr from the Members’ Section of the Law Society website.


For example, let’s use rangefindr to identify the sentencing range of a young adult, with no prior record, convicted of dangerous driving.  Let’s select tags from the left side of the screen that describe our case.


Begin by selecting the criminal code offence, dangerous driving.





Next, indicate that the accused is a young adult.



Finally, indicate that the accused is a first offender with no prior record.


As we make our tags more specific, the number of cases that match our tags is indicated at the bottom of the screen.  Once we have entered all of the tags describing our case, select show me these cases.

Our search retrieved 35 cases.  The first search result displayed is 2014 ONCJ 119.  The sentence imposed was 1 year and 6 months probation.  A link to CanLII is provided on the right.


The second result is 2013 ABQB 414.  The total sentence imposed was two years.


If you have any questions about rangefindr, ask a Law Society Librarian. Library staff provide legal research assistance to members in person, on the telephone, or by e-mail.


Call 306-569-8020 in Regina
Toll-free 1-877-989-4999
Fax 306-569-0155

Amendments to The Legal Profession Act, 1990

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By Barbra Bailey

Amendments to The Legal Profession Act, 1990 will come into force on July 1, 2014. There are three primary categories of amendments:

  1. the hearing and investigation process;
  2. Bencher elections; and
  3. the mandate of the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

Those concepts are discussed further in the summary paper previously posted on the Law Society website on August 29, 2013. The Legal Profession Amendment Act, 2014, which contains the amendments, can be viewed at the Queen’s Printer’s website.

Complementary Rule amendments will also come into force July 1, 2014. Amended rules, as well as a “certified true copy of amendments” which summarizes the Rule amendments are available on the Law Society website.


From Sea to Sea (Throwback Thursday)

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CanadaDayGentlemen, we are here to create a Nation!” declared Sir John A. Macdonald to the Fathers of Confederation in 1866. On July 1 of the following year, the British North America Act, 1867 was enacted to unite the Province of Canada (which later became Ontario and Quebec) with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into the Dominion of Canada as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire.

Dominion Day did not become a statutory holiday until 1879. There were decades of contention on whether Dominion Day should be renamed. The debates centred on whether the word “dominion” suggested subservience and domination by the British or whether it was merely an extract from the Latin version of the eight verse of Psalm 72 “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” After all, A Mari Usque Ad Mare is part of Canada’s coat of arms. With the passing of the Constitution Act in 1982, Canada became an independent nation. The same year Dominion Day was officially renamed Canada Day. One attempt to amend the Canada Day Bill was defeated 44 to 23 with two abstentions. The Bill was given Royal Assent on October 27, 1982, thus ending a long dispute on what this national holiday should be called.

On July 1 this year we celebrate Canada’s 147th anniversary. So what other significant historical events happened on this day across the country in the past 147 years?

1867 – John Alexander Macdonald is sworn in as Canada’s first Prime Minister. The new Dominion starts with just 30 civil servants.

1868 – Department of Marine and Fisheries is founded in Ottawa.

1870 – George-Etienne Cartier (1814–1873) passes Order-in-Council committing government to start building a railway to the Pacific within two years, as condition of BC’s entry into Confederation; after false starts and consolidations, construction eventually starts May 1881.

1871 – 1) Founding of the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa; 2) Parliament makes decimal currency system uniform across Canada; 3) British Columbia joins Confederation as the sixth Canadian province.

1873 – Prince Edward Island enters Confederation as the seventh Canadian province on the same terms as BC.

1878 – Canada joins the Universal Postal Union.

1890 – Canada and Bermuda are linked by telegraph cable.

1909 – Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, captain of the government steamship Arctic, places a metal plaque at Parry Rock claiming Canadian sovereignty over the entire Arctic Archipelago. “I took possession of Baffin Island for Canada in the presence of several Eskimo,” said Bernier, “and after firing nineteen shots I instructed an Eskimo to fire the twentieth, telling him that he was now a Canadian.”

1911 – Proclamation removes the words Dei Gratia, Latin for “By the Grace of God”, from Canada’s coinage. There is a public uproar over the “godless” coins.

1915 – Saskatchewan passes legislation to close all bars, clubs, and wholesale outlets selling liquor, replaced by 23 government liquor stores.

1916 – 1) World War I, the first day of the Battle of the Somme – the First Newfoundland Regiment is virtually wiped out at Beaumont Hamel. Of the 801 soldiers of the Regiment, 255 are killed, 386 are wounded and 91 go missing. 2) Prohibition begins in Alberta.

1926 – Canada restores the gold standard.

1927 – Toronto, Ontario – Law is passed requiring all drivers in Ontario to have a license.

1925 – Regina, Saskatchewan –  City police and RCMP wade into crowds at Regina Exhibition Grounds rally to arrest leaders of the On-to-Ottawa Trek after they return from unsuccessful meeting with Prime Minister Bennett in Ottawa. One policeman is killed and many are injured. On-to-Ottawa Trek was a journey where thousands of unemployed men protesting the dismal condition in federal relief camps scattered in remote areas across Western Canada.  The men lived and worked for 20 cents a day.

1941Unemployment Insurance Act comes into force; establishment of Unemployment Insurance Commission.

1942 – World War II, Wartime sugar rationing starts in Canada. Tea and coffee are added to the list in August, butter is added in December and meat the following March.

1960 – Treaty and registered Aboriginal Canadians are given the right to vote.

1962 – Saskatchewan – 90% of doctors of the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons close their offices for 23 days, providing only hospital-based emergency services. Tommy Douglas’s CCF government Medicare compulsory medical care insurance plan is delayed.

1966 – Toronto, Ontario–CTV station CFTO-TV transmits first colour television in Canada.

1968 – Canada’s Medical Care Act comes into effect, creating the nation’s Medicare system.

1980 – Ottawa, Ontario – Calixa Lavallée’s “O Canada” officially proclaimed as the national anthem of Canada; written in 1880 for St-Jean-Baptiste celebration; original words by A-B Routhier; English by Stanley Weir (1908).


Happy Canada Day!




Today in Canadian History

A Different Kind of Spam Filter?

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

To congratulate 15 years of exceptional service with the Law Society, we gifted our Web/SaaS/Databases Administrator, Kelly Chiu with this spam filter. Not only is Spam her favorite food, but she is keenly interested in the new Anti-Spam Legislation that comes into force on July 1, 2014. Thank you Kelly! You are the glue that holds us together.spam1cropped

Copyright Law Basics (3) – User Rights and Fair Dealing

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By Alan Kilpatrick

Copyright is a hot topic in Canada. Discussions on copyright often lead to contention and controversy. A basic understanding of copyright can help ensure fair and equitable access to law, justice, and information. Over the past several weeks, we have explored copyright balance and copyright owner rights. This week, we are going to discuss an important user right.

As with copyright owners, copyright users are also granted a variety of rights under the Copyright Act. The most important user right to know about is called fair dealing.

Fair dealing is the right, when fair and reasonable, to copy a substantial portion of a copyrighted work without permission from, or payment to, the copyright owner. Fair dealing is briefly expressed in section 29, 29.1, and 29.2 of the Act.

Fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, and news reporting does not infringe copyright.

At paragraph 48 of CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) described fair dealing as:

…an integral part of the Copyright Act…any act falling within the fair dealing exception will not be an infringement of copyright.

Fair dealing is an exception to copyright infringement. It is also crucial to maintaining proper copyright balance between owner rights and user rights. At paragraph 48 the SCC goes on to say:

The fair dealing exception…is a user’s right. In order to maintain the proper balance between the rights of a copyright owner and users’ interests, it must not be interpreted restrictively.

To maintain balance, we can think of user rights as a limit on owner rights. The Copyright Act does not define exactly what fair dealing is or the amount of copying considered fair. To help copyright users assess whether their copying falls within the fair dealing exception, the SCC established a fair dealing test involving six criteria at paragraph 60 of the same judgment:

…the purpose of the dealing, the character of the dealing, the amount of the dealing, the nature of the work, available alternatives to the dealing and the effect of the dealing on the work are all factors that could help determine whether or not a dealing is fair. These factors may be more or less relevant to assessing the fairness of a dealing…In some contexts, there may be factors other than those listed here that may help a court decide whether the dealing was fair.

Next time, we will explore these six criteria: purpose, character, amount, alternatives, nature, and effect. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has published an excellent description of the fair dealing test here.

The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library has excellent copyright law resources from leading copyright lawyers and scholars:

  • The 2014 Annotated Copyright Act / Tamaro, Normand
  • Canadian Copyright : A citizen’s guide / Murray, Laura Jane & Samuel Trosow
  • The Copyright Pentalogy : How the Supreme Court of Canada shook the foundations of Canadian copyright law / Geist, Michael
  • From “radical extremism” to “balanced copyright” : Canadian copyright and the digital agenda / Geist, Michael
  • Hughes on Copyright and Industrial Design / Hughes, Roger T
  • Intellectual Property Law : Copyright, patents, trade-marks / Vaver, David

If you have any questions about copyright resources, ask a Law Society Librarian. Library staff provide legal research assistance to members in person, on the telephone, or by email.


Call 306-569-8020 in Regina
Toll-free 1-877-989-4999
Fax 306-569-0155

Tracing a statute’s history

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Feature Blogger: Reché McKeague

A few months ago, Ken explained how to track a statute’s amendment history back to the 1978 Revised Statutes of Saskatchewan (RSS 1978) using the Tables of Public Statutes. Today, I am going to share with you how I trace a statute’s history beyond 1978 to its Saskatchewan origins.

First, a confession: I rarely consult the Tables of Public Statutes. Instead, I find the consolidation of the Act I am interested in on the Queen’s Printer website, and research the trail of notations following the amended sections. Admittedly, this approach is easier with a short Act. For a long Act, I would likely use the Tables.

I will use The Agreements of Sale Cancellation Act, RSS 1978, c A-7, as my example:


The notations I refer to are inset after the text of each section. In the example above, the notations include “2009, c.7, s.3,” “R.S.S. 1978, c.A-7, s.2,” and “R.S.S. 1978, c. A-7, s.3; 2009, c.7, s.4.” The Act has been amended once since 1978, by SS 2009, c.7. This same information in found in the Tables of Public Statutes. To see the content of the amending Act, I go to the Queen’s Printer’s Legislation page and select “Separate Chapters.”


On the Separate Chapters page, I select “2009,” and on the 2009 page, I select “Amending, Repealing and Temporary Public Acts.” I am provided a list of all such Acts for 2009, from which I select “Chapter 7 – The Agreements of Sale Cancellation Amendment Act 2009.” The amending Act indicates exactly how The Agreements of Sale Cancellation Act was amended in 2009, and also makes similar amendments to two other Acts. I make note of the amendments.

So, now I know the Act’s history back to 1978. However, unless the Act was enacted as part of the RSS 1978, there is more to the story. This is when I go to the books. I find the RSS 1978 volume containing Chapter A-7, and I flip to the Act. Notations will appear after each section of the Act, as in the first image above. In this case, each notation reads “R.S.S. 1965, c. 121” and then the section number. So I find the appropriate volume of RSS 1965, and flip to the Act. It directs me to RSS 1953, c 114, which directs me to RSS 1930, c 86, which directs me to RSS 1920, c 72. Throughout my research back in time, I note the changes to the Act in each of its re-enactments in an RSS. Normally, these are stylistic changes to language, but they may be important.

The RSS 1920 directs me to SS 1917, c 31 for section 2, and to SS 1918-19, c 78, for section 3.  The SS 1917 is the first enactment of The Agreements of Sale Cancellation Act, consisting of only one section (equivalent to the current section 2). The SS 1918-19 is An Act to amend An Act to provide for the Cancellation of Agreements for Sale and adds the equivalent to the current section 3, but also notes “the proclamations of the Lieutenant Governor in Council of November 5, 1914 and March 13, 1916.” (Finding the proclamations is beyond the scope of this post – I recommend asking a librarian.) Having located the proclamations, I discover that the Act originated as a proclamation “for the protection of the property and interests of persons who have joined as volunteers the forces raised by the government of Canada” for the First World War. Now, that is interesting!

I hope that you find my example of tracing The Agreements of Sale Cancellation Act back to its creation almost 100 years ago helpful. Historical research of a statute is very satisfying research that provides an opportunity to use, and an appreciation of access to, “old, dusty books that nobody reads anymore.” I hope that you get the chance to trace our laws back in time, and that you enjoy it as much as I do.