An Update to CanLII’s Search Engine, Solex

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By Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay

As some of you may have noticed, an improved search was deployed on CanLII last week. Here’s a summary of what it does:

1.  The search engine can tell if you’re looking for a specific document or if you’re doing legal research. 

Searching for a specific document is a very different behaviour than doing legal research without knowing which documents will provide you with the answers you need. The updated version of our search engine is better at distinguishing between the two.

If you were looking for a specific document, for example our usual suspect the Supreme Court decisions in Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, a search for “Dunsmuir” (in either one of the first two search boxes) search wouldn’t return Dunsmuir first. The new engine understand these types of queries better than before and will return Dunsmuir first.




The same was true when searching for specific statutes, but now, when you search “Criminal Code” (again, in either one of the first two search fields), the Criminal Code will be the first hit.



The system also does a lot of matching of relevant metadata under the hood, so searches for common acronyms of statutes, for instance PIPEDA, will return the right document, among other similar improvements.



2.  It taps into the wealth of commentary available on CanLII.

Until earlier this year when we added law reviews (and after that many other sources of content), CanLII had only a limited number of texts in its commentary section, and the search algorithm was optimized for primary law. This meant that it rarely returned commentary in the top results. Now it does, assuming of course that we have a piece of commentary that is retrieved with the keywords you entered.


A search for “Gladue” will return commentary in the 3rd and 4th rank (at the time of this post): https://www.canlii.org/fr/#search/text=gladue

3. Results are displayed in a way that makes it transparent how they match your query.

To help the users analyze the search results and understand why certain documents were returned, the keywords now appear in bold in the title of the document in the list of results. The same is true for the references.



The search engine will also adapt how it presents the results to you depending on the keywords you have entered. For instance, if using a parallel citation like one from the Ontario Reports (O.R.), the search will adjust and display that reference in the results… as opposed to the neutral citation which would have been displayed had you, for instance, searched the document using the name of the parties involved.


If you look for the Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes case by searching “Rizzo shoes”, the results won’t display the less often used “O.R.” (Ontario Reports) citation:

But if you specifically search using the Ontario Reports reference, the O.R. citation will be displayed: https://www.canlii.org/en/#search/text=36%20OR%20418

It’s a bit more technical, but the highlighting feature in the document itself now highlights the references.

We hope you like these improvements. Feel free to give us feedback.

This is the second improvement to the search engine this year. To know more about both the previous update and get a glimpse of the future, you can read this post by Marc-André Morrisette, the maestro behind our search engine.

Happy searching!

The Solex Agitator In the movie The Man with the Golden Gun, the Solex is a revolutionary device that is meant to solve the 1973 energy crisis. After killing its British inventor, an elite assassin steals the Solex to sell it to foreign powers. James Bond is dispatched to find the assassin and recover the precious device. Because this is a James Bond movie, there’s also a laser.

Solex also stands for SolrCloud Lexum plugins, the latest iteration of the search engine Lexum deploys in all of its products.

Academic Authors Sharing their Writing on CanLII

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By Sarah Sutherland; reposted with permission from the CanLii Blog

CanLIIDocs was created as a platform to share legal commentary, and we now have many types of resources available on CanLIIDocs written by authors from various backgrounds. Here is a page where you can browse what’s currently available on the site.

One group that has been enthusiastic in endorsing CanLII as a vehicle to share their work is legal scholars. In this post we would like to highlight some of the academics who agreed to share their work with legal researchers on CanLII:

François Crépeau is full professor and the Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, at the Faculty of Law of McGill University, as well as the director of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. You can read publications by François Crépeau on CanLII here.

Paul Daly is a University Senior Lecturer in Public Law at the University of Cambridge and the Derek Bowett Fellow in Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge. Before working at Cambridge he was at the University of Montreal. You can follow his commentary on developments in administrative law on his blog: Administrative Law Matters. CanLII contains multiple publications by Paul Daly which you can read here.

Armand Claude de Mestral is professor emeritus and Jean Monnet Chair in the Law of International Economic Integration at McGill University. Some of his publications on CanLII include Dispute Settlement Under the WTO and RTAs: An Uneasy Relationship and Investor-State Arbitration between Developed Democratic CountriesYou can read more publications by Armand Claude de Mestral on CanLII here.

Gerry Ferguson is a University of Victoria Distinguished Professor of Law who specializes in criminal law. He is also a senior associate with the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy in Vancouver. You can read his recent law textbook publication titled Global Corruption: Law, Theory & Practice on CanLII.

Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, and a former CanLII Board member. You can learn more about Michael Geist and follow his commentary on developments in information and privacy, intellectual property, and internet law from his eponymous blog. You can read several works by Michael Geist on CanLII here.

Linda C. Neilson is professor emerita at the University of New Brunswick, a lawyer, and a socio-legal academic. Her fields include domestic violence, court systems, conflict resolution, family law and sociology of law. One of her recent works includes a comprehensive ebook on domestic violence and family law published on CanLII. You can find Responding to Domestic Violence in Family Law, Civil Protection & Child Protection Cases on CanLII here.

Eric M. Tucker has been a professor at Osgoode Hall Law for over 35 years. He has published extensively in the fields of occupational health and safety regulation and labour law. Some of his publications on CanLII include On Writing Labour Law History: A Reconnaissance, and When Wage Theft Was a Crime in Canada, 1935-1955. You can read more publications by Eric M. Tucker on CanLII here.

Please join us in thanking them for seeing the value in open legal commentary!

If you would like to see your work in CanLIIDocs too, here’s how.

Here is what CanLII provides:

  • A reliable and credible online platform for authors to publish their content
  • A permalink with CanLII in the URL
  • Licensing options that allow you to continue sharing your work while keeping control of your rights

New Books in the Library – Summer 2018 Part II

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By Sara Stanley 

Lindley & Banks on Partnership, 20th Ed. – Roderick I’Anson Banks

Lindley & Banks on Partnership gives you comprehensive, authoritative and practical coverage of the law relating to both general and limited partnerships. This seminal text on partnerships, first published in 1860, gives you detailed commentary on all aspects of the life of a partnership, from its nature and formation to the usual contents of a partnership agreement and common areas of dispute, the liabilities undertaken by partners both internally and externally and, finally, to dissolution, winding up and insolvency. It also explains how partnerships are taxed. The twentieth edition covers all legal changes since the last edition, with reference to UK and Commonwealth authorities where relevant.”

Kerr & Hunter on Receivers and Administrators, 20th Ed. – Pete Walton, Thomas Robinson, Sarah Mann, and David Montague

“First published in 1869, Kerr & Hunter on Receivers and Administrators is acknowledged as the classic text on the law of receivers and administrators as it applies to both corporate and personal insolvency, and is frequently cited in court. It guides practitioners through all matters relating to administrators and receivers – when/how/why they are appointed, and the various situations in which they are deployed. The work has been updated to incorporate all legislative and case law developments since the previous edition.”

Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks – Executors, Administrators and Probate, 21st Ed. – John Ross Martyn and Nicholas Caddick

Williams, Mortimer and Sunnucks provides in-depth guidance to the law of probate and the administration of estates after death. It is considered in the market to be one of the leading authorities on the subject offering an in-depth analysis of the law and how it applies in practice.

This title offers solutions to the most complex problems through authoritative analysis of the law and how it has been applied by the courts. It covers the grant of probate and of administration, non-contentious and contentious practice, devolution and liability, and the administration and distribution of assets, so that you are up to date on every aspect of the process of probate.

The authors also explain the implications of case law developments, including important decisions on testamentary capacity, knowledge and approval, undue influence, due execution, and costs.”

Principles of Property Law, 7th Ed. – Bruce Ziff

“Designed to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of the law of property in Canada, this publication reflects the diverse and changing face of property law.

This book lays the foundation for property-related areas, including real estate conveyancing and land registration, landlord and tenant law, estate planning and succession, trusts, equity and restitution, Aboriginal rights, bailments, and mortgage remedies.”

Collective Agreement Arbitration in Canada, 6th Ed. – Ronald M. Snyder

“This seminal treatise continues to be hailed as both “important” and a “leading text” to address workplace issues in the unionized context, providing unparalleled analysis on all major collective agreement concerns and policy. This book has been the stable reference guide for a generation of labour lawyers, human resource professionals and unions looking to find out – quickly and conveniently – what is the law on a specific labour issue, and the leading cases that support it.”

A Guide to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, 2019 Ed. – Lee Tustin and Robert E. Lutes

“This concise guide to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) provides an overview of the youth criminal justice system in Canada, section-by-section commentary on legal and operational implications, and captures key recent developments. A must-have for anyone dealing with young persons and who needs to understand how the YCJA is implemented.”

Youth and the Criminal Law in Canada, 2nd Ed. – Sherri Davis-Barron

“This book addresses practical problems faced daily by prosecutors, defence lawyers, police officers and judges who are dealing with youth justice cases. Every step of the criminal process involving young persons is addressed, including pretrial proceedings, legal representation, release pending trial and sentencing. It provides an historical overview of the development of youth justice law in Canada, from the earliest legal codes to the present day Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).

The new edition has extensive revisions to account for all major developments in the legislation and case law since 2009. With this thoroughly updated, meticulously researched and expanded second edition, Youth and the Criminal Law in Canada cements its place as the classic legal textbook on youth criminal law in Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Written by a federal advisory Crown and university law lecturer for law professors, law students and legal practitioners, no other legal textbook in Canada covers this niche area of the criminal law more comprehensively.”


Sources: LexisNexis, Sweet & Maxwell, Thomson Reuters

Upcoming CPD Activities – November

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NEW! Webinar: Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel
Thursday November 15, 2018 – Noon to 1pm

The Ethical issues faced by In-House Counsel are unique in a number of ways, and as such warrant specific consideration, separate from the typical ethical issues that may arise in the private practice arena. This webinar will discuss these unique challenges from the perspective of an In-House counsel lawyer with a multinational company, Angela Giroux, and the Law Society’s Acting Director of Complaints, Valerie Payne.

The session will primarily address three areas in which ethical issues may arise:

  1. Conflicts of Interest;
  2. Maintaining Privilege; and
  3. Managing Multiple Roles.

Valerie Payne has been with the Complaints department of the Law Society since 2012, first as Complaints Counsel and more recently also as Acting Director of Complaints. Angela Giroux has been with Nutrien, previously PotashCorp, since 2013, in the roles of Compliance and Ethics counsel and Labour and Employment Counsel.

Qualifies for 1 CPD Hour, which also qualifies as Ethics

To register follow this link:  Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel

Seminar: Family Law – Through The Eyes of The Child

Tuesday November 20, 2018 – Saskatoon (TCU Place)

Wednesday November 21, 2018 – Regina (Delta Hotel)

This important session has been conceived of by a group of family law practitioners and judges with the express purpose of aiding lawyers in navigating the murky waters of high conflict parental separation and disputes. It seeks to offer a basic understanding of the pathologies underpinning these often-fraught situations and some remedies for ensuring the best interests of the children are always kept in the forefront of proceedings.

We are delighted to be welcoming a renowned Clinical Psychologist to present alongside a group of local experts who will discuss the resources available to lawyers here in Saskatchewan, before we complete the day with an accomplished panel offering a practical presentation on how to recognise when court is necessary and to prepare accordingly.

We encourage all Family Law practitioners to join us for this highly informative and important day of CPD!

Qualifies for 5.5 CPD Hours, all of which qualify as Ethics (correction from previously indicated allocation).

For additional information and to register, click here: Through The Eyes of The Child

Free Webinar: Providing Pro Bono Services in Saskatchewan – How I can Help?

Thursday November 22, 2018 – noon to 1pm

This webinar is being offered free of charge.

Lawyers have the privilege to be experts in the rule of law and provide quality and effective legal services in order to solve client’s problems on a daily basis. With that privilege, comes an acknowledgement that not all members of the public are able to access private counsel services due to their socio-economic status. As we all know, there are many opportunities to take on pro bono files, but there may be questions about the logistics of taking on a file. Do I have to do a conflict check? Am I insured when taking on a pro bono file? What makes a file qualify for “pro bono”? This pro bono webinar will discuss the Code of Conduct rules for providing pro bono services and answers questions regarding conflict checks, insurance coverage, and what are the available pro bono opportunities in Saskatchewan.

This webinar will be presented by Carly Romanow, Executive Director of Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan and Kara-Dawn Jordan, Policy Counsel with the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

Qualifies for 1 CPD Hour, which also qualifies as Ethics


Access to Justice Week Call to Action: End Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness in the Legal Profession

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By Michael Marschal, Managing Editor of the Saskatchewan Law Review

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, Orlando Da Silva delivered the 21st Annual Saskatchewan Law Review Lecture during the 3rd Annual Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week. Mr. Da Silva is a Senior Crown Council with the Serious Fraud Office of the Prosecution Division of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.   Mr. Da Silva spoke to the College of Law about his experience with mental illness before and throughout his legal career. Mr. Da Silva’s comments were an insightful and powerful call to action to end the stigma surrounding mental illness in the legal profession, encouraging those struggling in silence to come forward and seek the help they need. The example Mr. Da Silva sets is inspiring, demonstrating that seeking help for a mental illness does not have to mean sacrificing the career you have spent a lifetime pursuing. The Saskatchewan Law Review and the College of Law as a whole is grateful for Mr. Da Silva’s courage in sharing his story.

Checklist for Legal Cannabis Use in Saskatchewan

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Reposted with permission from PLEA

If you are 19 or older…

Only purchase cannabis from a licensed retail seller.

Be prepared to show proof of age.

Limit the amount of cannabis you have in a public place to no more than 30 grams.

Limit the amount of cannabis you transport in a vehicle to no more than 30 grams.

Limit the amount of cannabis you distribute to someone else 19 or older to no more than 30 grams (and remember you can’t sell it – only licensed retailers can sell cannabis).

Only use cannabis in a private place, such as a residence, when not prohibited by a landlord or condo board.

Grow your own at home if you want, but limit the number of plants to 4 per household, not per person.

Limit the number of plants you transport to 4 – none of which are flowering or budding.

Make your own cannabis products from legally obtained cannabis – without the use of organic solvents such as propane or    butane.

Do not use cannabis…

 X in a vehicle

X in any public place

X at any school or child care facility

X in a rented residence if prohibited by the landlord

 X in a condo if prohibited by the condo board

Do not distribute cannabis…

X to anyone who is under the age of 19

Do not travel with cannabis…

 X across the Canadian border in any amount

 X across a provincial or territorial border in an amount greater than allowed in that jurisdiction

If you have consumed cannabis before driving…

  • you are subject to administrative penalties, including license suspension, vehicle impoundment and fines for any amount of THC in your system
  • you are subject to summary criminal charges if your THC blood concentration is 2 nanograms or higher
  • you are subject to more serious criminal charges if your THC levels reach 5 nanograms or you have a combination of THC levels of 2.5 nanograms or more and a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 or more
  • you may be charged with the criminal offence of impaired driving regardless of your levels if your ability to drive is impaired by drugs or alcohol or a combination of the two

Saskatchewan Library Week – Libraries Transform

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By Alan Kilpatrick

Saskatchewan Library Week (SLW), an annual province-wide event, is being celebrated this year from October 14-20, 2018.  SLW celebrates Saskatchewan’s diverse and varied library sector and promotes the many services that libraries provide.  The Saskatchewan Library Association, an organization dedicated to library development, has hosted SLW since 1976.

Saskatchewan is home to over 1200 libraries.  This includes public, school, academic, health, law, and government libraries.  They provide a multitude of dynamic and competitive services to Saskatchewan’s citizens, students, and professionals.  SLW is an opportunity for Saskatchewan’s libraries to stand up and push back against ongoing threats to the library sector.

As a staunch member of Saskatchewan’s library community, the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library proudly celebrates SLW.  Learn more about the innovative service, expertise, and potential the Law Society Library provides at the following links: