March 28, 2017 Via email: [email protected]

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March 28, 2017 Via email: [email protected]
Developing and Supporting Legal Information Specialists
Perfectionnement et soutien des spécialistes de l'information juridique
March28,2017
Viaemail:[email protected]
TheHonourableJudyM.Foote
MinisterofPublicServicesandProcurementCanada
PlaceduPortage,PhaseIII,Room18A1
11LaurierStreet
Gatineau,QC,K1A0S5
DearMinister:
Re:PrintedannualStatutesofCanada
Wewritetoyoutodaywithconcernsaboutpossibleplanstodiscontinuethepaperpublicationofthe
annualStatutesofCanada,asreportedontheCBCNewswebsite(“Liberalsurgedtoscrap19thcentury
rulethatrequireslawsbeprintedinbooks”,byDeanBeeby,March20,2017).
TheseprintedpublicationsarenotjustfortheuseofParliament:theyarethelegacycopiesofCanadian
legislationuponwhichourconfederationandsocietyarebased.Theyactasreferenceformanypeople
acrossCanada.Retainingpaperhastraditionallybeenawaytopreservetoday’slegislationandrelated
amendmentsforfuturegenerations.
MembersoftheCanadianAssociationofLawLibraries/L’Associationcanadiennedesbibliothèquesde
droitworkwithjudges,lawyers,lawprofessors,MembersofParliament,MembersofProvincial
Parliaments,lawstudentsandmanyothergroupsacrossthiscountryaswellasthegeneralpublic.
Thesegroupsrepresentawiderangeofneedsforworkingwiththecountry’slaws.Itisnotunusual,for
example,tolookbacktolegislationfromahundredyearsagoormoretoprovideinsightintotoday’s
legalcontext.Workingwiththeprintversionofourstatutesisappropriateandsometimeseasier
dependingontheparticularresearchtask.
Weencourageyoutonotmakechangestothecurrentprintingregimewithoutcarefulconsideration.
Recordkeepingisanimportantfoundationofanyadvanceddemocracy.InCanada,thePublicationof
StatutesActanditsregulationsweredesignedtoensurethatallCanadianswereprovidedwithlongtermaccesstoarchivalversionsofourstatutes.Thislawwasnecessaryatthetimetoensurethatthe
mediumchosen(paper)conformedtothebeststandardsknownatthetimeforarchivalformats.Ina
commonlawsystemhistorymatters;thismeansthatallcitizensareentitledtolongtermaccesstoour
statutes,andthegovernmentmustkeepthissquarelyatfrontofmindatalltimes.
Thequestionis,whatlawisnecessarytodaytoensurethatthemediumchosen(digital)conformstothe
beststandardsknownatthetimeforarchiving?
National Office: 411 Richmond Street East, Suite 200 • Toronto ON M5A 3S5 • Tel: 647.346.8723 • Fax: 416.929.5256 •
[email protected] • www.callacbd.ca
Today,inanageoftechnology,itiseasyforpoliticiansandbureaucrats,andthepublicgenerally,tojust
assumethatwewillalwayshaveaccesstogovernmentinformation.Librariansandscholarsgenerally
havetheconcernthatinthedigitalage,apersonwiththerightresourcesandintentcouldsimplyhitthe
deletebuttonandwipeouttheinformationthatcitizensneedtoaccessdemocracy.Thismaysound
overstated,butundertheHarpergovernment,theydidjustthat,withthedatafromthelonggun
registry:thatdataisgonenow,forpurelypoliticalreasons.Wehearstoriesrightnowofscientistsinthe
UnitedStatesexportingenvironmentaldataoutofthecountrybecausetheygenuinelyfearthatpolitical
whimscouldjeopardizeit.
Itdoesnothavetobeintentionaldeletioneither.Unassumingbureaucratscansimplycutawaybudgets
tonothingorredeployhumanresourcestothedetrimentofusability.Withrespect,anITspecialist
shouldnotbemakingdecisionsinavacuumaboutthefunctionalityandarchivalimportanceoflegal
information.
Werecommendthatthegovernmenttakeastepbackandhaveasoberreviewoftheentiretyofthe
situation.Donottakeanyactiontorepealthestatuteorotherwisemakechangestohowthestatutes
arepublisheduntilyouhaveafully-formulatedandconsultativesolutionreadytotakeitsplace.You
haveastrong150year-oldsystemtoreplaceforthenext150yearstocome.Thisisasober
responsibility.
WorkwiththeLibraryandArchivesCanada(LAC)—toensureanyelectronic-onlypublicationsmeet
preservationrequirementsandarecapturedaccuratelyandcompletelyforfuturereference.Untilthat
time,ifawholeprogramofprintingisnotpossible,perhapsalimitedrunofpapervolumesprintedina
differentformatandgiventoselectedkeyrepositories—suchasLACandtheLibraryofParliament—
wouldbeaninterimsolutionuntilamoreinformeddecisioncanbemade.Althoughthegovernment
seemstofallbackonthedigitalarchivingthatLibraryandArchivesCanadaisdoing,pleasenoteLAC
itselfhasgonethroughmassivebudgetcutsresultinginconstraintsonwhattheyareactuallyableto
accomplish.Thinkingabouttheirroleandmandatingitwillbeanequallyimportantpartoftheoverall
plan.
Ifthegovernmentcontinuesonthepathtowards“digitalonly”publicationoftheStatutesofCanada,
wewouldencourageyoutoREPLACEthePublicationofStatutesActwithacomprehensiveplanthat
considers:
o maintainingasmallprintrunforlong-termpreservationpurposes;
o thefutureoftheCanadaGazette,andinparticulartheCanadaGazettePartThreewhich
providesouronlyofficialonlineversionofannualstatutes,aswellasthehelpfulTable
ofProclamations;
o thefutureoftheTableofPublicStatutes.ThisTablewaspublishedasastationary
publicationintheStatutesofCanadaeachyear.TheonlineversiononJusticeLawsis
notsustainableinitscurrentformat–anannualarchivedversioncouldbe
contemplated;
o whatwillbetheofficialversionofourStatutesofCanadamovingforwardinadigital
age?
2
o
awaytomaintaintheside-by-side,English/Frenchcomparison,whichcanbean
importantpartofsomestatutoryinterpretationexercises,whilestillmeeting
accessibilityrequirements.
WewouldrecommendthatdecisionmakersexaminetheUSUniformElectronicMaterialActtoinform
yourapproach.
OurmemberswouldbekeentoprovidefeedbackandguidanceonadirectionfortheQueen’sPrinter
withrespecttoprintingandpreservingCanada’slegislation.
FuturegenerationsofCanadiansdependonyoursounddecisionmakingtodaytoensureaccesstothe
legalhistoryofournation.Pleaseconsiderourrecommendationsandcontactusforadditionalfeedback
orassistance.
Sincerely,
ConnieCrosby
President,CALL/ACBD
cc.
MarieLemay
DeputyMinister,PSPC-SPAC
[email protected]
AnnMarieMelvie
VicePresident&President-Elect,CALL/ACBD
[email protected]
SoniaL’Heureux
ParliamentaryLibrarian,ParliamentofCanada
[email protected]
Dr.GuyBerthiaume
LibrarianandArchivistofCanada,LibraryandArchivesCanada
[email protected]
PeterBailey
Chair,BoardofDirectors,CanadianFederationofLibraryAssociations
[email protected]
3
RenéBasque,Q.C.
President,CanadianBarAssociation
[email protected]
MeMauricePiette
President,FederationofLawSocietiesofCanada
[email protected]
4

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