The 2021 virtual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has just ended. I hope lots of you were able to attend. And if you didn’t, let me tell you about the fantastic conference you missed! Perhaps I will get you to attend CALL 2022 in Montréal.
Before the annual meeting officially started on May 31, CALL organized two pre-conference workshops. The very first workshop was called, Formation sur la langue inclusive: le masculin ne l’emporte plus! This French-only workshop touched upon issues on how the French language, particularly in the legal community, is catching up with challenges around diversity and inclusion. Sarah Sutherland led the second workshop called, Integrating Data Insights into Legal Information and Practice. Sarah’s workshop covered issues around data integration and AI in the legal community as well as how law librarians can learn and participate in these important conversations. Both workshops were incredibly insightful and a great way to kickstart the conference.
Before the annual meeting officially began, Canada and the rest of the world were devastated with the macabre discovery of 215 children’s remains at a site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. CALL’s Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization Committee (DIDC) released the following statement:
DIDC is deeply saddened by the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC, and by the remains yet to be found at the sites of residential schools across Canada. There is much more work still to be done for truth and reconciliation. #EveryChildMatters
June is both National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month. As we celebrate the history, heritage, and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada, and people in the LGBTQ2+ community, we must acknowledge the strength of their communities in the present and their promise for the future.
This horrifying discovery reverberated throughout the entire conference, and it made all land acknowledgement statements more palpable than ever. With this in mind, the 5-day annual meeting titled Legal Information: Outside the Box kickstarted on May 31. Each day had a distinct theme: Data and Legal Information, Services and Technology, Social Justice, History Meets Innovation and Resilience and Reinvention with its corresponding keynote speaker: ASAP Science, Val Napoleon (Founding Director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit, UVic), Frank Pasquale (Yale University’s Information Society Project), Avnish Nanda and Maria McKay (McKinsey & Co.).
Let me mention a few of the panels I was able to attend. Alisa Lazear (CanLII) partnered with Dom Bautista (Amici Curiae Friendship Society) to discuss building accessible legal resources to innovative legal services. They shared the steps they undertook and the lessons learned when building quality open legal information resources for everyone to use, in this case The CanLII Manual to British Columbia Civil Litigation published in December 2020. With a more international perspective, the group Law Librarians Monitoring COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean discussed the genesis of the international network, current challenges and future plans. COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be alarming, hence the importance of law librarians monitoring and reporting on a complicated and rapidly evolving situation.
On ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’, Julie Lavigne (Carleton University) spoke about the implications of the European Union’s right to be forgotten and the possibility of a similar right in Canada. When it comes to libraries and archives, Julie exposed the potential competing interests between safeguarding people’s rights to privacy and serious long-term risks for access to information and the historical public record. Finally, I attended an incredible conversation with three law librarians with experience working in the Canadian territories (Yukon, NWT and Nunavut). The state of the legal community in the North, public access to justice, relationship between the judiciary/legal community and indigenous peoples, relationship between federal government in Ottawa and territorial governments were among some of the major topics discussed in this conversation.
Last but not least, I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our FCIL-SIS colleagues, Kim Nayyer and Yemisi Dina for being elected to the new CALL Executive Board. Yemisi is now the Vice-President Two and Kim is the new President. Kim is also the association’s first president of color and the first Canadian president living outside of Canada.
We congratulate CALL for a fantastic conference and wish both Kim and Yemisi all the best in their new roles! Next year in Montreal! L’année prochaine à Montréal!