As the federal government responded to the COVID-19 crisis in March of 2020, certain failures in the treatment of Canada’s official languages became evident. For example, to ease importation from the United States, hundreds of disinfectant products were allowed to pass into Canada with labelling exclusively in English. The government, fortunately, revised its approach, but a pressing question remains: how can Canada ensure respect for the Official Languages Act during an emergency or health crisis?
The Supreme Court is a central institution in Canadian law and politics, and yet, to date, there has been relatively little empirical research on its work. Professor Carissima Mathen is leading a new project, funded by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), that will use state-of-the-art legal data analytics to investigate Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decisions, specifically probing how the Court has addressed equality claims.
The 2020 Fall Term is upon us at the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section. A number of changes, not all of them COVID-19 related, have taken place at the Law School since the Spring. Here is a brief look of what we tackled during COVID-19 but also an overview of notable announcements and appointments:
The Office of the Vice-Dean Research established these awards to recognize the role of dedicated teaching, sustained and creative research and generous service to the community, the University and the Faculty of Law in strengthening our institution and raising our public profile.
The Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue at the University of Ottawa is supporting the creation of a new research project on water regulation and governance. The project will use water-related issues as a lens to identify climate change-induced problems and their ramifications, and then make recommendations to multi-level policymakers.
Thanks to a generous gift from Alex Trebek, the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue at the University of Ottawa is supporting the creation of a new research project on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Healthy Humans and Environments to shape the future of health, food and environmental policy-making at the AI + Society Initiative.
Professor Suzanne Bouclin is part of an interdisciplinary research team that is examining how COVID-19 has impacted Ottawa’s most marginalized communities. The team is comprised of researchers that have built trust with these communities over the last 10 years through community-based participatory action research.
From deciding whether or not a tax return should trigger an audit, to determining which refugee claimants will be given status in Canada, administrative officials around the country make thousands of decisions every day that fundamentally affect the lives of Canadians. But these officials – and all Canadians – are entering an era of “artificial administration”, where human decision-making may be displaced or replaced by sophisticated information technology in the form of predictive analytics and deep learning. This begs the question: when is it appropriate for administrative officials to rely on machines in making decisions that affect Canadians?
For all the chaos and disruption caused by COVID-19, the pandemic has also provided the rare opportunity to think about how we can rebuild our communities and economies to create a more green and inclusive future. Professor Heather McLeod-Kilmurray has recently joined a multi-institutional task force dedicated to reducing inequality and advancing environmental stewardship in a post-pandemic society.