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The blog of the Great Library at the Law Society of Ontario

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Quicklaw Free Trial Extension

As the end of the initial 30-day Lexis Advance Quicklaw complimentary remote access approaches, LexisNexis Canada has announced that they are extending the program to May 31st.

In addition, LexisNexis will be upgrading their free trial to include Lexis Advance Quicklaw Comprehensive, a package which provides access to all texts and treatises currently available in electronic format through Quicklaw.

Interested LSO licensees can self-register through this link:


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House of Bills: A Monthly Update on Ontario Bills

We have created a monthly recap of all bills that have moved through the legislature in April. Due to COVID-19, the legislature was only scheduled to meet on April 14, and is not scheduled to meet again until May 12. On April 14, one bill moved through the legislature.legend

Bill 189, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020

First Reading (April 14)
Second Reading, carried (April 14)
Third Reading, carried (April 14)
Royal Assent (April 14)

Stay tuned for more monthly recaps and any major updates on the activity of the legislature. 

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Family Law Resources and COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has given rise to urgent and evolving family law issues. To help you find current family law information, here are some key resources that address those legal issues directly related to the pandemic, such as access in shared child custody and what constitutes an urgent family law matter that will be heard by the courts.

This Week in Family Law (Franks & Zalev) on WestlawNext Canada – Family Source

Check this newsletter regularly to get the COVID-19 Update, a weekly recap of cases and commentary on new developments, and to access the Epstein Cole COVID-19 Case Chart which includes more than 40 family law cases that have dealt with COVID-19 related issues.

(Thomson Reuters is currently offering all LSO licensees free 30-day access to Westlaw Next Canada.)

Urgent Family Law Cases During COVID-19 (Kathryn Hendrikx) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance on Lexis Practice Advisor

This source lists all current urgent family law motions heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice since March 18, 2020. See the accompanying practice note, Urgent Family Law Motions During COVID-19 for a discussion of procedure on urgent motions.

(LexisNexis Canada is offering a free a trial of Lexis Practice Advisor and free access to their COVID-19 Document Kit)

Lawyer’s Daily COVID-19 Updates

Legal news and updates relating to the corona virus for all practice area are freely accessible on the Lawyer’s Daily website. See for example, Determining urgency in family law during pandemic: Ribeiro v. Wright, by Alex Boland, Lawyer’s Daily, April 06, 2020.

Ontario Court Notices:

Setting out the scope and procedure for urgent matters:

Public Legal Information:

“Urgent” Court Cases and COVID-19, updated April 21, 2020 (NSRLP)

Guidance and recent decisions to clarify what the courts consider to be “urgent” during the pandemic.

Template Social Distancing Clauses for Parents, updated April 16, 2020 (NSRLP)

Sample clauses on social distancing undertakings for parents with shared custody arrangements.

COVID‑19 Family Law (CLEO Steps to Justice)

Answers for the public to questions about access, child and spousal support, family violence and going to court during the pandemic.

A note about library services:

Although the Great Library is closed, staff are working remotely. We are continuing to provide legal research assistance and document delivery service using our online resources. If we can help you in any way, please email us at

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Finding Legislative Histories on eLaws: A Refresher

Looking for legislative history and amendment information for Ontario statutes but find yourself unsure how to begin? Here’s a quick refresher on using e-Laws to get the information you need.

If you click into any piece of current consolidated legislation on e-Laws – I’ve used the Ambulance Act as an example –  you can find three spots that contain legislative history information:

  1. under the “Versions” tab,
  2. in the “Legislative History” note,
  3. and through the Source Notes under each section of the act.


  1. “Versions”


The “Versions” tool of the e-Laws website is a great way to view historical versions of consolidated legislation. Simply click one of the listed hyperlinked date ranges to view a snapshot of how that act read during that period of time. e-Laws provides historical versions of consolidated legislation going back until January 2, 2004.

  1. “Legislative History”

legislative history

Near the top of every consolidated act you will find a section that reads “Legislative History”. Here, you can find a list of cites to acts that have affected the current act in some way (whether through amendment, repeal or enactment) since the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990. This is helpful when looking to trace an act back to before the “Versions” cut-off date of 2004.

  1. Source Notes

source notes

When looking for legislative history information for specific provisions, look to the citations provided at the end of each section of the act. Unlike the information provided in the “Legislative History” section, these source notes highlight only those acts that have affected the specific section in some way. These source notes go back until the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990. For more on how to read and utilize source notes, see our blog post here.

Tables on e-Laws

And of course, e-Laws has plenty of tables that can be helpful when conducting legislative research. The “main” table to use when tracing back legislation may well be the “Public Statutes and Ministers Responsible” table. This table provides info concerning minister(s) responsible, legislative history and repeal information going back until the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990. For a full list of e-Laws legislative tables, click here.

Need legislative history information going back before the Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990? HeinOnline has got you covered. You can find tables of public statutes at the end of volumes of the digitized Ontario annual statutes up to 2001. These tables provide information on statutes such as: their citation within the most recent revision as well as amendment and repeal information. And don’t forget — Law Society of Ontario licensees have free remote access to HeinOnline through the Great Library.

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Free Legal Citation Guides

If you’re working remotely, you may be missing some of your trusted legal research tools and sources. We understand! Without access to the Great Library’s formidable print collection and a full slate of electronic resources, we law librarians are making do – being creative, resourceful and fully exploiting the best free legal information sources to provide research assistance.

Last week we covered free sources for finding free CPD (continuing professional development) articles. This week we’re sharing some tips on finding free legal citation resources.

If you don’t have a copy of the current edition of the McGill Guide (Canadian Guide to Legal Citation, 9th ed., Thomson Reuters, 2018) at hand or a subscription to the online version on Westlaw Next Canada, don’t despair.  You can still find guidance on how to properly cite that case, statute or text section you’re relying on.

Many Canadian university and law school libraries have created quick reference citation guides based on the current McGill Guide. These guides typically distill the rules in McGill to provide a clear explanation and plenty of examples to show you how to cite legal materials from cases to blogs.

Here’s a selection:

Like the McGill Guide itself, these online citation guides won’t cover everything. There will always be times when you’ll need to improvise.

When doing so, remember the two cardinal rules of legal citation: be kind to your reader (provide clear, complete and accurate information so they can find what you’re citing) and be consistent in your style and formatting.

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House of Bills: A Weekly Update on Ontario Bills

Below, we have compiled a list of those bills which progressed through the House during the emergency sessions of March 19 and March 25. As of now, the House stands adjourned until Tuesday, April 14. Additionally, all committee meetings have been cancelled until further notice.

Sitting dates: March 19 & 25 legend
42nd Parliament, 1st Session

Bill 181, Supply Act, 2020
Royal assent (March 19)

Bill 186, Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020
First reading (March 19)
Second reading, carried (March 19)
Third reading, carried (March 19)
Royal Assent (March 19)

Bill 187, Municipal Emergency Act, 2020
First reading (March 19)
Second reading, carried (March 19)
Third reading, carried (March 19)
Royal assent (March 19)

Bill 188, Economic and Fiscal Update Act, 2020
First Reading (March 25)
Second Reading, carried (March 25)
Third Reading, carried (March 25)
Royal Assent (March 25)

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Remote Access to Online CPD Materials

Did you know that you can remotely access continuing professional development (CPD) materials through the Great Library’s catalogue? Whether searching through the “Everything”1or “CPD”tab (shown below), you can search, summon, download and send digitized CPD materials remotely.

  1. option 1.png2.option 2.png

Searches using the “Everything” tab are conducted on the search platform InfoLocate. While searches on this platform will summon results other than CPD materials, you can use the filter “Online Law Society CLE Articles” found on the left to narrow your results to only include online CPD materials. See below:


Searches using the “CPD” tab are conducted using the database AccessCLE. This database is home to hundreds of free, digitized PDFs of Law Society of Ontario CPD materials.

Another place to look for online CPD materials is CanLII. The County of Carleton Law Association CPD materials from 2018 and 2019 were recently made available on CanLII’s “Commentary” platform. Find these by navigating to the “Conference Proceedings” link on the Commentary page, or click here.

Having access to CPD materials can really come in handy as they are a great way to keep up to date on emerging legal issues and can act as primers or introductory overviews of major legal topics in a given field. They are also great tools for finding forms and precedents!

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House of Bills: A Weekly Update on Ontario Bills

After taking a few days to get our ducks in a row, we will be catching up on House of Bills posts for those sitting dates we have missed due to COVID-19 interruptions. Here is the post for the sitting week of March 9-March 12. Stay tuned for the next post which gathers all progress made to Ontario bills in the third and fourth weeks of March during the COVID-19 emergency sitting sessions.

March 9 – March 12legend
42nd Parliament, 1st Session

Bill 141, Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act, 2020

Third Reading (March 10 & 11)

Bill 156, Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020

Discharge the Order of referral to Committee (from Standing Committee on Justice Policy) (March 9)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on General Government (March 9)

Bill 159, Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2020

Second Reading (March 10-12)

Bill 161, Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2020

Considered by Standing Committee on Justice Policy (March 12)

Bill 171, Building Transit Faster Act, 2020

Considered by Standing Committee on Social Policy (March 10)

Bill 174, Ditch the Switch Act, 2020

Second Reading, carried (March 12)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills (March 12)

Bill 175, Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act, 2020

Second Reading, carried on division (March 9 & 10)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy (March 10)

Bill 177, Sikh Genocide Awareness Week Act, 2020

Second Reading, carried (March 12)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Justice Policy (March 12)

Bill 180, Somali Heritage Week Act, 2020

First Reading (March 10)

Bill 181, Supply Act, 2020

First Reading (March 10)
Second Reading, carried on division (March 11 & 12)
Third Reading, carried on division (March 12)

Bill 182, Franco-Ontarian Emblem Amendment Act, 2020

First Reading (March 10)
Second Reading, carried (March 12)
Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills (March 12)

Bill 183, Strengthening Human Rights in Ontario Act, 2020

First Reading (March 11)

Bill 184, Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020

First Reading (March 12)

Bill 185, Vision Zero Strategy Act, 2020

First Reading (March 12)

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Limited Document Delivery

Effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Great Library is starting back up its document delivery service to Law Society of Ontario licensees.

  • Requests will be filled from electronic sources only. While the library remains closed, we’re unable to provide scans from materials in our print collection.
  • Please use the document delivery form to make your request. If you do not have access to a web browser, you can email with your request.
  • Requests will only be fulfilled by email. We do not have the ability to fax, mail, or have requests picked up.

For more information, see Document Delivery Service for Law Society Licensees on the Great Library’s web site.