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Canada's jurilinguistic centres

François Blais, Director
Centre for Legal Translation and Documentation
University of Ottawa


A few months ago Canada's four jurilinguistic centres—the Quebec Research Centre for Private and Comparative Law (QRCPCL) at McGill University, the Centre de traduction et de terminologie juridiques (CTTJ) at Université de Moncton, the Centre for Legal Translation and Documentation (CLTD) at the University of Ottawa, and the Institut Joseph-Dubuc (IJD) at Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface in Manitoba—agreed to create a network in order to develop and implement the following joint projects:

Standardization – The first joint project deals with standardizing French common law vocabulary, a component managed by the CTTJ. The centres help create an accurate and uniform vocabulary by participating in the Comité de normalisation de la common law en français (committee for the standardization of the French common law vocabulary). The Translation Bureau (Public Works and Government Services Canada) and the Department of Justice Canada also serve on the committee. To date, the committee has covered the areas of evidence, property and estates, trusts, torts, contracts and security. Family law is the next area to be covered.

Training – Training delivered by the IJD is the second of the centres' four joint projects. Through the IJD, the centres provide training to legal stakeholders to help them become more proficient in the language of common law in French or the language of civil law in English. The centres prepare the course material and develop the teaching approach.

Professional development – The third project involves organizing a Summer Institute of Jurilinguistics, a component managed by the QRCPCL at McGill University. The Summer Institute, which has already been held twice, helps legal drafters improve their jurilinguistic knowledge. In 2009, the centres held the Summer Institute on August 31 at McGill University in Montreal.

A jurilinguistic portal – Lastly, the CLTD at the University of Ottawa is responsible for carrying out the fourth project, which involves creating an Internet portal to bring together the various jurilinguistic tools. What started as a small project gradually expanded. The goal is to provide a centralized source of information on all jurilinguistic products and services, not only from the centres, but also from all legal stakeholders in Canada.