helping hands

Walking the talk: Community over Competition

Student Legal Assistance (SLA) is a registered charitable organization that is staffed primarily by law students at the University of Calgary. Under the guidance of an Executive Director and a team of advising lawyers, student caseworkers provide access to justice for low-income Albertans.

Every year, over 100 law students volunteer their time providing civil, criminal, and family law help to individuals across Alberta who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. SLA’s work improves the functioning of the Courts by providing clients with representation and ensuring they have the legal information necessary to make sound decisions inside and outside of the courtroom.

Each year in July, SLA hosts a charity golf tournament at Sirocco Golf Club. Funds raised through the tournament support their ongoing operations and expenses. We were very happy to sign up to be a sponsor for this year’s tournament, but that’s not where our participation ended.

One area of legal assistance the organization provides help with is their residential tenancy dispute resolution. 

Their residential tenancy dispute resolution service offers landlords and tenants an alternative to arguing their dispute in court. Using an RTDRS can allow a person to resolve their tenancy issue faster and more affordably than if filing an application at Provincial Court. 

The matter is then heard before a Tenancy Dispute Officer who is authorized to make binding decisions on claims up to $50,000. This decision of the Tenancy Dispute Officer is binding on all parties. 

The SLA had taken on a case of a First Nations woman who – after 20 years of peaceful residency – was facing an eviction notice. The appeal could not be made without a transcript. In Alberta, many court transcription services have been subsumed by the province, whereas RTDRS hearings have not. In this case, the SLA’s client could not afford the usual transcription fees, so the transcription team at Veritext was happy to step up and transcribe the one hour of audio files the students had recorded for their client – at no charge – as our way of supporting access to justice for all.

We were thrilled to hear that just in time for Truth and Reconciliation Day, the appeal was granted for their client and the woman and her family are now allowed to stay in their home.

Christy Pratt, RCR, RPR, CLR and Regional Vice President, Canada has long had an interest in aboriginal litigation. special interest in Aboriginal rights and title cases and Charter challenge cases.

She has reported several landmark trials (including Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia and Conseil-scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique v. British Columbia (Education)), and she is currently reporting the Cambie Surgeries Corp. v. British Columbia (Medical Services Commission) trial before the Honourable Mr. Justice Steeves.

This special interest in Aboriginal rights was why we stepped up to support the SLA with their transcription needs.  Access to justice for all people, no matter where they live, who they are, or what their circumstances are, lies at the heart of our view of the future of legal technology and the ability to provide legal services to all people no matter where they live.

Watch Your Inbox!

Christy Pratt, Regional Vice President, Veritext Canada

The last year and a half have brought enormous changes for our team.   Our new partnership with Veritext Legal Solutions (Canada) has given us the opportunity to meet the regional teams in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, who were already part of the Veritext Canada organization.  As we undertake our national integration, my vision for what the future of court reporting in Canada will look like is starting to take shape. 

Moving forward, clients will be able to access our services and solutions from anywhere in the country and around the globe, and they will continue to enjoy working with the same local teams of talented professionals they know and trust.  The national scale of our resources supports the regional experience and provides our Canadian client base with seamless access to best-in-class reporting and transcription services and to unparalleled virtual and technical solutions. 

Litigation technology is heavily focused on innovating practical, easy-to-use tools that allow lawyers to prepare for and present their cases as efficiently and effectively as possible, and the court reporting industry is rapidly evolving to complement this objective. 

By partnering with Veritext we now have access to leading IT experts who are continually developing products and services that are specifically designed for lawyers.  This collaborative effort perfectly positions us to lead the effort in sustaining our industry and in shaping its trajectory, which is an incredibly inspiring and satisfying experience. 

Keep an eye on your inbox over the coming weeks for information and updates about new ways to access Veritext Canada online tools, transcripts and other exciting services and solutions. 

But don’t forget – it’s still us, the same local teams who have always supported you and your unique litigation needs.

The Advocates Society

Strengthening the profession through advocacy and mentorship.

This past year, as we’ve expanded to become a Canadian national enterprise, we’ve truly enjoyed fostering new relationships in our various communities while continuing to strengthen others.

For our team at Veritext Canada, supporting the Advocates Society is a natural fit.

With their focus on facilitating mentorship in the coming term, the AS is working to provide an environment that “fosters creativity and provides support” within the legal community.

Recently, we had the pleasure of attending the Advocates Society gala in Calgary and last night we were able to connect once again in Toronto. It was a much-needed chance to celebrate together, and to honour successful careers, and, most importantly, begin to reconnect.

Connection. Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Advocates Society End of Term Gala Toronto

Clearly, over the past many months our industry has shifted how (and where) we work and like many other professions, our systems and structures have been shaken to the core. Fortunately, our collective passion for justice has remained firmly intact, driving courts to utilize leading-edge solutions and adapt to virtual and hybrid practices to stay productive and connected.

As we emerge from this period of transformation, we also know that the repercussions of this pandemic will be felt for months, even years to come – and so, it becomes a meaningful exercise to hold on to the progress we’ve made and to look for the silver linings in the process.

One such glimmer of hope is the absolute joy of reconnecting with colleagues and friends in the real world, knowing how far we’ve all come!

Thank you to the Advocates Society for inviting our team to these important events and for the part they play in providing mentorship and actively supporting the development of young lawyers across Canada

As a growing company, we will continue to align with others whose main goal is to shape the future of our industry in all its facets in a collaborative way. We often mention our focus on community over competition because despite the challenges and hurdles we all face, what remains is the strong foundation upon which our work thrives. Shaky foundations make for precarious futures, so finding the fortitude that remains is not only necessary but absolutely essential.

Reportex Student Awards for the 2021-2022 Academic Year Announcement

Reportex, now part of Veritext Canada, has always supported NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) and their Captioning and Court Reporting Program. Director of Court Reporting, Leanne Kowalyk, RCR, has spoken to the NAIT students in person and online about a career in court reporting, as well as participating in shadowing experiences for career education. We also provide awards for their top students.

This year we are proud to share the announcement about two award recipients.

Karina Cox received $1,000 for the Reportex Award of Excellence in Technology.

This award is available to students enrolled in the third semester of the Captioning and Court Reporting program at NAIT. Awarded on the basis of top marks on the comprehensive Computer-Aided Transcription (CAT) exam developed by the CACR program. The recipient must demonstrate excellence in technical skills in the first year of the program and have successfully completed all first-year course requirements.

Karina is a second-year student in the Captioning And Court Reporting program. Congratulations, Karina!

Karen Collis received $1,000 for the Reportex Captioning and Court Reporting Scholarship.

This scholarship is available to students enrolled in the second year of the Captioning and Court Reporting program at NAIT. Awarded on the basis of top academic achievement in the first year of the program with preference being given to a student who has relocated from British Columbia to attend the Captioning and Court Reporting program at NAIT.

You may have seen Karen’s name mentioned here before, as both her sister, Laura Collis here in Vancouver, and her mother, Diana Halvorsen at ACE in Edmonton, are court reporters. Keeping it in the family is a strong tradition in this industry.

Veritext Canada promises to maintain its goals of promoting and supporting Captioning and Court Reporting careers and education through institutions like NAIT. Congratulations to Karen and Karina and their fellow students for choosing such a dynamic and in-demand career!

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April has been a busy month.  Spring is springing, blossoms are blossoming and things are going full tilt at Veritext Canada.

With everything going on, the people in our world keep mentioning that time feels like an illusion right now. Where are the days going?

For our team, the focus continues to be on expanding our presence and client resources across Canada. Our days and weeks have been spent honing in on growth and development, on connecting with our clients and on fostering our team in order to provide a best-in-class experience from coast to coast.

Last weekend, our Director of Reporting, Leanne Kowalyk hosted a webinar with NAIT’s own Janice Plomp on how to use AccelerWriters and Power Defines.  Finding ways to support the professional growth of our reporters is key. A supported team is a successful team, so mentorship and learning are always on our minds. Watch this space for information on upcoming webinars for Reporters in the next few months.

We also want to congratulate Leanne for her new role as a member of the Captioning & Court Reporting Program Advisory Committee at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).  This position enables her to collaborate with the NAIT program leadership and provide input, advice and guidance in the development of their Captioning and Court Reporting Program.

Speaking of NAIT, congratulations to first-year court reporting student Myung Kyu Kim and second-year court reporting student Desislava Kancheva, recipients of the annual Veritext Legal Solutions Court Reporting Student Scholarship for 2022. We can’t wait to see what you achieve in your budding careers!

With restrictions loosening across the country, Megan Ejack, Director of Marketing & Communications, Canada, took the opportunity to head to Alberta this week to meet the teams in Calgary and Edmonton.  She also attended the Advocates Society Annual Gala in Calgary last night with our Regional VP, Christ Pratt and we were proud to be a sponsor of this event.  

Learning the particular nuances of each market across the nation is an important factor in driving how we approach new, innovative solutions for clients and truly understand the needs of each respective region. We’re looking forward to meeting all of our clients over the coming months so we can properly assess the direction we need to go. If you have thoughts, comments or suggestions, please reach out to anyone on our team.

On that note, we want to thank you for your ongoing support of our exciting path forward as we continue to forge a sustainable future for our industry. Though the days may be racing along, we know we’re not alone in wanting to affect change and delve deeper into the needs of our colleagues, associates and clients.

“Community over competition” has become a bit of a mantra for us as we navigate the past, present and future…. Together.

Connect Series: Meet Dayna Canning

We love getting to know our new teammates from across the country. Dayna is the scheduling associate at Ace Reporting Services in Edmonton, and we asked her to tell us more about herself and her life with Veritext Canada.

Can you tell us what led you to your current role and what you love about working there?

I went to NAIT for the Captioning and Court Reporting program; however, it was not in the cards. The mum of one of my fellow classmates suggested to me that I apply for the job. To assist in my future success, my background also includes eight months as a QB court clerk and ten months as a legal assistant.

I love that moment when a client calls in a panic, and you can come through with a reporter. Knowing that you have just relieved a huge amount of stress — words cannot express how satisfying it is. Above all, I really love working with the reporters. They are the job, and without them I would not have this opportunity.

How do you think this new unified national team will help better service the legal industry across Canada?

Veritext has survived a pandemic and has come out even stronger. Since joining forces with British Columbia, Veritext Canada is now a company that can provide services for any matter, regardless of the province. We have adapted to a situation no one thought would happen in their lifetime. Everyone’s efforts are leading to a seamless experience, whether it be booking a matter or ordering transcripts.

Veritext’s mission and corporate values aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

The two values that I see exemplified the most are accountability and collaboration.

We all work together to help each other. It could be from scheduling demands that arise, to training new associates, to finding new ways to do things. If it was not collaborated on, we would not be where we are now.

Speaking from experience, we are accountable to each other and to our clients. Our associates leave no stone unturned. We must work together so we can continue to have happy clients.

Wellness and self-care are important to our team. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically, both at work and at home?

Working from home was a challenge that I did not anticipate for my career, ever. Going from an office every day to working at my kitchen table was not something I had ever considered. I found it is helpful to have a specific workspace where you can close the door at the end of the day and leave work in the room. It is key to separate your work life and your home life — something that took a long time to achieve for me, personally. I also found it helpful to have a supportive partner. I started making it a rule to ask them if they have the mental space to listen to me. If all else fails, cats and corny movies are also important parts of my self-care.

Getting to Know Us

If you have been connecting with the firms across our Canadian division, you may have noticed a new link when you visited the Amicus, Ace, Neesons or Royal websites. We are happy to welcome you to our new Veritext Canada blog!

The Reportex team has used this blog not only to highlight our innovative services and solutions but also to help people understand the vision and passion that has driven the company to where it is today. Many of these posts fall under our (R)evolution series and use the hashtag #shapingthefuture — and these are more than catchphrases. We have been committed to being the driving force of change and advancement when it comes to legal services and court reporting in Canada. It is our goal to support a sustainable future for our industry.

It is why we are now proud to be a part of Veritext Legal Solutions. We know we can do great things together.

Through the profiles in our Connect Series, our blogging platform has also been used to showcase the many talented people who are key parts of the engine that keeps this amazing machine running. We hope to keep this initiative going and highlight the many outstanding people across our teams in Canada and the US. We are all in this together now.

The blog is here to keep you — our clients and colleagues — informed of any changes or updates to our services. We also want to communicate more with and about the incredible reporters and other independent contractors — editors, proofers, scopers, technicians and everyone else that makes up the organization. Also watch this space for information about webinars and seminars that we are hosting or sponsoring.  

And we want to make sure we stay relevant to meet your needs in your own legal community. If you have stories or suggestions to share, please do not hesitate to reach out to me – Kerry Sauriol – at [email protected].

Enjoy.

Better Together!

What’s better than a cold Abbotsford cider on a hot sunny day?

Joining forces with another incredible team!

In the spirit of continuing to build a strong, sustainable court reporting community across Canada, we are thrilled to announce that Richards Reporting is now part of our Veritext Canada team!

As you know, Richards Reporting, led by Diane Richards, has been operating for over 30 years in the Fraser Valley, servicing clients throughout the mainland of British Columbia with the utmost excellence and we’re thrilled to partner with them.

Access to an extended team

Rest assured, you will still be working with the same exceptional team of reporters that you know and love and will have access to more boardrooms, integrated legal technology and efficiencies to enhance your litigation practice. 

Under the Veritext umbrella our Canadian division is able to offer you reporting, transcription and integrated virtual services across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario as well as in the United States for our cross-border clients.

Our focus is always to provide an incomparable experience for clients and this collaboration is incredibly exciting. We look forward to continuing to shape the future of court reporting in Canada, together.


Welcome to International Women’s Day 2022

by Kerry Sauriol, Marketing Coordinator


March 8 is International Women’s Day, and the Government of Canada’s theme for 2022 is Women Inspiring Women.

It also marks my one-year anniversary with the company. There have been massive changes since then — Reportex is now Veritext Canada — but the one constant has remained: each of our offices across Canada (Reportex, Ace, Royal, Amicus and Neesons) is run by an empowered and largely female-led team, and it is always exciting to see such strong roles continuing to develop and influence this industry for everyone involved.

Over the last few decades the job market has seen drastic changes to the types of employment available. According to Statistics Canada over 2.6 million people describe themselves as self-employed, and approximately 40 percent of them are women. 95 percent of court reporters and transcriptionists in Canada are female. 

Born in 1860, Georgina Alexandrina Fraser was Canada’s first female journalistic stenographer. She also taught young women to do the same. However, it took a lot longer for women to enter the legal services in Canada, and their struggle is aptly described in this Maclean’s article from 1954:

“SEVEN years ago, two energetic but penniless young women freshly out of His Majesty’s services were suddenly faced with the sobering [a]nd dismaying realization that they were once [a]gain living in a man’s world.

Ethel Zatyko and Rena Pettypiece had taken a twelve-month course in the hope of becoming court stenographers. They decided to pursue their chosen vocation in Alberta, which they regarded as a province of oil booms and millionaires. They wrote letters of application to court officials. But when the answers came, their hopes were dashed: the RCAF might recruit women wireless operators, but Alberta doesn’t allow women court reporters.

The girls were stunned and indignant, but never tearful.

They decided to go to Alberta anyway and show what women can do.”

Things have changed in Alberta and the rest of Canada. 

The passion and belief in what we do has not changed. It is what pushes the people here to evolve and continue to look to the future of court reporting in Canada as we connect with like-minded people and organizations across the country. 

The passion and belief in what we do also drives us to encourage and support court reporters to be the best in their field. We are excited to be planning more workshops and continuing education opportunities across Canada.  

The passion and belief in what we do drives us to ensure the best technologically relevant services for our clients. Legal services are evolving quickly, thanks to many outside forces, and we are here to make sure you are ready to face them all. 

Our name and logo may have changed, but our core values and commitment to this industry have not changed. Today we support many women-focused initiatives across Canada, including West Coast LEAF, Dress for Success, TLABC Women Lawyers Retreat and ACTLA Women’s Legal Forum. Our commitment to the future is to continue to inspire and support women (and men) to be the best they can be and to always dream big.