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].


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.  

Meet NAIT Student Karen Collis

Because we are passionate about court reporting and its crucial role in the legal industry, we have long supported NAIT and their excellent Captioning and Court Reporting program. Leanne Kowalyk, realtime court reporter and director of court reporting, will be speaking to NAIT students on February 15th  about her experiences and career, and she also managed to interview a current student about their experience with the program.  

What drew you to the industry of court reporting and brought you to the Captioning and Court Reporting program at NAIT in the first place?

My mom has been in the industry for over 40 years, so I’ve been surrounded by court reporters my entire life. To be honest, I had no interest in pursuing it myself. It wasn’t until my sister decided to go to NAIT for Captioning and Court Reporting that it became a possibility. At some point I started scoping for them and saw how fun of a job it was. I saw how every day is different and how there are always opportunities to learn something new. I decided to take the A to Z program, and the rest is history. I’ve been loving learning this new skill and can’t wait to start.

What is your dream job within the industry that you hope to work towards?

I think once I’ve built up my experience and have confidence in my writing ability, I would love to do court work. I’ve always had an interest in criminal cases and true crime, so knowing I’m in an industry that could get me in the room is super cool. One of the reasons I knew court reporting was something I would love to do is because you get to help people. Everyone deserves their voice to be heard and their day in court. Having the ability to be that neutral party in the room that writes it all down would be amazing.

Which part of the program have you enjoyed the most so far?

I loved our law classes with Janice Plomp. I had a general curiosity and a very basic understanding of our law system going into the class from high school. It is so beneficial to know what someone is talking about within a dictation. It was a great opportunity to hear some incredible stories from Janice. Hopefully, one day I can use my knowledge from that class to avoid jury duty!

Conversely, what has been the most challenging piece of reporting school, and how did you overcome it?

The transition from theory into speed-building was probably the hardest thing to overcome. I put so much time into practicing theory, but it wasn’t clicking for me as fast as I had hoped it would. Then suddenly I had to switch my practice from drills to trusting that the theory was there. Those first few speed tests were terrifying.

The amount of pressure I put on myself to do well did not help me to do well. It took me a few months to calm down and trust that I knew what I was doing.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given along your journey?

Much like when I was younger, I continue to be surrounded by court reporters, and they are always so quick to share tips and tricks to get through the program. One that stands out is that each test is an opportunity. An opportunity to learn new vocabulary, new briefs and new ways to write. It helped change the way I looked at tests. Whenever I failed one — which continues to be quite often — it was crushing. I put so much onto those tests that when I failed, it was a direct reflection of myself. Once I was able to find the positives in every opportunity, a failure meant another chance to learn more.

What advice do you have for anyone looking for a new career?

Don’t think about how long it takes to get into a new career. My granny gave the best advice about this. When my uncle wanted to go back to university for teaching, he said he would be 30 years old by the time he graduated. In response she said, either way you’ll turn 30; it’s up to you if you turn 30 with a degree or without one. This is something that I’ve applied to all aspects of my life. I’m going to be turning 28 in March, and even though I’m one year past when I was hoping to graduate, I’m always going to be ahead of the version of myself that chose not to go back to school. The best thing to do is to change your perspective and take the plunge.

Should Auld Acquaintance …

On this eve of a special day for many and as the year rolls slowly to a close, many will reflect on what we have left behind. Sadly, thanks to this terrible pandemic this may be extremely painful for many. However, here at Reportex, 2021 did bring about many exciting developments and news, and thanks to that we now can look toward a new year with enthusiasm for what these developments will bring for us and for court reporting across Canada.

In this light, we asked some of our leadership team to look into their crystal balls and share their feelings on what 2022 will bring us.

Leanne Kowalyk, Director of Court Reporting

My thoughts are that as we glide into 2022, we will learn to collaborate across the country as one team, work through interprovincial designations and build communication structures between offices. I’m excited to integrate our teams of staff, reporters and editors and see those new relationships bud and grow into a strong nationwide team. I also hope that by the end of next year we will have streamlined some of our platforms and services across the country.

Kim Neeson, Regional VP, Eastern Canada

My 2022 crystal ball says more Zooming ahead! While we start to creep back into “normalcy,” the pandemic seems to have other plans for us, now with the Omicron variant. While we wait for people to get their booster shots on board — or maybe their first shots! — we’ll continue to provide services remotely for at least the winter months. The pandemic has had its silver linings for us — getting lawyers on the tech track much faster than any of us could have done trying to move them one at a time and having the ability to demonstrate that remote litigating does work, and works well! And that’s good news for all of us in the reporting world, where our reporters can spread their wings and provide services to a number of our clients in various regions. 

Look for more opportunities, especially in realtime as more clients become exposed to this technology and appreciate its value. If you’re a reporter who hasn’t made the realtime plunge yet, now’s the time! 2022 is your year!

Megan Ejack, Director of Marketing & Communications

My hope for 2022 is that we continue to align as a community, sharing our expertise, finding ways to provide mentorship and opportunities and especially helping to sustain this incredible industry for years to come. We continue to face challenges both in our legal system and in our world, but we’re also on the cusp of some exciting and innovative developments across the board. So in my opinion, now is the time to come together to work to create a better and more hopeful future for everyone.   

And from all of us to all of you, we wish you happy holidays and a safe and wonderful new year.

Meet Jenn Kendall, Director of Human Resources

Jenn is the Director of HR, responsible for the hiring, onboarding, performance management and training of our teams across Canada. Our director of human resources has had diverse experience applying HR programs in a lawful, fair and consistent manner in many industries across four provinces. She has specialized in change management, organizational structure, business development, start-ups and expansions. She also has training and experience in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, suicide intervention and conflict resolution. Outside of the corporate world she has been teaching yoga and meditation for nearly 15 years.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely with our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

It’s pretty challenging to pick just one as I think they are all essential components to building healthy, cohesive teams and an environment where all feel welcomed, valued and appreciated.

For today I will focus on respectful. A workplace, regardless of size and service, provides employment to people of varying backgrounds, belief systems, perspectives, ethnicities, etc. Each one of those individuals will have a different role and level of responsibility within the organization. Each one also has an equal right to be there and to have an important contribution to make in the overall success of the organization. While we aren’t required to like everyone we work with, there is an expectation that each individual can come to work and be treated respectfully. Without a basic level of respect for our co-workers, the ability to complete the requirements of each of our positions and our overall job satisfaction become significantly impacted, having a long-term and lasting impact on the individual and the business itself.

Based on your experience and knowledge what is the key element to maintaining a strong team during stressful times like COVID-19 and corporate transitions?

I would say there are two things that are essential: 

The first is empathy — an understanding and appreciation that everyone navigates and copes with change and unknowns in a very different way. The way we might do it isn’t how someone else would do it. That doesn’t make it wrong. When everything is going well, we have a tendency to appreciate the characteristics that make us different and unique. When faced with challenges, it becomes easier to lose sight of those same qualities and harder to appreciate them. 

The second is giving our co-workers the benefit of the doubt. Each and every one of us is doing the best we can. While I would say this is true all the time, in difficult times it becomes vitally important to bring this front of mind. 

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

As a trained yoga and meditation teacher those are my initial go-tos and have been for the past 15 or so years. If I’m not on the mat, I can be found wandering somewhere out in nature.

Lessons from the Past

by Kerry Sauriol, Marketing Coordinator

When my youngest was about seven years old, she asked if we could attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies in person down at the Cenotaph. Given that my grandfather as well as many other family members of mine served in WWII, I was happy that she was taking so much interest in this somber event, and off we went to pay our respects.

But as the years have gone by since the end of that war, so has the disconnect, especially for those of us who have been fortunate to live lives uninterrupted by strife.  

It is hard to reflect on the horrors of the past when conflict still plagues much of this planet. It feels as though the lessons that should have been learned have been forgotten. 

It is hard to reflect on wars that are fading into history when we are all so wrapped up in our daily lives — especially these last couple of years as we have navigated the pandemic. 

But as Terry Kelly says:

Take two minutes, would you mind?
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died
It’s a pittance of time

Meet Lana Allen (again)

We love seeing the worlds of Veritext and Reportex connecting and getting to know each other better.  Recently Jan Ballman of Veritext Minneapolis took the time to interview our very own Lana Allen, RPR, RCR, CCP. Lana is a realtime court reporter. Realtime reporting is the instantaneous translation of oral proceedings into English text. Counsel’s laptop or iPad is connected to the reporter’s secure realtime network, enabling counsel to read and annotate the text on their screen in real time during the proceedings.

Lana has over 20 years’ experience in both criminal and civil cases, with experience and an extensive knowledge base of Aboriginal, medical, marine, environmental, construction and engineering-related terminology. She also does communication access realtime translation (CART), also known as realtime captioning, for the deaf and hard of hearing.  

You can read and learn about Lana’s globetrotting ways here. 


Connect Series: Meet Zinnie Breitkreutz

Zinnie is our documents specialist and copy editor. In addition to editing written content for Reportex, she is involved in quality control and the preparation of various documents and appeal products. Zinnie was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and has loved the written word for as long as she can remember (as a child she could never understand why finding errors in books, menus and signs exhilarated her!). She currently lives in Beaumont, Alberta, with her husband and three school-aged kids.

While editing and proofreading are indeed skills that can be learned, what innate personality type do you think it takes to be an expert QC collaborator and copy editor?

While I’m not sure there is a specific personality type, I know there are definitely certain traits that anyone in this line of work needs to have. When you spend your days happily hunting for errors and inconsistencies, conscientiousness is crucial in order to stay focused and finish tasks meticulously. Perfectionism is a blessing and a curse — editors have to strive for perfection but not obsess over it and risk getting bogged down. It’s also important to be able to look at documents with curiosity and a critical eye, not being afraid to research things, point out weaknesses and make suggestions. Humility is also a beneficial trait since editors don’t generally feel the need for recognition; we tend to enjoy staying behind the scenes.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely to our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

Team and collaborative are at the top of my list, without a doubt. I am so grateful for the people I get to work with. Many people I know dread meetings, but I get to look forward to them! Drama with co‑workers? Pressure from superiors? Nope! I have a tremendous sense of gratitude for the fact that I have such a positive work environment. The most challenging projects and tight deadlines can be experienced in a completely different way when you’re working alongside the most amazing team.

Sometimes I pause and think about just how much effort goes into producing a single transcript or appeal product, and it’s incredible. I’ve always been impressed at how much we value quality at Reportex — enough to invest whatever is needed to ensure that we are delivering top-notch products every single time. This simply couldn’t happen if each member of our team didn’t have a pivotal role to play in the collaborative process.

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

Although I’ve always viewed wellness as incredibly important, I had a very disordered way of approaching it until I entered my 30s. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t have to be perfect or live up to societal standards. I do try to incorporate intentional movement into each day, and that’s always a great choice for both my mental and physical health — but I certainly don’t do it because someone else says I should! The most important thing to me is being my best self and doing what feels good to me on any given day or in a given season of life. For instance, I might run and do strength training most days one week, and the next week I might decide that long walks and yoga feel best. One day I’ll crave and enjoy salad for lunch, but the next day might be pizza or a couple of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve found it extremely freeing to give myself permission to take up space in the world, learn how to listen to my body, find balance and avoid comparison. This, for me, is true wellness and self-care.

My faith keeps me grounded, especially in the tumultuous time we’re living in. I’m a very early riser since I love the stillness of mornings, and that’s when I’m most productive and energized. I also love a lot of random things that keep me feeling great mentally and physically (even though my husband likes to tease me for the array of comfort items and routines that I have). These are a few of my favourite things (and yes, whiskers on kittens would be on the expansive list if I had an unlimited word count!): essential oils, lots of water, my body pillow, Netflix, daily chocolate, intuitive-ish eating, kombucha, good books, buttery popcorn, coffee/tea and lingering hugs from my kids.

Connect Series: Meet Abby Morssy

Abby is the virtual proceedings technician for Reportex, responsible for managing and facilitating virtual proceedings for clients and assisting with technical setup and support. Abby lived in a few different places growing up, including Egypt (where she was born), the UK and even Saudi Arabia. She moved to Canada in early 2017 and was particularly fond of cloudy and rainy Vancouver as her first Canadian city as it was a nostalgic reminder of the London weather that she had grown accustomed to.

As someone who is in the thick of it, what do you see as being the growing needs or trends when it comes to virtual proceedings?

I believe virtual proceedings are here to stay, even as things slowly get back to normal, with a hybrid model being the more likely outcome. As the virtual sector continues to experience growth, connectivity technologies such as 5G and improved wifi will be essential in providing and maintaining high-speed connections. Consumer-grade devices with enhanced hardware that can manage virtual communications will become more widespread and cheaper. Software companies will continue improving their apps to improve accessibility for consumers, especially those who are less technically able. We’ve seen that with Webex and Teams at the start of the pandemic as they looked to simplify their user interfaces to compete with Zoom.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely to our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

I would say collaboration, particularly when it comes to a work environment. Impactful collaboration fosters a strong sense of community. Actively listening to fellow team members and supporting them to reach common goals leads to close-knit relationships and stronger bonds. It also makes it easier for them to reciprocate when others need help and support. This contributes to a healthier work mindset — that we all have a part to play, and we learn, succeed and fail together.

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

I am grateful to have discovered and have gotten into meditation during the pandemic, and I credit it with reducing a great deal of stress in my day-to-day life. Doing a 10- to 20-minute session in the morning before starting my day and another session in the evening to unwind has helped me greatly in decluttering my mind and getting me to focus on things that truly matter. I have become calmer, less reactive, less stressed and more grateful since building this daily habit, and now I can’t imagine my days without it.

Are you still fond of cloudy and rainy Vancouver weather? 

It’s almost customary to complain about rain when it’s wet and cold and to wish for its return when temperatures are soaring. However, after experiencing one of the hottest summers this year, I’m so glad to see the city gradually returning to cloud and rain. Plus this also means it’s pumpkin spice latte time!

You can learn more about Abby’s virtual world and our other e-Solutions services here.

Connect Series: Meet Jenni Reed

Meet Jenni Reed. As our legal training assistant, Jenni helps manage the onboarding process for the talented people who create and edit Reportex’s quality transcripts. She is involved in editing and writing new wiki material as part of the wiki reboot team as well as helping to keep our training and reference resources up to date. She is also part of our busy QC team, preparing our transcripts for printing.

Jenni grew up in the United States and moved to England after she graduated, where she lived for many years. After making a return to the US, she moved up to Alberta.

Jenni has always been interested in proofreading and editing, so once she finished homeschooling her three children in 2017, she decided to use her eye for detail and love of structure and coherence to pursue a career in transcript proofreading. She has been with Reportex for two years.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely to our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

I would have to go with collaborative. One of the things I love most about Reportex is the strong sense of teamwork and of all of us being part of an amazing bigger picture. Over time I learn more and more about what different people do here, and I think it’s great that although there are so many of us, no one is just a name or a role, but everyone is valued as an individual.

I am so thankful for the people I work with on various teams. I love our meetings and how we have formed very functional as well as fun relationships with one another. When there’s a huge learning curve, we tackle it together. When there’s a challenge or a huge workload to work our way through, everyone pours themselves into it. There is definitely strength in numbers! Considering that so many of us work from home, I think it’s a real testimony to what Christy has put together here at Reportex that we can feel like such a close-knit group.

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

I’m not as good as I’d like to be at fitting proper workouts in, but I do love to get up from my desk and move throughout the day. If you were a fly on my kitchen wall, you’d see me doing funny things like jumping jacks or toe-touches while I heat my coffee in the microwave! I’m finding that doing some yoga during my lunch breaks is both relaxing and invigorating. And if I can get out for a hike on a weekend, then life is good. I’m working on being more deliberate about what I eat and drink, not just grabbing whatever but trying to make healthy choices, and I definitely feel better when I have that focus.

For mental health I find that getting out and gardening, going for a walk or sitting on the porch with all my cats (we have eight of them!) feels like good “me time.” I like to start my morning early so that I have time to just be myself for a little while before work, whether that means gardening, reading, praying or even just playing a game on my tablet. By the time 8 o’clock rolls around, I’m ready to go!

What’s easier: managing a group of editors and proofers or homeschooling three children?

Haha! Hands down, it’s got to be number one! Homeschooling was such a joy, but I came to it from a place of thinking I’d never do that. My daughter begged for years, so finally I looked into it, and I was amazed to find that it was just what we needed. With different ages and personalities it was a real juggling act, for sure, but we loved that we weren’t confined to what was taught in the schools. We got to do English and world history, learn about botany and animals and read lots of good books together. With all of that of course comes having to motivate everyone to do their schoolwork.

I enjoy being able to interact with each of the editors as I help with job assignments and answering proofreaders’ questions, and I do hope that I’m able to be a help to them where they need it. Like I said before, we’re all valuable parts of the team, and being a part of that with them is such a privilege.