It’s Time To Shine! Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2024.

February 3rd to the 10th marks the 12th annual Court Reporting and Captioning Week where people, companies, and organizations come together to showcase the skills and talents of the steno world. Veritext is again proud to do our part to support and shine a light on our amazing reporters.

We have always enjoyed showcasing amazing talents like the Wilde sisters, or Mikayla on our blog. We have also continued our pledge to support educational opportunities with schools like NAIT to distribute scholarships to 30 steno and transcription students over the next five years. Specifics of some of the awards include:

  • Veritext Legal Solutions Canada Court Transcription Scholarship
    • Available to two students each year enrolled in the Court Transcription program. These scholarships are awarded based on excellent academic achievement in the program.
  • Veritext Legal Solutions Canada Captioning and Court Reporting Scholarship 
    • Available to two students each year enrolled in the Captioning and Court Reporting program. These scholarships are awarded based on excellent academic achievement in the program.
  • Veritext Legal Solutions Canada Entrance Bursary 
    • Available to two students each year entering the Court Transcription or Captioning and Court Reporting program. These scholarships are awarded on the demonstrated financial need and satisfactory academic achievement to enter the program.

Visit Veritext.com to learn more about the resources and opportunities available. And don’t forget to post throughout the week on social media using #CRCW24 #VeritextCares for a chance to win a raffle prize!

An Interview with Kim Johnson, CSR(A), RPR: Capturing Life’s Words and Moments

As a Certified Shorthand Reporter and Certified Realtime Captioner, Kim Johnson’s journey in the industry has taken her from live newsrooms to remote settings, capturing the spoken word and transforming it into accessible text for a diverse audience.  We asked her to spare a moment of her busy life and share her thoughts about her career, her transition from court reporting to CART captioning, and the significance of finding joy both in work and personal pursuits. 

We enjoyed seeing the photos you shared from the CLC Convention in Montreal.  Was this one of the biggest captioning jobs you have done?   If not, do share your other experiences.

That CLC job was definitely the largest onsite job I have done.  I believe there were 4,000 delegates at that convention.   Although I have certainly captioned large remote events for Veritext since joining the Neesons captioning team in the summer of 2019, I did spend 7 years before that on the broadcast side of the captioning industry where I captioned live news and sporting events.   The majority of my captioning career has been done completely remotely from the comfort of my own home and I almost never get to see the end user or ever really know just how many are watching me work.   Montreal was a “wow” moment for me for sure!

What drew you to the industry of captioning, CART, court, and the Court Reporting and Captioning program at NAIT generally in the first place?

I always knew I wanted to do something involving the legal profession.  At the time in the mid ’90s when I was investigating careers, my mom worked at an answering service and one of their clients was a court reporter.  I made a phone call and did some career investigation and now here I am almost 25 years in.  Early on I realized that I enjoyed the writing part of the job much more than the producing transcripts part.  I was lucky because the firm I was working for had a CART contract with a post-secondary institution in the city, so I made the jump from court reporting to CART/captioning.

What advice do you have for anyone looking for a new career? What is the best way to find out if this is the field for them?

Advice for anyone looking for a new career?  Your career is not necessarily who you are but it does occupy a great deal of your time, so do something you enjoy.  

My suggestion for someone who is thinking of entering this field (either court reporting or captioning) is to reach out to one of us and maybe even job shadow.  We are all more than happy to talk about the pros (and cons) of this profession.  I would also recommend checking out the NCRA A to Z Intro to Steno online program.

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

It’s critical to have hobbies and interests outside of work.  I’m a runner and I enjoy doing yoga.  My husband and I have a 10-month-old basset hound puppy (Agnes) and keeping her out of trouble takes up a lot of my time these days!

To book a CART provider in Canada, click here.

Let's celebrate International Women's Day

Let’s Celebrate International Women’s Day | March 8, 2023

International Women’s Day is a time to look at the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 is Every Woman Counts. This is a reminder that all women, from all ages and walks of life, have a place in every aspect of Canadian society, including in the economic, social, and democratic spheres. Canada has produced many strong women who have each fought in their own way for a space in their spheres of influence. In 1992, the Government of Canada designated October as Women’s History Month, marking the beginning of an annual celebration of the outstanding achievements of women and girls throughout Canada’s history. However, for many, March is the month to celebrate, so in honor of International Women’s Day, here are just a few Canadian women of note:

  1. Viola Desmond, who now graces our ten-dollar bill, was a civil rights activist and businesswoman in the 40s. She is best known for her refusal to leave a whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946 for which she was arrested and fined. Her actions helped spark the modern civil rights movement in Canada.
  2. Margaret Atwood is the author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and many other works for which she has won numerous awards including the Book Prize and the Governor General’s Award.
  3. Buffy Sainte-Marie is an Indigenous Canadian American (Piapot Cree Nation) singer-songwriter and social activist.   She has been active since the 1960s and many of her songs are about social and political issues. She has been an advocate for Indigenous rights throughout her career.
  4. Emily Carr was a painter and writer, best known for her depictions of Indigenous people and the landscapes of British Columbia’s rugged coast. Her work helped to define Canadian art in the early 20th century.
  5. Julie Payette is an astronaut and engineer who has flown two space missions. She then served as the Governor General of Canada from 2017 to 2021, becoming only the fourth woman to hold that position.
  6. Mary Two-Axe Earley was a Mohawk and Oneida women’s rights activist. After losing her legal Indian status due to marrying a non-status man, she advocated for change to the Indian act which until then had promoted gender discrimination and stripped First Nations women of their rights to participate in the political and cultural life of their home reserves. On June 28, 1985, Bill C-31 was passed to amend the Indian Act.
  7. Corrine Sparks was the first black Canadian woman to become a judge for the Family Court in Nova Scotia. 

This is just a sample of the many Canadian women who have made significant changes to their world. On International Women’s Day, we celebrate their achievements and the achievements of all the women of Canada and around the world, who continue to work to make this a better place to live, thrive and function.

You can read, watch, learn, and listen to more examples of notable women in Canada and the US who have made their mark in history here.

VERITEXT LEGAL SOLUTIONS RELEASES VIDEO TO PROMOTE THE COURT REPORTING COMMUNITY

 As a wrap-up of Court Reporting and Captioning Week, we released a new awareness video as part of an overall package of resources to help inspire the next generation of stenographic court reporters.

The company asked court reporters to submit a video of themselves talking about why they love their profession and then created a montage to help attract new talent to the field. Other resources include flyers, social media posts, email signatures and more. All that the current reporter community can use to promote and create awareness of the profession.

“Helping to drive the next generation is very important to us and we will continue to do what we can to assist the community in showcasing this profession to new potential members,” states Nancy Josephs, CEO of Veritext. “Court reporters are critical to the legal process. In addition to the many scholarships and educational programs provided by Veritext, we are continually looking for new ways to support this community, and this video does a great job of featuring real court reporters sharing what they love about their jobs.”

You can see the video here:

Dress for Success Lunch

Connect Series: Meet Alyssa Corcino

Alyssa is a Client Services Associate at our Vancouver office. She hasn’t been with us very long but has already become a great asset to the office and we all love her cheerful and can-do spirit. So it was our great honour to ask her to join some of us at the 10th annual Dress for Success Luncheon on Wednesday, November 2nd. Why was it an honour? Read on to find out.

Can you tell us what led you to your current role here at Veritext?

I recently moved to Vancouver from Ottawa in May 2022. After passing along my resume to everyone I knew in the city, Kris Bergado got back to me and referred me to Veritext for a Client Services Associate role. Kris is a family friend who currently works as Litigation & Mediation Support Coordinator.

… and what do you love about working here?

I love working with my team and having supportive managers. Liking my colleagues makes a huge difference in my disposition in the workplace. I also enjoy coming into the office every day as I get to interact with the staff, management, couriers, etc. After two years of working from home, I had missed the daily in-person interactions that I used to have in school and at work.

Leading up to the Dress for Success Luncheon, we did a call out for donations and got a great response.  We hear you have a close connection to the organization, and we would love to hear this story.

My mom, Lynette, is on the Board of Directors at Dress for Success Ottawa. She was a client of Dress for Success when she moved to Canada in 2010. After finding a job, my mom decided to volunteer for the organization as she felt that they do important work in helping women start and develop their careers. She was a dedicated volunteer for a few years, and eventually Dress for Success invited her to be on the Board of Directors.

Lastly, Veritext’s corporate values are respect, ethics, collaboration, accountability, and professionalism. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

I highly value accountability both in my professional and personal life. It is important to know what you are responsible for and take ownership of the impact of your actions. I have noticed that open communication and having clear expectations of each member leads to a high performance from the team. Luckily, I belong to a team that practices accountability every day.


It always helps to hear first-hand how an organization like Dress for Success truly helps women from all walks of life and situations.  

We are still accepting donations at the Vancouver office for Dress for Success until November 9th! Please consider dropping off some gently used business attire next time you’re in the area!

And thank you, Alyssa for sharing your story with us.

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.

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.

Connect Series: Meet Diane Richards

As you know, Richards Reporting is now part of our Veritext Canada team. Led by Diane Richards, they were in operation for over 30 years in the Fraser Valley, servicing clients throughout the mainland of British Columbia with the utmost excellence. We took a brief moment out of Diane’s busy schedule and asked her a few questions about her experience as a Court Reporter.

Can you tell us how you became a court reporter and if there was a trial or experience that made an impact on you and how you view the role of a court reporter?

I was taking several courses and one was a legal assistant. We went on a tour of the courthouse and the court reporter was pointed out. I signed up for the program and it was love at first sight haha.

My very first job was two weeks in court: chambers, pre-trials, Supreme Court. Jumped right into it, although probably not a good idea for new reporters. I loved court ever since. I have worked in a lot of different places. Free-lance, Official Court Reporter in Manitoba, contract reporter in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago High Court, and Senate. Then worked overseas a few times a year: Asia, Emirates, and Europe.

Veritext’s corporate values are respect, ethics, collaboration, accountability, and professionalism. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

To be a court reporter I believe all those values apply. Court reporters are unique creatures, I think, perfectionists, self-motivated. We must be neutral and juggle our relationships with counsel, despite their antagonism to each other. We are referees when we need to be and know when to keep silent.

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

I work out a lot. Outside whenever I can (hiking and snowshoeing are my go-to’s) and I have a gym trainer. Trainers are beneficial because there is no thinking, can decompress, and simply follow instructions. They also are a good ear for venting. I go to the gym, even for 30 minutes, when I am stressed or upset about something. Works every time. Traveling is important to me also.

For These Are Jolly-Good Fellows!

An Interview by Jan Ballman FAPR, RPR, CMRS; Veritext-Minneapolis


He’s a six-time NCRA speed champ; she’s a past NCRA president and the current Executive Director of Project Steno.  He’s an RMR; she’s an RDR.  They’re both CRRs, Fellows in the Academy of Professional Reporters, and recipients of the coveted Distinguished Service Award.  Together, they have a combined 98 years of industry experience.  Meet Ed and Nancy Varallo.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE