Aerial view of the campus

About the Centre for Law, Technology and Society

Canada’s premier research group on technology law, ethics and policy and a global leader advancing research and policy in an interdisciplinary setting for the benefit of Canadians and the world.

The University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society is Canada’s leading research group on technology law, ethics and policy gathering in an interdisciplinary setting, 23 Faculty members from the Faculties of Arts, Engineering, Law, and Social Sciences, 15 Associate members and more than 150 fellows, researchers and students.

For 20 years, our group has been leading global conversations on the impact of technology on society and civil liberties in efforts to shape policy for a better future in the digital context. Formally founded in 2009, the Centre builds on the law and technology research group established by trailblazers Michael Geist and Ian R. Kerr in the late 1990’s

Leading Research Excellence for the Digital Context

We research, analyze and shed light on the complex and interdependent relationships between law, technology and society.

Our researchers analyze technological innovations and scientific advancements from socio-ethical, legal and policy perspectives. Since its inception, the Centre has conducted cutting-edge research at the intersection of technology, science, law, public policy and society. We are a unique cluster and our Centre is home to three Canada Research Chairs and four University Research Chair in technology law, ethics and policy, and two Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada-funded Partnership Grants related to privacy, access to justice, equity, inclusion, innovation and development in the digital age.

We support research and partake in student training and knowledge dissemination from multiple perspectives, including information technology; intellectual property; technology and society; governance and public policy; digital media and communication; safety and security; privacy and access to information; and traditional knowledge. Principles of equality, access to justice, international development, democracy, and human rights and civil liberties guide all our research. Our research plays a key role in understanding how innovation itself

as well as the laws and policies governing innovation can be used to achieve social justice goals.

We encourage multi- and transdisciplinary inquiries as allowing for different – sometimes complementary and sometimes discordant – perspectives on the same topic to inform analysis and debate on an issue, thereby providing the richest and most comprehensive approach to research and policy-making.

Shaping the Future of Policy

For 20 years, we have been shaping the future of public policy in the digital context.

Our members are hugely involved in policy making in Canada and across the globe. They have presented and published their research to a diverse range of audiences in Canada and all over the world. They appear in local, national and international news outlets almost every day to ensure better dissemination of academic research and a greater impact for Canadian society.

Our impact and leadership have led governments and institutions to call upon our members to chair or be part of numerous committees and organizations, including the Statistics Canada Advisory Council, the Government of Canada AI Advisory Council, the Government of Canada Broadcasting, the Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel and the Waterfront Toronto Advisory Council, to just name the most recent ones.

The Centre is home to the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). A joint initiative of the University of Ottawa Common Law Section and the Centre, CIPPIC is a unique legal clinic – first and only Canadian public interest technology law clinic – that has been defending the digital rights and freedom of expression since 2003.

A Global Voice

Beyond Canada, we have taken important steps to build a global community and advance our role to the global stage.

We established several international partnerships with organizations from across the globe, notably the US (incl. Puerto Rico), Mexico, Brazil, European Union, Israel, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and spearheaded the development of joint activities. We seek to develop a national and international network of associated researchers and institutions, both in law and in many other domains, and serve as a nexus for partnership building and collaborative scholarship.

Training and Mentoring the Next Generation

We trained and mentored leading voices of the Canadian technology policy community, either in academia, public sector or industry.

We involve students in all aspects of our activities and in numerous capacities, including research assistants, editorial assistants, assistant organizers and project coordinators, fulfilling what we see as a key aspect of our mandate: to educate and train the next generation of scholars, policy-makers and practitioners in our research areas.

Funding, Independence and Oversight

We are an independent cross-faculty university research centre at the University of Ottawa, funded and overseen by the Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation of the University of Ottawa.

The Centre is led by a Director who is supported by a Management Committee and reports to the Vice President, Research and Innovation, and the Administrative Committee of the University of Ottawa. The Management Committee ensures the Centre stays true to its values and independence. All positions are volunteer based.

The Centre itself serves as a facilitator and never takes any position. Any ideas or positions expressed by our members are solely theirs. Faculty members are regular full-time professors at the University of Ottawa and independent research in their own rights.

Beyond the University of Ottawa funding, the Centre receives anonymous donations that go towards supporting our students and emergent researchers. For some major and co-hosted events, the Centre may receive dedicated donations or corporate sponsorships. Such contributions are always clearly stated and acknowledged.

While the Centre offers logistical, administrative and knowledge mobilization support, research programs are independently-funded under the responsibility of Faculty members. Transparency and accountability is a key governing principle of our community. Each research project advertises their source of funding; and research outputs should always mention source of funding. If some projects are funded through court-allocated cy-près and corporate donations, the University of Ottawa adheres to strict rules and regulations to ensure research independence and compliance with Canada Revenue Agency’s policies.