It is a big deal for a public sector organization to revise guidelines. The fact that the Competition Bureau has made two important changes relating to electronically stored information this year is noteworthy.
First, in April, 2015, the Bureau released new “Guidelines on the Production of Electronically Stored Information”. They deal with the technical aspects of production, and were an update to old and odd guideline which was software specific and shy on important details. There was a real need for a refresh. The April Guidelines are a solid step forward and consistent with other e-Discovery exchange protocols. Unfortunately, they make no reference to the use of technology in either the sorting or the tagging of records.
Second, the Bureau took a surprising step forward a few weeks ago in the release of an Appendix to the Merger Review Process Guidelines. One of the big challenges in Competition Bureau productions is the requirement that each document be linked to the specific paragraph on the demand (a form of issue coding). This step is expensive and time consuming. Buried in the new Appendix is the fact that they will now accept “a list of search terms used to identify potentially responsive documents and information or to eliminate potentially non-responsive documents and information provided in response to each paragraph and subparagraph” of the request. While the Competition Bureau has not overtly embraced analytics, at least they have accepted that software may be sufficient for identifying content for a response.