While we were preparing for the holidays and wrapping up those last minute reference questions in 2016, a cool new feature was quietly rolled out in CanLII – so quietly that we didn’t even notice until last month! If you’re a regular user of CanLII, you’ll want to check this out.

Highlighting terms within CanLII has always been a handy feature. If you’re performing a keyword search, CanLII will highlight where the words appear in the document you select and read from your search results, allowing you to scroll through the text to find those terms. Now, you can edit those terms right from within your search!


As in this photo, the keyword search was for “Constructive Dismissal.” The instances of that phrase in the document are highlighted in blue. Now, if you wanted to add another word or phrase, you can click on the little pencil icon next to the down arrow…


And a box will open, allowing you to type in another word or phrase! Hit enter…


Et voilà, you are now highlighting both terms! You can stop highlighting one or both of the terms by deselecting the check mark next to the word or phrase. 

This isn’t all, however. I actually first noticed the new term highlighting box when I was just reading a decision. This new feature also puts the ability to highlight words or phrases on each page. This is sort of like doing a CTRL + F search on the page, but will let you do more than one word or phrase at a time.


As you can see here, I have a decision open, and very discreetly, above the name of the case, there is a “Find in document” bar. This box will work exactly the same as the above examples.

I hope this new feature will be helpful to you as you use CanLII. Remember: you can use this feature in both judicial decisions and legislation. Happy searching!



One thought on “Research Tip: New CanLII Highlighting Feature

  1. Thanks for the tip, historically one would have to reverse to the front page to make any changes to the search criteria. It was a bit of an inconvenience.

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