2013 Border Crossing/Entry Data
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics
The number of commercial truck crossings into the United States from Canada and Mexico was 10.8 million in 2013, 1.1 percent more than in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). That 2013 increase follows increases from 2010 to 2012 after four years of decline from 2005 to 2009, a period that includes the last recession. The truck-crossing numbers are included in the 2013 Border Crossing/Entry Data posted today on the BTS website. The database also includes numbers of incoming trains, buses, containers, personal vehicles, and pedestrians entering the United States through land ports and ferry crossings on the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border. The database shows that there were 163.3 million person crossings into the U.S. from Mexico in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2013, a 4.6 percent increase from 2012. There were an additional 62.8 million person crossings into the U.S. from Canada in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2013, a 0.5 percent increase in person crossings from 2012.
Police-reported crime statistics, 2013
Source: Statistics Canada
The police-reported Crime Severity Index (CSI), which measures the volume and severity of crime, declined 9% in 2013 compared with 2012. This was the 10th consecutive decline in the index. The CSI was 36% lower than 10 years earlier.
The traditional crime rate also declined in 2013 compared with 2012, falling 8%. It continued its long-term downward trend that began in the early 1990s, reaching its lowest level since 1969. Since 1962, the traditional crime rate has measured the volume of crime, but does not take into account the severity of crimes.
House prices have increased significantly in Canada over the past decade, driving household debt and residential construction activity to historical highs. Although macro-prudential tightening has slowed the pace of household borrowing in the last few years, house prices have continued to trend higher, and affordability remains a major challenge in urban centres. First-time home buyers must therefore spend more of their incomes to purchase a house and are vulnerable to future interest rate hikes. Overbuilding in the condominium sectors of some cities appears to be a source of risk, especially if a major price correction in these segments spills over into other markets. The country benefits from a sound and effective housing finance system, which performed well throughout the global financial crisis thanks to strong regulatory oversight and explicit government backing of the mortgage market. Nonetheless, the dominance of the crown corporation CMHC in the mortgage insurance market concentrates a significant amount of risk in public finances. Improving competitive conditions in the mortgage insurance market could help diversify these risks and reduce taxpayer contingent liabilities, while introducing coverage limits on loan losses would better align private and social interests. There may be a shortage of rental housing in several cities, especially in the range that low-income households can afford. Urban planning policies have resulted in low-density residential development which contributes to relatively high transport-related carbon emissions. Addressing these externalities requires stronger pricing signals for land development, road use, congestion and parking, combined with better integration of public transit planning. To prevent the marginalisation of low-income households, planning policies should support social mix and increase incentives for private-sector development of affordable housing.
National Funding of Road Infrastructure
Source: Law Library of Congress
This report examines the funding of roads and highways in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England and Wales, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden. It provides a description of the infrastructure in the jurisdiction, information on the ownership and responsibility of the roads, and taxes or other ways of collecting money to fund the nation’s infrastructure. If applicable, a discussion of reforms or new initiatives is examined.
Canada’s Ethnic Minorities Represent a Major Opportunity
Canada’s consumer makeup isn’t what it used to be, and this represents a major opportunity for marketers. Today, Canada is home to 6.8 million foreign-born residents, and that shift is worth noting for any marketer interested in ways to make products and services that cater to Canada’s evolving demographic landscape.
More than one in five Canadians is a foreign-born resident, which is the highest proportion of all G8 countries (the Group of Eight Countries is a forum for the governments of eight of the world’s largest national economies). Before 1971, immigrants from visible minorities made up about 12 percent of the country’s population. Following the last documented wave of new immigrants between 2006 and 2011, almost 80 percent were visible minorities.
Despite this growth in multiculturalism throughout the country, brands and companies have often ignored the opportunity because there’s a perception that it is difficult to reach multicultural consumers. The sheer variety of languages, dialects, consumption patterns, shopping behaviours, brand and product loyalties are seen as a barrier to attracting and engaging with these valuable consumer segments. However, the growing size and potential of these groups means that companies can no longer afford to ignore the upswell.
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Student support crucial for offsetting impact of university tuition fees, says report
Source: European Commission
When balanced with student support, increased tuition fees do not have an overall negative impact on enrolments in higher education, even among students from lower socio-economic groups, unless the magnitude of change is exceptional. However increases in fees can result in falling enrolments among older students, according to an international study released by the European Commission today. The report underlines that grants and/or loans are crucial for offsetting negative consequences of fees or fee rises on university enrolments, particularly from vulnerable groups.
The Commission-funded study, carried out by independent researchers, analysed the impact of changes in student fees in nine countries with different models of funding over the past 15 years (Austria, Canada, UK-England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and South Korea).
Police-reported hate crimes, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada
In 2012, police reported 1,414 criminal incidents motivated by hate in Canada, 82 more incidents than in 2011. These hate crimes represented 4.1 incidents per 100,000 population.
In 2012, about half of all hate crimes (704 incidents, or 51%) were motivated by hatred toward a race or ethnicity such as Black, Asian, Arab or Aboriginal populations. Another 419 incidents, or 30%, were motivated by hatred towards a particular religion, including hate crimes targeting Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other religions.
An additional 13% (185 incidents) were motivated by sexual orientation, while the remaining 6% of hate crimes were motivated by language, mental or physical disability, sex, age or some other characteristic (such as occupation or political beliefs).
Canada — Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity
Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
The Public Health Agency of Canada has partnered with Special Olympics Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation to increase opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity.
Special Olympics Canada currently runs two initiatives, called “Active Start” and “FUNdamentals,” that provide children with an intellectual disability the opportunity to improve physical, social and cognitive abilities, thereby establishing a foundation for being physically active and healthy. With funding from the Government of Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation, these programs will be expanded, reaching more children across Canada.
The goal of this partnership is to promote healthy living and healthy weights among children living with intellectual disability.
Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions
Source: Migration Policy Institute
The phenomenon of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, typically after an arduous and often dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, has reached a crisis proportion, with a 90 percent spike in arrivals from last year and predictions of future increases ahead. While the immediate humanitarian situation has galvanized the attention of the Obama administration, policymakers, and the country at large, it is painfully clear that there are no simple solutions, whether in the short or medium term, to address the complex set of push and pull factors driving the rise in arrivals of unaccompanied alien children (UACs).
Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada — Annual Report 2013–2014
Source: Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
Access to information is an essential tenet of democracy. By being able to request and receive government information, the public can more effectively ensure federal institutions are transparent in their dealings and accountable for the decisions they make.
The Information Commissioner strives to uphold the right of access by investigating complaints about federal institutions’ handling of requests for information. The cases the Commissioner investigates each year reflect the many roles the federal government plays in Canadian society and the myriad ways federal programs and services touch individual lives.
As a result of the Commissioner’s interventions, requesters in 2013–2014 received information from institutions more quickly than they otherwise would have and had administrative matters, such as the charging of fees, resolved. Another outcome of the Commissioner’s investigations was that requesters received additional records from institutions. Overall, 54 percent of the 680 investigations that involved a refusal to grant access to records and that the Commissioner settled or completed with a finding resulted in institutions’ disclosing more information to the requester.
The Commissioner continued to pursue strategies targeted at effectively and efficiently closing files dealing with national security, international affairs and defence matters, and complaints against the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Through a variety of approaches, the Commissioner closed 565 such complaints. As of March 31, 2014, these three groups of files accounted for 38 percent of the inventory of complaints, compared to 46 percent a year earlier.
In late March 2014, the Commissioner filed a notice of appeal in a case decided by the Federal Court that focused on a 1,110-day time extension National Defence had taken to respond to a request. She also pursued numerous other legal cases, including a variety dealing with the disclosure of third-party information by institutions.
The Commissioner continued her dialogue with the President of the Treasury Board on ways to improve the access to information system. In addition, during appearances before Parliament, the Commissioner provided her perspective on a private members’ bill that proposed to replace the CBC’s unique exclusion in the Act with an exemption, and spoke in favour of extending the coverage of the Access to Information Act to the administration of Parliament.
Finally, the Commissioner laid the groundwork for developing a new strategic plan. The new plan, to be launched in the fall of 2014, will guide her office to the end of her current mandate in 2017. The focus of the plan will be on achieving the highest level of performance in investigating complaints and continuing to be an effective catalyst for advancing access, and fostering openness and transparency.
Canadian governments dole out billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies to businesses and beyond
Source: Fraser Institute
From 1980 to 2009, federal, provincial and local governments in Canada doled out $683.9 billion in subsidies, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
The study, Government Subsidies in Canada: A $684 Billion Price Tag, measures the scope of government subsidies to private businesses, government business enterprises such as Crown corporations, and consumers.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Macroprudential Tools at Work in Canada
Source: International Monetary Fund
The goal of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of the policy measures taken by Canadian authorities to address the housing boom. We find that the the last three rounds of macroprudential policies implemented since 2010 were associated with lower mortgage credit growth and house price growth. The international experience suggests that—in addition to tighter loan-to-value limits and shorter amortization periods—lower caps on the debt-to-income ratio and higher risk weights could be effective if the housing boom were to reignite. Over the medium term, the authorities could consider structural measures to further improve the soundness of housing finance.
Victims of Crime Research Digest (Issue 7, 2014) (PDF)
Source: Justice Canada
This issue of the Digest begins with an article by Lisa Ha on cyberbullying in Canada, on what we know and what we do not know. In the second article, Melissa Lindsay provides a look at how technology is being used in all the jurisdictions to improve access to victim services. Next, Susan McDonald and Lara Rooney present the social science research on support animals, dogs in particular, and the role they could play in supporting victims of crime. This is followed by an article by Susan McDonald who examines third party records case law from 2003 to 2010, an update from previous case law reviews. And finally, in the last article, André Solecki and Katie Scrim take a look at the human cost of impaired driving by mapping and analyzing incidents of impaired driving causing death across Canada in 2012.
Canadians spend billions complying with personal income tax system
Source: Fraser Institute
(A) new study released by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank, finds that Canadians spend billions complying with the personal income tax system.
The study, based on survey responses from tax-filing Canadians, measures the overall costs (time and money) of tax compliance (paying accountants, completing tax forms, buying software, etc.).
Municipal overspending costs Canadian households $7,800
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Canada’s Municipal Spending Watch provides a snapshot of extravagance at municipalities across the country. The report pegs the total cost of municipal overspending nationwide at over $7,800 per household over 12 years.
Nationally, municipal spending is out of control, increasing at four times the rate of inflation and population growth combined. In some municipalities, namely St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal and Victoria, the problem is even worse.
Towards a Geography of Unmarried Cohabitation in the Americas
Source: Demographic Research
Background: As the incidence of cohabitation has been rising in many parts of the world, efforts to determine the forces driving the cohabitation boom have also been intensifying. But most of the analyses of this issue conducted so far were carried out at a national level, and did not account for regional heterogeneity within countries.
Objective: This paper presents the geography of unmarried cohabitation in the Americas. We offer a large-scale, cross-national perspective, together with small-area estimates of cohabitation. We created this map for several reasons. (i) First, our examination of the geography of cohabitation reveals considerable spatial heterogeneity, and challenges the explanatory frameworks which may work at the international level, but which have low explanatory power with regard to intra-national variation. (ii) Second, we argue that historical pockets of cohabitation can still be identified by examining the current geography of cohabitation. (iii) Finally, our map serves as an initial step in efforts to determine whether the recent increase in cohabitation is an intensification of pre-existing traditions, or whether it has different roots that suggest that a new geography may be evolving.
Methods: Census microdata from 39 countries and 19,000 local units have been pooled together to map the prevalence of cohabitation among women.
Results: The results show inter- and intra-national regional contrasts. The highest rates of cohabitation are found in areas of Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia, and Peru. The lowest rates are mainly found in the United States and Mexico. In all of the countries, the spatial autocorrelation statistics indicate that there is substantial spatial heterogeneity.
Conclusions: Our results lead us to ask what forces may have shaped these patterns, and they remind us that these forces need to be taken into account when seeking to explain recent cohabitation patterns, and especially the rise in cohabitation.
Wait times for health care in Canada may be linked to increase in female death rates
Source: Fraser Institute
Canada’s growing wait times for health care may have contributed to the deaths of 44,273 Canadian women between 1993 and 2009, concludes a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
The study, The Effect of Wait Times on Mortality in Canada, examines the relationship between mortality rates and lengthy wait times for medically necessary care in Canada. As wait times between referral (from a general practitioner) and treatment increase, finds the study, so does the rate of female mortality.