Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
A new study, released by the CCPA and Save the Children Canada, finds that 40% of Indigenous children in Canada are living in poverty. The report, authored by CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald and Indigenous rights advocate Daniel Wilson, finds that Indigenous children in Canada are over two and a half times more likely to live in poverty than non-Indigenous children—and that they trail the rest of Canada’s children on practically every measure of well-being, including: family income, educational attainment, water quality, infant mortality, health, suicide, crowding and homelessness.
Source: Fraser Institute
There is general agreement among diverse groups and individuals that Canada’s transportation infrastructure desperately requires improvement. As governments move to confront this challenge, it is not enough that they simply commit to building more roads or bridges; the infrastructure must be built on time and on budget, be of high quality, and be well-maintained.
The conventional way for providing transportation infrastructure involves the government hiring a firm to build the facility based on a prescriptive design. The government then takes responsibility for operating and maintaining the facility and perhaps outsources some aspects of care to private companies. With a history of construction-cost overruns and time delays as well as other notable problems, the conventional process has not served Canadians well.
Public Private Partnerships (P3s or PPPs) are an alternative to the conventional process. P3s capture benefits of the marketplace while achieving the government’s goals for public infrastructure. This report examines the potential improvements P3s can bring to Canada’s transportation infrastructure. At the outset, it is important to note that, while P3s offer several advantages over the usual process, they may not be well suited for every transportation project. Put plainly, P3s are an important option in the government’s tool kit and should be given consideration when appropriate.
Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality
This analysis uses data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other sources to compare health care spending, supply, utilization, prices, and quality in 13 industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. spends far more on health care than any other country. However this high spending cannot be attributed to higher income, an older population, or greater supply or utilization of hospitals and doctors. Instead, the findings suggest the higher spending is more likely due to higher prices and perhaps more readily accessible technology and greater obesity. Health care quality in the U.S. varies and is not notably superior to the far less expensive systems in the other study countries. Of the countries studied, Japan has the lowest health spending, which it achieves primarily through aggressive price regulation.
Source: PriceWaterhouse Coopers
The 2012 global multichannel retail consumer survey was completed by more than 11,000 respondents from 11 different countries. For PwC, this is our most comprehensive research to date on multichannel retailing. In order to truly understand the trends and spot the patterns in multichannel shopping, we surveyed only those consumers who self-identified as online shoppers.
The 11 countries covered in the survey were:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Most Canadian small businesses pay much more than their U.S. counterparts to comply with regulatory requirements, according to CFIB’s 2013 version of Canada’s Red Tape Report.
The report coincides with the launch of Red Tape Awareness Week™, and provides a first-ever direct comparison of regulatory compliance costs in the U.S. and Canada.
The U.S. comparison was sponsored by KPMG Enterprise™.
The smallest businesses in Canada (fewer than five employees) pay 45% more per employee ($5,942) to comply with government regulation than their U.S counterparts ($4,084).
The total cost of regulation to Canadian businesses is $31 billion a year.
On both sides of the border, business owners say that regulatory costs could be reduced by about 30% while upholding the important health and safety objectives of regulation. This would mean a $9 billion yearly stimulus to the Canadian economy.
2012 Border Crossing/Entry Data
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics
The number of commercial truck crossings into the United States from Canada and Mexico was 10.7 million in 2012, 3.6 percent more than in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration. That 2012 increase follows a 1.7 percent rise from 2010 to 2011 after four years of decline from 2005 to 2009, a period that includes the recent recession. The truck-crossing numbers are included in the 2012 border-crossing data posted today on the BTS website. Collection of border-crossing data was begun in response to implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. The data allow tracking of cross-border traffic and are used for transportation planning, port studies, travel analyses, and corridor assessments. 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 156 million people crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2012, a 3.5 percent increase from 2011. Also, 62.4 million people entered the U.S. from Canada in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2012, a 4.7 percent increase from 2011. Border crossing/entry data from 1995 to 2012 can be found on the BTS website.
Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
Certain prescription drugs, like opioids, sedative – hypnotics and stimulants, are associated with serious harms like addiction, overdose and death. These drugs can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families, as well as place a significant burden on our health, social services and public safety syst ems. In countries like Canada, where these prescription drugs are readily available, the associated harms have become a leading public health and safety concern. Canada is the world’s second largest per capita consumer of one type of these drugs, opioids ( International Narcotics Control Board, 2013). Some First Nations in Canada have declared a community crisis owing to the prevalence of the harms associated with prescription drugs (Dell et al., 2012). While Canadian cost data is lacking, recent research from the United States estimates the annual cost of the non – medical use of prescription opioids to be more than $50 billion, with lost productivity and crime accounting for 94% of this amount (Hansen, Oster, Edelsberg, Woody, & Sullivan, 201 1).
Source: Library of Parliament
Youth crime in general, and violent youth crime in particular, is a significant source of concern to many Canadians. In part, the concern is connected with an impression that crime committed by young people is on the rise, though the latest police statistics indicate that by 2011 the youth crime rate had fallen by 22% compared with 2001.1 The drop in youth crime rates over this period was mainly the result of a decrease in property crime. The rate of violent crimes in which the alleged perpetrator is a young person decreased by 12% between 2001 and 2011, while the rate of youth property crime dropped by 31%.2 In 2011, police identified 135,647 alleged youth criminals, of whom 42,799 were suspected of violent crimes.3
The data provided by Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index also show a 22% decline in the severity of all crimes committed by young people in 2011 compared with 2001.4 A significant part of this decline stems from a 33% decrease in the severity of non-violent crime. During this period, the severity of youth violent crime decreased by 3.1%.5
In attempts to address the concerns of Canadians and to react to the youth crime problem, lawmakers have, from time to time, proposed amendments to youth justice legislation. This document provides an overview of the principal legislative provisions that govern the way in which the police, the courts and the correctional systems must deal with those between 12 and 17 years of age when they are charged with a crime. The first section briefly traces the evolution of Canadian legislation in the area. The second section describes the philosophy and principles underlying the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), which currently governs criminal and justice matters affecting young people in Canada. The third section briefly outlines the sentences imposed on those convicted of an offence as a young person. The final section deals with the possible consequences of a conviction under the YCJA, specifically how criminal records are established and kept and how bodily substances may be taken in order to store a young person’s DNA in the National DNA Data Bank administered by the RCMP.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. On March 15, 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would seek to participate in the TPP negotiations. U.S. negotiators and others describe and envision the TPP as a “comprehensive and high-standard” FTA that aims to liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services and include commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The broad outline of an agreement was announced on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial in November 2011, in Honolulu, HI. If concluded as envisioned, the TPP potentially could eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment among the parties and could serve as a template for a future trade pact among APEC members and potentially other countries. Congress has a direct interest in the negotiations, both through influencing U.S. negotiating positions with the executive branch, and by passing legislation to implement any resulting agreement.
The 16th round of negotiations concluded in Singapore on March 14, 2013, and the 17th round is scheduled to be held in Lima, Peru in May 2013. The current goal is to reach an agreement in time for the October 2013 APEC summit in Indonesia. For this deadline to be achieved, outstanding negotiating positions may need to be tabled soon in order for political decisions to be made. The negotiating dynamic itself is complex: decisions on key market access issues such as dairy, sugar, and textiles and apparel may be dependent on the outcome of controversial rules negotiations such as intellectual property rights or state-owned enterprises.
Twenty-nine chapters in the agreement are under discussion. The United States is negotiating market access for goods, services, and agriculture with countries with which it does not currently have FTAs: Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Negotiations are also being conducted on disciplines to intellectual property rights, trade in services, government procurement, investment, rules of origin, competition, labor, and environmental standards and other issues. In many cases, the rules being negotiated are intended to be more rigorous than comparable rules found in the WTO. Some topics, such as state-owned enterprises, regulatory coherence, and supply chain competitiveness, break new ground in FTA negotiations. As the countries that make up the TPP negotiating partners include advanced industrialized, middle income, and developing economies, the TPP, if implemented, may involve substantial restructuring of the economies of some participants.
The TPP serves several strategic goals in U.S. trade policy. First, it is the leading trade policy initiative of the Obama Administration, and is a manifestation of the Administration’s “pivot” to Asia. If concluded, it may serve to shape the economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region by harmonizing existing agreements with U.S. FTA partners, attracting new participants, and establishing regional rules on new policy issues facing the global economy—possibly providing impetus to future multilateral liberalization under the WTO.
As the negotiations proceed, a number of issues important to Congress are emerging. One is whether the United States can balance its vision of creating a “comprehensive and high standard” agreement with a large and expanding group of countries, while not insisting on terms that other countries will reject. Another issue is how Congress will consider the TPP, if concluded. The present negotiations are not being conducted under the auspices of formal trade promotion authority (TPA)—the latest TPA expired on July 1, 2007—although the Administration informally
Source: McMaster University (DigitalCommons)
The deliberation about the problem initially focused on the challenge of making suicide prevention a high priority public issue in Canada. Several dialogue participants suggested that the lack of political will at different levels of government and the lack of broader societal leadership contributes to this challenge. Dialogue participants identified several key features of the problem that also contributed to the challenge: 1) the complex nature of the problem; 2) the stigma associated with suicide; 3) the limited capacity to trigger meaningful societal transformation; 4) the fragmentation of efforts across the country; and 5) the lack of applied and community-driven research. On the other hand, several dialogue participants expressed cautious optimism about the priority being accorded to suicide prevention, citing the recent introduction of a bill in Canada’s federal parliament calling for a federal suicide prevention framework, the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s promotion of a national mental health strategy across the country, and the plan for creating a national collaborative on suicide prevention.
Dialogue participants generally supported all three potential elements of a comprehensive approach to address the problem. They primarily focused on the first and second elements: 1) developing and implementing suicide-prevention strategies in ways that build on strengths, resilience and protective factors (element 1); and 2) fostering integration and coordination of new and ongoing efforts to prevent suicide within and across sectors and jurisdictions (element 2). Dialogue participants focused on the importance of celebrating and building on successes, which include those provincial/territorial strategies that exist and are being implemented. Most participants agreed about the importance of developing and supporting the implementation of a national suicide prevention strategy, although they grappled with who should lead the development of the strategy, who should be the client(s) for the strategy, and who could play a coordinating role in the execution of the strategy. The deliberation focused to a lesser extent on providing education and training in suicide prevention (element 3), which was felt to be handled within the other two elements. Two additional elements emerged during the deliberation, namely developing a path forward for societal transformation in relation to suicide prevention, and ensuring that research evidence gets used in policymaking and in decision-making more generally.
Many dialogue participants voiced their optimism and some expressed feelings of re-invigoration. Dialogue participants agreed that each of them as individuals could take steps given their respective roles, although some indicated that they could only make modest contributions given their lack of capacity, resources or both. Examples of potential contributions included: undertaking more advocacy efforts for a national strategy and ensuring that all of the existing strategies talk to each other; reaching out beyond traditional partners and taking advantage of serendipitous opportunities to address the issue; giving more strategic direction to what research gets funded and engaging communities in supporting its use; and keeping the conversation going to reflect on what can be done collectively, to showcase promising practices and to give a voice to particular communities.
Source: Fraser Institute
The Generosity Index measures private monetary generosity using two key indicators. The percentage of tax filers who donated to charity indicates the extent of generosity, while the percentage of aggregate personal income donated to charity indicates the depth of charitable giving. The jurisdictions included in the index are the 10 Canadian provinces and three territories, the 50 US states, and Washington, DC. The data used are from the 2010 tax year—the most recent year for which data are available for both Canada and the United States.
The data collected for the Generosity Index show stark differences in charitable giving among the Canadian provinces and territories, as well as between Canada and the United States. Manitoba had the highest percentage of tax filers who donated to charity (26.2%) among the provinces. Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan tied for second place (25.2%). The provinces with the lowest percentage of tax filers donating to charity are Newfoundland & Labrador (21.1%) and New Brunswick (21.3%).
In the United States, the extent of generosity is over three percentage points higher: 26.7% of US tax filers donate to charity compared to 23.3% of Canadians. The gap between these two countries widens when considering the depth of the generosity of each. In 2010, Americans gave 1.38% of their aggregate income to charity. This rate of giving is more than double that of Canadians, who gave 0.66% of aggregate income to charity in 2010.
Source: Fraser Institute
The Fraser Institute’s Provincial Healthcare Index 2013 uses publically available data for the year 2010 (or the most recent year available) to measure the provision of healthcare in comparison to healthcare expenditures across provinces in Canada. The value for money that provinces receive can be thought of as consisting of two, equally important parts:  provision of healthcare (the value) and  expenditure on healthcare (the cost). The provision of healthcare is captured using 46 indicators, aggregated into four broad components:  availability of resources;  use of resources;  access to resources;  clinical performance of medical goods and services in each province.
Source: Library of Parliament, Canada
Two recent pipeline proposals – the KeyStone XL in the United States and the Northern Gateway in Canada – have captured the public’s attention.
This year, the Library of Parliament has published three papers on pipelines to shed light on the need for pipelines, environmental concerns, and how the federal government approves pipeline construction. This HillNote summarizes these papers.
Canada — There is no single solution to maximize the presence and potential of women in university research, concludes Expert Panel
Source: Council of Canadian Academies
An in-depth, authoritative assessment of women in university research has found that although there has been significant progress in the representation of women in the university research ranks, there are still gender equity challenges that must be overcome and the passage of time will not be enough to ensure parity.
A newly released report by the Council of Canadian Academies entitled, Strengthening Canada’s Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension provides an assessment of the the factors that influence university research careers of women. This assessment was requested by the Minister of Industry in the fall of 2010 after the notable absence of female candidates for the prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chairs program.
Canada — From Combat Stress to Operational Stress: The CF’s Mental Health Lessons from the “Decade of Darkn ess.”
Source: Canadian Military Journal
Today, the care provided for members of the Canadian Forces (CF) and veterans who experience mental health problems as a result of military service is arguably as good as it has ever been in our history. This enviable situation came about because of many improvements to the ways the Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) treat those with mental health problems, based upon lessons learned from the ‘Decade of Darkness’ – a time in the 1990s when the CF’s reputation in this area was at a historic low. The publication in 2000 of the findings of the Croatia Board of Inquiry (Croatia BOI) was the catalyst for many of these changes. It drew public attention to the shameful way Canada treated its wounded service personnel, suffering from both physical and mental wounds, in economically challenging times. Together, these changes resulted in a paradigm shift in how those suffering from mental health-related problems were dealt with by DND and VAC. The adoption by the CF of the term “Operational Stress Injury” (OSI), to encompass a wide range of mental health issues, and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, was symbolic of this paradigm shift, and it represents the progress made in addressing these issues.
However, the CF and veterans may be facing a new decade of darkness, as ominous economic circumstances and declining government support for the military have already reduced funding to all government programs, but especially defence – the government’s largest discretionary expenditure.5 This is to be expected, given the cyclical nature of public support for defence spending in Canada and that fact that, “Defence policy will receive, except in emergencies, what funds that are available and not funds white papers and rational strategies and commitments demand…” These cuts have already affected both serving members’ and veterans’ health programs. Furthermore, these cuts only address the current deficit in government spending, and it is widely recognized that, in the face of future efforts to reduce the national debt, current long-range defence spending plans are “unaffordable.”
Source: Parliamentary Library of Canda
Recent proposals by Canadian companies to build the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta to Texas, and the Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast, have received a great deal of public attention. While certain individuals and groups have mounted a vigorous opposition to one or both pipeline projects, the Canadian government has publicly stated its support for both.
Ultimately, the decision whether to allow one or both of these projects to be carried out should strike an appropriate balance between economic, environmental and social interests raised in the course of the proposals’ regulatory review. In the spring of 2012, the government introduced changes to the Canadian regulatory review process in order to streamline and expedite the regulatory review of future pipeline proposals as well as those currently underway. This paper summarizes the new Canadian regulatory review process for pipelines, as well as the existing process in the United States, and discusses how these processes apply specifically to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposals.
North American Transportation Statistics: Almost 93 Million Personal Vehicles Entered the United States in 2011
North American Transportation Statistics: Almost 93 Million Personal Vehicles Entered the United States in 2011
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 – Almost 93 million personal vehicles entered the United States in 2011, 31.6 million from Canada, and 61.2 million from Mexico, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). Additionally, 10.4 million trucks, 322 thousand buses, and 35 thousand trains entered the United States last year.
Source: Library of Parliament — Canada
With some exceptions pertaining to specific issues or regions, cooperation in the North has not been a prominent goal of the international community until relatively recently. However, international cooperation began to evolve rapidly after then Soviet Secretary-General Mikhail Gorbachev delivered a speech in 1987 calling for “a genuine zone of peace and fruitful cooperation” among Arctic states.1 There is now a plethora of official bodies, both governmental and non-governmental, whose purpose is to manage various issues in the Arctic. Although none has any legal basis as established by, for instance, international treaty, these organizations have assumed an important role in the development of Arctic cooperation. This paper provides information, largely derived from Internet sites, about some of the more important of these organizations, with particular emphasis on the Arctic Council and some domestic Canadian examples.