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National Funding of Road Infrastructure

July 10, 2014 Comments off

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.

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Consumer Issues — Canada’s Ethnic Minorities Represent a Major Opportunity

July 7, 2014 Comments off

Canada’s Ethnic Minorities Represent a Major Opportunity
Source: Nielsen

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.

Free registration required to download report.

EU — Student support crucial for offsetting impact of university tuition fees, says report

July 7, 2014 Comments off

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).

Canada — Police-reported hate crimes, 2012

July 2, 2014 Comments off

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

June 25, 2014 Comments off

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.

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada — Annual Report 2013–2014

June 11, 2014 Comments off

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

June 11, 2014 Comments off

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

June 9, 2014 Comments off

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.

CA — Victims of Crime Research Digest (Issue 7, 2014)

June 7, 2014 Comments off

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.

Prostitution in Canada: Overview and options for reform

June 6, 2014 Comments off

Prostitution in Canada: Overview and options for reform
Source: Library of Parliament

Since the Criminal Code came into force in 1892, adult prostitution has not in itself been illegal in Canada, although many activities surrounding prostitution are.

Today, provisions relating to prostitution are set out in sections 210 to 213 of the Code. They include the offences of keeping, using or transporting a person to a bawdy-house (brothel); procuring and living on the avails of prostitution; and communicating in public.

Over the last 30 years, these provisions have been debated in a variety of contexts. Among others:

  • in 1985, a Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution recommended several legal and social reforms; and
  • in 2006, a subcommittee of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights issued a report on prostitution.

Canadians spend billions complying with personal income tax system

June 5, 2014 Comments off

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.).

Police-reported sexual offences against children and youth in Canada, 2012

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Police-reported sexual offences against children and youth in Canada, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

There were about 14,000 children and youth (under the age of 18) who were victims of a police-reported sexual offence in Canada in 2012. This represented a rate of 205 for every 100,000 children and youth. Overall, the rate of police-reported sexual offences against children and youth decreased for the second consecutive year in 2012, and was similar to the rate reported by police in 2009.

Nevertheless, children and youth continued to account for more than half (55%) of the victims of sexual offences reported by police, even though they make up 20% of the Canadian population. Police classified about three in four (72%) of these victims as victims of level 1 sexual assault.

Female children and youth were victims of police-reported sexual offences at a higher rate than male children and youth. There were 341 female child or youth victims of police-reported sexual offences for every 100,000 female children and youth in Canada, about five times higher than the rate for males (75 per 100,000 male children and youth).

Municipal overspending costs Canadian households $7,800

June 2, 2014 Comments off

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.

Wait times for health care in Canada may be linked to increase in female death rates

May 27, 2014 Comments off

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.

Canada — Learn how to identify genuine bank notes

May 23, 2014 Comments off

Learn how to identify genuine bank notes
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Victims of counterfeiting are not compensated for their losses, so it pays to verify your bills. Be aware that the $20 bill is the most widely used and counterfeited bank note.

Backgrounder: The Group of Seven (G7)

May 20, 2014 Comments off

Backgrounder: The Group of Seven (G7)
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies—France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, and Canada—that meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security, and energy policy. Proponents say the forum’s small and relatively homogenous membership promotes collective decision-making, but critics note that it often lacks follow-through and that its membership excludes important emerging powers. Russia belonged to the forum from 1998 through 2014—then the Group of Eight (G8)—but the other members suspended their cooperation with Moscow after its annexation of Crimea in March of that year.

Firearms and violent crime in Canada, 2012

May 13, 2014 Comments off

Firearms and violent crime in Canada, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

While firearm-related violent crime accounts for a relatively small proportion of all violent crime in Canada, it can have considerable physical, emotional, and psychological effects on those who are victimized, on families, and on communities (Hahn et al. 2005). As a result, firearm-related violent crime is a significant social concern. In addition, about one in five (21%) firearm-related deaths in Canada is the result of a criminal offence, while the majority (79%) are the result of suicide, accident, or legal intervention (Statistics Canada 2012).

The analysis of firearm-related violent crime in this Juristat relies on two separate data sources. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey provides data on firearms and police-reported violent crime while data on firearm-related homicides comes from the Homicide Survey. Quebec is excluded from the analysis of UCR data due to data quality issues; specifically, a large proportion of incidents where the most serious weapon present was reported as unknown. The analysis of firearm related homicides, however, includes all provinces and territories in Canada. As there are differences in coverage between the two data sources, they are used as separate yet complementary sources of data in order to analyze firearm-related violent crime in Canada.

Information on the types of firearm most frequently present and most frequently used in the commission of an offence, the relationship between the accused and victim, the level of injury, and the involvement of youth is presented. These findings are compared to violent crime committed without a firearm to further understand the nature of firearm-related violent crime in Canada. In addition to data from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey and the Homicide Survey, the Integrated Criminal Court Survey is used in this Juristat to examine court case processing of violent offences involving a firearm.

CA — Auditor General releases Spring 2014 Report

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Auditor General releases Spring 2014 Report
Source: Office of the Auditor General of Canada

In his Spring 2014 report tabled today in Parliament, Auditor General Michael Ferguson examines a number of different areas, including public sector pension plans and the expansion of federal correctional facilities, which illustrate how important it is for government to consider both the long and short term perspectives in its planning.

“As some of these audits show, government can become caught in a cycle of reacting to pressures, whether to mitigate capacity concerns in prisons or meet program timelines,” said Mr. Ferguson. “Though government should work to provide Canadians with programs and services in a timely fashion, planning should also look beyond the needs of the day.”

“Better long-term planning is achievable in many of the areas we are reporting on today, and would improve results for Canadians and make better use of taxpayer dollars,” added Mr. Ferguson.

The report also looks at procuring relocation services, outsourcing of building management services, aggressive tax planning, the First Nations Policing Program, selected transfer payment programs administered by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and the quality control framework supporting selected data products produced by Statistics Canada. Main points of the special examinations of the Laurentian Pilotage Authority and the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, completed since Spring 2013, are also included in the Auditor General’s Spring report.

Canada — Family law cases in the civil courts, 2012/2013

May 9, 2014 Comments off

Family law cases in the civil courts, 2012/2013
Source: Statistics Canada

The civil court system in Canada deals with family law cases as well as a wide variety of other civil issues such as lawsuits and contract disputes. Every year, families make use of the civil court system to resolve issues related to family breakdown, including, divorce, separation, child custody, access and support, and other family issues. Concerned with the burden and costs of family law court cases (on both families and courts), federal, provincial and territorial governments have put in place an increasing number of family justice services to help couples come to agreement without having to go to court, or if need be, to help them through the court process. These include parent information programs and centres, mediation and alternate dispute resolution. In addition, the federal government publishes Child Support tables based on federal and provincial guidelines to help families calculate standard child support amounts. In spite of the increased availability of these services, there is still concern that family law court cases are complex and lengthy and comprise a substantial amount of civil court activity.

Using information from the Statistics Canada Civil Court Survey (CCS), this Juristat article looks in more detail at the activity of different types of family law cases within the civil court system.Note 2 The first part of the report looks at the characteristics of family law cases active in 2012/2013. The second part of the report then examines the court activity (documents filed, hearings and judgments) of different types of family law cases over time, examining the activity of cases initiated in 2008/2009.

It is important to note that court activity will vary for different types of cases. The fact that a case involves many court events or continues to be active may be a function of the type of case (e.g. adoption compared to a complex divorce or separation), the individual family circumstances, or the number of issues that a case needs to address, and not a function of the court process itself.

Canada — Telecoms providers take more and give less, hurting small biz

May 2, 2014 Comments off

Telecoms providers take more and give less, hurting small biz
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

A CFIB survey shows that almost 50% of small business owners are unhappy with the current options provided by telecom providers. From internet to a variety of wireless technologies, businesses expect telecom providers to offer fairly priced options, good customer service, and a variety of service providers to choose from.

CFIB recommends that additional competitive options be made available to SMEs in order to help improve the types of choices available, as well as the quality of customer service offered. This report reveals how small businesses are using Canada’s telecommunications infrastructure, who they are using as service providers, and their overall satisfaction with the industry.

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