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Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada

May 19, 2015 Comments off

Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada
Source: Library of Parliament

The world’s first “test-tube baby,” the result of fertilizing a human ovum in vitro and transferring the resulting embryo to a woman’s uterus, was born in England in 1978. This achievement followed decades of clinical and laboratory research. It also catalyzed interest in a new area of medical ethics as multiple technological advances, along with their implications for genetics, posed new ethical questions and responsibilities.

This paper provides an overview of the many steps that the Canadian federal government has taken to establish a legislative and regulatory framework for reproductive technologies and related research. This background includes a description of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, early attempts at legislation and a discussion of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, in force since 2004, including its list of prohibited activities. The constitutional challenge to the legislation that was brought by the Attorney General of Quebec and ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of Canada is reviewed. Finally, the federal government’s response to the Supreme Court decision in the form of amendments to the Act is summarized. This paper does not examine how activities related to assisted human reproduction may be regulated by the provinces.

CRS — Keystone XL Pipeline: Overview and Recent Developments (April 1, 2015)

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Keystone XL Pipeline: Overview and Recent Developments (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would transport oil sands crude from Canada and shale oil produced in North Dakota and Montana to a market hub in Nebraska for further delivery to Gulf Coast refineries. The pipeline would consist of 875 miles of 36-inch pipe with the capacity to transport 830,000 barrels per day. Because it would cross the Canadian-U.S. border, Keystone XL requires a Presidential Permit from the State Department based on a determination that the pipeline would “serve the national interest.” To make its national interest determination (NID), the department considers potential effects on energy security; environmental and cultural resources; the economy; foreign policy, and other factors. Effects on environmental and cultural resources are determined by preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NID process also provides for public comment and requires the State Department to consult with specific federal agencies.

Supreme Court decisions creating economic uncertainty for First Nations, for Canada

April 13, 2015 Comments off

Supreme Court decisions creating economic uncertainty for First Nations, for Canada
Source: Fraser Institute

Recent Supreme Court decisions on aboriginal rights and title are impeding, rather than helping, the economic prosperity of First Nation communities, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think-tank.

“The positive aspect of the new jurisprudence is the Court’s recognition that aboriginal peoples did possess and continue to possess ownership of land. Unfortunately, these decisions have conveyed new property rights that First Nations will find difficult to use in Canada’s market economy,” said Tom Flanagan, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of Clarity and confusion? The new jurisprudence of aboriginal title.

For example, the Tsilhqot’in decision—which granted title of more than 1,700 square kilometres of land in B.C.’s interior to the Tsilhqot’in Nation—is potentially of enormous economic benefit to First Nations. That benefit, however, is reduced because the aboriginal title is restricted to “communal” ownership, meaning that the lands cannot be sold privately. Research demonstrates that on-reserve property rights (ie: individual ownership) encourages economic growth and higher standards of living.
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Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture

April 13, 2015 Comments off

Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture
Source: Accenture

The increased use of digital technologies could boost productivity for the world’s top 10 economies and add US$1.36 trillion to their total economic output in 2020, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). The study is based on the Accenture Digital Density Index, a tool that helps companies make better strategic investments based on granular measures of digital performance.

The Accenture Digital Density Index measures the extent to which digital technologies penetrate a country’s businesses and economy. A country’s “digital density” is determined by a scorecard comprising over 50 indicators, such as the volume of transactions conducted online, the use of cloud or other technologies to streamline processes, the pervasiveness of technology skills in a company, or an economy’s acceptance of new digitally driven business models.

At its broadest level, the Index reveals that a ten point improvement in digital density (on a 100-point scale) over five years would lift GDP growth rates in advanced economies by 0.25 percentage points, and by 0.5 percentage point in emerging economies. That would give the U.S. an uplift to GDP of US$365 billion in 2020. Emerging economies, such as Brazil, India and China could see rises of between $97 billion and $418 billion.

Police resources in Canada, 2014

April 8, 2015 Comments off

Police resources in Canada, 2014
Source: Statistics Canada

There were 68,896 police officers in Canada on May 15, 2014, 354 fewer officers than in 2013. This represented a rate of police strength of 194 police officers per 100,000 population, a decrease of 1.6% from the previous year. After remaining stable in 2011,Note 2 the rate has decreased every year since.

Resettling Refugees: Canada’s Humanitarian Commitments

April 3, 2015 Comments off

Resettling Refugees: Canada’s Humanitarian Commitments
Source: Library of Parliament

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that almost 960,000 refugees are currently in need of resettlement in a third country. These are refugees who, according to the UNHCR, can neither return to their country of origin nor integrate into their country of first asylum.

Together, the international community has committed to resettle around 80,000 refugees each year. Historically, Canada has resettled approximately 10% of this total; the government’s current goal is to resettle between 8% and 12%. In 2010, the government committed to increase the number of refugees resettled each year from abroad by 20% (2,500 people). For 2015, the government has agreed to accept up to 14,500 resettled refugees, out of a total of 285,000 new immigrants.

Canada admits refugees for resettlement on a humanitarian basis. Resettlement also provides a way for Canada to alleviate the burden for host countries and share the responsibility for displaced persons. In addition to commitments to resettle refugees, Canada has international obligations to those who come to Canada on their own and are found to be in need of protection (refugee claimants or asylum seekers).

This publication provides an overview of Canada’s refugee resettlement programs, explaining who is eligible for resettlement and the different programs in place. Finally, it concludes with some of the operational issues involved in refugee resettlement.

CA — Alternative Federal Budget 2015

April 1, 2015 Comments off

Alternative Federal Budget 2015
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Alternative Federal Budget 2015: Delivering the Good demonstrates that the federal government’s continued obsession with austerity and balancing the budget comes at the cost of higher household debt, fewer services, and weakened job growth.

The AFB, now in its 20th year, delivers a plan that would lift 893,000 Canadians out of poverty, reduce income inequality, boost economic growth, reduce carbon emissions, and create or sustain 300,000 jobs a year, bringing Canada’s employment rate back to its pre-recession level.

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