Aquaculture in Canada
Source: Library of Parliament
In just 50 years, global aquaculture has grown from an almost negligible industry to rival the production of wild capture fisheries. While the latter has stagnated over the last 25 years, aquaculture production has expanded about five times, which has enabled the food fish supply per capita to grow.1 Canada’s aquaculture industry is relatively small compared with that of other countries, but it has a strong niche market in some species, particularly Atlantic salmon, and it is important economically to a number of coastal communities. However, the aquaculture industry in Canada faces economic and environmental challenges. This paper describes the Canadian aquaculture industry, current issues it faces and options for its growth.
Organized Crime Research Highlights (PDF)
Source: Public Safety Canada
IN THIS ISSUE
Internet-facilitated Counterfeit Crime / 1
Violence and Gang Territories / 2
Measuring Police Impact on Organised Crime / 3
Locating Meth Labs / 5
Strategic Intelligence and Transnational
Organised Crime / 6
Sizing Drug Markets using Sewage / 7
Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The “Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness” of Canada and the United States depends upon a secure and trusted global supply chain. Canada and the United States recognize that risks to the global supply chain are to be mitigated at the earliest possible opportunity in order to protect our respective national interests and to ensure the secure, timely and efficient movement of cargo.
We recognize that security and facilitation of trade are of equal importance and are both served by efficient border operations. Canada and the United States currently have similar approaches to border management and have made parallel investments in our respective programs that focus on addressing risk at the earliest point. Our perimeter security and economic competitiveness can be made stronger through a common strategy.
This strategy sets out the vision, objectives and actions to address risks at the earliest opportunity by moving risk mitigation related activities away from the Canada-U.S. border. Together, these activities are to significantly streamline the flow of trade crossing our common border while enhancing security.
We expect to achieve a common approach for the screening of inboun d cargo arriving from offshore resulting in increased security and the expedited movement of secure cargo within the Canada – United States perimeter. This approach is expected to result in a clear reduction in the number of shipments subject to re – inspecti on.
We are to develop an integrated, multi – modal customs and transportation security regime which reduce s duplication of security processes and limit s subsequent inspection at the Canada – U.S. border through mutual recognition and acceptance of results at the perimeter. This strategy move s activities away from the Canada – U.S. border.
We recognize the complexity of the global supply chain . Industry plays an important role and shares the obligations to uphold the highest security standards. We are to work with all levels of government as well as international partners and industry to ensure a coordinated approach that is less intrusive and provides measured incentives to trusted partners, while enhancing the supply chain security. The vision and a ctions identified in this s trategy complement the United States National Strategy for the Global Supply Chain Security.
Is tuition affordable in your province?
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
A new report from the CCPA’s Education Project tracks the affordability of university education across Canadian provinces. The study looks at trends in tuition and compulsory fees in Canada since 1990, projects fees for each province for the next four years, and ranks the provinces on affordability for median- and low-income families using a Cost of Learning Index.
Average tuition and compulsory fees in Canada have tripled since 1990, and according to the study, Ontario is the province with the highest fees and will see its tuition and other fees climb from $8,403 this fall to an estimated $9,517 in 2016-17. Newfoundland and Labrador remains the province with the lowest compulsory fees of $2,872 this fall, rising to an estimated $2,886 in 2016-17.
Canada’s two-tier retirement system
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Retirement in Canada is now a two-tier system, strongly favouring public sector workers. With millions of Canadians in the private sector having no workplace pension plan, even those with an employer-sponsored plan cannot hope to retire nearly as comfortably as government employees.
Canada’s Two-tier Retirement, a CFIB report, offers a good illustration of the stark discrepancies in retirement benefits between private sector workers and their public sector counterparts. The report follows two fictional workers (Mary and Jane) with similar work roles and salaries, from when they start work. By the time they both retire in 2029 at age 65, Jane (private sector) will get about $605,000 in retirement benefits over 20 years, while Mary (public sector) will receive a guaranteed pension of $1.38 million, over the same period
The report touches on reasons for the estimated $776,000 gap, including massive contributions from Mary’s public sector employer (the taxpayer), and a defined-benefit formula that guarantees her benefits. While Mary contributes about 7% of her salary in order to enjoy these rich benefits, a private-sector worker like Jane would have to contribute about 21% to achieve a similar level of retirement.
Quantitative Uneasy (PDF)
Source: TD Economics
+ The Federal Reserve is expected to begin tapering the pace of quantitative easing at its next meeting on September 17-18. While some uncertainty remains regarding the timing, we feel that little would be achieved by delaying further. Rather, we expect the Fed to reduce asset purchases by $10 billion per month, or less, relative to market consensus for $10-20 billion.
+ Interest rates will likely remain close to current levels given that financial markets have already priced in the effect of the reduction in monetary stimulus. In 2014, Treasury yields should resume their slow grind upwards.
+ The implications for financial markets in Canada are somewhat different than for the United States. Volatility will likely remain a key feature in both countries. However,if our base case forecast is proven true and U.S. economic growth accelerates, then both the economy and corporate profits in Canada are likely to underperform their U.S. counterparts. The Loonie is expected to weaken further.
Just Published: Law Library of Congress Report on Guest Worker Programs
Source: Law Library of Congress
A report titled Guest Worker Programs was recently added to the list of reports posted on the Law Library of Congress website under “Current Legal Topics” where you can also find a range of other comparative law reports on various topics.
The Guest Worker Programs report is based on a study conducted by staff of the Global Legal Research Center (GLRC). The report describes programs for the admission and employment of guest workers in fourteen selected countries:
- the Russian Federation,
- South Korea,
- the United Arab Emirates, and
- the United Kingdom.
It also provides information on the European Union’s Proposal for a Directive on Seasonal Employment, the Association Agreement between the European Union and Turkey regarding migrants of Turkish origin, and the Multilateral Framework of the International Labour Organization on the admission of guest workers. The complete report is also available in PDF.
The report includes a comparative analysis and individual chapters on each country, the EU, and relevant international arrangements. It provides a general overview of a variety of immigration systems, and addresses issues such as eligibility criteria for the admission of guest workers and their families, guest workers’ recruitment and sponsorship, and visa requirements. The report further discusses the tying of temporary workers to their employers in some countries; the duration and the conditions that apply to switching employers; the terms, including the renewability, of guest workers’ visas; and the availability of a path to permanent status.
2011 National Household Survey: Income of Canadians
Source: Statistics Canada
Close to 70% of Canadians aged 15 and over earned income from employment, representing about three out of every four dollars of total income in Canada.
The percentage of total income earned from employment was highest in the three territories, led by the Northwest Territories at 87.8%. Among the provinces, it ranged from 81.3% in Alberta to 68.6% in Prince Edward Island.
Ontario, with a share of income from employment of 74.8%, was close to the national level of 74.7%. Manitoba and Saskatchewan were slightly above the national level, at 75.4% and 75.6%, respectively.
The employment income shares of the other provinces were below the national level.
Among the country’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Calgary and Edmonton had the highest share of employment income in 2010 with 82.2% and 81.3% respectively, followed by Saskatoon (79.1%), Toronto (78.5%), Regina (78.3%) and St. John’s (78.2%)
The three CMAs with the lowest share of income from employment were Trois-Rivières (67.1%), Peterborough (67.0%) and St. Catharines–Niagara (66.6%).
Proposed U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement: Background and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The offshore areas of the Gulf of Mexico provide a setting for domestic and international energy production, U.S. military training and border operations, trade and commerce, fishing, tourist attractions, and recreation. These governmental, commercial, and cultural activities depend on healthy and productive marine and coastal areas for a range of economic and social benefits. Consequences of hurricanes and oil spills demonstrate that offshore areas in the Gulf of Mexico are governed by a number of interrelated legal regimes, including treaties and international, federal, and state laws.
A key congressional interest has been the federal role in managing energy resources in deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico, particularly in waters beyond the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ), more than 200 miles from shore. In 2012, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement known as the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement (the Agreement).
This proposed Agreement marks the start of an energy partnership in an area of international waters that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates to contain as much as 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The main purposes of the partnership would be to lift a moratorium and to jointly develop reservoirs of oil and natural gas, referred to as “transboundary resources,” that exist in areas straddling the marine border of both countries. The proposed Agreement stems from a series of bilateral treaties originating in the 1970s. Like other diplomatic measures, for the proposed Agreement to take effect, it must be placed before each country’s national lawmakers for review. To date, Mexico has completed review and accepted the Agreement. The proposed Agreement awaits review in the U.S. Congress.
In the United States, review involves examining the two main commitments of the proposed Agreement. First, under the Agreement, a framework for jointly developing a 550-mile distance (1.5 million acres) is established. Diplomats on both sides of the border claim that this framework achieves a mutual goal of greater options for energy production to help gain energy independence for both countries. The second commitment is to dismantle a treaty-based moratorium on oil and gas development agreed to in 2000 and covering a 135-mile area (158,584 acres). Current treaty provisions establishing the ban would also allow it to expire in 2014.
The proposed Agreement faces hurdles in both countries. In the United States, a possible hurdle is the status of the U.S. safety reforms announced after the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. These reforms are being phased in and full implementation is not anticipated until 2013 and 2014. These regulations are considered a more robust set of deepwater drilling standards than were in place prior to the Deepwater Horizon spill. Until they take full effect, the treaty-based moratorium is perceived by many as a necessary mechanism to protect against the risk of oil spills. In Mexico, although the Agreement has been accepted, implementation poses regulatory challenges.
Legislation in the 113th Congress concerning this Agreement includes H.R. 1613 and S. 812. On June 27, 2012, the House passed H.R. 1613, the Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act (H.Rept. 113-101). This bill would approve and implement the Agreement. With no deadline for U.S. review of the proposed Agreement and no schedule for review in the Senate, it is difficult to predict what legislative interest the Agreement might attract, if any, during the remainder of the 113th Congress.
Shock from Graying: Is the Demographic Shift Weakening Monetary Policy Effectiveness
Source: International Monetary Fund
Abstract Empirical evidence is mounting that, in advanced economies, changes in monetary policy have a more benign impact on the economy—given better anchored inflation expectations and inflation being less responsive to variation in unemployment—compared to the past. We examine another aspect that could explain this empirical finding, namely the demographic shift to an older society. The paper first clarifies potential transmission channels that could explain why monetary policy effectiveness may moderate in graying societies. It then uses Bayesian estimation techniques for the U.S., Canada, Japan, U.K., and Germany to confirm a weakening of monetary policy effectiveness over time with regards to unemployment and inflation. After proving the existence of a panel co-integration relationship between ageing and a weakening of monetary policy, the study uses dynamic panel OLS techniques to attribute this weakening of monetary policy effectiveness to demographic changes. The paper concludes with policy implications.
Communications Security Establishment Commissioner: 2012-2013 Annual Report
Source: Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner
Each year, I provide an overall statement on my findings about the lawfulness of CSEC activities. With the exception of one review described below — in which I was unable to reach a definitive conclusion about compliance or non-compliance with the law for certain CSEC foreign signals intelligence activities — all of the activities of CSEC reviewed this past year complied with the law.
As well, this year, I made four recommendations to promote compliance with the law and to strengthen privacy protection. The recommendations, which are described in the following review summaries, relate to reinforcing policy guidance and expanding an existing practice on privacy protection to other circumstances, as well as providing the Federal Court of Canada with certain additional evidence about the nature and extent of the assistance CSEC may provide to CSIS.
Additionally, I forwarded to the Chair of SIRC, for information, certain general points relating to CSIS that arose out of the recommendations I made and that SIRC may wish to examine as it deems appropriate. This demonstrates how existing review bodies can, in the spirit of the recommendations of the commission of inquiry led by the Honourable Justice Dennis O’Connor, collaborate under existing legislation in the conduct of reviews of activities involving more than one security and intelligence agency.
Two reviews this year — the review of certain foreign signals intelligence activities and the review of CSEC assistance to CSIS under part (c) of CSEC’s mandate and sections 12 and 21 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act (CSIS Act) — identified the absence of certain historical information in a CSEC system and database relating to foreign signals intelligence collection. This system and database support the process by which CSEC determines that entities of foreign intelligence interest are indeed foreign and located outside of Canada, as required by the National Defence Act. The absence of the information limited my ability to assess the lawfulness of the CSEC activities in question, and could also affect review of other activities of CSEC. Due to the seriousness of this development, I directed my employees to conduct an in-depth examination of the issue to determine the implications and advise on a resolution. This issue added to the time required to complete these two reviews. It is encouraging that CSEC has already taken action and continues to do so to ensure the availability of information that is required for accountability and to demonstrate compliance with the law. The Commissioner’s office will monitor developments.
In last year’s annual report, I expressed frustration about a reduction in CSEC support to my office resulting in excessive delays in being able to proceed with some reviews. CSEC has taken steps to correct this situation and I am optimistic that these will result in a productive year ahead.
The Food Price Increase of 2010–2011: Causes and Impacts
Source: Library of Parliament
In February 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported a 6.5% increase in its Food Price Index relative to December 2010.1 The Index had reached a level not seen in nearly 20 years and had surpassed the peak attained in June 2008 that explained that year’s food crisis.2
Despite this marked increase in the Food Price Index in 2011, the FAO did not allude to a food crisis.3 Yet, according to some analysts, the increase in the price of foodstuffs and the difficulty people had in obtaining food caused the popular uprisings of the “Arab Spring”4 and led to riots in some developing countries.5 It is not surprising, then, that the G20 heads of state placed great importance on agricultural commodity prices in 2011.6
The goal of this paper is to describe the factors that likely sparked the increase in food prices as well as the effect of that increase on the food security of some of the world’s population.
The paper begins with an analysis of the changes in food prices since 1990, then it demonstrates that the food price increase on world markets in 2010-2011 stemmed from structural and macroeconomic factors and from speculation. Finally, the paper shows that price increases can have a negative impact on people in some developing countries, while benefitting exporters.
Technology and Education: A Primer
Source: Fraser Institute
For all intents and purposes, we educate our children in much the same way as we did a century ago. Despite our stubborn attachment to an instructional model from a bygone era, technology is set to revolutionize the learning process. Examples include interactive lessons that adapt to a specific student’s learning style to lectures taught by a single professor to tens of thousands of students around the world who are enrolled in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Such innovations have the potential to radically alter the nature of learning.
Adaptive technology is defined as software that learns and alters itself based on the user’s inputs, while allowing for interaction with a broad base of learning styles. Adaptive technology software fills the role of the coach/tutor.
Should this technology be adopted in classrooms, it holds the potential for changing a teacher from a “one-size-fits-all” instructor to an individual learning coach. Using adaptive technology, students can learn material through an avenue of their choosing and at the pace that best suits them; when they encounter a difficulty, the teacher can step in and coach them past the problem individually or in a small group, while their classmates continue. In many cases the software is becoming advanced enough to recognize when the student is struggling, and is capable of pre-empting the need for intervention by the teacher.
Two key areas of adaptive learning require additional research in Canada. First, we need better quantitative, empirical research about the benefits of adaptive technology and its successful implementation and use. The second area pertains to policy barriers for the introduction of adaptive technology. Other questions, such as the cost of potential technologies, teacher training, and quality control, are also relevant.
Adaptive technology can have a big impact on homeschooling and education in remote communities where educational options are limited. The ability to bring into a single classroom those who suffer from substandard educational options or who currently learn outside of the traditional education system, is an obvious area for additional research.
The Price of Public Health Care Insurance: 2013 Edition
Source: Fraser Institute
Canadians often misunderstand the true cost of our public health care system. This occurs partly because Canadians do not incur direct expenses for their use of health care, and partly because Canadians cannot readily determine the value of their contribution to public health care insurance.
In 2013, the estimated average payment for public health care insurance will range from $3,387 to $11,381 for six common Canadian family types, depending on the type of family.
For the average Canadian family, between 2003 and 2013 the cost of public health care insurance increased more than 1.5 times faster than the cost of shelter and clothing, more than twice as fast as food, and nearly 1.5 times faster than average income.
The 10 percent of Canadian families with the lowest incomes will pay an average of about $482 for public health care insurance in 2013. The 10 percent of Canadian families who earn an average income of $56,596 will pay an average of $5,364 for public health care insurance, while those families that are among the top 10 percent of income earners in Canada will pay about $35,309.
Mexico’s Peña Nieto Administration: Priorities and Key Issues in U.S.-Mexican Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Congress has maintained significant interest in neighboring Mexico, a close ally and top trade partner that shares a nearly 2,000-mile border with the United States. On December 1, 2012, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) retook the Mexican presidency after 12 years in opposition, leaving analysts wondering how differ ently PRI President Enrique Peña Nieto will govern than his PRI predecessors, who ruled Me xico from 1929 to 2000. Supporters maintain that Peña Nieto heads a “new PRI” government that is free from the corruption that characterized the party in the past and is enacting bold reforms that proved elusive for the last two National Action Party (PAN) administrations. Skeptics question how Peña Nieto will remain independent from old-time PRI power brokers and how he will challenge PRI interest groups resistant to change.
President Peña Nieto has announced a reformist agenda with specific proposals under five pillars: reducing violence; combating poverty; boosting grow th; reforming education; and fostering social responsibility. He signed a “Pact for Mexico” with the leaders of the PAN and leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) that has paved the way for the enactment of education and telecommunications reforms. The Peña Nieto government has just introduced an energy reform proposal that would allow Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) to form profit-sharing partnerships with private companies. Fiscal reforms to increase tax revenues are to follow. Both proposals could test the Pact’s ability to prevent legislative gridlock.
U.S.-Mexican relations are evolving. During his May 2013 visit to Mex ico, President Obama embraced President Peña Nieto’s desire to bolster economic ties and focus on new issues, including education. U.S.-Mexican security cooperation has continued; future efforts may increasingly focus on crime prevention and judicial reform. Bilateral cooperation may have contributed to the July capture of the leader of Los Zetas. However, there has been friction caused by limits Mexico has placed on U.S. involvement in law enforcement and intelligence operations and the recent release of a drug kingpin imprisoned in Mexico for killing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. If implemented, the Trans-boundary Hydrocarbons Agreement signed in February 2012 on managing oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico could create opportunities for energy cooperation. The Peña Nieto government has supported efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform in the United States, but urged U.S. policymakers not to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Cost of Raising Children
Source: Fraser Institute
The annual cost of raising a child is important information-for its own sake and also for public policy purposes. Such estimates can be helpful to parents or prospective parents. It can also inform policies related to child benefits and possible parental child support obligations. This paper reviews prevailing approaches to the measurement of child costs and proposes budget based alternatives. The paper argues that there is no methodology or formula that can determine how much parents need to spend to raise children or, even, how much they actually do spend. What we do know is that parents at all income levels have successfully raised children. The objective of this paper is to find, at least, a base level of annual child costs that would need to be covered for the healthy development of the child.
The cost of raising a child is defined as the cash outlay “marginal” costs that parents spend when they add a child to their household. These costs specifically exclude any costs that were already in place prior to the child and would still be in place if the child leaves the household. The cost of raising a child is usefully distinguished from the costs involved in the decision to “have” a child, which necessarily includes the full opportunity cost of such a decision.
There are two broad strands of estimates of child costs. One strand is that group of estimates produced for popular consumption. The other strand includes estimates produced by academic economists and statisticians. While there is some overlap between the two strands, the former tends to be less technical and less reliant on economic theory. However, at the core, both strands attempt to extract relevant information from actual household expenditure data. This paper critically reviews both strands and finds that both rely heavily on heroic assumptions about how to extract the child’s portion of actual family expenditures.
Prevailing estimates of the cost of a child for Canada and the United States, currently, tend to be in the range of $10,000 to $15,000 per annum. These cost estimates have a distinct middle class bias and do not reflect the reality of raising children in lower income and newer immigrant households. There is a concern that such estimates send a clear message to lower income families that they really cannot afford children and, perhaps, shouldn’t have any.
Examining the basic marginal costs necessary for the healthy development of a child, this paper finds that an annual outlay of $3,000 to $4,500 (depending on the community or region and the age of the child) would be sufficient. These cost estimates exclude any savings strategies such as home gardens, sewing and knitting clothing, couponing and taking advantage of sales, own repair and maintenance work in the home, etc. This cost range is for Canada in 2010 and is drawn from budget standard estimates by social agencies and experts with experience in this area. It can serve as a useful benchmark for child costs. Beyond this basic needs benchmark, however, parents will spend more on their child depending on such factors as after-tax income, perception of economic security, additional obligations, parenting style, marital situation, and time preference.
An Assessment of Spectrum Auction Rules and Competition Policy
Source: Fraser Institute
This paper addresses the Canadian government’s controversial limits (or caps) on the blocks of spectrum that can be acquired for the upcoming auction of 700 MHz spectrum on January 14, 2014. Large Canadian carriers (TELUS, Bell, and Rogers) have expressed concern over Verizon’s possible participation in the auction. While the perceived scenario of Verizon acquiring one or more smaller wireless carriers and then successfully bidding for prime spectrum has garnered national attention, the broader issue of whether the policies being implemented by the government are in the interests of Canadian wireless customers is equally significant. This paper argues that preventing large incumbent carriers from unduly restricting competition in the future can and should be addressed through the Competition Act, rather than through “handicapping” the competitive process, including spectrum auction caps.