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Mental health and contact with police in Canada, 2012

June 9, 2015 Comments off

Mental health and contact with police in Canada, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

Canadians can come into contact with the police for a variety of reasons, not all of which are criminal in nature. Previous research has indicated that most people with a mental health disorder do not commit criminal acts; however, contact with police is common among this population (Brink et al. 2011; Coleman and Cotton 2014). Furthermore, the frequency of such interactions has been said to be on the rise in recent decades given policy and legislative changes (Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division 2005; Vancouver Police Department 2013; Lurigio and Watson 2010). For instance, while the process of deinstitutionalization shifted the treatment of mental health disorders from a hospital setting to a community setting, it has been argued that community based supports may not have expanded at the same capacity to make up for the loss of institutional services, which can leave police as the first responders in crisis situations or after regular health facility hours (Coleman and Cotton 2014; Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division 2005).

Information on police interactions with people who have a mental health disorder is a priority for various reasons. Firstly, they can be among the most unpredictable and dangerous situations to which officers must respond, and can be equally, if not more, dangerous for the person with the disorder (Chappell 2008; Kerr et al. 2010; Coleman and Cotton 2014; Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division 2005). Secondly, while the majority of such interactions are handled without harm to the officer or the person with a disorder, these interactions can be quite time-consuming, often utilizing a large portion of resources not only from police services, but from the health and social sectors as well (Lurigio and Watson 2010).

CA — Office of the Correctional Investigator Releases Administrative Segregation in Federal Corrections: 10 Year Trends — Federal Corrections Overuses Segregation to Manage Inmates

June 3, 2015 Comments off

Office of the Correctional Investigator Releases Administrative Segregation in Federal Corrections: 10 Year Trends — Federal Corrections Overuses Segregation to Manage Inmates
Source: Office of the Correctional Investigator

For more than 20 years, the Office of the Correctional Investigator has extensively documented the fact that administrative segregation is significantly overused. Segregation is the most austere and depriving form of incarceration that the state can legally administer in Canada. Today’s Statistical Report highlights just how often the practice is used in federal corrections. With an inmate population of just over 14,500 the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) made 8,300 placements in administrative segregation in last fiscal year.

In releasing his report, Mr. Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator of Canada, said “There is no escaping the fact that administrative segregation has become overused as a population management tool to address tensions and conflicts in federal correctional facilities.” During the reporting period, 27% of the inmate population experienced at least one placement in administrative segregation. “Segregation is so frequently used that half (48%) of the current inmate population has experienced segregation at least once during their present sentence,” Sapers added.

Administrative segregation is commonly used to manage mentally ill offenders, self-injurious offenders and those at risk of suicide. The report found that inmates in administrative segregation are twice more likely to have a history of self-injury and attempted suicide, and 31% more likely to have a mental health issue. 68% of inmates at the Regional Treatment Centres (designated psychiatric hospitals) have a history of administrative segregation. Sapers stated that “this is further evidence that the CSC uses segregation to manage behaviours associated with mental illness.”

+ Full Report

Approaches for Controlling Illicit Tobacco Trade — Nine Countries and the European Union

June 3, 2015 Comments off

Approaches for Controlling Illicit Tobacco Trade — Nine Countries and the European Union
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

An estimated 11.6% of the world cigarette market is illicit, representing more than 650 billion cigarettes a year and $40.5 billion in lost revenue (1). Illicit tobacco trade refers to any practice related to distributing, selling, or buying tobacco products that is prohibited by law, including tax evasion (sale of tobacco products without payment of applicable taxes), counterfeiting, disguising the origin of products, and smuggling (2). Illicit trade undermines tobacco prevention and control initiatives by increasing the accessibility and affordability of tobacco products, and reduces government tax revenue streams (2). The World Health Organization (WHO) Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, signed by 54 countries, provides tools for addressing illicit trade through a package of regulatory and governing principles (2). As of May 2015, only eight countries had ratified or acceded to the illicit trade protocol, with an additional 32 needed for it to become international law (i.e., legally binding) (3). Data from multiple international sources were analyzed to evaluate the 10 most commonly used approaches for addressing illicit trade and to summarize differences in implementation across select countries and the European Union (EU). Although the WHO illicit trade protocol defines shared global standards for addressing illicit trade, countries are guided by their own legal and enforcement frameworks, leading to a diversity of approaches employed across countries. Continued adoption of the methods outlined in the WHO illicit trade protocol might improve the global capacity to reduce illicit trade in tobacco products.

See also: Use of Tobacco Tax Stamps to Prevent and Reduce Illicit Tobacco Trade — United States, 2014

Industry Impacts of a Canadian Housing Bubble

May 28, 2015 Comments off

Industry Impacts of a Canadian Housing Bubble
Source: IBISWorld

The fear of a housing bubble has been renewed in Canada, as the drop in oil prices in recent months prompted a surprise interest-rate cut by the central bank in January. As expected, the country’s big banks have reduced their prime rates, which are tied to home-equity lines of credit and variable-rate mortgages, but did not fully pass on the Bank of Canada’s 25-percentage point cut. Coupled with home prices that continue to grow, lower rates could encourage borrowers to continue entering the market, ahead of the spring home-buying season in the coming months. Once again, the cooling housing market is gaining some steam.

Analysts and policymakers have debated whether or not Canada is following in the footsteps of the American housing crisis that precipitated the 2007 to 2009 recession. Rising house prices encourage speculators to enter the market, which typically fuels a housing bubble, as it creates artificial demand and pushes prices further. Eventually, as affordability dwindles, supply will begin to outpace demand, resulting in price corrections that signify a bust. Skeptics point to favourable demographic trends, a sound banking system and stronger regulatory oversight to argue that Canada is in for a soft landing. However, household debt remains alarmingly high and, combined with an overvalued property market, creates the necessary environment for a real estate bubble.

CA — The CanLII Primer: Legal Research Principles and CanLII Navigation for Self-Represented Litigants

May 27, 2015 Comments off

The CanLII Primer: Legal Research Principles and CanLII Navigation for Self-Represented Litigants (PDF)
Source: National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP)

The goal of this document is to help self-represented litigants (SRLs) navigate CanLll in order to prepare for the presentation of their cases – in court, in chambers, or as part of a negotiation or mediation.

CanLll is an exceptional resource for those without legal counsel, but its usefulness will depend on how well you understand how to navigate and apply its vast resources. This primer offers you some basic navigational tools.

In addition, you will need to understand the basics of how law is created in Canada, as a combination of case law and legislation. While this primer does not provide you with a comprehensive introduction to this complex topic, it offers some fundamental principles to help you get started and hopefully make your use of CanLll more effective.

Canada’s Anti–Money Laundering and Anti–Terrorist Financing Regime: The Legal Profession’s Obligations

May 25, 2015 Comments off

Canada’s Anti–Money Laundering and Anti–Terrorist Financing Regime: The Legal Profession’s Obligations
Source: Library of Parliament

On 13 February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that certain provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act that impose obligations on lawyers violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The decision, in Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, confirmed that legislation cannot enforce obligations on lawyers that would undermine solicitor–client privilege.

In exempting lawyers from the Act, Canada – like the United States and Australia – is among the few Financial Action Task Force members that do not impose obligations on lawyers as part of their anti–money laundering and anti–terrorist financing regime.

According to the Task Force, criminals may use lawyers to facilitate illegal financial transactions, particularly when they are acting as financial intermediaries.

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.

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