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Supreme Court of Canada — Statistics 2004 to 2014

March 17, 2015 Comments off

Supreme Court of Canada — Statistics 2004 to 2014
Source: Supreme Court of Canada

This report sets out a statistical view of the work of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2014 with comparisons to the previous ten years’ work.

DHS OIG — U.S. Customs and Border Protection Did Not Effectively Target and Examine Rail Shipments From Canada and Mexico

March 16, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Did Not Effectively Target and Examine Rail Shipments From Canada and Mexico (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

Why We Did This
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the frontline border security agency within Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charged with the priority mission of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, as well as facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. We conducted this audit to determine whether CBP effectively targets and examines high-risk rail shipments from Mexico and Canada.

What We Found
CBP did not effectively target and examine rail shipments entering the United States from Mexico and Canada. Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPO) did not always target shipments using the mandatory Automated Targeting System (ATS) targeting criteria. CBPOs also did not always use the required radiation detection equipment to examine high-risk shipments. Finally, CBPOs did not always record the results of their rail cargo examinations in the Cargo Enforcement Reporting and Tracking System (CERTS).

CBPOs were unaware of the correct targeting criteria or inadvertently used inappropriate criteria. In addition, one port did not have the required radiation detection equipment for its rail team, and CBPOs at two other ports used Personal Radiation Detectors to examine shipments. Rail CBPOs also received insufficient training on the use of ATS and CERTS. Finally, Supervisory CBPOs did not provide sufficient oversight to ensure CBPOs followed CBP policy. As a result, CBP may have failed to target or properly examine rail shipments that were at an increased risk to contain contraband or dangerous materials. In addition, CBP has no assurance that decisions to release these high-risk shipments into U.S. commerce were appropriate.

What We Recommend
We made six recommendations which, when implemented, should improve CBP’s processing of rail cargo from Mexico and Canada.

Building Skills in North and Central America: Barriers and Policy Options toward Harmonizing Qualifications in Nursing

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Building Skills in North and Central America: Barriers and Policy Options toward Harmonizing Qualifications in Nursing
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Amid aging populations and the growth of chronic diseases, the demand for skilled health-care professionals is on the rise in the three countries of North America. In the United States alone, an estimated 5.6 million vacancies for health-care professionals at all skill levels will open up between 2010 and 2020, and the numbers in Canada and Mexico tell a similar story. At the same time, the countries of Central America, particularly El Salvador and Guatemala, are facing a critical nurse shortage.

Thus far, regional approaches to increasing the supply of qualified nurses have been rare. One promising yet underexplored avenue is the harmonization of nurse qualifications across the region, a process by which countries that face similar health-care challenges work together to develop an understanding of one another’s training and education systems, identify gaps between these systems, and create strategies to bridge these gaps over time.

This report explores the policy implications, benefits, and challenges of harmonizing nursing qualifications in North America. The payoffs of such cooperation are substantial: it can decrease brain waste and deskilling among nurses, increase the quality of care in all countries involved, and expand opportunities for nurses to practice where their skills are needed and to take advantage of new job opportunities in medical tourism and tele-health. However, as the report discusses, policymakers and private-sector actors must first overcome a range of obstacles to harmonization. Challenges include differences among the countries involved in the educational requirements of entering into nursing programs, dispersal of decision-making power among a patchwork of institutions regulating the nursing profession, and administrative barriers to recognition of qualifications—the flurry of red tape that nurses must pass through to take up nursing again after moving across borders.

Charitable giving on the decline in Canada, Ontario experiences steep drop in generosity

March 11, 2015 Comments off

Charitable giving on the decline in Canada, Ontario experiences steep drop in generosity
Source: Fraser Institute

During the holidays, many Canadians think about giving, yet fewer are donating to registered charities—and those who give are giving less, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2014 Generosity Index, measures donations to registered charities claimed on personal income tax returns in Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

In 2012 (the latest year of available data), 22.3 per cent of Canadian tax filers donated to charity, down from the recent peak of 25.1 per cent in 2005.

Canadians are also donating a smaller percentage of their income to registered charities. In 2012, Canadians gave 0.61 per cent of their total income to registered charities, down from 0.81 per cent in 2006.

Idea of guaranteed annual income appealing but implausible for Canada

March 10, 2015 Comments off

Idea of guaranteed annual income appealing but implausible for Canada
Source: Fraser Institute

Despite the conceptual appeal of a guaranteed annual income, the idea isn’t likely to become reality in Canada, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“The idea of a guaranteed annual income has entered and exited Canadian policy discussions for decades, garnering both proponents and detractors, yet the practical obstacles to implementing such a program are likely insurmountable,” said Charles Lammam, the Fraser Institute’s associate director of tax and fiscal policy and co-author of The Practical Challenges of Creating a Guaranteed Annual Income in Canada.

A Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) program would provide individuals or families an unconditional cash transfer to ensure a minimum annual income. It would replace Canada’s complex income support system (which includes several, often-overlapping programs within all three levels of government) with a single program administered by one level of government. (Most GAI proponents envision a program administered by the federal government.)

CA — Eliminating special-interest tax breaks could pave way for large personal income tax cuts

March 9, 2015 Comments off

Eliminating special-interest tax breaks could pave way for large personal income tax cuts
Source: Fraser Institute

Large-scale personal income tax cuts could provide relief for working Canadians and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

According to the study, Reforming Federal Personal Income Taxes: A Pro-Growth Plan for Canada, Ottawa could eliminate many tax credits, deductions and other tax breaks (broadly known as tax expenditures), which would free up $20 billion. This, combined with expected surpluses in the future, would allow the government to eliminate Canada’s two middle-income tax rates (22 and 26 per cent) and create a new tax landscape, with just two personal income tax rates—15 per cent for almost all Canadians and 29 per cent for top earners (roughly two per cent of tax-filers).

Spending on public schools across Canada increases while student enrolment falls

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Spending on public schools across Canada increases while student enrolment falls
Source: Fraser Institute

Despite a steady decline in student enrolment, spending on public schools in Canada has skyrocketed, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, Education Spending in Canada: What’s Actually Happening?, examines changes in spending on public schools in Canada over the last decade.

For example, between 2001/02 and 2011/12, the most recent years for which data is available, spending in public schools across all provinces rose to $59.6 billion from $38.9 billion—a 53.1 per cent increase.

Yet despite these spending increases, during this 10-year period public school enrolment dropped in almost every province. Subsequently, on a per student basis, for that time period, spending on public schools increased 63.2 per cent, rising to $11,835 from $7,250.

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