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Ratifying and Implementing Trade and Investment Treaties in Canada

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Ratifying and Implementing Trade and Investment Treaties in Canada
Source: Parliamentary Library of Canada

Under Canada’s constitutional system, the conduct of foreign affairs is a royal prerogative power of the federal Crown.

Consequently, the Executive Branch has the exclusive power to negotiate and conclude international treaties. Parliament has the exclusive power to enact legislation to implement those treaties.

As Canada continues to enter into such treaties, a number of important questions arise:

  • What is the interaction between Canadian and international law in the treaty-making and implementation processes, particularly in relation to trade and investment?
  • What measures must the Executive and Legislative branches take so that these treaties can come into force?
  • What formal role do the provinces and territories play in the negotiation, ratification and implementation of trade and investment treaties?
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Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada
Source: Library of Parliament

Mental health problems and mental illness exact a huge human, social and economic toll.

In Canada, roughly one in every five people will experience a mental illness in his or her lifetime. Individuals with mental health problems or mental illness may suffer from such consequences as stigmatization, discrimination, lost income, homelessness and substance abuse, among others. Left untreated, some mental health disorders may even lead to suicide.

The Library of Parliament recently published a series of papers on mental health in Canada and the involvement of the federal government in this area; this HillNote introduces the series and highlights some of the issues addressed in the papers.

Police resources in Canada, 2013

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Police resources in Canada, 2013
Source: Statistics Canada

In a period of fiscal pressures coupled with growing policing responsibilities, discussions regarding the economics of policing are taking place. Contributing to these discussions are police services, the public sector, academics, the private sector, as well as the general public. The discussions seek to identify the nature of and reasons for police expenditures, as well as ways to reduce costs while continuing to meet police responsibilities regarding public safety (Public Safety Canada 2013).

Using data from the Police Administration Survey (see the “Survey descriptions” section for details), this Juristat article will focus on the most recent findings regarding the rate of police strength and police expenditures. The Police Administration Survey captures police-reported data on the number of police officers in Canada by rank and sex, as well as civilian employees, based on a snapshot date (which is May 15, 2013 for the most recent data). Data on hiring, departures, and eligibility to retire in this report are based on either the 2012 calendar year or the 2012/2013 fiscal year, depending on the police service.

Information from this survey is provided for Canada, the provinces and territories and census metropolitan areas (CMAs). In addition, this article provides information on workplace mobility within police services, including the hiring of and departures by police, and eligibility to retire. Finally, it summarizes data on the characteristics of police officers, including gender, age group, and Aboriginal and visible minority status. To provide a more complete picture of the state of policing in Canada, the following contextual information are included: policing responsibilities and strategies within the economics of policing discussions; international data on police personnel and gender from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and wage information from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada: Homelessness and Access to Housing

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada: Homelessness and Access to Housing
Source: Library of Parliament

The relationship between mental health problems and homelessness and access to housing is complex. Individuals with mental health problems or mental illnesses are predisposed to experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness, and poor mental health can be caused, triggered or aggravated by homelessness or housing that does not meet a certain standard of adequacy, affordability and suitability.

In Canada, access to housing for people with mental health problems has evolved over time; from poorhouses and prisons in the 1800s, to psychiatric hospitals by the 1900s, to a process of deinstitutionalization beginning in the 1960s. Since the 1990s, those working in the Canadian mental health care system and advocates in the mental health field have displayed a greater awareness of the critical relationship between mental health and housing, in particular the role housing plays in recovery and well-being.

Because many mental illnesses are undiagnosed, particularly in the homeless population, in this publication the term mental health problem will encompass both poor mental health – such as feelings of loneliness, worthlessness and hopelessness – and mental illnesses – such as schizophrenia or depression.

Legal aid in Canada, 2012/2013

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Legal aid in Canada, 2012/2013
Source: Statistics Canada

Access to justice in Canada is a priority of governments and policy-makers, legal professionals and the public. One aspect is access to legal services. Not all Canadians have the resources to pay for a lawyer. Legal aid plans have been established in all provinces and territories with the common goal of assisting lower-income Canadians who require legal services either for criminal or civil matters. This Juristat bulletin presents results from the Legal Aid Survey which collects information on the operation of Canada’s 13 legal aid plans.

In order to operate and provide legal services, legal aid plans receive funding from governments (both federal and provincial/territorial) as well as from client contributions, cost recoveries from legal settlements, and contributions from the legal profession and other sources.1

The federal government provides criminal legal aid funding to the provinces and criminal and civil legal aid funding to the territories.2 In 2012/2013, the federal government reported providing a total of $112 million to all provincial/territorial legal aid plans in Canada.

Provincial and territorial governments directly fund both criminal and civil legal aid. In 2012/2013, provincial and territorial governments reported contributing $658 million to legal aid plans across Canada.

Legal aid plans in Canada reported receiving funding of almost $835 million in 2012/2013 (Table 1). Government sources contributed the vast majority of this amount at 93% of the total.

The remaining 7% of funding was received from client contributions and cost recoveries from legal settlements, contributions of the legal profession and other sources.

Requesting Mutual Legal Assistance from Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide

March 10, 2014 Comments off

Requesting Mutual Legal Assistance from Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide (PDF)
Source: Department of Justice (CA)

A foreign state may request assistance from Canada in the gathering of evidence or the enforcement of some criminal orders (seizure orders, confiscation orders, fines) through three separate routes: (i) treaty and convention requests, (ii) letters rogatory (court issued non-treaty letter of request) and (iii) non-treaty requests. In rare circumstances, Canada may enter into an administrative arrangement with a non-treaty country to give effect to an individual request for assistance, for a time-limited period. The widest assistance can be provided for treaty or convention requests. More limited assistance is available for letters rogatory and non-treaty requests.

Canada and the Asia-Pacific Region Statistical Overview

February 26, 2014 Comments off

Canada and the Asia-Pacific Region Statistical Overview
Source: Library of Parliament

This paper provides a statistical representation of the demographics and economics of 21 member “economies” of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic forum: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

Canadian Heritage Designations

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Canadian Heritage Designations
Source: Library of Parliament

Over the years, the federal government has granted 3,500 heritage designations to places, buildings, events and people of historical significance. These designations, which showcase the creativity and cultural traditions of Canadians, commemorate significant events in Canada’s history and foster understanding about how the country was built.

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada: The Federal Role in Mental Health

January 22, 2014 Comments off

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada: The Federal Role in Mental Health
Source: Library of Parliament (CA)

There are many definitions of mental health; some are more encompassing than others, but most address several aspects of a person’s well-being. The World Health Organization’s widely used definition is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

One of the primary Canadian definitions of mental health, that of the Public Health Agency of Canada, is even more holistic:

[Mental health is] the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.

This paper identifies the role that the federal government plays in this broad area. It outlines the jurisdictional basis for that role in such areas as direct service provision to certain population groups; the funding of pan-Canadian mental health programs, services and initiatives; and criminal law. It then describes the programs and initiatives that the federal government has introduced in these areas.

Bitcoin: A Popular Virtual Currency

January 14, 2014 Comments off

Bitcoin: A Popular Virtual Currency
Source: Library of Parliament (CA)

In 2009, Bitcoin, the world’s first digital, decentralized and partially anonymous currency system, was created on the Internet by Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown programmer or group of programmers.

Bitcoins are computer files that can be used to purchase real and virtual products globally. Unlike traditional currency, bitcoins are not issued by governments or central banks. Nor is the value of bitcoins guaranteed by governments, as is the case with traditional currencies.

The Bitcoin currency system has received extensive media attention, and legislators in a number of countries are examining the implications of employing bitcoins and other virtual currencies. This Hillnote assesses the way in which the Bitcoin currency system works and how the supply and value of bitcoins have changed over time, as well as legislative and regulatory actions that are contemplated in relation to virtual currencies.

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada: Mental Health in the Canadian Forces and Among Veterans

December 18, 2013 Comments off

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada: Mental Health in the Canadian Forces and Among Veterans
Source: Library of Parliament

On 7 July 2011, after nine and a half years in Afghanistan, Canada officially terminated its military combat operations in that country. Approximately 1,000 members of the Canadian Forces (CF) will nevertheless remain there until 2014 to provide training support for Afghan security forces.

A total of approximately 30,000 Canadian service personnel were deployed to Afghanistan, which in terms of strength exceeds Canadian participation in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953, thereby making the deployment in Afghanistan the largest Canadian military operation since the Second World War. One hundred and fifty-eight soldiers and four civilians died in Afghanistan.

The potential psychological after-effects of involvement in military operations are usually described by the medical term “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD), or the military and police term “operational stress injury.” These after-effects are more difficult to anticipate than physical injuries because they are less visible, reluctantly reported by those who suffer from them, and because the symptoms may only appear years after the traumatic event. Our understanding of the condition is therefore imperfect, and there are no certainties, except for the distress of those affected.

Co-offending in Canada, 2011

November 25, 2013 Comments off

Co-offending in Canada, 2011
Source: Statistics Canada

Police-reported crime statistics provide a wealth of information on the number and type of criminal offences committed in Canada each year, yet few studies have looked at the issue of co-offending: crimes committed by two or more people. Traditional crime statistics tend to focus on the number of incidents and the characteristics of offenders or victims, and have yet to explore incident characteristics of crimes committed by groups of people.

Co-offences can be categorized into pair crimes, those incidents committed by 2 offenders, and group crimes, which involve 3 or more offenders. Measuring the nature and extent of co-offending is an area of importance as previous studies have shown that co-offences are, on average, more serious than those involving a lone offender (Carrington 2002). Further, pair and group crimes are evidence of collaboration among offenders and play a role in the recruitment of new offenders (van Mastrigt and Farrington 2011).

Using police-reported information from the 2011 Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) Survey, this Juristat article addresses three key questions related to co-offending:

  1. Prevalence: how many incidents reported by police in 2011 were committed by 2 or more people, and how did this vary over time and by jurisdiction?
  2. Associated factors: which factors (i.e. age, sex, offence type) are associated with increased rates of co-offending?
  3. Seriousness: are co-offending incidents more or less serious compared to incidents committed by a lone accused? The seriousness of an incident can be assessed using many factors, including the use of weapons during the commission of the offence, and injuries incurred by victims, to name a few.

In addition to exploring these three key questions, this Juristat article also examines other areas related to co-offending, including street gangs, and concludes with an examination of the clearance rates of those accused of co-offences.

On the Homefront: Assessing the Well-being of Canada’s Military Families in the New Millennium

November 18, 2013 Comments off

On the Homefront: Assessing the Well-being of Canada’s Military Families in the New Millennium
Source: National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman

Canadian military families have changed.
Canadian military families have changed, just as Canadian families generally have changed. Today’s CF family is patently different than that of previous generations – changes that in many ways reflect shifting Canadian societal norms and expectations. Increasingly, traditional family structures have given way to more complex and transitional arrangements.

Defining the modern family has become increasingly complex, and there is little consensus on a single characterization. This systemic review found that DND/CF does not have a single definition of ‘family,’ but rather uses multiple definitions depending on the policy, program or office.

Canadian military families are similar to civilian Canadian families, but differ in several distinctive ways.
Three characteristics shape the CF lifestyle for both serving members and their families. These impact the vast majority of serving members over major portions of their careers and are central to military life.

Mobility
Military families are required to geographically relocate on a recurring basis. These relocations occur at the discretion of the CF in response to its organizational and operational needs. The CF decides when a family will be posted, where it will be posted to, and the length of time it will spend there.

Most CF members relocate repeatedly throughout their military service to locations and during timeframes over which they have little input.

Separation
As with postings from one region to another, CF members are required to be away from their families frequently throughout much of their careers. These separations can last from a single day to up to 15 months at a time. Some CF members are away more often than others, though almost none are never away. Separation is an integral part of military life.

Risk
The notion of risk, including the possibility of permanent injury, illness or even death, is accepted as a central tenet of the profession of arms. Contrary to popular belief, this risk is not limited to far-flung missions. Preparing for combat operations requires intensive, realistic simulation, employed in all types of environments, conditions and scenarios, pushing individuals to their physical and mental limits. This can be a perilous combination, and training injuries and deaths do occur despite the many precautions and safety measures put in place.

In isolation, none of these three characteristics is unique to CF members and their families. When combined, the distinctiveness of the military career becomes more obvious. Few occupations or professions expose the overwhelming majority of its people to recurring geographic relocation, relentless separation and elevated levels of risk as a matter of course throughout much of their careers.

CA — Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault

November 14, 2013 Comments off

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault (PDF)
Source: Department of Justice (CA)

Over the past three decades, the Canadian criminal law on sexual assault and other sexual offences has changed quite significantly through both the courts and parliament. It is now recognized that males, both as children and as adults, can be victims and survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. The majority of victims of sexual assault are female and there is a significant body of research from many disciplines examining the criminal and civil justice system responses, impacts, treatment, etc. The body of research on male victims is much more limited likely due to the smaller numbers and challenges recruiting representative samples. This research study examines the experiences of male survivors of both child sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual assault (ASA).

Canada — Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault

November 11, 2013 Comments off

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault (PDF)
Source: Department of Justice Canada

Over the past three decades, the Canadian criminal law on sexual assault and other sexual offences has changed quite significantly through both the courts and parliament. It is now recognized that males, both as children and as adults, can be victims and survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. The majority of victims of sexual assault are female and there is a significant body of research from many disciplines examining the criminal and civil justice system responses, impacts, treatment, etc. The body of research on male victims is much more limited likely due to the smaller numbers and challenges recruiting representative samples. This research study examines the experiences of male survivors of both child sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual assault (ASA).

In Canada, statistics come from police-reported and self-reported data. The police-reported data for 2010 show that males accounted for 12% of sexual assault victims (Levels 1, 2 and 3) (Brennan 2012). In nearly half (47%) of police-reported sexual assaults against male victims in 2008, the accused was someone known to the victim (e.g., friend, acquaintance, or current/former dating partner), but was not a family member. In 2009, the self-reported sexual assault victimization rate for males was half the rate for females (15 vs. 34 per 1,000) (Perrault and Brennan 2010, 22) and it is estimated that the majority of sexual assaults against males and females (88%) are not reported to police (Perreault and Brennan 2010, 14).

CA — The Health Effects of Conducted Energy Weapons

October 16, 2013 Comments off

The Health Effects of Conducted Energy Weapons
Source: Council of Canadian Academies

The use of conducted energy weapons (CEWs) by law enforcement agencies around the world has grown rapidly in recent years. CEWs are devices that use electrical energy to induce pain or to immobilize or incapacitate a person. The health effects of CEWs are one of several factors that police and correctional agencies, policy-makers, and front-line personnel must take into account when deciding whether such devices should be used in the field.

To better understand the health-related effects of CEWs, Defence Research and Development Canada requested an independent, evidence-based assessment of the state of scientific knowledge regarding the medical and physiological impacts of conducted energy weapons. The Council of Canadian Academies worked collaboratively with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences on this science-based assessment.

The assessment was conducted by a 14-member expert panel and chaired by the Honourable Justice Stephen T. Goudge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

The panel’s final report details the following:

  • the history of CEW use in Canada;
  • statistics of CEW use and related injuries and deaths in Canada;
  • the design, operation and intended effects of CEWs;
  • physiological and health effects associated with CEWs;
  • the role of CEWs in sudden in-custody death; and
  • insights on the state of current evidence, research gaps and needs.

The State of Industrial R&D in Canada

October 15, 2013 Comments off

The State of Industrial R&D in Canada
Source: Council of Canadian Academies

The Minister of Industry, on behalf of Industry Canada, asked the Council of Canadian Academies to assess industrial research and development (IR&D) in Canada.

To conduct this assessment the Council assembled a 14-member expert panel who met over the course of 14 months to consider the most relevant evidence possible.

The report, The State of Industrial R&D in Canada, provides an in-depth analysis of research and development activities in Canadian industries and is one of the most detailed and systematic studies of the state of IR&D ever undertaken in Canada.

While many reports have documented Canada’s historical weakness in industrial R&D, the Panel’s report sheds new light on the subject by examining areas of strength and how these strengths are distributed regionally. The report also examines the alignment of IR&D strengths with Canada’s areas of excellence in science and technology research and economic performance. Barriers and gaps that limit the translation of Canada’s S&T strengths into innovation and wealth creation are also identified.

Canada — Annual report on the use of electronic surveillance – 2012

October 7, 2013 Comments off

Annual report on the use of electronic surveillance – 2012
Source: Public Safety Canada

As a measure of accountability, section 195 of the Criminal Code requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to prepare and present to Parliament an annual report on the use of electronic surveillance under Part VI for offences that may be prosecuted by or on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada. In particular, the annual report must include the following information:

  • the number of applications made for authorizations, or for renewal of authorizations;
  • the number of applications granted with or without terms and conditions, as well as the number of applications that were refused;
  • the number of persons identified in an authorization who were charged for various offences;
  • the number of persons not identified in an authorization, but who were arrested or charged for various offences because they became known to peace officers as a result of authorized surveillance;
  • the average time for which authorizations were issued and for which renewals were granted;
  • the number of authorizations valid for more than 60, 120, 180 and 240 days;
  • the number of notifications given to people who had private communications intercepted;
  • the types of offences for which authorizations were granted;
  • a description of the classes of places set out in authorizations, and the number of authorizations granted for each class of place;
  • a general description of the methods of interception used;
  • the number of proceedings in which intercepted communications were entered as evidence; and
  • the number of investigations in which information from intercepted communications was used but the communication itself was not entered as evidence.

The 2012 Annual Report covers a five-year period from 2008 to 2012. The Report includes new statistics for the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012, and updates the figures for the years 2008 to 2011.

The 2012 Annual Report is organized in the following manner:

  • Section II provides an overview of the procedures and processes set out in Part VI of the Criminal Code. Information on section 487.01 of the Criminal Code is also provided since the law enforcement community can obtain the authority to conduct video surveillance by applying for a general warrant pursuant to this section.
  • Section III presents the statistical information that must be included in each annual report pursuant to subsections 195(2) and 195(3) of the Criminal Code.
  • Section IV provides a general assessment of the importance of electronic surveillance for the investigation, detection, prevention, and prosecution of offences as required by paragraph 195(3)(b) of the Criminal Code.
  • Appendix A provides a list of agents designated by the Minister or Deputy Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness who made an application for an authorization under sections 185 and/or 487.01 of the Criminal Code.
  • Appendix B lists peace officers designated by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness who made an application for an authorization under sections 188 and/or 487.01 of the Criminal Code.

Aquaculture in Canada

October 7, 2013 Comments off

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.

CA — Organized Crime Research Highlights

September 26, 2013 Comments off

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

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