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Canada — Police-reported hate crimes, 2012

July 2, 2014 Comments off

Police-reported hate crimes, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

In 2012, police reported 1,414 criminal incidents motivated by hate in Canada, 82 more incidents than in 2011. These hate crimes represented 4.1 incidents per 100,000 population.

In 2012, about half of all hate crimes (704 incidents, or 51%) were motivated by hatred toward a race or ethnicity such as Black, Asian, Arab or Aboriginal populations. Another 419 incidents, or 30%, were motivated by hatred towards a particular religion, including hate crimes targeting Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other religions.

An additional 13% (185 incidents) were motivated by sexual orientation, while the remaining 6% of hate crimes were motivated by language, mental or physical disability, sex, age or some other characteristic (such as occupation or political beliefs).

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Canada — Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada has partnered with Special Olympics Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation to increase opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity.

Special Olympics Canada currently runs two initiatives, called “Active Start” and “FUNdamentals,” that provide children with an intellectual disability the opportunity to improve physical, social and cognitive abilities, thereby establishing a foundation for being physically active and healthy. With funding from the Government of Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation, these programs will be expanded, reaching more children across Canada.

The goal of this partnership is to promote healthy living and healthy weights among children living with intellectual disability.

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada — Annual Report 2013–2014

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada — Annual Report 2013–2014
Source: Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada

Access to information is an essential tenet of democracy. By being able to request and receive government information, the public can more effectively ensure federal institutions are transparent in their dealings and accountable for the decisions they make.

The Information Commissioner strives to uphold the right of access by investigating complaints about federal institutions’ handling of requests for information. The cases the Commissioner investigates each year reflect the many roles the federal government plays in Canadian society and the myriad ways federal programs and services touch individual lives.

As a result of the Commissioner’s interventions, requesters in 2013–2014 received information from institutions more quickly than they otherwise would have and had administrative matters, such as the charging of fees, resolved. Another outcome of the Commissioner’s investigations was that requesters received additional records from institutions. Overall, 54 percent of the 680 investigations that involved a refusal to grant access to records and that the Commissioner settled or completed with a finding resulted in institutions’ disclosing more information to the requester.

The Commissioner continued to pursue strategies targeted at effectively and efficiently closing files dealing with national security, international affairs and defence matters, and complaints against the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Through a variety of approaches, the Commissioner closed 565 such complaints. As of March 31, 2014, these three groups of files accounted for 38 percent of the inventory of complaints, compared to 46 percent a year earlier.

In late March 2014, the Commissioner filed a notice of appeal in a case decided by the Federal Court that focused on a 1,110-day time extension National Defence had taken to respond to a request. She also pursued numerous other legal cases, including a variety dealing with the disclosure of third-party information by institutions.

The Commissioner continued her dialogue with the President of the Treasury Board on ways to improve the access to information system. In addition, during appearances before Parliament, the Commissioner provided her perspective on a private members’ bill that proposed to replace the CBC’s unique exclusion in the Act with an exemption, and spoke in favour of extending the coverage of the Access to Information Act to the administration of Parliament.

Finally, the Commissioner laid the groundwork for developing a new strategic plan. The new plan, to be launched in the fall of 2014, will guide her office to the end of her current mandate in 2017. The focus of the plan will be on achieving the highest level of performance in investigating complaints and continuing to be an effective catalyst for advancing access, and fostering openness and transparency.

CA — Victims of Crime Research Digest (Issue 7, 2014)

June 7, 2014 Comments off

Victims of Crime Research Digest (Issue 7, 2014) (PDF)
Source: Justice Canada

This issue of the Digest begins with an article by Lisa Ha on cyberbullying in Canada, on what we know and what we do not know. In the second article, Melissa Lindsay provides a look at how technology is being used in all the jurisdictions to improve access to victim services. Next, Susan McDonald and Lara Rooney present the social science research on support animals, dogs in particular, and the role they could play in supporting victims of crime. This is followed by an article by Susan McDonald who examines third party records case law from 2003 to 2010, an update from previous case law reviews. And finally, in the last article, André Solecki and Katie Scrim take a look at the human cost of impaired driving by mapping and analyzing incidents of impaired driving causing death across Canada in 2012.

Prostitution in Canada: Overview and options for reform

June 6, 2014 Comments off

Prostitution in Canada: Overview and options for reform
Source: Library of Parliament

Since the Criminal Code came into force in 1892, adult prostitution has not in itself been illegal in Canada, although many activities surrounding prostitution are.

Today, provisions relating to prostitution are set out in sections 210 to 213 of the Code. They include the offences of keeping, using or transporting a person to a bawdy-house (brothel); procuring and living on the avails of prostitution; and communicating in public.

Over the last 30 years, these provisions have been debated in a variety of contexts. Among others:

  • in 1985, a Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution recommended several legal and social reforms; and
  • in 2006, a subcommittee of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights issued a report on prostitution.

Police-reported sexual offences against children and youth in Canada, 2012

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Police-reported sexual offences against children and youth in Canada, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

There were about 14,000 children and youth (under the age of 18) who were victims of a police-reported sexual offence in Canada in 2012. This represented a rate of 205 for every 100,000 children and youth. Overall, the rate of police-reported sexual offences against children and youth decreased for the second consecutive year in 2012, and was similar to the rate reported by police in 2009.

Nevertheless, children and youth continued to account for more than half (55%) of the victims of sexual offences reported by police, even though they make up 20% of the Canadian population. Police classified about three in four (72%) of these victims as victims of level 1 sexual assault.

Female children and youth were victims of police-reported sexual offences at a higher rate than male children and youth. There were 341 female child or youth victims of police-reported sexual offences for every 100,000 female children and youth in Canada, about five times higher than the rate for males (75 per 100,000 male children and youth).

Dispelling the Fog Around “Cloud Computing”

June 2, 2014 Comments off

Dispelling the Fog Around “Cloud Computing”
Source: Library of Parliament (Canada)

Since the invention of computers, all materials created or operating on the devices – documents, photos, company files and programs – have been stored on the computers themselves or on an external storage device (floppy disk, memory stick, external hard drive, etc). But the advent of the phenomenon called “cloud computing” has revolutionized the way in which digitized items are kept.

In the simplest terms, “the cloud,” as it is called, allows users to store and access data and programs over the Internet instead of through on-premises storage devices.

The concept enables a shift away from the traditional model, where computing is done using location-specific hardware and software. In the new model, computing is conducted using off-site, third-party software and hardware accessible from any location through a broadband connection.

In a cloud computing model, information technology (IT) infrastructure is purchased as an on demand service rather than acquired through fixed capital investments.

Cloud computing offers a way for public and private sector organizations to reduce IT costs. The cost reductions, rapid scalability and flexibility of cloud solutions offer the potential for significant change in many sectors.

Firearms and violent crime in Canada, 2012

May 13, 2014 Comments off

Firearms and violent crime in Canada, 2012
Source: Statistics Canada

While firearm-related violent crime accounts for a relatively small proportion of all violent crime in Canada, it can have considerable physical, emotional, and psychological effects on those who are victimized, on families, and on communities (Hahn et al. 2005). As a result, firearm-related violent crime is a significant social concern. In addition, about one in five (21%) firearm-related deaths in Canada is the result of a criminal offence, while the majority (79%) are the result of suicide, accident, or legal intervention (Statistics Canada 2012).

The analysis of firearm-related violent crime in this Juristat relies on two separate data sources. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey provides data on firearms and police-reported violent crime while data on firearm-related homicides comes from the Homicide Survey. Quebec is excluded from the analysis of UCR data due to data quality issues; specifically, a large proportion of incidents where the most serious weapon present was reported as unknown. The analysis of firearm related homicides, however, includes all provinces and territories in Canada. As there are differences in coverage between the two data sources, they are used as separate yet complementary sources of data in order to analyze firearm-related violent crime in Canada.

Information on the types of firearm most frequently present and most frequently used in the commission of an offence, the relationship between the accused and victim, the level of injury, and the involvement of youth is presented. These findings are compared to violent crime committed without a firearm to further understand the nature of firearm-related violent crime in Canada. In addition to data from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey and the Homicide Survey, the Integrated Criminal Court Survey is used in this Juristat to examine court case processing of violent offences involving a firearm.

CA — Auditor General releases Spring 2014 Report

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Auditor General releases Spring 2014 Report
Source: Office of the Auditor General of Canada

In his Spring 2014 report tabled today in Parliament, Auditor General Michael Ferguson examines a number of different areas, including public sector pension plans and the expansion of federal correctional facilities, which illustrate how important it is for government to consider both the long and short term perspectives in its planning.

“As some of these audits show, government can become caught in a cycle of reacting to pressures, whether to mitigate capacity concerns in prisons or meet program timelines,” said Mr. Ferguson. “Though government should work to provide Canadians with programs and services in a timely fashion, planning should also look beyond the needs of the day.”

“Better long-term planning is achievable in many of the areas we are reporting on today, and would improve results for Canadians and make better use of taxpayer dollars,” added Mr. Ferguson.

The report also looks at procuring relocation services, outsourcing of building management services, aggressive tax planning, the First Nations Policing Program, selected transfer payment programs administered by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and the quality control framework supporting selected data products produced by Statistics Canada. Main points of the special examinations of the Laurentian Pilotage Authority and the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, completed since Spring 2013, are also included in the Auditor General’s Spring report.

Canada — Family law cases in the civil courts, 2012/2013

May 9, 2014 Comments off

Family law cases in the civil courts, 2012/2013
Source: Statistics Canada

The civil court system in Canada deals with family law cases as well as a wide variety of other civil issues such as lawsuits and contract disputes. Every year, families make use of the civil court system to resolve issues related to family breakdown, including, divorce, separation, child custody, access and support, and other family issues. Concerned with the burden and costs of family law court cases (on both families and courts), federal, provincial and territorial governments have put in place an increasing number of family justice services to help couples come to agreement without having to go to court, or if need be, to help them through the court process. These include parent information programs and centres, mediation and alternate dispute resolution. In addition, the federal government publishes Child Support tables based on federal and provincial guidelines to help families calculate standard child support amounts. In spite of the increased availability of these services, there is still concern that family law court cases are complex and lengthy and comprise a substantial amount of civil court activity.

Using information from the Statistics Canada Civil Court Survey (CCS), this Juristat article looks in more detail at the activity of different types of family law cases within the civil court system.Note 2 The first part of the report looks at the characteristics of family law cases active in 2012/2013. The second part of the report then examines the court activity (documents filed, hearings and judgments) of different types of family law cases over time, examining the activity of cases initiated in 2008/2009.

It is important to note that court activity will vary for different types of cases. The fact that a case involves many court events or continues to be active may be a function of the type of case (e.g. adoption compared to a complex divorce or separation), the individual family circumstances, or the number of issues that a case needs to address, and not a function of the court process itself.

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?

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.

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