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Canada — Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study

December 8, 2014 Comments off

Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study
Source: Health Canada

Health Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada and other external experts launched a multi-year research study in July 2012 to explore the relationship between exposure to sound levels produced from wind turbines and the extent of health effects reported by, and objectively measured in, those living near wind turbines.

The research design for the study was posted for a 60-day comment period to allow for public review and input. Feedback obtained through the consultation, as well as the responses provided by Health Canada officials, was compiled and posted on the Department’s website in alignment with transparent business practices.

Health Canada has released a summary of the results of the study. Results should only be considered final following peer review and publication in the scientific literature. The results of this study contribute to the body of peer-reviewed scientific research on wind turbine noise, but do not provide definitive answers on their own.

Mental Health of the Canadian Armed Forces

December 3, 2014 Comments off

Mental Health of the Canadian Armed Forces (PDF)
Source: Statistics Canada

Highlights
• In 2013, about 1 in 6 full-time Regular Force members of the Canadian Armed Forces reported symptoms of at least one of the following disorders: major depressive episode, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and alcohol abuse or dependence.
• Depression was the most common disorder with 8.0% of Regular Force members reporting symptoms in the past 12 months.
• The 12-month rates for post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder were twice as high among Regular Force members who had been deployed in support of the mission in Afghanistan compared to those who had not.
• Between 2002 and 2013 the rate of depression among Regular Force members has not changed, while the rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder increased.
• Regular Force members had higher rates of depression and generalized anxiety disorder than the general Canadian population.

CA — Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages – Annual Report

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages – Annual Report
Source: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Discusses the activities of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. It informs parliamentarians and Canadians about the status of official languages in Canada and contains recommendations to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the Official Languages Act. Examines Canada’s official languages in terms of political leadership, leadership in public administration, services to the public, language in the federal workplace, and promotion of linguistic duality.

Managing Tax Debt in Canada: A Challenge for Public Finances

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Managing Tax Debt in Canada: A Challenge for Public Finances
Source: Library of Parliament

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is responsible for administering income tax, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) and most other taxes on behalf of the federal government. The CRA also has agreements with all provinces and territories, except Quebec, to collect provincial and territorial taxes on their behalf.

One of the CRA’s main responsibilities is to ensure that taxpayers meet their obligations by paying the taxes they owe. In Canada, 94% of individuals and 90% of corporations pay their taxes on time and without CRA intervention.

When the CRA is unable to collect the amounts owing in a timely manner, this is referred to as tax debt. Despite the CRA’s best efforts, this tax debt is steadily growing. As of 31 March 2013, it was $31 billion,3 an increase of $2 billion (or nearly 7%) over the previous year.

This publication addresses the issue of tax debt as it relates to Canada’s public finances. It first presents the concept of “tax debt.” It then discusses the changes to federal tax debt in recent years – and related concepts – and presents the observations of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada on this subject. The final part of this paper analyzes the legislative framework related to the collection of tax debt.

CA — 2013-14 Privacy Act Annual Report to Parliament

November 4, 2014 Comments off

2013-14 Privacy Act Annual Report to Parliament
Source: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The year in particular was marked by the continuation of a long-running debate in Canada about lawful access to subscriber information along with a series of ongoing revelations about state surveillance activities that had impact globally as well as within our borders.

As another indicator, statistics show there was a continued rise in the number of complaints. Also continuing are complaints from a large number of individuals that arise from a single event. For example, the Office is currently investigating 339 complaints over a mass mailing by Health Canada which allegedly exposed the names and mailing addresses of some 40,000 people involved in the marijuana medical access program.

In a year where perhaps unprecedented attention was paid to public sector data breaches, the 228 separate data breaches voluntarily reported across the federal government in 2013-2014 were more than double those from the previous fiscal year. This marked the third consecutive year where a record high was reached for such reports. Accidental disclosure was provided as the reason indicated by reporting organizations behind more than two-thirds of the breaches.

Witness Protection Programs in Selected Countries

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Witness Protection Programs in Selected Countries (PDF)
Source: Public Safety Canada

Effective witness protection is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system in the fight against organized crime. Traditional witness protection focuses on the safety of the witness. Experience shows, however, that individuals are not willing unless they have confidence that the State will protect their rights and safety as well as those of their immediate family.

Witness protection programs serve many purposes. They provide opportunities for victims and witnesses to participate in a criminal process with the expectation that they and their families will not be put in danger. They offer the hope of accountability and give threatened witnesses a way to seek shelter from the scene of victimization. Witness protection provides a space in which individual traumas may be treated and enables a victim/witness to regain more control over their life. It can also lead to a serious disruption of the lifestyle of the witness and any persons accompanying them into the program. It may even have implications for third parties. For these reasons, witness protection programs must have a good foundation in legislation or policy.

This paper reviews the practices and outcomes of witness protection programs using open source literature on the legislation and practices followed in Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) and compares them with both federal and provincial programs in Canada.

CA — Applications for Ministerial Review, Miscarriages of Justice – Annual Report

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Applications for Ministerial Review, Miscarriages of Justice – Annual Report
Source: Justice Canada

Under Canadian law, the Minister of Justice has the authority to review a criminal conviction to determine whether there has been a miscarriage of justice. This report outlines the history of this power, describes the role of the Department of Justice in such reviews, and outlines how the criminal conviction review process works. It provides statistical information, examines various emerging issues, and describes developments expected in the coming year.

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