Source: Library of Parliament
Youth crime in general, and violent youth crime in particular, is a significant source of concern to many Canadians. In part, the concern is connected with an impression that crime committed by young people is on the rise, though the latest police statistics indicate that by 2011 the youth crime rate had fallen by 22% compared with 2001.1 The drop in youth crime rates over this period was mainly the result of a decrease in property crime. The rate of violent crimes in which the alleged perpetrator is a young person decreased by 12% between 2001 and 2011, while the rate of youth property crime dropped by 31%.2 In 2011, police identified 135,647 alleged youth criminals, of whom 42,799 were suspected of violent crimes.3
The data provided by Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index also show a 22% decline in the severity of all crimes committed by young people in 2011 compared with 2001.4 A significant part of this decline stems from a 33% decrease in the severity of non-violent crime. During this period, the severity of youth violent crime decreased by 3.1%.5
In attempts to address the concerns of Canadians and to react to the youth crime problem, lawmakers have, from time to time, proposed amendments to youth justice legislation. This document provides an overview of the principal legislative provisions that govern the way in which the police, the courts and the correctional systems must deal with those between 12 and 17 years of age when they are charged with a crime. The first section briefly traces the evolution of Canadian legislation in the area. The second section describes the philosophy and principles underlying the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), which currently governs criminal and justice matters affecting young people in Canada. The third section briefly outlines the sentences imposed on those convicted of an offence as a young person. The final section deals with the possible consequences of a conviction under the YCJA, specifically how criminal records are established and kept and how bodily substances may be taken in order to store a young person’s DNA in the National DNA Data Bank administered by the RCMP.
Telecommunications and Lawful Access: The Legislative Situation in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia
Source: Library of Parliament, Canada
This paper deals with “lawful access,”an investigative technique used by law enforcement agencies and national security agencies. It involves the interception of communications and seizure of information during a search, where authorized by law.
Source: Library of Parliament, Canada
Two recent pipeline proposals – the KeyStone XL in the United States and the Northern Gateway in Canada – have captured the public’s attention.
This year, the Library of Parliament has published three papers on pipelines to shed light on the need for pipelines, environmental concerns, and how the federal government approves pipeline construction. This HillNote summarizes these papers.
Canada — There is no single solution to maximize the presence and potential of women in university research, concludes Expert Panel
Source: Council of Canadian Academies
An in-depth, authoritative assessment of women in university research has found that although there has been significant progress in the representation of women in the university research ranks, there are still gender equity challenges that must be overcome and the passage of time will not be enough to ensure parity.
A newly released report by the Council of Canadian Academies entitled, Strengthening Canada’s Research Capacity: The Gender Dimension provides an assessment of the the factors that influence university research careers of women. This assessment was requested by the Minister of Industry in the fall of 2010 after the notable absence of female candidates for the prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chairs program.
Canada — From Combat Stress to Operational Stress: The CF’s Mental Health Lessons from the “Decade of Darkn ess.”
Source: Canadian Military Journal
Today, the care provided for members of the Canadian Forces (CF) and veterans who experience mental health problems as a result of military service is arguably as good as it has ever been in our history. This enviable situation came about because of many improvements to the ways the Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) treat those with mental health problems, based upon lessons learned from the ‘Decade of Darkness’ – a time in the 1990s when the CF’s reputation in this area was at a historic low. The publication in 2000 of the findings of the Croatia Board of Inquiry (Croatia BOI) was the catalyst for many of these changes. It drew public attention to the shameful way Canada treated its wounded service personnel, suffering from both physical and mental wounds, in economically challenging times. Together, these changes resulted in a paradigm shift in how those suffering from mental health-related problems were dealt with by DND and VAC. The adoption by the CF of the term “Operational Stress Injury” (OSI), to encompass a wide range of mental health issues, and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, was symbolic of this paradigm shift, and it represents the progress made in addressing these issues.
However, the CF and veterans may be facing a new decade of darkness, as ominous economic circumstances and declining government support for the military have already reduced funding to all government programs, but especially defence – the government’s largest discretionary expenditure.5 This is to be expected, given the cyclical nature of public support for defence spending in Canada and that fact that, “Defence policy will receive, except in emergencies, what funds that are available and not funds white papers and rational strategies and commitments demand…” These cuts have already affected both serving members’ and veterans’ health programs. Furthermore, these cuts only address the current deficit in government spending, and it is widely recognized that, in the face of future efforts to reduce the national debt, current long-range defence spending plans are “unaffordable.”
Source: Library of Parliament — Canada
With some exceptions pertaining to specific issues or regions, cooperation in the North has not been a prominent goal of the international community until relatively recently. However, international cooperation began to evolve rapidly after then Soviet Secretary-General Mikhail Gorbachev delivered a speech in 1987 calling for “a genuine zone of peace and fruitful cooperation” among Arctic states.1 There is now a plethora of official bodies, both governmental and non-governmental, whose purpose is to manage various issues in the Arctic. Although none has any legal basis as established by, for instance, international treaty, these organizations have assumed an important role in the development of Arctic cooperation. This paper provides information, largely derived from Internet sites, about some of the more important of these organizations, with particular emphasis on the Arctic Council and some domestic Canadian examples.
Source: Library of Parliament — Canda
Although the Arctic is remote and sparsely populated, it is under threat from environmental stresses largely originating in distant regions. Three main interrelated issues regarding the Arctic environment are climate change, changes in biological diversity, and the accumulation of toxic substances. The effects of these changes are becoming increasingly evident in the North. In addition, the Arctic appears to be a harbinger of environmental change as well as a key determinant of that change, particularly changes in climate.
This paper briefly describes some of the environmental issues that affect the Far North1 and lists some of the efforts being made internationally and in Canada to protect the Arctic environment.
Police-reported crime statistics, 2011
Source: Statistics Canada
The police-reported crime rate, which measures the overall volume of crime, continued its long-term downward trend in 2011, declining 6% from 2010. The Crime Severity Index, which measures the severity of crime, also fell 6%.
CA — Science Advisory Report 2011/071: Binational ecological risk assessment of the bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys spp.) for the Great Lakes basin
Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- The most likely entry point into the Great Lakes basin is the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) into Lake Michigan. The effectiveness of the electrical barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) was not evaluated. Nevertheless, the complex nature of the CAWS and proximity of bigheaded carp populations led to the conclusion this is the most likely entry point.
- Once bigheaded carps have gained entry into the basin, they are expected to spread to other lakes within 20 years. The spread will be more rapid for lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie, and potentially Lake Superior; longer for Lake Ontario.
- Bigheaded carps would find suitable food, and thermal and spawning habitats in the Great Lakes basin that would allow them to survive and become established. The areas that would be attractive and favorable are Lake Erie, including Lake St. Clair, and high productivity embayments of lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Ontario.
- There is a greater than 50% probability of successful mating each year with very few (< 10) adult females (and a similar number of adult males) within the basin of a Great Lake.
- Population growth is most sensitive to the survivorship of juveniles.
- The consequences of an established bigheaded carp population are expected to include changes in planktonic communities, reduction in planktivore biomass, reduced recruitment of fishes with early pelagic life stages, and reduced stocks of piscivores.
- To reduce the probability of introduction (either at the arrival, survival, establishment or spread stage), and delay or reduce subsequent ecological consequences, immediate prevention activities would be most effective, especially in conjunction with population management activities at the invasion front.
Adult criminal court statistics in Canada, 2010/2011
Source: Statistics Canada
One of the key components of Canada’s criminal justice system is the courts. The criminal court system consists of multiple levels of court with responsibility shared between federal, provincial and territorial governments. Each court is responsible for making decisions regarding the culpability of those accused of a criminal offence. In addition, for those found guilty (or who plead guilty), courts are responsible for determining an appropriate sentence to be imposed (Department of Justice Canada 2005b).
Using data from the adult component of the 2010/2011 Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS), this Juristat article presents information on the characteristics of criminal court cases involving adults (18 years and older).1 More specifically, it examines the number and types of cases completed in adult criminal courts, the decisions made in relation to these cases and the sentences imposed upon those found guilty. In addition, this article looks briefly at the length of time taken to complete adult criminal court cases and the factors that influence timeliness.
It is important to note that the data presented in this article represent approximately 95% of the caseload completed in Canadian adult criminal courts. In 2010/2011, information from superior courts in Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as municipal courts in Quebec (which accounted for about one-quarter of all Criminal Code charges in that province) was unavailable.
Aging prisoners represent a special population that require addressing specific needs, particularly elements concerning adjustment, rehabilitation, programming, and parole (Aday, 1994). Most of the existing literature examining the needs of the aging prison population originates in the United States, and typically limits its sample to male offenders. Consequently, there is a need to examine the different characteristics and needs of older women offenders in Canada, in both a correctional and community setting.The purpose of this study was to: 1) to provide a comprehensive profile of older women offenders; 2) to compare the assessed levels of risk and need of older women and younger women offenders; and 3) to assess the relevance/use of a typology to classify older women offenders.For the current study, the age criterion for older women offenders was 50 years or older. CSC’s Offender Management System (OMS) was used to retrieve data on the study group (older women) and the comparison group (younger women). Both groups were composed of 160 women, of which 54 were in custody and 106 were under community supervision.Results suggest that, older women were rated as having lower overall needs, lower overall risk, and a higher reintegration potential when compared to women offenders under the age of 50. Compared to younger women, older women were found to have lower needs in the domains of employment, associates, substance abuse, and attitude.Looking at institutional misconduct, results suggest that older women are less likely to be victims or perpetrators of minor or major institutional incidents than their younger counterparts. With regard to programming, it was found that older women were significantly less likely to enrol in, or complete educational programs. They were also less likely than younger women to enrol in substance abuse programs, or psychology programs. However, they were significantly more likely to enrol in and complete ‘other’ programs (e.g., chaplaincy, personal development) than their younger counterparts.In order to examine a potential typology for older women offenders, criminal histories were examined. It was found that the majority of older women (80%) were serving time for their first federal sentence. Additionally, 50% of the older women offenders were serving a sentence for homicide. Ultimately, in attempts to delineate older women into a typology based on older male offenders, results revealed that older women did not fit flawlessly into the male typology. A more appropriate typology, specific to older women offenders may therefore exist.
Canadians’ perceptions of personal safety and crime, 2009
Source: Statistics Canada
The effects of crime are vast and varied, and may result in many physical, financial, and emotional consequences for those directly involved. Moreover, the effects of crime can extend beyond victims (Jackson 2006, Gardner 2008). Previous research has shown that indirect exposure to crime can impact feelings of security within entire communities, and may create a fear of crime. Fear of crime refers to the fear, rather than the probability, of being a victim of crime, and may not be reflective of the actual prevalence of crime (Fitzgerald 2008).
Self-reported victimization data have shown that, in Canada, rates of victimization have remained stable over the past decade (Perreault and Brennan 2010). In the same vein, police-reported data has shown decreases in both the amount and severity of crime, with the crime rate reaching its lowest point since 1973 (Brennan and Dauvergne 2011). Despite these findings, crime continues to remain an issue of concern for many Canadians.
Using data from the 2009 General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization, this Juristat article examines the perceptions of personal safety and crime of Canadians 15 years and older living in the 10 provinces. More specifically, it looks at their overall level of satisfaction with their personal safety from crime over time at the national, provincial and census metropolitan area levels. In addition, this article examines Canadians’ feelings of safety when performing various activities in their communities, and their use of crime prevention techniques in the previous 12 months. Finally, Canadians’ perceptions of the prevalence of crime and social disorder in their neighbourhoods are explored.