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Canada Announces Plan To Resettle Yazidi Refugees

Canada's Immigration Minister recently announced the government's plan to resettle Yazidi refugees.

Ever since U.S. President Donald Trump was inaugurated, he has wasted no time cracking down on immigration. His executive order that banned immigrants from Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. received backlash around the world. In a largely unprecedented move, many American federal judges even refused to uphold his order and challenged its constitutionality. Many have looked to Canada to see how it would respond in the face of its neighbour’s strict immigration policies. While Trump’s orders made his popularity plummet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau consistently lauded Canada’s diversity and inclusivity. Now, a new Liberal policy will turn his words into further action.

Who Are The Yazidis?

The Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen recently announced that approximately 400 survivors of ISIS have already entered Canada. The majority of these survivors are Yazidis from Iraq. These survivors have been coming into the country since the House of Commons unanimously agreed that Canada should take in Yazidi women and girls. Last year, the Conservatives made a motion to provide asylum to Yazidi women fleeing from genocide. The motion stipulated that ISIS is forcing the Yazidi women and girls to be sex slaves, and executing a genocide against their people as a whole. By the end of 2017, the Canadian government is aiming to resettle 1,200 Yazidi refugees. In addition to Yazidi women and children, these refugees will also include their male family members, and additional ISIS survivors.

While many have praised Canada for welcoming refugees fleeing terror, others do acknowledge that welcoming immigrants comes at a cost. News reports have claimed that resettling the Yazidi refugees will cost an estimated $28 million.

Next Steps

The government — and Canadians at large — must ultimately decide how many Yazidis to continue accepting in future. The international community applauded Canada for welcoming Syrian refugees with open arms, but it remains to be seen to what extent the same approach will be taken with the Yazidis. The government has already emphasized one notable difference in how it will resettle the Yazidis in comparison to previous groups. Given the volatile situation in Iraq, the government plans on acting with heightened discretion. As a result, it will minimize public photo opportunities and media coverage of Yazidis for security reasons.

Featured image source: CBC

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An Outcry In Court After Ontario Judge Wears Pro-Trump Cap

Following president-elect Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday, Ontario judge Bernd Zabel arrived at the John Sopinka courthouse in Hamilton wearing a cap in support of Trump.

Following the incident, legal observers have stated that Justice Zabel’s politically-fueled act goes against the judicial impartiality that the public should be able to rely upon. What is most troubling are Trump’s remarks regarding women and minorities.

When he entered the courtroom, in the usual garb that includes a black robe, red sash and white tie, his extra accessory stood out. Witnesses have said that he explained the addition of the hat as a way to mark the “historic occasion” that was Trump’s victory. He then took the hat off and left it sitting on the bench for everyone in the courtroom to see.

Kim Stanton, who is the legal director at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, also took issue with Zabel’s hat. She found it problematic because of  Trump’s derogatory comments about women, his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States, deporting immigrants and building a wall between Mexico and the U.S. For her, the idea that a Canadian judge would do what Zabel did could make women and minorities feel that they will not have a fair trial. Shahzad Siddiqui, a Muslim lawyer in Toronto, also feels that people in his community would feel uncomfortable, particularly women wearing the veil.

The dean at Osgoode Hall Law, Lorne Sossin, stated that he did not deem the incident worthy of misconduct, but that a warning should definitely be issued to avoid anything similar in the future. Section 1.1 of the Ontario Judicial Council’s principles of judicial office state that judges should maintain objectivity and should not show favour, bias or prejudice towards any party or interest.

William Trudell, who is the chair of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, has recommended that the incident should be dealt with internally. He called it an unusual situation and said that Zabel is a fine judge. He chalks it up to Wednesday being an unusual day in general, and went on to say that this misstep shows a human error and not a judicial error.

Article source: theglobeandmail.com

Featured image source: turner.com

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Why Canada May Start Making You Pay A”Netflix Tax”

Nowadays, there probably isn’t one person in Canada who doesn’t binge-watch shows and movies on Netflix. Or, if not Netflix, some other streaming service that offers an array of programs for a monthly fee.

That fee, however, may become a tad bit more expensive if the Canadian government steps in. Whether you’re watching shows on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service, a federal tax may be implemented that will force subscribers to pay an extra fee.

As of now, most of the major streaming services are all based outside of Canada, meaning none really have to pay any corporate taxes. And since such streaming services don’t operate within Canada, no HST or GST is charged to Canadian clients.

Also, since streaming services are removed from next-to-all national regulations, none have to pay into the Canadian Media Fund, a public-private organization created by the Department of Canadian Heritage to help finance new pieces of Canadian-made media.

All in all, Canada receives almost no monetary gains from streaming services. That doesn’t sit too well with the Canadian government. Netflix subscribers (and all other streaming service users) will likely have to pay up.

In an interview with CTV, Canada’s Heritage Minister Melanie Joly spoke about the issue of streaming services, commenting how “all scenarios” were being explored when it comes to such digital platforms and their relationship with Canadian media.

At one time the idea of forcing streaming services to pay a fee to the Canadian Media Fund was proposed, but Joly has gone on the record stating that won’t happen.

So how will the Canadian government create a means to benefit from streaming services? The likely result will be an added GST charge to subscriptions.

Joly could not comment whether or not a “Netflix Tax” will happen, how it will work, or what path the Canadian government will take in the context of streaming services. All that can be confirmed is the Canadian government is working towards a best-case scenario.

Unfortunately, as is often the case when it comes to the government and the opportunity to make extra money, a tax on citizens is usually seen as the best way to go about things.

Implementing a Netflix Tax will fall on the shoulders of the minister of finance, and Joly did state she would be speaking to Bill Morneau on the matter.

As it stands right now, you won’t be charged a sales tax for burning through every season of “Friends,” but that may change in the near future.

Featured image courtesy of: Wikimedia

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Public Employee In Legal Mess: Phoenix Payroll Problem

Darrel Delisle, a former contract worker for Global Affairs Canada, is stuck in a legal mess after suing the federal government over the Phoenix payroll problems.

A new computerized payroll system called Phoenix was introduced in Ottawa. It was discovered this year that, following glitches in the system, the two largest unions representing federal public servants were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues that were not properly collected. Since February of this year, more than 80,000 workers have had issues when it comes to being paid. Some are being paid too much, too little or not at all.

Delisle, the first person to sue the federal government regarding the Phoenix payroll problems, filed a lawsuit after struggling to get paid for three months while Phoenix was rolled out. Before filing the lawsuit, Delisle tried a number of different methods to get paid. This included calling the pay centre 635 times, sending emails, and by setting up meetings with superiors. He even tried filing a labour complaint, but it was rejected. He ultimately left Global Affairs in June. On July 14, he filed his lawsuit in small claims court seeking $24,000 “for the payment of wages, personal hardship experience and extreme inconvenience caused by this unacceptable administrative process imposed by the employer”.

However, in their defence statement, Global Affairs claims that Delisle was only owed $12,599 but was paid a lump sum of $26,707 on July 27. Global Affairs is now claiming that Delisle owes the government $14,692.

In an article by the CBC on the case, lawyer Sean McGee states that the way the government is handling this case could discourage other vulnerable workers from taking legal action. According the McGee, the government’s position on this lawsuit “sends the signal that people aren’t going to be able to take advantage of their rights”. He also stated the government’s response to the Phoenix payroll problem lawsuit could cause people in similar situations to question if they would even be able to work again after a public legal battle.

To learn more, visit the CBC News website.

Story source: CBC News

Featured image source: Career Builder

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Canadian MP Creating Federal Disability Legislation

We like to think that we live in an accessible culture, but the reality is that many busy public places are still not inclusive to all Canadians— and many people with disabilities in particular still struggle to see their rights recognized.

Carla Qualtrough is a human rights lawyer who is legally blind herself. An accomplished athlete — she’s a former Paralympian and world championship swimming medalist — she has also been put in charge of creating Canada’s first accessibility legislation.

Online consultations for this new law opened last month and will last until February 2017. Since the consultations have started, there have already been over 700 submissions sent in.

Next spring, Carla is set to report on the consultations that the government has received. Her aim is to have her legislation prepared to read in the Commons between the end of next year to the beginning of 2018.

Carla is an MP from Delta, B.C, and says that the fact that Trudeau gave her this cabinet position demonstrates that the rights of people with disabilities must be recognized in all of the cabinet’s decisions. According to Carla, while the country’s current laws may allow for people with disabilities t0 defend their rights, it does not do enough to sufficiently protect them in the first place. She says that it’s high time that the creativity that people with disabilities are forced to use every day to navigate the world around is recognized by the government.

However, some individual provinces have already set up legislation that recognizes the rights of people with disabilities. In 2005, The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was introduced with the objective of transforming Ontario into a fully accessible province in twenty years — by 2025.

Carla says she will study how other provinces and countries define accessibility in their laws, and that many of Ontario’s own regulations will be a model for Canada’s federal laws. One of her primary objectives is to create a universal, common definition for what a disability is. Once created, this definition would apply to all of the federal laws that would be created, and be recognized by provinces as well.

For more on this story, visit The Toronto Star.

Featured image source: CBC

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10 Of The Weirdest Canadian Laws

Our country is a great one, but just because we’re relatively young, it doesn’t mean we’re immune to some pretty strange laws. So whether you live here or you’re just visiting, it’s important to know the random laws you might be breaking. Here are 10 reminders why you should always never be too far from a professional who knows their way around the law, or at least knows how to research it, before you do something even remotely questionable.

1. In Halifax: No wearing a t-shirt if you’re a taxi driver
According to the Nova Scotia capital’s legislation, it is illegal for taxi drivers to wear shirts without collars or sleeves, as well as shorts or “ankle-length” pants.

2. In Fredericton: No carrying around your pet snake or lizard
In New Brunswick’s capital, you can’t bring your snake or any other reptile out into the street with you or into any public place, unless its in a cage or some kind of container that will confine it.

3. In Alberta: No painting wooden ladders
Province-wide, you just straight-up aren’t allowed to paint a wooden ladder. No ifs or buts about it.

4. In Alberta: No pet rats
Province-wide, you aren’t allowed to buy, own or sell a rat without a very specific permit.

5. In Sudbury: No sirens on your bike
In this Ontario town, the only noise-making device you’re allowed to have on your bike is a bell or horn, because a siren or any other artificial noise maker is considered unusual noise.

6. In Toronto: No swearing in public parks
In any park in Ontario’s capital, it is illegal to use any kind of profane language, be boisterous, be violent or threatening, or use abusive language.

7. In Windsor: No jamming in public spaces
A bylaw in this southern Ontario town states that you’re not allowed to make a racket with an instrument in parks or offices.

8. In Ontario: No keeping your horse if you don’t pay your hotel bill
Province-wide, if you run out on your hotel bill, the establishment can seize your horse, sell it, and keep the profits.

9. In Oshawa: No climbing trees
This one seems to be about protecting the Ontario town’s trees, which means you can’t attach anything to them, including yourself.

10. In Hay River: No dog sleds on the sidewalk
This town in the Northwest Territories allows you to have your dog on a leash on the sidewalk, but doesn’t allow a pack of dogs attached to a sled to run on the sidewalk.

Which one of these laws shocked you the most? Sound off in the comments below!

Article source: buzzfeed.com

Image source: mailermailer.com

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Is It Time To Change Canada’s HIV Disclosure Law?

The HIV disclosure law in Canada requires people with HIV to disclose their status to partners before engaging in sexual activity. If they don’t, they can be charged with aggravated sexual assault even if the virus isn’t transmitted. If convicted, they are automatically added to the sex-offenders registry and can face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Two men were arrested and accused earlier this August of failing to disclose their HIV status to their partners. These new cases have led advocates to argue against the legislation. They argue that there’s no proof to show that this law actually deters unsafe sexual activity, that it only contributes to the fear and stigma surrounding the disease, and that it makes HIV patients feel more isolated and fearful.

Sandra Chu, a member of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, also states that “people living with HIV tend to come from many marginalized groups already. (The law is) adding a further layer of marginalization and fear.”

In place of the current HIV disclosure law, Chu recommends that Canada adopt HIV legislation proposed by the United Nations. This legislation prosecutes “only people who knowingly and intentionally transmit the virus to their partner”.

UNAIDS stated in a 2012 report that there’s a lack of definite evidence as to whether criminalization deters HIV patients from exposing others. It also states that studies from Canada and the Unites States show that few people with HIV are aware of the legal requirements that come with their illness. The report adds that those that are aware probably already disclose their status to their partners.

UNAIDS also reports that Canada has convicted more people in connection with HIV non-disclosure, exposure, and transmission than any country in the world except the Unites States. According to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, there have been at least 180 HIV non-disclosure-related offences in Canada with 5 new cases in 2015. However, the Public Health Agency of Canada states that people with HIV/AIDS report increased feelings of fear and stigma as a result of these high-profile non-disclosure criminal cases.

To learn more about the cases and what advocates are saying regarding the law in Canada, check out the Toronto Star.

Featured image source: The Mix

Featured story source: Toronto Star

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5 Truly Strange Canadian Laws You Won’t Believe Exist

Understanding Canada’s complex legal system is far from an easy task. Even lawyers have a hard time, which is why legal management software and research tools are so handy. But even the most well-equipped citizen or legal professional can be caught off guard by the legal system, especially since Canada is home to more than a few (incredibly) strange laws.

While certain provinces are known to enforce a few laws that can only be described as wacky, there are several that are a part of Canada’s Criminal Code. So no matter where you are in the nation, the strange Canadian laws you’ll find below apply, so tread carefully.

It is illegal to pretend to practice witchcraft

As outlined in Section 365 of the Canadian Criminal Code, the criminal offence focuses on the “false pretense” of performing witchcraft or any similar mystical practice (i.e. telling fortunes). Somewhat odd about this law is the fact that it actually gives some credence to witchcraft itself, for if it is illegal to pretend to practice magic, it is legal for someone to truly perform magical feats.


It is illegal to create, possess, and sell crime comics

Fearing that “crime comics” (a popular form of comic books of the 1940s and 50s that focused on criminals and detectives rather than superheroes) would influence the minds of readers, Canada created a law in 1949 that explicitly bans them entirely. Crimes in comic books have been made illegal since, as stated in Section 163 of the Criminal Code of Canada, with the criminal in the story needing to be arrested or ultimately be foiled by the end of the comic.


It is illegal to provoke someone to a duel

There’s some strange wording in Section 71 of the Criminal Code, as the practice of provoking someone into duelling is illegal, but the actual act of duelling technically isn’t. While this may be a law created for a bygone era, make sure you keep this in mind the next time you need to defend someone’s honour.


It is illegal to pay entirely with change

Okay, so it isn’t truly illegal to pay with change, but there are certain cases in which it is. As stated in the Currency Act, specifically Section 8 on Legal Tender, there are limits to the amount you can pay in change. For example, you can only pay for a bill of $20 with nothing lower than a loonie, or five dollars with nickels.


It is illegal to scare the Queen

Even if you get the chance, don’t play an April Fool’s prank on Her Majesty, because it’s illegal in our fair nation. Defined in Section 49 of the Criminal Code, the law states that anyone “who willfully, in the presence of Her Majesty, does an act with intent to alarm Her Majesty” can be charged. Same goes for selling “defective stores” (better known as knock-offs) to the Queen.

Featured image courtesy of: Succo

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Proposed Legislation Aims To Protect Transgender People

On Tuesday, Canada introduced legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination, and Prime Minister Trudeau stated that every Canadian should be able to live without stigma. This move was made based on a Liberal election campaign promise, and it was designed to give transgender people in Canada equal status.

During a statement aptly made on Tuesday, which was the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Trudeau said that all Canadian should feel safe and secure, with the ability to freely express themselves.

According to the proposed legislation, transgender people will have the right to use bathrooms that correspond to their chosen gender, and be treated according to that chosen gender, too.

The legislation is expected to pass in Parliament’s lower house, since the Liberals hold the majority, and they are expected to receive support from the other parties, too. This kind of legislation resonates across the border, where the U.S. is actively debating the use of bathrooms by transgender people.

In the past 10 years, the lower house of Parliament has passed legislation to protect the rights of transgender people twice. Each time, it was brought forward by the opposition’s lawmakers with a private members bill, and each time, the bills didn’t make it to a final vote in the upper chamber before the parliamentary session ended for the year.

Part of the reason why the bill never came to a final vote in the upper chamber is due to ammendments from Conservative Senator Don Plett, which suggested controlling which bathrooms transgender individuals could use in public places.

Hopefully, this new legislation and announcement will be a step in the right direction and ensure that transgender people can live without stigma.

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Canadians Are Legally Required To Fill Out Long-Form 2016 Censuses

Whether it’s online, by phone, or on paper, being part of or taking a census isn’t really regarded as an enjoyable activity by most Canadians. If anything, censuses are generally seen as something of a nuisance to Canadians, given how long one can take to fill out.

But regardless of your personal feelings towards censuses, ready yourself should Statistics Canada send you access codes to be a part of their latest survey. For failing to oblige is actually a convictable crime.

Beginning May 2nd, 2016, the Statistics Canada 2016 survey will be sent to 1-in-4 Canadian households. Those chosen will receive access codes to then take the long-form census (which numbers to 36 pages) or have the option of filling out a hard copy version.

As mentioned, if any chosen household fails to complete the mandatory form, one could receive a $500 fine or be forcibly imprisoned for three months. Both summary convictions are also a possibility.

Statistics Canada reserves this power thanks to Section 31 of the Statistics Act which states that anyone who “refuses or neglects to answer, or willfully answers falsely” to the census questions or “knowingly gives false or misleading information or practices any other deception there under” can be charged with a summary offence.

Created in 1918, the Statistics Act provides Statistics Canada (originally the Dominion Bureau of Statistics) the power to “”collect, compile, analyze, abstract, and publish information on the economic, social and general conditions of the country and its citizens.”

While this does seem like an unfair amount of power given to an information-collection governmental agency, the Statistics Act also ensures that the identity of anyone partaking in a Statistics Canada census will be kept confidential.

The latest census to be sent out by Statistics Canada is longer than those of previous years, marking a return to the long-form, which was part of the Liberal Party’s platform during the election.

May 10th is currently marked as “Census Day” in Canada, the date in which the 2016 census should be completed. Of course, if you want to ensure you don’t receive any fines or the like, you can complete the census early and dodge any proverbial bullets.

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