A fee re-think…

Feb 14, 2017

 CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Canadian citizenship applications decline after processing fees triple – Experts say prohibitive cost is causing some immigrants to delay becoming new Canadians

The senate has begun hearings on amending the Citizenship Act (Bill C-6) and former Immigration and Citizenship director general Andrew Griffith says in a recent report that there has been a 50% drop in applications, largely he says, because the fees have ballooned from $100 to $630.  The ones impacted are the recent immigrant or refugee for whom the fees – for a family of four – would be prohibitive.  Griffith wants fees reduced or waived altogether.   http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadian-citizenship-applications-decrease-1.3976140   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Feb 13, 2017) Quebec takes a disappointing step backwards on accommodation   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/02/13/quebec-takes-a-disappointing-step-backwards-on-accommodation-editorial.html

Globe and Mail – David Nixon
Winnipeg steps up with aid for refugees denied U.S. asylum

Refugee numbers have gone up five fold in Winnipeg and agencies are struggling to provide support services to those fleeing the likelihood of deportation from the US – so far this week-end 21 people have braved the frozen land to walk across the border in two sites in Manitoba, some sustaining frost bite serious enough for hospitalization.  Quebec, Manitoba and BC have all seen recent increases in traffic by foot, prompting advocates to say that it is time for Canada to rescind the status of the US as a safe third country.  “It’s going to continue,” said Rita Chahal, executive director of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC) which is on the front line of the problem.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/winnipeg-steps-up-with-aid-for-refugees-denied-us-asylum/article34014545/  Related article:  Ottawa Citizen – John Sankey   Compassion denied – why our refugee program is not a model to imitate   http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/sankay-compassion-denied-why-our-refugee-program-is-not-a-model-to-imitate

CBC News – Alison Crawford
Criminal courts scramble to meet Supreme Court’s new trial timelines Failure to do so would mean more people accused of serious crimes could walk away without a trial

The Supreme Court’s Jordan decision established pointed time lines for bringing a criminal case to court.  For provincial court, the limit is now 18 months and Superior Court it is 30 months.  At first, most lawyers thought the decree was going to be difficult to meet.  At this point many are thinking the justice system has been pushed too far.  The solution appears to lie in reducing the number of preliminary trails, taking procedural matters out of court time through case management, and eliminating most mandatory sentences while tightening up the rationale for granting delays.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jordan-decision-courts-justice-delays-1.3973981   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Joe Lofaro   Ottawa dad accused of breaking infant’s bones has case tossed due to trial delay http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/judge-cites-court-delay-stays-abuse-charge-against-ottawa-dad-accused-of-breaking-infants-bones   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Feb 13, 2017)  Ottawa must address the high cost of court delays   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/02/13/ottawa-must-address-the-high-cost-of-court-delays-editorial.html   Related article: Globe and Mail – Denise Balkissoon  For Canada’s police, the status quo is not an option  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/for-canadas-police-the-status-quo-is-not-an-option/article33898368/ 

Toronto Star – Marco Chown Oved
Canada misses out on nearly $50 billion in tax each year – Even the high-end gap estimate might be too low

The Conference Board of Canada has a new report that suggests there is a massive amount of taxes not collected every year, now estimated at $47.8 billion, says report co-ordinator and author Matthew Stewart.  Still, no one knows for sure since the report does not include provincial and municipal taxes not collected nor does it include HST not collected, estimated at about $4.9 billion.  https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/02/13/canada-misses-out-on-nearly-50-billion-in-tax-each-year.html   Related article: Toronto Star – Martin Kenney   Canada’s role in ‘snow washing’ money to evade taxes https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/02/14/canadas-role-in-snow-washing-money-to-evade-taxes.html

Toronto Star –
 Judge rules in favour of ’60s Scoop victims

The Scoop victims are Indigenous children who were taken from their families and given in adoption to non-Indigenous families.  An estimated 16,000 children in Ontario alone – and the ruling is likely to impact in other provinces as well – sued the federal government for $1.3 billion.  The ruling by Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba moves the process now to determining the financial compensation.  Justice Belobaba said:  “Canada had a common law duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent on-reserve Indian children in Ontario, who had been placed in the care of non-aboriginal foster or adoptive parents, from losing their aboriginal identity. Canada breached this common law duty of care,”   https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/02/14/judge-rules-in-favour-of-sixties-scoop-victims.html   Related article: Globe and Mail – Tu Thanh Ha   Ontario judge sides with Sixties Scoop survivors http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-judge-sides-with-60s-scoop-survivors-damages-to-be-decided/article34015380/