Given the scientific consensus that wind turbines are not dangerous to human health, as opponents have claimed, it is time to shift focus to a real issue: fixing wind energy policy to increase community power in Canada.
Although federal public servants have always had a limited right to freedom of expression (as compared to private sector employees), certain government employees have recently been subjected to increasingly strict policies, or codes of conduct, which govern their behaviour both in and out of the workplace. Two recent policies effectively restrict access to the media and participation in forums for intellectual debate -- such as conferences or teaching engagements. Contrary to what you might expect, these policies do not target employees in the justice, immigration or national defence departments, but rather scientists, librarians and archivists associated with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Canada's human rights record has come under fire over the past several months. In December of 2012, Amnesty International released a highly critical report of the state of human rights in Canada. The report details abuses against vulnerable groups in Canada including indigenous peoples, women, migrant workers and refugees.
Amnesty International notes in its report that "support for strong advocacy and diverse, including dissenting, views in debates and discussion of important public policy issues is being dramatically undermined and rapidly dismantled [in Canada]."
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On January 8, 2013, Frog Lake First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation, through their respective Chiefs, launched judicial review cases in the Federal Court. They are challenging the passage of the now infamous federal government omnibus budget bills, Bill C‑38 (Jobs, Growth and Long‑term Prosperity Act, S.C. 2012, c. 19); and Bill C‑45 (Jobs and Growth Act, 2012, S.C. c.31).
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Since the Redford, Katz, Ford and other scandals of late, there has been much discussion about conflict of interest rules, what is and isn't a conflict of interest, and whether there can be degrees of conflicts of interest. What should the legislative penalties be where a conflict is found?
Technology has become central to the workplace, with employers regularly providing employees with access to computers and other devices for use in the course of work and employment activities. Personal use of these devices often becomes incidental, especially as the boundaries between the workplace and home blur. As a result, questions arise over who really owns the personal information generated on these workplace devices and the extent of an employee's privacy rights over any personal information stored on these devices.
The dramatic growth of social media use in Canada on such sites as Facebook has raised novel legal issues for employers and employees. One such issue is whether or not an employee's off-duty conduct online (i.e. posting personal status updates, photos or comments on Facebook at home) can get that employee fired. In short, the answer is yes.
Many Canadians still erroneously believe that what they post on their personal Facebook page is private. They feel little hesitation in coming home after a difficult day at work and griping publicly about their company, boss, co‑workers or quality of work. While it is important to protect freedom of expression and healthy discourse on labour relations issues, posting this type of content online may have serious consequences.
Community power was given a boost this summer with the release of the second round of Nova Scotia's Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) projects on July 9, 2012 and Ontario's FIT 2.0 Program Rules on August 10, 2012.
Until now, ownership and participation in Canada's growing green energy sector has been dominated by private sector interests. It looks like things may be starting to change.
Community power means community‑owned renewable energy products that are developed and controlled (entirely or in part) by people living in the community. In other parts of the world, such as Germany and Denmark, large portions of green power are in fact community power projects. In Canada, however, most renewable energy projects are privately owned.
On April 26, 2012, the federal government introduced Bill C‑38, which contains proposed changes to the Income Tax Act (ITA), affecting charities and how political activities are to be accounted for, in the context of a gift from one charity to another.
We provide a brief summary of the current legislative provisions, the proposed changes, and the impact of the changes on charitable foundations and organizations.
As currently defined in the ITA, charitable purposes include the disbursement of funds to qualified donees, usually other charities.
Charities are permitted to disburse funds as a gift to other qualified donees.
It's not that often that charities law and criminal law intersect, but the decision of R. v. Gour, decided June 28, 2012, did just that. The case was about an individual, Adam Gour, who had contracted to fundraise for charity, and his and his contractor's failure to disclose the commissions that would be earned. The court concluded this was a fraud. The case is only six pages long, and makes for a compelling read.