National Newswatch

Canada’s weak laws hobble identification of tax dodgers: document

Jun 13 2017 — Dean Beeby — Correspondence between Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his British equivalent is highlighting Canada’s poor international record in flushing out the real owners of suspected tax-haven corporations. Philip Hammond, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, wrote to Morneau on Dec. 22, seeking Canada’s support for exchanges of so-called “beneficial ownership” information — that is, information about who […]

Audit slams Rideau Canal managers for shoddy contracting

Jun 4 2017 — Dean Beeby — Parks Canada has disciplined managers responsible for the Rideau Canal, and stripped them of the authority to sign large contracts, after they broke numerous rules on spending public money. “The consequences — mandatory retraining, loss of signing authority, disciplinary action — of failing to comply with contracting policies has been communicated to cost managers,” says […]

Massive privacy breach at Public Services reveals workers’ salaries

Jun 2 2017 — Dean Beeby — The personal information of almost 13,000 public servants was exposed in one of the largest ever privacy breaches at a federal government department. The July 11, 2016, breach at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) included the salary, age, reading-and-writing test results and other private information of 12,901 employees — nearly everyone working in the […]

Liberals grow the ranks of permanently gagged public servants

Jun 1 2017 — Dean Beeby — The Liberal government has been expanding the number of public servants subject to lifetime gag orders, placing them under threat of hefty prison sentences should they spill any secrets before they die. Since December, the Privy Council Office has designated at least 94 individuals, some of whom no longer work for the federal government, as […]

Tax worker fired after biggest privacy breach at Revenue Canada

May 22 2017 — Dean Beeby — The Canada Revenue Agency has fired an employee for the biggest single privacy breach ever detected involving confidential taxpayer accounts. The employee improperly accessed the accounts of 38 taxpayers in detail, and briefly accessed another 1,264 accounts using a search function to find surnames and postal codes. The incident happened in an agency office in […]

Canada 150 ‘dome’ film seeking venues after national tour cancelled

May 12 2017 — Dean Beeby — Organizers of a film project to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, backed by $10.5 million in taxpayer money, are still confirming venues to show it to Canadians after the collapse of their plan to haul a giant dome theatre across the country. Sesqui Inc., a Toronto-based non-profit that got the biggest slice of cash from the […]

Talks with British on ownership of Franklin artifacts still unresolved

May 5 2017 — Dean Beeby — Canada spent millions of dollars to recover artifacts from HMS Erebus, the sunken wreck from the 1845 Franklin expedition to the Arctic that was finally located in 2014 — but it still doesn’t own the collection almost three years later. And most of those objects, now restored at taxpayers’ expense, are leaving Canada next month […]

Lift political gag order on charities, says panel report for Liberals

May 4 2017 — Dean Beeby — The Liberal government is suspending the few remaining political-activity audits of charities after an expert-panel report recommended removing a political gag order imposed on them by the Conservatives in 2012. As an immediate first step to respond to the panel’s recommendations, National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier “has asked the CRA to suspend all action in […]

Centennial Flame monument to get facelift with Nunavut images

Apr 28 2017 — Dean Beeby — It may prove to be a tight squeeze, but the Liberal government is planning to wedge symbols representing Nunavut into the Centennial Flame monument on Parliament Hill. The monument was built to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967, long before the creation of the vast northern territory of Nunavut some 32 years later. The Centennial […]

Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Canada stuck with erroneous names

Apr 21 2017 — Dean Beeby — Syrian refugees who have recently settled in Canada have another hurdle in addition to learning a new language, finding a place to live and getting a job. They need to fix their names. Hundreds of Syrian families who fled to Canada with little or no documentation are upset with the versions of their names that […]

Canada Revenue Agency grapples with ‘phantom’ worker pay

Apr 16 2017 — Dean Beeby — Call them the phantom tax collectors. They’re the thousands of Canadians who received paycheques from the Canada Revenue Agency, even though they’re not actually on the payroll. It’s a $2-million headache for the agency, which is responding partly by writing off the erroneous payments and letting those phantom workers keep the cash.

Federal budget 2017: Hello Uber tax, goodbye Canada Savings Bonds

Mar 22 2017 — Dean Beeby — Consumer tax changes in Wednesday’s federal budget will add to the cost of Uber rides while ending a public-transit tax credit. Those are just two of several Liberal government moves that will hit pocketbooks directly, though modestly. The measures include slight increases – pennies, in fact – in tobacco and alcohol taxes.