National Newswatch

One royalty for streaming

Jul 18 2022 — Dale Smith — The Supreme Court of Canada confirms that authors can’t collect a separate royalty when online works are streamed or downloaded and establishes a new category of correctness review. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the Copyright Board of Canada was in error when it determined that music streaming platforms were required to pay […]

Doubling down on a broken model

Jun 20 2022 — Dale Smith — Travelers can take heart: at last, it looks as if the Canada Border Services Agency might be subject to independent review and a forum for complaints about the conduct of its employees. The federal government has re-introduced legislation, which passed first reading in May, to put the CBSA under the same oversight model as the […]

Feds talk a good game when it comes to equity, but are flailing when it comes to strong data, states Auditor General report

Jun 8 2022 — Dale Smith — When analyzing the efficacy and fairness of services delivered by governments, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution—to any of it. Since 1995, the Canadian federal government has committed to a gender-based analysis (GBA) of its programs and services, and in 2011, that became known as GBA Plus in order to recognize other intersectional identities that […]

Advisory opining

Jun 6 2022 — Dale Smith — We expect judges to be careful in their choice of words, lest they make their rulings weak. It’s what makes the recent decision by Alberta’s Court of Appeal, that the federal Impact Assessment Act is ultra vires so unusual, say critics. In that ruling, the majority held that the federal law exceeds Ottawa’s authority, particularly […]

Executive power and the limits of Parliamentary privilege

May 30 2022 — Dale Smith — Limiting the parliamentary privilege of the MPs and senators who make up the National Security and Intelligence Committee, is beyond Parliament’s competence, it seems. Justice John Fregeau of the Ontario Superior Court declared Section 12 of the Act which created NSICOP ultra vires following a challenge by Lakehead University law professor Ryan Alford. The provision […]

Is it possible to feel anything other than dread for this Ontario election?

May 19 2022 — Dale Smith — Ontario’s election is now well underway and it’s hard to feel anything other than dread at the dearth of reasonable options being presented to voters at the ballot box on June 2. This should have been an election whose narrative was to hold Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford and his merry band of incompetent clowns […]

Reaffirming mens rea

May 16 2022 — Dale Smith — On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that Section 33.1, which bars the defence of extreme intoxication causing automatism, is unconstitutional because it is overbroad and impacts on Section 7 and 11(d) Charter rights of the accused. The court, however, also made it clear that the cases did not involve drunkenness, but rather […]

How would the overturn of Roe v. Wade affect Canada?

May 9 2022 — Dale Smith — The leaked draft from the United States’ Supreme Court, which appears to overturn the 50-year-old decision that made abortions legal in the U.S., has already had repercussions in Canada. Eager to capitalize on a chance to divide the Conservatives, Liberal and Bloc Québécois MPs began poking into the issue during Question Period on Tuesday and […]

Automatic for the people

May 3 2022 — Dale Smith — If there was ever any doubt the federal government would use automation to help it make its administrative decisions, Budget 2022 has put that to rest. In it, Ottawa pledges to change the Citizenship Act to allow for the automated and machine-assisted processing of a growing number of immigration-related applications. In truth, Immigration, Refugees and […]

LGBTQ+ refugees, Canada and Guatemala

Apr 20 2022 — Dale Smith — During my interview with Canadian immigration minister Sean Fraser a few weeks ago, he was very keen to talk about the federal government’s efforts with regard to refugees in Central America, particularly queer and trans refugees. This was following Fraser’s first official foreign visit as a minister at the end of 2021, to Guatemala. Fraser […]

Canada’s government promises $100 million for its new LGBTQ2S+ action plan

Apr 11 2022 — Dale Smith — The federal budget contains promises to queer and trans communities to the tune of 100 million new dollars to help fund the forthcoming LGBTQ2 Action Plan. According to the Liberal Party’s election platform, this plan was supposed to have been delivered within the first 100 days of cabinet being sworn in, but they missed this […]