Civil Rights

Canada’s disappointing response to the proposal to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents

April 29th, 2021 by Ted Hyland

As of April 27, 2021, 570.6 million people around the world have been vaccinated with at least one dose against COVID-19, according to Our World in Data. This represents 7.3 per cent of the world’s population. Continue reading “Canada’s disappointing response to the proposal to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents”

Voluntary organizations and member disputes take another trip to the Supreme Court

September 30th, 2020 by Ted Hyland

According to a June 2020 Statistics Canada study, in 2018 more than 12.7 million people in Canada volunteered for charities, non-profits and community organizations, contributing more than 1.6 billion hours. While not all are members of the organizations for which they volunteer, many are.

Under what circumstances does their membership have the legal status that will attract a judge’s jurisdiction and oversight, particularly when there are disputes leading to the expulsion or other discipline of members? This question is again headed to the Supreme Court of Canada for an answer later this fall.

The question is not an abstract one. It involves the interplay between the rights of the members and the discretion of those in charge of the organizations to make decisions that affect their members’ rights. If a member is dissatisfied with the decision, can they go to court?

Continue reading “Voluntary organizations and member disputes take another trip to the Supreme Court”

Federal government should prioritize moving MAID back up its legislative agenda

June 25th, 2020 by Celia Chandler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Think back.

March 13, 2020.

While many of us moved our offices to our homes, scrambled to figure out how to school our children, fought for scarce toilet paper and Lysol, and started to get used to a completely different way of living, the government released its “What We Heard Report A Public Consultations on Medical Assistance in Dying.” The report resulted from a 14 day window in January when Canadians commented online about the medical assistance in dying law in Canada (called MAID).

Regular rabble.ca readers will know that I wrote a three-part series about the legalization of MAID and its implementation from my first-hand experience: my husband, Jack, died with medical assistance in November 2018.

The federal government legalized MAID in 2016. You’ll know from my account and those of many others, that the MAID law is not without its critics because of those excluded from the legislation: mature minors; those wanting to make “advance requests”; those whose only medical condition is mental illness; and those with physical illness but for whom death is not reasonably foreseeable. The Council of Canadian Academies has studied and reported on the first three of these issues.

Continue reading “Federal government should prioritize moving MAID back up its legislative agenda”

Clearer rules needed for facial recognition technology

February 28th, 2020 by Michael Hackl

A version of this article was first published on rabble.ca

In a previous column, I wrote about the dangers that some police technology poses for civil liberties. In that column, I addressed police use of a computer program that claims to identify geographic areas that are more likely to experience crimes in order to direct police resources to those areas. Now, with Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders’ recent admission that some officers in the Toronto Police Service have been using a piece of facial recognition software called Clearview AI (named for the company that developed the software) since at least October 2019, we have another example of how law enforcement can use technology in a way that seriously threatens our civil liberties.

Clearview AI has apparently mined the internet for billions of photos of people, largely from social media sites and the open web, whereas other companies providing facial recognition technology to police rely upon government sources such as mugshots and driver’s license photos. Continue reading “Clearer rules needed for facial recognition technology”

Video: “Cannabis legalization and policy implementation: what’s next?”

October 18th, 2019 by Iler Campbell

A recording of lawyer Michael Hackl’s presentation on cannabis and housing is now online. You can download a copy of the slideshow here. Workshop description below:

It has now been about a year since recreational cannabis was legalized. Some of the questions and concerns raised by housing providers leading up to that change were hard to answer as there was not yet any guidance from courts or tribunals as to how they would deal with such situations. While there are still issues that have not yet been tested before a court or tribunal, we do know more than we did a year ago. This session discusses some of the developments that have taken place since the legalization of cannabis, how some housing providers are dealing with questions, and what the past year of legalized cannabis means for housing providers moving forward.

Some positive steps, but more work needed to improve Canada’s prisons

August 29th, 2019 by Karly Wilson

This article was first published on rabble.ca 

If the allegations against American billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein were not alarming enough on their own, his story became even darker earlier this month when, on the morning of August 10, he was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York from an apparent suicide. His death dominated the news cycle, causing outcry across the political spectrum over the quality of the security at the prison, the frequency with which guards checked on his safety, and why he was taken off  suicide watch despite having an apparent attempt just weeks earlier. To those who have kept an eye on the American carceral system, however, this was a pretty typical day, just with more news coverage.

The varied and systemic problems with prisons in the U.S. are not new, and they are not improving. In the past year alone, the U.S. prison system has frequently been in the headlines, from investigations into the extreme violence in Alabama state prisons, to the weeks-long power outage this winter in Brooklyn, to the high-profile murder of South Boston mobster James (Whitey) Bulger during a routine transfer. Underfunded, filled-to-bursting from the effects of mandatory minimums in the war on drugs, and guarded by a handful of underpaid workers struggling to stay safe and make ends meet — the violence within U.S. prisons is as horrifying as it is unsurprising.

But what about Canada?

Continue reading “Some positive steps, but more work needed to improve Canada’s prisons”