The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

CBA/ABC National

CBA influence

Removing obstacles to family reunification

By CBA/ABC National November 8, 2016 8 November 2016

 

Cost vs. Value is one of the principal tensions that plays out in Canada’s immigration policy – fears that family-class immigrants will be a burden on the economy without adding to it tend to trump any consideration of the value these immigrants will bring.

“The economic, social and cultural benefits of family reunification have been underestimated, particularly when the analysis of these benefits includes multiple generations,” the Immigration Law Section says in a submission it prepared for the House Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s study of family reunification. Section Chair Vance Langford appeared before the committee in late October. (Vance Langford also spoke briefly with nationalmagazine.ca)

The Section supports the principle of family reunification as an objective of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and has several ideas for improving an obstacle-ridden process which can stretch well beyond reasonable limits of time and patience.

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CBA influence

An initiative that helps families in marital breakdown

By CBA/ABC National November 2, 2016 2 November 2016

Its name doesn’t trip off the tongue and its abbreviation is no catchy acronym, but the Supporting Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce Initiative has been a boon to families in marital breakdown.

Established in 2009 as a five-year, $122-million project by Justice Canada, the Initiative was “intended to strengthen the family justice response to the needs of families experiencing separation and divorce by contributing to the continued improvement of access to family justice and by encouraging greater parental compliance with family obligations, notably support and access.”

Both the federal and provincial components of the SFI are scheduled to end on March 31, which is why the CBA Family Law Section has written to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in a plea to have it renewed with a permanent mandate.

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Charter rights

BC Court of Appeal: Benchers "abdicated their responsibility" in TWU decision

By CBA/ABC National November 1, 2016 1 November 2016

 

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia has decided in favour of Trinity Western University and against the Law Society of BC.

The Court is particularly critical of how the LSBC's came to its decision:

…we conclude that the Benchers improperly fettered their discretion by binding themselves to adopt the decision of the majority of members on whether “not to approve”. It appears they did so altruistically in the sense of letting “democracy” dictate the result, and letting the members have their say. But in so doing, the Benchers abdicated their duty as an administrative decision-maker to properly balance the objectives of the Legal Profession Act with the Charter rights at stake.

The ruling also draws the following conclusions on the balancing of Charter rights:

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Ethics

In the Venn diagram of statehood, Canada exists in the overlap

By CBA/ABC National October 28, 2016 28 October 2016

Every belief system – political, religious, cultural – is a consensus, a discrete entity that doesn’t interact with any other, says Dr. Yvon Pichette, calling extensively on the work of the philosopher John Rawls.

In order for people to live together in society without fighting and killing each other, we have to create areas of overlapping consensus, which forms the public sphere of the country, while the remainder of those entities stay in the private sphere. To be Canadian then is to accept the parts that overlap, says Pichette, a Chaplain of the Canadian Armed Forces who is also a university instructor on the topic of ethics. For example, broadly speaking Canadians must act according to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Technology

Artificial intelligence and discriminatory behaviour

By CBA/ABC National October 27, 2016 27 October 2016

Alex Lane illustrates, generally, how machine learning and privacy can be at odds with one another.

As machine learning become increasingly powerful, algorithms could conceivably make high confidence predictions without having direct access to your private information. This was already seen to an extent when retailer Target’s predictive algorithm suggested a girl was pregnant and sent her promotional material accordingly - accidentally revealing the secret to her father, but in future it may not even be necessary to have access to any of her personal details to figure it out. In this world, there is no such thing as private information. Given the emphasis that so many put on privacy, the reaction to this is likely to be highly negative.

In a recent Slaw post, David Canton highlights some interesting privacy challenges emerging as businesses shift toward big data.  Among them:

If AI reaches conclusions that lead to discriminatory results, is that going to be dealt with by privacy regulators, or human rights regulators, or some combination?

Stanford University’s One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence produced a report in September. It had this to say on the topic:

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