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HillNotes are brief analyses of current or emerging issues that also provide related resources for further reading, as well as recent news clippings on the topics. HillNotes over 90 days old may be found in the Archives section.


R. v. Spencer, Internet Privacy and Parliament

26 November 2014

In June 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada released a landmark decision in R. v. Spencer in which it held that Internet users can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their online activities. It found that a police request made without a warrant to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for customer information corresponding to particular Internet activity amounted to a “search” under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter).

Metadata, National Security and Law Enforcement Agencies

21 November 2014

Metadata – data about data – matters to national security and law enforcement agencies. They repeatedly tell parliamentarians that collecting and analyzing metadata are essential to their operations.

Just what can others learn about you from the metadata you generate? This will give you an idea:

Disclosing and Reviewing Parliamentarians’ Expenses: International Perspectives

18 November 2014

To help parliamentarians fulfill their responsibilities, they receive public funds, which allow them to hire staff, travel to and from their constituencies and pay various costs related to their duties. … To put the Canadian situation into greater context, this HillNote outlines practices related to the disclosure and review of parliamentarians’ expenses in the United Kingdom, Australia and France.

Ebola: The Disease, Canadian Government Interventions, and Economic Impacts

6 November 2014

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has been described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered” in 1976.

Big Data and the Big Picture in Criminal Investigations

5 November 2014

Given the ubiquity of communication technologies and the potential for the Internet to be used in criminal activities, telecommunications data are becoming increasingly important to domestic and international criminal investigations.

Lawful Access and Privacy: The Legislative Framework

22 October 2014

Lawful access is an investigation technique used by national security and law enforcement agencies. It entails the interception of private communications and the seizure of information where authorized by law. This document examines how the Canadian legislative framework strikes a balance between the need for lawful access and privacy protection.

Canada’s Changed Citizenship Law – An International Comparison

15 October 2014

Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, received Royal Assent on 19 June 2014, enacting the most comprehensive changes to Canadian citizenship in a generation.

The International Day of the Girl Child

10 October 2014

On 11 October 2014, Canada and the international community will be celebrating the third annual International Day of the Girl Child. The occasion serves to recognize the rights of girls and highlight the unique challenges they face daily.

Parliament and the First World War – 2. Initial Enthusiasm

3 October 2014

This is the second in a series of six instalments that present an overview of parliamentary debates surrounding the First World War, the 100th anniversary of whose outbreak Canada commemorates this year.

Canada-China: Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement comes into force

30 September 2014

Between 2003 and 2013, China’s direct investment in Canada increased from $216 million to $16.7 billion, while Canadian direct investment in China grew from $838 million to $4.9 billion.

Parliament and the First World War – 1. Before the Storm: From Discord to Unity

24 September 2014

This is the first in a series of six instalments that present an overview of parliamentary debates surrounding the First World War, the 100th anniversary of whose outbreak Canada commemorates this year.

The Scottish Independence Referendum

16 September 2014

More than 4 million people in Scotland – including teenagers aged 16 and 17 – are eligible to head to the polls on 18 September for a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to decide whether Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom (U.K.).

Canadian Multiculturalism Day: The Role of Language in Showing Respect for Diversity

18 June 2014

On 27 June 2014, Canadian Multiculturalism Day, we will celebrate Canada’s diversity and the contributions of the many cultures that co-exist in this country.

Today, as attitudes toward different cultures evolve, so too do the terms used to describe the nation’s various population groups. Knowing which terms to use, and to whom they apply, can often be challenging.

The Canada–U.S. Intergovernmental Agreement: Sharing Financial Information

11 June 2014

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) became U.S. law in 2010. It aims to prevent American taxpayers from using foreign bank accounts to evade taxes, and it will begin to have effects in Canada on 1 July 2014.

Prostitution in Canada: Overview and options for reform

4 June 2014

Since the Criminal Code came into force in 1892, adult prostitution has not in itself been illegal in Canada, although many activities surrounding prostitution are.

Today, provisions relating to prostitution are set out in sections 210 to 213 of the Code. They include the offences of keeping, using or transporting a person to a bawdy-house (brothel); procuring and living on the avails of prostitution; and communicating in public.

Dispelling the Fog Around “Cloud Computing”

28 May 2014

Since the invention of computers, all materials created or operating on the devices – documents, photos, company files and programs – have been stored on the computers themselves or on an external storage device (floppy disk, memory stick, external hard drive, etc). But the advent of the phenomenon called “cloud computing” has revolutionized the way in which digitized items are kept.

In the simplest terms, “the cloud,” as it is called, allows users to store and access data and programs over the Internet instead of through on-premises storage devices.

National Mining Week 2014: Challenges in the Ring of Fire

14 May 2014

National Mining Week, which began on 12 May, provides an opportunity to look at an area of great mineral potential in Northern Ontario called the Ring of Fire. This area helps to illustrate some of the challenges the mining industry continues to face.

These challenges include dealing with a sensitive ecosystem and a lack of infrastructure, engaging First Nations communities and improving education and training opportunities.

Antenna Towers: Concerns and Recent Developments

7 May 2014

A growing number of Canadians and municipalities are concerned about the installation of telecommunications and broadcasting antenna towers in their neighbourhoods. Among the preoccupations are the towers’ appearance and the possible increased human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR), which is a form of energy that is emitted and received by the towers’ antennae.


Please note: The links provided within HillNotes may point to external sources. The Library of Parliament is neither affiliated with these organizations nor responsible for content found on their websites.



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