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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.

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.

Mobile Payments: Can Canada Be the First Mover?

30 April 2014

Canadians are generally “early adopters” of technology. In December 2013, MasterCard ranked Canada second out of 34 developed and developing countries in “mobile readiness.”

Using their smartphones and other mobile devices, Canadian consumers can make payments in new ways. For example, instead of paying with cash, cheques or credit cards, a consumer with a mobile device and access to the Internet can make mobile payments, or “m-payments,” for goods and services.

Ratifying and Implementing Trade and Investment Treaties in Canada

9 April 2014

Under Canada’s constitutional system, the conduct of foreign affairs is a royal prerogative power of the federal Crown.

Consequently, the Executive Branch has the exclusive power to negotiate and conclude international treaties. Parliament has the exclusive power to enact legislation to implement those treaties.

Cyber Sexual Violence in Canada

2 April 2014

Tweet, post or send … Users of social media and communication technologies should be aware of a new form of victimization, one that can particularly affect girls and women: cyber sexual violence.

Uses of the Internet have expanded the scope, nature and impact of sexual violence. This change presents important challenges to victims, their families, law enforcement agencies, the justice system, governments and the general public.

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada

26 March 2014

Mental health problems and mental illness exact a huge human, social and economic toll.

In Canada, roughly one in every five people will experience a mental illness in his or her lifetime. Individuals with mental health problems or mental illness may suffer from such consequences as stigmatization, discrimination, lost income, homelessness and substance abuse, among others. Left untreated, some mental health disorders may even lead to suicide.

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.

© Library of Parliament 2012

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