children

Drones and Privacy

untitledThe popularity of drones is undeniable; even legal shows are discussing the topic. Just last week in an episode of the popular show The Good Wife, Alicia Florrick argued a case on behalf of her client defending his right to privacy against drone invasions. Both representatives, the plaintiff, and defendant argued their cases vigorously turning to the law to defend their stance by exploring technicalities including height of the drone, location of the drone, purpose of the drone being used and so on.

As fascinating as technology is, it does have its downfalls including complicating legislation. Currently, there aren’t many Canadian laws dictating the use of drones and robots but this will likely change in the near future since technology seems to be evolving every day. Drone usage is far more regulated in the United States than in Canada. Canada has chosen to focus more on safety thus far, rather than privacy.

The Windsor school of law is the first to open its arms to a course about the legalities revolving around drones and robots. Robots have become such a large part of our lives we rarely question if our privacy is being breached. We are used to being watched while in public through CCTV’s in stores but drones flying over your backyard while your children are playing maybe more troubling. Robots unlike most technology, interact with their environment and have a physical impact.

Robots and drones can collect information from their surroundings to draw conclusions without our knowledge. For instance, Canadians are moving towards autonomous self-driven vehicles. These vehicles will detect the driver’s surroundings and speed which allows the driver to essentially be absent from the equation.

Conversely, we can be unaware of how this information is being used and for what purpose. For illustration consider a children’s toys that maybe collecting information for a marketing company without the purchaser’s knowledge. It may be monitoring the child’s preferences and choices to build specific types of toys for children. Collection of such information may seem harmless on the surface but it is still a breach of privacy.  Realtors for instance, find it useful to use drones to capture the condition of a home for potential foreign investors but at the wrong angle can easily look into a neighbour’s home without their knowledge.

While some individuals are excited by the use of robots in our daily lives while others worry about the implications of such technology. What are your thoughts?

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Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Points of Discussion:

  1. How are drones regulated in your country?
  2. What laws do you think should be put in place?
  3. Do you think drones are a threat or a step towards progress?
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Corporal Punishment Repeal

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada condones corporal punishment but many organizations would like to repeal this law.

Section 43 states:

“every school teacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.”

Exceptions:

The act does not apply to:
1. Children under two years old and older than 12 years old;
2. Disabled children of any age;
3. The punishment cannot be “degrading, inhumane or harmful”;
4. The usage of objects such as rulers and belts is also forbidden; and the
5. Punishment cannot involve slaps/blows to the head

The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada case upheld this decision in 2004 in a six to three decision by the judges. Judges also argued that spanking is not a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so long as it does not infringe on the child’s security, right to equality and is not cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Spanking is only to be used in a trifling way as a means to correct behaviour. Thus corporal punishment is not be used to in anger or punishment but only to correct behaviour and help the child learn. However many groups are expressing their concerns regarding this law.

Despite seven failed attempts since 2005 to have this law repealed, these organizations continue to pursue the cause. Corinne’s Quest and additional organizations have the support of the Canadian Bar Association in bringing about this change. Bill – S-206 is also supported by the Canadian Medical Association but has not been passed. Supporters of the bill continue to argue that the long-term affects of corporal punishment are being ignored.

Furthermore, supporters of Bill -206 question how often corporal punishment is used within the legal boundaries. The psychological impact of repeated use of corporal punishment can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem and well-being.

Critics of the current law support their stance against corporal punishment with examples of the long-term effects suffered by Native children after being repeatedly beaten in residential schools. Opponents also argue that corporal punishment is outdated as science has provided parents with different techniques to teach children without the use of corporal punishment.

Did you learn something new? Do you support the new law? If so, press like and subscribe!

Points of Discussion:
1. Do you think the corporal punishment law should be repealed?

Justice For Amanda Todd

bleech

This picture was created by one of her peers. Amanda was tagged in numerous photos similar to this one by her peers after leaving her school. In her video she elaborates on the difficulties she had moving on due to her peers tagging her in similar pictures such as this.

Amanda Todd was 15 when she took her life as a result of online bullying. She was blackmailed into exposing her breasts on webcam to an online predator and was stalked and bullied by him. She changed schools but he found her again and made a Facebook page with her friends showing her breasts as the profile picture. As a result, she was continuously bullied by peers. She committed suicide in October of 2012.  The Canadian justice system is trying to persecute the man allegedly behind this heinous crime, Aydin Coban, but is facing considerable difficulty due to international law regulations.

Aydin Coban resides in the Netherlands and was under suspicion for distributing child porn in Amanda’s case but was not formally charged with her death. Upon further investigation it was determined that Coban had been arrested in January of 2014 for harassing victims online and charges including indecent assault and production and dissemination of child pornography.  A few months later, the RCMP declared that he was also charged with five accounts including extortion, internet luring, criminal harassment and the possession and distribution of child pornography in B.C in relation to Amanda Todd’s case. Coban has been suspected of blackmailing youth from all over the world to perform sexual acts over webcam. He is also facing sextortion and distribution of child pornography in a case of another Canadian youth.

Coban’s trial is currently in pretrial-motion hearings stage; the parties argue before a judge what evidence should be admissible, who can or cannot testify and if the case should be dismissed completely. It has been stated that Coban will not be charged in relation to non- Dutch victims (including Amanda). Christian van Dijk, Coban’s lawyer, has disclosed that Coban is on trial for 39 alleged victims. De Bruin, the Canadian lawyer for Todd has stated that Coban could be handed-over to Canadian authorities if the authorities choose to take that path. Conversely, Van Dijk has explained that extradition is not an option so long as the case continues in the Netherlands.

With the expansion and complexity of technology it has become difficult to determine the jurisdiction and legal implications of international crimes. Cybercrime and exploitation have become easier through the internet and various social media facets. Alternatively, these tools also serve to create social awareness and can be used as tool for victims to have a voice. For instance, Amanda Todd made a YouTube video explaining how she was exploited and bullied.

Countless youths are targeted and blackmailed by unknown faces online and then isolated by their peers when their story is brought to the public eye. Unfortunately, there are still individuals who suggest “don’t show your boobs online “is the solution but the topic is far more complex than nudity, legally and morally. Sometimes victims are unaware that photos are being taken of them or being shared. Predators often have information about the victim’s family, their residence, their school and more to manipulate their victims such was Amanda’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHXGNx-E7E .

What are your thoughts?

Do you believe Coban should have a Canadian trial?

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Surrogacy: Reproductive Tourism

preggersSurrogacy has become a more viable option for individuals who cannot have children of their own. According to 2014 statistics, about 300-500 couples turn to surrogacy in Canada. However, there is little known about what surrogacy entails despite its growing popularity.

Legal
Surrogacy is regulated under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.  The interested party can pay for the surrogates out -of –pocket expenses that arise throughout their pregnancy including: pre-natal vitamins, medication, childcare, maternity clothes, and travel costs.  If the surrogate is required to be on bed rest due to health complications and to protect the child, she can be reimbursed for her loss of work wages.  Many surrogacies commence with a legal contract where both parties outline their expectations, child custody, costs, and what would happen if the child was born with an abnormality. There are two lawyers one for the parents to be and one for the surrogate to assess each parties concerns.

Illegal

This act permits surrogacy but forbids individuals from providing compensation for the surrogate, covering the costs of the surrogate mother’s mortgage, credit card bills or school tuition is illegal.  It is also illegal to participate in a “commercial surrogacy”; this allows the surrogate mother to be compensated for carrying the baby to term. Couples seeking surrogates are not permitted to advertise that they are willing to compensate a woman to be their surrogate. It is illegal for third-parties such as fertility clinics to collect a fee for connecting surrogate seekers with surrogates. It is also illegal for these clinics to advertise similar services. Thus, many couples must find surrogates on their own. Violating these legal provisions can result in 10 years in jail combined with a $500,000 fine.

Reproductive Tourism

indiaSurrogacy in Canada (a surrogacy support website) states that on average a gestational surrogacy usually ranges from $32,000 to $76,000+. Consequently, many Canadians are turning to other countries such as India, Thailand and Ukraine for services to mitigate costs. These countries have more lenient commercial surrogacy laws.

Many married women in India turn to surrogacy to support their families. Carrying a child to term can be comparable to 5 years of income with a median income of $60 per month. In extreme cases, some women with unemployed husbands will abort their own babies to be surrogates to ensure their family can survive. Many surrogates believe they are providing a virtuous gift to couples.

Conversely, some individuals argue Indian surrogates are being exploited for their wombs. Surrogates are often discouraged from bonding with their child. Some fertility clinics have up to 8 women in one room who are kept under constant surveillance. Some surrogates are kept in the clinic, away from their families for the nine months to ensure the surrogacy is smooth. Surrogates are taught to be virtuous and to avoid negotiating higher terms with the parents to be. Being careless throughout a pregnancy can equivocate to being a prostitute, a term that surrogates avoid at all costs.

What are your thoughts?

Did you like this piece? Did you learn something new? If so, press “like” and subscribe to help TSP reach 100 subscribers by 2016!

If you want to learn more about Commercial Surrogacy in India read Commercial Surrogacy in India: Manufacturing a Perfect Mother-Worker by Amrita Pande. The topic is far more complex than what is mentioned in this piece. 

Some documentaries highlighting India’s surrogacy practices are listed below:

Start watching around 5:25 – Commercial surrogacy in India:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYVR0vXEdn8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYVR0vXEdn8

Commercial Surrogacy Exploiting Women Of The Developing World? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj3EodH7lcY

Vandalizing an Elementary School in the Name of Protest

It’s that time of the year again, when parents take a sigh of relief while children return to school. However, this year returning to school has been different for many students and teachers. Why? Teachers school facility, MPP’s and school buildings are facing the backlash of the new sex education curriculum.

AidsIn the first two days of schools alone, two schools were vandalized supposedly by parents in protest of the newly revised sex education curriculum. The phrase “shame on you” was spray painted on the walls of Thorncliffe Park public school and Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy. Personally, I found this behaviour to be immature. Canadians have the right to protest but this kind of action is just unacceptable especially in the case of elementary schools.

Students shouldn’t be exposed to vandalism as a means of adult protests. It’s not fair for the children to have what is supposed to be their safe space to learn vandalized. Imagine seeing these words in a space where children aged 4-10 play and learn. Imagine how upsetting it was for parents to explain to their children why that writing was on the wall. Sex-education is a sensitive issue and it is understandable why parents have their concerns. Everyone has the right to protest and follow their beliefs however; I don’t believe vandalism is the way to achieve that goal.

Furthermore, half of the students from Thorncliffe were removed from their first day of classes as a protest to the new curriculum. Thorncliffe is known for having a large Muslim population of students. However, some Muslim community members such as Farrah Marfatiah have chosen to take a unique role by creating a guide to the new guidelines by explaining the changes in accordance to Islamic beliefs. Read more about it here: http://tinyurl.com/qbqpohg. In the past, some parents have protested outside of Liberal MPP offices against the new legislation.

Wednesday, “the day of protest” was put together by the pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition. Some parents went as far to suggest that they are considering removing their child from public school and placing them in Catholic schools or home schooling their children in order to avoid having their child learn the new sex-education material. Other parents are arguing that sex-education should be taught at home. Conversely, some parents are accepting the sex-education curriculum for the most part but object to parts of it including teaching children about homosexuality.

LgbtqDespite the backlash, many students, parents and school boards support this movement and believe that it should’ve been updated much earlier. Some children have stated that they understand the material better and had many of their questions answered. Moreover, parents are arguing that they may not have the time to stay up to date with the new technological threats which have evolved over the years and are glad that schools are taking on this responsibility.

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What does the new sex-ed curriculum include? Find out here:https://thesocialparalegal.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/lets-talk-about-sex-ed-new-legislation/

I Do… Want A Prenuptial Agreement

First comes love, then comes the prenuptial agreement, then comes marriage –  When people think of prenuptial agreements they often think of “gold diggers” and cheaters but prenuptial agreements can benefit a variety of couples.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract between a couple regarding their property before entering into marriage and property distribution upon divorce, separation and death. The agreement comes into power on the date the couple are married.

What can be included?

A prenuptial agreement allows the couple to assess the property brought into the marriage and what they’d like to take away following a divorce including: inherited property, what is individually/jointly owned, spousal support onuses, how property will be divided in the case of death or separation, and the right to dictate the education and moral upbringing of their children.

Limitations

Although prenuptial agreements allow couples to incorporate almost anything, there are limitations including:
ring-631383_640(a) custody of/ access to children;
(b) child support;
(c) clauses considered illegal or immoral;
(d) clauses relating to infidelity or fidelity;
(e) removing the other person from a matrimonial home (even if they do not own the home); and
(f) selling the home or mortgaging the home without your significant others permission (even if you own the home)

Void in court

  1. Signatures of witnesses. Oral agreements do not stand up in court; ensure witnesses sign off on the contract.
  2. Financial disclosure. Disclose all of your assets in detail, including how much is in your accounts. For instance, stating you have a RRSP without disclosing how much money is in the account may not hold up in court.
  3. Duress and coercion. All contracts resulting from duress and coercion are invalid; thus, do not force your spouse to sign the agreement.
  4. Gross injustice. When one spouse is left penniless while the other is exceptionally wealthy after a long term relationship comes to an end, the court may choose to make the contract void.
  5. Illegal clauses. As mentioned above, there are limitations to what can be included in the agreement. For instance, you cannot include clauses to punish immoral behavior such as adultery. This is significantly different from the U.S.A where you can outline ramifications for a cheating spouse.

Pros and Cons

Entering into a prenuptial agreement can have its pros and cons. For example, it can protect you from accumulating your partners’ debt upon divorce. It is also viewed as practical and advisable in today’s world but it can also be viewed as unromantic and cynical. A prenuptial agreement can preserve family ties and ensure that your estate is handled the way you’d like after death. It can also serve as a safeguard for your personal and business assets. It also outlines financial expectations upon marriage and consequently it eliminates conflicts regarding asset and financial division upon divorce. Conversely, a prenuptial agreement can result in anger between partners and viewed as a lack of trust and commitment between partners.

Did you learn something new? If so, please subscribe and press like!

Point of discussion:

1. How do you feel about prenuptial agreements? Are they necessary?
2. What would you like included in your prenuptial agreement if you were to draft one?

Daycare Gone Wrong: Toddler Fight Club

As schedules become increasingly busier many parents are looking to place their children in daycares. Daycares are meant to be safe spaces for children to learn and interact with other children while parents are at work. Unfortunately, some daycares fail to satisfy the required standards, such is the case of a New Jersey daycare.

Two employees at Lightbridge Academy daycare in New Jersey decided to run a toddler “Fight Club”. The daycare employees had approximately a dozen children aged four to six striking and tackling each other. Erica Kenny, who was one of the supervisors, made a Snapchat video of the children rumbling and shared it with her followers. Kenny was heard encouraging the children to fight each other while reciting Fight Club dialogues in her Snapchat video. Fortunately, the video was recorded by a viewer and shared with the authorities. To make matters worse, Erica Kenny is a teacher’s aide and Chanese White is a teacher.

Untitled

The two employees Kenny, 22, and White, 28 were criminally charged for their behaviour. Both employees were charged with fourth degree child abuse. Kenny was further charged with third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. Both employees were fired. The daycare continues to insist this was an isolated event.

Parents were outraged to learn what had occurred in the daycare. One parent went as far as to state her son had returned from the daycare with a broken finger and she now questions if it was a result of the toddler wrestling ring.

That’s the U.S what about Ontario?

Updated Child Care Laws in Ontario

Ontario is trying to tackle the shortcomings of the existing childcare legislation by updating legal standards set out in the the Daycare Nurseries Act (DNA). As of August 31, 2015, under the new rules of the Child Care and Early Years Ac t (CCEYA), the only requirement for an unlicensed daycare is that there must be less than five children under the age of 6 (not including the daycare owners own children) being supervised at one time. This limitation applies regardless of the number of adults in the home.

In August of 2016, the government would like to make an amendment that requires unlicensed providers to count their children under the age of 6 and can only take care of two children under the age of two. In August of 2017, the legislation aims to “include children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old in the total care of children they care for”. Noncompliance may result in administrative penalties and convictions that may include fines.

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Points of Discussion:

1. What are your thoughts regarding Ontario’s proposed updates?

2. Do you feel the decision against the employees was just? How would you do it differently?

If you are a parent or know someone who has child in a daycare, please share this piece and help educate others about the law.