California will now enforce Canadian law

California will now enforce Canadian law


July 24, 2017

•  Applies to Canadian domestic violence protection orders

•  We need to protect victims of domestic violence regardless of area

California law enforcement officers will soon be allowed to enforce Canadian domestic violence protection orders within California under a new law.

California and Canada enjoy significant cross-border trade, travel, and partnership. We need to protect victims of domestic violence regardless of area, says state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, author of the legislation. Its my hope that states across the nation will follow suit.

Canadian Consul General Brandon Lee says collaboration is key to finding solutions to common public safety and security challenges. This bill will ensure vulnerable Canadian families receive protection under the law in California and reinforces an important precedent for other states, he says.

Canada already recognizes domestic violence restraining orders issued by California courts. In 2011, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada approved the Uniform Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act, which provides for the recognition of foreign protection orders, including those of the United States.

With the passage of Mr. Dodd’s bill, California will provide similar credence to domestic violence protection orders issued by Canadian courts.

When survivors of domestic violence come to our state, its vital that we welcome them to a safe haven, says Kathy Moore, executive director of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. Honoring Canadian domestic violence protective orders will provide a greater sense of security to survivors in knowing that California law honors their existing safeguards.

The legislation was proposed by the Uniform Law Commission, which seeks to protect victims and promote a standard practice across all U.S. states. It goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

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Canadian military shows ‘tremendous progress’ since days of homophobic law

Christine Potvin joined the military in 1988, the same year that she realized she was a lesbian – a year that other soldiers of a similar sexual orientation were being rooted out and expelled from the Canadian Armed Forces.

The military called it being “not advantageously employable due to homosexuality.”

But Ms. Potvin desired the life she had seen on a recruiting poster. She wanted a job that would be physically demanding, taking advantage of her athletic nature, and that would give her a chance to see the world. So she walked into a recruiting office in Ottawa and enlisted, harbouring a secret that could have put a quick end to her military ambitions.

Today, 29 years later, Warrant Officer Christine Potvin is the sergeant major of her medical company. And she is married to a woman.

There has been a profound culture change over the nearly three decades since WO Potvin joined the Forces. As she approaches her retirement next month, the military is openly welcoming gay and lesbian Canadians, trying to spread the word that discrimination and harassment are no longer tolerated, and that people of all sexual orientations can be promoted to the highest ranks.

WO Potvin, who is now 51, has a message for young homosexual people who are considering a career as a soldier, sailor or aviator.

“I would say don’t be afraid to make that decision and take that step,” she said. “With the newer generation coming in, and all of the policies and the support that the Forces have given to alternative lifestyles, I would say don’t be afraid.”

The year 1988 was a year of change for WO Potvin. “I was 21. The same year was the first year I had a relationship with a woman,” she said. “It was still brand-new even to me.”

She was aware from the moment that she signed her military papers that any overt suggestion of homosexuality could result in a humiliating interrogation by a Special Investigation Unit which had, by that time, forced the resignations of hundreds of others.

“Knowing that, I was quite careful and, the famous expression, ‘in the closet,’” she said.

The military is a family and her closest friends were aware that she was leading a double life. If others suspected, said WO Potvin, they did not approach her about it, perhaps as a way of protecting her.

Then came Michelle Douglas, a 2nd lieutenant who was discharged in 1989 under what was known as an “administrative release,” the typical means of ejecting a homosexual from the military. Ms. Douglas launched a lawsuit that was settled in 1992 and prompted the government to strike down the law that prevented lesbians and gays from serving their country.

It still took some time for WO Potvin, who was trained as an operating-room technician, to be open about her sexuality.

“I would say maybe within the first five years I was quite careful and then, slowly but surely, I started coming out of the closet,” she said. “In general, the attitudes towards gays and lesbians were changing. Of course, the attitudes towards women were changing also.”

Through multiple deployments to Afghanistan, WO Potvin said she was never subjected to negative comments, either from Canadians or from the soldiers of other nationalities who worked alongside her. “What was important to them is that I was able to do my work as a soldier in a combat zone, in a war zone,” she said.

Here at home, it took time for attitudes and policies to change.

But Operation Honour, a strategy introduced in 2015 by Jonathan Vance, the Chief of Defence Staff, to end sexual assault and harassment within the Forces, has accelerated things considerably, said WO Potvin. “They are cleaning house and they are really working at restructuring the policies.”

Lieutenant-General Charles Lamarre, the head of Military Personnel Command, which is the human-resources branch of the Forces, says there are no specific targets for the hiring of more gays and lesbians but the message is clear that they will be made to feel accepted and valued.

“We want to reflect Canadian society and, of course, that includes all the people who make up Canada and that includes sexual orientation as well,” said Lt.-Gen. Lamarre. “What we can tell them is they are going to have a place where really it is a meritocracy, you are judged on your performance and how well you do your work and you get rewarded in the same way.”

Today, there are gays and lesbians at the top echelons of the military, both at the officer and at the enlisted level. Rear Admiral Luc Cassivi, who is in charge of the Canadian Defence Academy, has a male partner.

It is a change that is welcomed by Michelle Douglas.

“It shows tremendous progress since the time when I was dismissed from the CAF because I am a lesbian,” she said. “The military should be acknowledged for opening its arms widely to all those who wish to serve their country in the CAF. It is important to see diversity as a strength. Leadership on this will be key to ensure those from within the broad LGBTQ2 community are fully supported as members of the CAF and messages should be reinforced that there is zero tolerance for discrimination.”

As for WO Potvin, she is looking forward to a new chapter in her life when she is medically discharged in August. She plans to take a photography course and to spend more time with her wife in Ottawa.

Taking off the uniform for the final time will be emotional, she said, because her experience has, by and large, been so positive.

“You’re not going to be able to educate everyone in terms of being human, and not being [looked at as] gay, straight, white, black … that’s never going to happen 100-per-cent. We know that,” said WO Potvin. “But if we each play our role, one at at time, we will reduce discrimination, we will reduce segregation.”

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Eleven police officers awarded Canadian Banks’ Law Enforcement Award for fighting financial crimes

MONTREAL, July 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dedication, courage, teamwork and innovative law enforcement techniques in fighting financial crimes earned 11 police officers the Canadian Banks’ Law Enforcement Award (CBLEA), awarded today by the Canadian Bankers Association at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Project Royal – Detective Constables Michael Kelly and Timothy Trotter, Toronto Police Service

In winter 2016, Detective Constables Michael Kelly and Timothy Trotter of the Toronto Police Department discovered a fraud and money laundering operation with links to North America, Africa and Asia. The value of criminal proceeds associated to these activities was estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

The two officers launched Project Royal, to identify the individuals involved in this organization, decipher their relationships with one another and uncover the true extent of their crimes.

Through their diligent investigation, Detective Constables Kelly and Trotter were able to place five individuals under arrest and dismantle the transnational group of criminals responsible for significant losses to Canadian financial institutions. The remaining members of this syndicate were placed under investigation by various international law enforcement agencies.

The Bayfield Case – York Regional Police, Toronto Police Service, Belleville Police Service, Halton Police Service and Cobourg Police Service (Group Award)

Joint investigations by York Regional Police, Toronto Police Service, Belleville Police Service, Halton Police Service and Cobourg Police Service led to the capture of a lone assailant who had committed seven bank robberies in Southern Ontario.

Coordinating between five different law enforcement agencies, officers tracked their suspect’s crimes until April 4th, 2016, when a pair of eyeglasses were recovered at the scene of the latest robbery, in Burlington, Ontario. The information on the glasses allowed police to positively identify 40 year old Zak Bayfield as the perpetrator. He confessed to the robberies and admitted to having planned more.

Winners of the group award are: Detective Alec Tompras (York Regional Police), Detective Constable Dan Moore (York Regional Police), Detective Sebastian Cultrera (York Regional Police), Detective Constable Paul Mills (Toronto Police Service), Detective Steve Smith (Toronto Police Service), Detective Joe Matys (Toronto Police Service), Detective Sergeant Pat Kellar (Belleville Police Service), Detective Constable Alan MacEwan (Halton Police Service), and Detective Constable Amy Sharpe (Cobourg Police Service). 

CBA Quote

“The number of bank robberies in Canada has been decreasing over time.  This is evidence that the deterrent measures the banks are taking are working and that the police are doing a great job of apprehending these criminals,” said Malcolm Chivers, Director of Corporate Security, Canadian Bankers Association. “These awards are our way of celebrating this relationship by recognizing the great work police do to prevent, detect and respond to financial crime.”

About the Canadian Banks’ Law Enforcement Award

Since its creation in 1972, 259 officers from across Canada have been honoured with the CBLEA for their outstanding bravery, dedication and other noteworthy achievements in combating crimes against Canada’s banks. For additional information, please visit

About the Canadian Bankers Association

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 64 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 280,000 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada’s economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions and works with banks and law enforcement to help protect customers against financial crime and promote fraud awareness.

Follow the CBA on Twitter: @CdnBankers
Follow the CBA on LinkedIn

For more information:

Andrew Perez
Manager, Media Relations
Canadian Bankers Association
Tel: (416) 362-6093, ext. 219
Cell: (416) 587-7733

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Canadian actor Harvey Atkin of ‘Law & Order’ and ‘Cagney & Lacey’ fame dead at 74

law and order
Harvey Atkin is seen in this undated handout photo. Canadian actor Harvey Atkin, who was a regular on hit U.S. dramas “Law & Order” and “Cagney & Lacey,” died Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 74. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Bob Lasky

TORONTO — Canadian actor Harvey Atkin, who was a regular on hit U.S. dramas “Law & Order” and “Cagney & Lacey,” died Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 74.

His death was confirmed in a statement by his longtime friend and agent Larry Goldhar.

Atkin’s career first took flight in 1979 when Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman cast the actor in the summer camp comedy “Meatballs,” which co-starred Bill Murray, Kate Lynch and Chris Makepeace. His performance as Morty Melnick earned Atkin a Genie nomination

He appeared regularly as staff sergeant Ronald Coleman in the ’80s detective drama “Cagney & Lacey” opposite Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless and Al Waxman. Atkin was also a regular on “Law and Order” as Judge Ridenour.

The actor lent his voice talents to a number of animated TV shows, including “Jacob Two-Two,” “The Ripping Friends” and several Super Mario Bros. series. He had several guest-starring roles in television and film including “Ticket to Heaven,” “Beetlejuice,” “Silver Streak,” “Atlantic City” and “Barney’s Version.”

Atkin is survived by his wife Celia, children Lisa and Danny, three sisters and five grandchildren.

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As the law and society evolve, Canadian judges go back to school

The woman in the witness box is defiant and clear as she recounts a litany of abuse to the court, including being sex trafficked, raped and held against her will.

She is an actress. So is the Crown, the judge and the accused men — one played by the son of one of the real judges who helped make this video. The script is taken verbatim from transcripts from a real case and it was made to educate judges about human trafficking, domestic violence and why a victim may not leave an abusive partner, may not call the police and may have an emotional connection to their abuser.

The goal was to learn to address these issues “institutionally as judges, individually as judges and individually as people,” Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin told a group of about 45 judges in a conference room at a downtown Toronto hotel.

The Star was given access to the conference as debates continue around what education judges receive about issues such as gender-based violence, how effective it is and whether education in sexual assault law should be mandatory — questions sparked by the inquiry into Alberta judge Robin Camp, who infamously asked a sexual assault complainant why she didn’t just keep her knees together, and by a number of high-profile cases, including most recently an Alberta judge’s shocking decision to jail an Indigenous sexual assault complainant for the duration of her testimony at a preliminary hearing.

At the conference, after watching two segments of the video, the group was invited to write down one word that describes how they feel about what they saw.

The responses read later by Martin included “horror,” “sadness,” “disillusionment” and “helpless.”

During a break the judges submitted questions to a panel moderated by Martin and including fellow Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheila Greckol, U.S. judge Ann Goldstein from the International Association of Women Judges, and Nicole Barrett, an expert on law and human trafficking from the University of British Columbia.

The first question — how common is the woman’s explanation for why she did not leave?

Barrett said the story is all too familiar.

“She is isolated from others, she lacks financial independence, she has broken self-esteem, she has a fear of escalated violence, she has a fear of retaliation, that they will tell her family, a psychological bond with her abuser,” she said. “Once you start listing the reasons she doesn’t leave, it becomes fairly overwhelming.”

This particular complainant is somewhat of an outlier because of the clarity and detail of her memory, she noted.

The next question struck at the heart of why judges were in that room on a Thursday morning.

“Until this job and judicial education,” the question began, “I had no way to be aware this happens to ordinary folk.”

In the wake of the Camp inquiry and other high-profile cases, Ontario made it mandatory for new judges to be trained in sexual assault law. The Canadian Judicial Council, which oversees judicial education, made training for new judges officially mandatory in March.

A fast-tracked federal bill proposed by former Conservative leader Rona Ambrose is now before the Senate. It would require lawyers applying to be judges to have completed sexual assault law and social context education. It would also require the Canadian Judicial Council to report annually on what sexual assault-related education they provide, how many judges take part, and how many judges preside over sexual assault cases but have not taken such a seminar.

“Canadian courts are failing to send the message that sexual assault and all forms of violence against women are unacceptable,” says Lise Martin, executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada, in her submission to the Status of Women Committee in support of mandatory and ongoing education for judges in gender-based violence and the impacts of trauma.

“We continue to see our work undermined by Canadian judges, who label domestic violence as a private matter and misunderstand the basic ideas and laws about consent and sexual assault,” Martin says.

This particular conference in June was unusual because it was only for women judges who make up just 38 per cent of the total number of federally appointed judges. The sessions on the topic “Safety and Security of Women,” which included a seminar on the issues presented by sexual assault trials, were organized by the federally-funded National Judicial Institute and the Canadian chapter of the International Association of Women Judges.

In an interview Superior Court Justice Patricia Hennessy, who is based in Sudbury and is currently working on judicial education for Indigenous issues, referred to the human trafficking case discussed earlier.

“The first step is to recognize that is not our reality,” she said, of the woman involved.

“Does it make sense that she would not have left. Does that make sense? That is what the defence would like us to conclude, it makes no sense that she would not have left. But we don’t know her reality.”

Hennessey said judges do need ongoing education in various areas of the law and in changing social context — and that the training courses being developed by the National Judicial Institute and taught courts across the country are crucial.

“The criminal laws have changed as societies have changed,” Justice Martin said, adding that it is important for judges to understand how and why those changes happened.

“It’s the most effective thing we’ve ever seen,” Martin said. “Can it solve all the issues? No, it can’t.”

The goal of the “social context” education, specifically cited in the federal bill, is to help judges understand diverse life situations of the people that we serve, said Justice Adele Kent, who heads the National Judicial Institute. “Judges have to understand the people they are judging.”

That training examines race, disability, region, poverty, mental illness and gender-based violence and is designed, like the human trafficking seminar, with input from academics and community groups, she said, addressing criticism that the training doesn’t incorporate the experiences of those impacted.

“I think we all carry with us a certain amount of prejudice or stereotypical thinking,” Greckol said. “We all do and it’s defined by race and gender and . . . class, economic class is a big factor. So we come with that baggage and that is obviously going to weigh into our thinking about things. So I think what judicial education is about is disabusing our judges of predispositions to thinking in certain ways and the broadening of the mind to accept there are no predetermined answers to questions.”

She said it has been very useful for judges to have frank and open discussions about their prejudices and have educators explain why it is a myth or stereotype.

Then the question is, when training is given at optional conferences like this one, “are we preaching to the converted?” said Toronto Superior Court Judge Julie Thorburn, the organizer of this conference.

Ongoing training for judges in specific areas is not mandatory by law, but she said the education programs organized at each court twice a year are effectively mandatory. And those education courses are constantly improving, she said.

“At the end of the day I think we are talking about decency and sensitivity to people and situations, and sometimes it is difficult to train people to be decent and to be sensitive to others,” she said. “We try.”

They said more also needs to be done across the board to tackle sexual assault — from the police and lawyers to alternative models from the criminal justice system.

In the courtroom “we can start from the very basics,” Kent says. “To be polite to people . . . to make sure people feel comfortable. To make people feel they are valued even if it ends up in an acquittal.”

Thorburn said it can be helpful to judges to hear expert evidence in certain cases in order for them to have something to rely on when assessing credibility.

Martin too stressed the importance of social science research. “Judges should not rely on untested assumptions about human behaviour,” she said.

There is no one way for people who have been traumatized to react. Victims of sexual assault do not have to have screamed or resisted to be credible.

But, she said, attitudes may not have changed with the law.

“We can work on those kind of underlying assumptions that may undercut credibility in a manner that isn’t fair and equal,” she said.

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B.C. woman regains Canadian citizenship stripped by arcane law

Byrdie Funk marked Canada Day by taking a citizenship oath, but unlike the 150 people around her who also raised their right arm to do the same, she is hardly a newcomer.

Funk, a third-generation Canadian, became a first-generation Canadian on Saturday after she regained her citizenship that was stripped from her just over a year ago by an arcane law.

“I have always been part of the Canadian family, I have always chosen Canada and for me today, it seems more like Canada has chosen me and I belong again,” she said following the ceremony at Canada Place in Vancouver.

Funk, 37, was born in Mexico to Canadian parents and they moved back to Canada when she was two months old. Since then, Canada has been home and she holds no other citizenship.

She was unaware of a law that requires people born overseas between 1977 and 1981 to parents who were also born abroad to apply to maintain their citizenship by the age of 28, and missed the deadline.

Losing her citizenship meant she couldn’t leave Canada and couldn’t vote. But Funk said she was lucky that her access to public health care wasn’t stripped from her.

‘Lost Canadians’

She joined the so-called Lost Canadians group as she worked through the bureaucracy to regain her citizenship, and said she was surprised to discover how many other people were in the same boat.

Don Chapman, who champions the cause of so-called Lost Canadians, said, “the laws have become so convoluted.”

He said archaic laws that blocked children of non-Canadian fathers from gaining citizenship or simply weren’t properly registered at a hospital at birth continue to pose problems for people today.

“We need to not just close the gaps, we need a new citizenship act,” he suggested as a solution.

Chapman was one of many friends and family members who celebrated Funk’s newfound citizenship, which he called “a victory.”

Although Funk has her citizenship back in hand, she said the ordeal is not quite over yet.

‘Fight for others’

She said she’s unsure how her contributions to the Canadian Pension Plan will be calculated and whether losing and regaining citizenship means her past contributions are void.

“I don’t think anybody really has the answers, that’s why we have to continue to advocate for change,” she said.

The entire ordeal is one she said should never have happened in the first place.

“No one should ever get a letter in the mail saying, ‘Sorry, you no longer belong here.’ That was probably the hardest part,” she said.

Funk intends to continue fighting for others who lose citizenship over archaic policies and she said wants in the long term to see the laws rewritten.

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