Economic sanctions are a growing risk factor for Canadian companies engaged in international business, involving traps for the unwary, including, in the most serious cases, criminal charges against senior officers and against the company itself. Despite these risks and the exposure to criminal penalties, the world of sanctions is not fully understood in many quarters. Here’s a short primer. To start with the obvious, sanctions are unilateral prohibitions applied by governments to restrict foreign transactions in specific sectors or with individuals that have been identified as corrupt or morally reprehensible. In some cases, sanctions cover both categories. Sanctions tend to go in one direction, mostly applied by Western...
The promise to end “hallway medicine” was an important element in the campaign of Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives in 2018. If they are serious about reaching that goal, the government should change the rules that currently make it almost impossible for privately funded medicine to compete with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), even though any move in that direction will provoke cries about the threat of “two-tier medicine.” The government’s plans for a superagency to replace the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and a network of Ontario Health Teams responsible for co-ordinating patient care using digital technology are consistent with the recommendations of Rueben Devlin, the chair of the...
Our federal fiscal masters are deeply inconsistent. They freely spend billions in revenue windfalls on one hand, but are obsessive about every nickel of tax they might fail to collect, no matter the cost to Canadians. The 2019 budget features yet another revenue bonanza of scattered handouts, many clearly contrived in haste. That is bad. What is worse is how the government simultaneously tightens the screws, making tax compliance harder over amounts of money that are often derisory, and citing the integrity of the tax system in resisting reforms that could do Canadians much good. Start with the big spending. The 2019 budget started from a fiscal baseline that, over the six-year projection period, was better than anticipated in last...