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News

Experts: Four changes to Canadian laws to watch for in 2024 

Law and justice of Canada concept with a 3d rendering of a gavel on a wooden desktop and the Canadian flag on background.
Published: 22 January 2024

A new year often brings new federal regulations and rules. In 2024, there will be a slew of new laws that come into effect with significant implications, including changes to Canada’s bail system, new timelines for the dental insurance program, a new tax on foreign tech companies, and changes to the federal carbon tax. 

Here are some experts from McGill University who can provide comment on these topics: 

Canadian bail system reform 

Marie Manikis, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law  

“The new bail reform act is a legislative response to the perceived failure of the bail system to ensure public safety. However, studies have shown that public safety is not achieved by detaining individuals but rather by investing adequate resources in community safety programs, which have a direct effect on reducing recidivism and limiting criminogenic conditions in society. Moreover, the Criminal Code already contains provisions that consider public safety in the determination of pre-trial detention. Therefore, the reverse onus provisions in this legislation will not contribute to greater public safety but might rather contribute to the increase of an already disproportionate rate of marginalized groups in pre-trial detention.” 

Marie Manikis is an Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Faculty of Law. Her research focuses on criminal law and justice, as well as sentencing from comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives. 

marie.manikis [at] mcgill.ca (English, French)

Canadian Dental Care Plan 

Paul Allison, Full Professor, Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences 

“I believe the Canadian Dental Care Plan is an excellent step forward in addressing financial barriers to accessing dental care for many Canadians, particularly those in more marginalized groups. However, much more needs to be done to address non-financial barriers experienced by Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those living in rural areas and long-term care centres, as well those with language and cultural barriers. Furthermore, this should be a step toward integrating dental care into Canada’s primary medical care system.” 

Paul Allison is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences. His areas of expertise include access to dental care, inequalities in oral health care and health care policies.  

paul.allison [at] mcgill.ca (English, French) 

Elham Emami, Full Professor and Dean, Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences 

“The Canadian Dental Care Plan shows great promise in addressing concerns about access to dental care in Canada. While it focuses on affordability, there are other dimensions of access, such as availability, accommodation, and acceptability. The plan aims to alleviate oral health disparities but needs further development to comprehensively address all dimensions, particularly for rural and remote populations.” 

Elham Emami is a Full Professor and the Dean of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences. Her areas of expertise include social inequalities in oral health care access and the impact of oral health on general health. 

elham.emami [at] mcgill.ca (English, French, Farsi) 

Digital service tax on foreign tech companies 

Preetika Joshi, Assistant Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management 

“The Digital Services Tax (DST) imposes a 3% tax on revenue from digital services earned from customers within Canada, affecting major technology companies such as Netflix, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Critics argue it may place an additional tax burden on multinational companies, potentially resulting in double taxation of profits. Furthermore, the DST could impact bilateral relationships and lead to retaliatory taxes. The imposition of additional taxes at the corporate level also diminishes Canada's competitiveness on the global stage. Whether the DST will be successful in adequately taxing digital businesses remains to be seen, but it represents a step by the Canadian government in the right direction.” 

Preetika Joshi is an Assistant Professor in the Desautels Faculty of Management. Her areas of expertise include corporate taxation, tax policy, domestic tax, and tax planning by multinational corporations. 

preetika.joshi [at] mcgill.ca (English) 

Allen Mendelsohn, Sessional Lecturer, Faculty of Law 

“The Liberal government has always promised to have internet giants operating in Canada pay their fair share of taxes. The Digital Services Tax (DST), which is expected to come into force in 2024, would fulfill that promise, imposing a 3% tax on Canadian revenue for internet companies that have worldwide annual revenue of more than €750 million or Canadian annual revenue of more than $20 million CAD. However, the DST is strongly opposed by American authorities and technology companies. The tax could lead to retaliatory tariffs or other negative consequences.” 

Allen Mendelsohn is a Sessional Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, where he has taught internet law for almost a decade. His legal practice focuses on internet, privacy, and technology law. 

allen.mendelsohn [at] mcgill.ca (English, French) 

Federal carbon tax changes 

Christopher Ragan, Associate Professor and Director, Max Bell School of Public Policy 

“A well-designed carbon price, or tax, is almost certainly the lowest-cost way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, its visibility makes it a political challenge to implement, as we have been witnessing in Canada over the past few months. The challenge for governments is to communicate more clearly how this policy works and why it is so much better than the alternatives, despite the heated political rhetoric surrounding it.” 

Christopher Ragan is an Associate Professor and Director of the Max Bell School of Public Policy. His areas of expertise include carbon pricing, macroeconomics, inflation, and fiscal policy. 

christopher.ragan [at] mcgill.ca (English) 

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