Canada

FATCA, or the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, has been in effect for several months. The global tax law is aimed at rooting out Americans living outside of the United States who are not paying their U.S. taxes. But many expatriate Americans in Canada are fighting back.

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A growing menace on Ontario's streets, roads, and highways has lawmakers and police scrambling to keep up. For the second time in a year, the provincial government is planning a big jump in fines for distracted drivers.

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A new report from Ontario paints a gloomy economic picture as a result of continued low water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. It could cost the U.S. and Canada more than $19 billion by the year 2050.

More than 2,000 of Canada's mayors and senior municipal leaders will gather in Niagara Falls over the next two days. They're taking part in the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. WBFO's Dan Karpenchuk looks at some of the issues that top the agenda.

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After 15 years, Ontario's spring bear hunt is on again, on an experimental basis. It began on May 1, despite an 11th hour legal bid by animal rights groups to prevent it.

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An unusual court case was heard recently in Ontario dealing with citizenship and immigration. Three longtime foreign residents were fighting for the right to become Canadian citizens, but without having to swear allegiance to the British Queen.

Canada's justice minister describes it as only a small adjustment.  But politically it's a huge  policy shift for a government that's fought any suggestion of easing the country's marijuana laws.  Ottawa is now looking at allowing police to write tickets for illegal possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Some of the Canadian government's fiercest critics say they are being targeted.  The Canada Revenue Agency is auditing more than half a dozen environmental groups to see if they are complying with guidelines that limit political advocacy.

Washington and Ottawa have signed a deal that means Canadian banks won't have to report on their American customers to the I-R-S.  But that doesn't let those American customers living north of the border, off the hook.  The deal means Canada's Revenue agency will collect the information, and then pass it on to its U-S counterparts.  And that's not sitting well with many.  

Border info sharing program raising privacy concerns

Jan 28, 2014
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The Toronto Star is reporting that by this summer, Washington and Ottawa will be sharing information on people traveling across the border. The report is raising privacy concerns.

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A pilot project designed to reduce congestion on the Peace Bridge got underway last week, but Rep. Brian Higgins says pre-inspection is not enough. Higgins is once again calling for a new span between Buffalo and Fort Erie.

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A federal budget bill released late Tuesday night includes funding to hire more border agents in Western New York.

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Senator Charles Schumer says increasing delays at the Peace Bridge are a threat to the economic recovery of Western New York.

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The process has started for a major expansion of the U.S. side of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

If you have a DWI on your record and you want to cross the Niagara River bridges into Canada, is that a problem? This week on You & The Law, attorney Kelly Carr says it can be, although there are potential solutions.

WBFO News file photo by Chris Caya

New York State and the Canadian government have reached an agreement on millions of dollars worth of improvements at the Peace Bridge. In a news conference heard live on WBFO Wednesday, Governor Cuomo and Gary Doer, the Canadian ambassador to the United States, announced a deal that ends a bitter dispute over operation of the bridge.

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Meetings in New York City on Saturday between officials from Canada and the US did not result in a resolution to the disputes over the Peace Bridge.

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As a dispute between the Cuomo Administration and Canadian officials over the Peace Bridge drags on, Congressman Brian Higgins believes a settlement can be reached without a long legal fight. 

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State Assemblyman Sean Ryan was joined by State Senator Mark Grisanti on Saturday, as the pair announced legislation that would dissolve the bi-national entity that manages the Peace Bridge.

Not only are shoppers from southern Ontario a familiar sight in western New York, recently there has been a growing list of Canadian companies moving to the region, as well.

The Canadian government says it will maintain a consular presence in Buffalo, even though the downtown Consulate in the HSBC Tower is slated to close. 

Senator Charles Schumer says he has been in contact with government officials, trying to get them to reverse what he calls a "poor decision."  Around 75 people worked on two floors in the tower. The Consulate's immigrant section closed in June.

While its still on track to close next week, Schumer says Foreign Minister John Baird has agreed to keep a consular presence in the Queen City through a smaller liaison office. 

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Economic opportunity and security challenges along the northern border were among the issues discussed during an Congressional Field Hearing in Buffalo today. 

Representative Brian Higgins, the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence arranged the hearing.  Erie County Emergency Management Commissioner Dan Neaverth and Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour were among the witnesses called to testify at Buffalo's Federal Courthouse. 

Though it seems Washington doesn't always appreciate problems along the border with Canada, the director of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement says his agency is constantly monitoring the many sensitive cross-border issues.

John Morton passed through Buffalo from Washington and then down to the Mexican border later that afternoon.

He says there is nothing on his desk about changing border crossings in this area, although he preached joint border inspections like those long proposed for the border with Canada.

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

Federal prosecutors are seeking to bring nearly two-dozen Canadians here for trial, as they announced a series of arrests in a cross-border computer-based scam.

At a late afternoon news conference Tuesday in Buffalo, U.S. Attorney William Hochul said the scam went right across the U.S. targeting people in need of some cash to deal with the financial crises of hard times.

"There was a request for an upfront payment," said Hochul.         

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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a roundtable discussion in Niagara Falls Tuesday morning to discuss ways for business leaders and elected officials to improve cross-border commerce.

Local stakeholders and area business leaders gathered in the City of Niagara Falls Tuesday  to attend a roundtable discussion on improving cross-border commerce hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. 

Gillibrand was joined by Rep. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins to discuss trade barriers and opportunities in tourism across the U.S./Canada border.  

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CBC News is reporting that the Canadian Consulate office in Buffalo will be closing. The Canadian government says the closing is due to budget cuts and changes in immigration rules.

The main function of the Buffalo office was to help foreign students and temporary workers extend their visas to stay in Canada, but that will now be handled online and in immigration offices in Canada. Other consular functions in the Buffalo office will be transferred to New York City.

The Canadian doctor who faced charges in the US of smuggling drugs and human growth hormone across the border has been cleared of charges up north.

Canadian authorities have issued a stay against Dr. Anthony Galea, the sports doctor known to have treated Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods and other high-profile athletes.

Galea was given a year of unsupervised release in US courts and faces no prison time.
 

Business Technology & Resource Group, or BTRG for short, was established in 1993 and is headquartered in Mississaugua, Ontario.  Already having done business with some major employers in Buffalo, including Delaware North Companies, BTRG has chosen the Queen City for its U.S. headquarters. 

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