“CBD” and “THC”: Two Acronyms You Should Know About in Today’s World

In two earlier articles entitled, “Bill-C45: The Cannabis Act and the Canadian Visitor to the United States” and more recently, “Cannabis, Medical Marijuana and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America, I discussed in some detail, the legalization of “cannabis” in Canada and the implications for the Canadian Visitor to the United States. Embedded in these articles is an explanation about the legal anomaly that exists in the United States, where legalization of “marijuana” has become a “patchwork” of legislation and regulations, both at the State and Federal level. A handful of States have legalized the substance both for recreational and medicinal purposes in varying degrees, while the Federal Government (which includes the Department of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Service), considers “cannabis” or “marijuana” to be a controlled substance, under Section I of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. § 802(16), such that its possession and use continues to be a serious criminal offence in the United States. This is potentially problematic for the Canadian visitor and those involved in the “cannabis” industry in Canada, which I explained.

CBD and THC: “What’s it all about Alfie?”

With the legalization of “cannabis” in Canada and several States in the U.S., (including California), I lamented in one of my those articles that it was unlikely, given the average age of the typical “Snowbird” that the use of “cannabis” for recreational purposes would become a popular leisurely retirement activity.  On the other hand, as evidenced by some recent discussions with some close friends and relatives, the therapeutic use of “cannabis” or other forms of the substance and its derivatives is receiving more and more attention, and those suffering from a myriad of aliments from sleep disorders, insomnia, anxiety, depression and chronic pain are apparently finding some relief. Some have reported that its use has a “calming” effect and that it allows one to be more focused and not as “stressed out” thereby creating a healthier and more positive outlook on life.

Most of my knowledge on this subject was limited to two common acronyms–CBD and THC, both being components of “cannabis” with each having their own unique qualities. As a former Federal Drug Prosecutor, THC was well known to me in my former life as being the active component of cannabis that produces a “high” or psychotropic effect in terms of its recreational and at the time, illegal use.

How things have changed?

More recently, CBD has become a popular term and has increasingly crept into our vocabulary and “adult” conversation at our regular “Happy Hour”.  Some of my friends have been touting it as a new “wonder drug” offering many anecdotal positive experiences.

At the risk of offending those from the Mediterranean island, all of this was “Greek” to me and somewhat of a mystery, so I thought it might be a useful exercise to examine this area more closely and try to clarify the mystic surrounding these acronyms –CBD and THC and offer some incite into the multitude of new “products” now being promoted commercially in the United States and Canada.

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Ageism and the Insurance Industry

-A Topic Which is Not Often Mentioned

In the 1960’s, Geriatrician Robert Butler coined the phrase “ageism”. It was used in the context of the prevailing social practice of stereotyping older people and the aging process in a negative manner. It reflected existing societal attitudes towards the elderly, which portrayed them often in disparaging terms and that identified them as unflattering stereotypes. As time progressed, ageism was viewed more in a legal context having regard to policy or practices, which were considered prejudicial or discriminatory in nature.

Today, ageism is defined more specifically as discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.

In a time of increased diversity and a desire to promote inclusivity within Canada, ageism is seen as one of the newest challenges facing society. Much of the world is caught up in the #MeToo movement, which focuses on sexual harassment in the workplace. But in addition, there is a growing awareness and strong sentiment being expressed also about age discrimination in the workplace environment.

But there are other areas where ageism is not often mentioned but in reality exists to the financial detriment to the “retiree” or “senior citizen”. This prompted one observer to remark,

Ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada and there is no greater safe haven for this kind of prejudice than in the insurance industry.”

In my opinion, one of the last bastions, where age discrimination continues to be accepted and tolerated is in the area of private sector insurance and in particular, private health insurance and more specifically, Travel Medical Insurance.

Let me explain.

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A “Busy” Retirement: Is it the Right Kind of Busy?

In a recent article entitled, “The Emotional Phases of Retirement”, I reviewed in some detail various academic studies on “retirement” that focused on a part of retirement planning not often considered or discussed, as people contemplate this phase in their life. Most articles and books on retirement planning place emphasis on the financial aspect of retirement, many promoting their own version of a plan which is guaranteed to produce financial results. Few discuss in any meaningful fashion, the “emotional” aspects of retirement and how to cope with this significant change in lifestyle. A friend who is much younger than I and who is still working but contemplating this next phase in his life, recently asked me, “if I had any difficulty in adjusting to retirement”. After a lively discussion, I sent him an email with some information on the topic.  READ ON

The Emotional “Phases” of Retirement: From a Canadian Perspective

In a recent article entitled, “Forgive Me-I Just Had a Senior’s Moment”, I lamented in somewhat of a reflective mood about describing myself as a “senior” and the inherent but short lived guilt, I felt about taking advantage of a “senior discount”. In the course of my article, while in a moment of brief melancholy, I discussed the terms “senior citizen” and “retirement” and in my research discovered that a considerable amount of academic study has taken place about this phenomena (“retirement”) and it peaked my interest so much so, that I decided to delve into the subject a little bit more and to educate myself on what has been described by many as the “emotional” phases of retirement. READ On

Forgive Me -I Just Had a “Senior’s Moment”

My wife and I went to a movie last night and although I had done this before, I had an epiphany as I stepped up to the ticket window and purchased a movie ticket. “Two Seniors for ‘The Wife’ ” I said. The fact that I had asked for and received a “senior” discount sent a chill through my body and it caused me to reflect on “things” including life itself. What does it mean to be a “senior”? Does this term properly define this station of my life? Is this the last train station before we depart for “points” beyond?

“Is this term an appropriate and accurate  description of my current status?” I asked myself. READ ON

Child and Elder Care and the Duty of an Employer to Accommodate

With the ever increasing costs of child care and after school care, many families with a working mother are faced with the annual dilemma after calculating the “net “benefit, having taken these expenses into account, of justifying her continued employment.  In addition, (particularly, for the single “mom”) after making the decision to work, they are then presented with ever increasing family duties and expectations, logistical issues and unreasonable expectations or demands by the employer, when their “family” obligations interfere or conflict with their employment duties.

By now most employers should be aware that both federal and provincial human rights legislation prohibits discrimination in the workplace on grounds of race, religion, sex and age. Many employers are however unaware that the legislation also prohibits discrimination based upon a person’s family status, which includes childcare obligations.

The issue also arises occasionally with respect to elder care. As our parents’ age and as there is a tendency for them to live longer, their personal requirements and medical needs increase and it often falls on their adult children to address these concerns. Most often these issues are unscheduled and take the employee suddenly away from the workplace, which may create conflict with the employer.

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Testamentary Capacity: Take Some Positive Steps Before it is Too Late

The Story of Martha and Henry

In Alberta, the Wills and Succession Act R.S.A. came into effect on February 1st 2012 replacing the Wills Act, Intestate Succession Act, Survivorship Act and Section 47 of the Trustee Act. It is now the primary statute in Alberta that deals with wills, intestacy, survivorship, dependent support, beneficiary designations and other succession issues.

 

Section 13 of the Act states the following:

 

  • An individual who is 18 years of age or older may make, alter or revoke a will if the individual has the mental capacity to do so.

 

“Mental capacity” is not defined in the Act but has universally been accepted as the penultimate consideration in determining whether or not a person has the ability to make a will or whether or not a given will is indeed valid. This is referred to among legal circles as “testamentary capacity”.

 

There is no standardized test for determining testamentary capacity and although it is suggested that lawyers are trained to assess mental capacity for the purpose of taking will instructions and before having someone sign a new will, my own experience would suggest that such “training” is limited and more imaginary than real. Clearly, most lawyers understand the necessity to assess the client’s ability to give will instructions but putting this into practice can be tricky and is more of an art than a science. READ ON

 

Effective Board Governance and the Role Of Committees

Effective Board Governance and the Role of Committees

 

The structure of a Board and the planning of the Board’s work are key elements to effective governance. Establishing committees is perceived to be one way of better managing the work of the Board, thereby strengthening and enhancing the Board’s governance role.

Historically, it has been common practice for Boards, using a traditional governance model, to strike various standing committees to deal with major functional areas of the organization.  Each Board committee would work closely with the management team or staff member responsible for this functional area. They would work together in addressing issues, solving problems, developing internal policies and establishing plans to monitor performance and compliance within each functional area.

For example, it was commonplace for a Board to establish a human resource or staffing committee, who would work with the HR manager to develop HR policies including hiring, conduct, discipline, compensation and performance. It was expected that the work of the committee would “filter” up to the Board and from time to time the Board would be asked to approve some high level policies. For the most part, however, the establishment of work related policies was left to the committee to approve and for management to implement and the work of the committee was largely unseen by the board, except for approving perfunctory minutes from the committee meetings and receiving a brief verbal report from the chair of the committee at the Board meeting.READ ON