• Ontario’s children’s aid societies grappling with how to monitor privacy breaches

    CPIN gives workers access to care history information in a youth’s file within their department. The youth’s health, criminal and legal records are blanked out in the file and require special permissions to access… Only restricted files, which are few in number, trigger email notifications to a children’s aid society supervisor when an unauthorized person views a record. Youth who have “aged out” of the system are also searchable because there is no retention period for child welfare files.

  • How severe, ongoing stress can affect a child’s brain

    … researchers are discovering… that ongoing stress during early childhood — from grinding poverty, neglect, parents’ substance abuse and other adversity — can smolder beneath the skin, harming kids’ brains and other body systems. And research suggests that can lead to some of the major causes of death and disease in adulthood, including heart attacks and diabetes… pediatricians, mental health specialists, educators and community leaders are increasingly adopting what is called “trauma-informed” care.

  • Presentations and caveats on minimum wage hike

    when wages go up, people spend more thus helping businesses and the economy in general. Secondly, if the only way you can run a business is by paying poverty wages then perhaps you shouldn’t be running a business… the proposed changes to Ontario’s labour laws increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2019, introducing paid sick days and increasing vacation pay for experienced workers is “. . . good for child-care workers, good for children and good for families.”

  • Thousands of under-65 adults with physical disabilities are being forced into Ontario nursing homes: Ministry data

    More than 90,000 people spent time in “long-stay” beds in Ontario long-term care homes last fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care… including… more than 2,300 people in their 50s, and about 500 in their 40s. Doctors and residents say they have seen people as young as 21 entering nursing homes, to live with people older than their grandparents. “Essentially it’s a default scenario because there is nowhere that a young person can go for long-term care, except a nursing home,”

  • Canada’s crime rate is falling — but drug charges are rising

    The police-reported crime rate peaked in 1991 and had been declining ever since. Not so the police-reported rate of drug-related offences. They grew by 52 per cent from 1991 to 2013, according to a Statistics Canada report into drug-related offences… In roughly half of completed cases in youth and adult courts involving marijuana, the marijuana charge was the only charge. Marijuana cases across the country were “more commonly stayed or withdrawn (55 per cent) than cases involving other types of drugs (38 per cent),”

  • Wynne government should dump cruel panhandling ban

    If the government is concerned about the threat to public safety posed by homelessness and poverty, the Safe Streets Act is precisely the wrong approach. The money wasted enforcing this unfair and ineffective law would be much better spent on, say, affordable housing or mental health services or other chronically underfunded social programs that seek to address the root causes of homelessness.

  • With new solitary rules, Canada gets smarter on crime

    Prison is a paradox. In a civilized society, the goal of putting people behind bars is to prepare them to be released, and to equip them to live successfully on the outside. That’s what Canada’s federal prison system says its about, and it should go doubly for the provincial prison systems… most people behind bars in Canada are getting out – soon… The use of solitary confinement for anything other than short periods of time doesn’t further that objective. Even relatively short spells in isolation can harm mental health.

  • Senate report offers valuable roadmap to tackling court delays

    “Delaying Justice is Denying Justice” makes 50 recommendations for how to address the crisis… governments would be better served tackling the roots of the crisis… introducing technologies “that facilitate cooperation, permit increased information sharing and improve efficiency.”… that judges be given better training on case management… [and that] incarceration should be a last resort and that less punitive and costly alternatives should be given priority.

  • Senate report on court delays gets at big truths about criminal justice system

    … if a country is smart on community safety, the first order of business is to acknowledge that most offenders don’t belong in prison except for those who commit violent crime — convicted murderers, rapists, child abusers, etc. The committee never explicitly says that prison should be for the few, not the many, but it’s that principle that drives its cry for reform – for better ways to handle impaired driving offences, for more restorative justice, for alternatives to jail.

  • Liberal child-care plan smacks of ticking boxes as opposed to meaningful reform

    … Ottawa currently spends $23 billion on family support through the Canada Child Benefit; a further $1.4 billion through the Canada Social Transfer to provinces and territories; and $1.1 billion through the Child Care Expense Deduction. Add the $500 million a year for the child care deal and you hit $26 billion… since we’re already spending far more than at any time in Canadian history, why the need to spend even more in an area of provincial jurisdiction?