• Community justice hubs to offer addiction, mental health support under same roof as courts

    In the present model, “the judge will say, ‘You need a treatment plan and can you just get on the streetcar and go down the street to CAMH?’ And people walk out the door and they are gone.” Instead, at a justice centre, the “accused actually has access to a social worker, someone they can point to, and say, ‘You need to go talk to that person who is sitting at the back of the courtroom and they are going to help you put together a plan to deal with all the issues you are facing.’ ”

  • Ontario’s child care election promises win praise from B.C. finance minister

    The Wynne government’s recent $2.2 billion budget initiative is coupled with its 2016 commitment to create 100,000 new licensed spots for kids under age 4 within five years. Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath last week vowed to “do better” in her election platform… “When you look at demographics . . . when you have the Governor of the Bank of Canada speaking in favour of child care as a recruitment and retention issue, getting women back into the workforce is critical,”

  • Legal ‘reforms’ punish people Supreme Court sought to protect

    Bill C-75 misses the court’s point. That decision didn’t seek to cut down on trial delays in order to appease police, prosecutors, judges, and complainants. The point was to vindicate the Charter rights of defendants to a fair trial within a reasonable time. Yet parts of this new federal bill does the opposite. In too many ways, they’ve managed to set back due process rights of those presumed innocent until proven guilty.

  • Ontario Human Rights Tribunal gains steam as alternative route for sexual assault cases

    Victims of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace are winning higher awards than ever before from the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, establishing a faster, less formal alternative to the civil courts… They don’t enforce the rules of evidence as strictly. It’s a kinder arena in which to litigate. It’s gentler on the claimants overall… Human-rights tribunals, unlike civil courts, cannot award punitive damages. But they can award damages for loss of dignity and self-worth and emotional suffering, and for lost income.

  • Ontario has reshaped the national child care debate

    At a conjuncture when confidence in governments seems to be faltering, Ontario’s bold announcement that only good public policy can create the services that families need is visionary, and changes the social and political conversation. It underscores that Canadians are citizens, not merely consumers or taxpayers. It is a long overdue acknowledgment that mothers, children, and today’s families have a rightful claim to social support.

  • Ontario budget to fund free child care for preschoolers as part of $2.2B plan

    Premier Kathleen Wynne has unveiled free child care for preschoolers in a $2.2 billion budget boost that is the cornerstone of the Liberals’ spring re-election platform… “If we don’t do something to give more women the choice to return to work after having kids and do it on their own terms then we will never achieve gender equality.” The government will also introduce a provincial wage grid for chronically low-paid child-care workers by 2020 to bring early childhood educator wages up to the level of those in the school system.

  • Can Kathleen Wynne convince Ontarians government-funded daycare is about something bigger?

    Ms. Wynne will need to do something extremely difficult… persuade many Ontarians to look beyond narrow self-interest, and put their faith in her to elevate everyone by helping a relative few… they can present daycare as part of an ambitious effort to help Ontarians adapt to modern cost pressures… combined with the introduction of full-day kindergarten… elimination of tuition fees for lower-income students, they are establishing an affordable path from early childhood to adulthood.

  • Ontario Liberals pledge free child care for preschoolers starting in 2020

    The new program sees the government pledging to fund the cost of full-day, licensed child care starting once children turn two-and-a-half. The funding would cover their care costs until they become eligible for full-day kindergarten. In Ontario, kids are eligible for junior kindergarten in the calendar year they turn four, and senior kindergarten the year they turn five… [It] is estimated to save families $17,000 a year.

  • No equality without universal child care

    Today more than ever, it is evident that the lack of affordable child care remains a central barrier to equality for women with children… The first child care milestone dates back nearly 50 years, to when the Royal Commission on the Status of Women reported on its work… It’s now 2018, and women whose grandmothers greeted the Royal Commission’s report with high hopes still don’t have access to the affordable, high-quality child care it envisioned in 1970.

  • Parliament needs to cut back Canada’s excessive minimum-sentencing laws

    Mandatory minimums elide much-needed context from individual sentencing decisions, constrain judicial independence and, as the courts have said, can amount to cruel and unusual punishment… Perhaps politics is involved in the government’s reluctance to keep its promise. No one wants to risk being seen as soft on crime. But it’s that sort of craven calculation that has brought us to this point. It’s time the government found the courage to prune Canada’s overgrown mandatory minimum sentences.