• 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.

  • 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,”

  • 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 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.

  • Ontario’s imperfect move in the right direction on child care

    … a TD Bank study found that for every $1 invested, provincial and federal governments receive $1.50 in increased tax revenues. It’s discouraging, then, that the provincial government did not set out new affordable fees for subsidized child care in this week’s framework… studies of the Quebec model have shown it pays for itself with economic benefits. In fact, 40 per cent of the cost is recovered in income and payroll taxes alone… the lack of immediate fee relief for parents is a disappointing shortcoming

  • Ontario makes bold promise on autism treatment

    The new Ontario autism program will give all children under 18 years of age diagnosed with the developmental disorder access to the treatment they require when they need it… The age, severity of autism symptoms and the presence of coexisting diagnoses will no longer affect the eligibility for therapy… Each child’s treatment needs will be determined by a licensed clinician, not cold and blunt program guidelines or funding availability… parents will be able to hire qualified therapists or choose government services.

  • Dear Ontario: Licensing daycares won’t fix the real problems

    While workers in child-care centres have been promised a $2 hourly wage increase (some day), there’s no plan to help the home daycare providers caring for thousands of Ontario kids take more money home. The only real promise made to home daycare providers was to eliminate the fees charged by private agencies, which then inspect and approve them on behalf of the province… Even though licensing will be free (by 2022 or so), it’s not going to be made mandatory

  • Ontario commits to universally accessible child care

    The government’s goal to build a “universally accessible” child-care system in Ontario sets out seven action areas for the next five years… by adding 100,000 licensed spots in homes, schools and community settings by 2022… action areas include focusing expansion in the public and non-profit sectors, developing strategies to address affordability and the child-care workforce, boosting inclusion for children with special needs and drafting a provincial definition of quality in early-years programs for kids up to age 12.

  • The case for abolishing solitary confinement

    … some sort of segregation will continue to be needed for inmates at risk of assault, such as sex offenders and police officers liable to retaliation. Yet there is no reason why this should amount to the extreme deprivation of solitary confinement. With electronic communications, telephones, books and visits it should be possible for inmates to avoid mental deterioration… Solitary confinement should be abolished, not only for juveniles and the mentally ill (priorities), but all solitary, for federal and provincial/territorial prisons.

  • Call inquest into group home deaths

    There’s concern about minimum standards – including the frequency of fire inspections and whether homes have proper fire safety plans. Beyond that, staff in these homes have no minimum training requirements and tend to be poorly paid. It’s a formula for failure. Ontario has more than 15,000 young people in foster and group homes. There’s plenty of evidence that they don’t get the kind of care they deserve…