• 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…

  • Solitary confinement: Why is Ontario willing to do what Ottawa won’t?

    Prisons are challenging places, and correctional officers prefer to govern with flexible discretion and no external interference. But the issue is that inmate isolation is a practice that engages fundamental human rights and dignity. As Mr. Sapers puts it: “the decision to place a person in segregation results in the most complete deprivation of liberty authorized by law.” In a country like Canada, this is properly the stuff of careful rules and external oversight.

  • Track kids who have aged out of the children’s aid system

    … people who grew up in foster care or group homes experience low academic achievement, high rates of homelessness, early parenthood, unemployment, conflict with the law, mental health problems and loneliness. In Ontario, for instance, only 44 per cent of Crown wards complete high school compared to 81 per cent of students in the general population.

  • Wynne government promises much-needed investment in child care

    This funding promises to help 24,000 kids access daycare, addressing an urgent funding shortfall. Right now some 15,400 kids are on the waitlist for subsidized care, while at the same time more than 4,000 spaces sit vacant because parents can’t afford fees that run as high as $20,000 a year… Funding subsidized spaces… will help some women back into the work force, improving the family’s bottom line while boosting the economy and the tax base.

  • Judge exposes how we criminalize mental illness

    From arrest to prosecution, conviction, sentencing, use of segregation, all stages of our criminal justice system are now consistently overrepresented by people who are suffering from psychosis, mania, mood disorders, depression, alcoholism and addiction, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders… While there is no panacea, the better way is to ensure people get help when they need it, before they are at risk of homelessness, unemployment, or conflict with law.

  • Ontario injects another $20 million into respite care

    The money will help caregivers — such as those caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s or a child with a brain injury — hire a personal support worker or nurse so they can get out of the house for shopping, errands or a break to “lighten the load… The money will provide for an extra 1.2 million hours of respite care and is in addition to an extra $20 million pumped into the system last year

  • It’s high time to track and reduce the use of solitary confinement

    Among his recommendations: That the province set a standardized definition of segregation so it can properly track it. That a new tracking system be created that actually works. That independent panels review all segregation placements — with an onus on the ministry of community and correctional services to show that each placement is justified…

  • Ontario program targets child sex trafficking

    The province is in the midst of a sweeping overhaul of its child protection system. Part of that rebuilding includes money for six new youth transition workers aimed at helping keep youth in provincial care from becoming trapped in “The Game.” … The six new jobs that Ontario is funding, each at $70,000 a year, are located in the Greater Toronto Area, the Golden Horseshoe, Ottawa, Windsor, London and Thunder Bay — all areas the province describes as “hubs” of human trafficking.