• 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.

  • Employment and Pay (In)equality: The Big Childcare Issue Unaddressed in the Budget

    … a bigger bang for the buck could have been achieved by addressing the more significant problem head on: the childcare expense deduction, which is of limited benefit for so many families and mothers. Transforming the deduction into an income-tested refundable benefit, as we have suggested, would induce thousands of mothers to join the workforce, for a likely smaller cost than what’s proposed in this budget.

  • New parents need flexible workplaces. Did the budget deliver?

    Is the problem here really fathers? Or is the problem that Canadian workplaces are not flexible enough to accommodate workers who have children – regardless of the worker’s gender. Because until that happens, the employment problems created by the need for women to arrange their lives around children won’t really be solved. You are just spreading the problem experienced by one parent over two.

  • Motherisk Commission calls for sweeping changes to child protection system

    After identifying 56 cases where families were “broken apart,” commissioner Judith Beaman’s report makes 32 recommendations to “help ensure that no family suffers a similar injustice in the future.” … The Ontario Motherisk Commission’s two-year effort to repair the damage to families ripped apart by flawed drug and alcohol testing has produced sweeping recommendations aimed at preventing a similar tragedy, but in only a handful of cases has it reunited parents with their lost children.

  • It’s time to let Indigenous communities manage native child welfare

    Ottawa should start funding aboriginal communities who either have, or are in the midst of developing, their own child-welfare laws. As aboriginal child welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock says, “Fix it now. We can always argue later.” Of course, reforming child welfare is just the start. Knowing that children are safe and, wherever possible, living in their home community are minimum standards that shouldn’t take years to meet. But it is only one of many needed fixes. Too many remote reserves still lack clean drinking water, adequate food and decent housing

  • Judge rules poverty not a reason to take child away

    An impoverished Halifax-area couple have regained custody of their toddler daughter, after a judge declared: “There is a difference between parents who are poor, and poor parents.” The province took the little girl into care in June 2016 because of her parents’ multiple challenges, including mental-health issues, interpersonal conflict and unstable living circumstances brought on by poverty… “It’s in the context of the parents’ accommodations that their poverty is conflated with being poor parents,” said the judge.

  • Access to early childhood programs is as important as primary education

    The most important dimensions for policy makers to tackle are enrolment rates and the duration that children receive ECE programming. These are key factors tied to better future academic scores, and they are the areas where Canada falls well below the standards in other advanced countries… Ensuring all Canadian children aged 3 to 5 have access to full-day education would come at a cost… However, the economic benefit derived from this investment would exceed the outlay… as high as $6 for every dollar invested.

  • It’s time to invest more in universal child care

    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 OECD ranked Canada, which overall spends about 0.34 per cent of GDP on child care programs (a figure, let’s not forget, that is boosted by Quebec’s investment), dead last out of 25 countries for quality and accessibility… It’s time Canada joined Quebec and other OECD countries in prioritizing the care of our most precious resource: children.

  • What the Wilfrid Laurier professors got wrong about Bill C-16 and gender identity discrimination

    C-16 added gender identity and expression as grounds for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, but this applies to people employed by or receiving services from federally-regulated industries, such as banks or the public service… Universities instead fall under provincial codes — but the Ontario Human Rights Code has included gender identity and expression for five years now, long before Peterson gained fame for his arguments.

  • Province to include adult children with disabilities in child support law

    Ontario has introduced an amendment to the Family Law Act that would make all adult children with disabilities — including those whose parents were never married — eligible for child support… “The proposed change would update Ontario’s Family Law Act to more closely align Ontario’s child support legislation with the Federal Divorce Act as well as with the child support laws in the majority of other Canadian provinces and territories,”