• More police are not the solution to Toronto’s gun violence

    The answers from the communities affected are often to avoid cowboy policing, and to address the roots of gun violence. These answers are backed by plenty of studies showing that, for example, funding for local community services and neighbourhood partnerships goes a long way to disincentivizing crime. Reducing gun violence is only possible when the root factors of crime itself – broken neighbourhoods, inequality of opportunity, educational gaps and so on – are meaningfully addressed.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.