• Mentally ill people need to be calmed down, not shot

    No one is suggesting that police stand there and allow themselves to be stabbed or beaten. De-escalation training teaches that not drawing a weapon in the first place can prevent the threats; offering help instead of screaming “drop the weapon,” can change an interaction… police forces now employ crisis intervention teams that include unarmed social workers, backed up by police who carry shields and tasers instead of guns.

  • Invictus Games are an opportunity to advocate for disability rights

    … Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough has yet to produce the legislation she was tasked with… Even provincially, the government has failed to keep its promise of enforcing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act… The Liberal government has even gone so far as to obstruct investigations by disability advocates. This does not seem like leadership “committed to building a more accessible Ontario

  • On accessibility, Ontario needs less secrecy, more action

    They want to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to jobs, education, public services, restaurants and stores as anyone else in this province. They want buildings and bureaucracies alike to be designed with the challenges of living with a disability in mind. This is what the AODA promises to accomplish… If the government is sincere in that commitment, it should stop fighting… advocates and start working alongside them to ensure that this good law is being enforced

  • A perfect storm: homelessness, mental health, criminal law and no shelter beds

    We are told that the cost of rent is a function of the market. There is widespread public support for benefits for people who cannot work because of disabilities. At a minimum this should include enough money to pay rent and buy food. Instead, my clients are being warehoused in jails while their friends sleep and die on Toronto’s streets.

  • Make data on homeless deaths public

    The city should release not just the number of homeless deaths, as it recently did for the first time, but other information it now collects, too, such as on gender, unofficial cause of death, and location of death… we know very little about how these people ended up on the street or how they died. Were these opiate overdoses, suicides, deaths by exposure? And therefore what are the policy responses we should be demanding of governments?

  • The unspoken problem in Pikangikum

    The question that needs asking is, how do you reconcile the right of Indigenous people to live on their ancestral lands with the undeniable fact that, in some remote, fly-in communities, there is no viable economy to support them? … Other communities in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), a loose organization of First Nations communities in Northern Ontario, have social problems too, including high suicide rates. But most are much smaller in size. And many have better, if still struggling, local economies.

  • Province needs strategy to fund ‘systemic’ housing crisis for vulnerable seniors

    TheStar.com – Opinion/Editorials – Ontario’s government has ignored “systemic” problem of dangerous, unlicensed senior care homes. It needs a strategy to provide proper care and […]

  • Despite ‘deplorable’ conditions, police and health officials are ignoring residences that offer services to vulnerable residents

    The investigation confirmed hospital and community groups were making referrals to unlicensed homes because no other “proper housing” was available. “The alternative for these individuals is living in a shelter or on the street” … adding that the problem stems from the housing shortage in Greater Toronto.

  • Author of teen autism memoir grows up but can’t escape heartbreak

    … my parents were never in a state of denial about my autism, nor did they ever consign me to a “special needs” pigeonhole. They just strove to help me get better at doing the things I was good at… It seems to be not widely enough recognized that there are positives to be found in the neurologies of people with autism. If the world at large would take a deeper interest in how our brains work and research our uniquenesses — as opposed to focusing on our treatment and cure — we could take pride in our neuro-atypical natures.

  • Freeing our people: Updates from the long road to deinstitutionalization

    How can we expect any better from society when our own government continues to fund deeply segregated, dehumanizing and dangerous forms of support for people with intellectual disabilities? Out of sight, out of mind has hidden many disturbing facts about intellectual disability from the public for far too long. We can no longer say that we didn’t know any better. We can no longer say we can’t do any better.