• Find emergency shelters for the homeless

    The city has known there is a shortage of shelters for the homeless for years. A 2013 survey found there were 5,000 homeless people in the city, but currently there are only 4,300 beds. And Toronto’s wait list for subsidized housing stands at a stunning 172,087, forcing some people onto the streets… the city’s shelters for women, youth and families [were] all filled past their capacity last Thursday… Shelters for families were completely full.

  • Charities of the Year 2016: Our annual report card on the good-deed doers worthy of your donations

    More than one-quarter of Canada’s 86,000 charities mention children or youth in their names or descriptions… The annual report card assesses how efficiently charities are raising and spending money, and evaluates how transparent they are about their finances and the work they do. This year, we scrutinized the 740 children’s charities that raked in total donations of more than $100,000 in 2013, the most recent year with a full set of tax return data available. The charities all focus on helping children who are in need in some way, whether it be illness, poverty or belonging to a marginalized group

  • Piling fines on the homeless makes no sense

    The law was changed three years ago by the former Conservative government so that fines would be mandatory, rather than at the judge’s discretion. But in this case, Ontario Court Justice David Paciocco refused to play along. As Paciocco sensibly said, “The marginalization and pointless harassment of the impoverished disabled with mandatory surcharge levies is a cost that is too heavy to bear in order to remedy distrust of judicial discretion.” … Homelessness is a social issue, not a legal one. No fine or ticket can end crimes resulting from homelessness, addictions and mental illness.

  • Ontario minimum wage goes up by 15 cents: shopping spree?

    $1.20 more a day or $6 more a week. The hike represents the second year of the Ontario government’s commitment to annually adjust the minimum wage to inflation… In comparison, the Alberta government is raising its minimum wage by $1 an hour on October 1, which will bring it up to $12.20, and it has committed to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by October 1, 2018.

  • Philanthropy an untapped affordable housing resource

    Traditionally… investments have been made in market instruments that generate the greatest financial returns… a foundation’s very structure depends on a permanent source of capital… But we’ve also learned that the capital can — on its own — generate very real social returns as well as financial ones. By partnering with Habitat for Humanity GTA, Toronto Foundation has made a $1.5 million loan to jump-start its largest residential property ever, providing new homes for 50 families.

  • CAMH loses $1 million donation due to ‘issues of accountability’

    … the founder of The Faas Foundation, withdrew the grant to CAMH because the organization was unable to demonstrate that the first installment of the donation was used in accordance with his foundation’s goals… the foundation has awarded many grants in its history, but that “this is the first time in our 11 years that we have lost confidence in a grantee.” … CAMH said the program was on hold due to the funds being pulled.

  • Province must act immediately to support people with developmental disabilities

    Ontario doesn’t house people with developmental disabilities in dedicated institutions anymore — and in 2013 the province rightly apologized for doing so in the past. But as a disturbing new report from Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé points out, in some ways things haven’t changed much. People with developmental disabilities still too often end up in institutions ill-equipped to meet their needs, not by design but as the result of a broken system… people with developmental disabilities must no longer be housed in hospitals, nursing homes or other inappropriate places — or returned to abusive situations.

  • Shelter system bracing for a ‘tidal wave’

    … we’re taking beds out of the system, and we have yet to replace them; and the new standards mean that even more beds will be taken out, all in the name of improvements. The irony: we make things better which makes life will get worse for the men, women and children on the street… “The age of the guys on the street is going up. We have regulars, six of them, who are in their 70s. The average age of our men is 61. The tidal wave is coming.”

  • What real inclusion for children with autism looks like

    … teaching typically developing kids to both mentor and befriend those with autism was “highly effective” at promoting lasting positive social interactions. This was true across genders, age groups, settings and kinds of activities targeted. Interestingly, it was found to be most effective in ‘natural’ play settings versus clinical settings… the results weren’t just temporary… and helped seed the ground for improved language skills, adaptation to other integrated settings and more positive and long-lasting relationships with peers.

  • Canada ranks No. 2 on Social Progress Index measuring quality of life

    Canada got top marks for access to advanced education, ranking as the No. 1 overall in that category, which weighs factors such as the proportion of people going into advanced education, the quality of the education, and gender equity… Canada also scored well for tolerance and inclusion, ranking fifth overall. The achievement is compounded by the country’s diversity and sets an example… Where Canada did not fare as well was with environmental factors