• 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 […]

  • 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.

  • The world is getting way, way better, despite what you hear on the news

    Just since 1990, more than 100 million children’s lives have been saved through vaccinations and improved nutrition and medical care. They’re no longer dying of malaria, diarrhea… There has been a stunning decline in extreme poverty, defined as less than about US$2 per person per day, adjusted for inflation. For most of history, probably more than 90 per cent of the world population lived in extreme poverty, plunging to fewer than 10 per cent today.

  • Tory should commit city money to fixing the social housing problem, then ask the province for help

    “The time for action is now. In fact it was before now, because repairing social housing is a moral, economic and social imperative,” Tory said last week. Really? Why, then, do you not increase the city’s allocation of funds to repair the damaged buildings? Why are you promoting a freeze in property taxes instead of a dedicated 1 or 2 per cent increase to build a fund that stops the closures?

  • I ran a charity for years. Joe Oliver is wrong about the damage his government did

    … advocating for a change in law or policy is not the same thing as political activism … at all… If a senior citizens’ charity decided to run a public campaign urging for crosswalks to be replaced with traffic lights at crossings near seniors’ homes, that would also be considered a political activity… How can charities make the world a better place if they’re not able to identify laws and policies that should be changed?

  • A welcome end to charity audits

    The announcement came last week in response to a panel report that recommended the audits, initiated by the Harper government, be suspended immediately. That will give the government time to make recommended administrative and legislative changes aimed at giving charities more freedom to speak out on public policy.

  • Ottawa should fix perversely punitive pardon policy

    … the pardon policy has created an unjust cycle of disadvantage without yielding any apparent benefits. Released offenders often require a pardon before they can travel, get a job or find housing. By denying the rehabilitated their earned right to re-enter society, the new pardon rules inevitably increase the burden on the welfare system, not to mention the likelihood of recidivism.

  • Liberals set homeless reduction targets ahead of provincial talks

    The upcoming national housing strategy looks to cut by 50 per cent the number of “chronic” homeless — many of whom won’t go to shelters and may be harder to reach through traditional support systems — and “episodic” homeless, those who find themselves on the street repeatedly… The Liberals’ second budget in March showed that they wanted to get money directly to cities and service providers without having to deal with provinces.

  • How Ontario traps those with disabilities in lives of poverty

    … restrictions on assets and gifts serve as an ironclad poverty trap that keep many people with disabilities in a state of profound uncertainty and crisis. They also prevent them from successfully transitioning to employment and planning for the future. This is why over the past few months, a coalition of disability, mental health, poverty and community organizations have come together to ask the Ontario government to make a simple regulatory change: To raise the asset cap from $5,000 to $100,000 and eliminate the current gift limit of $6,000 for those receiving disability supports.