• Ford’s government starts its misguided moves against safe injection sites

    Last year, nearly 4,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses. And 1,100 of those deaths were in Ontario and over 300 of them in Toronto… Ford’s government hasn’t just stopped three urgently-needed facilities from opening, it seems all but ready to close existing sites and throw the province’s entire harm-reduction strategy out the window… Ford announced during the election campaign that he was “dead set” against the sites…

  • Ford’s aim way off on gun crime strategy

    Consider our experience with mandatory minimum sentences. Gun sentences have tripled since significantly harsher mandatory minimums were introduced for gun crimes in 2008, yet these sentences have had no discernible impact on stemming gun violence… In addition, blanket opposition to bail is morally unfair and legally unconstitutional. It is antithetical to a justice system predicated on treating each distinctive case on its own merits and context.

  • Ontario PC government orders freeze to opening of new overdose-prevention sites

    As the Ontario government reviews whether it should continue supporting supervised drug-use and overdose prevention sites, it has ordered a halt to the opening of any new temporary facilities to combat the opioid crisis… “The minister has been clear that she is undertaking an evidence-based review of the overdose prevention and supervised consumption site models to ensure that any continuation of these services introduce people into rehabilitation”

  • If Ontario won’t see sense, Ottawa should save the basic income pilot

    It’s possible that this project, costing $50 million a year, will actually save money by reducing health-care costs, enabling people to improve their education and ultimately get decent jobs, so they won’t need ongoing government support. But the fledgling Ford government has cancelled the program before we can find out. Promise broken… The Ford government itself barely seems to know why it decided to kill the pilot. In fact, the reasons given for the broken promise grow more absurd with every sitting of the legislature.

  • How should Ontario tackle the psychiatrist shortage?

    … of the 1,900 practicing psychiatrists in Ontario, over half are approaching retirement… The average annual number of outpatients seen by psychiatrists in Ontario has increased 20 percent between 2003 and 2013… The OPA offers three recommendations to stave this potential crisis in mental health care: Improve psychiatry exposure in medical school. Increase psychiatry residency spots and reduce residency vacancies. Pay psychiatrists adequately: their average gross annual pay that is 25 percent lower than the across-specialty average.

  • Have Mayor Tory and Council Delivered on Poverty Reduction?

    In sum, thousands more residents do have access to jobs, housing, transit, child care, recreation programs and others services as a result of council decisions over the past four years. However, these modest service expansions have hardly put a dent in long waiting lists, or in Toronto’s high levels of poverty levels and inequality.

  • Ford opposes handgun ban as he pledges funds to fight gun violence

    Ruling out new funding for community programs aimed at curbing violence, Mr. Ford said the province would send $18-million to Toronto police to buy new digital and investigative tools, while allocating $7.6-million to staff seven of Toronto’s courthouses with a legal team dedicated to denying bail to people accused of gun crimes… Mr. Ford said certain city councillors, “activists,” “so-called experts” and “special interests” had used shootings to demand spending on what the Premier called “layers of bureaucracy” and “handouts,” instead of on policing.

  • Ford government vows basic-income pilot will receive ‘lengthy runway’ before cancellation

    “I have been very clear since last week that the basic-income research project will wind down and details will be forthcoming, but I have been clear that there will be a lengthy and compassionate runway,” Ms. MacLeod told reporters at Queen’s Park. She said she would “provide those details in the next week or two.”

  • Toronto can solve its affordable housing crisis. Here’s how

    The city’s housing affordability crisis acts as a fundamental limit on our future progress. The talent needed to fuel our economy can no longer afford to comfortably live here… Home-ownership is out of reach for entire classes and generations of Torontonians… With the prosperity our city is generating, we have the means and capacity to address this crisis. What we need are leaders with the political will to take it on and solve it. Nothing less that the future success of our city and the future well-being of all Torontonians is at stake.

  • Abandoning the red Tory tradition hurting the most vulnerable

    … something cruel and uncaring has developed in Canadian and especially Ontario politics, a new conservatism that has abandoned the paternalism of the red Tory tradition, and replaced it with harshness, division, and a disregard for those who are most in need of our concern and empathy. Whether it’s using dismissive language about migrants, cutting promised minimum wage and welfare increases, or ending guaranteed income schemes, it stinks of something almost Dickensian.