• Biting cold exposes deeper rot in Toronto’s attitudes to poverty

    … fixing short-term inadequacies will have to be paired with a more sweeping strategy involving all three levels of government to improve income security, strengthen mental health, addiction, and overdose prevention services, and make affordable housing the national priority it used to be. None of these things can or will happen until we acknowledge that the austerity consensus in public policy has been a failure; that real efficiency means actually meeting human needs rather than perpetually looking for and inventing new ways to cut public spending

  • Now, more than ever, we need to solve Ontario’s health-care crisis of capacity

    Our health-care system is simply too lean. Ontario needs more hospitals, more rehab facilities and more long-term-care beds. We need health-care professionals to staff all these new sites, plus ease shortages at the ones we already have. This will mean money… enthusiasm for new large expenditures will be limited. But we can’t deny reality.

  • It’s 2018 and time for tax reform focused on fairness

    Mr. Trudeau, will you commit in the next budget to tackling unfair tax rules, specifically through eliminating the preferential treatment of stock options and increasing the inclusion rate for capital gains for CEOs? In short, will you commit to bringing some fairness back into the tax treatment of top business executives, billionaire investors and the wealthiest in Canada? It’s time to put an end to the special set of rules that exclusively benefit the affluent and well-connected.

  • $14 minimum wage, free pharmacare for young people, other Ontario regulatory changes start Jan. 1

    Thousands of workers will also get an extra week of vacation, and sick notes for the boss are banned among a host of changes that take effect Jan. 1… New Year’s Day sees the minimum wage surge $2.40 an hour to $14 and a new pharmacare plan — the first of its kind in Canada — called OHIP+ covering 4 million children, teens and young adults under 25… Other changes coming January 1 include: a 22.5-per-cent cut in the corporate income tax rate, from 4.5 per cent to 3.5, for small businesses to offset the higher minimum wage

  • Why can’t Canada keep up on child care?

    According to OECD recommendations, Ottawa should be spending 1 per cent of Canada’s GDP on child care. Our government currently invests only 0.25 per cent. By quadrupling our federal investment, we would both make child care more affordable and improve the quality of programs through supporting the education and training of early childhood educators. It would improve pay and benefits to the child care workforce – those compassionate people who care lovingly, creatively and professionally for children and who are so instrumental in their development.

  • Fighting a war of attrition on college campuses to the last student body

    A sheepish Liberal government — the provincial paymaster behind the scenes — has acknowledged that it now needs to do for colleges what it long ago did for school boards. The government relies on an independent advisory body to declare whenever a strike threatens the school year, and now wants to emulate that model at the college level.

  • Access to early childhood programs is as important as primary education

    The most important dimensions for policy makers to tackle are enrolment rates and the duration that children receive ECE programming. These are key factors tied to better future academic scores, and they are the areas where Canada falls well below the standards in other advanced countries… Ensuring all Canadian children aged 3 to 5 have access to full-day education would come at a cost… However, the economic benefit derived from this investment would exceed the outlay… as high as $6 for every dollar invested.

  • Sensing a moment, Canadian scientists swing for the fences

    Research advocates say a growing economy at home and political turmoil elsewhere has handed Canada a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get back on par with other developed countries in its science investments… Canada’s scientific enterprise needs a long-term infusion of stable funding to keep younger researchers in the profession and set the stage for the kinds of major breakthroughs that are decades in the making.

  • It’s time to fix medicare’s innovation problem

    The basic problem is that the way we finance and deliver health care in our country hasn’t changed all that much… the federal-provincial framework for medicare hasn’t moved beyond covering hospitals and doctors. For drugs and many important services, we have a national patchwork with gaping holes. Extending coverage is harder without integrated financing… CMMI is the source of ideas like bundling all payments to hospitals and professionals alike when financing complex services that bridge hospitals and homes

  • For better mental-health care in Canada, look to Britain

    One in five Canadians will experience mental-health problems this year – many with depression and anxiety – yet care is difficult to access… The irony? Good treatments already exist. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a brief therapy that focuses on how thoughts affect mood and behaviour – is highly effective. Yet access is a profound problem… IAPT shows that other health professionals trained to administer evidence-based treatments can help people with milder illness.