• … Top 23 takeaways from the Ontario budget

    Ontario will become the first province to offer pharmacare to all young people, regardless of income, who are 24 and under. Some 4,400 prescription drugs will be covered… the abortion pill will provide an alternative to women seeing to end a pregnancy up to seven weeks… The province will spend $20 million to increase respite care for dementia patients and increase the number of seniors’ centres… From elementary schools to jails to seniors centres, the province is improving mental health services in many of its service areas…

  • Kathleen Wynne’s basic income plan is bread without circuses

    … it is not clear that it will do much more for the poor. The maximum basic income subsidies — $16,989 for singles and $24,027 for couples — represent just 38 per cent of median income in Ontario adjusted for family size… there is a sense of inevitability to all of this — a feeling that the world of work has changed to such an extent that nothing can be done to keep wages at a viable level and that the only way to avoid social chaos is to subsidize them.

  • Ontario injects another $20 million into respite care

    The money will help caregivers — such as those caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s or a child with a brain injury — hire a personal support worker or nurse so they can get out of the house for shopping, errands or a break to “lighten the load… The money will provide for an extra 1.2 million hours of respite care and is in addition to an extra $20 million pumped into the system last year

  • To improve Indigenous health, change expectations

    We have created a state of perpetual crisis for many First Nations. Yet, in recent decades, we have become more benevolent; we have started responding to these crises, especially when things get so dire they pop up in the mainstream media, i.e. La Loche, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, etc. But all we’ve done really is become more efficient at responding to crises, not at fixing fundamental structural problems

  • It’s high time to track and reduce the use of solitary confinement

    Among his recommendations: That the province set a standardized definition of segregation so it can properly track it. That a new tracking system be created that actually works. That independent panels review all segregation placements — with an onus on the ministry of community and correctional services to show that each placement is justified…

  • Community care eases pressure on hospitals

    The rhetoric suggests that hospital funding has been limited in order to drastically increase funding for home and community care. In reality, funding for home care increased from 4.32 per cent to 4.92 per cent of the total health budget between 2008/09 and 2015/16. Funding for community support services, including home support, respite care, Alzheimer’s day programs and Meals on Wheels increased from 1.24 per cent to 2 per cent. As hospital funding makes up a full third of the total health budget, pitting the two sectors against one another doesn’t make much sense.

  • Canadian Human Rights Commission says children left behind on basic rights

    The report looked at issues such as child welfare services on First Nations reserves, the rights of transgender children, children with disabilities and migrant children locked up in detention centres alongside their parents as the system processes their cases… 60 per cent related to disability. Almost half the disability complaints dealt with mental health issues.

  • Ontario embraces no-strings-attached basic income experiment

    Housing Minister Chris Ballard, responsible for Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy, says basic income “has captured people’s imaginations.” “It’s a rare opportunity to make some real change… There has been so much talk, so much written. A little bit of study here, a little bit of study there. A lot of theory. We’re going to have an opportunity to do a rock-solid pilot that is either going to prove or disprove it.”

  • 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.

  • Ontario ends onerous reviews for disabled people on welfare

    Beginning this month, those whose medical conditions have not improved will no longer be required to fill out the same forms they completed for their initial application for benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)… “The new process is simple, efficient and reduces a lot of the stress for patients and (medical) providers… And it is going to save the health care and social service system a lot of unnecessary costs.”