• Is Canadian health care choosing wisely?

    The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that 30 per cent of health care, or nearly 1 million tests and treatments annually, is unnecessary… Choosing Wisely hopes to achieve its goals through grassroots advocacy by publishing a series of practice recommendations for physicians based on international peer-reviewed research… In the past, the medical community has experienced the perils of ignoring large segments of the population in its research initiatives.

  • People With Disabilities in Poverty Trap, Says Report

    The median income for people with disabilities in Canada is nearly half that of those without disabilities, and 23 per cent of people with disabilities between 25 and 64 are living in poverty, according to the report. About 13.9 per cent of all Canadians live in poverty… Earlier this year Ottawa consulted the public as part of an initiative to develop legislation to improve accessibility for people with disabilities… anti-poverty organizations in the Chew on This! campaign to call for a national, rights-based anti-poverty plan.

  • To solve the opioid crisis, stick to harm reduction

    Stiff trafficking penalties already exist and clearly aren’t working – an outcome supported by research. One summary of the findings by experts at the University of Toronto in 2014 concluded that “crime is not deterred, generally, by harsher sentences.” In contrast, harm-reduction strategies such as legalization, opiate substitution (or prescription) and supervised injection have proven their effectiveness

  • Ottawa is right to settle with Sixties Scoop victims

    Not only was the past program shameful, so was the government’s continuing defence of it. Now Ottawa has taken two other steps that should help in the healing process… $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation to help the victims reclaim their identity… $75 million to pay the legal fees of the estimated 20,000 victims who are expected to receive $25,000 to $50,000 each… Now… it should set its sights on correcting other ongoing wrongs to Indigenous children.

  • It’s time for a smarter approach to drugs

    The harm-reduction approach cannot fully succeed until we stop treating people addicted to drugs as criminals… The war on drugs has driven up the cost of policing, contributed to a national crisis of court delays, compounded racial and class inequities and unnecessarily criminalized people living with physical and mental illness. All that, without delivering any of the promised benefits for public health or public safety.

  • Tribunal slams WSIB practice that cuts benefits to injured migrant workers

    A workers’ compensation board practice that slashes benefits to injured migrant farm workers by deeming them capable of finding alternative employment in Ontario is illegal, an independent tribunal has ruled… under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, employers can deport workers for “non-compliance, refusal to work, or any other sufficient reason.”

  • He’s worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’

    The share of migrant workers in Canada’s agricultural workforce has doubled in the last decade as what was once seasonal need for harvesters has turned into a year-round labour market reality. The workers pay income tax and employment insurance, and contribute to the Canada Pension Plan. However, their precarious status in Canada makes it difficult for them to exercise their rights and protections under labour laws, making them easy prey for unscrupulous recruiters and bad employers.

  • Doctors deserve a better deal, not tax dodges

    … physicians (like lawyers) can access tens of thousands of dollars in RRSP tax shelters beyond the reach of most workers. The lack of physician pensions is a choice they made collectively a half-century ago, when they adamantly refused to be deemed government employees despite earning virtually all their income from public funds in a now archaic fee-for-service model. That income anachronism is debilitating for all sides — patients, doctors and the government.

  • Three Ontario nursing homes ordered to stop new admissions because of substandard care

    Proper staffing of Ontario long-term care homes in general has long been a complaint among workers, families and the residents who suffer from lack of care… the government introduced legislation that, if passed, would create tougher enforcement against nursing homes. The legislation would include hefty fines for corporations, ranging from $200,000 for first time offence and $500,000 for subsequent offences.

  • Price tag on national pharmacare will dissuade Ottawa

    A national pharmacare program could save $4.2-billion a year, according to a new report by the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer… But the 93-page report is math-heavy and politics-light… No government in its right mind is going to take on $20-billion a year in additional costs – especially when it involves the federal government absorbing $13-billion in provincial expenses… If Canada is, like most other Western countries, going to embrace pharmacare, it’s going to have to be a national program, not a federal one.