• A portable housing benefit could ease our homeless crisis

    Here are five reasons why the portable housing benefit is a smart idea: 1. It is the most efficient way to help households in need and address homelessness… 2. It will reduce homelessness… 3. It will reduce poverty… 4. Its portability means it is tied to an individual, rather than a housing unit, giving people choice [and] … 5. It is already working.

  • Federal budget should close gap between rhetoric and resources

    The government should… index the Canada Child Benefit to inflation, fix the EI system by creating fair and universal criteria for access, and pay for… affordable housing… [and] the $155 million in emergency relief it promised to First Nations children living on reserves… On the revenue side… it should continue to invest in tax compliance… [and] limit or scrap some of the many loopholes… that benefit the richest with no evident contribution to the public good.

  • The Liberals’ First Nations agenda encounters reality

    This isn’t a “First Nations issue” except inasmuch as First Nations, as a population, are disadvantaged relative to other Canadians on social indicators that predict a vast catalogue of bad outcomes, from going to jail to homelessness to dying in a fire or getting murdered. Individual white Anglo-Saxon Canadians so disadvantaged run similar risks; individual aboriginal Canadians who are not so disadvantaged do not… truly transformational change on this front will only come with transformational change on the most basic fronts: education, employment, income. That’s a massive job.

  • As he drafts his next budget, some advice for the Finance Minister

    Mr. Morneau’s economic advisory council a few weeks ago pointed out that one of the surest way of boosting long-term economic growth is to grow the workforce, by encouraging seniors and near-seniors to remain in it… allowing the Baby Boom generation to continue to work, accumulate benefits and build up sheltered retirement savings for longer, if they want to…

  • Ottawa should not delay on action to fight poverty

    … much more must be done to ensure EI reflects the shifting reality of work and is adequate to the current cost of living… Some 170,000 households are currently waiting for [public housing] units, with the average wait time at around four years… the day-care situation remains dire. This situation robs too many people, particularly mothers, of the opportunity to work or train… a refundable version of the [disability tax] credit… would be a far more effective tool for helping those with disabilities who need it the most.

  • Trudeau government must end foot-dragging on promises to indigenous people

    The department [of Indigenous and Northern Affairs] has the long-standing and unfortunate reputation of being incapable of creating improvements, either within its own ranks or for the indigenous people it is supposed to serve… “Until a problem-solving mindset is brought to these issues to develop solutions built around people instead of defaulting to litigation, arguments about money, and process roadblocks, this country will continue to squander the potential and lives of much of its Indigenous population,”

  • City wrong to choose roads over community housing

    Toronto Community Housing is planning to close 425 subsidized units this year because it can no longer afford to maintain them. TCH told the Star an additional 17,500 units — 30 per cent of the corporation’s total housing stock — are in critical disrepair… A 2014 report by the financial services firm KPMG rated Toronto as the most tax-competitive major city in the world… “The money is there if they want it to be, it just comes with trade-offs,”

  • We can end homelessness in Canada

    The report calls for a new federal/provincial/territorial framework agreement focused on community capacity, prevention, and “Housing First” for those now on the streets… Addressing issues of poverty and social justice are regular refrains for progressives; reducing spending while more efficiently using resources are a hallmark for fiscal conservatives. Being a contributing member of society and a full participant in the economy requires an address.

  • Tracking all homeless deaths is long overdue

    The efforts to track all homeless deaths… are an important step toward acknowledging the effects of homelessness and, hopefully, putting an end to it… not knowing how many homeless people die in Toronto each year means the city can downplay the problem and ignore the root causes, especially those of street deaths… Toronto’s wait list for subsidized housing stands at a disturbingly high 172,087, forcing some people onto the streets.

  • Find emergency shelters for the homeless

    The city has known there is a shortage of shelters for the homeless for years. A 2013 survey found there were 5,000 homeless people in the city, but currently there are only 4,300 beds. And Toronto’s wait list for subsidized housing stands at a stunning 172,087, forcing some people onto the streets… the city’s shelters for women, youth and families [were] all filled past their capacity last Thursday… Shelters for families were completely full.