• If we don’t fix medicare, we may lose it

    … the Ontario Health Coalition is the latest to sound the alarm. It found that at least 88 private health clinics in six provinces regularly charge patients hundreds or thousands of dollars for needed diagnoses, tests or surgeries. In some cases, doctors levy user fees and bill the public system, charging twice for the same service… Such exploitative extra charges are prohibited by the Canada Health Act, yet these clinics operate with impunity.

  • Indigenous rights in Canada: Significant work still needed

    Our Constitution requires governments to consult with Indigenous peoples before taking actions that may affect their rights. However, Canadian courts often state that consultation will typically not require consent, and – fearful of a veto power – government officials frequently argue that consent is not required. International laws also require that consultation be “free,” “prior,” and “fully informed,” and that Indigenous people are able to participate fully in decisions affecting them.

  • A gift to Canada: Lifting people out of poverty benefits us all

    Pervasive poverty has a negative impact on us all – it affects children, their nutrition, and their ability to learn and grow; it makes our communities less inclusive; it drives up costs for health care and infrastructure; and it limits our country’s economic growth and competitiveness… We also believe in the critical importance of public policy as a driver of social change… strategy must address four key themes – prosperity, opportunity, inclusion and reconciliation.

  • Ottawa continues to fail Indigenous children

    Between 1870 and 1996, more than 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were shipped off to residential schools as the centrepiece of a policy of “aggressive assimilation” of Indigenous peoples. A more accurate description is state-sanctioned cultural genocide. Somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 children sent to residential schools died, and many more were victims of physical, mental and sexual abuse.

  • Feds say they can’t accept Senate changes to bill aiming to end Indian Act sexism

    … the government that came to power promising not just a better relationship with Canada’s Indigenous people but also a more gender-inclusive approach to governing will have to stick with some of the sexism in the act or face enormous new costs… eliminating all of the sex-based discrimination could increase the number of people who have Indian status by 80,000 to two million… Each is entitled to such things as tax breaks, supplementary health benefits and money for postsecondary education.

  • What will it take for Ottawa finally to tackle Indigenous child-welfare crisis?

    Last January, the Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Ottawa was failing in its legal duty to apply Jordan’s Principle, which says that no First Nations child should be denied welfare services due to jurisdictional disputes. Three months later, the tribunal found the feds still had not taken action and issued a compliance order. In October, it issued a second… The federal government has spent nearly $1 million defending itself against these tribunal complaints over the last year. It lost every time.

  • Look twice before judging an Indigenous person

    The paradigm we occupy, our reality, is merely the confluence of multiple stories. One of those stories is the lazy, dirty, drunken Indian story… The story doesn’t just impact non-aboriginal people. It is heard and understood by aboriginal peoples as well. It affects how we see the world… Anyone who claims not to be racist – who doesn’t check their stories with every encounter – fails themselves as well as others.

  • Call inquest into group home deaths

    There’s concern about minimum standards – including the frequency of fire inspections and whether homes have proper fire safety plans. Beyond that, staff in these homes have no minimum training requirements and tend to be poorly paid. It’s a formula for failure. Ontario has more than 15,000 young people in foster and group homes. There’s plenty of evidence that they don’t get the kind of care they deserve…

  • Forget ‘cultural appropriation’ — it’s about censorship

    What about the indigenous groups, and indeed, whites, who denounced Sen. Lynn Beyak as a racist… for pointing out that residential schools, for all the evil they did, did some good as well, a view shared by some indigenous people? That isn’t about cultural appropriation… It’s about silencing people — and points of view — by leveling false allegations of racism against them and intimidating others who share their views.

  • How to improve Indigenous health? Address jurisdictional disputes

    Despite having been involved in the funding and delivery of health services to First Nations and Inuit since 1945, the federal government has yet to clearly define its obligations to First Nations and Inuit in relation to the provision of health services… More than 80 per cent of First Nations and Inuit communities now manage their own community-based health services. Evidence shows that these communities have better health outcomes.