• Why Canadian medical students should be offered free tuition

    The move has three principal goals: Free future doctors of the crushing debt load many are saddled with; Give graduates the freedom to pursue lower-paying careers in family medicine and pediatrics rather than high-paying specialties such as cardiology (which some do to deal with debt); Attract the best and brightest students rather than just those who can afford medical school and, in the process, a student body that better reflects the society, in terms of race, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status.

  • Now is the time to clarify the rules governing ‘political activity’ by charities

    The current set of limits on political activities by charities guard against an ill-defined risk at great cost. They prevent charities from using a crucial tool to further their charitable purposes – working to develop and advance public policy solutions that could relieve poverty, advance education and serve our communities. They are out of keeping with the realities of policy decision-making, which often call for public-facing engagement as well as direct participation in parliamentary or other government processes.

  • Charity laws must evolve with the times

    The just-released Ontario Superior Court decision squashes the notion that charities cannot fully engage in political activities. The charity Canada Without Poverty took the Canada Revenue Agency to court over its ruling that the group should lose its charitable status… In this case, the purpose of relieving poverty is with the sharing of ideas, not nutrition.

  • The Connections Between Us: Learning to Leverage the Power of a Network Approach

    The network structure provides flexibility, responsiveness, transparency, openness, and inclusiveness. A network approach also helps identify common cause, while distributing power and resources to involve many people in building solutions. It allows people to find one another through trusted connections so they can work together in reciprocal ways… Thus, networks have become useful in developing public policy approaches.

  • It’s past time to improve our charity laws

    Government policy‑making is heavily influenced by for‑profit corporate interests. Companies are free to do anything, as long as their political activities are aimed at increasing profit, and they get to deduct their political advertising and lobbying expenses from their taxable income. Charities, on the other hand, are restricted to using less than 10 per cent of their resources on political activities. This constrains the ability of charities to advocate publicly for policy and legal reform that benefit the public interest.

  • Charities must innovate to attract a new generation of donors

    Canadians annually give more than $14-billion to charities and non-profit organizations. But our strong culture of giving, so essential to our quality of life, is increasingly at risk… Donations are dropping across all age categories and donors aged 50 and over account for 74 per cent of donations… the annual average donation by new citizens is $672, compared to $509 for native-born Canadians… Over the past 30 years, women have steadily gained ground as a percentage of donors. The only factor holding women back is income disparity.

  • New CAMH centre focuses on treating adults with ‘childhood conditions’

    Indeed, some 45 per cent of adults with developmental disorders — which also include such things as Asperger’s and Fragile X syndromes — suffer from concurrent mental health problems like anxiety, depression and addiction, Lunsky says. Yet there’s been sparse research and even less training into how these associated conditions can best be diagnosed and treated in developmentally disabled adults

  • A donor is giving a record $100 million to CAMH — and doesn’t want to be named

    The donation… will support the recruitment and retention of top scientists and encourage them to take chances with their research. “In order to enable quantum leaps forward, this gift will also support high-risk, high-reward research,” the donor said. The donation is by far the largest ever given to a mental health centre in Canada and one of only a handful of that magnitude bestowed on any health organization in the country.

  • How social service agencies can help build a collaborative and caring economy

    … trusting and supportive community relationships are the unique assets that social service agencies have to build upon… [to] put people back at the centre of creating and directing their economy. Through our local efforts, we can re-empower community members as protagonists of their own destiny, and build people’s expectations and democratic capacities to actively construct more and more of their economic landscape in ways that enable them to flourish.

  • Ottawa should finish the job on advocacy work by charities

    … giving charities a wider scope to speak out on public issues would bring with it a host of benefits. It would encourage experts associated with those groups to add their expertise to public debates. It would enlarge the pool of people participating in those debates, since charities often serve as a way for those without a strong voice to speak up. It would provide more opportunities for people interested in policy debates, but leery of traditional political parties, to get involved. Finally, it would help to tip the balance in debates in favour of those with the public interest in mind.