• If Ontario won’t see sense, Ottawa should save the basic income pilot

    It’s possible that this project, costing $50 million a year, will actually save money by reducing health-care costs, enabling people to improve their education and ultimately get decent jobs, so they won’t need ongoing government support. But the fledgling Ford government has cancelled the program before we can find out. Promise broken… The Ford government itself barely seems to know why it decided to kill the pilot. In fact, the reasons given for the broken promise grow more absurd with every sitting of the legislature.

  • Have Mayor Tory and Council Delivered on Poverty Reduction?

    In sum, thousands more residents do have access to jobs, housing, transit, child care, recreation programs and others services as a result of council decisions over the past four years. However, these modest service expansions have hardly put a dent in long waiting lists, or in Toronto’s high levels of poverty levels and inequality.

  • Ford opposes handgun ban as he pledges funds to fight gun violence

    Ruling out new funding for community programs aimed at curbing violence, Mr. Ford said the province would send $18-million to Toronto police to buy new digital and investigative tools, while allocating $7.6-million to staff seven of Toronto’s courthouses with a legal team dedicated to denying bail to people accused of gun crimes… Mr. Ford said certain city councillors, “activists,” “so-called experts” and “special interests” had used shootings to demand spending on what the Premier called “layers of bureaucracy” and “handouts,” instead of on policing.

  • Why the Ontario Progessive Conservatives aren’t ‘progressive’

    … today’s Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is most certainly “conservative,” but not even remotely “progressive.” … Naturally, there are Red Tories, or left-leaning Conservatives, like Segal, former Ontario Premier Bill Davis and Toronto Mayor John Tory. These individuals promote progressive values, such as social justice, support for a welfare state, and maintaining significant amounts of public funding for social services. Nevertheless, this isn’t what most Ontario Conservatives think, or have ever thought, about political conservatism. To equate one with the other is wrong.

  • Ford government vows basic-income pilot will receive ‘lengthy runway’ before cancellation

    “I have been very clear since last week that the basic-income research project will wind down and details will be forthcoming, but I have been clear that there will be a lengthy and compassionate runway,” Ms. MacLeod told reporters at Queen’s Park. She said she would “provide those details in the next week or two.”

  • Toronto can solve its affordable housing crisis. Here’s how

    The city’s housing affordability crisis acts as a fundamental limit on our future progress. The talent needed to fuel our economy can no longer afford to comfortably live here… Home-ownership is out of reach for entire classes and generations of Torontonians… With the prosperity our city is generating, we have the means and capacity to address this crisis. What we need are leaders with the political will to take it on and solve it. Nothing less that the future success of our city and the future well-being of all Torontonians is at stake.

  • Abandoning the red Tory tradition hurting the most vulnerable

    … something cruel and uncaring has developed in Canadian and especially Ontario politics, a new conservatism that has abandoned the paternalism of the red Tory tradition, and replaced it with harshness, division, and a disregard for those who are most in need of our concern and empathy. Whether it’s using dismissive language about migrants, cutting promised minimum wage and welfare increases, or ending guaranteed income schemes, it stinks of something almost Dickensian.

  • Who really rides the gravy train? Not those who were on basic income

    The same week that the basic income project was scuttled, a new report outlined how wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few Canadians, how those fortunes are amassed over generations, and how the country’s tax system helps protect and enlarge those fortunes… “In general, Canada’s tax system is set up to encourage concentration of wealth at the very top,” the report says. That includes a lack of tax on inheritances, low taxes on capital gains and an acceptance of tax-avoiding loopholes. These too are government handouts; we’re just trained not to think of them that way.

  • Doug Ford’s social assistance cuts put Ontario’s health at risk

    … our hearts collectively sank as Premier Doug Ford’s Conservatives announced devastating changes to Ontario’s social assistance program… As physicians, we know that income is strongly tied to health. People in poverty have shorter life expectancies and are more likely to suffer from mental illness, addiction, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes… Poverty also has major impacts on our health-care system as a whole, costing an estimated $32 billion yearly in Ontario due to increased use of health services, social assistance, justice services, and lost productivity.

  • Save Ontario’s basic income pilot, advocates urge Ottawa

    MacLeod said she killed the project because it isn’t sufficiently aligned with the Ford government’s focus on moving people on welfare into jobs. However, 70 per cent of participants were already working when they enrolled, but earned too little to pay rent and buy food… One of the research goals was to see what happens when low-wage, precarious workers receive a financial top-up. That’s information any government concerned about vulnerable populations should value, Regehr said. “Poverty, insecurity, precarious employment don’t stop at provincial and territorial borders,” she said. “This matters hugely. This isn’t just about Ontario.”