• The law has done its job, but there must be justice for Tina Fontaine

    Outrage at her death in 2014 was a crucial factor in prompting the Trudeau government to set up the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) two years later… its success will be measured… in how effective it is in sparking real change. The inquiry… has compiled 1,200 recommendations to address the problems it is looking at. The issue isn’t more recommendations — it’s whether they are put into action.

  • From ‘barely surviving’ to thriving: Ontario basic income recipients report less stress, better health

    The three-year pilot project, which began in the Hamilton and Thunder Bay areas last summer and in Lindsay last fall, is testing whether unconditional cash support can boost health, education and housing for people on social assistance or earning low wages. Information gleaned from the three test sites will guide future provincial policy on how to better support all Ontarians living in poverty.

  • It’s past time to end academic streaming

    streaming — which puts kids into either academic or applied courses in high school — was supposed to be phased out in Ontario in 1999. Yet almost 20 years later, it’s still with us despite overwhelming evidence that it hurts rather than helps kids… studies also suggest teachers and guidance councillors actually push racialized and low-income students into taking applied courses. That perpetuates income-based disparities in educational outcomes.

  • Prescription for healthier population: spend more on social services

    A one-cent increase in social spending for every dollar spent on health care increases life expectancy and cuts premature death, study shows… Dutton and his fellow researchers looked at health and social spending in nine provinces over 31 years from 1981 to 2011 and compared it to three population health measures: potentially avoidable death, life expectancy and infant mortality… “More social spending was associated with a more positive outcome. Life expectancy went up and potentially avoidable mortality went down,”

  • We need to focus more on mental-health care

    … access to appropriate, effective mental-health care needs to be seen as a basic human right and component of a publicly funded health-care system. / People suffering mental illness were deinstitutionalized without necessary community supports, to be managed by law enforcement and ER staff who lack the skills and facilities to respond respectfully. / The article understates real-world factors (marginalization, social determinants, and access to competent help) that can thwart the potential impacts of even the most cutting-edge research.

  • Homeless shelter crisis reveals unabashed attempt to legitimize inequality

    What we have here is an unabashed attempt to legitimize inequality; the rich are rich because they deserve to be, because they’re superior. “Ordinary people,” by contrast, are inferior, and, therefore, deserving of poverty. Their very ordinariness condemns them to minimum wages and unpaid breaks. The homeless, at the bottom of the barrel, are wholly undeserving… The notion that taxes could be a means of redistributing wealth is now considered a socialist heresy.

  • Alberta’s minimum wage hike working despite gloomy predictions

    If an inexpensive meal in a restaurant can only be provided on the backs of people slaving away in the kitchen for next to nothing maybe we should consider a restaurant that charges a bit more. If we really need qualified, caring people to look after our children and our elders shouldn’t we be prepared to pay them what that is worth to us? And what about all those women who keep hotel rooms clean and tidy? Are we getting a good room rate because they don’t earn enough to properly support their families?

  • Biting cold exposes deeper rot in Toronto’s attitudes to poverty

    … fixing short-term inadequacies will have to be paired with a more sweeping strategy involving all three levels of government to improve income security, strengthen mental health, addiction, and overdose prevention services, and make affordable housing the national priority it used to be. None of these things can or will happen until we acknowledge that the austerity consensus in public policy has been a failure; that real efficiency means actually meeting human needs rather than perpetually looking for and inventing new ways to cut public spending

  • Why a guaranteed minimum income is a better option than raising the minimum wage

    Rather than blithely decreeing that employers must pay their employees an amount the rest of us think appropriate, and hoping it all works out for the best, the option is open to us as a society to put our money where our mouths are: to finance a decent minimum income for all with our taxes — which unlike wages are not so easily avoided. Maybe this latest increase in the minimum wage will prove less harmful than feared, but it is certain to be more harmful than the alternative: a minimum income, socially guaranteed and socially financed.

  • Pick a fight with me Mr. Joyce, not those working the Tim Hortons pickup window

    Big businesses and major corporations continue to celebrate record profits, while many people in this province juggle multiple jobs and still can’t afford the basics. CEOs enjoy massive salary increases while their workers can’t pay their bills. That’s not right, and it’s not who we are as a society. It’s past time we put people ahead of profits.