• Now is the time for Ottawa to create a path to progress with Indigenous people

    On this day in 2007, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which sets out minimum standards necessary “for the dignity, survival and well-being of Indigenous peoples,” was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Let this be the year that sees the leaders of all federal parties agree to work with each other and with Indigenous peoples to make the full and effective implementation of the declaration a priority.

  • If Wynne’s Liberals were committed to equality, they’d help fund independent schools

    Ontario should treat all schools equitably… we’re left with a divided system of education: a Catholic board that’s publicly-funded as a result of the special protections it’s afforded under the constitution, and no funding for other independent faith-based schools. A 1999 UN Human Rights Committee report classified this system as discriminatory.

  • Get sexist language out of the Indian Act

    … the Liberal government is insisting on passing a law that fails to fully address sex discrimination in the Indian Act. It is defending a version of the bill that goes only part way and will be vulnerable to a court challenge as soon as it is passed… members of the newly feisty Senate… are insisting that Bill S-3, the law in question, be amended to remove all vestiges of sexist language that affects who qualifies to be legally regarded as a status Indian.

  • Ontario must toughen law to protect temporary workers

    … as it stands now hiring through temp agencies limits companies’ liability for accidents on the job, reduces their responsibility for making sure that employees’ legal rights are respected, and cuts costs — all at the expense of workers’ safety and earnings. The legislation now before the Ontario legislature does not address these concerns. As a result, the growing trend toward hiring temp workers — creating an increase in precarious work — may continue unabated.

  • Canada’s Impossible Acknowledgment

    … acknowledging traditional lands… is beginning to emerge as a kind of accidental pledge of allegiance for Canada—a statement made before any undertaking with a national purpose…. the process of reconciliation between Canada and its First Nations has stalled, repeating the cycles of overpromising and underdelivering that have marred their relationship from the beginning… Nonetheless, the acknowledgment is spreading. No level of government has mandated the practice; it is spreading of its own accord.

  • Why you should care that our civil-justice system is broken

    … in order for our economy to function properly, people need to believe that contractual, property and other legal rights mean something. But they can only mean something if they are enforceable… From a purely economic, risk-management perspective, a civil claim worth less than $75,000 (and that figure is probably low)… is rarely worth fighting to a final determination. In most cases, the potential recovery is simply not large enough to justify the risk.

  • Is a 21st-century model of labour relations emerging in Canada?

    … Canadian workers confront a daunting array of challenges and pressures: the need to keep up with technological change, which threatens jobs in a number of sectors; the fragmenting of the traditional employment relationship; powerful demographic changes that will mean little or no work-force growth; an aging population that is increasingly dependent on social programs; and the prospect of having to work much longer in life… So what is a 21st-century option that may help employers, employees and governments adapt to the many changes identified above?

  • Looking to move beyond the Indian Act, can Canada shed its ‘colonial structures?’

    “It looks like they’re using the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples as a blueprint to move forward, with the cabinet committee on decolonizing Canada’s laws and now this bifurcation of the ministry… But nothing else fundamentally has changed at this point.” … “Getting out of the Indian Act is desirable, but if what replaces it is basically the same thing in a de facto sense, with these little communities with little access to land and resources, then what’s the point?”

  • Freeing our people: Updates from the long road to deinstitutionalization

    How can we expect any better from society when our own government continues to fund deeply segregated, dehumanizing and dangerous forms of support for people with intellectual disabilities? Out of sight, out of mind has hidden many disturbing facts about intellectual disability from the public for far too long… These wrongs must be righted and further abuse prevented. We need to bring the “left behind” forward if we are to become an inclusive and accessible country.

  • Sir John A. not the only prime minister who wouldn’t pass muster today

    For now Macdonald is safe. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has pledged not to strip his name from any schools. But I’d be surprised if any new government buildings were named after the first prime minister. In fact, it might be less controversial to avoid naming anything after anybody. At least until we can find someone who will remain flawless for all time.