• Pathways to Education lowers barriers to achievement for poor kids

    … the dropout rate in low-income communities across the country ranges from 30 to 50 per cent as a result of barriers to education… for every dollar invested in Pathways to Education, there is a return on investment of $24 — a cumulative lifetime benefit to society of $600,000 for every graduate, when you consider factors like higher taxes paid, better life expectancy and health outcomes, and reduced government transfer payments.

  • All children should feel like they belong at school

    Unfortunately, Ontario’s current approach to “special education” is premised on exclusion. It labels students with disabilities as “exceptions” before meeting their needs. Ironically, the “exceptional” label excludes many common mental health, intellectual and learning disabilities altogether, making it even harder for students to get help. Families find the process for identifying and supporting students with disabilities bureaucratic, confusing, alienating, unnecessarily adversarial and exhausting.

  • It’s time to take consultations with First Nations seriously

    Justice Eleanor Dawson wrote: “Meaningful consultation is not intended simply to allow Indigenous peoples ‘to blow off steam’ before the Crown proceeds to do what it always intended to do. Consultation is meaningless when it excludes from the outset any form of accommodation.” … In sum, consultation needs to be done when Indigenous rights are affected by a development. Consultation must include the possibility of accommodation. Each affected First Nation is entitled to its own consultations, particular to their own circumstances.

  • Ontario tells colleges, universities to develop free speech policies or face funding cuts

    The government said all university and college policies must include a definition of freedom of speech and adhere to principles based on the University of Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression. That document says colleges and university are places for open and free discussion, institutions should not shield students from ideas they disagree with or find offensive, and university or college community members cannot obstruct the freedom of others to share their views.

  • What good is a poverty reduction strategy?

    … a poverty reduction strategy certainly is budgets, programs and monies spent… But whether you are poor, rich or middle-class, this is not good enough. A poverty reduction strategy must also be a set of priorities that reflect our concerns; priorities that are paired with measurable targets allowing Canadians to plot a path to somewhere better… It is a way of holding our governments to account, because it puts the focus on the connection between actions and results.

  • Gun violence a ‘significant concern’ for Canadians and government must deal with it, Bill Blair says

    Bill Blair is acknowledging that the latest rash of shootings – most recently in Toronto – has touched off a sense of urgency among the public for the government to do more to keep deadly firearms out of the wrong hands… the prime minister has asked me to… look at every aspect in every ministry so that we address all of the issues related to gun violence and that will enable us to take effective action in addressing it”

  • Ontario families to launch human-rights challenge against sex-ed curriculum rollback

    Six families plan to file a case with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in the next week, noting that the old version of the curriculum makes no mention of issues such as gender diversity or the rights of LGBTQ students… The government’s decision to repeal the modernized curriculum violates the province’s human rights code and should be declared unlawful, their lawyers said… a parent from Guelph, Ont., credits the 2015 curriculum for making his daughter’s gender transition almost “seamless.”

  • Let the light shine on top-billing doctors in Ontario

    It’s high time Ontario taxpayers had more information about where the $12 billion paid to doctors goes… In Ontario, without comprehensive information, we’re left with general complaints about an underfunded and inefficient health-care system, juxtaposed with the troubling picture brought to light in a health ministry audit four years ago. How can one doctor bill for 100,000 patients in a single year? Why did the province’s dozen top-billing doctors received payments averaging $4 million apiece, with one billing $7 million?

  • How Canada can actually fix the migration mess on its borders

    The core principle is that a genuine refugee can not be returned to a country that presents a threat to his life or freedom. This is the heart of the Convention and it does not demand much beyond that fundamental obligation. It does not require any state to accept refugees. It does not tell states how to adjudicate claims. It does not include in its definition people fleeing war or natural disasters. It does not condone illegal entry unless the individual enters the asylum country direct from the country of persecution. It does not include people who are internally displaced in their own country.

  • Think education in Ontario doesn’t need to be protected as a human right? Think again

    If you have access to education, you are more likely to know your rights, and know how to advocate for yourself and for others… By framing education as a fundamental human right, we place the emphasis on education for all without discrimination; the obligation of states to protect, respect and fulfil this right; and the need for accountability mechanisms when people cannot realize their right.