• How to put Indigenous children first

    Step one: Establish the office of a Children’s Ombudsperson that is independent of government with order making powers to initiate investigations and ensure government departments are in compliance with their obligations to ensure full access of services… Canada will never be the nation it was meant to be until we understand that the greatest wealth in our nation is not the gold, the oil or the diamonds — it is the potential of children.

  • Justin Trudeau goes halfway on access to information

    The new legislation, the first major update to the act since it was passed more than 30 years ago, does offer a number of welcome and significant improvements to the current system… What the legislation doesn’t do, however, is extend the disclosure rules to PMO or cabinet documents… Instead, the Liberals have tried to placate the public and transparency advocates by including a measure that would force ministerial offices to “proactively disclose” certain information.

  • With new solitary rules, Canada gets smarter on crime

    Prison is a paradox. In a civilized society, the goal of putting people behind bars is to prepare them to be released, and to equip them to live successfully on the outside. That’s what Canada’s federal prison system says its about, and it should go doubly for the provincial prison systems… most people behind bars in Canada are getting out – soon… The use of solitary confinement for anything other than short periods of time doesn’t further that objective. Even relatively short spells in isolation can harm mental health.

  • Senate report on court delays gets at big truths about criminal justice system

    … if a country is smart on community safety, the first order of business is to acknowledge that most offenders don’t belong in prison except for those who commit violent crime — convicted murderers, rapists, child abusers, etc. The committee never explicitly says that prison should be for the few, not the many, but it’s that principle that drives its cry for reform – for better ways to handle impaired driving offences, for more restorative justice, for alternatives to jail.

  • Health care: What should we be paying for?

    … the evidence has found that allowing private payment does indeed make the publicly available care worse. More promising approaches to improving wait times include both making sure the necessary resources are in place, and learning from engineers and improving queue management, including encouraging single points of entry… if we are going to invest more money, place it where we can improve peoples’ health

  • Ontario’s imperfect move in the right direction on child care

    … a TD Bank study found that for every $1 invested, provincial and federal governments receive $1.50 in increased tax revenues. It’s discouraging, then, that the provincial government did not set out new affordable fees for subsidized child care in this week’s framework… studies of the Quebec model have shown it pays for itself with economic benefits. In fact, 40 per cent of the cost is recovered in income and payroll taxes alone… the lack of immediate fee relief for parents is a disappointing shortcoming

  • It is time to merge Ontario’s public and Catholic school systems

    Quebec and Newfoundland put an end to their publicly funded denominational school systems… At a time of extremely tight education funding, the added costs due to duplication of services, extra busing, etc., is nothing short of an obscenity… Merging two (actually four) overlapping school systems in each municipality would produce huge savings in transportation, administration, maintenance and capital costs. It would also allow children of all different faiths to learn and play together and make it easier to maintain a school in every community.

  • Open Pharma wants public to know ties between MDs and pharmaceutical industry

    … the Open Pharma campaign is not “anti-pharma,” nor does it aim to ban industry involvement with the medical profession. It’s about being open about relationships in the interest of upholding public confidence… “Canada at the moment seems like it’s a laggard in this regard… The world is moving in the direction of providing patients with context about interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and doctors.”

  • New Ontario legislation ensures workers can take at least 10 sick days a year without a doctor’s note

    Bosses will be banned from asking employees for sick notes if they take 10 or fewer days a year under proposed legislation that would take effect next January 1. The measure… means fewer wasted appointments for doctors and allows workers to stay home and get well instead of spreading their germs around… the law will ensure all workers are entitled to at least 10 personal emergency leave days annually — two of which must be paid.

  • It’s time to fix solitary confinement. Here’s how

    … here is the minimum that pan-Canadian standards must accomplish in order to be meaningful… “Solitary confinement,” or “segregation,” … is an amorphous concept in Canada… With a consistent definition and proper training, prison staff will be able to better track how long inmates are being kept in solitary… Stop putting mentally ill people in solitary… Require independent oversight… Legislation, not guidelines