• The Catholic funding debate needs to be schooled by facts

    … this exposes the ridiculousness in 2018 of maintaining four distinct publicly funded school systems in Ontario – English public, English Catholic, French public and French Catholic. Most school boards are dysfunctional enough, embroiled as they are in petty politics, without giving trustees any added incentive to dream up ways of stealing students from rival boards. Not that any politician will touch this issue with a 10-foot pole.

  • It’s time to let Indigenous communities manage native child welfare

    Ottawa should start funding aboriginal communities who either have, or are in the midst of developing, their own child-welfare laws. As aboriginal child welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock says, “Fix it now. We can always argue later.” Of course, reforming child welfare is just the start. Knowing that children are safe and, wherever possible, living in their home community are minimum standards that shouldn’t take years to meet. But it is only one of many needed fixes. Too many remote reserves still lack clean drinking water, adequate food and decent housing

  • Ottawa to begin fully funding Indigenous child-welfare agencies

    The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued its order on Thursday, saying Ottawa was not complying with a 2016 ruling that found it discriminates against Indigenous children by underfunding child welfare services. In a statement, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott on Thursday said… that Ottawa would immediately begin to cover agencies’ actual costs for prevention, intake and investigation, along with legal fees and building repairs, with reimbursement retroactive to Jan. 26, 2016.

  • 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.

  • School guidance counsellors ‘stretched’ amid rising mental health needs

    “Principals are saying ‘we’ve got a crisis here in terms of the mental health piece, and we don’t have enough staff to address it, either through psychologists and social workers or through guidance’” … With only half the schools able to regularly access a psychologist and a shortage of school social workers, “the role of guidance counsellors may be stretched to fill the gaps,” says the report.

  • Let residential school survivors share their stories

    Angela Shisheesh… would like her harrowing story of abuse to be part of the historical record, accessible to the public like those of many of her fellow victims. Yet because she, like so many others, settled her legal case before 2006, it is up the organizations responsible for her maltreatment to determine whether her testimony can be made public… To deny her and other victims a voice amounts to a sort of cultural erasure, an important aspect of the residential schools’ terrible impact.

  • The time has come for Ontario to pass Rowan’s Law and make sports safer for kids

    Introduced by Kathleen Wynne’s government before Christmas, the bill would put Ontario ahead of other provinces in responding to emerging science around concussions. It includes protocol for the removal and return to sport of young athletes suspected to have concussions… there would be no excuse for letting this bill die and be resurrected only after the election.

  • $14 minimum wage, free pharmacare for young people, other Ontario regulatory changes start Jan. 1

    Thousands of workers will also get an extra week of vacation, and sick notes for the boss are banned among a host of changes that take effect Jan. 1… New Year’s Day sees the minimum wage surge $2.40 an hour to $14 and a new pharmacare plan — the first of its kind in Canada — called OHIP+ covering 4 million children, teens and young adults under 25… Other changes coming January 1 include: a 22.5-per-cent cut in the corporate income tax rate, from 4.5 per cent to 3.5, for small businesses to offset the higher minimum wage

  • For foster kids to succeed, they need more than just care

    … when the system parents 17,000 individuals in Ontario (and about 70,000 nationwide), and channels them on the same bleak life trajectory, the issue is systemic… Our system has stagnated in the “activity trap” by focusing on activities and outputs rather than outcomes or impact measurement on youth who have gone through the protection system. In Ontario, and most Canadian jurisdictions, youth outcomes after care have never been tracked.

  • All students deserve respect in classroom

    Inclusivity for all diverse learners warrants a clear and concise commitment to support teachers, support staff and administrators, with the appropriate continuous professional learning and resources to ensure success… statements from parents… serve as a call to action to ensure that no child feels excluded because of their learning need or exceptionality. The diversity of learners in today’s classroom is the norm and no longer the exception.