How shamelessly has Doug Ford ground down Ontario’s colleges and universities? Let me count the ways

Posted on February 13, 2024 in Education Policy Context

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The Tories set up a fancy-sounding Blue Ribbon Panel on Post-secondary Education that quickly focused on fixing the distorted bottom line with straightforward advice: Stop cutting tuition and stop freezing funding… Let’s not confuse efficiencies with distortions. By profiting from the penury of post-secondary institutions — boosting his own bottom line while starving universities and contorting colleges — Ford is giving the province a costly lesson about false economies.

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Child & Family

Indigenous child welfare Act is constitutional, says Supreme Court of Canada

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Canada’s highest court has unanimously ruled that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit rights to self-government include jurisdiction over child and family services, throwing out the attorney general of Quebec’s 2022 appeal… Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution affirms and recognizes Indigenous peoples’ right to self-govern. Bill C-92 additionally affirmed that the right to self-govern included “jurisdiction in relation to child and family services,” meaning Indigenous communities have sole authority over the care of their children.


Home care reforms don’t address poor working conditions

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The almost entirely female – and, in Toronto, mostly racialized – home care personal support workers expect more of the same: low wages, irregular work, few benefits, and almost no pensions. Recent reforms to home care will not resolve chronic problems of poor working conditions, fragmentation of services, and an inefficient delivery model…


Education

Ontario professors say new postsecondary funding a drop in the bucket

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“The deficits Ontario universities face are due to a manufactured crisis by the province due to chronic underfunding. And this new spending will keep Ontario’s universities dead last in per-student funding compared to every province in the country” … OCUFA is pleased to see a commitment to freezing tuition fees for domestic students, but noted there is no commitment to more direct funding for universities to make up for the loss in revenue from that freeze.


Ontario adds $1.3B in post-secondary funding, freezes tuition for three more years

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Ontario ranks 10th out of 10 in every comparison of interprovincial post-secondary financing, according to a report last year by Higher Education Strategy Associates. International students now give more money to Ontario’s institutions than the government does… Raising Ontario’s level of per-student funding to the average of the other nine provinces would require $7.1 billion per year in additional spending — much higher than the current level of operating funding at around $5 billion


Employment

The private sector housing experiment has failed: Ottawa must now step up on social housing

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… some are quick to tell us… that governments should simply incentivize private sector developers and remove “red tape.” But our research shows no evidence this will work… There are many strategies needed simultaneously to address housing affordability. The expansion of social housing supply is one. But calls are all too often ignored by governments turning to the private sector for low-cost quick fixes that continue to fail those in greatest need.


Cure for the Public Debt Pandemic: An Economic-Principles-Based Fiscal Anchor

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… we don’t have a textbook fiscal policy but rather a counter-recession and pro-expansion debt policy… over a business cycle, the net accumulation of public debt should be equal to the value of income-generating investments. This anchor would fluctuate with changes in business conditions but would guide policymakers to maintain the tight relationship of its two parts over time… We can call this anchor “net economic public debt.”


Equality

How the public sector is fighting income inequality (and why it’s still not enough)

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The public sector’s impact on gender pay equity is very concentrated among middle- to middle-low income earners who were making around $20 an hour in 2023. At that income level, women in the public sector make roughly the same as men in both the public and private sectors, achieve pay equity. It’s a rare phenomenon… Also, the gender pay gap widens in both sectors at higher-income levels.


Swelling CEO salaries highlight income inequality

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The average worker received an average wage increase of three per cent in 2022 while prices rose by more than twice that amount… The financial disconnect between CEOs and the employees who work for them underscores broader issues of income inequality and affordability. We need quality research and robust debate on how to address income inequality and stagnating wages for those not privileged to work in the c-suites.


Health

Can Ontario Fix the Shortage of Personal Support Workers?

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The Ontario government earmarked almost $5 billion in funding over four years to help long-term care homes hire and retain care staff. It’s since added additional millions in incentives to attract thousands to become personal support workers over the next few years… Podcast video Episode: Can New Incentives Help Attract PSWs in Ontario?


Why is Ontario embracing private health care? The Scandinavian experience shows it hurts both the quality and choice of care

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A new report examines trends in Sweden, Norway, the United States, France and Great Britain, where the pursuit of profit by financial capital is systematically devouring public funding, eroding quality of care and degrading working conditions. Sound familiar? It should: The tapeworm economy has arrived in Ontario, and we need to control it… The escalating profitization of care gobbles up funds that could improve care.


Inclusion

Here are some dos and don’ts to help tackle ableism

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Ableism goes beyond individual fear or prejudice. It influences who we see as having a life worth living and who is seen as a burden. That, in turn, impacts our practices and policies. We all have a role to play in challenging ableism, which may sometimes leave us feeling awkward or unsure if we’re doing and saying the right things. But, to our knowledge being awkward isn’t deadly. Ableism too often is.


After the apologies: Churches give time and money to redress residential-school wrongs

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Although public apologies occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, it wasn’t until 2006 that a class-action lawsuit – the largest in Canadian history – brought about the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which recognized the damage done to Indigenous children placed in these schools… In addition to their responsibility to fulfil the 2006 agreement, churches have made efforts to fundraise for programs that don’t fall within the agreement’s mandates.


Social Security

How should the new Canada Disability Benefit interact with existing disability supports?

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For the new Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) to meet its goal of financially supporting and reducing poverty of people with disabilities, it will need to supplement existing supports rather than causing them to be clawed back. This policy brief analyzes how the new CDB should interact with provincial/territorial social assistance programs and the federal Canada Pension Plan disability benefit (CPP-D).


Child poverty is on the rise in Canada, putting over 1 million kids at risk of life-long negative effects

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In addition to being a human rights issue, addressing child poverty makes economic sense. This is why addressing child poverty needs to remain a priority for all Canadians. Governments, employers and communities… can do this by: Adopting a national living wage policy…; Reducing food insecurity… through nationally available school food programs; Increasing school readiness by providing universal access to quality early childhood development programs across Canada.


Governance

The crisis hitting small-town Ontario

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Communities across the province are grappling with overdoses and appealing for more resources to deal with the crisis… According to the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, the opioid death rate is three times higher in northern than southern Ontario… While we often hear complaints about the lack of sufficient treatment and harm reduction facilities in large cities like Toronto, smaller communities are lucky if they have any at all.


For Ed Broadbent, socialism meant providing for average people — and fighting for the cause

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For Ed, democratic socialism meant waging a constant battle against the inequality-producing tendencies of the market. It meant institutions that were democratically accountable shaping markets to serve the needs of people not private interests… The right to affordable housing and dental care, for example… ought to be guaranteed rights of citizenship. Being rights, not privileges, they should be available to everyone