Shaking up the systems: Fighting poverty in post-pandemic Canada

Posted on July 24, 2021 in Social Security Policy Context

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At the core of the questions raised by the NACP was the idea that we need structural change to reduce poverty in Canada… we offer a number of policy ideas that can help systematically reduce poverty… rooted in what the evidence tells us… the idea that everyone across Canada has the fundamental human right to live in dignity and participate fully in society, and it is the duty of all levels of government to respect, protect, and fulfill these rights.

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Child & Family

‘An important beginning’: Toronto police to divert some 911 mental health calls to civilian crisis centre

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Amid growing public pressure to send social workers and health care professionals to mental health calls — not police — city council voted earlier this year to launch a separate pilot program to see civilian dispatched to mental health crisis calls where violence is not being threatened… The cost of the project, estimated to be $522,000, will be absorbed by the service’s operating budget, police said.

Child care is an integral part of our post-pandemic recovery. Let’s go big and act now

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Provinces will need to meet two tests of credibility in response to the federal offer. The first is one of commitment… because previous efforts haven’t built an accessible system, new commitments need to be significant… The other test is one of detail, of viability. Does the plan actually build up a high-quality, accessible child-care system in the province, led by well-trained and well-paid workers?


The politics of math curriculum

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While mathematical theory is objective, teaching mathematics in our educational system and how it is experienced is complicated by layers of identity. This is true for mathematics, science, history, and all other curricular subjects.  Math has also been used to normalize racism and white supremacy, which undergird systemic inequities, including biased algorithms and the disproportionate educational streaming of Black and Indigenous students.

Those who care about math education for all should focus on results, not rhetoric about colonialism

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To the government’s credit, it took a big step in that direction vowing to end streaming in Grade 9 — making young teenagers choose between “academic” and “applied” tracks in high school. There are stacks of evidence that this has had a disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous and poor students, limiting their opportunities for the future… The real test will be if the government follows through and makes sure the intent in that paragraph is translated into action and results.


The future of work in Ontario is at a crossroads. Will we ensure decent employment for all?

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The government has indicated the temporary wage enhancement for personal support workers will be made permanent, which is great news. It should also be expanded to include front-line housing, shelter and child-care staff — all of whom are inadequately compensated for their essential labour. Prioritizing investment in the non-profit sector — a feminized workforce that employs more than 800,000 women across Ontario — would also be a sensible policy decision

Good Theory, Good Practice: Seven Principles for a New Political Economy

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Mission Economy… speak[s] about how we can restructure the economy to tackle the biggest challenges of our world… There are… seven key pillars to a better political economy that can guide a mission­-oriented approach… one that encourages a mission­-oriented approach and builds an economy driven by public purpose and citizen engagement. 


Canada’s citizenship study guide for newcomers is getting an ‘unvarnished’ makeover. Here’s how it’s evolved — from 1947 to today

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… in the wake of the recent revelations of hundreds of unmarked graves being found at the site of former residential schools in Kamloops, B.C., and Marieval, Sask., the federal government now says it expects to roll out… a more “honest” portrait of the country’s past and present… the guide will include a section outlining the government’s attempts to compel Indigenous Peoples to adopt European customs through policies “designed to end Indigenous ways of life, languages and spiritual beliefs.”

Making UN Declaration law shows Canada’s commitment to Indigenous people

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Bill C-15 requires regular public reporting on progress and accountability measures developed in collaboration with Indigenous peoples. Importantly, the implementation of the declaration is in line with the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice.


Evidence suggests there was no benefit to Ontario closing its schools

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By comparing the experience of Ontario with that of other provinces it is now clear that provinces that kept schools open longer had outcomes that were no worse and, in many cases, better… To this end, the government must solicit advice from a deeper bench of experts, from economics and other social science backgrounds, who can provide a more nuanced approach to the costs and benefits of keeping schools open.

Doctors’ focus on ‘missing patients’ is just first step in leading the pandemic recovery

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Through the OMA’s public survey, a series of round tables and consultations with other health-care providers and community leaders, doctors are developing a plan that will recommend the bold ideas necessary to take us through the recovery phase and well into the future. We encourage everyone to speak up. Have your say at, and help shape the future of health care with us.


Violent, militarized park encampment clearings won’t end homelessness in Toronto. Here’s a human rights approach

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While encampments are not ideal, and are not a permanent solution to the crisis of homelessness, they must not be criminalized or removed until the governments can provide reasonable alternatives. When the City of Toronto cites health and safety concerns as a reason for encampment removal, we must remember that this is the result of a societal failure to provide access to housing, let alone running water, bathrooms, and other basic necessities needed to ensure the right to life — and good health during a pandemic.

Releasing residential school records is a crucial step toward documenting Canada’s genocidal legacy — but the effort will face considerable challenges

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Huronia housed children and youth with intellectual disability diagnoses, whose parents were pressured to give up custody. Like residential schools, Huronia was a site of poor living conditions and brutal mistreatment. Like Kamloops, St. Eugene’s and Marieval, Huronia’s on-site cemetery houses many unmarked graves. We have worked with institutional survivors to document Huronia’s legacy. Here are some lessons we learned along the way.

Social Security

Developing a costing for a basic income is not a neutral exercise

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Creating income floors for everyone in Canada is necessary and desirable, but basic income and income floor are not synonymous… Expanding and improving social assistance, increases in targeted tax credits and benefits, strengthening Employment Insurance, stronger labour standards, and investments in public services would be less costly, more effective, and have fewer negative consequences than the suggested basic income.

Ensuring the success of Ontario’s vision for social assistance transformation

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The overall vision that MCCSS has laid out for service delivery transformation is encouraging. However, it is important to recognize that the vision set out in the paper can only be realized if meaningful investments are made in public services. To that end, it does not appear that the government of Ontario has a plan to enable the vision’s success. There is only so much progress and fiscal room that can be made through streamlining administrative processes.


Tax the Rich: Forging a future for the many, not the few

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The evidence for a wealth tax keeps increasing. As per PBO’s latest numbers, a one-time 3% tax on Canadians with net wealth over $10 million, and 5% tax on net wealth over $20 million could raise upto $82.5 billion over five years… By instituting wealth tax, a pandemic profits tax, and closing tax loopholes, Canada stands to gain over $50 billion dollars in revenue every year for #ClimateAction, expanding healthcare, bolstering social security systems, providing clean drinking water in Indigenous communities and improving infrastructure.

Appointment of new Governor General demonstrates the difference between symbols and tokenism

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The fact that we now have an Indigenous woman in the highest position in Canada, which before this week was inconceivable, suggests that Canadian society may be ready for change… We will no longer be window dressing, invited to functions as decorations to set the stage for the authority in the room. An Indigenous person will now be the authority in the room, representing Canada and all that we stand for to the never-ending stream of dignitaries and leaders.