• New report Welfare in Canada, 2017 looks at latest welfare rates and how they compare to poverty measures

    the latest update of a yearly series showing the total income households on social assistance would have received (i.e., their income from social assistance alongside tax credits and child benefits). The report looks at how welfare incomes varied across every province and territory for four example households in 2017… the report describes the components of welfare incomes, how they have changed from previous years, and how they compared to low income thresholds. The amounts vary in every province and territory

  • Labour leader says Pay Equity Act should also address income disparity in minorities, disabled

    … research shows that visible minorities – the term Statscan uses – earn almost 20 per cent less, on average, than Canadians who are not visible minorities. That gap widens further for women of colour, who earned, on average, 70 per cent of what a man who is not a visible minority earned… research considered factors such as education, experience and hours worked. “After controlling for all characteristics that may drive earning gaps, we still see some gaps that then we can say that’s discrimination”…

  • What Ontario can learn from the UK on reforming social assistance

    Over the past decade, the UK embarked on a series of welfare reforms with similar aims — to cut red tape while getting more long-term welfare recipients into sustained work. This paper summarizes the assessments of independent reviewers and auditors on the impact of those reforms and their value for money. It aims to identify lessons for Ontario as it pursues the same goals.

  • Resources don’t match need for surgery

    We have just eight full-time neurosurgeons and four orthopedists serving the regional referral population of 2.4 million. Everybody has an elective wait list one to two years long. It is months before we can look after acutely disabled people. None of us in this province operates as much as we could under the resource restrictions of a system that has failed to match the simple growth of the population for decades, never mind the growth of technology and care options.

  • One solution to hallway medicine: outpatient hip-replacements

    Thirty years ago, this procedure would have required a hospital stay of up to seven days, and more recently it’s taken an average of three days… Women’s College is the only fully ambulatory hospital in Ontario, meaning it has no overnight beds. It describes itself as “a hospital designed to keep people out of hospital.” Part of its mission is to help improve the broader health system. One way it’s trying to do that is by spreading the word about the advantages of ambulatory, or outpatient, surgery.

  • Judicial appointments a process that can’t be rushed

    When I became minister I committed to creating a better judicial appointment process — one that would be open, transparent and ensured that the best possible candidates became judges. I also wanted a judiciary that more accurately reflected the country it served… Among the judges I have appointed or promoted to new roles, more than half are women, eight are Indigenous, 18 are members of visible minority communities, 12 identify as LGBTQ2, and three identify as people with disabilities.

  • Ottawa must pick up the ball on basic income project

    The findings of the $150-million project would have provided hard evidence for governments of all stripes to justify either implementing or dismissing the idea… First, the well-being of those who participated in the pilot project is at stake… Second, as the mayors argue, it makes sense to ensure the money invested in the program so far isn’t wasted… Third, the savings potential for governments in Canada, alone, could be in the billions of dollars if the pilot shows that a basic income works

  • Ontario should lift health-care wait period for new permanent residents

    It’s estimated that as many as 500,000 people in Ontario are without OHIP coverage due to their immigration status… the 80,000 new permanent residents who arrive in Ontario annually — mostly economic and sponsored family immigrants — are a relatively small, committed and rigorously tested group of newcomers who tend to be in good health. Why make them wait? … [It] little sense since we all pay the higher cost of addressing untreated illness once the three-month waiting period is over.

  • 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.

  • How a universal basic income benefits society

    Receiving a basic income turned my life around. I’ve left unhealthy housing, re-entered the workforce and started repaying debts and retraining. Basic income works. It’s also essential in our automated, outsourced world of scarce employment. One universal basic income program would end poverty, reduce health-care spending and replace broken Ontario Works, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and ODSP systems. It would save taxpayers billions.