• CMHA Ontario welcomes implementation of Police Records Check Reform Act

    … police are not permitted to disclose non-conviction mental health records, including those that stem from apprehensions under the Mental Health Act… non-conviction mental health records will no longer appear on police record checks… People have been turned down for volunteer work, jobs, school placements and cross-border travel because authorities shared non-conviction records and personal mental health information showed up on police record checks.

  • OCUFA submits recommendations on Bill 47, calls for reinstatement of fair labour laws

    Rolling back equal pay, options for consolidating bargaining units, fairer rules for joining unions, and other basic rights represent a major step backwards in efforts to address precarious work across the province… Workers on university campuses and in communities across the province are counting on these modest but important labour law improvements to support themselves and their families

  • New federal law creates official definition of poverty line

    The six-page bill sets targets of reducing poverty to 20 per cent below 2015 levels by 2020 and 50 per cent below 2015 levels by 2030. The target is based on a measure that lists 4.2 million Canadians as low income in 2015. Until now, discussions of poverty reduction have focused on three different ways of measuring poverty. Tuesday’s bill selects one of those – the market-basket measure – as Canada’s official poverty line… A third element of the legislation creates a national advisory council on poverty.

  • Don’t ignore Steve Bannon, Trump’s political philosopher

    The moral capitalism that rebuilt the world after the Second World War has been replaced by new forms unlinked to the foundations of Judeo-Christian belief. These new forms include state capitalism, where rewards are siphoned off by a small elite. They also include a strain of brutal libertarian capitalism that treats people as mere commodities. The new right populism is a reaction to this. It is a revolt of the middle and working classes against what Bannon calls the “administrative state.”

  • Loan program makes dreams possible for newcomers aiming to upgrade their skills

    Windmill, formerly known as Immigrant Access Fund Canada, received a $1 million grant from TD Bank as one of 10 winners of a challenge for fresh ideas to increase income stability and give people the skills for the future economy… Since its inception, the charity has helped more than 4,000 immigrants and refugees restart their careers in Canada, and many have seen their earnings double or triple as a result. More than half of recipients are in health care, including doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and medical technicians. The loan repayment rate is 97.5 per cent.

  • The left has yielded language to the right

    … the biggest rhetorical victory of the right has been its capture of the term “populist.” Historically in North America, populism has had both left and right variants. Some were anti-immigrant and racist. But the most successful, such as the People’s Party of the late 19th century or the Progressives of the early 20th were left-leaning… populism has been no stranger to either Canada or the U.S. So it seems odd that it has become, among left-liberals, a dirty word.

  • Job programs for 450,000 Ontarians on social assistance show mixed results

    … the Ontario government needs to better tailor its job programs by emphasizing assignment to programs whose effects suit its goals… if the government’s strategy was to get people off social assistance, it could increase assignment to either job-search workshops or training programs, while if the aim is to reduce the probability of people returning to social assistance, they could focus on direct job placements.

  • Doug Ford government spins fake news to ditch minimum wage hike

    After two years of public consultations, special advisors leading “the largest review of Ontario’s labour laws conducted in decades” concluded in the 400-page Changing Workplaces Review report “that there are too many people in too many workplaces who do not receive their basic rights.” … for business lobbies to now say there has been no input and that Bill 148 is “too much too soon” is disingenuous… In fact, some of the changes… were modified by the business community.”

  • 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.

  • Open Letter to Minister MacLeod: Five Principles for the 100-day Review

    We agree that Ontario’s social assistance system doesn’t work, and that ensuring stability and providing support are what’s needed in a new system. Despite some small positive recent changes, the system is fundamentally the same as it was twenty years ago. It is based on outdated thinking and outmoded ideas about what the programs are supposed to achieve. Its continuing inadequacy of benefits and focus on punitive and coercive rules is counterproductive and simply traps people in poverty instead of providing the supports they need to stabilize and move forward in their lives.