(610) GTA child poverty

Emoticon Face Frown GEA report released this week had us cringing.  Why?  Because across Toronto about thirty to forty percent of children live in poverty.

Toronto child poverty rate at ‘epidemic’ levels. Toronto activists call on city mayoral candidates to address Toronto’s “epidemic” child poverty rate which is the highest in Canada, tied with Saint John, NB

image: Granny Enchanted via Wikimedia Commons


(606) Bulking up the po-po

BearcatPolicing and community protection are important commodities.  Are the authorities dispensing these things in Canada immune to American trends?  Doubt it.  We aren’t reassured much by our memory of the G20 conference in Toronto in 2010 for starters.  Shouldn’t we be “bulking up” the social workers, drop in centres and school boards?

Canadian police forces bulking up with armoured vehicles
Montreal Gazette

‘We call it a rescue vehicle’: growing number of Canadian police forces bulking up with armoured vehicles
National Post

Militarized policing in Canada under scrutiny following Ferguson protests
Edmonton Journal

image: Lenco Bearcat Combat Ballistic Tactical Transport vehicle by Sdlewis via Wikimedia Commons

(598) Bye bye Bell

a069026-v8Bell Canada has put an end to a high profile management internship program.  One of the oldest nameplates in corporate Canada has brought legal risk and embarrassment upon itself  with the extent and character of the unpaid employment it has played host to.  A former intern has brought legal action against Bell in part of what appears to be a general backlash against internship.

Bell Canada cancels massive unpaid-internship program. The unpaid work program is part of an ongoing federal labour dispute involving a former intern seeking back wages thestar.com

image: Library & Archives Canada

(588) Suburbabetes

800px-Sugar_2xmacroDiabetes rates have been mapped in detail for the first time for the province of Ontario and the results published.  For the Greater Toronto Area the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) maps draw your eye to such places as Brampton and Rexdale, which is to say the sprawl.  The ethnicity, incomes and behaviours of those with this illness in such communities is further established as well. Alarming.

New map reveals diabetes hot spots in the GTA.  Massive study finds nearly half of Ontario’s 1 million cases are in the GTA, with ethnicity a major factor

image: sugar crystals taken by Lauri Andler (Phantom) via Wikimedia Commons

(586) Tory time wasting

Beans4Canada’s federal Tories have gone after a variety of activist/non-profit groups by throwing costly, distracting audits at them.  Overspending on political activity seemed to be the justification.  A much ignored “snitch-line” and hours of accounting effort later it turns out there’s not much to see.  Probably its safe to say the Harper Conservatives just don’t like what the targeted groups are saying.  This piece from Press Progress contrasts the Robocop-like eagerness of the feds when it comes to bean counting the non-profits and their disinterest in the questionable approaches of large corporations and the wealthy to tax avoidance through overseas money-stashing.

CRA is hunting down charities while millionaires screw around in the Caymans

image: beans by Amada44 via Wikimedia Commons

(585) Child allowance: cheap at twice the price

demosAmerican public policy group Demos suggests a mechanism to chop child poverty in half.  You replace child-related tax benefits with a direct monthly benefit.  In a world blurry behind stale right wing fog Demos is a refreshing breeze.

This one weird trick actually cuts child poverty in half demos.org

B.C. has highest child poverty rate in Canada: report. One in five children statistically poor, says new report by youth advocacy group First Call


(582) Bubbletowne

crosswalkLinked below is an article with a couple of embedded videos about post-sprawl community design in which a number of Jane Jacobsesque things about how we might arrange North American life going forward are said.  The item, from canada.com, is great stuff.  With such pieces there is a sense of urgency about global warming, obesity, fossil fuel consumption and aesthetics.  Attractive examples of walkable streets on which we’ll do our less car-dependent living are usually presented and it all makes sense in a self-evident way.  One question though: why does this material always just sort of float there in a bubble?  There’s barely ever any mention of poverty in these items.  Sprawl repair and post-suburban suburbia is quite often presented as if social conditions were irrelevant.  A little strange since the advocates of New Urbanism and higher density living might increase support for their projects on the basis of them being economically easier than sprawl as we know it.

How suburban streets thwart smart transit. Toronto is fighting back against urban sprawl, but reinventing neighbourhoods introduces its own challenges

image: based on photo by Tom Thiel from Wikimedia Commons

(581) Minimum wage up one penny since 1975

lunchroomRecent findings from Statistics Canada indicate that minimum wage in 2013 dollars has risen over the last three decades by the face value of a now defunct copper coin.  So, this means we can stop researching and debating the minimum wage and put it up to fourteen or fifteen bucks per hour immediately, right?

Minimum wage in 2013 just a penny more than 1975, after inflation: Statistics Canada.  A Statistics Canada report says the average minimum wage was $10.14 in 2013 and the 1975 wage, expressed in 2013 dollars, was $10.13.