Tag Archives: social services

(1230) Tax havens & CASW statement on uBIG

This week we were reminded that the federal Liberal party’s bag men are no strangers to the benefits of stashing one’s money overseas.  Hey, even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has a couple hundred pounds in that fancy hat.  Attention for the matter of how Canada’s elites array their money has, unfortunately, proved fleeting.
Also predictably disappointing was a near total lack of media interest in a statement from a professional body of Canadian social workers in favour of recent official interest in basic income.  Like other observers, the social workers have come to find Canada’s approach to the costly presence of poverty here less than effective.  Along with the experience of doctors and nurses, the knowledge of social workers has to be considered with high seriousness in this area.  Money stashed overseas in tax havens would seem to at least hint at the ability of this society to afford social policies that would eradicate poverty.
From safety net to stable foundation: CASW recommends a universal basic income
casw-acts.ca (with links to 2014 & 2015 papers on inequality that consider UBI)
Paradise Papers underscore need for tax justice
rabble.ca
Queen Elizabeth II has $13M in investments in offshore tax havens: documents
global.ca
How will governments solve the tax haven riddle? Offshore tax havens cost us all billions, but cracking down on them is like a game of whack-a-mole, writes the Star’s Marco Chown Oved in an analysis following the Paradise Papers leak
thestar.com

(989) Aging in place, kinda winging it

station wagon” …car-centric suburban neighbourhoods with multi-level homes and scarce sidewalks are a poor match for people who can’t climb stairs or drive a car.”
Here’s a feature that profiles a boomer-age man in a subdivision dating from what appears to date to the 1970s through 1990s.  Like millions of other people in the United States and Canada his mind is turning to the latter stages of life when such things as income and mobility go into decline as health and social services needs go up.  Such a great turning is bound to influence our communities in every possible way.  Some thought and planning has gone into this realigning of things but we get the feeling it isn’t yet enough.  This item does a very nice job of setting out the basic proposition with a brace of statistics and writerly turns of phrase.  Recommended reading.
Many boomers in denial over problems they face growing old in suburbs
miamiherald.com

(421) Let it snow

Montreal in the snowCommon sense warns us that winter can add an oppressive layer to social difficulty.  The design of our communities and their services gives us the opportunity to respond to this danger.

In Stockholm, a proposal to make snow plowing priorities better for women
Atlantic Cities

Extreme cold forces TTC to take streetcars out of service. Toronto will be down 50 streetcars just in time for rush hour
Torontoist blog

Time for Toronto to embrace winter in the city
Toronto Star

Walkable winter cities when the weather is frightful!
spacing.ca/vancouver

image: New City Gas Company in Montreal by Gates of Ale via Wikimedia Commons

(382) Switzerland holding referendum on basic guaranteed income

Switzerland.svgThe idea that an advanced industrial country will soon hold a national referendum on whether or not to make available to all adults a guaranteed  basic minimum income is absolutely fantastic.

What a role model for Canada!  Imagine knowing that you and your neighbours would never fall below a certain minimum standard of living ever again.  Imagine powerfully bolstering this society against precarious employment, downward mobility, food insecurity, social exclusion, austerity and crime while making it physically healthier and happier.  You know, sometimes there are magic bullets and some problems can be solved by throwing money at them.

Concern over inequality seems to have allowed Swiss activists to force a referendum on the basic guaranteed income which would be the equivalent of nearly three thousand Canadian dollars a month.  This is dramatic stuff: 120,000 signatures were quickly collected for  the petition required to secure the referendum, backed up by the emptying of a twelve-wheeled dump truck full of five cent coins in front of the Swiss parliament in Bern.  There were enough coins to represent each of Switzerland’s eight million people.  The date for the referendum has not been set but it follows legislation driven by public anger earlier this year that caps executive compensation.  Wow!  This is a very serious contrast to shut-down America, cut-back Britain and a Canada still deeply in the throes of failed neoconservative policy.  We bet many Canadians have no ability even to imagine this kind of prosperity and security.

Swiss vote for sweet minimum monthly wage: $2800
RT.com – see pictures of coin demonstration

(369) Toronto priority neighbourhood review

priority neighbourhoods screen captureNearly a decade ago Toronto established a set of priority neighbourhoods to focus efforts at reducing social difficulty.  By-and-large the establishment of priority neighbourhoods has been seen as a good thing.  The time has come to re-examine the list and see what kinds of adjustments are to be made.  Every one of the priority neighbourhoods is located in what you can fairly describe as a suburb.  Only two-and-one-third of the designated areas  are south of Highway 401 or west of Highway 404. The outcome of the analysis the United Way and city officials generate will tell us a lot about suburban poverty in Canada’s largest city.  More importantly it tells us what will be done about it.

City eyeing new needy areas for “priority” list: millions of dollars at stake for neighbourhoods  Toronto Star