Social Policy

When pilot projects go off the rails

When pilot projects go off the rails

Research subjects caught between elected politicians and research ethics boards   Calls for evidence-informed policymaking have grown louder in recent decades. Advocates argue that the systematic use of the best available scientific evidence can help us avoid harm and achieve social policy goals while avoiding the deliberate manipulation of scientific evidence to achieve political ends. […]

Why a Canadian Basic Income is inevitable

Why a Canadian Basic Income is inevitable

In Canadian policy circles, Basic Income has come to mean a stipend paid to families or individuals without the many conditions and rules that govern existing income assistance programs. The amount received is gradually reduced as income from other sources increases. However, Basic Income is not just about welfare reform. A Basic Income is most […]

Stripping Canadian citizenship from Aung San Suu Kyi should be applauded

Stripping Canadian citizenship from Aung San Suu Kyi should be applauded

The House of Commons recently voted unanimously to call the killings, persecution, rape, abuse, destruction of homes and forced displacement of Rohingya from Myanmar as genocide. More than 900,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since 2017 Last week, the House also voted unanimously to revoke Aung San Suu Kyi’s honourary Canadian citizenship, which she received in […]

International researchers shocked at cancelation of Basic Income pilot

International researchers shocked at cancelation of Basic Income pilot

Two weeks ago, I participated in a panel in Finland with representatives of Basic Income Experiments from Finland, the Netherlands, India and Scotland. My report on the cancellation of Ontario’s Basic Income pilot project was received with stunned disbelief: on July 31, three months after enrollment was complete and before the first annual follow-up survey […]

The many faces of poverty in Canada

The many faces of poverty in Canada

The federal government is to be congratulated on its just-released Poverty Reduction Strategy. The strategy itself, running to over 100 pages, endorses the idea of an official poverty line, relieving Statistics Canada from the impossible task of finding a purely statistical basis for defining and measuring poverty. It further endorses the idea that poverty has […]

Voters disliked Ford a little less than Wynne

Voters disliked Ford a little less than Wynne

Ontario election results signal Canada’s wider democratic dilemma  June 2018 was an election for change in Ontario and Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives emerged the victors. Unfortunately, many voters believe their vote didn’t count. Thanks to our “first past the post” (FPTP) electoral system, they’re right.   Once again, Canada has an overwhelming majority provincial government elected by a minority of voters. Just over […]

Medically assisted dying cases need review

Medically assisted dying cases need review

In the early days of Canada’s public conversation about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), Dr. Jeff Blackmer, then Vice-President of the Canadian Medical Association, expressed the gravitas of the policy choices that lay ahead as “no less than a sea change” to the ethos and culture of the medical profession. That was in 2016, after […]

Worried about the alt-right?

Worried about the alt-right?

Be the anti-right One year since the violent alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and months since the Toronto van attack, Canadians can legitimately worry about increased political violence. The images of angry white men marching openly in Nazi regalia loom large alongside the revelation that some men are organizing groups driven by views of natural male […]

Canada should not stray from climate commitments

Canada should not stray from climate commitments

Things look bleak these days for the Trudeau government’s Pan-Canadian Framework on climate change (PCF). The framework represents Canada’s primary compliance path with the Paris Climate Accord, requiring provinces to establish a price on carbon or have one imposed by Ottawa. Opposition Conservatives have railed against the plan in the House of Commons. Newly-elected Ontario […]

Social assistance programs in Canada falling behind

Social assistance programs in Canada falling behind

Poverty is linked to poor health outcomes Public health researchers have long known that poverty and poor health are linked, but new evidence suggests that social assistance — the government system designed to provide those in poverty with income support — is not succeeding at protecting health. Using data from national government surveys, we studied […]

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