PhDs for Fair Taxation? Sign Me Up

A group of leading community medicine and public health doctors have founded Doctors for Fair Taxation. They argue that physicians have become increasingly concerned about growing income inequality after seeing the consequences of poor and inequitable health daily in their practices. The response has been …

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Can a basket of supports help to avoid poor health for people on social assistance?

My last blog about reforming social assistance in Ontario talked about building the vision of a health-enabling social assistance system. This was the cornerstone of our submission to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, for which we partnered with health leaders …

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Reforming social assistance in Ontario: progress so far and an update

Recently, the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario announced that their report would be delayed until September. Since submitting our formal responses– one on how to build a social assistance system that enables health equity and the other a response to the …

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One size user fees don’t fit all

Today’s edition of the Globe and Mail reports about community anger about new user fees for the use of Toronto’s municipal playing fields. The health promoting benefits of staying fit and active are well-established, but one-size-fits-all user fees can mean that people with low incomes …

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Breaking down the barriers to employment

This morning’s Toronto Star includes a front page story about how Ontario’s employment training programs shut out half of the province’s unemployed. The problem is that strict eligibility criteria mean that Employment Ontario’s job training supports are only available to people who are receiving employment …

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Should social assistance help you to scrape by, or to get a good job?

Social assistance is about more than just providing enough money for people to survive. Social assistance should also work to ensure wider opportunities for people to find employment or pursue further training or education. Investing in individuals – from early childhood through high school, to …

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Wellesley Institute response to the Ontario Social Assistance Review

UPDATE: Read our response here.   In 2010, the provincial government established the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, led by Commissioners Francis Lankin and Munir A. Sheikh. The Commission’s task was to recommend reforms to social assistance benefit structures, expectations of …

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Important progress toward a health-enabling social assistance system, but more work is required

The release today of the final report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario recommends a number of important steps toward improving the health of people on social assistance. Increasing rates Most significantly, the Commission recommended an immediate increase of $100 …

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Should social assistance ensure access to health care services, or keep people from getting sick? Both, actually.

The social assistance system causes poor health. The low levels of income supports combined with inadequate supplementary supports like affordable child care and transportation mean that people on social assistance do not have a fair chance at good health. I’ve blogged about this, and have …

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Social assistance reform is happening: Here’s three things to look out for

Incoming premier Kathleen Wynne announced this week that social assistance reform is one of her key priorities. Wynne has asked the Secretary of the Cabinet – Ontario’s top civil servant – to put together an implementation plan for the recommendations made by the social assistance …

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