Top court decision means changes to health system

In the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada decision striking down a Quebec law banning private health insurance, reporters scrambled for expert opinion from professors at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School – Dean Patrick Monahan in particular. From the coverage:

  • Monahan, a well-known critic of Canada’s national health care system, was emphatic about the import of a Supreme Court decision Thursday allowing private health care insurance, reported The New York Times June 10. “They are going to have to change the fundamental design of the system,” he said. “They will have to build in an element of timely care or otherwise allow the development of a private medical system.”
  • A CanWest News Service story printed in the National Post and the Edmonton Journal June 10 quoted Monahan: “It fundamentally reshapes the landscape of medicare in Canada by forcing governments either to guarantee timely care, or if they are not prepared to do so, they must allow Canadians to spend their own money to take care of themselves when they are sick.” Monahan represented an intervener in the case, Senator Michael Kirby, Chair of a Senate committee that studied medicare.
  • On Justice Marie Deschamps’s tie-breaking opinion, based only on the Quebec Charter of Rights, Monahan said the court usually delivers a clear verdict on both charters in such cases, the National Post reported June 10. “It would have been desirable for her to clarify for governments outside Quebec what the rules are.” said the dean.
  • Peter Hogg, constitutional expert and former Osgoode dean, said the decision takes us one step closer to a legal private health care system across the country, reported CKNW-AM News in Vancouver June 9.
  • Bruce Ryder, public policy professor at Osgoode, discussed whether the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is violated by private health care, on CBC Newsworld’s “Politics” June 9.

St. James Town library turning a new page

Less than a year after the St. James Town branch of the Toronto Public Library opened its doors, it holds the title of the second busiest in circulation per hour in the city, reported The Globe and Mail June 10. Its location has made the library a success. Covered by a forest of skyscrapers, St. James Town is one of the most heavily populated communities in Toronto, overflowing with new immigrants. In the late 1980s, “people living [in St. James Town] were not bothered by the density. Their concern was access to community services,” commented  Barbara Rahder, a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies who conducted an extensive study of the St. James Town neighbourhood.

York players skate in NHL tests

Phil Knapp and Matt Reynolds were members of the two teams that took part in the three-day rule experiments by the National Hockey League in Toronto this week, reported the Brockville Recorder and Times June 9. Reynolds and Knapp played for the local Athens Aeros and then for the past few seasons with the York University Lions men’s hockey team. The 23-year-old Knapp, five-foot-11 and 175 pounds, is heading into his final year in kinesiology and psychology at York and Reynolds graduates this year with a BA in geography.