Bad Boy brings back its ‘man of the people’

When you sell furniture, appliances, electronics and bedding, a little spectacle goes a long way, reported the Toronto Star May 16. Lastman’s Bad Boy stands squarely in the middle of a packed field of competitors, with industry giants such as Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Sears and Best Buy on one side, and thousands of independent retailers on the other. In that way, welcoming Toronto’s 73-year-old Mel Lastman, who served as mayor from 1997 to 2003, back to the fold makes sense, said Ashwin Joshi, an associate professor of marketing at the Schulich School of Business at York University. “Lastman is an icon in Toronto. There’s still lots of goodwill for him.” As Joshi put it, “There is a kind of gravitas that comes with being mayor, but Mel was always a man of the people.”

York sociologist suggests hospitals might have to cut cleaning staff

Murray Campbell has written an encouraging article (Skies Brightening But Ontario Nurses Not Yet In The Clear – May 15) in which he outlines plans for hiring more nurses, wrote former head nurse at Sick Children’s Hospital Wendy Crean, in a letter to The Globe and Mail May 16. However, wrote Crean, Pat Armstrong, a sociologist who studies nursing at York University, suggests that hospitals might have to cut corners on hiring cleaners and other support staff. The current state of our hospitals is one of utter filth due to lack of staffing, poor supervision in some cases and a questionable understanding of the basic principles of aseptic technique at all levels of hospital personnel, Crean said. Until this message is well and truly absorbed, infection rates will continue to soar and the great work that is being done in our hospitals will continue to be greatly diminished.

Study co-authored by York professor shows Chinese businesses are growing

A new study of Chinese-owned or -operated businesses in Toronto, to be published later this year, dispels the traditional view that they are small, family-oriented firms clustered in the city’s various Chinatowns, focused primarily on the retail and service industries, with a mostly Chinese-Canadian clientele. Indeed, the study by geography professors Lucia Lo of York University and Shuguang Wang of Ryerson University found Chinese businesses, as identified in the 1997 Dun & Bradstreet business directory, were located in every part of the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area and served every sector of the economy – with a surprisingly high number in the manufacturing and wholesale trades.

Tax change multiplies charities’ opportunities, says York’s director of development

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) said federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s May 2 budget announcement that gifts of listed securities and environmentally sensitive land will be exempt from capital gains tax is big news for charities. Responding in a media release issued from its international headquarters, the association noted that the elimination of the tax may generate “hundreds of millions and possibly billions of dollars annually,” reported the AFP newsletter Canadian Fundraiser May 15.

The release quotes Susan Mullin, director of development at the York University Foundation and Chair of AFP’s government relations committee, as saying, “This policy change will dramatically enhance charitable giving in Canada. There are major donors across the country who have been waiting for this type of incentive so they can make their gift. The opportunities for charities to build their capacity and expand programs have now multiplied with this provision.” The huge potential of the move is proved by history, said AFP, noting that since the tax was lowered to 50 per cent in 1997, donations of securities have gone from being a negligible figure to an average 10 per cent of a charity’s receipted donations.

On air

  • Roxanne Mykitiuk, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, was interviewed about a declining number of sperm bank donors and the impact of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act on CBC Radio’s national show “The Current” May 15.