York disability studies faculty speak about levelling barriers

The Toronto Star spoke with several faculty members in York’s Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies for a special feature on barriers faced by persons with disabilities March 18. Below are some of their comments.

Today, though many people diagnosed with mental illness still feel out in the cold, they are also part of a new movement determined to be heard. "People from a variety of backgrounds are speaking out on public policy," says historian Geoffrey Reaume, who teaches disability studies at York University and is acting director of the graduate program. "They’re a broad cross-section, people who can’t be easily ignored or dismissed."

  • Marcia Rioux, director of graduate studies in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health, spoke of the 40 MA students and five PhD students in the Graduate Pogram in Critical Disability Studies. “Our students go into everything from law to bureaucracy. Over time, they will all make a difference,” said Rioux.
  • When Finance Minister Dwight Duncan delivers his provincial budget next week, people depending on the Ontario Disability Support Program are hoping for more than the just over $900-a-month-maximum the program offers. Most receive even less – around $500. Many people living on the streets have physical disabilities, notes Marcia Rioux. "Affordable housing is a big issue in Ontario."

A sketch of Osgoode’s Martha Hall Findlay 

The Canadian Press published a biographic profile of Osgoode alumna Martha Hall Findlay (LLB ’87), who won a federal by-election in the Toronto riding of Willowdale for the Liberals, March 17.

Career: Practised corporate and commercial law at a private firm; general counsel and corporate secretary for Mobility Canada, Bell Mobility; vice-president for corporate development and general counsel with The Rider Group; founded The General Counsel Group, a legal and management consulting firm.

Political experience: Ran and lost in Newmarket-Aurora riding to Belinda Stronach in 2004; finished last in federal Liberal leadership vote in 2006; appointed in 2006 as Chair of an outreach program to assemble a new Liberal election platform.

Family: Divorced; lives with partner Randy Reynolds; three children: Katie, Everett, Patrick.

Quote: “It’s time to reinspire Liberals. It’s time to reinspire Canadians.”

Merits of Afro-centric school debated

The Toronto District School Board is spending $820,000 to fund an Afro-centric school slated to open in September 2009, to launch a pilot program of African history and culture in three existing schools, to establish a research centre at York University to determine the best way to improve the success of marginalized students, and to devise a strategy to combat underachievement for all marginalized students in Toronto, wrote Insidetoronto online March 17, in a story about a meeting on the subject in Durham Region.

On air

  • Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about the federal by-elections on AM640 Radio in an interview also broadcast on CPAC March 17. Bob Drummond, political science professor and dean of York’s Faculty of Arts, also spoke about the by-elections on AM640.
  • Raymond Mougeon, French professor and director of the Centre for Research on Language Contact at York’s Glendon campus, spoke about barriers French-speaking Canadians have to overcome, on Sudbury’s CBON Radio March 17.
  • Callers to a phone-in show on Toronto’s CFRB Radio March 17 discussed a proposal by the TTC for a mandatory U-pass for all university students, including York University.
  • Anders Sandberg, associate dean and professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, was interviewed on CBC Newsworld, in a St. Patrick’s Day feature about green – as in environmentally friendly – beer, March 17.