It was early Saturday morning when Tanya Gulliver got the call: Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the US East Coast, thousands were being evacuated and the York University graduate student was needed in New Jersey. Gulliver – who was in Louisiana doing research on both the sociological and environmental aspects of disasters – promptly flew halfway across the country to Philadelphia, drove to Rutgers University and took charge of a makeshift shelter, reported The Globe and Mail Oct. 30. By Monday, she was running a mini-village out of a campus gymnasium. Besides providing a place for more than 300 evacuees to ride out the storm, the shelter offers food, medical attention and a point of contact for people to locate family members. While earning her PhD in environmental studies, the 44-year-old has worked with the Red Cross on previous disasters, running a shelter in Vermont during Hurricane Irene, which battered the northeastern U.S. in 2011, and taking part in the relief effort after Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana two months ago. Read full story.
Supreme Court minority defended integrity of our elections
Last week’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling, Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj, on the 2011 federal electoral outcome in Etobicoke Centre, highlights electoral practices in the riding that have been called into question. The broader concern of the case centred on ballots cast by individuals who may not have been entitled to vote due to vouching and identification problems, missing names on voter lists, and voting at incorrect polling stations, wrote Jennifer Dalton, a professor of public law at York University, in the Ottawa Citizen Oct. 30. The accuracy and consistent application of elections procedures, whether at the federal, provincial and territorial, or local levels, must be improved upon. A substantive right to vote is not sufficient; electoral integrity must be upheld in order to maintain the legitimacy of Canada’s electoral system and democratic values. Read full story.
Ontario’s poor could use a good dose of ‘street heat’
Last week, Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh, heads of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, released their final report, Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario. It contains some good ideas but anti-poverty activists will have to ask themselves whether more aggressive action is necessary. The commission called on the government to implement some of its 108 recommendations immediately, including a $100-a-month rate increase for single adults on Ontario Works (they currently receive $599 a month, 66 per cent below the poverty line); changing the rules to allow all recipients to earn $200 a month without having their benefits reduced, and raising OW asset limits to Ontario Disability Support Program levels of $6,000 for a single person and $7,500 for a couple. Adopting these recommendations would make small, but concrete material differences in the lives of social assistance recipients, wrote Simon Black, a researcher in urban social policy at the City Institute at York University and a member of Peel Poverty Action Group, in an op-ed in the Toronto Star Oct. 30. Read full story.
Soft skills critical to business success; Communication
As a research analyst with CIBC World Markets who focuses on the precious metals sector, Cosmos Chiu spends a lot of his time making sure he understands the stakeholders he’s speaking to and distilling his research and recommendations to be able to present them in a way that makes sense and resonates. It’s a reality business schools, which have built their reputation on the technical or hard skills, have increasingly turned their attention to in a variety of ways, reported the Financial Post Oct. 30. When Joe Fayt, a marketing instructor at the Schulich School of Business in the MBA program at York University, started teaching 10 years ago, he made a point of building them into the courses he taught. Around that same time, Schulich became more involved in case competitions, which became a catalyst in the MBA program to underscore the importance of selling your ideas and a vehicle for students to learn how. Read full story.