Nursing students offer different kind of care

Canadian Forces veteran Robert MacKay, who is now pursuing a nursing degree at York University, is teaming up with classmates and other community members to provide relief closer to home. On March 21 and 22, this group will be collecting food and clothing from fellow students at York in support of Peel Region’s less fortunate. “Originally it was just a school project and then all of a sudden it became so much more,” said MacKay in the Brampton Guardian March 16. “Rather than just go through the theory of the whole issue of poverty, we decided it would probably be a good idea if we just did something practical.” Read full story.

UN report is a wake-up call for complacent Canada
“While we are often reticent, Canadians take great comfort in the fact that Canada is ‘the best place in the world to live.’ But the recent annual UN Human Development Report 2013 suggests that we might be becoming a little too complacent: all is not as well as it might be in our small corner of paradise,” wrote Allan C. Hutchinson, Distinguished Research Professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the Toronto Star March 18. “In the last few years we have begun to slip. Momentum is being lost and a rosy perception may be making reality seem more reassuring than it is.” Read full story.

Summit sows the seeds of revolution in economic thought
You can buy a cheeseburger or a taco at a famous multinational fast food franchise for about a buck. But how close does that price come to the real cost of food?…“Until we can quantify these things it’s hard to know how well we are doing,” said Ellie Perkins, a professor of ecological economics at York University, in the Vancouver Sun March 17. “Much of what we want to know isn’t in StatsCan documents and it’s difficult to value,” she said. As a result, stock economic models don’t account for unquantified social, environmental and psychological costs. “If you could measure those things you might find out that our standard of living isn’t that great. Not everyone is happy.” Read full story.

As dismantling begins, shuttering of research station called a ‘travesty’
The federal government says it is still trying to find a buyer for the world-renowned freshwater research station in Northern Ontario that it is closing at the end of this month, but it has already sent in a crew to start taking down buildings….York University biology Professor Roberto Quinlan said he was even more surprised to learn that the scrapping of Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) buildings was being done without the knowledge of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Winnipeg-based United Nations think-tank that is the only group known to be discussing the possible takeover of the facility. “If the IISD doesn’t know that this is going on, then this brings into serious doubt the government’s sincerity to actually transfer the facility over to another operator,” said Quinlan in The Globe and Mail March 16. Read full story.

Children’s Aid Society funding model with ‘perverse incentives’ set to change this year
A new funding formula for Ontario children’s aid societies will not have the same ties to service volumes that critics say encourage “perverse incentives.”… Karen Swift, a social work professor at York University, said social workers are often caught between professional and organizational mandates. In talking with people in the sector, Swift said the March rush to spend money and “create action” is common and “normalized”. “I think it’s important that it’s revealed because I think many of these families feel like they are pawns in the funding game,” she said in the Toronto Star March 15. Read full story.

Say on pay gains strength in Europe
A series of sweeping public votes across Europe this month put the power to determine how much to pay top executives at publicly traded companies into the hands of investors. Even though compensation experts in Canada say those measures are unlikely to migrate, they are watching the European movement very closely. “It’s very aggressive in Europe and that’s because European regulators have said ‘enough is enough,’ ” said Richard Leblanc, York University professor of law, governance and ethics, in the Toronto Star March 15. Read full story.

Forty years on
On March 8, International Women’s Day, Hart House, in collaboration with the University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre, played host to the Breaking New Ground conference in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the extension of full membership rights to women at Hart House, reported The Varsity March 17. Panellists began by discussing the difficult history of Hart House, reflecting on its exclusivity, and  on injustice towards women in the university at large….Panellist Meg Luxton, professor and director of the graduate program of Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies at York University, recalled standing up with her female classmates in unison and yelling out questions when a professor wouldn’t take questions from women, and occupying two buildings in different protests. “We learned to work together,” she said. Read full story.

CUPE calls for ‘adequate’ staffing in seniors’ care facilities
A homicide in a Toronto seniors’ home is raising questions about long-term care home capacity in Ontario, where demand is expected to grow significantly over the next decade as the so-called Baby Boomer generation ages….Tamara Daly, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair and a professor of health at York University, said government should be addressing staffing levels at long-term care facilities, where workers are few and still overburdened by paperwork and government red tape. “It’s not simply that we need more beds; we need better staffing to make sure that once people are in facilities that the care is good quality,” said Daly in March 16. Read full story.

Anti-gay pamphleteer asks for Supreme Court do-over on test of hate-speech laws
William Whatcott, the anti-gay pamphleteer from Saskatchewan who became the test case for Canada’s civil hate speech laws, has asked the Supreme Court to hear his case again. Bruce Ryder, a constitutional law expert at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said the Supreme Court sometimes allows rehearings when there is a need to clarify the consequences of a ruling. But it is called the Supreme Court for a reason. “When they are essentially asking the Court to reconsider its original ruling, the Court always rejects the motion for a rehearing,” he said in the National Post March 13. “If it were willing to reconsider its rulings, it would undercut the finality of the appeals process.” Read full story.