Government charges blamed for record new home costs

Affordability is becoming a major challenge across the GTA, and fees slapped on homeowners are part of the issue, but so are escalating land costs and the profits reaped by developers who are getting civic approvals to build higher, more lucrative, buildings or have farmland rezoned for more valuable residential construction, said James McKellar, associate dean of York University’s Schulich School of Business and an author of three studies on development fees, in the Toronto Star Tuesday, June 11. “Of course, it’s grossly unfair for municipalities to say that new development will pay for all the new infrastructure. But municipalities never intended for (development charges) to be fair. And homebuyers don’t really care. “There’s no question they are a reasonable cost for all the value that has been created (for developers) across the GTA from rezoning.” Read full story.

Responsibility is no passing fad
Talk of sustainability is giving way to a focus on responsibility. Dezsö Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business at Canada’s York University, tells Adam Palin of the Financial Times of London in a four-minute, 39-second video that even the mining industry is being forced to pay attention to this emerging trend. Business schools are also playing their part. See full story.

Librarian blogs ‘long, unexaggerated, devastating’ cuts to Canadian science
Three weeks ago, York University librarian John Dupuis posted a story in “Confessions of a Science Librarian,” his personal blog, which aimed to show what he called the Conservative government’s “campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making,” wrote The Tyee June 10. The post exploded with 40,000 page views, more than 9,000 recommendations on Facebook, and more than a thousand tweets. The blog post, titled “The Canadian War on Science: A Long, Unexaggerated, Devastating Chronological Indictment,” is, according to the author, “a chronology of all the various cuts, insults, muzzlings and cancellations that I’ve been able to dig up.” It links to more than 100 news stories about scientific programs the Conservatives have discontinued or stopped funding since 2006. Read full story.

Actua’s Innovative “Mining Minds” Program Inspires Youth to Explore Canada’s Resource Industry
Actua, a national charitable organization providing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs to 225,000 youth annually, launched its newest initiative “Mining Minds” at York University on June 8, 2013. The program is designed to educate young people about Canada’s geology and mineral resources, while promoting the mining industry and related career opportunities. The launch at York University, a program member of Actua, on June 8, 2013 included a demonstration of drilling activities where over 40 youth engineered their own drill bits to explore and extract minerals. Read full story.

This industry is a labour trap
Call it a twisted capitalistic fairy tale. Time and again, those of us barely scraping by on precarious appointments in the hospitality and retail segments of the tertiary sector of the economy — better known as the service industry, are fed the same exhausted occupational rhetoric: Prosperity in the “new economy” requires flexibility and sacrifice on the part of the labour force. In order to keep domestic industries competitive, workers must “redefine” what they expect from the employee-employer relationship.Translation – welcome to the precarious labour trap, wrote Adam Kingsmith, a PhD candidate in political science at York University, in the Huff Post June 10. Read full story.