Study details Canada’s ‘perfect storm’ housing problem

New research into Canada’s housing crisis has yielded some disturbing conclusions, including findings that 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness every year, and three-quarters of that group is forced to stay in shelters at some point, reported The Tyee, CBC News, CTV National News and others June 20….Stephen Gaetz, director of York University’s Canadian Homelessness Research Network, said Vancouver deserves credit for its “interesting and innovative” approaches to the housing crisis, including implementing a “Housing First” strategy, where some chronically homeless are provided with stable housing and support services in a more holistic way. “It’s been very successful in reducing street homelessness – not the entire problem, but at least it helps people sleeping outdoors,” said Gaetz. Read full story.

Rob Ford crack scandal: Police Chief Bill Blair could say more, experts say
Despite repeated refusals to answer questions about Mayor Rob Ford’s involvement in a sweeping investigation into the gun and drug trade in Toronto, there is plenty Chief Bill Blair can say without breaking the law, legal experts told the Star….“I don’t know if there is any rhyme or reason for when police disclose information,” said Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the Toronto Star June 20. “We’ve seen lots of cases where they seem to release a lot of information about an investigation.” Read full story.

Canada criminalizes masks at ‘unlawful’ protests with up to 10 years in prison
Canada’s controversial Concealment of Identity Act banning the wearing of masks during riots and “unlawful assemblies” has just gone into law, carrying with it a 10-year maximum sentence…Many, such as Osgoode Hall Law School Professor James Stribopoulos, have pointed to the possible “chilling effects” posed by making it unlawful to disguise one’s identity at a protest, say to prevent against reprisals from your boss or coworkers, or to avoid facial recognition software, reported The Verge June 20. Read full story.

Letter: Time to raise the bar on refugee education
The numbers highlight the magnitude of the challenge: more than 15 million people in the world are living as refugees….We must also remember that the countries that host 80 per cent of the world’s refugees are themselves developing nations…With York University and other universities in Kenya, World University Service of Canada is helping to establish a program that will offer portable certificates, diplomas and degree programs to refugees in northern Kenya, reported the Montreal Gazette June 19….These initiatives are founded on the understanding that education is the most sustainable way for young people to gain some control of their future and access opportunities outside refugee camp environments. Read full story.

The police program rewarding random acts of kindness
Positive Tickets is a program that began in 2001 and continues to grow in regions across Canada – most recently in Scarborough, Ont., in April. The program is exactly as it sounds: police who see young people doing good deeds award them with a “positive ticket”, good for anything from ice cream to free swimming at the local pool. As parents know, positive reinforcement can inspire equally affirmative behaviour. Research from York University discovered that even small acts of kindness can dole out long-lasting happiness effects, reported Chatelaine June 20. Read full story.