Recalls of faulty birth control pills alarm Canadian doctors

With a record number of recalls as faulty birth control pills flood Canada’s marketplace – the most recent was this week – two respected physicians groups that represent more than 35,000 doctors nationwide are calling on Ottawa to fix the “debacle”….York University health policy Professor Joel Lexchin says the birth control recalls point to a broader issue. “For economic reasons, most of the drugs sold in North America are manufactured in part or total in low-cost countries, where there are thousands of plants,” he said in the Toronto Star Sept. 6. “That doesn’t mean the companies want substandard products. But when economics is the bottom line, that is sometimes the consequence.” Read full story.

As we live longer, five things to consider
York University finance Professor Moshe Milevsky says the now-versus-later decision depends on your investment mix. “If the retiree owns no bonds in their portfolio because they are 100 per cent convinced that interest rates are headed up any day now, then I would say hold off buying the annuity,” said Milevsky in the Toronto Star Sept. 8. “But, if like most people they actually own some bonds, then my advice would be to swap them into life annuities. Either way, I agree that a ‘slow’ purchase strategy is optimal when there is much uncertainty about rates.” Read full story.

Jane-Finch principal Craig Crone talks tough love after summer of violence
Since February, five Jane and Finch youth, aged 15 and 16, have been shot dead – including a broad-daylight double homicide just around the corner from Oakdale Park Middle School….Principal Craig Crone, who is nearing five years as principal of Oakdale, in an education career of more than 30 years, knows that police tape, sirens and TV cameras are frequent realities for his students….A study the school did with York University showed their students had fewer people in their lives they deemed “significant” than kids elsewhere, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 6. Those numbers often drop off in high school. Read full story.

Technology transforming classroom of the future
Two years ago, the Peel District School Board admits it was in the technological dark ages. Want to Google something? Good luck with that, said Patrick McQuade, the board’s instructional co-ordinator of instructional technology, in the Toronto Star Sept. 6….Peel hired York University expert and Faculty of Education Professor Jennifer Jenson to review its technology policies. She made suggestions to get the board on-board with 21st-century learning and since then, it has moved quickly to integrate technology, freeing up filters (while still keeping offensive material off-limits), increasing bandwidth and making sure every school has Wi-Fi. Read full story.

Cheaters never prosper – if universities can catch them
You can’t make this stuff up. Students who disguise someone else in a niqab to write their exams for them. Students willing to pay $1,000 for people to take their finals. Students who claim they actually wrote that essay on SARS but can’t say what the acronym stands for when asked….York University said there were 498 “reported cases of breaches of academic honesty” for 2011-2012, reported the Toronto Sun Sept. 7. That represents 0.9 per cent of York’s student population. Read full story.

Careful planning needed to manage mortgage debt
Canadians and Manitobans continue to buy houses at record rates, thereby assuring themselves of a long-term asset increasing in value. However, there are many different schools of thought on how to best pay for that asset….York University Professor Moshe Milevsky contends that consumers will fare better most of the time by going with a variable rate. The wider the gap between the two rates, the better the savings opportunity, Milevsky said in the Winnipeg Free Press Sept. 7. As long as the Bank of Canada is not raising the overnight rates, chances are a variable rate would yield the best deal for consumers. Read full story.