Are changes to the CPP inevitable?

The call for changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) – including introducing higher contributions, raising the age of eligibility or both – continues to get louder. Some provincial governments and policy experts believe that the CPP is the best way to address effectively what many people believe is a looming retirement crisis. “I think the federal government is going to have to accept some sort of increase to the contribution percentage,” said York University Professor Thomas Klassen in Investment Executive’s Mid-November 2013 issue. The average CPP payout at age 65 is little more than $600 a month, which is too meagre, Klassen said: “There are strong arguments it should be more.” Read full story.

Katy Perry cover by teen with brain cancer makes a huge impact
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have seen Olivia Wise, a Toronto teenager with terminal brain cancer, sing Katy Perry’s “Roar” on YouTube. Around this city, high school and university students watched it and saw themselves. “I think what struck me the most is that I can see myself in her shoes,” said Zev Gasner, a 20-year-old student at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in the Toronto Star Nov. 12. Gasner was so moved, he made a donation to a fund in Wise’s name raising money for children with brain tumours. “But then I thought, I can do more than that,” he said. So Gasner brought it to Hillel at York University, the Jewish campus group, where he’s a member of the student executive. . . . The Hillel students at York came up with the idea of making a response video featuring photos of students holding signs with their wishes for Wise, and putting the signs into a scrapbook for her and her family. Read full story.

Sports legacy fund to support Pan Am venues in Scarborough and at York University
A $70-million legacy fund will support three venues built for the 2015 Pan Am Games for decades to come, reported the Scarborough Mirror Nov.14. . . . Politicians and athletes made the announcement Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the site of the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House at the University of Toronto Scarborough. . . . The other venues supported by the fund are the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium at York University and the $50-million Cisco Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome in Milton. Read full story.

Linkbait and debate
“A recent article on Slate’s website came to my attention only because so many academics in my personal Twittersphere were reacting negatively to it,” wrote York University PhD candidate Melonie Fullick in Unviersity Affairs Nov. 12. “The article caused outrage with its discussion of EdX founder Anant Agarwal’s suggestion that professors who create and present material for (video-based) massive open online courses (MOOCs) could be replaced by Hollywood stars, who would lure more students to enrol in and complete the courses. This is presented as the logical solution to the problem of needing more camera-savvy and student-friendly presenters, since not all profs are up to the task.” Read full story.

Ford scandal hurting city’s global image, report finds
Global media coverage of Toronto has become increasingly negative in recent weeks due to the Rob Ford crack video scandal, a new study shows. . . . Brand experts have said the scandal surrounding the mayor – and council’s inability to deal with it – is hurting the city’s reputation as a place to do business, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 12. Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, told the Star’s Lisa Wright it has made the city a tougher sell to prospective investors, who prefer to do business with stable governments. Read full story.