Global warming at work: how climate change affects the economy and labour

How labour will change – and it is already changing – “depends on what climate you are in, [what] sector you are in, but also what actions are being taken by government in terms of regulating and by work groups like unions in terms of what they negotiate collectively for their workers,” said Carla Lipsig-Mummé, a professor of work and labour studies at York University, in the Toronto Star Dec. 1. A warmer planet directly affects postal workers, landscape workers, construction and sanitation workers, “and that means they need different kind of protection,” said Lipsig-Mummé. “These jobs will have to be done radically differently.” At the other end, global warming can wipe out jobs completely, she said. “You see that in low-lying areas in poor countries in Asia. You see it in areas that are being desertified in Africa. It’s not just the work that is wiped out . . . but livelihood in the community.” Read full story.

Experts decry lack of access to best abortion drug – and what it says about Canada’s drug-approval process
Canadian women don’t have access to what is considered around the world to be the safest, most effective choice for an early-stage medical abortion, reported The Globe and Mail Dec. 1. The drug, called mifepristone, isn’t approved for use here, an omission criticized by an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last week. . . . Experts are hesitant to suggest politics is at play when it comes to the delay in approving mifepristone, which the FDA accepted in 2000, despite a significantly more vocal anti-abortion protest movement in the US. But “without being privy to internal policies,” said Joel Lexchin, a York University professor who specializes in drug policy and has been critical of Health Canada’s closed-door approach, “it is hard to know whether or not political or religious considerations are a factor.” Read full story.

Self-regulation technique helps students focus in class
Stuart Shanker, a Distinguished Research Professor of philosophy and psychology at York University, is the pied piper of self-regulation in the schools, reported CBC News Nov. 29. He maintains that Canadian kids do not know what it is to feel calm any more. There is too much stimulation in their lives. Shanker worked with the late Fraser Mustard, a respected figure in childhood education in Canada. Eight years ago, they began tracking the escalating numbers of anxiety disorders, depression and behaviour problems – not to mention the seemingly endless cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “There is more public and physician awareness,” he says, “and we are being too liberal in our diagnoses.” But he adds that no matter how you cut it, “there is something going on out there. We have never seen numbers like this.” Read full story.

Ryerson pays $90,000 to access U of T’s libraries
University of Toronto students have access to libraries across Canada with no extra fee. However, members of other universities must pay a flat fee to be able to borrow books from the U of T system. Under the Canadian University Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement (CURBA) – which was enacted in 2002 – students, faculty and staff of participating universities are entitled to borrowing privileges at other university libraries. . . . There are exceptions to CURBA in Toronto, reported TheVarsity Dec. 2. The Ontario College of Art and Design allows access to its resources only to Ryerson University and York University, and the libraries at Ryerson and York lend to all other Canadian universities except U of T. Read full story.

Think tank founded by Balsillie revamps international law program
A private think tank founded by former BlackBerry executive Jim Balsillie is launching a retooled $60-million program for research in international law, hoping to push the reset button after controversy scuttled a previous partnership with York University, reported The Globe and Mail Nov. 29. The Centre for International Governance Innovation will fund up to 19 research fellowships and 20 graduate scholarships through Ontario universities with a $30-million gift from Balsillie and a matching amount from the Ontario government. Read full story.

The waning days of discount offers for senior citizens?
Imagine offering a price break to a quarter of your customers. When the last of the baby boomers enter their golden years, that will indeed be the reality for Canadian businesses offering senior discounts – and the prospect already has some running for cover. Across the country, senior markdowns are quietly being reduced or removed in light of a demographic shift that, in the next two decades, will see the number of Canadians 65 or older climb from one in seven to nearly one in four, reported the Vancouver Sun Dec. 1. . . . Of the businesses that still have senior discounts, York University offers free tuition for Canadian citizens and permanent residents 60 and older. Read full story.