Pension plan good politics, bad policy

“The unprecedented proposal by the province of Ontario to create its own public pension plan to supplement the Canada Pension Plan is magnificent politics,” wrote York political science Professor Thomas Klassen in the Toronto Star May 26. “However, creating a new public pension plan is fraught with dangers and implications that extend beyond the election campaign….Even as a secure retirement becomes more precarious for Canadians; the proposal for a made-in-Ontario solution is mediocre policy because reforming the CPP would better strengthen retirement income. Even more alarming, a new pension plan will balkanize Canada and weaken the federation.” Read full story.

Drug shortages worsening as Health Canada starts study to address it
The president of the Canadian Medical Association says the problem of drug shortages is becoming more and more common. York University professor Dr. Joel Lexchin specializes in health policy and the pharmaceutical industry. He has a number of solutions he says would solve the drug shortages problem, starting with mandatory reporting of a problem, and six months warning when a company plans to discontinue production of a drug. It’s currently just 30 days. Lexchin made these suggestions at a parliamentary committee in 2012, but he says the problem has gotten worse. And he points the finger at the federal government, reported CBC news May 26. Read full story.

Yes, that traffic jam really is killing you
Here’s a cheery thought to ponder as you sit in stop-and-go traffic: congestion isn’t just making you late. It’s insidiously harming your health, making you more prone to violence, fracturing your social relationships and sapping your very soul. In addition to the long-term health risks, traffic jams have tangible physiological and psychological effects on the people stuck in them. “You feel out of control, you don’t have options,” said York psychology Professor David Wiesenthal, in the Kitchener Waterloo Record May 26. Read full story.

Ontario election: Okay, really – can politicians create jobs
Kathleen Wynne, Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath are all promising you jobs.  But their rosy prognostications remain somewhat divorced from reality, economists say. “These are political numbers. Their purpose is to convey a political message,” says Schulich School of Business Professor Burkard Eberlein, to Global News May 23. “No serious academic would say, ‘I can predict that on a ten-year horizon this will result in X number of jobs.’ Nobody would do that because we simply can’t. It’s guesswork.” Read full story.

Saskatchewan isn’t the only school doing ‘program prioritization’
Robert Buckingham was the dean of the school of public health at the University of Saskatchewan until he was fired on May 14, after criticizing TransformUS, the school’s program prioritization process (PPP), reported May  22. The Ontario government last year approved implementation grants of $500,000 each for York University, Georgian College, Mohawk College, Sault College and Wilfrid Laurier University, plus smaller amounts for Nipissing University, Ryerson University and Brock University. Read full story.