Apotex suing health minister over refusal to license Parkinson’s drug

Experts say that Health Minister Rona Ambrose is within her powers to refuse approval of a drug because of concerns about the facility where it’s made, reported the Toronto Star Dec. 1. “If the manufacturing problems that led to the banning of previous products have not been corrected and can be seen to apply to any new products, then I think the minister has grounds to withdraw or suspend a notice of compliance,” said Joel Lexchin, a doctor and York University professor who has extensively researched Canada’s drug approval process. Read full story.

Star series looks at Toronto: The Divided City
Roger Keil, a York University expert on suburbs, says those 905-belt communities are becoming “glamour zones,” with culture and opportunities akin to those in downtown Toronto, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 28. “So you’re going to make connections between one glamour zone of the city and another glamour zone, and we don’t have any municipal instruments to make life any better in the in-between city, places like Scarborough and North York, and that’s a real problem,” Keil says. Read full story.

Murder charge withdrawn against man who spent 12 years in prison
Testing Leighton Hay’s hair samples was the crux of his appeal, and what ultimately prompted the Supreme Court to order a new trial, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 28…. Getting this type of evidence from the Crown after a conviction can be incredibly challenging, said lawyer Alan Young, who is head of the Innocence Project at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Young said there are “no uniform rules for how evidence should be preserved and for how long” post-conviction. “We usually have to get this evidence as a result of begging,” he said. Read full story.

Toronto on track: Five stations, five observations
Overall there are more men than women near the downtown stations, and more women than men most everywhere else. York University Professor Valerie Preston believes that’s a function of the persistent wage gap between genders, reported Metro Dec. 1. “In the downtown area, the slight, tiny difference of male in proportion to female residents reflects two or three different things,” she said. “On average, men still earn more than women, which means they can afford more expensive housing right downtown. The second is women are more likely to be single parents … they have lower incomes but are looking for larger dwelling spaces and those would be outside the core .Read full story.

Pandas take a bite out of Toronto Zoo budget
While attendance initially goes up to see the pandas, the effect tends to wane after the third year, reported the Globe and Mail Nov. 30.… Steve Weiss, the director of Schulich’s MBA program at York University, wrote a Harvard Business case study on the subject in 2013. He argues that while pandas are expensive, their value goes beyond the bottom line. “There’s improved scientific expertise, more collaboration with zoos so that other animals can be brought to the zoo, improved reputation or status of the zoo,” he said in an interview. Read full story.

I can never be a judge
“Two ships passed in broad daylight this week, one bringing an accused to the shores of justice, one carrying an honourable madam to the highest court in the land,” wrote Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Susan G. Drummond in the Winnipeg Free Press Nov. 29. “I am now more uncertain that the ship of justice and the ship of law share a common port. One thing I now know for certain is that I can never be a judge.” Read full story.

Let’s stop pointing the finger at mothers and address the real issues around children’s health
Bot all moms are created equal, reported the Globe and Mail Nov. 30. As epigenetics explores the consequences of past behaviour, and previous generations, the chance for redemption is lost. “If you are an evolutionarily unfit mother, then you are screwed,” says Molly Ladd-Taylor, a history professor at York University, who studies motherhood. “The only answer is that you don’t have kids.” Read full story.

Universities vow to ‘prevent and respond’ to sexual assault
Ontario universities have stopped short of committing to a province-wide policy and said they will continue to review their existing policies over the coming months. The council said all the schools had support systems, like counselling, a complaints process and prevention education. Some schools are insisting they just need to make their existing policies more accessible. Others, like Queen’s and York University, have said they are creating a policy that specifically addresses sexual assault, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 29. Read full story.