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Canadian Social Research Newsletter
June 7, 2009

Welcome to the weekly Canadian Social Research Newsletter,
a listing of the new links added to the Canadian Social Research Links website in the past week.

The e-mail version of this week's issue of the newsletter is going out to 2041 subscribers.

Scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to see some notes and a disclaimer.

IN THIS ISSUE:

Canadian content

1.  Canadian Government to United Nations Human Rights Council: "No national antipoverty strategy for us --- that's a provincial responsibility." - June 5
2. A new architecture for social assistance in Ontario? (John Stapleton in the Toronto Star) - June 2
3. British Columbia: the Premier, Employment Insurance and welfare - June 5
4. Another view of Canada's Social Forum (held in Calgary May 19-22)
5. Tax Freedom Day is June 6 this year: The Fraser Institute - June 5
6. $30-Million strategy opening doors for Manitobans with Disability (Manitoba Family Services and Housing) - June 4
7. First Nations news:
---Tories plan First Nations overhaul - June 3
--- Assembly of First Nations National Chief Fontaine Retiring - June 4
--- Analysis of Bill C-8: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
8. National Hunger Awareness Day, June 2 (Food Banks Canada)
9. A Poverty Reduction Plan for Canada: the role of the federal government in poverty reduction (25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction) - June 1
10. Saskatchewan - New Disability Income Support Program starting in Fall 2009
11. Two reports from Social Assistance in the New Economy (U. of Toronto)
--- Work, Health and Hunger among Current and Former Welfare Recipients in Toronto (2008)
--- Welfare Time Limits: Symbolism and Practice (2008)
12. Ontario gets set to launch provincial housing consultation - May 31
13. Nova Scotia Provincial Election 2009 : Tuesday, June 9
14. What's New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
--- Labour Force Survey, May 2009 - June 5
--- Income of Canadians, 2007 - June 3
--- Low income cut-offs for 2008 and low income measures for 2007 - June 3
15. What's new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (Toronto) - June 3

International content

16. Poverty Dispatch: U.S. media coverage of social issues and programs (Institute for Research on Poverty - University of Wisconsin-Madison)
17. Tackling Inequalities: 10 Years On (U.K. Department of Health) - May 7
18. Australian Policy Online
19. CRINMAIL - (Child Rights Information Network - CRIN)

Have a great week!

Gilles

************************
Gilles Séguin

Canadian Social Research Links
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net


E-mail:
gilseg@rogers.com


1. Canadian Government to United Nations Human Rights Council:
"No national antipoverty strategy for us --- that's a provincial responsibility." - June 5

Canada to reject 14 of 68 international human rights
recommendations including the development of a national strategy to eliminate poverty
June 6, 2009
By Rob Rainer
On Friday June 5, 2009 the Government of Canada made public Canada’s response to the 68 human rights-related recommendations made to Canada by the UN Human Rights Council, per the 2009 Universal Periodic Review.
This response will be communicated by the government before the Council on Tuesday June 9.

To aid your understanding of the UPR recommendations to Canada and Canada's response, and for ready reference, please see the links below from Heritage Canada's Human Rights Program website.

Of the 68 recommendations, Canada is accepting 39, rejecting 14 and partially accepting 15. Canada is rejecting some recommendations that, were they to be accepted, would mean Canada would join and/or ratify several international human rights treaties. The rejected recommendations also include a number specific to economic and social rights, including:

#1 (Ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
#10 (Recognize the justiciability of social, economic and cultural rights, in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; ensure legal enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights in domestic courts; grant the same importance to and treat equally civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, in its legislation at all levels); and
#17 (Develop a national strategy to eliminate poverty)

On #17, that Canada is rejecting the call for a national strategy to eliminate poverty undermines the recent or current efforts of the House of Commons' HUMA Committee and various Senate committees and sub-committees to help determine the appropriate role of the federal government in combating poverty Canada-wide. It also flies in the face of calls from at least a couple of provinces (e.g., Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario), pursuant to their provincial poverty action strategies, for complementary engagement of the federal government to help ensure progress on poverty.

If you have not already done so, please register your support for the new Dignity for All Campaign for a Poverty-free Canada. Through this campaign civil society will strengthen its press for enduring federal commitment for a pan-Canadian approach to combating poverty, in which the federal government exercises the leadership it ought to exercise. Such leadership includes convening a process by which a pan-Canadian strategy to eliminate poverty, that complements and supports provincial and territorial strategies, will be realized, with a strong foundation in Canada’s international and domestic human rights commitments.

Rob Rainer
Executive Director / Directeur executif
CANADA WITHOUT POVERTY / CANADA SANS PAUVRETÉ
Founded in 1971, Canada Without Poverty (officially the National Anti-Poverty Organization) is an incorporated, not-for-profit, non-partisan, member-based organization dedicated to the eradication of poverty in Canada. We believe this ideal can be realized by 2020, if not sooner, especially in a country as wealthy as Canada

---------------------------------------------------------

Related links from the
Heritage Canada Human Rights Program :

Canada's Universal Periodic Review
Canada’s review before the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session took place on February 3, 2009. A total of 45 states intervened during the three-hour interactive dialogue. These states made recommendations to Canada on a wide range of topics.

The Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Canada (PDF - 97K, 24 pages)
March 3, 2009
- includes a list of the 68 recommendations Canada received from other States.

Response of Canada to the Recommendations - NEW
June 5, 2009
Canada welcomes and has given careful consideration to the 68 recommendations made during its Universal Periodic Review. (...)

2009 Universal Periodic Review
Annotated Table of recommendations for Canada
(Word file - 94KB) - NEW
June 7
NOTE: this table was included as an attachment to Rob Rainer's email (see above); it's a 14-page section-by-section checklist for all 68 recommendations, and it includes the government's response for each rejected recommendation in the marginal comments for that section. You must be using a reasonably recent version of Microsoft Word (or the FREE Word Viewer) to view the marginal comments.

Source:
Canadian Heritage

------------------------------------------------------------

From the website of
the United Nations:

The Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

- Go to the Human Rights Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/rights.htm
- Go to the United Nations Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/un.htm

2. A new architecture for social assistance in Ontario? - June 2
(John Stapleton in the Toronto Star)

Designing new architecture for Ontario social assistance
Forget trying to reform the current system and build a new one that is both simpler and fairer
June 2, 2009
By John Stapleton
When Ontario's long-promised review of welfare begins this spring, the provincial government faces a stark choice. Does it spend years trying to unravel a set of 800 social assistance rules that make up the current outdated system? Or will this government take the bolder road and build an entirely new and improved income security system? (...) The social assistance system in Ontario was rebuilt during the 1990s with the introduction of the Ontario Works Act and the Ontario Disability Support Program Act. The purpose was to provide a basic welfare program in Ontario Works whose success was predicated on the principle that only the neediest of the needy would receive assistance. Success was defined in terms of leaving the program. Reliance on the program was considered dependency. That system does not work. It needs replacing.
Source:
The Toronto Star
John Stapleton is a Metcalf Innovations Fellow, and Community Undertaking Social Policy Fellow at St. Christopher House in Toronto.
This article is based on his report on Ontario's new income architecture, The 'Ball' or the 'Bridge': The stark choice for social assistance reform in Ontario (see below).
[ Open Policy - John Stapleton's personal website ]

Complete report:

The ‘Ball’ or the ‘Bridge’:
the stark choice for social assistance reform in Ontario
(PDF - 243K, 5 pages)
May 2009
By John Stapleton
"(...) If Ontario chooses to keep the ‘ball’ (the 800 rules that guide welfare in Ontario) stuck together and loosen eligibility rules (as it has historically done during recessions), caseloads will climb and peak approximately three years following the end of the recession at tremendous cost to the province while thwarting human potential in a significant portion of Ontario’s adult population. The choice is stark for social assistance reform in Ontario. We either can risk more than doubling Ontario’s social assistance population as we did in the early 1990s or we can build the new bridge. The choice is ours to make."

Source:
Ontario Alternative Budget
[ Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ]

- Go to the Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm
- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (D-W) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk3.htm

3. British Columbia:
The Premier, Employment Insurance and welfare - June 5

Campbell sees bleak welfare trap --- will he act?
By Paul Willcocks,
June 5, 2009
Premier Gordon Campbell has discovered that the province's low welfare rates are hurting people and communities. A bit late, in terms of the poverty problem, but still welcome. Or it would be, if there was a clearer sense that the government is prepared to do something about it. (...) It's important to head off a flood of out-of-work people falling on to welfare, he said. The federal government should reach a deal with B.C. The province will chip in what it would have spent on welfare for each person; the federal government should add money to that and keep them on employment insurance for up to two years. Why? Campbell made the case in an op-ed column in the Globe and Mail [see the G&M link below]. "Income assistance is clearly the last social safety net into which any worker wants to fall," he wrote. "Not only are the monthly benefits often less than those payable under EI, but those who are forced to go on welfare risk entering a cycle of dependency that is tough on families, communities and our economy."
Source:
Victoria Times Colonist

---

FromThe Globe and Mail:

Provincial welfare program under strain
Number of two-parent families collecting assistance up 77 per cent compared to April of last year
By Justine Hunter
June 2, 2009
Just days after B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell launched a national campaign to broaden Canada's employment insurance scheme, new statistics show his provincial welfare program is under growing strain. And families are bearing the brunt of the recession in B.C., the new provincial statistics on income assistance show.

B.C. Premier demands single EI standard
By Patrick Brethour
May 30, 2009
The federal government needs to overhaul a “clearly discriminatory” employment insurance system to help the swelling ranks of the jobless in Western Canada, says British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell. The Premier is adding his voice to the chorus pressing the federal government to rewrite the rulebook for employment insurance, and to create a single national standard for how long Canadians need to work before becoming eligible for payments. “Canadians are Canadians, and they should be treated equally,” he told The Globe and Mail. Right now, there are dramatic discrepancies in the EI system, with those in areas of historically low unemployment having to work more than twice as long to qualify for payments as those in regions with the highest levels of joblessness. That means it's much more likely for laid-off workers in such low-unemployment areas to fall short of qualifying for EI, even though a similar worker in a more disadvantaged area would receive payments.

Ottawa and the provinces must extend a helping hand to workers
We need to eliminate regional discrepancies and co-operate to extend EI benefits
By Gordon Campbell (Premier of British Columbia)
May 29. 2009
With all of the discussion these days about employment insurance reforms, it is timely to consider affordable improvements that will assist families and unemployed individuals who are struggling to get through this global recession. First, we need to eliminate the regional discrepancies in eligibility rules that are particularly unfair to Western Canadians. (...) Second, we need to find an affordable way of extending EI benefits to help workers who have either recently exhausted their benefits or who are about to lose their EI income. This could be achieved through a new cost-sharing partnership between the federal and provincial governments that would redirect some provincial income assistance funding to help the federal government fund extended EI benefits. (...) Provincial governments can be part of the solution by offering to partner with the federal government in extending individuals' maximum EI benefits. Instead of making income assistance payments to those people, they could offer to transfer that funding to the federal government to help fund the cost of extended EI benefits. (...) The federal government and provinces should work in partnership to do the best we can for all of Canada's workers, regardless of where they live or are employed. They pay equivalent national taxes and all should receive equivalent national benefits. We must unite in providing Canadians more effective support as we move through these trying times.

- Go to the Non-Governmental Sites in British Columbia (D-W) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/bcbkmrk3.htm
- Go to the Employment Insurance Links page : http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/ei.htm

4. Another view of Canada's Social Forum (held in Calgary May 19-22)

Crossing Roads - Another view of Canada's Social Forum (held in Calgary May 19-22)
June 2009
By Penny Goldsmith of Povnet
"(...) It’s clearly important to engage all levels of concerned people when it comes to alleviating poverty. That includes researchers, academics, community workers, advocates, and poor people. And they were all there. But it’s hard to make that engagement real when the power balance isn’t equal. And it’s usually money that tips that balance, be it wages or glasses of wine. A friend and I talked after the conference about the idea of holding “A People’s Forum” across the road (metaphorically speaking) like they do at international consultations. But then, how do we cross the road?"
Source:
P E R C O L A T I N G - Penny Goldsmith's blog
Penny Goldsmith is Executive Coordinator of Povnet.
She was awarded the Carold Institute’s Allan Thomas Fellowship to Promote Civil Society and Voluntary Action.

For more information on the Calgary Forum, see the
May 24, 2009 "Special Canadian Social Forum Issue" of the Canadian Social Research Newsletter

5. Tax Freedom Day: June 6
(The Fraser Institute)

Canadians Celebrate Tax Freedom Day on June 6
June 5, 2009
On Tax Freedom Day, the average Canadian family has earned enough money to pay the taxes imposed on it by the three levels of government: federal, provincial, and local. In 2009, Canadians celebrate Tax Freedom Day on June 6, which means that Canadians will work until June 5 to pay the total tax bill imposed on them by all levels of government. Tax Freedom Day in 2009 arrives three days earlier than in 2008, when it fell on June 9.

Complete study:

Canadians Celebrate Tax
Freedom Day on June 6
(PDF - 97K, 10 pages)
The Canadian tax system is complex and no single number can give us a complete idea of who pays how much. That said, Tax Freedom Day is the most comprehensive and easily understood indicator of the
overall tax bill of the average Canadian family.

Source:
The Fraser Institute
"A free and prosperous world through
choice, markets and responsibility"

Related link:

June 6, 2009
Flaherty Welcomes Earlier Tax Freedom Day
OTTAWA – June 6, 2009 – The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, was pleased to welcome Tax Freedom Day today, as it occurs three days earlier in 2009 than in 2008. Calculated each year by the Fraser Institute, Tax Freedom Day marks the day to which the average Canadian had to work to pay their total tax bill. In 2009, the Fraser Institute has calculated that Tax Freedom Day is today—June 6th. In 2008, Tax Freedom Day fell on June 9th.
Source:
Finance Canada

---------------------------

Counterpoint:

Tax freedom? What a lot of rubbish.
Only the Fraser Institute could see it as a bad thing
that we spend less of our income on basics like food and shelter than we used to
By Andrew Potter
May 28, 2009
Tax freedom? What a lot of rubbish.What is it about springtime that makes anti-government types go light-headed?
(...) Listening to the relentlessly shrill right-wing rhetoric, you’d forget that any Canadians ever derived a single benefit from their tax dollars. (...) Only the Fraser Institute could see it as a bad thing that we spend less of our incomes on basics like food and shelter than we used to. (...) Indeed, with its mix of dopey populism and economic illiteracy, the anti-government right finds itself uncomfortably close to the anti-market left. Both are peddling economic half-truths and outright fallacies in the service of their competing but ultimately mirror-image ideologies. The main difference of course is that while the left is generally expected to be economically illiterate, the right is supposed to know better. Their brand is economics, you might say. That is why, when it comes to the rhetorical strategies of Canada’s libertarian movement, it is hard to avoid concluding that the deception is deliberate.
Source:
Macleans Magazine

---

Tax Freedom Day: A Cause for Celebration or Consternation?
By Sheena Starky, Economics Division
September 18, 2006
HTML version
PDF version
(108K, 13 pages)
"(...) critics question the usefulness of the Tax Freedom Day indicator since it considers only the tax burden without regard to the benefits received in exchange."
- includes links to online related resources
Source:
Virtual Library
[ Parliament of Canada ]

---

Tax Freedom Day:
A Flawed, Incoherent, and Pernicious Concept
(PDF file - 216 K, 27 pages)
June 2005
By Neil Brooks
"(...)In the guise of helping Canadians to understand their tax system, the Institute presents information that is deeply flawed and misleading — information that in fact seriously limits the public’s ability to understand and participate meaningfully in the shaping of tax policy." (Excerpt, p.6)
Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Earth to Minister Flaherty:
What part of "deeply flawed and misleading"don't you get?

---------------------------

Tax Freedom Day - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tax Freedom Day is the first day of the year in which a nation as a whole has theoretically earned enough income to fund its annual tax burden. It is annually calculated in the United States by the Tax Foundation—a Washington, D.C.-based tax research organization. Every dollar that is officially considered income by the government is counted, and every payment to the government that is officially considered a tax is counted. Taxes at all levels of government—local, state and federal—are included.(...) Many other organizations in countries throughout the world now produce their own "Tax Freedom Day" analysis. According to the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day reports are currently being published in eight countries. Due to the different ways that nations collect and categorize public finance data, however, Tax Freedom Days are not comparable from one country to another.
- incl. links to several related websites

- Go to the Social Research Organizations (II) in Canada page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/research2.htm

6. $30-Million strategy opening doors for Manitobans with Disability - June 4
(Manitoba Family Services and Housing)

$30-Million strategy opening doors for Manitobans with Disability
New Investments Kick-start Consultations to Build Foundation for Comprehensive Strategy
June 4, 2009
News Release
The province is renewing its commitment to a long-term strategy for Manitobans who have disabilities with a $30-million down payment on more accessible housing, enhanced access to public buildings, more support for children with disabilities in child care, better employment services and improved supports for caregivers, Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh, minister responsible for persons with disabilities, announced today. (...) As a basis for consultations, Mackintosh released a document that focuses on 10 priorities for action as the province seeks to build on its 2001 strategy: Full Citizenship: A Manitoba Strategy on Disability.

The new discussion paper:

Opening Doors: Manitoba's Commitment to Persons with Disabilities (PDF 1.83MB, 46 pages)
June 2009
(...) In 2001, the Manitoba Government released Full Citizenship: A Manitoba Provincial Strategy on Disability – a policy document detailing the province’s vision for the full participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in Manitoba. Over the past eight years, this strategy has guided the province’s approach to disability. We have made significant strides in each of the strategy’s four building blocks: income support, access to government, disability supports and employment for persons with disabilities. (...) The goal of this discussion paper is to expand on the vision for persons with disabilities that was outlined in the 2001 strategy.

Manitoba's 2001 strategy:

Full Citizenship: A Manitoba Strategy on Disability (2001)
The White Paper, Full Citizenship: A Manitoba Strategy on Disability, proposes a comprehensive Provincial strategy on disability. It responds to recommendations from the disabilities community in the areas of access to government, employment, disability supports, services to Aboriginal persons with disabilities and income supports. It further proposes measures to enhance government accountability for access and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Source:
Manitoba Disabilities Issues Office
[ Manitoba Family Services and Housing ]

- Go to the Disability Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/disbkmrk.htm
- Go to the Manitoba Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/mbkmrk.htm

7. First Nations news:
---Tories plan First Nations overhaul - June 3
--- Assembly of First Nations National Chief Fontaine Retiring - June 4
--- Analysis of Bill C-8: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act

Tories plan First Nations overhaul
June 3, 2009
By John Ivison
The Conservative government is set to unveil a new approach to its relations with Canada’s First Nations that will see fresh money flowing to bands when Ottawa believes there is a good prospect of economic success, while bands with a track record of failure will be frozen out. As part of its move toward a more market-oriented approach, the government is also keen to reform the electoral system used to elect aboriginal chiefs.
Source:
The National Post

---

Phil Fontaine will retire; B.C.'s Shawn Atleo most likely to replace him
June 4, 2009
By Charlie Smith
The 64-year-old national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine, announced today (June 4) that he won't seek reelection.This clears the way for the B.C. regional AFN chief, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, to succeed him in an election that will take place in Calgary next month. The winner will be announced on July 22. Atleo is in a four-man race, but he's in a good position to win because B.C. has approximately one-third of the votes by virtue of the number of different First Nations across the province.
Source:
Straight.com - Vancouver's Online Source

---

Analysis of
Bill C-8: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act

Analysis by Marlisa Tiedemann
Social Affairs Division
Library of Parliament
11 February 2009
Revised 11 May 2009
PDF (132 Kb, 16 pages)
"When married couples divorce, the division of matrimonial property, both real (e.g., land and houses) and personal is determined in accordance with provincial laws, as a result of subsection 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1867. However, as a result of subsection 91(24) of that Act, which specifies that the Parliament of Canada has exclusive legislative authority with respect to “Indians and Lands reserved for the Indians,” provincial laws do not apply to the division of real property on reserve lands.(...) The historical absence of provisions in the federal Indian Act or elsewhere governing the division of matrimonial real property on reserves has resulted in what is often referred to as a legislative gap. Consequently, people residing on reserves have not been able to use the Canadian legal system to resolve matters concerning the division of real property after the breakdown of conjugal relationships.
Bill C-8 addresses issues relating to family real property on reserves by providing that a First Nation has the power to enact laws relating to 'the use, occupation and possession of family homes on its reserves and the division of the value of any interests or rights held by spouses or common-law partners in or to structures and lands on its reserves'(clause 7(1)."
Excellent analysis - highly recommended!

Related link:

Matrimonial Real Property
- includes links to the legislation, background information on the Act, consultations and related reference documents, including the Report of the Ministerial Representative Matrimonial Real Property Issues on Reserves.
Source:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

- Go to the First Nations Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/1stbkmrk.htm

8. National Hunger Awareness Day, June 2
(Food Banks Canada)

Difficult Economic Climate Increases Stress on Canadian Food Banks (Word file- 94K, 3 pages)
Food Banks Canada asking Canadians and Government to take action to help on National Hunger Awareness Day, June 2
TORONTO - June 1, 2009 – Food Banks Canada is reporting an approximately 20 per cent increase in the number of Canadians turning to food banks each month and, as a result, food banks across the country are facing unprecedented challenges providing essential food to those in need. On National Hunger Awareness Day (June 2), Food Banks Canada is calling on Canadians to donate funds, food or time to ensure Canadian food banks can continue to meet the needs of Canada’s hungry during this difficult economic time.
Source:
Food Banks Canada
(formerly the Canadian Association of Food Banks)
Food Banks Canada is the national organization that represents the food bank community across Canada. Our members and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 % of people accessing emergency food programs nation-wide. In an average month in 2008, over 704,000 different people accessed food banks, 37% of whom are children.

Food Banks Canada is urging all Canadians, who are able, to make a positive choice to donate food and funds,
volunteer at a local food bank or sign a petition to encourage government action, available online at the
National Hunger Awareness Day website:
www.hungerawarenessday.ca

[ more websites about hunger in Canada ]

- Go to the Food Banks and Hunger Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/foodbkmrk.htm

9. A Poverty Reduction Plan for Canada: Notes from a town hall meeting on the role of the federal government in poverty reduction - June 1
(
25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction)

Town Hall a success as Toronto families remind MPs: Good jobs and public services reduce poverty
Repairing EI, establishing a national public child care program, good green jobs and investment in affordable housing identified as priorities at community town hall meeting.
June 2, 2009
TORONTO-On Monday evening, more than 100 people participated in a town hall meeting held to get input from community members who will not be given an opportunity to address Parliamentary hearings about the federal role in poverty reduction.

A Poverty Reduction Plan for Canada (PDF - 318K, 21 pages)
Notes from a town hall meeting on the role of the federal government in poverty reduction
June 1, 2009
TORONTO - On June 1st, Campaign 2000 and the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction held a Town Hall Meeting to get community input on what the federal role should be in reducing poverty in Canada. The event coincided with the Toronto hearings of the Federal Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA). This is the only hearing in Ontario of this federal committee studying poverty, but many were not able to formally present to the Committee. This Town Hall provided an opportunity for community groups and people with lived experience of poverty to present to a community panel
Source:
25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction

Related links:

* Campaign 2000

* Federal Standing Committee on
Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)

- Go to the Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm

10. Saskatchewan - New Disability Income Support Program starting in Fall 2009
(Saskatchewan Social Services)

From Saskatchewan Social Services:

PROVINCE LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
News Release
May 13, 2009
Beginning this fall, thousands of Saskatchewan people will no longer need to depend on social assistance for their basic living costs, following the announcement today of a new income support program for people with disabilities. (...) The new program will begin on October 1, 2009, when the first group of recipients - an estimated 3,000 Saskatchewan people with disabilities - will be enrolled and begin to receive benefits. The initial group will be individuals currently on social assistance with long-standing and well-documented disabilities. Over time, enrollment in the new program is expected to reach between 8,000 and 10,000 people.

Questions and answers about
the new Disability Income Support Program
(PDF - 38K, 4 pages)

Final Recommendations of the
Task Team on Income Support for People with Disabilities
(PDF - 218K, 17 pages)
May 13, 2009

Appendices to the
Final Recommendations of the Task Team on Income Support for People with Disabilities
(PDF - 815K, 133 pages)
May 2009

See also:

Office of Disability Issues
The Office of Disability Issues serves as a focal point for government initiatives on disabilities. The Office is a vehicle for collaboration and partnership with the disability community.
The Ministry of Social Services hosts the Office
[ Information Materials (reports & resources) ]

Source:
Saskatchewan Social Services

Related links:

Response to Government Announcement:
People with Significant Disabilities See an End to Welfare

An historic step was taken by the Government of Saskatchewan towards improving the lives of people with disabilities yesterday. Minister of Social Services, Donna Harpauer, announced that a separate, dignified income system for people of disabilities would be launched on October 1, 2009.
Source:
Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC)
DISC was formed by a large cross section of disability advocates, consumers and organizations across Saskatchewan who are committed to advocating for a respectful, dignified and adequate income support system. DISC members have joined together to speak as one voice, working towards a distinct (or separate) income system for people with disabilities that will be built on our common vision and principles.

DISC Resources
- incl. links to :
*A Question of Citizenship - The Argument for Adequate Income Support for People with Disabilities
* DISC Survey Report - A survey of Saskatchewan citizens with disabilities who utilize social assistance was conducted in the winter of 2007. The purpose of this research was to capture stories about the experience of being on social assistance as a person with a disability and to identify their suggestions for change.
* Conclusions from a Review of Eligibility Requirements in Income Security Programs in Canada

---

Sask. introducing income support program for people with disabilities
May 13, 2009
Saskatchewan people with disabilities who can't earn income will no longer have to go on social assistance but will instead have their own tailored income-support program, the provincial government said Wednesday. While it won't immediately mean more money for people with disabilities, improvements to the program should be easier down the road because the assistance will be targeted, said Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer.
Source:
CBC

- Go to the Disability Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/disbkmrk.htm
- Go to the Saskatchewan Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/skbkmrk.htm

11. Two recent reports from Social Assistance in the New Economy (U. of Toronto)
--- Work, Health and Hunger among Current and Former Welfare Recipients in Toronto (2008)
--- Welfare Time Limits: Symbolism and Practice (2008)

It was recently brought to my attention that the website of the Social Assistance in the New Economy research project at the University of Toronto has changed its online address. While I was updating the links, I found a few more recent reports that will no doubt be of some interest to the welfare researchers out there.

Here's the updated link to, and blurb from, the site and two sample reports;
click the Publications link below for 20+ SANE reports...

---

Social Assistance in the New Economy (SANE)
[Ernie Lightman, Andy Mitchell, Dean Herd]
The SANE project, established in 2002, is a multi-year, multi-disciplinary inquiry into the changing nature of social assistance in Ontario and its relation to precarious employment and health in a globalizing economy. Funded primarily by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through five major grants to date, the research program comprises a number of complementary projects which are investigating the welfare and post-welfare experiences of social assistance recipients, as well as the labour market experiences of those precariously employed. Our methodologies include primary data collection through qualitative in-depth interviews, ethnographic research, and secondary analysis of large data sets such as the SLID, CCHS and NPHS. Aside from publishing extensively in the academic literature, SANE has advised various non-profit community-based agencies and governments on policies towards income support for those with low incomes.

* Research Team
* Grants
* Publications
- links to 20+ reports and articles
* Presentations
(no links, just the list)

Source:
University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work

Selected SANE papers and reports:

Precarious Lives: Work, Health
and Hunger among Current and Former
Welfare Recipients in Toronto
(PDF - 177K, 18 pages)
2008
By Andrew Mitchell, Ernie Lightman and Dean Herd
Andrew Mitchell
ABSTRACT.
This article explores the impact of welfare reform in Ontario, Canada, by reporting on three rounds of annual, in-depth qualitative interviews with a longitudinal panel of current and former welfare recipients in Toronto. Two years after they were first interviewed, participants continued to live precarious lives, both on welfare and off. Whether “welfare poor” or “working poor,” most respondents reported compromised hunger status, fear of, as well as actual hunger and monotonous diets lacking necessary nutrition. These findings provide valuable insight into longer-term impacts on labor market restructuring and welfare reform on health and hunger among the vulnerable and marginalized and offer direction to policymakers in response.

Welfare Time Limits: Symbolism and Practice (Word file - 114K, 26 pages)
2008
By Dean Herd, Ernie Lightman and Andrew Mitchell
This paper examines time limits on the receipt of welfare, based on experiences in the United States and, since 2002, in British Columbia, the only province to have introduced time limits in Canada. In effect, time limits start a 'clock' running and when the time has expired, welfare recipients become subject to penalties, up to lifetime exclusion from welfare.
The paper begins by describing the introduction of time limits in the US and Canada, detailing the often complex policies themselves. It then reviews the research evidence, drawing primarily on the US experience which has been more fully evaluated. Overall, the research shows that time limits are both philosophically flawed and a blunt and ineffective policy tool. Proponents of time limits advocate their use as part of a package of measures designed to change the behaviour of individuals and to reduce welfare "dependency". Instead, the research shows that those who reach time limits face multiple barriers to employment.
NOTE: recommended reading - this paper contains an excellent overview of the evolution of the welfare time limit rule from bad idea to non-issue in BC.

- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (D-W) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk3.htm
- Go to the BC Welfare Time Limits Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/bc_welfare_time_limits.htm

12. Ontario gets set to launch provincial housing consultation - May 31

Taking action as Ontario gets set to launch provincial housing consultation
May 31, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
The Housing Network of Ontario is continuing to prepare for the Ontario's government's consultations for a comprehensive new provincial housing plan. The government is expected to announce details of the provincial consultation in the next few days. The Wellesley Institute is a founding member of the Housing Network of Ontario and we have launched a new web site to help people and groups across the province learn about the key issues and get engaged in the consultation. The Toronto Star's Laurie Monsebraaten has set out some of the key issues in a recent article .
Source:
Wellesley Institute Blog
[ Wellesley Institute ]

------------------------
The new website:
------------------------

Stableandaffordable.com
Welcome to stableandaffordable.com – an initiative of the Wellesley Institute and many partners across Ontario. Here, you’ll find plenty of facts and figures about housing in Ontario, along with stories from people around the province, and tips for actions that you can take to ensure everyone in Ontario has a stable and affordable home. Stableandaffordable.com is an initiative of the Wellesley Institute and the Ontario Housing Network. We are a network of organizations dedicated to one goal: stable and affordable housing for all Canadians.
[Note: the Housing Network of Ontario doesn't appear to have its own website.]

Tell us your housing story!

Helpful Resources
- incl. links to selected key resources on housing and homelessness in Ontario:
*Where’s Home 2008 * National Housing Report Card 2008 * Housing and Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy * Key elements of an Ontario housing strategy: A policy dispatch from Poverty Watch Ontario * Consultation principles * Ottawa report card: The Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness fourth annual report card * Blueprint to End Homelessness in Toronto (Wellesley Institute, 2006)

-----------------------------------
The Toronto Star article
by Laurie Monsebraaten:
-----------------------------------

Activists set to push for housing
May 30, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
"(...) Across the province, almost 130,000 households are waiting for provincially subsidized housing with wait times that run from several years to several decades, depending on the location. It's a problem the McGuinty Liberals promised to address during the 2007 provincial election. But their pledge to develop a long-term affordable housing strategy was put on hold while they crafted a poverty reduction plan. With a provincial plan now in place to cut child poverty by 25 per cent in five years and poverty reduction legislation enacted last month, housing activists are gearing up for the government to turn its attention to people [who are on provincial subsidized housing lists]."
Source:
The Toronto Star

-------------------------------------------------
A related link about the
"Ontario Housing Measure":
-------------------------------------------------

Suggestions for an Indicator to Measure Trends in Housing Induced Poverty (PDF - 313K, 11 pages)
This report is ONPHA’s contribution to assist the government in defining the “Ontario Housing Measure” – one of eight key measures to be used in determining the effectiveness of the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Author: ONPHA
May 11, 2009
Source:
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)
ONPHA gives non profit-housing tools to do the best possible job. ONPHA offers a comprehensive list of programs and services. We are advocates for our members with all members of government; we deliver courses, workshops and resources for volunteer boards, staff and tenants; help members save money through our Best Deals program; work toward building networks locally and provincially to ensure that non-profit housing has a respected voice in the community; and we fight to get more new affordable housing built in Ontario.

- Go to the Homelessness and Housing Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/homeless.htm
- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (D-W) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk3.htm

13. Nova Scotia Provincial Election 2009 on Tuesday, June 9

NDP might be on verge of history in N.S. election
June 7, 2009
HALIFAX -- As Nova Scotia's 35-day election nears the finish line, the province's political landscape could be on the verge of a massive shift in appearance, although at least one political observer is struggling to believe that Atlantic Canada will see its first NDP government.
[ more CTV coverage of the 2009 NS election - 11 news items]
Source:
CTV

NOTE: for comprehensive election coverage and info on parties, platforms, polls, etc.,
I'd recommend either of the two following sources:

Nova Scotia Votes 2009
- from CBC

- Go to the Nova Scotia Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/nsbkmrk.htm
- Go to the Political Parties and Elections Links in Canada (Provinces and Territories) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/politics_prov_terr.htm


14. What's New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]
---
Labour Force Survey, May 2009 - June 5
--- Income of Canadians, 2007 - June 3
--- Low income cut-offs for 2008 and low income measures for 2007 - June 3

What's New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:

June 5, 2009
Labour Force Survey, May 2009
Following gains in April, employment decreased by 42,000 in May, led by further manufacturing losses in Ontario. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points to 8.4%, the highest rate in 11 years. Since the employment peak of last October, employment has fallen by 363,000 or 2.1%.
[ Labour Force Information, May 10 to 16, 2009 ]

June 3, 2009
Income of Canadians, 2007
Median after-tax income, adjusted for inflation, for families with two or more people rose 3.7% from 2006 to $61,800 in 2007. Significant growth was observed in seven provinces. Median after-tax income for unattached individuals rose 3.9% from 2006 to $24,200 in 2007. Since 2002, the year following the high-tech slowdown, the average annual growth of the median after-tax income for families was 1.8%. Over the same period, the average annual growth for unattached individuals was 1.4%.
[ Report : Income in Canada, 2007 - 979K, 143 pages ]

---
Related StatCan subjects:
o Income, pensions, spending and wealth
o Household, family and personal income
o Low income and inequality
---

June 3, 2009
Low income cut-offs for 2008
and low income measures for 2007
(PDF - 291K, 40 pages)
Low income cut-offs (LICOs) are income thresholds, determined by analysing family expenditure data, below which families will devote a larger share of income to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family would. To reflect differences in the costs of necessities among different community and family sizes, LICOs are defined for five categories of community size and seven of family size.
Low income measures (LIMs), on the other hand, are strictly relative measures of low income, set at 50% of adjusted median family income.
[ HTML version - use the links in the left-hand margin to navigate)

Subscribe to Perspectives (free via email)

The Daily Archives - select a year and month from the drop-down menu to view releases in chronological order
[ Statistics Canada ]

- Go to the Federal Government Department Links (Fisheries and Oceans to Veterans Affairs) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/fedbkmrk2.htm
- Go to the Social Statistics Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/stats.htm

15. What's new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (Toronto) - June 3

Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU)

June 3, 2009

Income of Canadians 2007
3 Jun 09
- Annual report from Statistics Canada highlighting and summarizing statistics on income of families in 2007.

Providing preschool education for all 4-year-olds: Lessons from six state journeys
3 Jun 09
- Policy brief from NIEER examining the move toward preschool for all four-year olds, instead of targeted groups, in six states.

Quality support infrastructure in early childhood: Still (mostly) missing
3 Jun 09
- Paper in Early Childhood Research and Practice discussing the need for adequate infrastructure to support high-quality early care and education in the US.

Creating continuity through literacy experiences at Wilton Playcentre
3 Jun 09
- Report from the New Zealand Council for Education Research on an initiative by the Ministry of Education focusing on continuity between centre and home.

more WHAT'S NEW ONLINE »

child care in the news

· Surprise new bidder joins chase for ABC [NZ]
4 Jun 09

· Increase to Child Care Benefit and Child Care Tax Rebate from 1 July [AU]
3 Jun 09

· Child care worker skates for awareness [CA-BC]
2 Jun 09

· Manitoba spends $11M on child-care programs, raises for workers [CA-MB]
27 May 09

· ‘Just keep things the way they are,’ parent tells council of daycare [CA-PE] 27 May 09

more CC IN THE NEWS »

Related Links:

Subscribe to the CRRU email announcements list
Sign up to receive email notices of updates and new postings on the CRRU website which will inform you of policy developments in early childhood care and education, new research and resources for policy, newly released CRRU publications, and upcoming events of interest to the child care and broader community.

Links to child care sites in Canada and elsewhere

CRRU Publications - briefing notes, factsheets, occasional papers and other publications
ISSUE files - theme pages, each filled with contextual information and links to further info

Source:
Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU)
The Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU) is a policy and research oriented facility that focuses on early childhood education and child care (ECEC) and family policy in Canada and internationally.

- Go to the Non-Governmental Early Learning and Child Care Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/ecd2.htm

16. Poverty Dispatch: U.S. media coverage of social issues and programs
(Institute for Research on Poverty - University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Poverty Dispatch (U.S). ===> the content of this link changes twice a week
IRP compiles and distributes Poverty Dispatches twice a week. Each issue of the dispatch provides links to U.S. web-based news items dealing with topics such as poverty, welfare reform, child welfare, education, health, hunger, Medicare and Medicaid, etc.
Each Dispatch lists links to current news in popular print media.

Latest issue of the Poverty Dispatch:

June 4, 2009
* Economic Crisis and Safety Net Programs
* Economic Stimulus Spending on Social Programs
* Colorado Benefits Management System
* Joblessness and Unemployment
* Child Poverty Alleviation - Scotland
* New Jersey School Funding Formula
* Report: Charter Schools - Colorado
* Report: Recession and the 2009 Child Well-being Index
* State Health Insurance Programs - Indiana, Florida, Texas
* Affordability of Prescription Drugs
* Hospitals and Charity Care Requirements
* Funding for Public Defender Offices
* Recession and State Budget Cuts
* Hunger in South Asia
* Workers' Remittances to Mexico

Past Poverty Dispatches
- links to two dispatches a week back to June 2006

Search Poverty Dispatches

If you wish to receive Poverty Dispatches by e-mail,
please send a request to rsnell@ssc.wisc.edu

Source:
Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP)
[ University of Wisconsin-Madison ]

- Go to the Links to American Government Social Research page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/us.htm
- Go to the Links to American Non-Governmental Social Research (A-J) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/us2.htm
- Go to the Links to American Non-Governmental Social Research (M-Z) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/us3.htm

- Go to the Poverty Measures - International Resources page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/poverty2.htm

17. Tackling Inequalities: 10 Years On - May 7
(U.K. Department of Health)

Tackling Inequalities: 10 Years On
A review of developments in tackling health inequalities in England over the last 10 years

May 7, 2009
Tackling Health Inequalities: 10 Years On examines the changes in policies, determinants and outcomes that have shaped health inequalities in England over the last 10 years and sets out the key lessons and challenges. It provides the context and background for the recently announced post-2010 strategic review of health inequalities commissioned to look forward to 2020 and beyond."
NOTE - to access the complete report (PDF - 3.8MB),
click the link above and, on the next page that opens, click the download link at the bottom of the text box.

Source:
United Kingdom Department of Health
[ Found in a Blog posting by nimira
from The Wellesley Institute ]

Related link:

Government Response to The Health Select Committee Report on Health Inequalities
U.K. Department of Health
22 May 2009
This Government response addresses, in turn, the individual conclusions and recommendations of the Committee’s report. (...) It acknowledges that there is still much to learn and that this learning – including through evidence, audit and evaluation – will continue to inform the development of our approach now and in the future.
NOTE - to access the complete report(PDF - 1.1MB),
click the link above and, on the next page that opens, click the download link at the bottom of the text box.

More reports on health inequalities in England - from the Department of Health

- Go to the Health Links (Canada/International) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/health.htm

18. Australian Policy Online

Australian Policy Online (APO)
APO is a news service and library specialising in Australian public policy reports and articles from academic research centres, think tanks, government and non-government organisations. The site features opinion and commentary pieces, video, audio and web resources focussed on the policy issues facing Australia. [ About APO ]
NOTE : includes links to the latest APO research; the five most popular downloads of the week
appear in a dark box in the top right-hand corner of each page, and the downloads vary depending on the topic you select.

New Research : Social Policy | Poverty
- topics include:
* Community * Cultural diversity * Families & households * Gender & sexuality * Immigration & refugees * Population * Poverty * Religion & faith * Social problems * Welfare * Youth

- Go to the Social Research Links in Other Countries (Non-Government) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/internatngo.htm

19. CRINMAIL - May 2009
(Child Rights Information Network - CRIN)

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)

4 June 2009 - CRINMAIL 1090
* INDIA: Human Rights Report 2009 [publication]
* UNICEF: A Matter of Magnitude: The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Women and Children in South Asia [publication]
* HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: Child rights dominate day one [news]
* INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION: NGOs file complaint against Argentina for child detentions [news]
* UNITED STATES: Hope for Californian children sentenced to die in prison [news]
* WANTED: High quality photos
**NEWS IN BRIEF**

2 June 2009 - CRINMAIL 1089
* MEXICO: Govt considers ban on street children [news]
* TURKEY: Children's rights groups demand changes to terror law [news]
* CANADA: New state law allows parents to withdraw children from class [news]
* HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: More shame for Council following Sri Lanka vote [news]
* EUROPE: Children's rights film sparks protest [news]
* TRAFFICKING: Operational indicators of trafficking in human beings [publication]
* LEBANON: Children 'abused' during political campaigning, says rights coalition [news]
**NEWS IN BRIEF**

Links to all issues of CRINMAIL
- links to 300+ weekly issues
, many of which are special editions focusing on special themes, such as the 45th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Source:
CRINMAIL(incl. subscription info)
[ Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) ]

- Go to the Children's Rights Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/chnrights.htm

 

Disclaimer/Privacy Statement

Both Canadian Social Research Links (the site) and this Canadian Social Research Newsletter belong solely to me, Gilles Séguin.

I am solely accountable for the choice of links presented therein and for the occasional editorial comment - it's my time, my home computer, my experience, my biases, my Rogers Internet account and my web hosting service.

I administer the mailing list and distribute the weekly newsletter using software on the web server of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Thanks, CUPE!

If you wish to subscribe to the e-mail version of newsletter, go to the Canadian Social Research Newsletter Online Subscription page:
http://lists.cupe.ca/mailman/listinfo/csrl-news

You can unsubscribe by going to the same page or by sending me an e-mail message [ gilseg@rogers.com ]

------------------------

The e-mail version of this newsletter is available only in plain text (no graphics, no hyperlinks, no fancy bolding or italics, etc.) to avoid security problems with government departments, universities and other networks with firewalls. The text-only version is also friendlier for people using older or lower-end technology.

Privacy Policy:
The Canadian Social Research Newsletter mailing list is not used for any purpose except to distribute each weekly issue.
I promise not share any information on this list, nor to send you any junk mail.

Links presented in the Canadian Social Research Newsletter point to different views about social policy and social programs.
There are some that I don't agree with, so don't get on my case, eh...

To access earlier online HTML issues of the Canadian Social Research Newsletter, go to the Newsletter page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/news.htm

Please feel free to distribute this newsletter as widely as you wish, but please remember to mention Canadian Social Research Links when you do.

Cheers!
Gilles

E-MAIL:
gilseg@rogers.com


*******************************

15 tips for traveling to
even the roughest of countries
— and back:

*******************************

Fifteen Tips from the New York Times for travellers
(My favourite is #14 !!!)

1. Carry a “decoy wallet,” so that if you are robbed by bandits with large guns, you have something to hand over. I keep $40 in my decoy wallet, along with an old library card and frequent-flier card. (But don’t begrudge the wallet: when my travel buddy was pickpocketed in Peru, we tried to jump the pickpocket, who turned out to be backed by an entire gang ... )

2. Carry cash and your passport where no robber will find it. Assuming that few bandits read this column, I’ll disclose that I carry mine in a pouch that loops onto my belt and tucks under my trousers.

3. Carry a tiny ski lock with a six-foot retractable wire. Use it to lock your backpack to a hotel bed when you’re out, or to the rack of a train car.

4. At night, set a chair against your hotel door so that it will tip over and crash if someone slips in at 4 a.m. And lift the sheet to look for bloodstains on the mattress — meaning bed bugs.

5. When it gets dark, always carry a headlamp in your pocket. I learned that from a friend whose hotel in Damascus lost power. He lacked a light but was able to feel his way up the stairs in the dark, find his room and walk in. A couple of final gropes, and he discovered it wasn’t his room after all. Unfortunately, it was occupied.

6. If you’re a woman held up in an isolated area, stick out your stomach, pat it and signal that you’re pregnant. You might also invest in a cheap wedding band, for imaginary husbands deflect unwanted suitors.

7. Be wary of accepting drinks from anyone. Robbers sometimes use a date rape drug to knock out their victims — in bars, in trains, in homes. If presented with pre-poured drinks, switch them with your host, cheerfully explaining: “This is an American good luck ritual!”

8. Buy a secondhand local cell phone for $20, outfit it with a local SIM card and keep it in your pocket.

9. When you arrive in a new city, don’t take an airport taxi unless you know it is safe. If you do take a cab, choose a scrawny driver and lock ALL the doors — thieves may pull open the doors at a red light and run off with a bag.

10. Don’t wear a nice watch, for that suggests a fat wallet and also makes a target. I learned that lesson on my first trip to the Philippines: a robber with a machete had just encountered a Japanese businessman with a Rolex — who now, alas, has only one hand.

11. Look out for fake cops or crooked ones. If a policeman tries to arrest you, demand to see some ID and use your cell phone to contact a friend.

12. If you are held up by bandits with large guns, shake hands respectfully with each of your persecutors. It’s very important to be polite to people who might kill you. Surprisingly often, child soldiers and other bandits will reciprocate your fake friendliness and settle for some cash rather than everything you possess. I’ve even had thugs warmly exchange addresses with me, after robbing me.

13. Remember that the scariest people aren’t warlords, but drivers. In buses I sometimes use my pack as an airbag; after one crash I was the only passenger not hospitalized.

14. If terrorists finger you, break out singing “O Canada”!

15. Finally, don’t be so cautious that you miss the magic of escaping your comfort zone and mingling with local people and staying in their homes. The risks are minimal compared with the wonders of spending time in a small village. So take a gap year, or volunteer in a village or a slum. And even if everything goes wrong and you are robbed and catch malaria, shrug it off — those are precisely the kinds of authentic interactions with local cultures that, in retrospect, enrich a journey and life itself.
 
Source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/opinion/31kristof.html?_r=1&em


*****************

And, in closing...

*****************

Oh So Slow Canada
Hey, we beat Mexico and Poland.
Our high-speed Internet is pricey and pokey, global report says.
By Michael Geist
June 2, 2009
Canada has one of the slowest and most expensive consumer broadband Internet networks in the developed world. That is the conclusion of a new OECD report, widely viewed as the leading global benchmark on broadband networks, which compared Canada with 29 other countries on a range of metrics. These included broadband availability, pricing, speed, and bandwidth caps.
(...) Canada is relatively expensive by OECD standards, ranking 14th for monthly subscription costs at US$45.65 per month. By comparison, Japanese consumers pay an average of US$30.46 per month and consumers in Britain spend an average of US$30.63.
(...) Not only is the Canadian Internet relatively expensive, it is also comparatively slow, ranking 24th out of the 30 OECD countries. Internet users in Japan, Korea, and France enjoy a genuinely different Internet experience, where the far-faster speeds allows for applications and services that have yet to make their mark in Canada. Moreover, the speed gap between Canada and most of the OECD appears to be growing. The fastest consumer speeds often come from fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services that are commonplace in countries like Japan (48 per cent of consumers) and Korea (43 per cent of consumers), but virtually non-existent in Canada. In fact, the OECD placed Canada's FTTH penetration at zero per cent. When price and speed are combined, Canada sinks toward the very bottom of the OECD rankings. As measured by price per megabyte -- effectively the price for speed -- Canada ranks 28th out of 30 countries, ahead of only Mexico and Poland. This may be the most telling metric, since it confirms that Canadians pay more for less.
(...) Most Canadians recognize the critical importance of broadband networks for communication, commerce, education, and access to knowledge. Canada was once a global leader, yet today the marketplace suffers from high prices, slow speeds, and throttled services that have led to an unmistakable decline in comparison with peer countries around the world.
Source:
TheTyee.ca

---

Wills - Beneficiaries and Minimizing Probate: A few more important elements
[ Fifteen Secrets of Good Estate Planning ]
June 2009
Source:
Reflections - RPI newsletter
- includes links to earlier newsletters back to 1998

---

A Life in 42 Seconds (video)
http://www.divinecaroline.com/22126/73807-42-seconds

---------------------

From StatCan:
---  not quite social policy, but it sure affects how efficiently we can do our online research...

Internet use by individuals in the last
12 months from any location, by province, 2005 and 2007
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/88-003-x/2009001/article/10816/c-g/c-g002-eng.htm

---

Internet use by individuals in the last
12 months from any location, by country, 2005 and 2007
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/88-003-x/2009001/article/10816/c-g/c-g001-eng.htm