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Canadian Social Research Newsletter
March 29, 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 1996 subscribers.

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

IN THIS ISSUE:

Canadian content

1. New from Finance Canada:
--- Government Implements Pension Measures - March 27
--- Release of The Fiscal Monitor- March 27
2. Ontario Budget 2009-2010 - March 26
3. Letter to Prime Minister Harper re. forthcoming G-20 meeting on the global financial crisis (Halifax Initiative Coalition) - March 26
4. Newfoundland and Labrador Budget 2009 - March 26
5. learn$ave - Intermediate Impacts of the Individual Development Accounts Project (Social Research and Demonstration Corporation) - March 26
6. Manitoba Budget 2009-2010 - March 25

7. New homeless report cards in Moncton, Halifax (Wellesley Institute)
- March 24

8. Federal government commits $60 million to improve Employment Insurance - March 24
9. Human Resources and Skills Development Calls for Proposals : (a) Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and Families (b) Enabling Accessibility Fund
10. [Ontario] The Role of Legislation in Reducing Poverty in Ontario - workshop (Income Security Advocacy Centre / Mennonite Central Committee) - March 23
11. [BC] Last Resort: Improving Fairness and Accountability in British Columbia’s Income Assistance Program (BC Ombudsman) - March 23
12.
What's new in The Daily (Statistics Canada):
--- Perspectives on Labour and Income (March 2009) - March 24
******* Earnings of women with and without children
******* The recent labour market in Canada and the United States
******* Work Absence Rates: 2008
--- Leading indicators, February 2009 - March 23
--- Consumer prices: The year 2008 in review, 2008 - March 23
--- Consumer Price Index, February 2009 - March 19
--- National balance sheet accounts, fourth quarter 2008 - March 16
13. What's new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (Toronto) - March 25

International  content

14. Poverty Dispatch: U.S. media coverage of social issues and programs (Institute for Research on Poverty - University of Wisconsin-Madison)
15. [U.S.] States cope with rising homelessness (Stateline.org) - March 18
16.
Australian Policy Online Weekly Briefing - selected recent content:
--- A good time for making work pay? Taking stock of in-work benefits and related measures across the OECD - Posted 27-03-2009
--- Child well-being and sole parent family structure in the OECD: an analysis - Posted 26-03-2009
--- Home truths: mental health, housing and homelessness in Australia - Posted 25-03-2009
--- Reforming Australia's hidden welfare state: tax expenditures as welfare for the rich - Posted 25-03-2009

17. CRINMAIL (March 2009) - (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. New from Finance Canada:
--- Government Implements Pension Measures - March 27
--- Release of The Fiscal Monitor- March 27

What's new from Finance Canada:

Government Implements Pension Measures
News Release
March 27, 2009
The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today released regulations to provide temporary solvency funding relief for federally regulated defined benefit pension plans. The measures cover plans established for employees working in areas that fall under federal jurisdiction. These plans currently represent 7 per cent of all private pension plans in Canada, accounting for approximately 12 per cent of pension assets.
Related documents:
* Solvency Funding Relief Regulations
* Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement
(Click the above news release link to access these documents)

---

Release of The Fiscal Monitor
News Release
March 27, 2009
The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today released The Fiscal Monitor for January 2009.
Highlights:
* January 2009: budgetary surplus of $37 million
* April 2008 to January 2009: budgetary surplus of $0.5 billion

Related document:

* The Fiscal Monitor - January 2009

[ Earlier releases of The Fiscal Monitor - by year ]

Source:
Finance Canada

- Go to the Federal Government Department Links (Agriculture to Finance) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/fedbkmrk.htm

2. Ontario Budget 2009-2010 - March 26

2009 Ontario Budget - main budget page
[ version française ]
March 26, 2009
- incl. links to all budget papers (some of which appear below)

Ontario Budget Creates Jobs for Families Today
and Builds Economy for Tomorrow
McGuinty Government Invests $32.5 Billion
in Infrastructure, Proposes Sales Tax Reform and $10.6 Billion in Tax Relief for People
News Release
March 26, 2009
The McGuinty government's 2009 Budget lays out a plan to help families affected by the global economic crisis and positions Ontario to become more competitive for a more prosperous future. The Ontario government is investing $34 billion over two years to stimulate the economy. This timely and targeted investment includes $32.5 billion in infrastructure spending and nearly $700 million in additional funding for skills training. This will preserve or create more than 300,000 jobs over the next two years to support Ontario's families and communities. The government is proposing to accelerate the phase-in of the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) two years ahead of schedule, increase social assistance rates and invest in social housing infrastructure.

Ontario Budget 2009
HTML version - Table of Contents + links to individual sections
PDF version (1.2MB, 171 pages)

Budget Highlights

Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy and the 2009 Budget
"(...) The Poverty Reduction Strategy' target is to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over the next 5 years. All low-income families with children would see the benefits of this strategy, which would help lift 90,000 children out of poverty. The government, however, cannot do this alone. Meeting this goal depends on having a willing partner in the federal government, as well as a growing economy.
- incl. info on enhancements to the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB), tax relief for families and individuals, a new youth opportunities strategy, community hubs, Social Assistance rate increases and review of social assistance "with the goal of removing barriers and increasing opportunity — with a particular focus on people trying to move into employment from social assistance."
(Hmmmm - the terminology used here reminds me of the way Mike Harris used to describe his hand-up-not-handout-USA-Jobs-First-style-Common-Sense-Revolution approach - Gilles.)
- also incl. info on support for housing, Ontario's minimum wage, a new Deprivation Index for Ontario, the Poverty Reduction Act, and initiatives the McGuinty government has introduced since 2003-04 to support low-income families and individuals

Backgrounder: Investing in Children and Families
- incl. * Accelerating Ontario Child Benefit Payments * Establishing Community Hubs * Supporting Ontarians Receiving Social Assistance * Support for Social Housing * Stable Funding for Rent Banks * Assisting Low-Income Workers * Support for Seniors * Tax Relief for People

--------------------
Related links:
--------------------

Ontario makes progress on poverty reduction, but job still unfinished
March 26, 2009
Today’s budget took crucial steps to bring Ontario closer to the goal of reducing poverty by 25% by 2013. But the budget needed to go further to help low-income individuals and families get by in current tough economic times, said the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction. (...) The 25 in 5 Network identified five critical areas for government action, released in its Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in February. The budget delivered on the Ontario Child Benefit, made significant progress on affordable housing, fell short on social assistance, missed the mark entirely on early learning and child care, and went halfway on labour standards.
Source:
25 in 5 Poverty Reduction Network
25-in-5: Network for Poverty Reduction is a multi-sectoral network comprised of more
than 100 provincial and Toronto-based organizations and individuals working on eliminating poverty.

---

From the Wellesley Institute Blog:
[ Wellesley Institute ]

Ontario budget 2009: Battered social infrastructure gets little relief
March 27, 2009
By Rick Blickstead
Ontario’s critically important social infrastructure is taking a battering in the current recession, but the 2009 provincial budget offers almost no relief. Community-based health, social services and housing providers are on the front lines in delivering the practical and basic supports that people who are suffering the most in the current recession desperately need. Community health and service providers are facing the double-whammy of increased demand for services while funding continues to deteriorate.

Ontario budget 2009: Health inequalities virtually ignored
March 27, 2009
By Bob Gardner
The deep and persistent inequalities in health among Ontarians have been all but ignored in the 2009 Ontario budget. Over three times as many low-income adults report their health to be only fair or poor as high-income; over 50% more low income adult men have two or more chronic conditions than high-income.

Ontario budget 2009: Ontario
housing policy now being written by feds

March 26, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
Ontario housing policy is now being written by the federal government – that’s the grim news in the 2009 provincial budget, released today. While the Ontario government promised in its poverty reduction strategy that it would launch a provincial housing consultation in the spring of 2009, the provincial budget sets out a made-on-Parliament Hill housing plan for Ontario.

---

Ontario Must Move on Social Assistance Reform: Budget 2009
TORONTO (March 26, 2009) - The McGuinty government’s budget has taken important steps to reduce poverty in Ontario. However, fundamental reform of social assistance remains a necessity, particularly as growing numbers of Ontarians lose their jobs.
Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre

---

Ontario to hit record $14.1B deficit in 2009: budget
Finance minister announces accord with Ottawa to bring in single sales tax
March 26, 2009
Ontario will rack up a record $14.1-billion deficit in 2009 as it commits billions to infrastructure projects and job retraining aimed at pulling the province out of a recession, provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan revealed on Thursday in the tabling of his $108.9-billion budget. The fiscal plan also proposes corporate tax cuts to ease costs for struggling businesses and stimulate investment in Ontario’s sagging economy, which has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in recent years.
Source:
CBC

---

Housing, child benefit items praised
But activists argue spending falls short on improvements to welfare, child care
March 27, 2009
By Laurie Monsebraaten
Anti-poverty activists praised the Ontario budget for moving ahead with the Liberal government's pledge to fight poverty. But the measures outlined in yesterday's budget fall considerably short of the $5 billion over two years the activists had called on the government to spend to help stimulate the province's faltering economy and prevent more Ontarians from plunging into poverty.
Source:
The Toronto Star
[ More Budget Coverage in The Star <=== over two dozen budget-related links ]

---

- Go to the 2009 Canadian Government Budgets Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/budgets.htm
- Go to the Ontario Government Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk.htm

3. Letter to Prime Minister Harper re forthcoming G-20 meeting on the global financial crisis - March 26
(Halifax Initiative Coalition)

Letter to Prime Minister Harper re. forthcoming G-20 meeting on the global financial crisis
March 26, 2009
Re.: Forthcoming G-20 meeting on the global financial crisis

Dear Prime Minister:
As you head to London next week for the second Group of Twenty (G-20) meeting, we are writing to urge Canadian leadership on four key issues related to the impact of the financial crisis on poor countries that we feel have been neglected up until now. To date, your government has focused primarily on addressing the immediate fallout of the financial crisis, and has taken steps to restore the flow of credit and consumer confidence, boost spending, and create jobs. Canada has also encouraged G-20 countries to avoid protectionist measures that will only exacerbate the current climate. It is of course imperative to agree on immediate measures to address the crisis. But we are deeply concerned about the lack of attention the G-20 has given so far to four key areas* that impact both the North and South. We strongly urge Canada to support action on these issues at the upcoming G-20.
---
* The four key areas:
- Ending global poverty and inequality
- Ensuring decent jobs and public services for all
- Using stimulus packages to build a Green Economy and tackle climate change
- Democratizing the governance of the global economy
---

This letter was signed by 18 representatives from unions, church groups and non-governmental organizations
(including the Halifax Initiative Coalition, Council of Canadians, Democracy Watch, Make Poverty History Canada and many more)

Source:
The Halifax Initiative is a Canadian coalition of development, environment, faith-based, human rights and labour groups. Our goal is to fundamentally transform the international financial system and its institutions, namely the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and export credit agencies.
[ Reports and Analysis ]
[ Links to NGO partners, government organizations and multilateral institutions ]

Related links:

Poverty fight wins unanimous consent
Advocates can measure government action against its call for income security and social infrastructure.
All-party support for anti-poverty motion could provide a yardstick to measure government action.by Ish Theilheimer
OTTAWA, March 12, 2009
The four parties of the House of Commons joined this week in a rare show of unity to support a House motion which urges world leaders to make a priority of fighting poverty. NDP MP Tony Martin and Conservative Senator Hugh Segal took the initiative on the resolution, aimed at upcoming G8 and G20 meetings. The two spoke in New York at an anti-poverty conference and developed a joint strategy to move resolutions, in the Commons and Senate, urging that fighting poverty be made a priority in any future stimulus packages. (...) The motion calls for world governments to work against poverty through critical income security initiatives and social infrastructure investments.
Source:
HarperIndex.ca
Harper Index is a project of the Golden Lake Institute
and the online publication StraightGoods.ca

- Go to the Globalization Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/global.htm

4. Newfoundland and Labrador Budget 2009 - March 26

Newfoundland and Labrador Budget 2009 - main budget page
- incl. links to all budget papers (some of which appear below)

* Budget Speech
* Budget Highlights
* Estimates
* The Economy

* Past Budgets
* Department of Finance

Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation
March 26, 2009
News Release
The Williams Government today unveiled Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation, a financial plan that includes strategic investments to strengthen the province’s economy, while protecting and enhancing important social programs. Budget 2009 provides significant economic stimulus, benefiting the people and the communities of Newfoundland and Labrador, and includes targeted expenditures in economic development, infrastructure, health, education, poverty reduction, and the environment.

More News Releases - links to 12 releases in all

Standing Strong in the Fight Against Poverty
March 26, 2009
News Release
The Williams Government continues to stand strong and lead the way in its fight against poverty by investing $132.2 million in Budget 2009 to help individuals and families with low incomes. The 18 new significant initiatives announced today will help realize the provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy’s commitment of becoming the jurisdiction with the lowest poverty rates in Canada by 2014.

Related links:

N.L. takes calculated risk with $750M deficit
Civil service untouched, program spending increased amid financial chaos
March 26, 2009
Once flush with oil-fuelled cash, Newfoundland and Labrador said Thursday it is willing to take on a massive deficit in the coming year, while expecting a return to balanced books in relatively short order. "We're cautiously optimistic that the economy will rebound," Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy told reporters Tuesday before he brought down a budget that not only avoids cuts to jobs and programs, but also raises spending on health, social services and infrastructure.
Source:
CBC

- Go to the 2009 Canadian Government Budgets Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/budgets.htm
- Go to the Newfoundland and Labrador Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/nfbkmrk.htm
- Go to the Anti-poverty Strategies and Campaigns page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/antipoverty.htm

5. learn$ave - Intermediate Impacts of the Individual Development Accounts Project - March 26
(Social Research and Demonstration Corporation)

Encouraging savings to help promote adult learning among low-income Canadians
News Release
March 26, 2009
A new report released today by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) offers some new results on the effects of the learn$ave project. SRDC is conducting this national demonstration project to test the effectiveness of individual development accounts (IDAs) as a tool to promote adult learning and small-business start-up for low-income Canadians.

Learning to Save, Saving to Learn:
Intermediate Impacts of the Individual Development Accounts Project
(PDF - 1.3MB, 88 pages)

learn$ave
- A national demonstration of matched savings accounts for poor families to encourage learning activities and micro-enterprise development

[ All SRDC Publications ]

Source:
Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC)
SRDC is a not-for-profit organization, a registered charity, and a pioneer in the use of social experiments in Canada. SRDC’s two-part mission is to help policy-makers and practitioners identify social policies and programs that improve the well-being of all Canadians, with a special concern for the effects on the disadvantaged, and to raise the standards of evidence that are used in assessing social policies and programs.

- Go to the Asset-Based Social Policies Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/assets.htm

6. Manitoba Budget 2009-2010 - March 25

Manitoba Budget 2009 - main Budget page
March 2005
- incl. links to all budget papers (some of which appear below)

Budget charts a balanced, steady course
Continues to Invest in Health, Training and Skills Development;
Stimulates Economy with $1.6-billion Infrastructure Investment: Selinger

News Release
March 25, 2009
Budget 2009 charts a balanced, steady course by investing in health, education and training, stimulates the economy through infrastructure investments and is the 10th consecutive balanced budget since 1999, making this the first full decade of balanced budgets by a government in Manitoba in more than 50 years, Finance Minister Greg Selinger said today.

* Budget Speech (PDF - 968K, 26 pages)
* Budget In Brief (PDF - 1MB, 2 pages)
* Budget (PDF - 687K, 46 pages)
* Budget Papers - The Economy - Supplementary Financial Information - Recent Developments in Fiscal Arrangements -Taxation Adjustments - The Manitoba Advantage - Improved Infrastructure and Fiscally Sound Economic Stimulus

* Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue (PDF - 1.3MB, 188 pages)
* Budget-related news releases:
--- Budget 2009 Highlights
--- Budget 2009 Keeps Manitoba Deficit Free With 10th Consecutive Balanced Budget
--- Manitoba's Economic Plan
--- Budget 2009 Continues To Reduce Taxes Without Running A Deficit

Source:
Manitoba Finance

Related links:

Manitoba hikes user fees, boosts spending — and posts small surplus
March 25, 2009
The government of Manitoba tabled a $12.7-billion balanced budget Wednesday that tries to stave off economic contraction by hiking tobacco taxes and user fees to pay for $226 million in new spending.
While most provinces are projecting multi-year deficits, Manitoba is forecasting a $48-million surplus for the upcoming fiscal year. But the province's accumulated debt will still climb by $861 million in 2009-10 as a result of pension obligations and increased capital investments.
Source:
CBC

- Go to the 2009 Canadian Government Budgets Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/budgets.htm
- Go to the Manitoba Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/mbkmrk.htm

7. New homeless report cards in Moncton, Halifax - March 24
(Wellesley Institute)

What's new from the Wellesley Institute Blog:
[ Wellesley Institute ]

Homeless in Moncton: New report card
March 24, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
A total of 725 people were homeless in Moncton, New Brunswick, according to the 2008 homelessness report card from the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee. Among other items, the report notes that 30 people sleep on mats on the floor at one hostel every night, including pregnant women.

Related links:

Experiencing Homelessness
The First Report Card on Homelessness in Greater Moncton, 2008
(PDF - 723K, 6 pages)

Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee
The Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee (GMHSC) is an inter-agency committee representing all agencies in Greater Moncton that work with the homeless population and those at risk of becoming homeless.

---

Homeless in Halifax: New report card
March 24, 2009
By Michael Shapcott
A total of 1,252 people stayed in homeless shelters in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2008, according to the first-ever Halifax Report Card on Homelessness 2009, which was released today. The report, prepared by Community Action on Homelessness, provides a grim accounting of the poor health and terrible conditions facing people who are homeless in a community that is, for many Canadians, a picturesque port city on Canada's eastern coast. The report documents the meagre investments in affordable homes by federal and Nova Scotia governments, and sets out a series of practical and pragmatic actions to end homelessness in Halifax.

Related links:

Halifax Report Card on Homelessness 2009 (PDF - 10MB, 20 pages)

Community Action on Homelessness (Halifax)
Our mission - to work in partnerships within our community, to advance community solutions
that address homelessness, and the right to a home as a key to the 'quality of life' for everyone in our community.

- Go to the Homelessness and Housing Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/homeless.htm
- Go to the New Brunswick Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/nbkmrk.htm
- Go to the Nova Scotia Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/nsbkmrk.htm

8. Federal government commits $60 million to improve Employment Insurance - March 24

Finley announces $60 million to bolster EI system
March 24, 2009
The federal government announced Tuesday it is spending $60 million to bolster the Employment Insurance system, as the number of laid-off Canadian workers continues to surge. The money, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said, will be used to hire more staff, process claims more quickly and extend the period of coverage by five weeks.
Source:
CTV Toronto

Related link:

Employment Insurance
- from the website of
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Related link
(
Ontario):

Fix welfare rules that hurt jobless
Editorial
March 24, 2009
The number of Ontarians living on welfare is rising. Another 18,000 cases were added in the last few months, bringing the total to more than 214,000 cases. That's nearly 400,000 people living on welfare. The hard truth is that even these numbers understate the real need for social assistance, given the effects of the economic downturn. Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who have lost their jobs will soon run out of severance pay and exhaust their Employment Insurance benefits. Yet many of these recent victims of the economic downturn will discover that they face even more hurdles – and humiliations – because of the punitive welfare rules still in place.
Source:
The Toronto Star

- Go to the Ontario Municipal and Non-Governmental Sites (D-W) page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/onbkmrk3.htm
- Go to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/hrsdc.htm

9. Human Resources and Skills Development Calls for Proposals (March 2009):
- Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and Families
- Enabling Accessibility Fund

What's New from Human Resources and Skills Development
in March 2009

* The Social Development Partnerships Program – Children and Families call for proposals is now open and accepting applications until May 8, 2009.
* The Enabling Accessibility Fund call for proposals (small projects) is now open and accepting applications until May 4, 2009.

- Go to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/hrsdc.htm

10. Public Policy 201: A Primer for Non-Profit Organizations : The Role of Legislation in Reducing Poverty in Ontario (workshop) - March 23
(Income Security Advocacy Centre / Mennonite Central Committee Ontario

Public Policy 201: A Primer for Non-Profit Organizations
The Role of Legislation in Reducing Poverty in Ontario
(workshop)
March 23, 2009 (Toronto)
"(...) This workshop is designed to strengthen the understanding of people working in the non-profit sector of public policy, and how non-profits can work with government to influence change. It is part of an ongoing series for those in organizations who want to understand the policy process and would benefit from a forum for candid exchange of ideas. This session will use as a case study the poverty reduction bill that was introduced into Ontario’s legislature on February 25, 2009."

The Poverty Reduction Act (PDF - 140K, 6 pages)
March 2009
By Adam Dodek, currently teaching Public Law at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law; former Chief of Staff for Ontario’s Attorney General; has published a number of articles in his areas of research -- constitutional law, comparative constitutional law and legal ethics.

Public Policy 101
A Primer for Not-For-Profit Groups
(Workshop presentation, PDF - 1.3MB, 17 pages)
March 2009
By John Stapleton: Public policy expert and Metcalf Fellow with over 28 years of experience in the Ontario Government
* What is Policy? * Where is Policy Announced? * How is Policy Implemented? * Public Policy: Who’s Who in Government --- A Short User’s Guide for Advocates to Understanding Civil Servants * The Civil Servant has Two Masters * The Deputy Minister and the Civil Service * The Minister and Political Staff * Where Two Worlds Converge… * The Legislature vs. the Civil Service * Some Observations about Advocates/Activists * Handle with Care
NOTE: I recommend this presentation by a former government "insider" for non-profits everywhere, not just Ontario!
Gilles

Towards a Quebec without Poverty: A ten year retrospective (PDF - 7.9MB, 18 pages)
March 2009
By Dr. Vivian Labrie, Centre for Studies on Poverty and Exclusion in Quebec, key researcher and community leader in the development of Quebec’s 2002 Act to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion

Co-sponsors of the workshop:
Income Security Advocacy Centre
Mennonite Central Committee Ontario

Funder:
Metcalf Foundation
The goal of the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation is to enhance the effectiveness of people and organizations working together to help Canadians imagine and build a just, healthy and creative society.

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

11. [BC] Last Resort: Improving Fairness and Accountability in British Columbia’s Income Assistance Program - March 23
(Office of the Ombudsman, Province of British Columbia)

From the Office of the Ombudsman, Province of British Columbia:

Ombudsman recommends improvements to Income Assistance (PDF - 40K, 3 pages)
News Release
March 23, 2009
VICTORIA – Today Ombudsman Kim Carter released her report, Last Resort: Improving Fairness and Accountability in British Columbia’s Income Assistance Program. All but one of the report’s 28 recommendations has been accepted by the Ministry of Housing and Social Development. (...) As a result of the Ombudsman’s investigation, the ministry agreed to make several practical improvements to income assistance programs that will benefit individuals...

Complete report:

Last Resort: Improving Fairness and Accountability in
British Columbia’s Income Assistance Program
(PDF - 2.2MB, 132 pages)
Public Report No. 45 to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
March 2009
- 28 recommendations covering:
* Applying for Income Assistance * Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers to Employment * Medical and Other Documentation Requirements * Implementation of Previous Commitments
Source:
Office of the Ombudsman, Province of British Columbia

Related link:

Welfare application process 'unduly complex': Ombudsman
By Andrew MacLeod
March 23, 2009
The British Columbia government agrees with most of the Ombudsman's recommendations for fixing the welfare system, but says it may be delayed by the worsening economy. (...) The report is the result of a systemic investigation into the provincial welfare system sparked by a 2005 complaint from the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
Source:
The Tyee

- Go to the BC Government Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/bcbkmrk.htm

12. What's new in The Daily (Statistics Canada):
--- Perspectives on Labour and Income (March 2009) - March 24
******* Earnings of women with and without children
******* The recent labour market in Canada and the United States
******* Work Absence Rates: 2008
---
Leading indicators, February 2009 - March 23
--- Consumer prices: The year 2008 in review, 2008 - March 23
--- Consumer Price Index, February 2009 - March 19
--- National balance sheet accounts, fourth quarter 2008 - March 16

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

March 24, 2009
Perspectives on Labour and Income - March 2009
The March 2009 online edition of Perspectives on Labour and Income, released today, features three items.
* Earnings of women with and without children examines the earnings differences between mothers and childless women.
* The recent labour market in Canada and the United States compares various labour market indicators for the two countries using Canadian numbers adjusted to reflect American definitions.
* Work Absence Rates: 2008 is an update on work absences in 2008 extracted from the publication also released today.

March 23, 2009
Leading indicators, February 2009
The February composite leading index fell 1.1% after a 0.9% decrease in January, with 9 of the 10 components declining>
[ Table : Leading indicators, Sept. 2008 - Feb. 2009 ]

---

March 23, 2009
Consumer prices: The year 2008 in review, 2008
Consumers faced the most volatile price fluctuations in five years in key components of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) during 2008. For the year as a whole, consumer prices on average increased 2.3%, slightly faster than the annual average increase of 2.2% the year before. But this average masked swings in prices for components such as food and energy, which were two main drivers of inflation.
Related link:
Consumer Prices: The Year 2008 in Review
HTML version
PDF version
(237K, 20 pages)
[ earlier editions of this report ]

---

March 19, 2009
Consumer Price Index, February 2009
Consumer prices on average rose 1.4% in the 12 months to February 2009, slightly faster than the 1.1% increase observed in January. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.4% from January to February.
- incl. links to six charts and three tables
Related link:
Consumer Price Index February 2009
HTML version
PDF version
(521K, 67 pages)
[ earlier editions of this report ]

---

March 16, 2009
National balance sheet accounts, fourth quarter 2008
Household net worth retreated for the second consecutive quarter, declining $252 billion, or 4.4%, in the fourth quarter as stock market prices continued to fall. On a per capita basis, household net worth fell from $179,300 in the second quarter of 2008 to $165,300 in the fourth quarter, a $14,000 decrease.
* Chart 1 : Household sector assets: Canada and United States
* Chart 2 : Growth in national net worth slows with declining non-financial assets
* Table 1 : National balance sheet accounts
[ National Balance Sheet Accounts, Quarterly Estimates Fourth quarter 2008 (PDF - 947K, 75 pages) ]

---

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

13. What's new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (Toronto) - March 25

From the Childcare Resource and Research Unit (CRRU):

March 25, 2009

Earnings of women with and without children
25 Mar 09
- Report from Statistics Canada examining the earnings gap between women with and without children. A 12% less hourly average was found for women with children.

Child care in Quebec
25 Mar 09
- Research using Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth data examining the impact of Quebec’s child care program.

Discourses on quality care: the Investigating ‘Quality’ project and the Canadian experience
25 Mar 09
- Article by Alan Pence and Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw contextualizing work on the IQ project, conducted in BC, within national and international contexts.

We won’t go backwards
25 Mar 09
- Press release from the Ontario Coalition For Better Child Care calling on the Ontario government to take action on child care for the upcoming budget.

more WHAT'S NEW ONLINE »

child care in the news

· Recession stress cuts short maternity leave [CA]
25 Mar 09

· Ontario falling behind in child care [CA-ON]
25 Mar 09

· Number of childcare providers plummet as recession hits [GB]
25 Mar 09

· Having kids costly for educated moms [CA]
25 Mar 09

· Premier's chance to show leadership [CA-ON]
23 Mar 09

· Governments ignoring crisis: Dolan [CA-BC]
18 Mar 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)

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

14. 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.

March 26, 2009
* State Unemployment Rates - Michigan, Ohio
* Joblessness and Extension of Benefits
* State TANF Programs and Drug Testing
* Toledo Blade Poverty Series
* Homelessness and 'Tent Cities'
* Kids Count Reports - Delaware, Washington
* Report: Same-sex Households and Poverty
* The Low-income and Access to Bank Accounts - Los Angeles, CA
* School Funding Formula - New Jersey
* Study: Milwaukee School Voucher Program
* Report: Health Insurance Coverage - North Carolina
* Prison Health Care System - California
* Opinion: Families of Prisoners and Phone Rates

March 23, 2009
* Medicaid and Dental Coverage
* Aging Out of Foster Care
* Homelessness and Housing
* Joblessness and Unemployment
* State Reports: Poverty and Self-sufficiency
* Free and Reduced-price Lunch Program - Massachusetts
* Immigrant Workers and Unemployment
* Economic Stimulus Spending
* Communication Technology and the Homeless - Washington, D.C.
* Commentary: Global Poverty

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

15. [U.S.] States cope with rising homelessness - March 18
(Stateline.org
)

States cope with rising homelessness (U.S.)
March 18, 2009
By Christine Vestal
Nearly 700 homeless families in Massachusetts are living in hotels at state expense because emergency shelters are full. New York City saw a 40 percent rise in families seeking shelter since the recession began. School districts nationwide reported more homeless kids in the fall of 2008 than the entire year before. And tent cities have sprung up throughout Hawaii and in Sacramento, Calif., Reno, Nev., Phoenix, Portland, Ore., and other cities. (...) State officials are seeing levels of homelessness they have never seen before. President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package includes $1.5 billion to address the problem, but officials say it’s not enough to cover the cost of housing for millions of families in crisis. As many as 3.4 million Americans are likely to experience homelessness this year – a 35 percent increase since the recession started in December 2007 – and a majority will be families with children, according to a report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The predictions are based on rising levels of unemployment and poverty, plus a severe shortage of affordable housing created, in part, by the mortgage industry collapse.
Source:
Stateline.org
Stateline.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan online news site that practices journalism in the public interest by reporting on emerging trends and issues in state policy and politics.

Related links:

Homelessness Counts:
Changes in Homelessness from 2005 to 2007

12 January 2009
Source:
National Alliance to End Homelessness
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, mission-driven organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States.

- Go to the Homelessness and Housing Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/homeless.htm
- Go to the Links to American Non-Governmental Social Research (M-Z) Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/us3.htm

16. Australian Policy Online Weekly Briefing - selected recent content:
---
A good time for making work pay? Taking stock of in-work benefits and related measures across the OECD - Posted 27-03-2009
--- Child well-being and sole parent family structure in the OECD: an analysis - Posted 26-03-2009
--- Home truths: mental health, housing and homelessness in Australia - Posted 25-03-2009
--- Reforming Australia's hidden welfare state: tax expenditures as welfare for the rich - Posted 25-03-2009

APO Weekly Briefing
The content of this page changes each week, and it includes links to a few book/report reviews, about two dozen new reports, a few job ads and 60 events (mostly conferences) of interest to social researchers...
Source:
Australian Policy Online (APO) - home page
With nearly 120 member centres and institutes, Australian Policy Online offers easy access to much of the best Australian social, economic, cultural and political research available online.

NOTE: the APO home page includes links to the five most popular reports on the APO website, and this list is updated each week.

APO TOP FIVE for 19 - 25 March 2009:
1. APO reader survey and site upgrade
2. A good time to be modest / Ilan Katz
3. What evidence should social policymakers use? / Andrew Leigh
4. Violence in public places: explanations and solutions / Richard Eckersley and Lynne Reeder
5. Global skills crunch: a case of dog eat dog? / Tom Karmel
( Follow the the APO link to access any of these five reports.)

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

Selected recent APO Weekly Briefing content:

A good time for making work pay?
Taking stock of in-work benefits and related measures across the OECD

Posted 27-03-2009
By Herwig Immervoll and Mark Pearson
OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs
[ Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development ]
The twin problem of in-work poverty and labour market difficulties among low-skilled individuals has been one of the most important drivers of tax-benefit policy reform. This paper discusses the rationale for in-work benefits, summarises the main design features of programs, and provides an update of what is known about their effectiveness.

---

Child well-being and sole parent family structure in the OECD: an analysis
Posted 26-03-2009
By Simon Chapple
OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs
[ Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development ]
This paper addresses the causal impact of being raised in a sole-parent family on child well-being across the OECD using a cross-country meta-analysis and a literature review.

---

Home truths: mental health, housing and homelessness in Australia
Posted 25-03-2009
Mental Health Council of Australia
A secure home is widely recognised as providing a fundamental basis for building mental health, yet this is not always reflected in policies and funding. This report explores how this lack of recognition affects mental health and homelessness in Australia, and identifies what needs to be done to improve housing outcomes.

---

Reforming Australia's hidden welfare state: tax expenditures as welfare for the rich
Posted 25-03-2009
By Ben Spies-Butcher and Adam Stebbing
Centre for Policy Development
Because tax expenditures do not go through the same review process as normal government spending, they tend to be less accountable and transparent. It is essential that their growing slice of Commonwealth spending be scrutinised and in some cases reconsidered, according to this paper.

---

APO Archive
The APO archive is grouped into 23 subject areas, with entries appearing in reverse chronological order.
* Ageing *Asia and the pacific * Citizenship and the law * Disability * Economics and trade * Education * Employment and workplace relations * The environment * Foreign policy and defence * Gender and sexuality * Health * Housing * Families and households * Immigration and refugees * Income, poverty and wealth * Indigenous * Media, communications and cultural policy * Politics and government * Population, multiculturalism and ethnicity * Religion and faith * Rural and regional * Science and technology * Social policy * Urban and regional planning * Youth

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

17. CRINMAIL - March 2009
(Child Rights Information Network - CRIN)

From the Child Rights Information Network (CRIN):

26 March 2009 - CRINMAIL 1070
* CRIN: Guide to child rights mechanisms [publication]
* RUSSIA: Night curfew for children [news]
* EUROPE: EU acts against child sex abuse [news]
* SWAZILAND: Judge rules for free education [news]
* GERMANY: Govt to pass law blocking Internet child porn [news]
* VIOLENCE: Are schools safe havens for children? Examining School-related Gender-based Violence [publication]
**FROM THE FRONTLINE** Brent Parfitt
**NEWS IN BRIEF**

24 March 2009 - CRINMAIL 1069
* OPT: UN report says Israel used boy as human shield [publication]
* HIV and AIDS: Education slows sub-Sahara Africa AIDS [news]
* EUROPE: 10 Goals for Improving Access to Education for Roma [publication]
* MEXICO: Disappearance of children in institutions [news]
* GLOBAL: Water is not a human right, say world ministers [news]
* TURKEY: Children drawn into Armenia row [news]
* INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION: Session 134 [event]
**NEWS IN BRIEF**

Earlier issues of CRINMAIL
- links to 300+ earlier 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


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

Not playing with a full deck

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

A SHORT LIST OF FULLDECKISMS 
--- As in, "He's not playing with a full deck."

A compendium of insults and "not all there" comments from various sources.

1. A .22 caliber intellect in a .357 Magnum world.
2. A couple of blocks behind the parade.
3. A day late and a dollar short.
4. A lap behind the field.
5. A modest little person, with much to be modest about. (Source: Churchill)
6. All he remembers about his middle name is the first letter.
7. All show, no go.
8. All the notes, none of the music.
9. Always needs to have jokes explained.
10. An AA battery in a D-cell world.
11. An intellect rivaled only by garden tools.
12. As bright as a nightlight / small appliance bulb / tulip bulb.
13. As sharp as a donut / marble / bowling ball / beachball / pin head / wet sponge / bowl of Jello / mashed potato sandwich / boiled weiner / pound of wet leather, and twice as smart.
14.  As smart as bait.
15. As useful as a brick lifejacket.

Source:
http://herbison.com/canon/fulldeck.html
(Click the link to see all 1448 fulldeckisms)


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

And, in closing...

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


Worldometers - real time world statistics
http://www.worldometers.info/


Internet Anagram Server
http://wordsmith.org/anagram/index.html


Seven Evolutionary Leftovers in the Human Body
http://www.divinecaroline.com/article/22353/67814-seven-evolutionary-leftovers-human-body


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

Eagle watchers await webcam hatchings

March 22, 2009
HORNBY ISLAND, B.C.
Three nests of bald eagles in British Columbia that have been streaming live over the Internet for several years could soon have a few new additions after several eggs were laid.
Source:
CTV

Hornby Island (BC) EagleCam
Every time the male and female eagles change places on the nest, it's very exciting for about 30 seconds, apparently.
The rest of the time, I can tell you from personal experience, it's about as much fun as watching paint dry.
UNLESS...
a) you're at home,
b) you have at least one cat,
c) said cat likes to hang around when you're doing stuff on your computer, and
b) you're evil.
If you meet all the above conditions,
1) Click the eagle cam link above.
2) Make sure the volume on your computer speakers is lower than concert hall level.
3) Invite kitty to lie down in usual spot next to the computer (and the speaker)
4) Watch and wait for kitty reaction.
(Eagles squawk loudly at each other just before they switch places on the nest.)