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December 2015

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Proposed Ontario legislation would help LGBT parents move towards equality

On October 1, 2015, Provincial MPP Cheri DiNovo of the NDP introduced Bill 137, “an Act to amend the Children’s Law Reform Act, the Vital Statistics Act and other Acts with respect to parental recognition” in the provincial legislature. The bill, if passed, would change the rules surrounding parental rights for LGBTQ Ontarians. The Bill has been nicknamed “Cy and Ruby’s Act,” after the children of Toronto lawyer Kirsti Mathers McHenry, who helped draft the bill and whose personal experiences had a direct influence on the proposed legislation. Under current law when gay, lesbian and transgender couples who have children either through...

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Taxi drivers protest “illegal” UberX with mass demonstration

Credit: SPBer/Wikimedia Commons. On the morning of December 8, slow-moving lines of taxis and limousines streamed into downtown Toronto from four gathering spots outside the city core. The processions delayed rush hour traffic on the Don Valley Parkway and Highway 404, and clogged the roads near Queen’s Park before gradually winding their way to the intersection of Queen and Bay, where they blocked traffic outside City Hall. The demonstration, which effectively crippled Toronto’s downtown roadways, aimed to shed light on the effect Uber – an app-based ridesharing company that has emerged as a direct, popular competitor to Toronto’s cab services – iss...

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Lawyers file class-action suit over solitary confinement of juvenile offenders

Credit: Corrie Barklimore/Flickr. In early November, lawyers filed a $125-million class-action lawsuit against the Government of Ontario with the intention of ending solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the province. According to the Canadian Press, the lawsuit claims that “the Crown breached its fiduciary duty to ensure the welfare of children by allowing the use of solitary confinement in the province’s 20 detention centres for young offenders.” It states that children as young as 12 are being placed in isolation. The plaintiff in the suit cannot be named, as the individual was a minor at the time of their offence. However, the...

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Province of Ontario Announces Bill 132 to Combat Sexual Assault and Harassment

Credit: Uiaeli/Wikimedia Commons. Fortunately, Ontario has introduced legislation that it hopes will improve access to justice for victims of sexual assault in the province. Bill 132 – the “Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment” – was introduced in legislature this October 27th. If passed, the bill will amend two statutes relating to sexual and domestic violence and harassment: the Limitations Act, which imposes a limitation period for civil proceedings around sexual assault; and the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, which imposes a limitation period for applications around violence occurring in a...

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“Rowan’s Law” aims to protect Ontario’s young athletes against harmful concussions

Considering Canada’s fervent love of sports like hockey, lacrosse, and football, it should come as no shock that concussions in young athletes have long been an area of concern to Canadian parents. According to a study from York University and the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences, an estimated 89,000 pediatric concussions were treated in Canada between 2003 and 2011. Daunting as that number may be, since 2011 the rate of concussion has jumped significantly, from 466 to 754 per 100,000 for boys and from 208 to 440 per 100,000 for girls. In May 2013, Rowan Stringer, a 17-year old high school...

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New reports raise questions around Ontario’s long-term care facilities

Credit: Thomas Bjorkan/Wikimedia Commons A recently released report performed by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association has brought the quality of care provided at Ontario’s long-term care facilities into question. In particular, the report found that residents of privately run nursing homes, which account for about 60 per cent of Ontario’s long-term care facilities, had a significantly higher death rate than the residents of non-profit facilities. The study followed the experiences of nearly 54,000 residents of 640 long-term care facilities in Ontario between early 2010 and early 2012. Specifically, it...

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Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Releases Report Criticizing Ontario Auto Insurance Industry

A recently released study commissioned by the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) paints a damning portrait of province’s auto insurance industry, calling it “fundamentally broken.” The study, authored by York University professors Fred Lazar and Eli Prisman, suggests that Ontario’s 9.4 million drivers overpaid their auto insurance policies by an estimated $840 million in 2013 and $700 million in 2014, for a two year total of $1.5 billion. While the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has criticized the findings, saying the study failed to consider 25 per cent of Ontario’s auto insurers with negative returns on equity, the OTLA maintains Ontario’s...

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