May 12, 2020

Global News – Erica Alini
Welcome to the ‘she-session.’ Why this recession is different

The recession is bound to introduce significant changes to our lives and one would hope that we could choose to redress some regressive policies we have been living with for some time.  The view that recession and the virus are hitting women much more than men may well be a starting point for consideration.  Economist Armine Yalnizyan, an advisor to the Trudeau government, goes further in that while the 2008 recession impacted as a male-dominant recession but it was followed by a she-recovery, as she forecasts this one will be.  “Spikes in male unemployment would historically result in increases in the female workforce participation rate, with women taking up service-sector jobs to help support household incomes,” she notes.    Related article:  CBC News – Kathleen Harris    Chris Hall: the pandemic recession is placing a new burden on women    Related article:  Politico (Canada) – Andy Blatchford   Trudeau advisers say there is a way out of the Covid-19 downturn: Child care – The crisis has hit women especially hard.    News 1130 – Martin MacMahon   Expert calls for universal income amid increase in food bank usage

Ontario Court of Justice
COVID-19 Pandemic – Scheduling of Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (Effective May 11, 2020)

The court has just extended the limited schedule until May 19 but no trials or preliminaries will be heard until July 6.  The most serious consequence is that those already in jail awaiting trial will stay in jail until at the earliest July 6, and in particular cases, likely much later, without conviction.  One criminal defense lawyer, Michael Spratt of Ottawa, tweets that one of his clients has already been in custody for nine months and could be in jail without trail for as long again.   Related article: Lawyer’s Daily – Ian Burns   Support service established for virtual courtrooms in Quebec  Spratt at  Related article:   CTV News (Montreal)  –   Selena Ross and Stephane Giroux    COVID-19 could justify releasing prisoners, Quebec court rules   Related article: Lawyer’s Daily – Ian Burns   Support service established for virtual courtrooms in Quebec  Related article: Lawyer’s Daily – Ian Burns   Support service established for virtual courtrooms in Quebec    Related article: The Marshall Project (US) – Lawrence Bartley, Brie Williams, M.D., M.S. and Leah Rorvig, M.D., M.S.    COVID-19: A Survival Guide for Incarcerated People

The Separation

“Tutwilera documentary short from FRONTLINE and The Marshall Project, offers a powerful and unforgettable window into the lives of incarcerated pregnant women — and what happens to their newborns.”  The film is streaming now from The Marshall Project ( ) and broadcast on PBS America ReFramed on May 19 at 8/7c on WORLD Channel.

Policy Options (Canada) – Janice Keefe
Covid-19 is demonstrating the value of family caregivers – The pandemic has exposed the dependency we have on the family and friends who serve as caregivers for the elderly. These caregivers must be supported.

The usual appreciation for the nursing and homecare personnel aside, the link provides an astounding reality check for us that may be somewhat eclipsed by the attention to the virus itself rather than the role of the family caregiver.  “Latest statistics suggest that there are 7.8 million caregivers. Of Canadians receiving care, 88 percent said they relied on the help of family and friends. Many of these caregivers are adult children, themselves in their 60s and 70s, caring for older parents aged 85 and older. Over half of women and 27 per cent of men aged 85 and older live alone in the community.”  Related article: Policy Options – Stephen Lewis   The Pandemic and the Politics of Long Term care in CanadaAs a society, Canada has made a choice not to properly fund long-term care. The consequences of this lack of political support have been laid bare.

Toronto Star – Laurie Monsebraaten
Ontario’s 58,000 non-profits call for $680 million provincial stabilization fund to weather COVID-19 pandemic

Many individuals who are at the edge of managing, and more who have already passed that line depend for help from many of the 58,000 charities that operate in Ontario, to say nothing of the rest of the country.  These charities depend on fund raising now an avenue considerably reduced to cut off altogether.  Faith based charities that depend on congregational gatherings have not met in quite some time. “Non-profits are essential now to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19, and they will be needed to help our communities rebuild and recover,” Sarah Matsushita of the Ontario Non-profit Network said. “If non-profits and charities can’t continue, the downstream costs could be significant, especially at a time when government systems are strained.” Since the charities operate with employees, there is also an issue about how many will be able to re-open.

CBC News – Catherine Tunney
From soliciting bribes to abuse of authority, CBSA officers hit with hundreds of misconduct complaints

We seem to be back to the same old problem: a federal agency with extraordinary power – to stop, search, detain, use firearms, and to deport – but yet it investigates itself in more than 500 allegations over the last two years.  “Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request outline a long list of allegations against Canada Border Services Agency officers, covering everything from abuse of authority and criminal association to excessive force and sexual harassment. Some of the allegations have been verified, some have not and some are still under investigation.”  The agency of about 6500 officers is under the authority of Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair.

 Petition for phone calls for prisoners…MOMS and Criminalization and Punishment Education Project

“After two years of community action, the Ministry of the Solicitor General announced their intentions for a new prison phone contract to begin in June 2020. While the new contract will allow for calls to cellphones, they have not addressed expensive collect calls, the 20-minute cap on calls, and the unjustified ban on calls to switchboards.”