Posts Tagged ‘Pro Bono column’

How inclusionary zoning stands to grow affordable housing in Ontario

February 23rd, 2017 by Claudia Pedrero

This article was first published on rabble.ca

On December 6, 2016, the Ontario legislature passed the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016, expanding the powers of Ontario municipalities to implement “inclusionary zoning,” a requirement for developers to build affordable units when constructing new market‑rate housing. The Act changes the provincial Planning Act, RSO 1990, c.P.13, by obliging some municipalities, while making it optional for others, to adopt inclusionary zoning policies. A discussion on the adoption of the Act and debates surrounding its inclusionary zoning provisions can be found on our firm’s blog.

These legislative changes come years after rising housing prices, lagging income levels and dwindling federal and provincial funding have created an increasing need for new affordable housing in Ontario. Significantly, according to the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, over the past 13 years Toronto’s house prices have nearly doubled compared to household incomes, thus making market-rate housing unaffordable for an increasingly larger portion of the population. The same study also notes that nearby areas such as Hamilton and Oshawa are becoming unaffordable for middle‑income residents.

What inclusionary zoning will look like on the ground remains unanswered. By extension, it is difficult to predict whether the changes will have a significant impact on the need for affordable housing in Ontario. For example, it is unclear what an “affordable unit” means under the new changes and how affordable units will have to be priced. However, the province is slated to release regulations in early 2017 that will hopefully give some meat to its approach and allow municipalities to develop their policies and bylaws. Read the rest of this entry

Taking racist sports logos to court: Sports, tropes and prospects for change

November 25th, 2016 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

On October 14, 2016, the Superior Court of Ontario heard an application for an injunction preventing the display, broadcast, and dissemination of the team name and logo of the “Cleveland Indians,” a U.S. baseball team scheduled to play at the Rogers Centre later that day. The team, whose offensive logo has long been the subject of criticism amongst Indigenous Americans, was playing against the Toronto Blue Jays as part of the American League Championship Series. While the court refused to grant the injunction, the application has called attention to the issue of racial stereotyping and has raised questions about the viability of addressing this issue through the courts and/or human rights tribunals in Canada.

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Landlords and tenants to fight out right to grow medical marijuana under new regulations

October 27th, 2016 by Claudia Pedrero and Lauren Blumas

This article was first published on rabble.ca

The new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR), which came into force on August 24, 2016, has changed how patients with prescriptions for medical marijuana can get their medicine. The ACMPR came to be, in part, as a response to a Federal Court ruling that the former Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) violated the Charter because it prohibited personal production of medical cannabis. For many medicinal cannabis users, the cost of accessing through the channels allowed under the MMPR were simply unaffordable.

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With judges like Robin Camp, how impartial is Canada’s justice system?

September 29th, 2016 by Shelina Ali

This article was first published on rabble.ca

I was recently listening to a radio program featuring racialized lawyers in Ontario discussing the challenges they faced in the legal profession and was struck by my reaction. I thought: how unfortunate that this was all being shared publically. Unfortunate, not because I did not believe the experiences of these individuals or sympathize with the challenges they were describing, but because I didn’t want people to know about the challenges. Why would anyone hire a racialized lawyer if they knew that the lawyer felt that there was a higher standard placed on them in court, by judges, as compared with their non‑racialized colleagues?

I wish my reaction was that this was the unusual experience of one lawyer and not a reflection of the justice system’s treatment of marginalized groups generally. Instead, it was one which exposed my own distrust in the Canadian judicial system and its impartiality. And my belief that the justice system as a whole does not provide the same opportunities and access to justice for individuals of colour, women, and other marginalized groups.

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Privacy compromised: Legal rights and protections in Canada

August 4th, 2016 by Michael Hackl

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Privacy and secrecy are two interrelated concepts that raise a great many legal and ethical questions, with few easy answers. A recent example of the interplay between these concepts comes from the recent misuse of surveillance video by a liquor store employee. To set the stage, we have to go back to 2013, when a nasty verbal altercation between a feminist activist and men’s rights supporters at an event at the University of Toronto was recorded and uploaded to the Internet. The online response was truly appalling, as the woman involved received numerous serious threats. The level and nature of the abuse (including death and rape threats) was so egregious that she withdrew from her advocacy work, and instead tried to disappear from public attention.

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Alberta parents ‘morally blameworthy’ in son’s death: The moral dimension of alternative health care

June 30th, 2016 by Celia Chandler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Last April, a jury found David and Collet Stephan guilty of “failing to provide the necessaries of life,” under section 215 of the Criminal Code, when their nearly 19-month-old son Ezekiel died in March 2012 of meningitis. Rather than pursuing traditional health care for their son, they made a series of decisions about his health care from February 27, 2012 — the day little Ezekial’s symptoms emerged ‑‑ through to the evening of March 13, 2012, when he stopped breathing and they called 911. Those decisions involved treating him with, among other things, hot peppers, garlic, onions and horseradish, despite a nurse family friend suggesting his symptoms might point to meningitis. Their defence at trial was that they had pursued a legitimate, alternative course of treatment.

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