Over the past year of lockdowns and restrictions, public libraries have figured out countless creative ways to continue serving their communities during a pandemic. In addition to regular lending services, libraries across Canada now offer online programming, news subscriptions and entertainment as well as curbside options such as printing services, free Wi-Fi, activities and community…
Have you ever noticed that it’s cheaper to replace certain appliances than to fix them? Have you wondered what types or how much garbage your household produces? Digging into these questions can help us figure out how much of the waste we produce is preventable. And the good news is that it’s not hard! COVID-19 has irrevocably altered our daily routines. Maybe this will help speed up current trends in recycling and reducing waste, as we all figure out new methods of sustainability.
“We remain in a state of urgent need,” Melanie McLearon of Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexion, an Ontario child welfare agency, told Christian Courier in an interview. “We desperately require new families to care for children.” “While most children in the country are dealing with the frustrations of missing their friends, a hiatus in sports seasons and closed playgrounds, others worry about the very real possibility of homelessness, abuse or neglect,” writes Chris Palusky in Christianity Today. An influx of children in some form of foster or extended family/kinship care is anticipated as the COVID-19 lockdown measures start to ease up.
“The right to adequate housing should not be interpreted narrowly. Rather, it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity,” according to the United Nations (UN). Certain populations face greater challenges exercising this right, the UN says, namely women, children, the displaced, persons with disability, persons experiencing homelessness, and Indigenous groups.
On Easter Sunday, April 21, 253 people were killed when three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka were the target of suicide bombers. Christian Courier writer Candice Goodchild interviewed Mayukha Perera, Managing Director of Back to the Bible in Sri Lanka, about his experience.
“I went into this court case with the hopes of saving my daughter from making an irreversible medical mistake,” John* says. “The potential is very high that she could change her mind down the road.”
An estimated 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, roughly 35,000 each night. Last month, the federal government launched a $40 billion National Housing Strategy with a goal of “50 percent reduction in chronic homelessness over the next 10 years.” A Huffington Post article states, “It’s time to develop solutions that address the causes and consequences of homelessness as a whole.” While bigger picture strategies are at play, local efforts in Quebec are making a big impact for those in need in their downtown neighbourhoods.
The Peel Watershed, rich in natural resources and wonders, sprawls over 68,000 square kilometres throughout the Yukon wilderness. On December 1st of last year, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of First Nations and environmental groups to commit to the Watershed land use’s Final Recommended Plan, a plan the Yukon government had threatened to “derail” after years of research and public consultation by an independent commission. Yukon Premier Sandy Silver called the ruling “a victory” and stated, “We believe that when people look back at this moment in time, they’re going to see this as the beginning of a new era, one that’s based upon reconciliation” (CBC.ca). Now there are two months of public consultation remaining; the Yukon government plans to release the Final Peel Watershed Land Use Plan in January 2019.
In Ontario, the new Conservative government has implemented a revised interim health education curriculum, with some sections being reverted to the 1998 version, which is to be used while a province-wide consultation is underway to create new curriculum. The interim curriculum replaces material from 2015 that included information about sexting, consent and same-sex marriage.
Today, CPJ reports that nearly half of the households in Canada below the poverty line have at least one person working: “a job on its own does not guarantee freedom from poverty.” Has the original intent of minimum wage been lost over the years?
In Canada, steadily rising energy costs can cause financial hardship. The Fraser Institute reports that over a million Canadian households now spend more than 10 percent of their income on electricity and heating, which, it says, “should be of central concern when policies regarding energy are being devised.” Globally, many people have no access to an electrical grid; if this affects their quality of life it’s known as “energy poverty.”
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40). Acting justly and loving with mercy those on the fringes of society, in both proactive measures and reactionary frontlines, is grace and hope incarnate.