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We’ve relied heavily on women’s unpaid work; Can volunteers keep up the pace?

in Community by
Volunteering brings 'profound satisfaction' to Valmay Barkey. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Picture a community-minded female volunteer from the past. Perhaps you think of a hatted and gloved lady pouring tea at a charity luncheon, or a farm woman teaching teenaged girls how to sew curtains. Maybe it’s an image of capable women from 70 years ago organizing a campaign for the Ross Memorial Hospital or Academy Theatre … and then handing over the proceeds to a largely male board of directors.

Whether or not those pictures were ever true to life, it’s increasingly clear that they aren’t any more. Women volunteers have long been the backbone of a wide range of community initiatives, but their involvement is changing.

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Benns’ Belief: A Poverty of Time

in Opinion by

Last month I watched the fantastic BBC eight-part series of Les Misérables on CBC Gem.

The miniseries is not based on the celebrated musical but rather the darker offering of Victor Hugo’s novel on 19th century urban France as it was on the cusp of revolution. Observing the working-class characters’ brutal lives got me thinking about “free time.”

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Unions have a long, proud history of fighting for workers’ rights

in Social Issues by
Nine union members standing outside of the Central East Correctional Facility in Lindsay ON
Nine OPSEU members who work at the Central East Correctional Centre. Pictured are S. Dunn, M. Reade, R. Gilchrist, J. Guthrie, M. Sedgwick, S. Nelson, B. Bisso, K. Semple, and D. Troost. Photo: John Maclennan.

Few topics in politics are as divisive, even in polite company, as unionization. While Canadian courts have consistently upheld, and on more than a few occasions greatly expanded the rights of unions, affinity for organized labour has ebbed and flowed since the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital said, “the man [person] who sells labour should, in selling it, be on an equality with the man [person] who buys it” in 1889.

The Royal Commission recognized the inherent power imbalance of industrial capitalism even as industrialization was creating an explosion in the size of the Canadian working class.
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Worker cooperatives: More resilience, productivity, and equality

in Business/Community/Opinion by
Kawartha Credit Union began in 1952 by General Electric employees, an example of a successful cooperative.

Quickly. Can you name five cooperatives? La Siembra Cooperative sells delicious Fair Trade chocolate bars, my bank is the Waterloo Education Credit Union and I buy outdoor equipment at Mountain Equipment Co-op. Over 20 organizations are part of the Haliburton County Community Co-operative and Huntsville recently launched the Muskoka North Good Food Co-op. How did you do with your list?

In Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy, author Nathan Schneider describes a key development in the cooperative movement. In 1843 in Rochdale, England, a group of textile workers established a small store where they could buy groceries, clothing and other goods at reasonable prices.

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Perry says focus now on class action lawsuit in wake of basic income cancellation

in Social Issues by
Mike Perry, left, with two of the four applicants, Tracey Mechefske and Dana Bowman.

In light of an Ontario court decision that states it has no authority to force the PC government to continue with basic income, the focus now turns to the class action lawsuit.

This, according to Mike Perry, the Lindsay-based lawyer and social worker who took on this case pro bono.

“While the applicants are understandably disappointed with today’s decision, they respect the court and the legal process and have asked me to thank the court for its consideration of their application,” Perry tells the Advocate.

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The 4 key ways basic income changed people’s work lives for the better

in Community/Education/Social Issues by
Back to school and new business start-ups were just two ways basic income was helping.

While the federal government may be considering the merits of a basic income for Canadians, those participating in the Ontario pilot know already how it was changing their lives for the better.

In fact, there were four key ways basic income directly affected people’s work lives, according to survey information – more learning and education; affordability of transportation; starting or maintaining a business; and childcare.

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Basic income and the future of work: Potential for social disruption

in Opinion/Social Issues by
Basic income and the future of work: Potential for social disruption

I have always loved school.  After high school I attended university and several years after graduation I completed a graduate degree. Wanting to dive into peace and justice issues, I returned to university at age 50.

Formal education has enriched my life and opened doors to new types of work. One of the things I learned, as a literacy practitioner is that not everyone was as keen about the value of school.

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Desire or pressure: What motivates us to get out of bed and work?

in Business/Opinion/Social Issues by
Desire or pressure: What motivates us to get out of bed and work?
Can we have self-interest that is socially useful?

Three days ago, we ran a story called ‘Mariposa Dairy struggles to find young adults who want to work five days a week.’ At last count, more than 52,000 people had read it, a huge number for an online news magazine not even two months old.

Why did this story strike such a nerve?

Is it because the people who read it want to work there? Or did they know someone else who needed a job and so shared it with friends? Is it because they couldn’t believe it was true – that such a large percentage of younger people couldn’t handle, or didn’t want, full-time work?

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