You are about to enter an empowerment zone: Max FineDay speaking at Saskatoon Change Makers

"I don't think I'll ever forget the look on my mother's face when I told her.... I didn't really realize what had happened or the implications of it all until many years later."

University of Saskatchewan Students Union President Max Fineday speaks of his experience growing up in Saskatoon, and how it helped make him a change maker.

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Grants replace student loans in Newfoundland & Labrador

Fantastic 'upstream' news out of Newfoundland and Labrador!

"Following this year’s provincial budget, announced March 27, provincial student loans are being replaced on a go-forward basis with non-repayable grants, eliminating the provincial portion of student debt for students from Newfoundland and Labrador. The 2014 budget also removes all interest on existing student loans and continues a 15-year tuition freeze at Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic." 

Read more at Carleton's student newspaper, The Charlatan.

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Remedy for poverty tragically discarded

“'We lose billions of dollars each year trying to address the health and social consequences of poverty after it takes its toll rather than preventing it in the first place.'
Surely, the preventative, forward-thinking approach is best. I maintain a guaranteed livable income is a potent force for spreading equality and fairness throughout the world."

Read the rest of this letter to the editor of the Chronicle Herald regarding basic livable income here:

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Daddy Track: The Case for Paternity Leave

How "daddy days" make for healthier families and more equal work-places - Liza Mundy makes the case for paternity leave in The Atlantic:

"But here’s what men may not realize: While paid paternity leave may feel like an unexpected gift, the biggest beneficiaries aren’t men, or even babies. In the long run, the true beneficiaries of paternity leave are women, and the companies and nations that benefit when women advance."

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Why Canadians outlive Americans, and why we shouldn’t be so satisfied

The social determinants of health are all over this Globe and Mail piece:

"Beyond medical care, we need to address further how social conditions shape health. The countries outperforming us make effective social investments to promote health and well-being among children and adults alike. Just to name two: they provide job protected paid leave from work to meet health needs, and overwhelmingly, they ensure children receive early childhood education."

Image by Ralf Heß, text added.


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We also need to teach our kids to be active citizens

Do you give to the food bank? Awesome! Now check out this great post by Trish Garner from BC Poverty Reduction about how to 'upstream' that action. (Especially if you live in BC or SK, the last provinces without a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.)

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Time to leave GDP behind

Great article from Nature on how it's time to drop the Gross Domestic Product as a measure of success and adopt a new metric.

"GDP measures mainly market transactions. It ignores social costs, environmental impacts and income inequality. If a business used GDP-style accounting, it would aim to maximize gross revenue — even at the expense of profitability, efficiency, sustainability or flexibility. That is hardly smart or sustainable (think Enron). Yet since the end of the Second World War, promoting GDP growth has remained the primary national policy goal in almost every country"


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How poverty is killing us

John Millar and Laurel Rothman for on how poverty affects the health of us all, with those living in poverty bearing the brunt of it.

"Here’s what the evidence tells us. The stress of worrying about the basics of life lowers the body’s defences against disease. As a result, we see a higher and increasing prevalence of all diseases (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, mental illness, addictions and others) among those who are worst-off, right across the income gradient."

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The majority of Ontario residents think poverty—and privilege—are contributing to ill health

Good news: a recent study by Toronto's Centre for Research on Inner-City Health finds that the majority of Ontario residents correctly believe that poverty is a major contributor to ill health.

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Coalition launches campaign to reduce Sask. poverty

By Jason Warick, The StarPhoenix

Poverty doesn't just hurt those who experience it. Poverty places a huge burden on the province's health care, education and justice systems.

Reducing poverty could save Saskatchewan taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year and give a multi billion dollar boost to the economy.

That's the main message from a coalition of Saskatchewan community groups launching their "Cost of Poverty" campaign today.

"We want this province to be a prosperous place for everyone," said Alison Robertson, director of community development for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.

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Connect upstream.