When it comes to listing countries on the basis of the social services they provide to citizens compared to the subsidies they heap on corporations, Canada doesn’t fare well.

A study from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy published in January reports that our federal government and the four largest provinces spend $29 billion a year subsidizing business firms.

The study’s author, John Lester, says that half of these huge subsidies fail to improve economic performance and therefore constitute a colossal waste of government revenue.

“And because nearly one-third of all such subsidies just go generally to support specific industries or regions rather than to enhance economic development,” he added, “the proportion of questionable spending rises to 60 per cent of the total.”

BC Housing is holding an information session about newly proposed housing options and support programs in Maple Ridge on Monday night.

This comes after the provincial government announced funding to address the issue of homelessness in the city, following years of public pressure and a recent battle over the Anita’s Place homeless camp.

But Listen Chen with Alliance Against Displacement says one problem with the proposal is that there are only 40 units of supportive housing going in.

“As we know from the homeless people count, that the Anita Place residence did back in October, that there are about 200 homeless people in Maple Ridge,” they said.

Regional Council will discuss taking back the social housing portfolio from the province for the Halifax-area during its meeting on Tuesday, something that’s been out of the municipality’s hands for over 20 years.

Deputy Mayor Waye Mason is putting forward a recommendation from HRM’s Economic Development Standing Committee looking for a staff report with options for the “transfer of the responsibility to operate and deliver housing programs and services within the boundaries of Halifax…”

City Councillor Joe Cressy has unveiled plans for a city homeless shelter in Toronto’s wealthy Annex area, after lining up two of the neighbourhood’s most prominent residents to show their support.

City officials say they are in talks to buy a four-storey building on Davenport Road near Dupont Street and plan to turn it into a 90-bed shelter – one of several new facilities the city is scrambling to set up to alleviate crowding in its shelter system.

On Thursday, Mr. Cressy announced the plans at City Hall while flanked by former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson. He also read a message of support from author Margaret Atwood, who he said was in Britain and unable to attend in person.

Ontario’s recent minimum wage increase is controversial, partly because it’s unclear what exactly a modern minimum wage is supposed to achieve.

When the measure was introduced in Canada about a century ago, the purpose was to protect women and children from being exploited. In 1918, the first minimum wage rates were established in Manitoba, followed by Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Thank you for your editorial in support of 1,000 new shelter beds to address the needs of Toronto’s homeless population. Your editorial also correctly pointed out that “a permanent home, not a shelter, is the real solution to homelessness,” and that all levels of government must address the housing crisis that affects so many. This is especially true in a housing market like Toronto, where it is pretty much impossible for low-income people to afford housing in the rental market.

The genuine concern expressed by the general public this winter about the need to bring homeless people in out of the cold has been wonderful. Unfortunately, asking city staff to provide any number of new shelter beds will not magically make it so. Over the past few years, many sites have been found, and rejected. Public meetings are held, at which potential users are demonized and vulnerable people are portrayed as a threat to the local community. The locations of shelters and other types of affordable and supportive housing should not be judged based on who is expected to live there.