Denmark’s new Social Democratic government said on Wednesday it would pour more money into healthcare, education and the welfare system, following through on its campaign pledge to reverse years of cuts by previous administrations.

The government said it had room to manoeuvre on spending because Denmark’s public finances were in good shape after years of austerity and that it would also raise taxes on businesses to help pay for the policy shift.

Many Danes, who pay some of the highest taxes in the world to fund their welfare system, are concerned that further spending cuts would erode the country’s long-cherished universal healthcare, education and services for the elderly.

Indigenous people are spending fewer nights in homeless shelters than non-Indigenous users, a finding from federal researchers who warn in internal documents that the result points to more problematic – or even insidious – issues in the country’s housing system.

The study found that no matter the community, Indigenous people were over-represented in emergency shelters, making up about 30 per cent of users despite only being about five per cent of the national population.

They stayed more often, but for fewer nights – almost five fewer nights per year, on average – which federal researchers say isn’t “necessarily a positive outcome.”

NiGiNan Housing Ventures is scrambling to provide services for families in need in Edmonton’s north end after its permit to serve meals and offer referrals at the former Transit Hotel was pulled last week.

“We need (a new) space. We’re looking right now,” said Carola Cunningham, CEO of NiGiNan. “It’s starting to get cold and people need a place to come.”

NiGiNan is a registered charity formed to address the needs and requirements of Indigenous people living in Edmonton.

Low income bus passes will be available as of May 2020.

A new report at Winnipeg City Hall says people can apply for the pass as of April 1.

It will be available for adults aged 18 to 64 who are:

  • part of a household with an income below the Stats Canada low income cut off;
  • approved for the province’s EIA program; or
  • newcomers who have been in the country less than a year who haven’t filed a tax return.

The discounted monthly rate will start at about $70 in 2020, then go to $60 in 2021 and $50 when fully implemented in 2022.

Seventy-two Indigenous children connected to child welfare died in northern Ontario, where three Indigenous agencies covering most of the territory were underfunded approximately $400 million over a five-year period.

The number of deaths jumps to 102 Indigenous children when looking at the entire province between 2013 to 2017.

And almost half of the deaths, 48 involving Indigenous agencies, happened in the two years it took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond to multiple orders made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that first found Canada guilty of purposely underfunding on-reserve child welfare in its historic decision on Jan. 26, 2016.

So why are people still not getting housed? Is it a failure of people experiencing homelessness? Is it a failure of housing programs? Or is something else going on?

Bruce Wallace, Bernie Pauly, Kathleen Perkin, and Geoff Cross of the Canadian Institute of Substance Use Research in Victoria, BC in reviewing a modestly sized transitional housing program have stumbled upon answers to these much broader questions.

Their data points to three strong conclusions:

1. Failure to obtain housing is not the fault of individual program participants.

2. Failure to obtain housing is not the fault of the program.

3. Failure to obtain housing is due to system-level forces that create and sustain poverty and inequities.

The City of Grande Prairie announced Tuesday the active dismantling of “tent city” and began redirecting occupants to a temporary transition site, the Rotary House and other housing options.

Housing and Homeless Initiative Supervisor Katherine Schmitt said the transition site, adjacent to city hall, will be in operation until Oct. 2. As of then, temporary site operations would also be dismantled.

“By Oct. 1, not only will there be a day engagement space, but there will also be an alternative site for when the shelter gets full for nights,” said Schmitt.

She also said a winter emergency response plan would be rolled out the same day.

The city hopes to send a message to anyone currently tenting they don’t need to continue camping outside and another fenced-off space is available for them.