Food Insecurity Is Our New National Crisis

“Across the hall is the Trading Post, a small room stocked with packaged foods clients have received from their local food bank but that they can’t, or don’t, use: cans of Campbell’s soup, Aylmer diced tomatoes, Heinz baked beans, and Zoodles line the floor-to-ceiling shelves. Not all of it is nutritious. Everyone understands that. But it’s something. And when you have a community to feed, you do what you can. The predicament weighs on the centre’s hands-on, energetic executive director, Donna Sutton. ‘People come in the morning for a bagel and coffee,’ Sutton says. ‘They come back in the afternoon for a muffin. That’s breakfast and lunch. Then they just have to worry about dinner.’ With meager earnings and no access to credit, many of Sutton’s clients are facing cold truths.”

Raizel Robin – The Walrus – March 2019

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Ontario family’s legal fight to keep daughter on life support could change how death is defined across Canada

“For more than a year now, Ms. McKitty has been sustained on borrowed time in the Brampton Intensive Care Unit, her family providing round-the-clock attention to a woman they believe to be alive and deserving of a chance to recover. Though at least five examining physicians have declared Ms. McKitty brain dead, hospital nurses still rotate through her ICU room for care. The family’s refusal to discontinue life support kicked off a labyrinthine legal dilemma, which they’re taking to the Ontario Court of Appeal this week. The question of what constitutes death, and who decides when that line has been crossed, has no clear legislative answer across much of Canada. The case pulls on opposing threads of science and faith, evokes questions about Charter rights and challenges the role of cultural practices in modern medicine.”

Victoria Gibson – The Globe and Mail – December 2018

Why Doctors Are Bad at Sex Ed

“Sexual health tends to fly under the radar because doctors share the same deep cultural discomfort about sex as their patients, O’Sullivan says. Many Canadians grow up with conflicting messages about sex as ‘this shameful thing’ that’s only legitimate if you’re in reproductive mode, and doctors are no exception, she adds. This taboo has contributed to a narrow focus in medicine on the negative consequences of sex over promoting healthy sex lives. When patients seek help for a problem like vaginal tearing from a lack of arousal, O’Sullivan explains, doctors will often hand them lubricants without asking if they’re having sex they don’t want or whether they were aroused at all.”

Lauren Vogel – The Walrus – December 2018

Teaching Teens How to Have Good Sex

“Sometime in 2007, Lucia O’Sullivan, a psychology researcher at the University of New Brunswick, had lunch with a friend and colleague from campus. Her friend worked as a doctor at the university health centre, and for the past couple of years, she had noticed a concerning occurrence among young female students: they would come in for a routine gynecological exam saying nothing was wrong, and when the doctor looked, she would find vulvar fissures—small cuts on the women’s vulvas, often caused by lack of lubrication during intercourse. When she asked about these wounds, a number of patients would reveal that sex was often painful or uncomfortable but that they had never considered it a problem.”

Viviane Fairbank – The Walrus – December 2018

The Undoing of Ontario Sex Ed

“Kim Fry was at Mount Sinai Hospital in downtown Toronto for an appointment in 2015 when she first saw it on the news: hundreds of parents protesting Ontario’s incoming sex-ed curriculum on the lawn of Queen’s Park. Then premier Kathleen Wynne had just unveiled the revised document, which newly included discussions around consent and sexual and gender identities. It was the first update to the curriculum since 1998, and many parents wanted it gone.”

Erica Lenti – The Walrus – December 2018

How One Podcaster Got Us Talking about Sex

“When Kaitlin Prest first came to Toronto, she worked in her bathtub. She would climb in amid piles of pillows or piles of friends, spitballing ideas that would eventually become pieces of audio art. Sometimes she wore clothes, and sometimes not, just a girl and a computer monitor and a flip chart and an artful life. Before the bathtub, her office was a bed in New York City. But one day, two summers ago, sitting on the steps of a brownstone in Brooklyn, she got a call from an executive producer at the CBC. The producer wanted to talk about an offer: come home to Canada and use the resources of a major network. It meant a chance for Prest to make the podcast series about love that had been living in her mind for many years.”

Katherine Laidlaw – The Walrus – December 2018

The Big Squeeze

“The Juice Council doesn’t exist in the way you might expect: as an institution disseminating impartial facts and information about juice. Rather, it was created by the lobbying arm of the beverage industry – in a practice known as ‘astroturfing,’ used by lobbyists in all kinds of industries to create the appearance of a grassroots movement and a larger chorus of voices than actually exists. The Juice Council is also just a small piece of a much larger, years-long campaign by the beverage industry to fight Health Canada plans that would end the practice of recommending juice as a straight substitute for whole fruit, and would also require prominent labelling of the sugar content in juice.”

Ann Hui – The Globe and Mail – November 2018