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Ontario plans harsher penalties for careless drivers who hurt or kill

Ontario plans a much harsher approach to careless drivers who kill or hurt people, provincial transport minister Steven Del Duca is set to announce Wednesday in Toronto.

The announcement follows a series Global News published in June about lenient sentences being given to drivers who kill.

The proposed changes would create a new offence of careless driving causing death or bodily harm which carries with it a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine, up to two years in jail and a licence suspension of up to five years.

The proposed law will also:

  • Increase fines and demerit points, and introduce license suspensions, for distracted drivers. Punishments would increase with repeated offences, with third (and subsequent) offences drawing a 30-day licence suspension.
  • Increase fines for failing to yield to a pedestrian
  • Double the maximum fine for most traffic offences from $500 to $1,000

Read the whole article and watch videos, here.

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Michelle Kungl’s incredible journey: Disability and disability insurance

Ontario’s narrow and rule-bound social assistance system: does it cover medical and disability-related expenses.

From the moment she was born, Michelle Kungl has been fighting — for her life, for independence, for every breath. She has battled every obstacle with a warrior’s spirit, but now, as an adult, she is up against her most daunting barrier yet: Ontario’s rule-bound social assistance system.

Michelle overcame impossible medical odds as a child. But as an adult she is fighting her most frustrating and seemingly impossible battle yet — convincing Ontario’s narrow and rule-bound social assistance system that she is disabled enough to receive help to cover her extraordinary medical and disability-related expenses.

For more than two decades, Pooran and other disability advocates have been urging Queen’s Park to ease the onerous reporting requirements and strict income and asset rules that govern ODSP. He is accompanying Michelle and Lyn to a meeting with provincial officials early next month to discuss her case.

Although Pooran acknowledges Michelle is somewhat unique — few with her level of disability work full time — her experience highlights the problem most people on social assistance face when they try to work or receive income from other sources. More than 900,000 Ontarians rely on social assistance, including more than 490,000 on ODSP. Barely 10 per cent of individuals receiving ODSP have employment income.

It is a key issue Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek asked a provincial working group to address last summer as part of a review of Ontario’s income security system. The group’s 10-year blueprint for reform, is expected in October.

In the meantime, a ministry spokesperson said the government has already increased the amount individuals and families can deduct from their earnings for disability-work related expenses from $300 to $1,000 a month.

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