U.S. to ban Kaspersky cybersecurity products over security concerns – Global News [2024-06-21]

The Biden administration will ban cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab from selling products in the United States over concerns the firm is closely tied to Russia and poses a security risk.

“Russia has shown it has the capacity and … intent to exploit Russian companies like Kaspersky to collect and weaponize the personal information of Americans,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on a call with reporters.

The move comes as Washington continues to put pressure on Moscow and as the Russian war against Ukraine is regaining momentum.

The administration plans to add Kaspersky, along with several of its Russian and U.K.-based units, to a trade restrictions list, which will bar downloads of software updates, licensing and resales.

The ban is set to take effect on Sept. 29 and will block any new Kaspersky business 30 days after that.

Read more here:

Global News
June 21, 2024

Focusing on greenery during city walks has mental health benefits – PsyPost [2024-06-18]

In a new study published in the journal People and Nature, researchers from Bangor University and Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have demonstrated that simply observing natural elements during urban walks can significantly benefit mental health. The research shows that city dwellers who pay visual attention to greenery rather than human-made structures tend to experience reduced anxiety and enhanced feelings of restoration.

Urbanization has brought about numerous advantages, such as economic growth and innovation. However, city living is often associated with chronic stress and mental fatigue, leading to conditions like depression and anxiety. Previous research has consistently highlighted the positive effects of interacting with nature, including improved mood, stress reduction, and cognitive benefits.

Despite these findings, the specific aspects of nature that contribute to these mental health benefits remained unclear. The new study aimed to fill that gap by investigating how visual attention to green elements during urban walks influences psychological well-being.

Read more here:

June 18, 2024

Google apologizes for ‘missing the mark’ after Gemini generated racially diverse Nazis – The Verge [2024-02-21]

Google has apologized for what it describes as “inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions” with its Gemini AI tool, saying its attempts at creating a “wide range” of results missed the mark. The statement follows criticism that it depicted specific white figures (like the US Founding Fathers) or groups like Nazi-era German soldiers as people of color, possibly as an overcorrection to long-standing racial bias problems in AI.

“We’re aware that Gemini is offering inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions,” says the Google statement, posted this afternoon on X. “We’re working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately. Gemini’s AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. And that’s generally a good thing because people around the world use it. But it’s missing the mark here.”

Google began offering image generation through its Gemini (formerly Bard) AI platform earlier this month, matching the offerings of competitors like OpenAI. Over the past few days, however, social media posts have questioned whether it fails to produce historically accurate results in an attempt at racial and gender diversity.

Read more here:

The Verge
February 21, 2024

ChatGPT goes temporarily “insane” with unexpected outputs, spooking users – Ars Technica [2024-02-21]

On Tuesday, ChatGPT users began reporting unexpected outputs from OpenAI’s AI assistant, flooding the r/ChatGPT Reddit sub with reports of the AI assistant “having a stroke,” “going insane,” “rambling,” and “losing it.” OpenAI has acknowledged the problem and is working on a fix, but the experience serves as a high-profile example of how some people perceive malfunctioning large language models, which are designed to mimic humanlike output.

ChatGPT is not alive and does not have a mind to lose, but tugging on human metaphors (called “anthropomorphization”) seems to be the easiest way for most people to describe the unexpected outputs they have been seeing from the AI model. They’re forced to use those terms because OpenAI doesn’t share exactly how ChatGPT works under the hood; the underlying large language models function like a black box.

“It gave me the exact same feeling—like watching someone slowly lose their mind either from psychosis or dementia,” wrote a Reddit user named z3ldafitzgerald in response to a post about ChatGPT bugging out. “It’s the first time anything AI related sincerely gave me the creeps.”

Read more here:

Ars Technica
February 21, 2024

Why an Ontario town with fewer than 6,000 people has OPP’s largest jail – Global News [2024-02-07]

Nestled between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout appears to be a typical northern Ontario town.

It’s made up of a few roads and a newly minted roundabout. A hunting shop, a coffee spot and an LCBO fill out its downtown core.

The quiet municipality is home to just under 6,000 people and a railway stop served by the VIA Rail train between Toronto and Vancouver.

Yet, local officers in Sioux Lookout have the most detention cells of any Ontario Provincial Police detachment and the force makes around 4,000 arrests every year.

Much of the work police take on — backed by an army of overworked and underfunded local organizations — stems from Sioux Lookout’s status as Ontario’s hub of the north.

A lack of resources means there are many times cells in the OPP’s cells almost double as accommodation for often intoxicated people who have been left without any other option.

The town has a key northern hospital, a busy domestic airport, and a large Service Ontario location.

While fewer than 6,000 people live in the town year-round, more than 25,000 people rely on its hospital and other facilities to access basic necessities like health care, dental appointments and government services.

The local police commander says that, although only a small number of those who visit the town end up in cells, many of the arrests they make are people not from Sioux Lookout “who have nowhere else to go” other than police cells for their safety.

Henry Wall, CEO of the Kernora District Services Board, said Sioux Lookout has “always been a bit of a gathering place” throughout history.

“Services have been established there for people to come to us to Sioux Lookout, to fly into the community,” he said.

With thousands coming in and out of the town every month, local leaders say a lack of resources means people are falling through the cracks.

They add that First Nations communities — who they say have been failed for decades by provincial and federal governments — are the ones who feel the lack of resources the most.

Stretched local services, a lack of housing and the insidious drip of addiction mean local police end up responding to calls relating to alcohol again and again.

Read more here:

Global News
February 7, 2024

Fact checking Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s claims about trans athletes – Global News [2024-02-02]

During Wednesday’s videotaped announcement of policies targeting Alberta’s trans community, Premier Danielle Smith said one of those policies would prohibit trans women from competing in womens’ sports.

Smith suggested a trans athlete has “advantages” over their cisgender counterparts.

“There are obvious biological realities that give transgender female athletes a massive competitive advantage over women and girls,” Smith said Wednesday.

The scientific literature disagrees, even with the existence of high-profile cases.

Caster Semenya of South Africa was questioned about her athletic performance and her higher testosterone levels. Semenya has an intersex condition where normal male internal structures are not fully developed while an embryo, resulting in external genitalia that appear female or ambiguous at birth.

At 18, Semenya set personal, national and championship records in the 800-metre race, including at the 2009 IAAF Athletics World Championships, wins that brought up questions about her sex. World Athletics, the body formerly known as the IAAF, asked her to take a sex verification test.

She was denied the ability to race for nearly a year while the test results were being analyzed.

Read more here:

Global News
February 2, 2024

Calls for more training after assault charges dropped against Hamilton man Tasered by police during a seizure – CBC News [2024-01-31]

A Hamilton man who was slapped with assault charges after he suffered a seizure and then was Tasered by police in October 2022 is extremely happy the Crown dropped the charges this week.

The incident involving Marcus Charles, however, has prompted calls for more training on handling people with medical issues.

Charles, 27, was charged with three counts of assault, with police saying he concussed an officer after paramedics called officers to the scene.

The Crown determined Charles’s actions were a result of “a significant epileptic seizure,” with no criminal intent.

“It’s probably the best feeling ever… I did a dance, that’s all I could say, I did a dance for sure,” Charles told CBC Hamilton on Wednesday.

Charles said the charges left him unable to sleep properly and feeling depressed, and it took a mental toll. He said he’s looking forward to the day when he can go back to what makes him happy — playing basketball.

“Just hearing the charge, like assault, it made me feel like something I’m not. As you can see, like, I’m smiling. I’m a happy person, a nice person, and they … painted a huge picture of me being a violent person,” Charles said during a Zoom video call.

“It could have just messed up my whole career if I didn’t have the right [legal team] … behind me, if I didn’t have all the people that were supporting me realizing that what they did was wrong.”

Read more here:

CBC News
January 31, 2024

Does Religion Get You High? – Psychology Today [2024-01-31]

Karl Marx once said religion is the opiate of the masses. His metaphor may have a whiff of literal truth, even if it was intended as a hostile attack on religion from an atheistic perspective. It may be worth considering the possibility that religion does indeed work like a drug for some people, and that religious life does have a drugging effect in American lives.

Before tackling the particularities of religious drug life, it is important to recognize the fact that psychoactive drugs have been and continue to be an integral part of many religious communities. Whether we are talking about wine and Christians, cannabis and Rastafarianism, Hinduism and the mysterious soma, coffee and Sufi mysticism, or peyote and the Native American Church, to name only a few examples, the evidence for deeply rooted links between sacred rituals, personal spirituality, drug consumption, and the communal bonds they engender is glaring.

The integration of drug use into religious life is only one side of the coin though, and obvious to most. The other side of the coin, the way religious life itself has a drugging effect for believers, is less obvious and certainly more controversial. And while the immediate assumption might be that I am attacking religion as a delusion or something that isn’t real, à la Marx, that is not at all my position. Religious sensibilities and sentiments are some of the most real and powerful forces in human history and social life, and like drugs, they can lead to elation and euphoria, order and stability, and addiction and human destruction.

Read more here:

Psychology Today
January 31, 2024

4 million Canadians have a criminal record. Companies not hiring them are missing out, say advocates – CBC News [2024-01-31]

During her time in prison, Emily O’Brien came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to find a job after her release, so she developed an idea for starting her own business.

Now as chief executive of her company, Comeback Snacks, O’Brien makes a point of hiring people with criminal records.

That makes her something of an exception in Canadian business.

A new report being released Wednesday says many Canadian companies remain unwilling to hire people with criminal records, even when they have the skills or experience needed for the job.

“When I was in prison, I met people in there with so much talent,” O’Brien said in an interview with CBC News. “I really think that businesses are missing out.”

The report is based on interviews of 400 hiring managers at Canadian companies, conducted on behalf of the John Howard Society of Ontario, a non-profit agency that advocates for humane responses to crime and its causes.

More than half of those interviewed said their businesses run criminal record checks on job candidates, and roughly four in 10 of those said they automatically reject anyone with a record, regardless of the specifics.

“It didn’t matter whether the record was old, what type of offence it was, whether it was relevant to the position,” said Safiyah Husein, senior policy analyst for the John Howard Society of Ontario.

Read more here:

CBC News
January 31, 2024

Officer training, mental health support among proposed recommendations in Yatim inquest – CBC News [2024-01-30]

Jurors at an inquest into the death of a teen shot by a Toronto police officer more than a decade ago were asked Tuesday to consider dozens of recommendations related to officer training and monitoring, peer intervention and mental health supports in an effort to prevent future deaths.

As closing submissions began in the inquest into the death of Sammy Yatim, coroner’s counsel presented a list of more than 50 recommendations jointly proposed by the parties, which include Yatim’s family members, the Toronto Police Services Board, and some police officers involved in the incident.

Jurors can review the proposal as they deliberate and compile their list of recommendations.

One proposed recommendation calls for making peer intervention training, which already exists within the force, a mandatory component of officers’ annual re-qualification process. The training should emphasize that officers who intervene will not face repercussions and those who don’t could be accused of misconduct, it said.

Another seeks a review of the database system used to monitor use-of-force incidents and other occurrences, which is meant to provide alerts after a certain number of incidents to allow early intervention.

“What we have learned throughout this inquest is that at the time of Sammy’s death, the systems in place at the Toronto Police Service that were designed to oversee and monitor police officers … were insufficient in assisting the officers to be able to work through the situation with Sammy and to defuse it without the loss of life,” said Asha James, who represents Yatim’s mother.

Read more here:

CBC News
January 30, 2024

Aging inmates seek compensation for abuse in Canadian prisons – CBC News [2024-01-30]

They couldn’t escape the law; now time has caught up with them as well.

A group of federal prison inmates aged 50 and older have been given the green light to proceed with a class-action lawsuit claiming their advanced years have made them targets for assault, intimidation and bullying.

Earlier this month, a federal court judge certified the proceeding — which includes allegations older inmates have been denied access to health services they need to cope with age-related indignities ranging from lost dentures to incontinence.

Justice Simon Fothergill gave the go-ahead for a class-action lawsuit claiming systemic negligence after hearing from inmates serving time for sexual assault and murder; he also heard evidence from Canada’s former correctional investigator.

In 2011, Howard Sapers — who served as prison system watchdog from 2004 to 2016 — warned of the problems involving the growing number of people aging behind bars.

“The older offender is often a neglected, but significant and growing, segment of the offender population,” Sapers wrote in an annual report.

Read more here:

CBC News
January 30, 2024

Prisoners in the U.S. are part of a hidden workforce linked to hundreds of popular food brands – CTV News [2024-01-29]

A hidden path to America’s dinner tables begins here, at an unlikely source – a former Southern slave plantation that is now the country’s largest maximum-security prison.

Unmarked trucks packed with prison-raised cattle roll out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where men are sentenced to hard labour and forced to work, for pennies an hour or sometimes nothing at all. After rumbling down a country road to an auction house, the cows are bought by a local rancher and then followed by The Associated Press another 600 miles to a Texas slaughterhouse that feeds into the supply chains of giants like McDonald’s, Walmart and Cargill.

Intricate, invisible webs, just like this one, link some of the world’s largest food companies and most popular brands to jobs performed by U.S. prisoners nationwide, according to a sweeping two-year AP investigation into prison labour that tied hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of agricultural products to goods sold on the open market.

They are among America’s most vulnerable labourers. If they refuse to work, some can jeopardize their chances of parole or face punishment like being sent to solitary confinement. They also are often excluded from protections guaranteed to almost all other full-time workers, even when they are seriously injured or killed on the job.

The goods these prisoners produce wind up in the supply chains of a dizzying array of products found in most American kitchens, from Frosted Flakes cereal and Ball Park hot dogs to Gold Medal flour, Coca-Cola and Riceland rice. They are on the shelves of virtually every supermarket in the country, including Kroger, Target, Aldi and Whole Foods. And some goods are exported, including to countries that have had products blocked from entering the U.S. for using forced or prison labour.

Many of the companies buying directly from prisons are violating their own policies against the use of such labour. But it’s completely legal, dating back largely to the need for labour to help rebuild the South’s shattered economy after the Civil War. Enshrined in the Constitution by the 13th Amendment, slavery and involuntary servitude are banned – except as punishment for a crime.

Read more here:

CTV News
January 29, 2024

Schizophrenia and Its Many Consequences – Psychology Today [2024-01-27]

Schizophrenia has been called “the worst disease affecting mankind” (1). It is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder, with multiple clinical features. These include cognitive impairment and deficits, mood symptoms, and psychiatric symptoms (hallucinations and delusions). It is also arguably the diagnosis that carries the greatest degree of stigma.

For many years, schizophrenia was untreatable, until the discovery of antipsychotic medications in the 1950s. These first-generation antipsychotic medications offered hope, but many people were left with either a lack of efficacy or intolerable side effects. Today, thanks to the newer second-generation antipsychotic medications, and clozapine for treatment-resistance, the odds for recovery from schizophrenia are possible for many.

The absence of insight is one of the most serious symptoms that prevents an individual with schizophrenia from receiving treatment. A lack of insight is called anosognosia. It is common in schizophrenia and other serious mental illness. It is more than denial, it is a firm and false belief that the affected individual is not sick and does not need medical treatment. Many people with schizophrenia develop delusions and believe things a mentally healthy person would find absurd. In the movie, A Beautiful Mind, while struggling with schizophrenia, Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash believes that a microchip has been inserted in his body by the FBI because he is on a special mission.

Read more here:

Psychology Today
January 27, 2024

Homeless data for London, Ont. and the bleak picture it continues to paint – Global News [2024-01-26]

At any given time in London, Ont., there are roughly 1,700 to 2,100 people confirmed to be experiencing homelessness. Of those, about 600 are considered “high acuity,” meaning they require a high level of supports.

Meanwhile, the number of encampments in the city nearly tripled between June and November 2023. And while over 400 households have been placed in housing where rent is geared to income, the waitlist is still nearly 7,000.

A report heading to city council’s community and protective services committee next week provides a snapshot of data on homelessness in London and also spells out what information is not available.

Much of the data comes from the city’s By-Name List, a list of everyone connecting with homelessness services in the community who consents to have a file built with their name, homeless history, health and housing needs.

Read more here:

Global News
January 26, 2024

Healthy eating ‘impossible’ for low income households: Report – CTV News [2024-01-25]

It’s never cost more to fill your grocery cart in Huron and Perth counties.

“The cost for a family of four would be $267 per week, or $1,155 per month,” said Amy Macdonald, dietician with Huron-Perth Public Health.

The report ‘Real Cost of Eating Healthy’ paints an unsustainable picture of the rising cost of living in 2023, especially on low income households.

“What we really see is the people who are most impacted, are those living on social assistance. These incomes just aren’t keeping up with the cost of living. It’s impossible to be able to meet those needs on that cost,” said MacDonald.

The health unit’s report, which priced 61 food items at eight local grocery stores to find the average retail prices of a typical grocery bill, show that a family of four on Ontario Works needs to spend 41 per cent of income on food to meet Canada’s Food Guide.

Read more here:

CTV News
January 25, 2024

Doubling social assistance rates would make ‘life-changing difference,’ recipient says – CBC News [2024-01-25]

Whether she’s riding the bus to an appointment, packing her son’s school lunch or taking courses so she can get a good job, Tia is constantly running numbers in her head.

“I crunch numbers all day long to figure out what I have, what I’m going to have, what I might need to put aside, or if there’s $10 left over, if I’ll put it on the hydro bill,” the 27-year-old mom told CBC News earlier this week. “I can’t just go in tp a grocery store and put things into my cart like the average person. I have to think about the cost, how I can stretch it.”

Every month, $1,002.92 gets deposited into her account from Ontario Works (OW. Her rent is $925 a month. Add in an $8 service fee charged by her landlord to pay the rent, $25 for a cell phone, $70 for Rogers and $60 for hydro, and she’s already $86 in the hole, without having purchased any food for herself or her son.

“Every month when you get your check,it’s already spent. It’s gone before you get it,” Tia said. (CBC News is only using her first name because of the stigma of living on social assistance). If it weren’t for a monthly federal child tax benefit and quarterly carbon tax credit, she wouldn’t be able to survive.

Read more here:

CBC News
January 25, 2024

First Nations leaders say mental health crisis worsening at emergency meeting – Global News [2024-01-24]

First Nations leaders held an emergency meeting in Ottawa on Wednesday to discuss a mental health crisis they warn could get even worse without government help.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation says there has been an alarming spate of suicides and suicide attempts in the northern Ontario First Nations it represents.

That includes the suicides of a 12-year-old from Sachigo Lake First Nation and a 20-year-old in Deer Lake First Nation earlier this month.

And in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, nine people have died between December and January.

The group is also raising concerns about the recent unexplained deaths of 14-year-old Mackenzie (Nathan) Moonias and 21-year-old Jenna Ostberg in Thunder Bay, and how their deaths are being investigated.

“Our communities are under so much pressure with these multiple tragic events,” the group’s Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said in an interview.

Read more here:

Global News
January 24, 2024

In Canada’s capital, an opioid epidemic and housing crisis collide – Global News [2024-01-20]

On a cool Thursday afternoon in Ottawa, veteran police officer Sgt. Avery Flanagan approaches a man hunched over in a downtown parking lot. He has crushed opioids in one hand and a needle in the other.

Flanagan tells the man, who appears to be in his 20s, he can’t use drugs on private property.

“Have you ever overdosed on fentanyl?” asks the officer.

“Twice or three times,” he responds. “You hit the floor, you wake up, you don’t even know that you’ve overdosed.”

“Pretty scary feeling?” asks Flanagan.

“Yeah, pretty scary,” he answers.

Similar encounters unfolded throughout the day as Global News accompanied the officer during a patrol last November of the city’s downtown, an area where the opioid epidemic and housing crisis are colliding and having deadly consequences.

Read more here:

Global News
January 20, 2024

Number of dementia patients in Ontario has risen 48% since 2010, new data released by OMA shows – CBC News [2024-01-18]

New data shows that the number of people with dementia is rapidly growing in Ontario and doctors are urging the province to invest in home care now to meet their needs.

There has been a 48 per cent increase in the number of patients with dementia in Ontario since 2010, according to a new analysis of Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) billing released by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) on Thursday. The OMA represents more than 43,000 doctors.

Dr. Andrew Park, president of the OMA, said resources need to be put in place to better support the province’s aging population and people with dementia.

“With an already strained health care system and fewer than 300 dementia care specialists across Canada, we are not prepared to meet their needs,” Park said at a virtual news conference.

“This is an issue that needs urgent attention from all levels of government so people can get the care they deserve and our health care system can withstand rising pressures.”

Park said dementia is a blanket term for a number of diseases that impact memory and cognitive ability and that interfere with the person’s ability to perform daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, represents 60 to 70 per cent of cases.

He said dementia is the seventh leading cause of death around the world and a major cause of disability and dependency among older adults. He said dependency impacts the individuals who have dementia and their caregivers, family and communities.

Read more here:

CBC News
January 18, 2024

Council urged to support permanent funding for public washrooms downtown – CTV News [2024-01-18]

Coun. Skylar Franke said a movement towards ‘needs-based budgeting’ at city hall must include support for basic human needs like public washrooms.

“A lot of places require that you purchase something like a coffee or a bagel to use their washrooms and that’s not feasible for everyone,” Franke explained. “I know a lot of families, a lot of moms, that are out there with their kids who need to go and use [a washroom] really quickly.”

A business case in the upcoming 2024-2027 municipal budget seeks permanent funding to operate the public washrooms on Dundas Place and in the Victoria Park bandshell for 12 hours each day.

The additional $350,000 per year would fund security, cleaning, washroom supplies, and maintenance/repairs.

The business case warns that without the financial increase, current base funding will only keep the public washrooms open 5 hours each day and during special events.

The alternatives to public washrooms are limited for 28-year-old Corey, who has struggled with homelessness for years, “Pretty much you have to pay for [food at a restaurant] to use the washroom, or go behind some dumpster.”

Read more here:

CTV News
January 18, 2024

Police budget increases may not reduce crime rates in Canadian cities, research indicates – CBC News [2024-01-18]

Increasing police budgets doesn’t necessarily reduce crime rates in Canada, according to a study led by a University of Toronto team.

The research found “no consistent associations” between police funding and crime rates across 20 large municipalities, including Hamilton, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and Montreal.

“Our results point to this more complicated relationship [between police and crime rates] and other factors at play,” lead author Mélanie Seabrook told CBC Hamilton on Wednesday.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Canadian Public Policy in December, notes there has been little research examining police funding. The researchers say this is the first study of its kind in Canada.

The findings come at a time when police services in many municipalities are working to get increases in their budgets, which have consistently grown over the years.

Christopher Schneider is a sociology professor at Manitoba’s Brandon University who researches policing and technology and wasn’t part of the U of T study. He said the research “has the potential to be groundbreaking” and hopes it will spur public conversations about how to make communities safer.

Seabrook said the key takeaway for decision-makers and the public is to take community needs and priorities more into consideration when setting budgets.

Read more here:

CBC News
January 18, 2024

Listening to music appears to prevent depression- and anxiety-like behaviors in mice, study finds – PsyPost [2024-01-16]

A recent study in China exposed mice to unpredictable stress during the day and played music to them at night. The results indicated that listening to music completely prevented the development of anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in these mice. Biochemical parameters examined further supported these findings. The paper was published in Translational Psychiatry.

Depression and anxiety are two distinct yet often interrelated mental health conditions. Depression typically manifests as persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. It is frequently accompanied by physical symptoms such as changes in sleep and appetite. Anxiety, on the other hand, is characterized by excessive worry, nervousness, and fear, often leading to physical symptoms like an increased heart rate, sweating, and restlessness. While depression mainly affects one’s mood and outlook on life, anxiety is largely a response to stress and perceived threats.

Both of these conditions can significantly impair an individual’s daily functioning and quality of life. There has been a strong increase in their incidence worldwide in the past several decades. Researchers have been attributing this to increased social pressure and an accelerated pace of life, but the exact cause-and-effect mechanisms through which these conditions develop remain unknown.

Read more here:

January 16, 2024

How a steady place to live helped this Londoner find sobriety and meaningful work – CBC News [2024-01-16]

For a decade, Korrine MacCormick didn’t have a steady place to live.

She couch surfed, spent time in jail, and bounced between homeless shelters and living on the streets of London and Stratford. She was using drugs and getting into trouble, watching some people she loved die from overdoses.

But 2024 is shaping up to be different. Last month she celebrated a year of living in her own apartment. Tomorrow she will celebrate seven months of sobriety.

“My children’s father died of a fentanyl overdose on June 12, and on June 17 I walked away from the drug scene,” MacCormick said, fresh off a 12-hour shift at an overnight shelter in London, where she now works.

“I decided it was time to get sober for my kids. They deserve a mom, and my grandson deserves a nana, and my mom deserves a daughter.”

MacCormick credits her success to a worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) who never gave up on her, along with getting affordable, safe housing provided by Indwell, which also provides support services for residents. It’s a model that many in London and beyond have championed — first, getting someone a safe, affordable place to live, then helping them work on mental and physical health issues.

Read more here:

CBC News
January 16, 2024