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January-February 2019

Gene machine

I spit in a tube and uncovered secrets about my family long held under wraps by the government. My case for consumer DNA kits

Adam Elliott Segal

Illustration by CSA Images IN THE WINTER OF 2018, like millions of others across the world, I ordered a DNA test. For $99, Ancestry.com promised me a look into my family roots, using just my saliva. The kit arrived in Toronto late last winter from Utah, Ancestry’s home base. I took the collection tube out […] More »
September-October 2018

Why did a young mother die in an alley after she was admitted to hospital? Her family says it’s because she was Indigenous

Windy Sinclair went to a Winnipeg ER. Three hours later, she went missing. Her body was found frozen in an alleyway three days after.

Ryan Thorpe

It was freezing in Winnipeg, cold enough that frostbite threatened to set in minutes; the kind of cold that sets deep in the bones, down to the marrow. Unforgiving wind ripped through flat, icy streets, and snowdrifts piled along sidewalks. A frigid, stainless steel sky descended on the prairie capital. By the time Windy Sinclair, […] More »
September-October 2018

When it comes to new treatments for addiction that rely on medication, Canadians need to have an open mind

Echoing failed policies of the drug war, calls for banning all pharmaceuticals are counter-productive and even dangerous

Tracy Giesz-Ramsay

It was the second day of the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day bonanza of cowboy-themed festivities in the Canadian province most stereotyped by its beef, oil, and country music. Nearly every local business had shut down for the week. “It’s our biggest holiday. You just don’t mess with the Stampede,” Calgary-born Mandy Alston tells me nearly […] More »
September-October 2018

Meet the woman lighting up the way for cannabis justice

She’s been part of Canada’s cannabis community as long as we’ve had one. Now, Hilary Black is an integral member of one of Canada's biggest cannabis companies

Kieran Delamont

Hilary Black is tired. “Really fucking tired,” actually, she says. She’s been doing this—fighting prohibition, advocating for the rights of medical cannabis patients—for 21 years. And now she’s at the outset of an entirely new chapter: She is in charge of the social responsibility and patient advocacy arm of Canopy Growth Corporation, one of the […] More »
July-August 2018

What the #MeToo movement hasn’t said about mental health and sexual assault

The movement has largely focused on male entitlement and toxic masculinity. But failing to discuss, support, and connect the patriarchy-endorsed violence against women with its long-term mental health effects is problematic

Lori Fox

When Krista Dale was 11 years old, she awoke from a sleepwalking episode to find her stepfather on the couch next to her. “He was trying to have sex with me,” she remembers, 18 years after the incident. “I freaked out.” She ran to the bathroom, locked herself in, and began yelling for her mother, […] More »
July-August 2018

Tracking Canada’s investments in mental health initiatives over the past year

A look at care, from coast to coast to coast

Sohini Bhattacharya

For the first time in the history of Canadian mental health, in 2017, the federal government announced an investment of $5 billion to improve access to nationwide services. The lump sum, which is part of the government’s Health Accord with the provinces and territories, is slated to roll out over the next 10 years. Mental […] More »
July-August 2018

Inside the battle to modernize 1960s-era mental health housing in Ontario

They're home to Canada's most vulnerable. They want change, but many decision makers are fighting it

Megan Marrelli

On a rainy Thursday in April, I arrive at a yellow brick, split-level house in London, Ont. People are doing word searches at a large dining table. Some help themselves to a container of freshly baked peanut butter cookies, and CBC News is playing on a television in the living room. This house, tucked away in […] More »
July-August 2018

Inside Ontario’s Cedar Centre, a space to care for those who have experienced childhood trauma

Executive director Alison Peck on the programs once considered one of Ontario's best-kept secrets for mental health care

Sohini Bhattacharya

As a child, Tim Johnson was sexually abused by multiple adults. Brief therapy sessions then didn’t help him. “I wasn’t ready for it,” says Johnson, who’s now a paramedic in York Region, Ont. As an adult, memories of his abuse started creeping back until he hit rock bottom. “One day I left work with the […] More »
July-August 2018

I tried to kill myself. I survived. When Canada’s health care system failed me, I tried again, and again

What needs to change in our country's suicide crisis intervention system

Sarah Mann

For more than half my life, someone has been trying to kill me. That someone is me. The first time I considered ending my life, I was eight or nine years old, living in a rented house with my father and brother in Owen Sound, Ont. My mother had moved out years earlier, after my […] More »

What it was like to fight at an illegal abortion clinic in Toronto during the 1980s

Excerpted from Judy Rebick's new book, Heroes in my Head

Judy Rebick

On June 15, 1983, Dr. Henry Morgentaler opened an illegal abortion clinic in Toronto. The Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC) had chosen a spot on the second floor of a lovely Victorian house on Harbord Street, a quiet downtown thoroughfare lined with bookstores and cafés near the University of Toronto. With the Toronto Women’s […] More »
May-June 2018

For Canadians with disabilities, accessibility is still a recurring issue

What still needs to change in even our biggest cities across the country

Susan Mockler

On August 20, 1995, I slipped into the passenger seat of my friend’s rusty old hatchback. It was nine o’clock at night. As we pulled onto the highway, heading from Ottawa toward Montreal, I wriggled to get comfortable on the vinyl seat, smooth against my bare legs. Fastening the seatbelt, I settled in. By ten […] More »