e88c9cf4-c8cd-84a5-9ca4-93d455e5ea20.jpeg

Turkish Judges and Prosecutors exchanged with their peers during the Study Visit to Paris and the Council of Europe – Newsroom

During the period between 16 and 20 May 2022, representatives of the Turkish Ministry of Justice and judges and prosecutors attended a tailored programme on combatting cybercrime in France. The Delegation was headed by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Yakup Moğul.

In the first part of the visit in Paris, the Turkish Delegation visited French institutions (both judicial and law-enforcement institutions) such as Cybercrimes Section of Judicial Court of Paris (J3), Cyberspace Gendarmerie Command (COMCYBERGEND), Central Office for Combating Crime Linked to Information and Communication Technologies of French Police Department and Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Pardons of French Ministry of Justice.

Turkish judges and prosecutors had opportunities to exchange with their peers on good practices, coordination, and challenges that both France and Turkey are facing in relation to combatting cybercrime. It has been agreed that both national and international cooperation is of the utmost importance for the cybersecurity as the topic is beyond national jurisdiction.

Later in Strasbourg, the Delegation visited the Council of Europe, exchanging with the representatives of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) on the topic related to right to liberty and security and fair proceedings. At the same time, they had opportunity to hear more about the work of the Venice Commission; Commission for efficiency of justice; Cybercrime work and impact of the Budapest Convention on cybercrime and finally execution process of the judgments of the Court.

 

This activity was organised under the EU/CoE Joint Project “Strengthening the Criminal Justice System and the Capacity of Justice Professionals on Prevention of the European Convention on Human Rights Violations”.

V6C3VTT4IBHSVEYICKR5FQVYGY.jpg

Opinion: Personal support workers are critical to caring for Canada’s aging population. Governments need to treat their jobs as essential

Illustration by Tim Boelaars

The Fixing Health Care series presents 10 common problems faced by patients in Canada, along with 10 solutions that the authors argue can be achieved within our existing publicly funded health system. While the ‘problem’ scenarios in the series are fictional, the authors offer these examples to echo the patient experiences they have encountered through their work in health care and social services.


The Problem: Canadians mistrust the quality of care offered to aging family members

Mark’s mother is now in her late 80s, while her sister is in her 90s, and Mark is the only “child” of his generation who lives close to them both. He is going to be increasingly responsible for helping them as they age, which means he’s learning a lot about the importance of personal support workers, or PSWs.

His aunt was admitted to a nursing home run by the province two years ago, just before the start of the pandemic. She caught the virus during its first wave in 2020, but fortunately recovered; many people in her nursing home were not as lucky.

Most of the people looking after Mark’s aunt are PSWs. Many of them became sick before everyone started getting vaccinated. For the first nine months of the pandemic, his aunt said that many of the PSWs had to isolate after COVID exposure, that she was not really getting much care and that her hygiene suffered. She said they were incredibly short-staffed because of COVID.

Fortunately, with everyone vaccinated, Mark can visit her again and has now met many of the PSWs at the home. Now that they know him, several of the PSWs tell him that they are always looking for new jobs and won’t be staying at the nursing home much longer. Even though they are short-staffed, the residence won’t give them full-time hours and they end up having to work in other homes or at other jobs. They say that they can now make more money working in retail or food service and are probably going to leave health care altogether.

Mark’s mother is doing much better than her sister, but she has been slowing down and has recently started getting PSW-based home care. Knowing that a PSW is coming in to help her shower and ensure she is taking her meds is a great relief to Mark. There are issues with the PSW care though – his mother says they rarely show up at their appointed time, and the personnel who visit her are constantly changing.

Mark spoke to a couple of the PSWs taking care of his mum about this inconsistency. They told him that with COVID, the shortage of home-care PSWs has become severe. They apparently earn less than the PSWs in nursing homes, and they don’t get paid for the time (or the expenses, such as gasoline) they spend travelling between clients. A couple of the workers told him that they love helping seniors like his mother, but that being a home-care PSW is a terrible job.


The Fix: Canadian governments must improve employment standards for PSWs, regulate the vocation, and pay attention to the PSW career trajectory

The role of the personal support worker in Canadian health care (referred to as PSWs throughout this essay, though they are also known as care aides, continuing-care assistants, home-support workers and other titles across the country) became a galvanizing topic of conversation during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when residents in nursing homes suffered real hardship because of inadequate long-term-care home staffing. These workers were not provided with personal protective equipment during the early days of COVID-19. As the virus rapidly spread, many PSWs could not work because of sickness or because they were told to isolate after contact with infected individuals. The issue was exacerbated by the fact that many PSWs had to work in multiple homes to earn a living wage.

Unfortunately, we now know that the lack of staffing in long-term care homes led to some of the most horrific circumstances experienced by Canadians during the pandemic. Most shockingly, dozens of people in long-term care homes died not from COVID-19, but from neglect.

Why did this system of care collapse so quickly at the onset of COVID-19? Clearly, Canada has become increasingly reliant on PSWs to take care of its aging population. But despite the obvious importance of the role, these workers generally remain underpaid and undervalued.

PSWs in Canada provide care mainly to seniors or people living with disabilities. PSWs work in a variety of settings, including home care, privately and publicly funded long-term care and retirement homes, group homes, hospital settings and even prisons. PSWs are trained to assist with the activities of daily living (i.e. getting dressed and maintaining hygiene), preparing meals, light housekeeping and the supervision of medications, among other tasks.

They represent a large group of workers across Canada – Ontario has an estimated 100,000 PSWs, which is about the same as the number of nurses in the province. Exact numbers are difficult to come by, however, as the number of people working as PSWs is not actively tracked or regulated across the country.

The vocation also has a high degree of turnover. An Ontario long-term care staffing study published in July, 2020, reported that around 25 per cent of PSWs who have two or more years of experience leave the sector annually. In September, 2020, the SEIU Healthcare union said that 30 per cent of the nurses and PSWs it represents (around 7,500 people total) were planning to leave their jobs. At present, nearly every province and territory in the country is struggling to respond to PSW shortages and turnover rates. The conditions faced by these workers can offer insight as to why.

Around 90 per cent of PSWs in Canada are women, with one study estimating that around 40 per cent of PSWs in Ontario identify as visible minorities. Many PSWs are new migrants, who take on the role in order to enter the Canadian work force (some have worked as nurses or in other health care positions in their home countries, but their training is not recognized in Canada). Often, the contracts given to PSWs are part-time or casual, which allows employers to forgo offering them benefits. One 2017 study characterized Canada’s PSWs as the health care sector’s “new precariat” – a group of workers faced with the combined precariousness of low wages and high job insecurity, noting that “the gendered and ethnic nature of PSW work” likely contributes to the marginalized status of PSWs across the Canadian health care sector.

PSW compensation is at the very lowest end of the health care pay scale and is often determined not by the type of work the worker does, but rather the sector in which she is employed. While there is no significant difference in the work that PSWs provide across the various settings they work in, discrepancies in compensation abound. In Ontario, the high end of PSW pay is about $25 an hour (plus benefits) for those lucky enough to work in municipal long-term care homes. Private retirement-home PSWs are the lowest paid, at about $16 an hour – just slightly above Ontario’s minimum wage. In Quebec, some PSWs were paid as little as $13 an hour during the pandemic.

PSWs working in home care face particular challenges as well. In a survey released in March, the SEIU Healthcare union found that 72 per cent of its home-care PSW members were planning to leave their jobs because of the recent increase in gas prices; 90 per cent of those surveyed said the home-care corporations they work for do not compensate workers for gas expenses. However, 90 per cent of respondents also noted they would stay in the home-care industry “if full-time jobs, higher wages, and stronger benefits were the conditions of employment.”

The first change governments need to make in supporting PSWs is in recognizing the insecure nature of their work. PSWs working in all sectors need to be offered more full-time employment opportunities, and their wages must be standardized across their various employment settings – since most PSWs are paid through government funding, this should be reasonably straightforward. In addition to improving their wages, job conditions must also be addressed. PSWs working in home care, for example, need to be routinely compensated for the travel time reasonably taken between clients.

Changes to PSW pay and employment standards will increase costs to the health system. However, at present (and even before the pandemic) the PSW shortage has led to more patients being cared for in higher-cost environments. For example, they may be kept in hospital because a long-term care bed is not available, and patients who could otherwise maintain their independence at home with appropriate PSW care are added to long-term-care wait lists because reliable home care is not available. While costs may increase in the short term, transforming the system of care for our seniors is a Canadian imperative that will pay out financial and societal dividends in the long run.

With a burgeoning human-resource shortage spreading across most health care roles, we need to develop a better career trajectory for PSWs. Subsidies for the community college diploma required to become a PSW and paid on-the-job training experience are a must (the governments of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are all leading the way in this regard by fully covering tuition for certain PSW education streams).

PSWs should also have the opportunity to train for registered practical nurse and registered nurse roles as part of their job trajectory. PSWs also lack a regulatory body to register with after completing their education. This is a particularly worrisome gap in the system of care, as complaints about individual PSWs are logged only with their current employers and are left behind once the PSW moves on. As they care for some of the most vulnerable members of our population, we must better regulate the PSW role with the same approach taken in nursing and medicine.

The PSW role needs to be understood as the fundamental job that supports seniors in our health system. In the wake of the pandemic, if our goal as a country is to indeed reform how we care for our aging population, understanding the importance of well-trained and accountable personal support workers is essential. Creating respect for the role, as well as accountability, requires that PSWs be part of a regulated vocation, compensated fairly and provided with the opportunity to advance their careers in the Canadian health system.

About the authors:

Dr. Robert Bell is professor emeritus in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, former deputy minister of health for Ontario and former CEO of the University Health Network. Anne Golden is past president of the United Way of Greater Toronto and the Conference Board of Canada. Paul Alofs is former CEO of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Lionel Robins is past chair of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, and a board member for the United Jewish Appeal Federation and the Betel Senior Centre.


Illustration by Tim Boelaars

More from the Fixing Health Care series:

Seniors need communities that cater to their whole selves, not just their bodies

The pandemic revealed brutal realities about long-term care. Canada has a moral obligation to fix the system

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-emergency-room-transitional-care-facility/


What’s a pain point you’ve experienced in Canada’s health care system? Our experts want to hear from you.

Email your story to comment@globeandmail.com and one of our experts may feature it in a follow-up article along with a potential systemic solution. If your story is chosen, we will identify you by your first name and last initial. Please use “Fixing Health Care Reader Story” in the subject line.

Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.

25B784DF-A42F-4505-9F94-C19694ED4E1B-scaled-1-e1641326769216.jpeg

Prosecutor says ‘get used to’ no jail time for teen gun crimes, assault, theft

A top King County prosecutor told a group of South Sound law enforcement officials that they better “get used to” no jail time for juvenile criminals responsible for the alarming rise of violence in the region. He even joked about their concern, using a popular meme that some on the call found offensive.

Ben Carr is the senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County. He offered a PowerPoint presentation on how the county treats juvenile offenders driving much of the crime. The meeting was called after mayors criticized the prosecutor’s office for going too easy on criminals, demanding answers. It did not go well.

Local officials didn’t hear any promise to prosecute criminal suspects. In fact, they were told that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) will not prosecute nearly half of juvenile felonies, even when they bring guns to school or commit assault, motor vehicle theft, or residential burglary.

Instead, violent criminals will be enrolled in restorative justice programs run by police and prison abolitionists.

Rantz: WA Democrats’ bill says it’s ‘racial equity’ to go easy on drive-by murderers

‘Get used to’ light on crime approach

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH obtained a copy of the presentation offered to law enforcement officials from South Sound cities experiencing a surge in violent crime. The Zoom presentation itself was not recorded.

Carr said his office doesn’t plan on prosecuting many juvenile cases. Citing the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977, which mentions the importance of rehabilitation, the office prefers diversion — even for violent felonies.

The eighth slide on this topic angered some leaders on and off the call. It’s titled “rehabilitation,” and states that “even for serious offenses, the focus ​will be primarily on rehabilitation (get used to this concept).”

Given that the office’s inaction on prosecutions is perceived as driving the violence, telling them to “get used to” it didn’t land.

“It was shocking to me,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, who was not on the call but was given a meeting recap, told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “That we should ‘get used to it?’ It was shocking to me.”

Click here to see the full PowerPoint presentation. 

‘This is fine’ meme ruffles feathers

Also offending some on and off the call was the opening slide.

Carr featured the popular “This is fine” meme, showing a dog drinking coffee in a building that’s on fire. It’s meant ironically. But some on the call explained that it mocked their valid concerns over several high-profile shootings and murders.

The presentation went so poorly, Carr had to explain the perceived slight to Jimmy Hung, the chief deputy prosecutor in the juvenile division. Hung heard of the complaints, though tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that the context of the slide is important to understand. Carr, he says, wasn’t being flippant.

Carr sent over what he called “the offending PowerPoint” to Hung in an email obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Carr explained the context.

“Obviously, ‘This is fine’ was used to make two points: 1) that significant system change is happening around us right now, and 2) that a large portion of the changes are overdue, being done to address racial disproportionality and over-incarceration, and that we should take a moment — in all sincerity, not just ironically — to consider that these changes may actually be ‘fine.’”

But the changes aren’t “fine” to local lawmakers, police departments, and community members who are witnessing their city’s murder rates soar.

“Needless to say, future meetings will focus less on collegiality and more on data,” Carr told Hung via email.

Significantly fewer prosecutions

Over the next several slides, Carr offered an example of a case that wouldn’t land a suspect in jail: bringing a gun to school.

It caught the attention of Federal Way officials. The city experienced six instances where guns were confiscated at schools in the district last year.

The slide reads: “Young Timmy brings a pistol to school, ​brandishes it during a confrontation, ​and causes panic​.”

Carr went through different considerations ahead of making a charging decision: Does the juvenile division have jurisdiction?​ Was a crime committed? What will happen to the juvenile and the case if it goes through the juvenile division?​

The prosecutor then discussed different laws that could apply, explaining how the KCPAO would make a charging decision. Ultimately, however, he told participants that “most likely, no time in custody and no ultimate conviction​.” He cited RCW 13.40.070, which he says compels the office to pursue diversion programs.

Restorative justice

Carr then pivoted to the newly-implemented Restorative Community Pathways (RCP). This is a new “restorative justice” program that provides alternatives to jail time. The KCPAO will forward 40% of juvenile criminals to this program, with plans to send a higher percentage in the coming years.

This program was announced in November 2020, and backed by the King County Council. It is not funded via KCPAO.

The alternatives are offered to certain felony suspects. Rather than going in front of a judge, RCP puts the suspects in front of a community panel of activists. That panel decides how the suspect can be held accountable.

But the activists likely making the decision have poor track records and far-left political beliefs, which include abolishing the police and jails.

What is RCP, really?

Carr notes in the slides that RCP will not be run by the community groups that originally proposed the idea to the prosecutor’s office.

“RCP was initially proposed by Collective Justice, Creative Justice, CHOOSE 180, and Community Passageways,” a slide notes.

He then assured those on the call that: “Although the organizations submitted the initial proposal, they are NOT RCP.” Carr promises that the RCP “will be designed by and with impacted communities.”

But RCP is, in fact, run by those very groups. The slide’s language, which Carr did not write, was old. He included the old data unintentionally.

Those groups are already responsible for releasing dangerous, violent juvenile criminals and failing to get them on the right path. Now, they’re given more responsibility, bigger budgets, and more legitimacy.

Extremists are behind RCP

RCP explains its “end goal is ABOLITION,” and that they are “fighting to dismantle the carceral state.”

They’ve successfully fought to kill the Children and Family Justice Center project, which would have been used to house juvenile criminals. After their tactics, which included “disrupting Executive Dow Constantine’s events,” “home demonstrations in front of council member houses,” and “shutting down the King County council chambers,” they got their way. The project was abandoned, though not before Antifa terrorists burned down a portion of the construction site during a violent demonstration.

The groups behind RCP are not merely talking about abolishing prison sentences for juveniles. Some of the activists from the groups involved are police abolitionists.

Nikkita Oliver, a failed mayoral and council candidate, is behind one of the organizations involved. The political extremist is a virulently anti-cop, police abolitionist who proposed a 100% defunding of the Seattle Police Department.

Oliver helped release a violent suspect who was engaged in the very kind of restorative justice program the KCPAO claims provides “evidence-based” solutions.

But neither RCP nor the community organizations involved successfully curbed violent crime because they keep violent offenders out of jail.

The case of Jakwaun Shannon

Oliver advocated to keep 16-year-old Jakwaun Shannon out of jail, despite his violent criminal record. To Oliver, no youth belongs in jail.

In 2019, when Shannon was 14 years old, police connected him and a friend to four armed robberies, three drive-by shootings, and a pistol-whipping. The two were arrested after a high-speed chase in which Shannon was allegedly the driver.

He was offered probation instead of juvenile detention. He worked with Oliver’s Creative Justice group, which offers art therapy. Despite that work, Shannon ended up arrested and charged for an armed attempted robbery and a carjacking.

According to police documents, two female victims were shot, one losing her kidney and a portion of her intestines as a result. Pictures taken at the time of his arrest show Shannon was wearing a “No New Youth Jail” T-shirt at the time.

This is the evidence-based system that the KCPAO and Carr support. But they should know better. Carr was the prosecuting attorney assigned to the first Shannon case.

Rantz: Councilmember, activists pushed to keep teen out of jail. Then he allegedly shot two women.

Mayors fight back but are ignored

The mayors of Federal Way, Renton, Kent, and Auburn asked the KCPAO to pause RCP.

City leaders, with the possible exception of Seattle, were not part of the process to create RCP. They were shocked to learn the violent charges that would be eligible for the program.

But the KCPAO is refusing to pause the program or address their concerns.

“Instead of trying to meet the cities halfway, the King County prosecutor’s office is running in the opposite direction. It’s an outrageous breach of public trust,” said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell.

Mayor Ralph says the KCPAO has agreed to more meetings, at least. She says she’ll remain “cautiously optimistic.”

What happens in 2022?

Neither the KCPAO nor King County Executive Dow Constantine committed to anything new: They simply refuse to prosecute violent criminals who should be prosecuted.

The KCPAO is doubling down on a failed strategy. The only difference is they’ve given fringe groups more power and a bigger budget.

The criminal juveniles will continue to commit crimes. They are accountable only to activist groups that will do what they can to ensure the teens stay out of jail, regardless of their conduct. And some of the most violent juveniles will get a pass. It seems inevitable that the region will continue to experience a crime surge in 2022.

“I think that we [city leaders] collectively want to be actively engaged in these conversations,” Mayor Ralph tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It’s our responsibility to keep everyone safe and we don’t think this approach accomplishes that. At the same time, I do want to emphasize, no one is asking for a juvenile who steals a candy bar to go to jail. We support the concept of restorative justice. But allowing juveniles who are committing violent crimes to be released back into the community before the work has been done is wrong.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.