National Post articles, by me.



Here’s a selection of what I’ve been writing for the National Post


Social networks are changing social work, for better and for worse


Link to my latest’s Toronto Star feature on the changing face of social work:

And the PDF

Irish driving licences will be eligible in the Canadian province of Ontario very shortly

Great news for the Irish in Canada. As I understand it Ontario should be recognizing the Irish license in the coming months.
Jennifer Hough

Irish driving licences will be eligible in the Canadian province of Ontario very shortly, according to the Department of Transport.

The news will come as a relief to thousands of Irish living and working in Canada’s most populous province. The issue has been a bugbear for immigrants for many years as Canada has mutual driving agreements with many other European countries. Under these agreements, drivers can convert their home licence into provincial ones.

Reaching an agreement is not straight forward because each Canadian province operates its own licencing system.

The RSA began discussions with Ontario in 2012, working through the Irish Embassy in Canada. The RSA has also engaged with Newfoundland, Labrador, and Alberta, and last week received documentation from Manitoba which is now being analysed, a department spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the department said the Road Safety Authority was to notify Ontario that its licence is acceptable to Ireland before the end of 2013. It is expected the Canadian province will give sanction to the Irish licence “shortly thereafter,” the spokesperson said.

The influx of Irish into Canada in recent years prompted the talks.

The matter was first raised with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar by members of the Irish diaspora during an official visit to Canada and the department also received a number of representations from individuals.

In 2012, the department and the minister asked the RSA to explore the mutual recognition of driving licences. Mr Varadkar also raised the matter during an official trip to Canada this year, and has since followed it up with the Irish Ambassador to Canada.

Since then a considerable amount of discussion has taken place, the department said.

Cathy Murphy of the Toronto-based Irish Canadian Immigratation Centre said she anticipates the change will open up employment opportunities for those in the trades.

“There are technical issues that are taking time to work through, but I understand negotiations are proceeding well and as such it will be very good news for the new Irish arriving here,” she said.

Under the current rules, Irish people have to retake their driving test to get an Ontario ‘G’ licence.

However, once this hurdle has been crossed, there is the issue of insurance to contend with.

Ontario has the highest car insurance in North America, and without a Canadian driving history prices for annual coverage can range up to $3,000 or more. Some insurance company do take no claims bonus documents into account.

The squirrel man of Dufferin Grove

I met a lovely man called Kelly down at Dufferin Grove today. He said he’s friends with the squirrels, well one in particular, who he’s been feeding for two years!

That was one fat squirrel.