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In Ontario, At What Age Can a Child Legally Decide Which Parent to Live With?

Child custody and access is a highly complicated area of law. A prevalent issue raised in this area is the question of whether a child can decide which parent he or she wants to live with. According to one lawyer, this is one of the most common questions asked in a custody case; unfortunately, it is also a question without a clear-cut answer.

At What Age Can a Child Legally Decide Which Parent to Live With?

While the decision of where a child should live is ultimately in the hands of the judge deciding the case, the child’s wishes can have an impact. This is especially true if the child is in his or her teenage years. But the weight given to the child’s personal preferences will vary from case to case.

Generally, the court will give more and more weight to the child’s wishes as he or she grows older. This is not just a matter of the child’s maturity, but of practicality as well; the older a child gets, the harder it is for the court to enforce undesirable living arrangements upon them.

In Taylor v Taylor (1989), the judge noted that, “It is probably futile to ignore the wishes of an older child in his or her mid-teens, who is determined to live with a parent of his or her own choice.” Another Ontario judge echoed this view years later in Goodman v Browne (2003), writing that, “It has often been said that children ‘vote with their feet’.”

In other words, there comes a point at which a child is old enough to pack their things and move out on their own, whether the custodial parent (or the court) likes it or not. While a teenager’s wishes are not the sole determinant of the court’s decision, it will invariably have an impact.

When Should Parents Let the Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?

What if the parents aren’t contesting custody? In that case, should the child decide who to live with?

Not necessarily.

Tracy Miller, Kitchener’s best family lawyer, has written on this subject on her blog. Having seen dozens of custody cases through the years, she has observed the potential pitfalls of allowing children to make the call on where to live.

“The responsibility should not be forced onto a child – they shouldn’t have to live with their decision of picking one parent over the other,” she writes. Letting children decide puts them in a position where they have to pick sides between parents, which can be very harmful to their mental health and well-being.

Miller also reminds us that children often tell their parents what they want to hear, fearing that the same kind of conflict that arose between parents will also befall the parent-child relationship.

As said in the beginning, there is no simple answer to the question of when children get to decide where to live. I highly recommend Miller’s firm KW Law for legal advice related to child custody issues. Even if your case is not headed to court, it is enormously helpful to receive sound advice from an experienced source.

Generic PrEP A Further Aid in the Fight Against HIV

By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

After many years and several different drugs that proved problematic, the fight to prevent HIV infection took a major step forward with the approval of Truvada. Research showed that when taken under recommended guidelines, Truvada was extremely effective at preventing HIV in such common risk groups as gay and bisexual men, and transwomen.

Originally created to treat people with HIV, it was also discovered that Truvada was very effective at preventing infection. That was excellent news, however, like most new drugs, Truvada proved to be extremely expensive, about $1000 per month. This was beyond the ability of many people to pay and several private insurers also refused to cover the drug even though the cost of pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) as a preventative is considerably lower than HIV medication.

As Health Canada had only approved the drug for HIV treatment, not prevention, insurance companies sometimes used that as an out, saying that they would not fund “experimental treatment.”

Fortunately, there have been some significant developments since then. Health Canada has now altered its stance, saying that daily use of PrEP, in combination with safe sex practices, is an effective way to prevent HIV infection. That shoots down the insurance company claim that the drug is merely experimental. Also, the introduction of generic forms has significantly reduced the cost ($250-$280 per month), which will also make insurance providers more willing to sign on.

In more good news, Ontario has joined Quebec in saying that the province will now cover the drug. There can still be some cost involved depending on your age and situation, but much, much less than there was even a year ago.

As mentioned above, the drug is generally taken daily, though at least one study suggests that a smaller monthly quantity will suffice for less sexually active users.

How to Survive Winter

You say winter is not your favorite season? Believe me, I hear you. Just because I have spent my entire life in Canada, foreign friends think this means that I must love ice and snow. Well, I am here today to say that you can love the country and hate the weather.

Well, I actually only hate it six months out of the year, but you get the idea. Winter just plain sucks: ice cold temperatures, mountains of snow, ice seemingly put in your path for the sole purpose of inducing falls and other accidents, and lingering dryness in the air that allows bacteria to flourish. If you love winter sports, more power to you, just don’t make me listen to how great your last skiing trip was and how you can’t wait to go again. I’ll be by the fireplace drinking hot apple cider.

Even with enticements like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, winter leaves me cold (see what I did there?). There is just nothing to get excited about, at least, as an adult. Sure, it was fun to throw snowballs and slide down icy sidewalks as a child. I could also somehow stand (and actually wanted) being out in freezing temperatures covered in snow for hours at a time. Those days are gone and, outside of the occasional reminiscence with old friends, they can stay gone.

If you find your spirits dropping this time of year, it might be a case of S.A.D., which is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. One way to combat that is to get outside more and benefit from the wonder of sunlight, but, yeah, that also means freezing your face off. Fortunately, S.A.D. lights are available, and they do a pretty good job of simulating sunlight. If all else fails, try speaking to your doctor and/or a therapist. These professionals can offer worthwhile suggestions on how you can hang in there until spring.

In the meantime, just remember: you’re not alone in hating winter. Far from it, in fact.

How to Look for Another Job When You Already Have One (and Why You Should!)

Nobody enjoys job hunting, so it is something that most of us only do when out of work. However, as odd as it sounds, the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.

Hear us out on this! If you have been out of work for some time, potential employers will look less favorably on you than someone with few or no gaps in their work record. The fact that you are gainfully employed is solid evidence that you can hold a job.

However, before you adopt this job hunting strategy, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Keep Quiet

Imagine you are a supervisor and one of your employees told you that he is looking for another job. Why would you invest any more time or thought in that person? In fact, you would most likely start looking for a replacement or maybe even go ahead and fire them, in order to save a bit of money this quarter.

When you start looking for another role, don’t tell your boss or anyone you work with. That includes people whom you consider to be friends. Anyone can accidentally blurt that information out and then everyone will know. You can announce it once the new position is confirmed and you have signed on the dotted line.

It is also wise to limit the number of people outside of work who know. Loose lips sink ships.

No Job Search on the Job

One way you can give up the game is being caught doing job search at work. You never know who will walk into a room and look at your computer screen, or see what you are printing out. Many companies closely monitor what their workers do online. It’s just not worth the risk, so confine your job search to when you’re at home.

Networking Warning

The same applies when networking. This is a very important aspect of job search, so don’t leave it out. However, you can talk about your employment goals without saying specifically where you work. Mention the industry and just leave it at that.

Having Trouble Focusing When You Write?

Do you have trouble staying focused when you write? Programs like Word are wonderful for the way in which they can make writing and editing so much easier. However, if your computer has access to the internet, it can be remarkably tempting to click out of Word, go into Chrome, and see what is happening on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. And on and on.

This temptation can be particularly strong when your assignment involves something that is not particularly interesting to you. Most writers must adhere to hard and fast deadlines, so this can be quite stressful. And yet, that pressure is not always enough of an incentive to keep on track. Do you have this problem? If so, the following suggestions can help:

Put Off the Research

If you must use the net for research, and you’re not sure you won’t get off track, leave the research portion of the work for later. Work around that section of the piece as best you can and for as long as you can. Writers get the most done when they reach a sense of flow; stopping to do research can make it very difficult to get that rhythm back. That means you will fall behind and chances are the quality of your work will also suffer because you will feel rushed and disorganized.

When writing, use a searchable term, such as “break” to indicate where you have stopped working. This allows you to easily find that term when returning to these sections later on.

Change Your Computer Settings

If the internet is calling to you and you are having trouble resisting, make some changes. Turn off all instant messaging functions, news notifications, and anything else that might interrupt your train of thought. If worse comes to worst, you can always turn off your modem.

Retirement May Not Be the Answer to a Long Life

You may have noticed a lot of grey-haired people out and about lately. That is because human beings are living longer than ever before, thanks to advancing medical technology and improved treatment. It is perfectly common for people to now live well into their 80s and even 90s.

This has caused the population to change significantly in the past couple of decades. In the wake of lower numbers of children being born, the elderly now outnumbers young people in some countries. This development has put a strain on the health care system in those areas.

The standard American/Canadian retirement age of 65 is also being questioned. Should people really stop working at that age when, in many cases, they still have as much as 20-25 years of life left? Some retirees are already returning to the workforce because they have not been able to make ends meet. However, others are doing it voluntarily because they miss the routine and benefits that working provided.

Studies show that seniors remain healthier, more mentally agile, and just all around better if they remain active, rather than sedentary. While this does not necessarily mean working full time, a part-time position or even volunteer work can be advisable to help retain physical and mental conditioning. A large number of seniors also suffer from depression; physical activity is also very good at helping to alleviate such symptoms.

Thus, it is quite clear that having older citizens continuing to make their skills and experience available to the working world is a benefit for both them and society as a whole. These workers require less training, tend to me more dependable than younger employees, and are also more likely to stay in positions longer, with less hopping from one job to the next. That’s good news for companies looking for talented employees that they can count on to stay put.

 

Is Internet Outrage Counterproductive?

We’ve all seen it: a person or event sparks a flood of angry responses on our Facebook or Twitter feeds. Many of our friends get into a self-righteous lather and claim that they will never support so and so or whatever company, and state that you should do the same, if you have any integrity at all.

But does this work? Has your opinion on a matter ever been truly swayed by someone who speaks online with plenty of passion, but fewer facts?

People like to get up in arms on the internet because it allows them to feel like they are making a difference. For example, Donald Trump will remain president for either four years or until he is impeached or resigns. That is a very depressing prospect for many people, so it is tempting to take some of the many negatives stories about him and re-post, stating, “See? He needs to go NOW!” There is nothing wrong with stating that sentiment, but does it really accomplish any more than allowing the person to blow off a little steam?

It is easy to feel almost powerless in a society where the rich have tight control over almost all aspects of life. Internet anger allows the average person to rage against the machine and, on occasion, these turn into campaigns that produce genuine results.

So, is internet outrage a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it can be wearying and even inaccurate as some individuals make false accusations in their zeal to join in and feed the frenzy. This can lead to distress for the innocent parties and considerable damage to their lives. In that regard, internet anger can be dangerous, but the question remains: how do you regulate free speech and still have it be free speech? There are no easy answers, though we all need to exercise personal responsibility for our actions online.

Suffering from a Bout of Writer’s Block? Try These Suggestions

Are you reading this article because you have just spent the last hour staring at a flashing cursor on your computer screen? No matter how experienced you are as a writer, there will be days when the words just do not come to you. So, if you have not been writing for that long since you started experiencing writer’s block, it is not a sign that you should give up. Quite the contrary, as you will see from our list of suggestions below, one of the best ways to defeat writer’s block is to simply get back in the saddle.

Try Writing Something Else

Have a term paper due in history and you are not getting anywhere? Put it aside and try writing in your diary. Or about the hockey game you just watched, or about what you would like to do next summer. This may not seem as important as your history assignment, but it does help to keep your creativity flowing. Chances are you will find that it is easier to then go back to that earlier project.

Try writing in a different spot

Do you usually write in the local coffee shop? Try doing it at home instead. The usual room at home no longer effective? Try working in the library. It may just be psychological, rather than something more substantive (e.g. disruptive noise), but changing your environment can sometimes make a real difference. Inspiration can come in strange and even unfathomable ways; give this a try and you might be surprised.

Step back for a while

If the above suggestions do not work, try taking an extended break. It might be for a few hours or a few days or even a few weeks. Chances are when you do come back, your batteries will be recharged and you will not be lacking in inspiration.

How to Stop Getting Angry

Just to clarify right off the top, this article does not claim that once you read it, you will never be angry again. However, if you find that you get angry more often the you would like, the tips listed here can help to reduce that. It is perfectly normal to get angry, and sometimes it can be a good way to vent some steam, which is something we all need every once in a while. However, excessive amounts of anger can have a negative effect on both our personal and professional lives, and can even lead to unintended instances of violence.

Remove yourself from situations that make you angry

Are there certain occasions, situations, or people that consistently get your back up? If so, do your best to avoid them. This may require some strategic manoeuvring on your part, and can also be quite awkward at times. However, it will be worth it because you will have reduced the number of times you get angry.

Opt for a short-term solution

In instances where we lose our temper over something happening, it can be tough to think of the big picture. Our emotions are high and we want a solution right now. However, in many cases, situations are difficult enough that a simple solution is not possible. That does not mean that something else cannot be done in the interim, though. While this may be a Band-Aid quick fix solution, it is better than nothing and can often be enough to stabilize your mood.

Practice some relaxation techniques

You have probably heard that taking a deep breath can help you to relax. It sounds too simplistic to work, but it actually does. Remove yourself from whatever situation is making you angry, take some long, deep breaths, and chances are you will feel your blood pressure start to go down.

You can also think about seeing a therapist. They will recommend relaxation techniques that are suitable for you and your current situation.

Parking Lot Safety Includes Good Lighting

Many people use parking lots on a daily basis and usually don’t think twice about them. However, it can be a different story at night. Depending on the building and location, it can be a long walk to your car and that can be a scary proposition when the sun goes down. Not all lots have adequate illumination, which means that robbers, car jackers, and other criminals can potentially be hiding in the shadows waiting for victims.

Fortunately, things have improved quite a bit over the years and LED parking lot lighting is one of the main reasons. This type of lighting can provide a great deal of illumination and all but eliminate those shadowy spots that give us pause. With proper planning and placement, it is not difficult to fully illuminate a large lot, greatly increasing the sense of safety.

Older forms of lighting were quite expensive because they required a great deal of electricity. Also, maintenance could be substantial and costly. LED offers major improvements in both of those areas, too. Building owners are looking at various ways to maximize revenue; LED lighting more than pays for itself in a very short period of time. That kind of forward thinking is key to maintaining a competitive edge in markets where everyone is constantly thinking of ways to jump ahead of the competition. Also, the savings provided by formats like LED can be used for investment, innovation, expansion, renovation, and any other project that helps a company to remain vibrant and a leader in their field.

LED parking lot lights just make more sense all around and Tradeforce Tech is a major and trusted supplier of them. In fact, industrial energy efficiency projects by Tradeforce distinguish themselves both in the planning and the execution. Put them at the top of your list the next time you seek high tech solutions that will help to grow your bottom line.