Posted in Canada, Coffee, Community, Daddy, disaster, family, government, health, news, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Thursday Thirteen, Toronto

WTF is Going on? 13 WTF Events from The Urban Daddy: Thursday 13.

This has been a WTF kind of week!  I had so much going on that I had to take all my notes and throw them into a Thursday 13 list, of 13 WTF Moments.

  1. North and South Korea peace – WTF?  Does anyone believe that peace is going to change the way poor North Koreans live?  This guy in North Korea had his brother poisoned…

  2. Now I’m CERTAIN that Donald Trump is going to take credit for North Korea coming into the fold and agreeing to de-militarize, and seek peace with South Korea.

  3. Bill Cosby – Guilty – WTF took so long?  He was a great role model and changed the way TV portrayed African Americans, however, he drugged women and raped them.  That cannot be forgiven.

10.  Am I the only person who works out of coffee shops when meeting clients and who always checks his earphone when listening to something on the phone or computer to make sure it’s the earphones I am hearing, and that I’m not annoying the rest of the shop?  3 times this week patrons were listening to crap with their headphones on, and the sound was blaring out of their device.  They kept cranking up the volume until I had to notify them…

9.  I’m creating the Coffee Shop Police Etiquette Program

8.  Remember when a former Toronto Mayoral candidate threw a sexual harassment complaint against TVO host Steve Paikin, and instead of firing him, TVO hired an investigator to determine the legitimacy of the complaints?  Turns out no proof was found to substantiate the claim.  Good on TVO for getting on top of this right away (pardon the pun) and now what happens to the host, Paikin, and complainant, Thompson?

7.  Why do people bring food into coffee shops, then proceed to sit there – chow down their meal – then leave without buying anything?  More importantly, why does it always appear to me that these people have either really huge amounts of food, or are extremely messy and chew with their mouths open?  Is this a subtle way the coffee shop is trying to tell me to buy more food / drinks or leave?  They have this guy in the back and they sick him on patrons?  Better him, than the mouth-noise guy, the guy with the disgusting mouth noises, or the dancer who – no matter the weather – is wearing a tank top and just gets up and starts dancing…

6.  There is a “thing” for men who cannot get “laid”?  Is this real?  When I was growing up, if the girls didn’t look at you, you changed.  Your clothes, your hair, your weight, you got better educated, you learned to be a better person…  Clearly, for Millenials, this is WAY too much work, so it’s better to complain to others and then kill innocent people.  Enough already!

5.  With a Provincial election coming, FINALLY, in Ontario, and the Liberal government preparing for the crash, word comes out that a policy they created has come back to bite them in the ass.  LOL.  They created a policy where the Auditor General would review the books and records of the government prior to an election and confirm the amount of surplus or deficit the government has.  Well… The Liberals said the deficit would be only $2-3 billion dollars, but the AG said, nope.  It’s closer to $11-billion.  Thanks for the lies, deceit and for bankrupting this province!  See ya, Libs!

4.  I have a GREAT piece on minor hockey corruption coming shortly.  A must read!

3.  I agreed to coach my eldest son’s baseball team again this season, and I only had one request of the league… As a die-hard Toronto Blue Jays fan, please, please, please do not make us the Yankees again this year.  I cannot for the life of me say, “Go Yankees”.  I can’t.  Like the Fonz cannot apologize.  Guess what???  We’re the Spankees again this year.  UGH.

2.  A 23yo Quebec mother was charged with 2nd degree murder after her 2-year-old daughter was stabbed to death, then her body dumped in a garbage can.  I don’t know what to say about this other than what kind of a person takes a child’s body and dumps it in the trash… Words cannot describe…

… and the number One WTF Moment from this week…

  1. Toronto – my city, my home, streets from where I grew up, worked and where my family lives and works… The tragedy, the senseless violence.  Such and evil human being.  Thank goodness for the residents of Toronto who tried to stop this lunatic, or save the victims, or pull people out of the way… Toronto the good, overshadowed Toronto the sad.



Posted in Baby Boy, Baby girl, Canada, Caregiver, Daddy, family, government, Happy Wife = Happy Life, Life, news, Parenting, politics, The Urban Daddy, urbandaddyblog

Federal Budget: Paternity Leave, The Urban Daddy on CTV!

Yesterday was the 3rd Federal Liberal budget and if you paid any attention to the news leading up to the budget, you would have heard that this was going to be a “gender” budget, as our Prime Minister and Finance Minister hope to save Canadian “Peoplekind”,

What made it a “gender” budget was the inclusion of policies aimed to equalize pay between men and women and adopting a paternity leave benefit program which was implemented in Quebec just over 10-years-ago.

As a father of 3 children, I was lucky to have the opportunity to take parental leave with 2 of my three kids.  I was working for the Canada Revenue Agency, and the CRA topped up my salary from the 66% which I would have received while on EI, to 93% of my salary.

Who wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity to support his spouse, bond with his children and help out with everything that comes with children, which is why I took 9-months with our first child, 4-months with our second child, and by the time our third child rolled around, I was in the private sector and took just one day.

So who better to speak on the government’s policy than me, right?

I was on the CTV News Network, live, in the morning with Marcia McMillan, and then in the evening, CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks interviewed my wife and I for a well done piece on what worked and what didn’t with regard to paternity benefits.

Watch the clip here; CTV Parental Leave The Urban Daddy

It was my first foray into TV – I have been on the radio quite a lot to discuss tax-issues – and I really liked it (except for the way I looked in the evening interview – exhausted!)

Here is how I feel about the Liberals intention vs plan of action; They talk a great game but always seem to fall short, with an ultimate cost to the taxpayers, for their plans.

They said that providing fathers to take 5-weeks off would lure more women into the workforce.


There were no new day care spots made available, nor any changes to the Live-In Caregiver program, so it left my wife and I puzzled as to how this was going to lure women into the work force.

Is it possible that behind this message was a belief that men don’t do anything around the household and that if, in 5-weeks – with them being home, changing diapers, cooking meals and keeping the house clean – men will realize they can help out at home, thus lessening the burden on women?

I think that’s a stretch, to say the least, but for $1.2 billion dollars – and starting in June 2019 – men will be able to take 5-weeks off with their partners to help, support and bond.  It’s certainly better than nothing.

It doesn’t change the stereotype that men don’t do paternity leave.

It doesn’t change the hesitation of some firms to hire woman who are in their child-bearing years.

It does make the Liberals look hip, and cool.

I just hope the last point wasn’t the motivation behind this initiative…


Posted in Sports

Hockey Talk: Kovalchuk, Neidermayer and their Legacy on the Devils and Maple Leafs.

You have probably heard by now that New Jersey Devils superstar forward Ilya Kovalchuk retired from the NHL 3 years into a 17-year, $102 million dollar contract, having received $23 million in salary – leaving $77 million on the table.  He went back home, to Russia, and is expected to sign with the KHL right away.

Turns out he loved playing in Russia so much during that ridiculous NHL lockout that he felt homesick upon his return.  Well done, NHL/PA.

What you may not know and is impressive if you toss it into a conversation with someone, is that the Devils paid quite a price for Kovalchuk.  First, they traded Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, a 2nd-round pick and a 1st-round to the then Atlanta Thrashers for him at the 2010 trade deadline (The Devils did receive a 2nd-round pick and Anssi Salmela from the Thrashers at that time).

When Kovalchuk’s contract expired at the end of the 2009-2010 season, the Devils re-signed him to a 17-year $102 million contract which the league rejected because it was back-loaded and circumvented the NHL’s salary cap.  Then the NHL amended its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to disallow other organizations from utilizing this loophole.   The NHL punished the Devils who were forced to forfeit $3 million, a 3rd-round draft pick and a 1st-round draft pick.

So let’s do the math:  The Devils invested: Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, a 2nd-round pick, two 1st-round picks, a 3rd-round pick, a $3 million fine, $23 million in salary and got in a large fight with Gary Bettman and the NHL over this.

It’s safe to say that this list was not worth it, considering that Kovalchuk retired with 12 years and $77 million remaining on his contract.

The Devils will now have a lot of salary cap space but if they knew this, would they have let forward David Clarkson become an unrestricted free agent?  Clarkson was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs a few days ago at the start of the free agent signing season.  So now the Devils have to find 2 premier players instead of just one.

The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, must have felt a little nervous when signing Clarkson from the Devils given the fact that Scott Neidermayer was elected to the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame this week.

How do the 2 relate, you might be asking?

Well, the Leafs known for terrible trades and horrible drafting have made some pretty sketchy decisions, since 1967’s expansion, such as; sending Lanny McDonald to Colorado or Owen Nolan from San Jose, or trading goalie Tuukka Rask and keeping Justin Pogge, while getting Andrew Raycroft in return, or trading 2 high draft picks Vesa Toskala in 2007, but the one that hurts the most, in my opinion is this one.

On October 16th, 1989 the Toronto Maple Leafs traded their 1st round draft pick in the 1991 NHL entry draft to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Tom Kurvers.  That pick turned out to be Scott Neidermayer.

The Maple Leafs were a terrible team and with the recent addition of Europeans were easy to play against in the rough, tough Norris division.  The coach, John Brophy, known for being tough himself insisted the team get tougher and that began with the laughable trade of speedy centre Russ Courtnal to the Montreal Canadiens for goon John Kordic (whom I met on the Toronto subway on the way to Wrestlemania 6 at the SkyDome.  Kordic since died from an overdose)

Known for being a coaching carousel, the Leafs fired Broph after a 10 game winless streak and replaced him with Leaf legend and former captain George Armstrong – which didn’t matter with a terrible team as the Leafs finished last in the Norris division.

Over the summer, GM Stellick was fired, and Armstrong was not asked to return.  Instead, the Leafs promoted their chief scout Floyd Smith to be the GM and they hired former New Jersey coach Doug Carpenter to run the team.

With Borje Salming and Chris Kotsopoulos leaving TO to sign with the Detroit Red Wings, and defenseman Rick Lanz deciding to play in Switzerland instead of Toronto, the team needed to add blueliners so they began with Rob Ramage, Al Iafrate, and they pushed along some young but unproven defensemen in Luke Richardson and Todd Gill.  The Leafs also added Brad (no helmet, can’t skate) Marsh and tough guy Brian Curran – whom I remember as always having a broken jaw from fighting.  Coach Carpenter knew the Devils well, and pointed to Tom Kurvers, who had already moved from the Canadiens to the Sabres and on to the Devils where as an offensive defenseman, managed 34 points during the 1987-88 season and 15 points in the playoffs.  The following year, Kurvers lead the Devils in points from the defense with 16 goals and 50 assists.

So after losing 4 of their first 5 games in the 1989-90 season the Leafs and Devils agreed on a trade with the Leafs getting Kurvers and the Devils getting the Leafs 1st round draft pick in the 1991 entry draft.

Kurvers finished second to Iafrate in defensive scoring that year with 15 goals and 37 assists, helping the Leafs make the playoffs and finish 3rd in the Norris Division, however, the Leafs lost to the St. Louis Blues in 5 games – if you are around my age you will remember the Sergio Momesso slapshot from just past centre ice that goalie Alan Bester let in.  That deflated the team and they were done in the series.

Toronto returned for the 1990-91 season with virtually the same roster, except Bester, who was demoted to Newmarket and was replaced by rookie Peter Ing. Unfortunately, the success of the previous season did not repeat itself. The Leafs again fell flat early in the season, going winless in the first seven games. After a win over Chicago, they lost another three games in a row and Carpenter was fired and replaced by former Vancouver and Winnipeg coach Tom Watt.

Watt was unable to pull Toronto out of their crash dive and by early November, the club was 2-15-1 and well on their way to finishing dead last in the league, which would have allowed them to draft the top prospect that year which was Oshawa General centre Eric Lindros.  But with that debacle looming, panic set in and GM Smith traded over half the Leaf roster to avoid finishing dead last.  Some of those trades included;

November 9, 1990 – Leafs trade John McIntyre to Los Angeles for Mike Krushelnyski

November 9, 1990 – Leafs trade Steve Bancroft (former 1st rounder) to Boston for Rob Cimetta

November 10, 1990 – Leafs trade Ed Olczyk and Mark Osborne to Winnipeg for Dave Ellett and Paul Fenton

November 17, 1990 – Leafs trade Scott Pearson (former 1st rounder) and their 1991 and 1992 second round picks to Quebec for Michel Petit, Lucien Deblois and Aaron Broten

December 17, 1990 – Leafs trade Lou Franceschetti and Brian Curran To Buffalo for Mike Foligno

In the end, the Leafs finished 11 points behind Quebec, with a 23-46-11 record, meaning Quebec drafted first (no draft lottery yet), while the expansion San Jose Sharks received the 2nd overall pick.  The New JerseyDevils drafted 3rd with the Leafs pick from the Kurvers trade.

So what about Kurvers?  Well he too was shipped out of Toronto, to the Vancouver Canucks for center Brian Bradley.   Kurvers was traded at the end of that season to the New York Islanders, where he averaged over 40 points a season in his final three NHL seasons before he retired.

Niedermayer became the only player to win a Memorial Cup, World Junior Championship, IIHF World Championship, Olympic gold medal, Stanley Cup and the World Cup.  He won the Norris Trophy for the best defenseman in the league in 2004, as well as helping the Devils win 3 Stanley Cups(1995, 2000 & 2003) and the Anaheim Ducks win one in 2007.  He also won 2 Olympic Gold Medals for Canada in 2002 and 2010.

So while I wish Kovalchuk success in Russia, and Neidermayer congratulations for being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, I also feel a little frustrated knowing he could have been a Leaf.

Of course my Maple Leaf cynicism also has me doubting that the team would have developed him in the manner the Devils did, or that he would have had a player with the skill set of Scott Stevens to help him along.

Or maybe, the Leafs don’t panic and pick up Kurvers and instead draft Eric Lindros 1st overall…

Sigh.  Say what you will New Jersey, but being a Toronto sports fan sucks!

Posted in Community, family, Life, politics

IVF Funding in Canada: Infertility Impact on Grandparents

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection can be used t...

Over the past year-and-a-half I have had the pleasure of researching and writing quite a bit on the impact IVF has on couples and the burden that is born by taxpayers in Canada. The province of Quebec, in recognizing this, has been funding IVF treatments and thus reducing the stress on families and the costs on taxpayers. My hope, and the hope of organizations like Conceivable Dreams, is that other provinces in Canada will step forward, understand the true impact of infertility and in the very least, fund IVF treatments while researching the causes of infertility to help those in need.

One area which I had neglected to review was the toll infertility takes on the couple’s extended family – specifically grandparents – both current grandparents and the future grandparents. I found some articles on the Internet on IVF and grandparents and there were written by some pretty amazing people who have gone through IVF treatments and they discuss the difficult time they had discussing their feelings with their families and friends but found solace in their grandparents and the support – financial and emotional – whic helped them through the treatments whether successfully or unsuccessfully.  I also found much discussion around the shame associated with infertility and the typical responses to infertility from those unprepared to have this significant discussion.

There is no question that struggling to get pregnant can be a serious blow to the self-esteem of both women and men – women unable to carry the baby and men unable to create the child. It impacts their relationship and can cause permanent discord which some relationships are never able to recover from.  Imagine a couple going through this difficult and challenging time without support from their parents? Who could they turn to for support? What if they have no close friends who understand infertility? It can be very isolating, I would imagine.

In researching the role that grandparents play in infertility issues, I came across Dr.Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., the executive director of The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, Boston IVF who pointed out that; “The desire to start a family is a strong one, and failing to achieve that can impact everything from the marital relationship to interactions with future grandparents and friends who become pregnant.”

Unfortunately, many couples find it easier to hide their infertility troubles than announce it to family and friends which often results in these couples feeling isolated and adds additional stress to them.  I read, and have heard, from the many people that I have spoken to, that couple resort to telling others that they have decided to not have children, rather that confessing that they are having fertility issues. That is very sad that there is a stigma attached to infertility among those who have not had to go through it, yet those who have had challenges getting pregnant fully understand the stress and would be more than willing to offer support without hesitation. Often in discussions about children, it rarely comes up that there were difficulties unless the conversation starts there.  Couples assume they are alone with their infertility issues and that it was easy for other couples to have children, but often they realize that is far from the case.

I also found some great resources for grandparents if they want to have this discussion with their children / grandchildren around the issue of infertility at, in an article entitles, “10 Ways to Support a Fertility-Challenged Couple”.

This author of this article suffered from infertility issues and required IVF treatments in order to have her baby, and she points out ways (prospective) grandparents can help, more than financially, the couple and outlines ways in which the grandparents can actually cause more harm than good by withholding certain information or pressuring the couple.

I absolutely agree with this author and feel that the common sense rule applies here (and in SO many other aspects of our lives).  If after reviewing the scenario in your head doing or saying something might hurt or offend the other person – or you if you were in their shoes – then it’s best to not say it at all.  Chances are they have already thought it and stressed about it.

I also think it’s best to get the issue out there, especially to parents in order to set the ground rules.  Most couple do not expect to have issues getting pregnant and after having issues, research has showed that they felt they should have started seeking answers earlier, but clearly going through it is a long, stressful, frustrating process and having a loved-one shoot out a comment like; “Relax” or “Stop worrying” or “It will happen for you.  It just takes time”, may be seen as being encouraging by those who say it, but show the couple they have no support there.

Link to the original article here;

Another great article I came across is here;, outlines how infertility can bring a couple closer together but also leads to them holding back information from prospective grandparents in order to keep their stress levels lower since most parents would do anything for their children and will try to offer the best suggestion to help the couple conceive when the couple just needs support and understanding.

This puts the grandparents in an awkward position as they want to help out and do what is best for their children but usually by the time they find out that their children are suffering from infertility, the couple has already met with specialists, confirmed the infertility, read a ton of articles, Googled it, and have spoken to friends or acquaintances who themselves had fertility issues.  Deep into the stressful period of infertility, couples usually have little time or patience for questions or suggestions which show a lack of understanding of the actual root cause of the infertility or the stress the couple has been holding in.

There are also some wonderful Canadian sources, such as this blog posted by @TJZmommy on her site “Telling My Story”. about the support she received through her battle with infertility.

If you have been impacted by infertility I welcome you to share your story in the comment section of my blog and I guarantee you will be supported by me, and the many readers who have expressed their support for IVF Funding across Canada.

You should also take a moment to check out Conceivable Dreams and please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hash tag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF.

I support OHIP funding for IVF here in Ontario, and strongly feel that helping other couples become parents, who really want to be parents, should be accomplished without the financial burden that comes with infertility – for the couple and the taxpayers.

You can also help the cause by sending a note to the Minister of Health in your province to tell them that funding IVF treatments is the right thing to do, both emotionally and fiscally for everyone involved.

The Ministers of Health are;

Ontario – Deb Matthews;,

Alberta – Fred Horne;

Saskatchewan – Dwight Duncan;

B.C. – Michael de Jong;

Manitoba – Theresa Oswald;

New Brunswick – Madeleine (Mado) Dubé;

Nova Scotia – Maureen MacDonald;

Newfoundland – Susan Sullivan;

PEI – Doug Currie –

Canada – The Honourable Leona

*Disclosure: I am honoured to share this story of IVF as a valued and compensated member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team.

Posted in Life

In-Vitro Fertilization Funding Saves Taxpayers Money: Why Does Only Quebec Get It?

English: 8-cell human embryo, day 3
English: 8-cell human embryo, day 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prior to the Ontario election I was approached to write a series of posts on In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and the fact that Ontario could save around $500 million dollars over 10 years if the government funded IVF as Quebec already does.  For those posts I received considerable feedback, all of it positive, yet the Ontario Liberal government continues to monitor IVF instead of acting on this obvious win for everyone involved and funding it.

I cannot for the life of me figure out when the Liberal government has not acted on this yet, other than to chalk it up as laziness.  It is much easier to raise taxes than to implement a policy to save lives, ease the burden of bearing children from people who really want them (and can clearly afford families) and save money for the tax paying public.

Well Ontario, you voted for the Liberals and they have done nothing.

In Alberta, a recent study came out which shows significant savings can be had there and the hope is that the Alberta government follows the lead of Quebec and funds IVF, and not the lead of Ontario.

Some Ontario facts for you Alberta…

75% of Ontarians support OHIP funding of IVF similar to Quebec and that support is high among all Ontarians regardless of who they voted for in the last provincial election, so it’s not going to cost you voters.

In Ontario, where the cost of IVF is not covered by OHIP, most couples choose to transfer multiple embryos rather than a single embryo. As a result, the rate of multiple births from IVF in Ontario is roughly 28% compared to below 10% in other jurisdictions.  Why is this an issue?  Because multiple births are 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, to require a caesarean delivery and to need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives.  This falls on the medical system which we all pay into.

In 2009, the Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption recommended that the province of Ontario fund up to 3 cycles of IVF and adopt policies that reduce the number of multiple pregnancies through IVF.  This panel estimated that the savings to the healthcare system through a reduction in the number of multiple births through IVF would be between $400 million and $550 million.

This became a no-brainer when in August 2010, Québec became the first jurisdiction in Canada to publicly fund comprehensive up to three cycles of IVF treatments.  One year later, it became a leader in the reduction of multiple pregnancies by bringing the rate down from 27.2% to 5.2%.

Conceivable Dreams, is a grassroots patient organization representing thousands of infertile couples across Ontario and they feel that, “With one of the highest rates of multiple births through IVF in the country and a need to control healthcare costs, Ontario simply cannot ignore this issue any longer.  What has worked in Québec can work in Ontario.”

On the West side of Canada there is also a call for government support through Generations of Hope,, an Alberta based patient group raising awareness of infertility and the need for government support towards treatments like IVF.

This is not just a monetary issue, however, as infertility and the barriers to effective treatment – specifically costs – continue to be an issue impacting Canadians.  Infertility is an emotionally painful experience and its impossible to estimate the effect it has on the lives of individuals, on a couple and on families.  Celebrating first steps, birthday parties, first day at JK and graduations are significantly delayed, or worse never come to pass.

The Calgary Herald recently ran a story in infertility in Canada; and in this article they state that researchers do not know why there is an increase in infertility in woman.  “According to their estimates, up to 16 per cent of heterosexual couples where the woman is age 18 to 44 are experiencing infertility — a near doubling since the previous time infertility was measured in the nation in 1992.”

In 1992, 8.5% of women age 18 to 44 who were married or living common-law were considered infertile.  In 1984, the figure was 5.4%.

Quebec is on track to save hundreds of millions of dollars as the number of twins and triplets in neonatal intensive care units is expected to drop significantly.  Public funding for IVF will save the Alberta health care system millions and millions of dollars.  Recent research estimates a 60% reduction in rate of multiple births through IVF and $78 million in net savings to their health care system in the first 5 years alone.

Broken down that 60% reduction means, 44% fewer twins, 90% fewer triplets, 585 fewer premature babies born.   A reduction in prenatal, delivery and neonatal costs of about $29 million and a reduction in long-term disability costs of approximately $156 million, a net savings to the healthcare system of $78 million.

The numbers make sense.

The burden on families does not need to be there.

Why are we punishing couples for wanting to have children by bankrupting them while we are forced to bear the financial burden in our health care system(s).  If these folks are willing to spend every dollar they have to create a family we should no punish them, we should work with them.  Are these not the people we want having children?  Ones who would do everything in their power to have and take care of them.  Common sense says yes.

Today, one in six Alberta couples struggle with infertility, and IVF is often their best or only treatment option. However, since IVF costs an average of $7,500 per treatment cycle plus up to $6,000 in medication costs, many couples choose to implant more than one embryo to increase their chance of pregnancy.  As a result, Albertans using IVF are more likely to have a multiple birth.  Unfortunately, multiples are 17 times more likely to require expensive care before and after birth and perhaps even throughout their lives.

Reach out to your elected officials, or to the local interest group mentioned above and let them know that you support public funding of IVF for emotional or for financial reasons (or both).

Please feel free to comment here, I will reply to your post, but please if your intent is to determine whether others should be having children, or if that decision is G-d’s decision, then do NOT leave a comment here.  This article was clearly lost on you and I will delete the comment.




Note: I have been compensated to write this post.