Joseph E. Atkinson will always be best known as a businessman and publisher of the Toronto Star. But he was a different kind of businessman and a different kind of publisher. He was a tireless social crusader determined to create a just and equitable society. He became a strong voice for policies that would alleviate social and economic disparities. His legacy lives on in the form of programs such as minimum wage, retirement and disability pensions, employment insurance and universal health care.
Today, over a hundred years after Atkinson began his social justice crusades at the Star, many of the things that he fought for and achieved are in jeopardy. Universal health care is threatened. Child poverty casts a blight on any score card of human progress. And the gap between rich and poor is growing. In this time of growing disparities and increased poverty, we would do well to remember the lessons and life story of Joseph E. Atkinson.
Read Joseph E. Atkinson's biography.