TVO.org daily: Friday, May 8

Sidewalk Labs abandons Toronto plans
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 08, 2020
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Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following


Higher wages for front-line workers

The federal and provincial governments committed $4 billion total to boost the pay of low-income front-line workers during the pandemic. Ottawa will contribute $3 billion and the provinces will be responsible for the rest. "If you're risking your health to keep this country moving, and you're making minimum wage, you deserve a raise," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Richard Southern of 680 News reported that, in Ontario, the top-up will go to workers in the health-care, long-term-care, and retirement sectors.

Elective surgeries to return

The provincial government says Ontario’s hospitals can resume elective surgeries so long as they meet certain conditions — including a stable level of COVID-19 infections and a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment. Health Minister Christine Elliott said it would likely be “several weeks” before these surgeries could take place. Non-essential procedures were scaled back starting March 15 in order to prepare hospitals for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients.

Sidewalk Labs says goodbye

Google-affiliated Sidewalk Labs announced it’s abandoning a plan to turn nearly five hectares of Toronto’s waterfront into an experimental high-tech neighbourhood. The project had faced criticism over its data-collection policies and the company’s desire to expand the size of the development. Sidewalk Labs’ CEO Dan Doctoroff cited economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 as a reason for the decision — a claim disputed by some journalists.

TVO.org publishing regional updates

Every day, we will publish a collection of COVID-19 news items from across the province. Please visit TVO.org for the latest. Here is Thursday’s edition.


Listen now

#onpoli: Good news for Ontario patients

The provincial government announced that hospitals would soon be allowed to resume surgical procedures that had been delayed due to COVID-19 — but questions remain. Hosts Steve Paikin and John Michael McGrath discuss the details and explain why Premier Doug Ford’s high approval rating won’t necessarily carry over to the ballot box.


Watch now

Pandemics in developing countries

The fight against COVID-19 is more complicated in countries without high-functioning health-care systems. To discuss the task that developing nations are facing, The Agenda welcomes Wendy Lai, an emergency physician and a board member at Doctors Without Borders Canada; and Steven Hoffman, director of York University’s Global Strategy Lab.

City Wildlife Rescue

The team at the Toronto Wildlife Centre tries to find a new family for an orphaned swan; a family of baby rabbits needs help after a dog attacks its warren; and a snapping turtle with a cracked shell lays eggs.


Read now

When there’s no live theatre, we all lose

Like most in-person arts programming, the 2020 Stratford Festival has been postponed — a blow to theatre-lovers such as journalist Diane Peters. “Clearly, the world has changed, and we all have much to process,” she writes. “Art helps us do that, but creative people are working with one hand tied behind their backs. Yes, from my laptop I can hear the Toronto Symphony Orchestra play a concerto and, via the National Arts Centre web site, see playwrights and authors do readings. This content may provide some sustenance for the art-starved, but it’s not quite the same.”

‘Our young people are struggling’: Supporting youth in need during COVID-19

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Youth centres across the province are closed, separating vulnerable children from critical supports. “With so many spaces closed,” writes Priya Iyer, “Mahum Ahmed, 27, a clinical youth-outreach worker in Peel Region, was most concerned for youth in traumatic situations, such as abusive homes, or transient housing. ‘They don’t have an out anymore,’ she says.”


Tonight on TVO

7 p.m. — The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts

Six craftspeople move to a remote country house and immerse themselves in the dreams of visionaries such as William Morris. Cut off from 21st-century life, they must transform the property by decorating and furnishing key rooms — making everything by hand, from scratch. In this episode, the crafters restore the communal areas.

8 p.m. — The Agenda: COVID-19 and people with disabilities

More than 2.5 million Ontarians, many of whom are seniors, live with a disability. What has the province done to ensure their safety? The Agenda welcomes Wendy Porch, executive director of the Centre for Independent Living; and David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act Alliance.

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