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The Canadian Federation of Municipalities is asking the federal political parties to commit to permanently doubling the amount of gas tax revenue flowing to local governments. The Liberal government adopted the policy in the last budget as a one-time “infrastructure top-up.” The cash infusion triggered a surge of major projects, including new streetcars in Toronto, a stormwater system in Tiny Township, and a bridge in Chatham-Kent. Bill Karsten, president of the federation, said in a press release that “permanently doubling the [gas tax] is the most efficient and effective step the next government can take to build better lives, in communities of all sizes.”
Brantford children’s aid society in hot water for misspent funds
Brant Family and Children’s Services used nearly a million dollars meant for foster children’s education savings to cover operating expenses, reports the Huffington Post. Agencies are required to invest funds, equivalent to a federal child-care tax credit, into RESPs for children in their care. According to a review by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, the agency is $865,000 behind in its contributions. In March, the then-executive director of Brant FACS laid off 26 staff to cut costs and blamed the province’s funding model. According to staff at the facility, factors including the opioid epidemic and funding changes have left the organization stretched thin.
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The Ford government is restructuring Ontario’s health ministry, dedicating a new division solely to mental health. Additionally, a new division will oversee both hospitals and capital projects, which were previously separated. “The ministry is updating its internal structure to better align with and support the government's key health priorities," a government official told CBC News. No job losses are expected.
U of T ranked top Canadian university
The University of Toronto is ranked 18th in Times Higher Education’s annual list of the top 200 universities in the world. The ranking, three spots higher than its position last year, is also the highest of any Canadian university. McMaster University came in at 77th, down five spots from last year, while the University of Ottawa was 141st. Western University fell off the list entirely. The University of Oxford took the top spot.
The red-hot housing market in southern Ontario is the focus of much hand-wringing, but there’s one group that’s often overlooked: seniors. Some can’t find a suitable alternative to their large family home as the properties become difficult to maintain. Others need services and amenities that their neighbourhoods simply don’t have. The Agenda discusses the need for appropriate, affordable, and comfortable housing for seniors.
The life of groundbreaking photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank is examined in this documentary by his long-time editor, Laura Israel. One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Frank is known for his seminal 1958 book The Americans and landmark films such as Pull My Daisy. Born in Switzerland in 1924, Frank divided his time between his homes in New York and Nova Scotia, where he died on Monday.
This month, London resident and cycling advocate Shelley Carr became the first person in Ontario to be declared the “bicycle mayor” of her city. The title is bestowed by BYCS, an Amsterdam-based organization. Her duties? “A bicycle mayor is meant to drive change in a city to increase cycling. A big component of that is pushing for proper infrastructure to make sure that people can do it safely. The second part of that is to make sure that when people get their bikes, that their bikes are safe from theft,” Carr told Mary Baxter, TVO’s southwestern Ontario reporter.
Tonight on TVO
7 p.m. — Monty Don’s French Gardens: The Gourmet Garden
Where do French cooks get those herbs and vegetables that make up their recipes? British horticulturist Monty Don takes viewers on a tour of a French gourmet garden to find out how the country’s cuisine has evolved.
8 p.m. — The Agenda: Dr. Jen Gunter, warrior gynecologist
Jen Gunter is an outspoken obstetrician-gynecologist known for debunking misinformation about women’s health. By correcting myths and outright lies that appear everywhere from mainstream media to celebrity lifestyle websites such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, Gunter works to ensure that the public receives the best scientific information about reproductive and women’s health. She joins The Agenda to discuss her latest book, The Vagina Bible.
Lauren Greenfield is an American artist, photographer, and documentary filmmaker. In this Big Ideas lecture from 2004, she says, “The work that excited me when I was a student and made me want to take pictures in the first place was work by Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand: Work that showed reality through the photographer's eye in a way that commented on society or revealed something previously unrevealed, and maybe revealed something that if you had been standing right beside the photographer you wouldn't have seen.”