daily: Thursday, April 11

Transit planning, teacher poaching, and plenty of budget coverage
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on April 12, 2019
a cart of beer
(Fred Lum/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Will booze begin to flow across provincial borders?

The federal government has introduced a bill that would remove the final barrier to ease the flow of alcoholic beverages across provincial and territorial boundaries. The law would no longer require provincial authorities to oversee the moving of beer, wine, and spirits, opening the market to small- and medium-sized businesses. But it will be up to individual provinces to lift their own restrictions for the federal reform to have any effect, and, as’s John Michael McGrath explained in this article, interprovincial trade barriers around booze have been slow to change.

Mississauga wants out of Peel Region

Ontario’s third-largest city wants to go it alone — sort of. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says the city has grown too big for Peel Region, where it subsidizes services for smaller municipalities such as Brampton and Caledon. But some shared services, such as the Peel Regional Police, should continue to exist, she adds. (For their part, Brampton and Caledon say Mississauga’s departure would strain their finances severely.) Mississauga is asking the provincial government, which is reviewing regional governance, to take action.

The welcome mat is out for surplus Ontario teachers

With the Ford government looking to cut 3,745 teaching jobs over the next four years, provinces on both coasts see an opportunity. While public school enrolment is declining in Ontario, in Nova Scotia and British Columbia boards are grappling with teacher shortages — particularly for math, French, and substitute teachers, in Nova Scotia’s case. Education ministers from both provinces have indicated they plan a hiring push and hope to poach Ontario teachers in light of the pending cuts.

Ford-style transit is coming to Toronto

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has released his road map for improved transit in the province’s largest city. It includes:

  • a $10.9-billion “Ontario Line” to deal with dangerous congestion on downtown Toronto’s subway lines, to be completed by 2027;
  • a $5.6-billion northern extension of the Yonge Subway line to Richmond Hill, to be completed “soon after the Ontario Line”;
  • a $5.5-billion three-stop subway extension to Scarborough to be completed before 2030; and
  • a $4.7-billion westward extension of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line to be completed before 2031.

In all, the province's transit plans are expected to cost $28.5 billion. The province is committing $11.2 billion, and expects York Region, Mississauga, and Toronto to cover about $5.9 billion, leaving the remaining $11.4 billion, presumably, to be paid by the federal government. As Steve Paikin writes: “While the province’s announcement is light on details, it is also unquestionably bold in its vision.”