daily: Thursday, February 27

Why thousands of birds cut their migration short
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Feb 27, 2020
Sandhill cranes are staying in southwestern Ontario longer than usual. (Mary Baxter)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Government consultations show little support for larger class sizes

The chief negotiator for the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association told the Ontario Labour Relations Board that public consultations on the education system held by the province revealed “virtually no support, anywhere” for the government’s plan to increase class sizes, the Toronto Star reports. Of more than 7,000 public submissions during the consultations, 70 per cent explicitly opposed larger class sizes, Tom Doyle of OECTA said, while the remaining 30 per cent didn’t explicitly support the idea. The government has refused to publicly release the results of its consultations. “Our government is firmly committed to keeping students in class and listening to the voices of parents,” said Alexandra Adamo, a spokesperson for Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Poverty levels plummet in southwestern Ontario’s largest city

London has seen a sharp reduction in poverty, the Windsor Star reports. Fresh numbers from Statistics Canada suggest that there were 57,000 people in the London area living below the poverty line in 2018, down 27 per cent from the previous year. London Food Bank co-director Glen Pearson says the biggest reasons for the drop are a growing economy and the federal childcare benefit, introduced in 2016. “We are happy about it, but we have been through this before, only to see numbers go back up,” he added.

GTA new-home sales surge to start 2020

Some 2,106 new homes sold in the Greater Toronto Area this January, up 65 per cent compared to the same time last year, according to a new report from the Building Industry and Land Development Association. The monthly transaction tally was also 14 per cent above the 10-year average. The benchmark price for a new single-family home in the area is now $1,097,613. “2020 will be another solid year for new home sales,” said Patricia Arsenault of Altus Group, which compiled the data for BILD, in a news release.

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The Agenda: Is Bill 156 an ‘ag gag’?

A debate underway at Queen's Park has potential ramifications for the welfare of animals on farms. The government says that with Bill 156, currently at the second-reading stage in the legislature, it's trying to protect farmers and animals from trespassers; the opposition says the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 is a so-called ag gag, meaning it would prevent whistleblowers from bringing attention to animal cruelty. To argue their respective sides, we welcome Ontario Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman and John Vanthof, the NDP's agriculture critic.

Impossible Engineering: World’s Most Powerful Dam

Discover how engineers reshaped the Yangtze River to build China's Three Gorges Dam, the largest and heaviest concrete structure on the planet. It produces more power than any other hydroelectric dam in existence.

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Why southwestern Ontario is currently home to thousands of sandhill cranes

Southwestern Ontario Hub reporter Mary Baxter talks to Stuart Mackenzie, director of migration ecology at Bird Studies Canada, about the changing habits of sandhill cranes, which are staying in the region longer than ever. “Typically, the migrating birds visit briefly in the fall and early winter before continuing toward the American Midwest and, sometimes, as far south as Florida. But, this year, thousands have remained — there are roughly 4,300 today, according to a Canadian Wildlife Service count,” she writes.

Whose law is it anyway? Part 5: ‘We’re facing an assault on the basic framework of Canada’

Political columnist Matt Gurney speaks to a judicial official who’s been working on the ongoing Wet’suwet’en Coastal GasLink protest situation. “My source was not unsympathetic to Indigenous communities’ frustrations. Far from it. They have had decades of experience dealing with many of these concerns. But they are deeply worried that much of the political rhetoric surrounding these issues is raising expectations to a point that simply cannot be met under our constitutional framework,” he writes.

Tonight on TVO

7 p.m. — Wild Brazil

Brazil is the wild heart of South America, home to more species than any other country. It is also a land of extremes, where animals must learn to adapt to survive. In this episode, a fierce drought culminates in huge fires. The survival skills of capuchin monkeys, giant otters, coatis, and jaguars are put to the test as they complete their breeding seasons to secure future generations.

8 p.m. — The Agenda: The true cost of paid sick days

With concerns about the spread of COVID-19, not to mention the regular flu season, medical professionals are calling on the Ontario government to restore the paid sick day policies it cancelled a year ago. The Agenda looks at the cost and effect of those days off, both on public health and on businesses.

From the archive

December 2, 2010 —The Cold Room


The Royal Ontario Museum’s Cold Room houses artifacts of all kinds that help tell the story of the province. This short doc takes you into the room to reveal the history and science behind some of the animal furs stored there. 

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