TVO.org daily: Thursday, May 2

Stern last words from the children’s advocate, a welcome debate about OHIP, and the science of sleep
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 2, 2019
a person leaving a courthouse
Michelle Siu/CP

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Good morning, Ontario

Here's what we're following

Child advocate slams government inaction in final report

Before his office closed for good on Tuesday, Ontario Advocate for Children and Youth Irwin Elman released a report detailing shocking conditions at three former foster homes in Thunder Bay, including feces- and blood-stained floors and no food for the children in care. Elman told the Toronto Star that a coroner’s report on youth in care with similar recommendations has been on the government’s desk for eight months, and his own report was given to the province some time ago, but Children and Youth Services Minister Lisa MacLeod has done nothing to make sure what happened in Thunder Bay doesn’t happen again. Elman said MacLeod’s ministry needs to implement standards of care for youth homes across the province: “This minister has said the buck stops with her. Well, it’s been eight months. Something has to change.”

The advocate’s investigative functions are now merged into the ombudsman’s office. For more on Elman, read these TVO.org interviews with him about the work his office did and why Ontario needs to listen more to what youth have to say.

Ontario moves to take over subway building in Toronto

The Ford government will introduce proposed legislation today to upload subway expansion in Toronto to the province. The Getting Ontario Moving Act will “get shovels in the ground and get subways built faster,” Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said in a statement. The province has already laid out a $28.5-billion plan to expand transit in the GTA, including a three-stop Scarborough subway extension and an “Ontario Line” that will cut across the city’s downtown. But many Toronto politicians are not on board with the province’s vision, saying far too many questions remain unanswered.


Anti-carbon-tax stickers unconstitutional, rights group says

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has written to Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Energy Minister Greg Rickford, warning them that if the province follows through with its plan to put stickers criticizing the federal carbon tax on gas pumps, it will launch a court challenge. “The sticker as proposed constitutes compelled political speech and, at the very least, is an unreasonable violation ... of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the letter states.


Flood risk spreads to Lake Ontario

As Ottawa deploys about one million sandbags along a rising Ottawa River and yet more rain falls on already-flooded communities in Muskoka, concerns are now turning to communities along Lake Ontario. The lake’s water levels are approaching those last seen in 2017, when the Toronto Islands went through months of flooding.

What we're tracking

TVO's H.G. Watson

Earlier this year, the Progressive Conservative government announced changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program in a bid to cut costs. The rules, which take effect for the next school year, include new benchmarks to exclude students whose families make a certain amount, the introduction of interest payments during what had been a six-month grace period, and more. Ontario Hubs assistant editor H.G. Watson has been speaking to students about how this overhaul has affected their plans. “It’s going to take a while to fully understand the scope of impact these changes will have on financing post-secondary education,” says Watson, “but until then these first-person stories are important to hear.” Look for her story on TVO.org later this week.

Watch Now

The Agenda: Ontario underwater


people working in flood water
Justin Tang/CP

Severe flooding has forced residents out of their homes in parts of Ontario and prompted cities across the province to declare states of emergency — or realize that emergency documents such as flood-planning maps are out of date. Windsor mayor Drew Wilkens and Bonnie Fox, manager of policy and planning at Conservation Ontario, join Steve Paikin to discuss how prepared the province is to deal with the new reality of rising waters.


Read Now

Steve Paikin: We’ve never had a premier like Doug Ford before


Doug Ford at podium that says, "For the People"
Fred Lum/CP)

Doug Ford’s leadership style is a mix of retail politics — the kind he and his late brother, Rob, practised in Toronto — and U.S.-style personal branding. Steve Paikin breaks down why this makes Ford a premier like no other Ontario has ever seen.


Should OHIP really be covering Ontarians abroad?


traffic at the Canada/U.S. border
Mark Spowart/CP

Columnist Matt Gurney addresses the kerfuffle caused by the Ontario government’s announcement that it’s cutting OHIP coverage on travel outside Canada. The current maximum reimbursement of $400 a day doesn’t begin to cover the real costs of foreign hospitalization, he argues, so the cut seems incidental — and more divergent opinions on issues such as these could spark more vigorous policy debates.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. The Agenda: Gino Vannelli

Gino Vannelli on The Agenda

In the 1970s and ’80s, Montreal singer-songwriter Gino Vannelli had hits in Canada and beyond, had won multiple Juno awards, and was among the first homegrown pop music stars. At age 66, he’s still at it, with a new album and concert tour. He talks to Steve Paikin about his humble beginnings, the changes in the Canadian music scene over the decades, and why he finds it important to keep creating and performing.

9 p.m. The Truth About Sleep

We know that sleeping well is a key ingredient to good health, but in the digital age it seems harder than ever to tune out the world. Medical journalist Dr. Michael Mosley visits the Oxford Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute and the Surrey Sleep Research Centre to learn about the latest science on slumber and some simple lifestyle changes to help get a better night’s rest.

From the archives

February 28, 1989 — Salman Rushdie

This reading and talk with novelist Salman Rushdie took place at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre shortly after publication of The Satanic Verses, his fourth and most controversial book. At the time, Rushdie’s magic realist novel inspired by the life of Muhammad was accused of mocking Islam and banned in India, Pakistan, and Iran. Quichotte, Rushdie’s twelfth novel, is due out this fall.

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