daily: Thursday, September5

A recession obsession, Beijing billionaires, and Margaret Atwood on debt
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Sep 09, 2019
The Toronto branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation says that 108 teachers in the city have been laid off and another 47 downgraded to part-time work this fall. (



Good morning, Ontario.

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More than 100 Toronto teachers laid off due to education cuts, union says

The Toronto branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation says that 108 teachers in the city have been laid off and another 47 downgraded to part-time work this fall. The union says because of cuts to education by the provincial government, there isn’t enough funding to ensure those who had a job last year would return to the classroom. A spokesperson for Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government expects many of those teachers will be recalled to the classroom over the next several weeks, given that there is often a period of adjustment at the start of the school year as boards determine exactly how many instructors they need.

Meanwhile, the union representing non-teaching staff at Ontario schools expects its members to vote in favour of going on strike. “This is a group of workers that has suffered a lot in the last few years,” said Laura Walton, president of CUPE's Ontario School Board Council of Unions. The union’s 70 locals are voting on strike mandates over the next two weeks. CUPE representatives say laid-off custodians mean gym floors and school washrooms will be cleaned less frequently.

A bad year expected for Ontario’s richest farm belt

After a cool spring that delayed planting and a soggy start to summer, southern Ontario likely won’t be having a banner year for its three biggest crops. As the London Free Press reports, Ontario’s winter wheat harvest was down 30 per cent, while fall corn harvests are projected to be down six per cent, and soybeans down 15 per cent.

Free wi-fi coming to GO Transit in 2020

Associate transportation minister Kinga Surma announced Wednesday that the government will spend $65 million on a five-year wireless internet contract for all 1,475 GO buses and trains. The rollout of the service is set to start next spring, with every vehicle online by the end of 2020.

Court sides with Barenaked Ladies member in art fraud lawsuit

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled this week in an art forgery case that involves a Toronto art gallery, the work of one of Canada’s most famous artists, and a member of the Barenaked Ladies. The court found that Maslak-McLeod Gallery was deliberately elusive in proving the authenticity of a painting purportedly by renowned Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau that it sold to Kevin Hearn, who plays keyboard and guitar in the Canadian pop group. The judges awarded Hearn punitive damages of $10,000 and $50,000 plus interest for breach of contract.

Watch for There Are No Fakes, a TVO Original documentary about the story behind this court case, later this year.

Watch now

The Agenda: An Ontario health-care checkup

Health Minister Christine Elliott joins Steve Paikin for a discussion about a growing list of health-care reforms on the Progressive Conservative government’s docket, and its efforts to end so-called hallway medicine. They also talk about how health-care cuts have been received by Ontarians, and how the Ford government is faring after its first year in office.

Food Unwrapped

Jimmy Doherty, Matt Tebbutt, and Kate Quilton take viewers into factories and supermarkets worldwide to uncover the fascinating histories and science behind our favourite foods. In this episode, the team investigates whether hot chillies can cause injury and the difference between indoor- and outdoor-bred pork.

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The next wave of artificial intelligence: Get ready for four-horned Bolivian unicorns

Geoffrey Hinton is a vice president at Google, chief scientific adviser at Toronto’s Vector Institute, and co-recipient of the Turing Prize, the most prestigious award in computer science. Though he’s spent most of his career on a branch of artificial intelligence known as deep learning, it’s only recently that this predictive text engine has really taken off. As science journalist Patchen Barss explains, deep learning technology has come a long way in a short time — with positive and negative implications. While it could be used to create fake news, it could also help novelists get ideas on paper faster and even improve the accuracy of medical diagnoses.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: A recession obsession

Economists discuss the general health of the Ontario and Canadian economies, the effects of the U.S. trade war with China, the politics of the economy during an election year, and why the possibility of a recession is on everyone’s minds.

9 p.m. — Beijing Billionaires

How did China transform from a country where people once needed to ration coupons to buy meat to a nation with 40 per cent more billionaires than the United States? This documentary looks at the economic rise of China through its nouveau riche citizens and their lavish lifestyles.

From the archive

August 2012 — Margaret Atwood on debt

Author Margaret Atwood made the prestigious Giller Prize’s longlist this week for The Testaments, her sequel to 1985’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In this 2012 Agenda segment, she talks to Piya Chattopadhyay about her book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, and how our collective ideas and misconceptions about debt can be explained through historical literature.

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