daily: Tuesday, November 5

Rewriting Ontario’s autism plan
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Nov 11, 2019
A year-long investigation by more than 120 journalists from 10 media organizations across the country found alarming levels of lead in many Canadian cities. (



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Investigation finds dangerous lead levels in drinking water 

A year-long investigation by more than 120 journalists from 10 media organizations across the country found alarming levels of lead in many Canadian cities. Out of 12,000 water tests conducted in 11 cities since 2014, 33 per cent exceeded the national safety guidelines of five parts per billion. In Ontario, communities that had noticeably high rates of failed tests include London, Windsor, and Thunder Bay. Ontario also happens to be the only province with regulations that compel municipalities to treat water when lead problems are identified.

Risk of suicide higher among teens who visit ER for self-harm treatment, study says

A study published Monday finds teens who head to emergency rooms to seek help for self-harm have significantly higher rates of hospitalization, death, and suicide when compared to teens going to the ER for other reasons, the Globe and Mail reports. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal paper, teenagers who self-harmed were eight times more likely to die by suicide, and three times more likely to die of any cause within five years. The number of Ontario teens seeking help for self-harm at emergency departments has doubled in a decade.

Lake Superior ends five straight months of record water levels

For the first time since May, the largest of the Great Lakes has finished a month without breaking or tying its record for water levels, reports. Jacob Bruxer of the International Lake Superior Board of Control says the lake’s mean level in October was 183.88 metres above sea level, just three centimetres below the record mean level for the month. However, Lake Superior’s level to start November is tied with the record high for the beginning of the month. Heavy rains have caused higher-than-normal water levels in all five Great Lakes this year.

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The Agenda: Rewriting Ontario’s autism plan

In the early days of its mandate, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government proposed changes to programs and services for children with autism. The proposals, which included a change to available services and introduced means-based funding, prompted swift and negative reaction from families and experts. The outcry prompted the government to reverse the policy, swap out the cabinet minister responsible for it, and create a task force to recommend a better way forward. Last week, the Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel’s findings came in. The Agenda welcomes panel co-chairs Margaret Spoelstra, executive director of Autism Ontario. and Marie Bountrogianni, former Ontario minister of children and youth, to discuss.

Arctic Secrets: Fall on the Tundra

As the days shorten and the temperature drops, the inhabitants of Nunavik, an Inuit territory in northern Quebec, prepare to face the Arctic winter. In the pristine wilderness, muskoxen fatten up, ptarmigans hunt for berries, and people make use of the last warm days of the year.

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What learning Mohawk has taught me about not fitting in 

family photos
(Photos courtesy Shelby Lisk)

On weekends, Indigenous Hub reporter Shelby Lisk sometimes drives home to her community in Tyendinaga Territory for language classes in Mohawk — part of an ongoing process to reclaim an ancestral language. That journey, she writes, isn’t always straightforward. “When I talk about my own language journey, I worry that everyone will want to hear a particular narrative: my family wasn’t allowed to practise their culture or learn their language, but, now, look, I’m learning my language, and that makes up for everything my family lost. That is a huge burden to bear.” Last month, for the first time, she saw her own work as a reporter translated into Mohawk as part of an ongoing initiative. Read her work in Mohawk here.

Inside the Green party’s push for new housing policy 

At its annual convention this past weekend, the Green Party of Ontario released a discussion paper on affordable housing. TVO’s John Michael McGrath spoke with party leader Mike Schreiner about what it contains, and how to create affordable housing for people without harming the environment — particularly in the province’s protected Greenbelt. “If we continue to pave over the Earth’s ability to absorb excess water,” Schreiner says, “we’re going to just escalate the risks associated with flooding, especially as we address the climate crisis.” 

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Getting light rail right

Ottawa launched its brand-new, much-anticipated LRT line in September, and the weeks since have been filled with delays, service interruptions, and overcrowded stations. With several other Ontario cities set to get their own light rail systems in the coming years — including Hamilton, Toronto, and Mississauga — The Agenda looks at the lessons learned from Ottawa’s rollout. 

9 p.m. — American Ballet Theatre: A History

Filmmaker Ric Burns explores the cultural and political melting pot that is one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies. Featuring Misty Copeland, the company's first Black principal dancer, the documentary combines intimate rehearsal footage, virtuoso performances, and interviews with some of the company’s marquee members, including Alicia Alonso and the late Donald Saddler and Frederic Franklin.

From the archive

October 2004 — Was the taco invented in California?

Before his 2012 book, Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, University of Toronto food history professor Jeffrey Pilcher tested out his ideas at a 2004 Munk Centre lecture captured by Big Ideas. Musing on the taco’s many iterations in fast-food juggernauts such as Taco Bell, he suggests that the popular dish has become one of the great symbols of Americanization. “This folk culture that has been corrupted by modern industry,” he says. “And by implication, it leads to a broader question: is there a future for folk foods around the world as modern industry begins to progress?” 

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