daily: Tuesday, September 10

Ontario’s opioid crisis, searching for sunken treasure, and assessing Hurricane Dorian
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Sep 10, 2019
CBC News reports that the provincial government spent nearly a year in talks with a developer about a plan to build housing in the GTA Greenbelt. (



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Ford government discussed removing Greenbelt land with party donor

CBC News reports that the provincial government spent nearly a year in talks with a developer about a plan to build housing in the GTA Greenbelt, despite Premier Doug Ford’s promise not to touch the protected area. Developer Lucia Milani and her family have donated more than $100,000 to Ontario Progressive Conservatives in recent years, including to Ford’s 2018 leadership bid. The discussions involved a 60-hectare part of the Greenbelt in northeastern Vaughan. Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said the government nixed the proposal and remains committed to protecting the Greenbelt.

Students pan province’s e-learning plans

A survey commissioned by the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association finds that almost 95 per cent of the 6,087 respondents “disapprove of the new e-learning mandate” set to begin in 2020. The plan calls for all high school students to complete four courses online before they graduate. Association president Sally Meseret tells the Toronto Star that students have expressed several concerns about the directive, including the lack of reliable internet and computer access in remote communities. She also says students who have taken e-learning courses have experienced difficulty getting help from a teacher.

Province improves access to service animals in schools 

Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all Ontario school boards need to implement a service animal policy by January 1, 2020. Currently, just over half of the province’s boards have a policy governing student requests to bring service animals to school. Service animals can help children with physical disabilities to perform certain tasks, such as pull a wheelchair or pick up dropped items. Research has also shown they can improve a child’s emotional wellbeing. “I want to ensure that every child, irrespective of their needs, has the opportunity to achieve their highest potential,” Lecce said.

TVO special event: Join us at a screening of Prey

This TVO Original documentary is an unflinching account of a sexual abuse survivor’s legal fight against the Catholic Church. Most civil court cases seeking damages due to sex abuse by the clergy are settled out of court and kept quiet. In Prey, Rod MacLeod, who as a boy was abused for years by a Catholic priest and teacher, chooses a public trial to shine a light on this systemic issue. 

Join after this special screening at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto for a panel discussion moderated by Agenda producer and On Docs podcast host Colin Ellis. 

Wednesday, September 25, at 6 p.m.
Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema
506 Bloor Street West 

Newsletter subscribers receive 50 per cent off with promo code TVOFRIEND. Buy tickets here.

Watch now

The Agenda: A big storm, a warming planet 

Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas and damaged parts of Canada and the U.S. Climatologist Michael Mann joins Steve Paikin to explain why climate change is making this type of storm deadlier, and what that means for emergency preparedness.

Sonia Boyce: Pioneer and Trailblazer

British artist Sonia Boyce was born in 1962 in London’s East End to parents who had recently emigrated from the Caribbean. Her early paintings offered piercing, true-to-life glimpses of the Afro-Caribbean experience that she felt was missing from contemporary art. In later years, improvisation and cross-medium collaboration became a vital part of her work. This documentary follows the mounting of a major show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, in which she would film an audience of masked people reacting to a vocalist and dancers.

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What the Progressive Conservatives’ season of 180s could mean for the deficit

The first year of Doug Ford’s government has been peppered with reversals of policy announcements such as the autism funding cuts and the French-language university plan. John Michael McGrath looks at the government’s second thoughts as they relate to the overall budget. He writes: “Because a summer is a long time in politics, it’s been nearly forgotten now, but the spring budget — the same document that caused so many political problems for the government — was trying to do something real: contain the growth of spending at Queen’s Park in order to reduce the deficit. And, while not every reversal the Tories have made since then carries a big price sticker, many of them do."

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Ontario’s opioid crisis 

Opioid-related deaths in Ontario have skyrocketed in the past decade, affecting people of every age, demographic, and geographic profile. The Agenda looks at why the problem seems to be getting worse, what’s being done about it, and how the province can work to reduce future cases.

9 p.m. — Sunken El Dorado

Over the years, more than 3,000 shipwrecks carrying cargoes of precious metal have been found on the ocean floor — and with today’s technology, access to these riches lost to history is now within reach. Companies such as Odyssey Marine Exploration invest up to $3 million a month combing the seas for the loot of sunken ships. But discovery  is just the beginning. Who owns the spoils? Is it the nations whose territorial waters host the wreck, the countries originally plundered, or the public at large? This documentary outlines the legal and political realities of finding sunken treasure.

From the archive

February 1998 — The Festival of Festivals


With the Toronto International Film Festival in full swing, we look back on Helga Stephenson’s near decade as executive director of what was then known as the Festival of Festivals. “The problem with the festival is it only happens once a year. So whatever gains you make, you have to wait a whole other year before you see them,” she says of the first years of the festival’s growth. Today, TIFF is one of the largest and most influential film festivals in the world, attracting nearly 500,000 visitors to the city each year and screening hundreds of films — many of which go on to be serious awards-season contenders.

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