daily: Tuesday, September 3

The Agenda’s new season, Ontario’s education revamp, and inside the mind of bike thief Igor Kenk
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Sep 03, 2019
Students starting school today have just two more months to use their cellphones in class. (



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Student Choice Initiative in effect at universities and colleges 

Many college and university campus programs and services will learn this week whether they have enough funding to operate. The provincial government’s Student Choice Initiative is now in effect, meaning students can opt out of “non-essential” student fees. Programs from debating clubs to campus newspapers and women’s centres could be affected. “If we’re talking 80 per cent of students opting in, it won’t change much,” Alex Usher, president of Higher Education Strategy Associates, told the Ottawa Citizen. “If it’s 10 per cent, it will be a disaster.”

Ontario’s largest school board shedding nearly 300 jobs

While kids in the Toronto District School Board are returning to class today, many adults are not. The board is eliminating roughly 300 positions, including dozens of caretakers, 10 psychologists, four social workers, and three speech language pathologists. According to the TDSB budget, the moves are a result of the Progressive Conservative government’s funding cuts. 

‘Period poverty’ ended in TDSB schools 

Last week, TDSB school trustees voted unanimously to offer students free menstrual products. Trustee Stephanie Donaldson says the move “sends a really strong and powerful message to students in our system that we care about their health and well-being.” She told the Toronto Star that research shows one in seven Canadian girls have either left school early, or missed it entirely, because they lack access to menstrual pads or tampons. Though the logistics are still being worked out, the initiative will come at no cost to the board, as it will be funded by Physical Health Canada, a charitable organization. 

What we're tracking

Welcome to the first day of The Agenda’s new season! Tonight, Education Minister Stephen Lecce will talk to Steve Paikin about changes his ministry has unveiled. On Wednesday, we’ll update viewers on the Ontario government’s activities and policy announcements during the summer, and on Friday, political columnist John Ivison chats about his new book, Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister. Viewers can count on coverage of issues that matter to Ontarians during the federal election campaign. “As we head into the election,” says executive producer Stacey Dunseath, “we look forward to what the federal parties have in store for our province.”

Watch now

Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters 

The tragic life of the couple that helmed the last generation of the Russian Empire has inspired many filmmakers and writers to commit their story to art. In the concluding episode of this series on the last of the czars, historian Suzannah Lipscomb explores how the couple’s decisions during Russia’s economic and military collapse in the early 20th century led to widespread public anger and a revolution that would eventually bring a brutal end to their reign.

Read now

Rewriting the world of young adult fiction 

S.K. Ali is an award-winning author of young adult literature, but like many authors of colour who write about true-life experiences, her road to publication was not straightforward. While publishers may want those stories, they often assign them to their established roster of white authors. Ali recounts how she and other authors like her spend as much time advocating for diversity in books as they do actually writing the books they want to see in the world.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Ontario’s education revamp

As school resumes across the province, The Agenda welcomes Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce to outline his government’s reforms. NDP education critic Marit Stiles and former education minister Mitzie Hunter also share their views. Finally, we look at how school principals’ never-ending list of administrative responsibilities can get in the way of their primary role of guiding education and supporting school staff.

9 p.m. — Inside Kenk 

If you were one of the lucky ones who recovered a bicycle from the police warehouses after the 2008 arrest of notorious Toronto bike thief Igor Kenk, you perhaps have learned about the intriguing compulsion that guided his massively successful steal-and-resell operation. Following his conviction and jail sentence, Kenk sold his shop and disappeared. This new TVO Original documentary tracks down Kenk 10 years later as he reflects on his past and his new life in Switzerland.

From the archive

January 2013 — The classroom’s digital promise 


In 2013, The Agenda launched Learning 2030, a series that looked at how Ontario’s education system would change during the life of a student beginning school that year and graduating high school in 2030. In this segment, panelists discuss the use of new technologies that could change classrooms significantly and help equalize learning.

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