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Why Ontario needs to take opening schools as seriously as opening bars
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Jul 15, 2020
The Canada-U.S. border will be closed for at least another 30 days. (iStock.com/MayaCom)

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Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following


Border to remain closed

The Canada-U.S. border will be closed for at least another 30 days. The ban on non-essential travel was introduced in March and now expires on August 21. The decision comes amid a surge in coronavirus infections in the United States, including 100,000 new confirmed cases over the weekend.

On Monday, Premier Doug Ford said the border should remain closed. “I see these numbers from Florida and they’re staggering, 15,000 people that contacted COVID in a day. That is scary, but we’re being pretty vigilant, we’re not rushing into anything,” he said.

Emergency rooms filling up

Wait times are on the rise in Ontario emergency rooms, and doctors say some patients are coming in with conditions made more serious by delayed care. “People stopped presenting to emergency departments for things that they really should have been presenting to the departments for,” Dr. Erin O’Connor of the University Health Network told CBC Toronto. “We saw a decrease in [heart attack and stroke] presentations and the thought was that likely people were still having these events but were staying home.”

The most recent data shows the average wait time before a patient is admitted to hospital is just over 11 hours, up two hours from the height of the pandemic but still well below the 18-hour average in January.

Ontario eliminates birth alerts

The province announced an end of the controversial practice of issuing birth alerts — notifications sent by hospitals to children’s aid societies when a newborn is deemed in need of protection. Birth alerts disproportionally affect racialized families. “Ending the use of birth alerts is an important step as we shift our focus to prevention, early intervention and improve outcomes for families and their children,” said Jill Dunlop, the associate minister of children and women’s issues.


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Families hit hard by wait times for mental-health care

Research shows that 28,000 youth under 18 are waiting as long as two and a half years for mental-health and addictions services. That’s taking a toll on young people and families across Ontario. “Tesa and Alvin Fiddler of Thunder Bay waited eight months for their 14-year-old son, Jayce, to see a social worker at the Children’s Centre there,” writes reporter Karen Black. “His self-harming had been escalating. He has both a developmental disability and mental-health needs. Fiddler says they had been told repeatedly that there were no local services to help Jayce.”

Ontario needs to take opening schools as seriously as opening bars

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The province is moving into Stage 3 of the reopening strategy, and Doug Ford says that bars and restaurants must be prioritized. Columnist John Michael McGrath argues that we need the same determination for full-time schooling in September. “If the schools aren’t open in September, the likely alternative is not another semester, or school year, of muddling through,” he writes. “It’s that parents — in most cases, mothers — will drop out of the workforce to care for their children.”


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#onpoli: Is it too soon for Stage 3? 

Much of Ontario will enter Stage 3 of the COVID-19 reopening plan on Friday, which means bars, restaurants, and gyms are set to welcome customers — but are we moving too quickly? Podcast hosts Steve Paikin and John Michael McGrath discuss the risks of getting the economy going again.


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The Agenda in the Summer: The science of schizophrenia

Investigative journalist Robert Kolker joins host Nam Kiwanuka to discuss his research into the Galvins — a family in which six of 12 children were diagnosed with schizophrenia. In part two, we learn about the family’s impact on medical research.

Political Blind Date: Asylum seekers

Quebec Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus and Toronto Liberal MP Rob Oliphant travel to the border to see how Canada deals with asylum seekers. Then they head to Toronto, where they see evidence of the importance of refugees to Canada’s economy and social fabric.


Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda in the Summer: Martin Amis

British writer Martin Amis joins host Nam Kiwanuka to discuss his book, The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump; Essays and Reportage, 1994-2017. The essay collection covers politics, sports, celebrity, America, and literature.

9 p.m. — Brilliant Ideas: Maggi Hambling

British artist Maggi Hambling is best known for her intimate portraits, paintings of the sea, and controversial public sculptures — including her memorial to Oscar Wilde near The Strand in London.

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