daily: Wednesday, March 11

When a library becomes a refuge for the homeless
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Mar 11, 2020
Photo of Ottawa Public Library by David Rockne Corrigan



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Report says OPP facing a ‘mental-health crisis’

A report based on surveys of thousands of Ontario Provincial Police officers says increased mental-health supports are needed for a force that has had 17 suicides since 2012The Globe and Mail reports. “There is currently one psychologist on contract working within the OPP, in an organization that is grappling with a mental-health crisis,” the OPP Independent Review Panel’s 91-page report says. “This is a critical moment in the OPP’s workplace culture. There are significant issues that demand immediate attention.”

Facial-recognition technology shows racial bias: study

After dozens of police forces and private businesses across Ontario and the rest of Canada recently admitted that they had tested cutting-edge facial-recognition software from Clearview AI, critics say more attention needs to be paid to research suggesting such technology produces racially biased results. The Toronto Star reports several studies have shown facial-recognition programs make more errors on Black, Asian, and Indigenous faces than they do when they analyze white faces. “Technologies have their bias as well,” said Nasma Ahmed, director of Toronto-based non-profit Digital Justice Lab.

Ottawa loses patience with delays on light-rail line

The City of Ottawa is threatening to terminate its 30-year contract with the company responsible for maintenance on the capital’s troubled light-rail line, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Since the LRT opened six months ago, commuters have repeatedly faced long delays because of door jams, computer malfunctions, overhead wire breaks, and other problems. “It’s time to give them a real kick in the pants to smarten them up,” Mayor Jim Watson said of Rideau Transit Group, the consortium responsible for ensuring the trains run smoothly.

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The Agenda: Churchill and the Blitz 

In the spring of 1940, as Winston Churchill became the United Kingdom’s prime minister, a German invasion seemed imminent, and the fate of Britain hung in the balance. In his latest book, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, Erik Larson details the first year of Churchill’s leadership during the war, the escalating aerial attacks, and the behind-the-scenes politicking with an isolationist America.

Vancouver: No Fixed Address

Vancouver: No Fixed Address provides an uncompromising look at a city where citizens are fighting to preserve homes as living spaces — and prevent them from becoming global financial commodities. This is the latest in TVO’s The Housing Gap documentary series exploring the affordable-housing challenges facing cities in Ontario — and around the world.

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#onpoli: Del Duca takes the reins of the Ontario Liberals

By electing Steven Del Duca last weekend as its new leader, the Ontario Liberal Party has taken the first step in rebuilding itself after being trounced in the 2018 election. From the leadership convention in Mississauga, Steve Paikin and John Michael McGrath tell the story of how the day unfolded.

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What happens when a library becomes a refuge for the homeless

In a continuing Ontario Hubs series about libraries across the province, David Rockne Corrigan looks at a controversy unfolding at Ottawa’s main branch and how vulnerable populations increasingly rely on libraries. “For many years, the lobby doors opened on weekdays as early as 6 a.m., four hours before the rest of the library, allowing some of the city’s most vulnerable a few extra hours of shelter. But in November — following incidents of fighting, drug use, and property damage — that open-door policy changed.”

Tonight on TVO

7 p.m. — Impossible Railways: Into the Wild

From a canyon-spanning bridge in San Diego to a track ascending an imposing Swiss peak, discover how railway engineers have conquered jungles, deserts, and mountains.

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Coronavirus, quarantine, and personal rights

For a discussion of the laws, rights, and ethics around a coronavirus quarantine and what powers the authorities have in the time of a global pandemic, The Agenda welcomes Dr. Eileen de Villa, the City of Toronto’s medical officer of health; Steven Hoffman, director of the Global Strategy Lab and professor of global health, law and political science at York University; and employment lawyer Ryan Watkins.

From the archive

May 29, 1999 — Moments: Evan Solomon talks about his favourite teacher 

Just as Evan Solomon’s 1999 novel, Crossing the Distance, was being published, the broadcaster and writer reflected on his Grade 6 experience writing a book about a co-student that was then bound, laminated, and presented to him. “I had this incredibly thrilling sensation of my first book and a feeling that I wanted to duplicate again in my life,” he says.

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