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The world is changing every day. Now, more than ever, these questions matter. What’s happening? And why should you care? This Matters, a daily news podcast from the Toronto Star, aims to answer those questions, on important stories and ideas, every day, Monday to Friday. Hosts Adrian Cheung, Saba Eitizaz and Raju Mudhar talk to experts and newsmakers about the social, cultural, political and economic stories that shape your life.

Toronto Star

    • Dec 1, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
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    • 444 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from This Matters

    COVID outbreaks are surging in schools. What can we do about it?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 17:40

    Guest: Kenyon Wallace, investigative reporter for the Star The start of the school year in Canada was in effect a real-time experiment of how COVID-19 could spread among a mostly unvaccinated population. Despite vaccine mandates among school staff, mask use, physical distancing and ventilation, the vast majority of elementary school-age children are unvaccinated with their vaccine rollout only now in its initial stages. COVID outbreaks have surged in Ontario schools since November leaving the question about what we can do to slow the spread before the holidays.

    Vaccine Hunters are back for kids' vaccines and third-dose boosters

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 14:11

    Guest: Andrew Young, founder and director of Vaccine Hunters Canada For more than a million Canadians, volunteers for Vaccine Hunters Canada have been heroes and messengers of hope in the difficulties of the pandemic. After the initial rollout of vaccines in spring 2021 were plagued by shipment delays, miscommunication, massive lines that stretched for hours that were no guarantee you'd get a shot, Vaccine Hunters Canada stepped in. The grassroots, citizen-led volunteer team sourced information on where to get the vaccine, confirmed the eligibility requirements and then shared that information across social media channels in a clear and accessible way. After a brief hiatus in the late summer, they're back to connect Canadians to children's vaccines as talk about third-dose boosters over the winter heats up. We talk to the founder of Vaccine Hunters on the community of helpers that have helped transform the pandemic.

    Conflict on Wet'suwet'en territory, the RCMP and press freedom

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 23:38

    Guest: Brandi Morin, French/Cree/Iroquois human rights journalist who lives in Treaty 6 territory Last Friday, RCMP arrested award-winning journalist Amber Bracken and documentary maker Michael Toledano, as well as 15 others, as part of a raid on one of the camps set up to keep TransCanada Energy's Coastal GasLink gas pipeline out of Indigenous territory. Many say the multibillion-dollar gas project — one of the largest private sector investments in Canada — violates both Indigenous and international laws. The consequent standoff in the territory of the Wet'suwet'en is raising serious questions about the role of the RCMP when it comes to Indigenous communities, and what the current situation means for press freedom and access to information on this issue.

    The Metaverse is coming. Here's what you need to know

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 19:22

    Guest: Emma Westecott, associate professor of game design at OCAD University and co-director of the Game: Play Lab The Metaverse is coming. Long thought to be one of the next great leaps in shared digital spaces, the idea of the Metaverse recently got a boost from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg when he announced the company is investing $10 billion and rebranding its own platform with the name Meta. But Facebook is not alone. There are already game worlds and platforms like Fortnite and Roblox that are building elements of it. There is a long way to go before we get to something that's been depicted in movies like “The Matrix” and “Ready Player One.” But as development really gets underway, now is the time to be asking what do we want the Metaverse to look like and how to make it beneficial for everyone?

    How space technology is helping to fight the next pandemic

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 20:53

    Guests: Canadian astronaut Dr. Dave Williams and Alex Boyd, Toronto Star reporter What if the answers and solutions of the pandemic are found in the stars? The two industries of space and medicine are more closely aligned than we may think, as many of the technologies we use today were first tested in the rigours of space. Can space exploration and research help us find our way through this pandemic and prevent the next one? We talk to one of Canada's most decorated and experienced astronauts, Dave Williams, to learn the future of medical care is already being pushed to the limits in space.

    Mask up, it's not over, Canada's health officials warn

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 17:45

    Guest: May Warren, reporter for the Toronto Star With winter months bringing in an uptick in COVID-19 cases and a relatively static vaccination rate, Canada's top health officers are urging people to double down on masking because masks are the last line of defence against the virus. With a major shift (again!) in the conversation and culture around masking and new data available, reporter May Warren joins "This Matters" for a little bit of a refresher on masks, how we should wear them and why we're still talking about them. See Health Canada's latest guidelines and policies on masks here.

    Kids and vaccines: What you need to know now

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 17:28

    Guest: Megan Ogilvie is a health reporter at the Star Parents of children aged 5 to 11 can now book their children for their first dose of vaccines across Canada. It's been a long wait for this cohort, which is the largest unvaccinated group in Canada. Most parents — who have had to live through plenty of invasive COVID tests at the first sign of symptom — now have an option to get their kids more protection against this disease. But will it be another mad rush to book online, only to come up empty? Or will things be better this time around? Also, for many parents, getting the shot booked is just the first hurdle, now you've got to deal with a youngster who has to face a needle. This episodes provide some initial observations on the booking process and some helpful tips and advice.

    Kids at heart: ‘Kidults' help toys reach sales records

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 19:05

    Guest: Adrienne Appell, toy trends expert and senior vice-president of marketing communications of The Toy Association While many industries were devastated by the pandemic, the toy industry enjoyed record breaking sales. One of the most interesting trends to come out of the past two years is that growth shows adults are buying toys for themselves, which the industry has dubbed the “kidult” category. From expensive Lego sets to collectibles for fans of all kinds, there are now toys for people of all ages and also in every price range. This trend is being fuelled by many factors including social media, people trying to recapture their youth and the emphasis on self care and wellness.

    The ‘Three Amigos' summit and the Canada-U.S. relationship

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 20:34

    Guest: Edward Keenan, Washington Bureau Chief for the Star It's been five years since the last trilateral summit between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. on trade, co-operation and diplomatic relations. Now this week, U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the first North American leader summit since 2016. It was nicknamed the ‘Three Amigos' summit. It's being seen as a potential new phase in Canada-U.S. relations following the strained ties of the Trump era, but with Biden struggling with plummeting approval ratings and domestic priorities, many wonder if he is listening to the concerns of allies. The Star's Washington Bureau Chief Edward Keenan recaps the highlights of the summit and the impact on the Canada-U.S. relationship.

    Why the fight over fluoride in water is resurfacing

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 15:04

    Guest: Kieran Leavitt, Toronto Star politics reporter For decades, adding fluoride to the water supply of many Canadians towns and cities has been standard public health protocol. Fluoridation has proven to slow tooth decay, and the practice has widespread support among doctors and dentists, including the World Health Organization, Health Canada and the Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry. But there remains a vocal opposition against fluoride in Canada's water supply, borne out of distrust of government and science. The City of Calgary has recently voted on whether to restore fluoride in their tap water, the latest in a long, fraught history over the chemical compound. Alberta-based journalist Kieran Leavitt joins “This Matters” to chat about how a widely-supported public health measure has become a battleground of politics.

    Front-line doctors fighting on two fronts: a deadly pandemic and digital harassment

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 20:05

    Guest: Dr. Naheed Dosani, Toronto-based palliative care physician and health justice activist Even as health care workers were being hailed by many as heroes for facing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic on the front line, many were also targets of online hate, racism and xenophobia. The digital harassment has seeped into real-life with anti-vaccination protests outside hospitals where there have been reports of violence and abuse. Dr. Naheed Dosani joins “This Matters” to talk about the nightmare that has been the last 18 months and what needs to happen next to protect them.

    This after-school program taught Alphonso Davies and keeps transforming lives

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 18:36

    Guest: Ruke Okome, program manager of the after-school program Free Play for Kids Alphonso Davies, Canadian soccer superstar, has become a world-renowned name with highlight reel goals, pride in his country and awards-laden recognition of his sporting excellence. He will soon return home to Edmonton as Canada faces a crucial match in its qualification for the World Cup where Free Play for Kids, the after-school program that Davies attended, continues to give a safe space for marginalized and often racialized kids. Free Play for Kids may have Davies as an alumni but its impact stretches to the next generation with aims of empowering future leaders in the community. Today on "This Matters," we go inside the program to learn how the lessons being taught are more than sports.

    Ontario's pit bull ban back in the spotlight

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 23:06

    Guest: Liam Casey, Canadian Press reporter Ontario is the only province that has legislation that bans pit bulls. Since it's enactment over 15 years ago, dog lovers have had issues with the ban, from the determination of dogs, the enforcement and seizure of animals, the lack of personal responsibility of owners and little to no recourse for owners of dogs who haven't done anything wrong, but fit the description of the breed. In recent weeks, there was a groundswell of support after a dog name Dwaeji was taken from his family in Vaughan. With a lot of public and political pressure, many thought change might be on the horizon, but after the dog in question was released, he bit a 13-year-old boy, once again, raising the issues that got these type of dogs banned in the first place.

    How Canada's museums are decolonizing and transforming

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2021 11:18

    Guest: Jeremy Nuttall, investigative reporter for the Toronto Star In the middle of societal and racial reckonings, many Canadians are asking questions about their shared histories, education and how reliable the stories of our past are. Are they written by the people and communities they're reflecting or is it colonial history? Some of Canada's biggest museums are now are taking a hard look at their exhibits and storytelling, especially when it comes to Indigenous history, which has often be treated as separate from Canada's past rather than a central part of it. The work of “decolonizing” the spaces where we share our stories has begun but what does that actually look like?

    Pandemic highlights longstanding issues in the restaurant industry

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2021 16:44

    Guest: Corey Mintz, freelance food reporter and the author of the upcoming book “The Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After” The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that in a lot of cases what was once normal couldn't sustain a lot of people. Among many things, the pandemic highlighted longstanding issues within the restaurant industry, such as low pay, worker protections, burnout and delivery apps eating into profit margins. The impact on restaurants closing and reopening through lockdowns, and not having every table filled, was also visibly apparent. Toronto Star food reporter Karon Liu guest hosts “This Matters” to speak with Corey Mintz, former Star restaurant critic and author of the new book “The Next Supper, The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After,” about these issues and what diners can do about it.

    Are new highways the on ramp to reelection for the Conservatives?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 18:48

    Guest: Robert Benzie, The Star's Queen's Park bureau chief It seems like the Progressive Conservatives believe the road to next year's election will be paved with new highways. Recently, Premier Doug Ford announced the province would fund the Bradford Bypass, a new 16 km road that would connect Highways 400 and 404. As well, the Ontario government has proposed plans to build Highway 413, a new 60 km freeway that would connect Milton to Vaughan, despite opposition from the municipalities that it would affect. There are a lot of questions about the specifics of these new roads, but also about some of the motivations behind them. Is this the kind of wedge issue that the PCs hope will propel them to re-election? Or is this a road to nowhere?

    Labour Minister Monte McNaughton discusses Ontario's new labour legislation

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 19:51

    Guest: Monte McNaughton, Ontario Labour Minister The last two years of this pandemic hit everyone differently. It is undeniable that its impacts were not equitable and those with precarious jobs — including frontline essential workers — paid the most disproportionate price. Now the government that was previously criticized for favouring businesses over workers seems to be trying to make amends. Last week, the province announced the minimum wage would be raised to $15 an hour starting January 2022. Ontario has also proposed an omnibus bill that includes a number of labour-friendly policies like more rights for temporary and migrant workers, and a new right to disconnect. But many note that the minimum wage is not a living wage, and others ask if these new changes might be a case of too little too late just around the corner from a provincial election. Ontario's Labour Minister Monte McNaughton joins "This Matters" to answer questions and clear confusion around the proposed new labour legislation.

    Reefer Madness: How many weed shops are too many weed shops?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 19:30

    Guest: Jennifer Pagliaro, City Hall reporter for the Star It's been three years since cannabis was legalized in Canada, and you can see the results on many streets around the GTA. In Ontario, there are now just over 1,000 cannabis stores. Toronto has over 300 alone, with another 200 in the process of getting approval. The issue is that many of them are in neighbourhoods and often right next each other, creating clusters that are in direct competition with each other. With little or no regulations about distancing between stores, and several structural issues within the province's regulations for cannabis sales, the really big question is whether all these stores can survive or if the weed boom will go up in smoke.

    Who's going to win the Giller and what else should you read this fall?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2021 17:34

    Guest: Deborah Dundas, Star Books Editor Canada's prestigious literary award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize recently announced its shortlist — which is not short on diverse Canadian literature — and we'll have a winner on Monday in an actual in-person award ceremony after nearly two years of this pandemic. The Toronto Star's Books Editor Deborah Dundas is on “This Matters” for a breakdown of the Giller Prize 2021, the nominees and potential winners and recommends some of Canada's best, buzzworthy book titles to add to your holiday reading list

    How the cartels from Mexico made inroads into Canada

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 20:01

    Guests: Peter Edwards is a reporter covering crime at the Star. Luis Najera is a journalist who covers crime, and is in exile from Mexico. They are the co-authors of The Wolfpack: The Millennial Mobsters Who Brought Chaos and the Cartels to the Canadian Underworld. When many of us think of organized crimes, the images that endure are those of mafia movies from the 70s, or shows like The Sopranos. In their new book, The Wolfpack: The Millennial Mobsters Who Brought Chaos and the Cartels to the Canadian Underworld, author's Edwards and Najera paint a picture of diverse, digitally savvy criminals who hook up with the Mexican cartels and help them build their beachhead into Canada. Filling in the backstory behind many crimes in Canada over the past two decades, it's a fascinating look at how criminal organizations work now.

    Is COP26 the turning point in fighting climate change?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 20:00

    Guest: Heather Scoffield, Toronto Star's Ottawa bureau chief and economics columnist COP26, the United Nations-led summit on climate change is underway in Glasgow, where world leaders and their delegates are meeting for a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change. Despite the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, many of the world's biggest emitters have not backed up promises with concrete policies. Climate activist Greta Thunberg has accused leaders of empty words and “blah, blah, blah” when it comes to taking the threat seriously. The world is heading to a 2.7 degree Celsius increase by 2050, according to the UN's latest report on climate change. Are countries around the world treating climate change with enough urgency? Will COP26 be a turning point or a final missed opportunity to stop the climate crisis?

    How pandemic burnout is affecting teachers and schools

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 18:05

    Guest: Nadine Yousif, reporter covering mental health issues, the Star New data shows that the number of teachers taking sick leave during the pandemic has doubled over the past two years of the pandemic. Researchers at Brock University have done early research that shows teachers are dealing with higher levels of stress and burnout, in large part due to the disruptions to the education system brought on by COVID-19. From the demands of remote, virtual and hybrid schooling, to the ever-present threat of students and teachers catching COVID-19 in a classroom setting, it is has been an extraordinarily unsettling time for many educators, which also has an effect on the students and the system as whole.

    How ‘A Better Tent City' is trying a new way to tackle homelessness in Kitchener

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 19:42

    Guest: Liam Casey, reporter at The Canadian Press Trying to tackle the issue of homelessness is a difficult one, as there is no one singular fix. But one issue for many people living on the streets is that they dislike the shelter system, which in many communities is seen as the only real solution. During the pandemic, the feeling of unease best showed itself as many people experiencing homeless set up tents in public parks throughout the province. In Kitchener, a radical new idea called A Better Tent City was undertaken by citizens in that community. Using sheds and creating a communal space, this homeless encampment has been embraced by officials in the community and is being accepted by those that are seeking help. It's certainly not perfect, but it is a new approach that already has other communities asking about a closer look.

    Will Toronto's hotel industry ever bounce back to its pre-pandemic peak?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 29, 2021 17:01

    Guest: Tess Kalinowski, real estate reporter for the Star Toronto's hotel industry has been one of the hardest hit in the COVID-19 pandemic. With the start of the first lockdown, hotel rooms emptied as dozens of hotels were closed completely. Thousands of workers were badly impacted by the loss of jobs and working hours. Many just never came back. As more people are vaccinated and travel restrictions get lifted, hotels are slowly coming back to life. But experts say there's still a long, difficult road to recovery for a city that was at its peak of marketing itself as a global destination before the pandemic. On “This Matters” today, we take a look at what it will take for Toronto's hotel and tourism industry to bounce back, nearly two years after the first lockdown all while reeling with financial losses and a severe staff shortage.

    Why are Toronto's roads so dangerous?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 22:02

    Guests: Shawn Micallef, columnist, and Gilbert Ngabo, reporter Toronto is one of the major Canadian cities where collisions with pedestrians are at a dangerous high. More than a hundred pedestrians were killed on Toronto roads between 2018 and 2020. Among those, 69 per cent were age 55 years or older, according to the Toronto Police Service. It's been nearly five years since the launch of Toronto's $123-million Vision Zero plan with aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. The city hasn't come close to that target even with an unprecedented decline in car use last year. There have been 46 casualties in 2021, and the year hasn't ended yet. October has been particularly deadly with a string of traffic deaths that included a 17-year-old girl and a much-loved couple. Today on “This Matters,” columnist Shawn Micallef and reporter Gilbert Ngabo talk about why Torontonians are dying on the streets of their city, and what needs to happen for the roads to be safe, accessible and equitable for everyone.

    Long COVID in kids and the hope of a children's vaccine

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 13:57

    Guest: Omar Mosleh, Toronto Star reporter The medical community is only beginning to understand long COVID, the debilitating and often mysterious symptoms so-called “long hauler” patients face that can last for months after they've fought the virus. Even less is known about long COVID in children, flipping the misconception that the worst of the illness only impacts adults and seniors. To date, only people 12 years of age and older have been approved by Health Canada to receive a COVID vaccine in Canada. The children and families affected with long-haul symptoms are speaking out about how their lives have been turned upside down, and now the questions and calculations they're making with an approved COVID vaccine for children in the works.

    The pandemic pet boom is driving a vet shortage emergency

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 16:42

    Guests: Dr. Louis Kwantes, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and Jory Bocknek, veterinarian The phenomenon of the pandemic pet boom is real. According to an Abacus Data research poll, more than 900,000 Canadians got a pet who didn't have one before. Animal shelters and rescue organizations have seen a dramatic rise in requests from hopeful pet owners. But all those new pets have led to an unprecedented demand in veterinary care, which was already stretched to its limits pre-pandemic. If there's an emergency for your four-legged family member, can you get them medical care? Veterinarians and medical associations say the situation is reaching a breaking point with the ever-growing number of pets in Canada.

    Canada's Succession: Rogers' boardroom drama explained

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 17:45

    Guest: Christine Dobby, Business Reporter at the Star It has been an extraordinary week at the highest level of power at Rogers Communications, one of Canada's largest telecommunications empires. A battle for control has been underway, pitting Edward Rogers against other family members as he attempted to change the company's CEO and put his hand-picked replacement in his place. While that manoeuvre was thwarted, the power struggle has resulted in Twitter storms from Martha Rogers, Edward's sister, and John Tory, the mayor of Toronto, being called in to attempt to mediate. Now the company seems to find itself with two board of directors, with each claiming legitimacy. On top of all that, exclusive Star reporting confirmed that Edward tried to meddle with the Raptors' leadership this past summer, in a manner that may show some patterns to his corporate activism. With 24,000 employees and the ongoing $26 billion acquisition of former rival, Shaw Communications, there is at lot stake for one of Canada's largest media empires.

    Why is there a high rate of vaccine hesitancy among pregnant people?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 16:05

    Guest: Megan Ogilvie, Toronto Star health reporter It's well documented and well-known now that pregnant people and their unborn babies are at significantly high-risk due to COVID-19, with many requiring hospitalization and intensive care. Six months ago, COVID's third wave in Ontario saw more pregnant people in ICU's than both the previous waves combined. Now we are seeing similar tragedies play out in Alberta as the province grapples a devastating fourth wave. Babies are being delivered while pregnant patients are on ventilators. This is why there was such the push and prioritization of vaccination for those who are pregnant. There is now global data proving that the vaccines have no risk for pregnant people, in fact it could save lives. Yet, vaccine rates of pregnant people remain low in Ontario and vaccine hesitancy remains high. There are multiple reasons for that and they're important to understand. 

    Breaking the silence: Dancers accuse choreographers of sexual harassment and grooming

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 12:00

    Guest: Star journalist Morgan Bocknek and Keanu Uchida, professional dancer An exclusive Star investigation has found allegations of widespread sexual harassment and predatory behaviour by Break the Floor (a big part of the dance community of North America) coaches over their younger students. Eight former staff and students allege BTF employees, famous in the dance world, initiated sexual conversations, propositioned them for sex, sent them nude photos, sexually harassed them at work or engaged in sexual relationships with them. Break the Floor CEO Gil Stroming did not respond to specific questions, though told the Star that the dance company did not have “fully thought out policies and procedures regarding this” and, “over the last year and a half we have worked very hard to make BTF a better and safer environment for everyone,” and, “we could have and should have done better.” BTF has undergone training and revised its code of conduct, the company said in a statement. “We are truly heartbroken that anyone has been subject to inappropriate behaviour by any person associated with Break The Floor,” the statement read. “We remain committed to these initiatives and will continue to learn and be better.”

    Are Ontario's new election laws being used to muzzle dissent?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 20:18

    Guests: Star reporters Noor Javed, who covers 905 municipal politics, and Kris Rushowy, Queen's Park reporter Earlier this year, the Ontario government controversially used the notwithstanding clause to push through a new election advertising law which, despite being found to be unconstitutional, added new restrictions on third-party advertising to curb large scale, American-style special interest political fundraising in the election process. Now, exclusive Star reporting has found that a sitting minister contacted Elections Ontario and asked it to look into at least three small community groups to see if they were in violation of the new laws. Critics say it could lead a muzzling of political dissent in the province and change the rules for political advocacy.

    Can you get fired for refusing to get vaccinated?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 15:11

    Guest: Rosa Saba, Business Reporter at The Star With vaccine mandates now being enforced in many establishments, workplace mandates are now proliferating across many businesses as they try to return to normal. This raises questions about employer and workers rights if an employee chooses to remain unvaccinated. It's something we are seeing play out on large stages, like the NBA, where star player Kyrie Irving has been told to stay away from his team until he decides to get vaccinated. But we are seeing it all across North America, as health care workers and police officers and others choose to remain unvaccinated. In Canada, the question is, can people be fired with cause? Do accommodations need to made? Is the employee eligible for Employment Insurance? These are all questions that need to be worked through and dealt with by all kinds of organizations and their personnel.

    What you need to know about the Canada-U.S. land border reopening

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 18:26

    Guest: Edward Keenan, Toronto Star's Washington Bureau Chief More than 18 months it closed due to the pandemic, the world's largest undefended border will reopen in November. The closure has resulted in long delays and frustration, and fraught with clear-as-mud guidance around the air travel and policies around mixed doses and vaccination. As Canadians get ready to cross the land border once again, we sort through the many questions that still remain on how the reopening will work amidst the politics of the pandemic.

    Why won't City Hall move forward on rooming houses and renters' rights?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 16:14

    Guest: Shawn Micallef, contributing columnist for the Star This summer, the city of Toronto spent almost $2 million on private security guards and police to forcefully clear encampments in public parks. Despite the obvious need for housing, council has once again delayed a decision on legalizing rooming houses citywide, a debate that's been ongoing for ten years at City Hall. Rooming houses, also called multi-tenant homes, are currently illegal in most of Toronto, yet they are said to be an accessible and affordable living option for students, newcomers, and individuals with low income in a city where the cost of living is among the highest in Canada. Columnist Shawn Micallef joins "This Matters" to explain the significance of rooming houses, renters' rights and why encampment clearing should not have taken place the way it did in the middle of a pandemic and an escalating housing crisis.

    Supply chain reaction: Product delays, stock shortages and higher prices

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 22:24

    Guest: David Johnston of the Schulich School of Business at York University With the holiday season fast approaching, many retailers have been ramping up their efforts to make sure there is enough stock on the shelves for consumers to buy, but experts warn that disruptions in the global supply chain are already resulting in product shortages, delays in delivery and higher prices. There are container ships lined up outside of U.S. ports waiting to off-load their freight, and there aren't enough docks or truck drivers to move the goods through. While COVID-19 has exposed some of the weak links in our global supply chain infrastructure, many issues were already there and experts are warning it might be some time before things return to normal.

    Can a computer glitch dash immigration dreams?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 16:04

    Guest: Nicholas Keung, immigration reporter The pandemic, travel restrictions and the recent refugee crisis in Afghanistan have created some serious issues within Canada's immigration system. From refugees, to permanent residency holders trying to make their landing in Canada, to those already living in the country waiting for citizenship, everyone has been in limbo as the backlog piles up. To try and address some of this, the federal government announced a special one-time immigration program in April, as a potential pathway to permanent residency for those already in Canada who might be eligible. To qualify, applicants needed to jump through a lot of hoops and navigate a tricky new system, all within a limited time window for limited slots. For thousands of students and workers, this was their only chance to make a life in Canada. Now those who made it that far are in danger of having their dreams dashed, all potentially because of a computer glitch. The Star's Immigration Reporter Nicholas Keung joins “This Matters” to explain.

    New Zealand abandons COVID-Zero. Is hope of elimination over?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 17:50

    Guest: Alex McKeen, Toronto Star reporter For much of the pandemic, New Zealand has avoided mass outbreaks, a large number of deaths and high case counts, and in doing so has been heralded by COVID-Zero supporters as the poster-child of the strategy to eliminate the virus. But that's all come to an end as New Zealand, like a number of other nations, has all but abandoned the official strategy. The goal now is low rates of transmission, rather than total elimination. The COVID-Zero movement has drawn a number of supporters from epidemiologists and public health experts as well its share of criticism from people who compare the approach to the anti-vax movement. Where does the goal of eliminating COVID spread go now? Is it even possible to achieve? Why is the dream of eliminating COVID spread such a controversial one?

    How far will new long-term-care legislation go?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2021 17:21

    COVID-19 showed how under-resourced and ill-equipped many Canadian nursing homes were to cope with a crisis. It also opened up an important conversation on structural and systemic issues within the long-term care industry — and the right of senior citizens to a better quality of living. Ontario has now opened up legislation on this front for the first time in more than ten years. Star investigative reporter Moira Welsh explains what the current state of Ontario's long-term care is and what those changes could look like.

    A look at the GTA real estate market now

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2021 15:55

    Guest: Tess Kalinowski, real estate reporter at The Star The real estate market has been one of the few things that this pandemic has not really disrupted. After an initial lockdown, the Greater Toronto Area market has been soaring to new heights in terms of prices and sales. After 21 months of the pandemic, there is cautious optimism that the market might return closer to normal — at least in terms of a sense timing — but there will remain challenges, mostly exacerbated by a lack of houses for sales.

    Transit ‘death spiral': Will post-pandemic Toronto be led by cars?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 20:14

    Guest: Ben Spurr, the Star's transportation reporter The pandemic has been near catastrophic for public transit. Ridership dropped for the TTC, costing the transit service millions in fare revenue and the Ontario government more than $140 a ride as the province covered the cost of near-empty GO Transit and UP Express trips. But the worst could still be to come and the fear of the "death spiral" remains a real possibility. Today on "This Matters," we explain the pain and drain of the "transit death spiral" and whether how we move in a city post-pandemic will be led by cars instead of buses and subways.

    How Alberta and Saskatchewan lost control of COVID's fourth wave

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 21:18

    Guest: Kieran Leavitt, politics reporter for the Star The fourth wave in western Canada has become a crisis. COVID-19 patients in Alberta are dying at four times the rate of the national average as the province leads Canada in active cases and deaths. After a sharp uptake when vaccines were first available, Saskatchewan's vaccination rate has stalled and now ranks as the lowest of all provinces.  We look at the political decisions in Alberta and Saskatchewan that brought them to this moment and whether they can control the fourth wave.

    Opening the Pandora Papers and what they reveal

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 20:23

    Guests: Robert Cribb & Marco Chown Oved, investigative reporters at the Star In what is being called the largest collaborative journalism project in history, hundreds of journalists around the world have released their findings from The Pandora Papers, which detail the financial details of how the ultra-rich move and hide money around the world in tax havens and through other mechanisms. The findings include some well-known world leaders as well as other wealthy and famous people. There were several revelations about prominent Canadians, and by shining a light on these dealings it opens up questions about what can and should be done about it. NOTE: The following people are discussed in this episode and, when reached for comment, provided these statements. David Tassillo's wrote a statement saying the offshore structure the Star “was the first and only I have ever set up on behalf of MindGeek, and the transactions and structure were entirely appropriate.” Elvis Stojko told Pandora Papers partner the CBC he did this on advice of his longtime lawyer and he was that the trust was closed in 2012. Lawrence Stroll's personal financial adviser, Jonathan Dudman, responded to the Star saying Superwit Profits was a “small business” originated by Stroll's friend Tang in 1998. The King's of Jordan's lawyers, in written correspondence, said there is nothing improper in the king's ownership of properties through offshore companies and that he has not misused public money or aid.

    Many businesses are refusing the new vaccine certificate rules. What now?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2021 13:26

    Guest: Jacob Lorinc, Toronto Star business reporter Ontario's anti-vaccine movement has expanded. Hundreds of businesses have formed a network to refuse the new vaccine certificate rules, and take a pass on screening for unvaccinated customers. Mayor John Tory says the city has received more than 500 complaints of these violations, but there doesn't seem to be any clarity on implementing Ontario's mandatory vaccine rules. Business reporter Jacob Lorinc joins "This Matters" to explain why hundreds of businesses are going back to business as usual and ponder Ontario will flatten the curve of the fourth wave and end a pandemic if vaccine rules are actually just suggestions for some.

    Annamie Paul and the Green Party: what it reveals about Canada's misogynoir problem

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 18:02

    Guest: Erica Ifill, columnist for the Hill Times Green party leader Annamie Paul's resignation came after a defeat in her own Toronto Centre riding but it was a long time coming. After the party's own internal report leaked earlier this year and revealed the extent of systemic racism within, many said that she was set up to fail and the outcome was built into the system from the onset. A study of Paul's journey as leader of the Green Party of Canada has also been considered by many as a microcosm of misogynoir, and the systemic failures reserved only for the Black and racialized women. Erica Ifill, columnist for the Hill Times, co-host of the "Bad + Bitchy" podcast and founder of equity and inclusion consultancy Not in My Colour, joins "This Matters" to help unpack whether it's "just politics" when a strong, outspoken Black Jewish woman steps away from her platform and potential, or was this a sinister reflection of Canada's real problem with racial double standards.

    How should Canada handle former residential school sites? Ask the Indigenous community

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 19:45

    As Canada reflects on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Star reporter Olivia Bowden wrote a piece titled: How do you teach children about residential schools? Mix history with kindness. Olivia was on the show in August and we are rebroadcasting her episode, as it is as relevant today as it was then. Guest: Olivia Bowden, Toronto Star reporter As Canada goes through the painful process of identifying hundreds of Indigenous children's remains who were buried in unmarked graves outside the sites of former residential schools, conversations have turned to what to do next with the locations, how to commemorate the children lost and how to honour those victimized. For some in Indigenous communities, those discussions have actually been taking place for decades. Olivia Bowden visited the site of the former Mohawk Institute residential school, now a part of the Woodland Centre under the ownership of the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, to listen and try to understand how Canada should move forward in addressing the horrific legacy of the residential school system and honour the Indigenous children that were its victims.

    What we know about vaccines and younger kids

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021 17:30

    Guest: Alex Boyd, Toronto Star reporter covering COVID vaccination As parents await news on vaccines for younger kids, Pfizer recently announced shots for children aged five to 11 are not far away. While the world awaits for it to be officially approved, there are still questions about efficacy, timelines and rollouts. But with spiking cases among children in the U.S. and other symptoms like “long COVID” showing up in younger people, the clock is ticking to get the largest remaining cohort their jabs too.

    Can an MP be forced to resign and, if so, how?`

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 15:17

    Guest: Jacques Gallant, Toronto Star political reporter Whenever a politician gets into trouble, people look up the steps for recourse but the truth is it's very difficult to remove an elected official from office. Such a mechanism is once again in the spotlight in part due to Kevin Vuong, a controversial politician who recently won a seat as a Member of Parliament for Spadina-Fort York in Toronto. Amidst growing calls for his resignation, he currently remains adamant he will serve out his term. Will it happen? Options are few and rarely used.

    Two Michaels return. Where does that leave Canada and China?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 22:00

    Guests: Joanna Chiu and Jeremy Nuttall, Toronto Star reporters covering Canada-China relations After nearly three years, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, have been freed from Chinese detention. With their release coming in lockstep with the resolution of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's legal case, many former diplomats and analysts say the ordeal was clear evidence of ‘hostage diplomacy.' Joanna Chiu, Toronto Star's Canada-China politics reporter and author of the book China Unbound, and Jeremy Nuttall, investigative reporter for the Toronto Star, join “This Matters” to discuss.

    Vaccine certificates are the law in Ontario. Here's how they're working

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 24, 2021 17:42

    Guest: Rosa Saba, Toronto Star business reporter A vaccine certificate system is now the rule of law in Ontario. Customers will have to show proof of vaccination in many public spaces and businesses, like indoor dining at restaurants, gyms and sporting events. After months of debates and doubts from the Ontario government, the passports are being touted as a way for businesses to avoid another set of lockdowns in the fourth wave. But there are many questions over the reality of how the vaccine passports work. Why isn't the passport on an smartphone app like Quebec's system? How easy is it for bad actors to forge their certificates? Is it on businesses to enforce the passports at the door? Today on "This Matters," we have your need-to-know guide for how the vaccine passports are working right now.

    Facebook's relationship with its own research is complicated

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021 19:24

    Guest: Will Oremus, tech journalist for the Washington Post It has been a very bad few weeks for Facebook, the world's largest social network, whose platforms also include Instagram and WhatsApp. Through a number of leaked documents, it became public that Facebook has been aware of the negative effects of its platforms on a number of levels. For instance, use of Instagram is said to have a detrimental effect on the mental health of teenage girls. and also it was reported that human traffickers were using the platform to target and recruit. The company's own research points to problems its platforms exacerbate, and the pattern reveals that the company just moves on without making changes or addressing the known issues. Today on “This Matters,” we discuss why and how that occurs and what can and should be done about it.

    The election is over. Now where will Trudeau's Liberals take Canada?

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 24:00

    Guests: Heather Scoffield and Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star Ottawa bureau Climate, affordability, housing, child care, the economy, health, race relations, guns, reconciliation: today on “This Matters,” we look forward to what we can expect from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's third mandate. Heather Scoffield, economics columnist, and Susan Delacourt, national columnist, from the Star's Ottawa bureau join to discuss. If you would like to support the journalism of the Toronto Star, you can subscribe at

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