When a small army of lawyers meet in a courtroom on Friday to challenge Premier Doug Ford’s new legislation cutting the size of Toronto council, there will be several individual names on the stacks of spiral-bound paperwork in front of them listed as “applicants.” These are the individuals who have sought legal representation to fight Bill 5, known as the Better Local Government Act, along with the City of Toronto and the Toronto District School Board. Their stories represent candidates, electors, community organizations and residents: A gay, Black school trustee who now plans to withdraw his candidacy; campaign volunteers drawn to a political cause for the first time; and several diverse and progressive-minded women encouraged to run by a grassroots group pushing to see better representation on a largely white, male council. Their stories will be central to the narrative told by lawyers when they argue that marginalized groups will be further disadvantaged by the provincial … [Read more...] about Meet the people challenging Premier Doug Ford’s Toronto ward cuts in court
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They staff the go-to neighbourhood bistros, race to the scene when there’s a serious collision and they assist the city’s most vulnerable residents. Increasingly though, the workers who make Toronto a great place to live can’t afford to live here, themselves. Although it is a pervasive challenge, the Toronto Region Board of Trade mapped the affordable housing options of five job classes — paramedics, social services staff, construction formworkers, kitchen and grocery retail workers. The maps illustrate how limited the city’s housing choices are. To stay within the recommended 30 to 40 per cent of household income for shelter, most would need to live far from the core. Only the highest earners among them — the paramedics and builders — could afford a condo. Many Torontonians working in career jobs are living like college students with roommates. Couples are giving up the dream of home ownership and families are coming to terms with raising their kids in apartments. Read … [Read more...] about Five jobs and the Toronto housing struggles that come with them
What happens when the workers who make a city function can no longer afford to live there? In Toronto, some paramedics are commuting from as far away as St. Catharines and Campbellford. Social workers are competing with their clients for housing. And cooks, who are turning out tasty fare in the city’s signature restaurants, are often priced out of the neighbourhoods they serve. There are a lot of people in their 30s working in Toronto kitchens who are still living at home with their parents, says chef and caterer Ang McCluskey, who has spent decades cooking and mentoring young kitchen workers. “They don’t want anybody to know because, frankly, it’s embarrassing,” she said. In an industry known to be long on hours and short on pay, Toronto’s housing challenges can be soul sapping for kitchen staff, McCluskey said. “When you’re a young kid or an apprentice and you are making $15 or $16 an hour, you will live with three roommates. But your life isn’t great and you know it. … [Read more...] about They cook Toronto’s food, and build its houses — but can they afford to live here?
The issue of whether to wear a face mask to protect against COVID-19 has come a long way since the virus first took hold in Toronto in March. Official advice moved from “you don’t really need a mask unless you have COVID-19, save them for front-line medical workers” to “please wear a mask in enclosed public spaces,” to “wearing a mask is the law in Toronto,” and then it was mandated across the province. A new, more contagious variant of the virus is confirmed to be circulating locally — one that could undermine the recent progress made in bringing down the number of daily new cases. Residents are being asked to wear masks outdoors in crowds. Several European countries are recommending surgical masks in public. The local supply of masks for health care is not the problem it was in March: There are now more than 31 million Level 2 surgical masks for front line workers in inventory in Toronto and additional contracts are in place, according to the city. Dr. David Williams, … [Read more...] about Q and A: Toronto Public Health’s latest advice on masks
It was just past 10 p.m. last Monday when Gigi, a registered nurse, returned from work exhausted to the tiny room she was renting in a Toronto home. About 45 minutes later, Toronto police were knocking on her bedroom door saying her landlord wanted her “out” and that she had to leave “now.” “I called my friend. I didn’t know what to do. I told (the officers), ‘I am a nurse. I just got home from work. It’s late,’” said Gigi, who had started her shift at 7 a.m. that day. “They just said: ‘We don’t care. Your landlord wants you out, and you have to go now.’” Gigi is the nurse’s nickname. The Star isn’t publishing the names of the landlady or the nurse to protect Gigi’s privacy as she continues to care for some of the community’s most seriously ill, non-COVID-19 patients. “I feel totally humiliated by this experience, and I don’t want to draw attention to myself,” she explained. “I need to be able to go in to work to do my job, completely focused on my patients.” The landlady, … [Read more...] about Evicted during the pandemic, a Toronto nurse pleads for fairness