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Should Toronto wards be allowed to ban cannabis dispensaries?

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Thursday, Dec 13th, 2018

Since recreational cannabis became legal in October, individual provinces and municipalities have been working to iron out the finer details of what the new regime will look like in their jurisdictions.

In Ontario, municipalities have until January 22 to decide whether or not they will permit the sale of cannabis at privately-owned retail stores in their communities.

Markham announced its intention to opt out of selling cannabis back in August and council confirmed the decision with a vote Wednesday. The City of Mississauga also announced Wednesday that it is choosing to opt out of having cannabis retail stores in the city.

In Toronto, some city councillors want the choice to be further individualized, by giving each city ward the option to choose whether cannabis dispensaries can operate within their boundaries.

Scarborough-Agincourt councillor Jim Karygiannis says he will introduce the motion at Thursday’s council meeting.

“If municipalities are permitted to ‘opt out’, then wards, which are the size of many of these municipalities, should also have that option,” Karygiannis said in a statement issued Wednesday.

First-time Toronto councillor Mike Colle has also stated that his first order of business is to ensure Toronto has a say on where cannabis stores are allowed to set up shop.

“We have no say. I’m worried about these shops opening up everywhere — next to libraries, playgrounds, mental health facilities. We have to have a say in where these retail outlets go,” he told CityNews last week.

Mayor John Tory says he feels Toronto should allow cannabis stores in the city, but agrees that more municipal control is needed over where they are allowed to operate.

“I think it is better for us to opt in because it leaves less control in the hands of organized crime and other people who presently control that market, but better that we should have a degree of ability to regulate it to a closer extent so that we can protect neighbourhoods and families,” he said at a Heritage Toronto event Wednesday.

Tory also said he has expressed his concerns in the past and wants the City of Toronto to have “greater latitude to regulate, within the context of the provincial rules, the location of cannabis stores.” However, he admits that it likely involves a change to provincial law, which he does not see as forthcoming.

Referring to Coun. Karygiannis’ motion, Tory said it will be a tough-sell to the province.

“That is something that is also, I think, going to be a difficult proposition to sell to the province of Ontario. I think they’ve already said that they have a negative reaction to that,” he said, while adding that he hopes the province will listen to their suggestions.

The motion is set to be debated in city council on Thursday.

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Winter 2019

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 26th, 2018

Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital and production intern for its Winter 2019 term (January through April). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

comments@bttoronto.ca
Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

Citytv – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

Supply managed farmers to get compensation as a result of trade deal

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Oct 2nd, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the new trade deal with the United States and Mexico is a good one for Canada that protects the agricultural supply management system and staves off threatened auto tariffs.

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Trudeau says the revamped NAFTA deal — renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — is successful in maintaining fairness and balance between Canada and the U.S., a trading partner 10 times its size.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says all farmers in supply management systems will be fairly compensated for the additional market access being given to trading partners in the deal.

However, she says the amount and type of compensation will be worked out in coming months while Canada, the United States and Mexico all work to ratify the agreement reached late Sunday.

Both Freeland and Trudeau say it’s important to remember that when the negotiations began over a year ago the U.S. aim was to dismantle supply management entirely, and Canada did not let that happen.

Trudeau noticeably did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump in his opening remarks, saying only in answer to a direct question that the relationship with the president has been challenging during the course of negotiations.

Air Canada says mobile app breach may affect up to 20,000 customers

CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

Some 20,000 Air Canada customers woke up Wednesday to learn their personal information may have been compromised after a breach in the airline’s mobile app, which prompted a lock-down on all 1.7 million accounts until their passwords could be changed.

Air Canada said it detected unusual login activity between Aug. 22 and Aug. 24 and tried to block the hacking attempt, locking the app accounts as an additional measure, according to a notice on its website.

Mobile app users received an email Wednesday morning alerting them as to whether their account had been affected.

The app stores basic information including a user’s name, email and phone number.

Any credit card data is encrypted and would be protected from a breach, Air Canada said.

But Aeroplan numbers, passport numbers, birth dates, nationalities and countries of residence could have been accessed if users saved them in their account profile, the company said.

Air Canada declined to respond to questions, referring The Canadian Press to its website.

The risk of a third party obtaining a passport in someone else’s name is low if the user still has their passport and supporting documents, according to the federal government.

Users can reactivate their account along stricter password guidelines by following instructions emailed to them or prompts when logging in.

Some users reported problems with the process on social media, likely due to the volume of customers trying to unlock their account.

Air Canada advised anyone looking to access the app to keep trying.

In March, the airline said some customers who booked hotels through its former travel partner Orbitz may have had their personal data stolen.

Nearly 2,300 bookings through Air Canada hotel options could have been involved in a data breach of hundreds of thousands of records that Orbitz reported earlier this year, Air Canada said.

The Expedia-owned travel website operator, whose platform Air Canada no longer uses, disclosed on March 20 that hackers may have accessed personal information from about 880,000 payment cards in 2016.

Reports of CRA extortion scam on the rise

News Staff | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

“These scammers are very threatening. They’re very direct. They entice that fear.”

Stores including pharmacy chain Rexall have started posting warnings about scams involving gift cards as reports about the fraud continue to mount.

Fraudsters pretending to be the Canada Revenue Agency(CRA) have been calling unwitting consumers and telling them they owe money from a past tax return. The consumers are told they will incur additional fees, face jail time or be deported if they fail to pay the sum — by wire transfer, pre-paid credit cards, gift cards or bitcoin.

“It’s one of the biggest scams out there right now,” said Jessica Gunson of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), a federal agency jointly managed by the RCMP, the Competition Bureau, and the OPP.

“These scammers are very threatening. They’re very direct. They entice that fear. They just want that person to have that knee-jerk reaction. They don’t want to give them time to think about it. They don’t want them to talk to anyone else.”

When scammers receive gift cards, they generally resell them for cheaper, Gunson said. They may sell a $100 iTunes gift card for $80, for example.

In October 2016, investigators traced the fraudsters to call centres in India, arresting dozens.

Almost immediately, the CAFC noticed a “huge decrease” in calls about the CRA extortion scam. Since that time, however, the reports have steadily increased.

Last year, the agency received more than 10,000 complaints about that particular fraud, and 688 people reported being swindled out of $2.7 million. But already in the first six months of this year, the number of reported victims has surpassed the 2017 total. The CAFC said 764 victims of the extortion scam handed over $3.6 million to fraudsters from January to June.

The real number is likely much higher as it’s estimated less than five per cent of fraud is reported to the CAFC.

Gunson said she has seen convenience stores and pharmacies in Ontario taking preventive measures.

“Retailers have become very good and very vigilant in alerting customers that may be buying or asking for a stack of cards,” she said.

In April 2016, the manager of a Metro grocery store in Brampton intervened when a man tried to buy 42 iTunes gift cards at once. The manager called police who, after assessing the situation, told the man he was being scammed.

And several Rexall stores in downtown Toronto have posted signs on their gift card display warning customers who are being pressured to buy gift cards.

The notices mention the CRA will never use aggressive language or tone, ask for prepaid credit or gift cars or threaten arrest. They include a link to the CRA’s fraud prevention website.

Here are some more tips from the CAFC about how to avoid scams by phone and email.

How to protect yourself from scammers

  • The CRA will use registered mail to contact consumers.
  • Contact the CRA to confirm you owe back taxes or are entitled to a refund.
  • Never provide personal information on inbound phone calls. Ask who is calling, document information and do your homework.
  • The CRA would never request payment by money service business, iTunes gift cards or bitcoin.
  • For more information about fraud scams involving the CRA, visit the agency’s fraud prevention website.
  • If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.
  • If you’ve shared banking information with the scammers, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.
  • If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, contact the Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre at 1‐888‐495‐8501 or report it online at antifraudcentre.ca.

Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada launches, expected to be important learning tool

GABRIELE ROY, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

A learning resource described as a comprehensive atlas on Indigenous lands, languages and culture in Canada was launched in Toronto on Wednesday after two years of input from the communities it covers.

The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, which includes a four-volume set of books, an online interactive atlas and other components, was touted as an important educational tool for future generations.

“Not only will (Indigenous) children see themselves and their people in such a respectful and meaningful way, but non-Indigenous children will be educated with resources that come from authentic Indigenous voices for the first time,” said Charlene Bearhead, the project’s education adviser.

The project, funded by the federal government, was developed by Indigenous groups working with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Those involved in the effort said it was believed to be the first of its kind.

Bearhead, who is also the education co-ordinator for the National Inquiry of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, said the way in which the atlas was developed was important.

“The First Nations made the decisions about what would be in their volume, the Metis made the decisions about their volume and so did the Inuits,” she said.

The chief operating officer of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society said the project told the story of the country’s people and their lands in an important way.

“As a powerful education tool, it is clear that the Indigenous People Atlas in Canada will become a foundational step on the path towards reconciliation,” said Gilles Gagnier. “The learning from the atlas will help ensure that the Indigenous voices in every part of this country and throughout the world are heard and understood.”

The atlas includes information on Indigenous communities, languages, education, treaties and lands. It also addresses topics such as residential schools, colonization, racism and cultural appropriation.

“It is our hope that the voices of the First Peoples gathered in this atlas will cause you to reflect … and maybe even act,” said Julian Brave NoiseCat, a contributing editor to the atlas who is a member of the Canim Lake Band in British Columbia.

“It is a beautiful and proud thing to be Indigenous.”

The atlas will soon be introduced to classrooms across Canada, and teachers will be given materials that will help them learn how to best use the resource.

“We are right here, in someone’s homeland and we don’t learn about them,” said Bearhead. “Now that we have this resource, there are no excuses.”

Bearhead added that the use of the atlas should go beyond the classroom.

“Every family, every house in this country needs to have that atlas as a beginning point to educate,” she said.

Donations pour in for residents displaced by fire at 650 Parliament St.

News Staff | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

Following an appeal by Mayor John Tory on Tuesday, the city says donations have begun pouring in for the displaced residents of 650 Parliament street.

Around 1,500 people were forced to evacuate the building after a six-alarm fire broke out on Aug. 21.

Mayor Tory asked private citizens and corporations in Toronto to contribute housing support, financial help and donate back-to-school necessities for over 300 children who need clothes, shoes and other essentials for the first week of school.

As of Wednesday afternoon the children’s needs were almost fully taken care of thanks to corporate donations of gift cards and vouchers as well as backpacks, socks, t-shirts and other clothing.

In addition the Red Cross received $32,638 in financial donations as well as 112 offers of accommodations and hundreds of items of school supplies.

The distribution of items to families with school-age children will begin on Saturday at the Rose Avenue Public School gymnasium on 675 Ontario Street.

In a release, both Mayor Tory and Coun. Lucy Troisi expressed their thanks to the people of Toronto and various corporations

Tory added that going forward, the most important needs are accommodation and financial help.

How you can help

  • If you’d like to donate money, financial contributions can be made online at redcross.ca or by calling 1-800-418-1111.
  • To coordinate offers of accommodations, goods and services, Toronto social service agency WoodGreen has made their H.O.M.E portal available to allow donors to post available housing, goods and services.Visit www.mycanadianhome.org to post an offer.
  • If you would like to donate clothing, the drive being organized in partnership with Community Matters and Community Corner is ongoing. However gift $20-$25 gift cards are preferred due to space restrictions. Gift cards can be dropped off at Community Corner, 200 Wellesley St. E. The clothing drive ends 8 p.m., Friday.

 

Labour Day long weekend — last hurrah of summer: what’s on, what’s open

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

It is with mixed feelings that we welcome the last long weekend of summer. While most of us are looking forward to having Labour Day off, we are also slowly saying goodbye to summer. The season officially ends on Sept. 22.

So make this weekend a good one. Several fun-filled events are on tap, including the air show at the CNE, which comes to a close on Monday.

If you are planning to squeeze in some back-to-school shopping on the holiday Monday, several malls will be open. Below is a list of what’s open and closed.

For those planning to drive or take the TTC into the city this weekend, a portion of Line 1 will be shut down and some road closures will be in effect. Below are the details.


Events

CNE wraps up with air show
As the CNE comes to an end this Labour Day weekend, the Canadian International Air Show will take to the skies over Lake Ontario for its 69th annual performance. This year, the the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will open the show and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will bring the performance to its dramatic finale. This is the first time in 15 years that the Thunderbirds have returned to the CNE, and it will be their only performance outside of the U.S. in 2018. The show runs from noon until 3 p.m. Saturday through Monday. The CNE wraps up at 9 p.m. on Labour Day.

Light show over the mountain
It is not only the last long weekend of summer but also the last fireworks show of summer at Canada’s Wonderland. So if you are already planning to be at the amusement park on Sunday, you can stay a bit later and watch the show. Fireworks set to music will light up over Wonder Mountain at 10 p.m. The light show will only run weather permitting.

Buskers bring their magic
Woodbine Park will be transformed into a world of magic and wonder this weekend for the annual Toronto International BuskerFest. The festival will have you questioning your very eyes, with spectacular circus artistry, non-verbal shows, music, magic, mime, fire jugglers, acrobats and more. This year’s event also features the Mac and Cheese Festival, with over 50 variations of mac and cheese from top chefs. BuskerFest is the largest fundraiser for Epilepsy Toronto. The event takes place from Friday afternoon until Monday.

Bring on the fans
Calling all sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming fans! Fan Expo Canada is taking over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this Thursday through Labour Day. The event is now in its 24th year and attracts more than 129,000 people from around the world. Highlights of this year’s show include the Back to the Future cast, a Degrassi: The Next Generationreunion, Harry Potter-themed escape rooms and WWE superstars Triple H, AJ Styles, The Miz and Charlotte Flair. There will also be exclusive collectibles, a kids costume contest and a cosplay photo park.

Did someone say bacon?
Keep the wet wipes and bibs handy this long weekend at Toronto’s Rib, Bacon & BBQ Fest at Downsview Park. This year the four-day event is expanding on its traditional ribfest fare by including vendors that specialize in bacon and BBQ treats. There will be tons of entertainment, including live music, midway rides, bouncy castles and a beer, wine and spirits tent. Celebrity Chef Rob Rainford will be at the festival on Labour Day doing a cooking demonstration, signing copies of his book and judging the best ribber competition.

Beer, food and summer
Brewer’s Backyard is celebrating Labour Day with its final festival of the summer — the Fruits of our Labour. The event features a lineup of breweries including Goose Island Beer Company, The Exchange Brewery, Great Lakes Brewery and Northern Maverick Brewing Company, along with tasty food. It runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the pavilion areas of Evergreen Brick Works. There will also be a “first call” special with $5 beers for the first hour. Admission is free.

Music takes over the square
TDotFest is taking over Yonge-Dundas Square this Sunday. The annual festival features over 40 artists, including Canadian R&B recording artist Jrdn, who will be releasing music from his new album, Kiia, Foxx Williams and Ebonie. The free concert also includes food and beer. It kicks off at noon.

Hanlan’s Point goes electric
Hundreds of people will be flocking to Hanlan’s Point this long weekend for the Electric Island Festival. The two-day event showcases over 20 artists on two stages. There will also be a BBQ, international food trucks, games and activities. All-day entry runs from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday and Labour Day Monday.

What’s open and closed on Monday

Open

  • TTC will run on holiday service.
  • GO will run on a Sunday schedule.
  • Tourist attractions: Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada’s Wonderland, Casa Loma, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo
  • Several malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Square One Shopping Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Toronto Premium Outlets (9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Hillcrest Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • City of Toronto outdoor and wading pools will close at 4 p.m. on Sunday but 10 pools will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday. Click here for the list.
  • City of Toronto swimming beaches will be open and supervised from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday. Splash pads will also be open.
  • Eight of Toronto’s historic sites will also be open, as well as city-run golf courses. Click here for a full list of city-run programming.

 

Closed

  • All LCBO and Beer Stores
  • Most grocery stores (select ones are open but call ahead)
  • Some malls: Dufferin Mall, Erin Mills Town Centre, Fairview Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale Shopping Centre
  • Government offices, municipal buildings and banks
  • All Toronto Public Library branches (They are also closed on Sunday.)
  • City of Toronto indoor pools
  • Garbage collection: Curbside pickup is not provided on any Monday, but other solid waste collection will be affected too. Click here for details.
  • City of Toronto recreation centres
  • No mail delivery

Transit and road closures

Partial Line 1 closure
Long weekend or not, transit crews will be busy on Saturday and Sunday working on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue. This means subways won’t be running on Line 1 between Lawrence and St. Clair stations. Shuttle buses will be running, and Wheel-Trans buses will be available upon request. Anyone travelling south who requires a Wheel-Trans bus should exit the train at York Mills Station since it has elevator.

Road closures

BuskerFest
The east curb lanes of Coxwell Avenue from Eastern Avenue to Lake Shore Boulevard East will be closed from 6 a.m. on Friday to midnight on Monday.

Fan Expo Canada
The south curb lane of Front Street West between John and Simcoe, the north curb lane of Bremner Boulevard between Lower Simcoe Street and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre driveway, and the west curb lane of Lower Simcoe from Front to Bremner will be closed from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Labour Day Parade
The following roads will be closed from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday.

  • University Avenue between Dundas Street West and Richmond Street
  • Queen Street West from west of Bay Street to east of University
  • Armoury Street from Chestnut Street to University
  • Centre Street from Dundas to Armoury
  • York Street from Queen to Richmond

 

The following roads will be closed from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

  • Liberty Street from Dufferin Street to Jefferson Avenue
  • Jefferson Avenue from King Street West to Liberty

 

Toronto Fashion Week
The north curb lane and north sidewalk on Yorkville Avenue from the Hazelton Hotel to Yorkville Village will be closed from midnight on Sunday to 11 p.m. on Sept. 7. Hazelton Avenue will also be closed from Yorkville Avenue to the Hazelton Hotel driveway south of Scollard Street.

TTC track replacement
The intersection of Dundas Street West and Lansdowne Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. on Sept. 2 to Oct. 5. Drivers heading east or west can use College Street West, Bloor Street West or Queen Street West, while those going north or south can use Roncesvalles Avenue or Ossington Avenue.

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