1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Blogs

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including new benefit

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to join the middle class unveiled billions in housing help Wednesday that could make a difference to hundreds of thousands of households — but only in a few years when federal money finally flows to new units and tenant benefits.

The release of the national housing strategy on National Housing Day was designed to tout tens of billions in planned and expected spending over the next decade and solidify the federal government’s re-entry into the affordable housing sector.

Included in the plan was a promise to introduce legislation to make housing a fundamental right, create a new, portable housing benefit for low-income households, and prioritize funding for the most vulnerable populations like women fleeing domestic violence.

But the plan itself rests heavily on provinces and territories kicking in matching funds, without which federal dollars won’t flow.

Even then, it won’t happen until April 2018 and not until 2021 in the case of the new housing benefit.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the reason much of the money won’t be spent until after the next election in 2019 is because the federal government needs to take the time to get the details right and satisfy myriad local, provincial and territorial needs.

“We are looking at the realistic horizon that is going to not just put a Band-Aid on the problem, but create the kind of deep change and lasting impact that we know Canadians are going to need,” he said at an event in Toronto.

“When we say the federal government is back for the long term, we mean it — and that starts with getting it right from the very beginning.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called the plan “timid” because of the delays in spending when the money is desperately needed now.

And Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the strategy does nothing for lowering the high cost of housing ownership in major urban centres, only making a passing reference to exploring further options.

What the plan does is pull together almost $10 billion in planned spending, $11.2 billion in housing money outlined in this year’s budget, and $4.8 billion the Liberals promised to keep spending on funding to affordable housing providers. The rest is all from provinces, territories and the private sector to total about $40 billion over a decade.

There are also strict strings attached.

A new housing fund to create 60,000 new affordable housing units and allow repairs to 240,000 more, through grants and loans, will prioritize mixed-income developments and require about one-third of all those units to be offered at 80 per cent of median market rents for a 20-year period. (A mix of other funding is poised to create an additional 40,000 new affordable housing units.)

The $4-billion portable housing benefit could eventually help 300,000 households by 2028 and provide on average $2,500 a year in help, but only if provinces and territories match $2 billion in federal money and ensure the extra money doesn’t cause a jump in private rents. Mitigating inflationary pressures account for why the documents speaks of targeting the money to those in community and social housing.

The strategy also says the government plans to create a federal housing advocate and table legislation to enshrine housing as a human right, requiring regular reports to Parliament on federal efforts to ease the housing burden for hundreds of thousands of families.

The details of that idea and others in the strategy still need to be worked out, prompting municipal and housing groups to lend cautiously enthusiastic support for the plan.

Recently released census data found that 1.7 million households were in “core housing need” in 2016, meaning they spent more than one-third of their before-tax income on housing that may be substandard or does not meet their needs.

The government hopes the strategy will lift 530,000 of those families out of that core housing need category, help 385,000 more avoid losing their homes and lift 50,000 out of homelessness.

Wednesday’s news included precious little help for Indigenous communities, which is getting a separate plan that Trudeau said the government is still finalizing. Separate plans are in the works for First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

Man arrested for impaired driving in Finch and Islington crash

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017

One man has been arrested for impaired driving after a two-vehicle crash in the city’s west end.

Toronto police were called to Finch Avenue West near Islington Avenue around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

They say the man was driving east on Finch, when his car drifted into the westbound lanes and hit another vehicle.

He was taken to hospital but his injuries are not life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the other vehicle, a woman, was treated for minor injuries and released from hospital.

TDSB votes to scrap program that put police officers in schools

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017

The Toronto District School Board has voted to permanently end the practice of having police officers stationed in high schools.

There was loud applause when the result of a vote to scrap the School Resources Officer Program was announced on Wednesday night.

“We’re not saying we don’t want to have a relationship with the police, but we just won’t want armed police officers in our school every day,” school board chairwoman Robin Pilkey told reporters after the vote.

Toronto school district staff recommended removing officers from schools after a survey of students, staff and parents found that the police presence left some teens feeling intimidated or uncomfortable.

The program, which was suspended at the start of the school year, saw police officers stationed at 45 high schools in the district to try to improve safety and perceptions of police.

It began in 2008 after 15-year-old Jordan Manners was shot and killed at C. W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute.

A majority of the students surveyed for the school district report said that having an officer in school made them feel safer, but the more than 2,000 students who said they felt uncomfortable with a police presence was enough to justify the decision, Pilkey said.

“We have to reflect that two-thousand students are a significant number of students to not listen to,” said Pilkey.

However, a handful of trustees opposed ending the program, with one complaining that the decision is being made based on surveys rather than hard facts about whether the program has been a success or failure.

“It’s very unsatisfactory for us to make a decision as important as this without data, we have opinion but not data,” Gerri Gershon told the board meeting, adding that the school district should not walk away from improving relations between police and students.

“This is a horrible pun, but I think this is a big cop out,” she said.

Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack echoed those sentiments.

“Disappointed in TDSB decision tonight, a huge step backwards for students, our members and the community,” he said in a tweet. “We need to build bridges, not tear them down.”

With files from News Staff

 

Cheesecake Factory opens 1st Canadian location in Toronto

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 22nd, 2017

Sweet treat lovers in the Toronto area can now have their cheesecake and eat it too with the opening of Canada’s first Cheesecake Factory location Tuesday.

The U.S. restaurant chain, which serves dozens of different kinds of desserts, announced earlier this year that it would bring its restaurant to Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the fall.

The new location spans about 966 square metres and employs more than 300 staff in a variety of positions.

The Cheesecake Factory was founded in 1978 and operates 211 restaurants primarily throughout the United States.

 

2 Toronto officers injured in struggle with knife-wielding suspect

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 22nd, 2017

Two Toronto police officers suffered minor injuries during a violent struggle with a knife-wielding man in East York on Tuesday.

Police headed to the area of Dawes Road and Grower Street, near Victoria Park Avenue, around 5 p.m. after receiving a call about a man attacking a woman. The woman wasn’t seriously injured.

The suspect fled, but police managed to track him down during a search of the area.

That’s when things took a violent turn.

Police say the suspect tried to stab the arresting officers, nicking one of them in the neck.

Both officers were treated by paramedics for minor injuries and the suspect was taken into custody.

Liberals look to ease affordability concerns with release of housing strategy

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 22nd, 2017

OTTAWA – The federal government will unveil its highly anticipated national housing strategy today, with the Liberals looking to ease the concerns of Canadians who fear being priced out of the market.

The plan will put a heavy focus on housing supply — building tens of thousands of affordable housing units over the next decade — and repurposing other cash to maintain housing supplements.

There are expectations that the plan will also include a new portable benefit that low-income renters can carry with them through the market.

Those are just two of a number of anticipated measures aimed at making housing in Canada more affordable, particularly for the 1.7 million households that are forced to spend more of their disposable income than they should on housing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Toronto to unveil the details of the plan, while Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos travels to Vancouver to make a simultaneous announcement on the West Coast to mark National Housing Day.

Recently released census data found that 1.7 million households were in “core housing need” in 2016, meaning they spent more than one-third of their before-tax income on housing that may be substandard or doesn’t meet their needs.

Outside of Vancouver, the cities with the highest rates of core housing need were in Ontario. In Toronto, close to one in five households were financially stretched — the highest rate of any city in the country.

The government hopes that building 80,000 new affordable rental units, along with billions more in spending over the next decade, will lift 500,000 of those families out of core housing need and help a further 500,000 avoid or get out of homelessness.

The details of how the spending will roll out are of keen interest to housing providers and cities. Municipal leaders have been meeting with federal officials this week to talk about the national housing strategy.

The Liberals laid the financial backbone for the plan in this year’s federal budget, promising $11.2 billion over a decade in new spending. About $5 billion of that money the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is expected to turn into $15 billion by leveraging $10 billion in private investment.

Still, most of the money won’t be spent until after the next election in 2019, which concerns anti-poverty groups.

Those groups are planning demonstrations in multiple cities today, demanding the Liberals spend the full $11.2 billion before the next election.

Uber reveals coverup of hack affecting 57M riders, drivers

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 22nd, 2017

Uber is coming clean about its coverup of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service’s customers and drivers.

So far, there’s no evidence that the data taken has been misused, according to a Tuesday blog post by Uber’s recently hired CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. Part of the reason nothing malicious has happened is because Uber acknowledges paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the stolen information.

The revelation marks the latest stain on Uber’s reputation.

The San Francisco company ousted Travis Kalanick as CEO in June after an internal investigation concluded he had built a culture that allowed female workers to be sexually harassed and encouraged employees to push legal limits.

It’s also the latest major breach involving a prominent company that didn’t notify the people that could be potentially harmed for months or even years after the break-in occurred.

Yahoo didn’t make its first disclosure about hacks that hit 3 billion user accounts during 2013 and 2014 until September 2016. Credit reporting service Equifax waited several months before revealing this past September that hackers had carted off the Social Security numbers of 145 million Americans.

Khosrowshahi criticized Uber’s handling of its data theft in his blog post.

“While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”

That pledge shouldn’t excuse Uber’s previous regime for its egregious behaviour, said Sam Curry, chief security officer for the computer security firm Cybereason.

“The truly scary thing here is that Uber paid a bribe, essentially a ransom to make this breach go away, and they acted as if they were above the law,” Curry said. “Those people responsible for the integrity and confidentiality of the data in-fact covered it up.”

The heist took the names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of 57 million riders around the world. The thieves also nabbed the driver’s license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers in the U.S.

Uber waited until Tuesday to begin notifying the drivers with compromised driver’s licenses, which can be particularly useful for perpetrating identify theft. For that reason, Uber will now pay for free credit-report monitoring and identity theft protection services for the affected drivers.

Kalanick, who still sits on Uber’s board of directors, declined to comment on the data breach that took place in October 2016. Uber says the response to the hack was handled by its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor whom Kalanick lured away from Facebook in 2015.

As part of his effort to set things right, Khosrowshahi extracted Sullivan’s resignation from Uber and also jettisoned Craig Clark, a lawyer who reported to Sullivan.

Clark didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent through his LinkedIn profile. Efforts to reach Sullivan were unsuccessful.

Uber’s silence about its breach came while it was negotiating with the Federal Trade Commission about its handling of its riders’ information.

Earlier in 2016, the company reached a settlement with the New York attorney general requiring it to take steps to be more vigilant about protecting the information that its app stores about its riders. As part of that settlement, Uber also paid a $20,000 fine for waiting to notify five months about another data breach that it discovered in September 2014.

David Cassidy, ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 22nd, 2017

David Cassidy, the teen and pre-teen idol who starred in the 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family” and sold millions of records as the musical group’s lead singer, died Tuesday at age 67.

Cassidy, who announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with dementia, died surrounded by his family, a family statement released by publicist JoAnn Geffen said. No further details were immediately available, but Geffen said on Saturday that Cassidy was in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hospital suffering from organ failure.

“David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long,” the statement said. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”

“The Partridge Family” aired from 1970-74 and was a fictional variation of the ’60s performers the Cowsills, intended at first as a vehicle for Shirley Jones, the Oscar winning actress and Cassidy’s stepmother. Jones played Shirley Partridge, a widow with five children with whom she forms a popular act that travels on a psychedelic bus. The cast also featured Cassidy as eldest son and family heartthrob Keith Partridge; Susan Dey, later of “L.A. Law” fame, as sibling Laurie Partridge and Danny Bonaduce as sibling Danny Partridge.

It was an era for singing families — the Osmonds, the Jacksons. “The Partridge Family” never cracked the top 10 in TV ratings, but the recordings under their name, mostly featuring Cassidy, Jones and session players, produced real-life musical hits and made Cassidy a real-life musical superstar. The Partridges’ best known song, “I Think I Love You,” spent three weeks on top of the Billboard chart at a time when other hit singles included James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “The Tears of a Clown.” The group also reached the top 10 with “I’ll Meet You Halfway” and “Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted” and Cassidy had a solo hit with “Cherish.”

“In two years, David Cassidy has swept hurricane-like into the pre-pubescent lives of millions of American girls,” Rolling Stone magazine noted in 1972. “Leaving: six and a half million long-playing albums and singles; 44 television programs; David Cassidy lunch boxes; David Cassidy bubble gum; David Cassidy coloring books and David Cassidy pens; not to mention several millions of teen magazines, wall stickers, love beads, posters and photo albums.”

Cassidy’s appeal faded after the show went off the air, although he continued to tour, record and act over the next 40 years, his albums including “Romance” and the awkwardly titled “Didn’t You Used To Be?” He had a hit with “I Write the Songs” before Barry Manilow’s chart-topping version and success overseas with “The Last Kiss,” featuring backing vocals from Cassidy admirer George Michael. He made occasional stage and television appearances, including an Emmy-nominated performance on “Police Story.”

Meanwhile, “The Partridge Family” remained popular in re-runs and Cassidy, who kept his dark bangs and boyish appearance well into middle age, frequently turned up for reunions and spoke often about his early success.

“So many people come up to me and talk to me about the impact it (the show) had,” he told Arsenio Hall in 1990.

Even while “The Partridge Family” was still in primetime, Cassidy worried that he was mistaken for the wholesome character he played. He posed naked for Rolling Stone in 1972, when he confided that he had dropped acid as a teenager and smoked pot in front of the magazine’s reporter as he watched an episode of “The Partridge Family” and mocked his own acting. Cassidy maintained an exhausting schedule during the show’s run, filming during the week and performing live shows over the weekend, but had plenty of time to indulge himself. In the memoir “Could It Be Forever,” he wrote of his prolific sex life and of rejecting Dey’s advances because she lacked the “slutty aspect of a female that I always found so attractive.”

Cassidy would endure personal and financial troubles. He was married and divorced three times, battled alcoholism, was arrested for drunk driving and in 2015 filed for bankruptcy. Cassidy had two children, musician Beau Cassidy and actress Katie Cassidy, with whom he acknowledged having a distant relationship.

“I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her,” he told People magazine in 2017. “She has a completely different life.”

Cassidy himself was estranged from his father. Born in New York City in 1950, he was the son of actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward and half-brother of entertainer Shaun Cassidy. David Cassidy’s parents split up when he was 5 and he would long express regret about Jack Cassidy, who soon married Shirley Jones, being mostly absent from his life. David Cassidy stayed with his mother and by the early 1960s had moved to Los Angeles.

Kicked out of high school for truancy, David Cassidy dreamed of becoming an actor and had made appearances on “Bonanza,” “Ironside” and other programs before producers at ABC television asked him to audition for “The Partridge Family,” unaware that he could sing and intending at first to have him mime songs to someone else’s voice. Cassidy, who only learned during tryouts that Jones would play his mother, worried that Keith Partridge would be a “real comedown” from his previous roles.

“I mean, how much could an actor do with a line like, ‘Hi, Mom, I’m home from school,’ or ‘Please pass the milk?”’ he wrote in his memoir. “I didn’t see how it could do much for me. After all, I wasn’t the star of it. Shirley had top billing; I was just one of the kids.”

Page 31 of 306« First...1020...2930313233...405060...Last »