Foodshare loses 20 student positions; funding for school summer programs in question

The PC government has eliminated a program that gave 20 vulnerable students work and free-time programming at FoodShare Toronto. Summer jobs at Toronto schools are also on hold because the province cut $25 million from education programming.

Foodshare is located just outside of Mount Dennis. It “ prioritizes students who are behind in credits, newcomers, students from low-income families, racialized students and students with learning disabilities”, according to Faisal Hassan, who criticized the decision to cut funding at Queen’s Park this week. The students are “employed, supported and mentored”. FoodShare  provides “them with the opportunity to earn money, job skills and up to two co-op credits.”

Hassan asked the Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, why the government is “turning its back on organizations like FoodShare, which arm students with the skills to allow them to succeed in today’s workplace”.

Thompson repeatedly dodged the question. Instead of answering with details about FoodShare or the Focus on Youth program, she spoke rather nonsensically about McDonald’s accepting applications over Snapchat—apparently not noticing the irony of putting screens and grease over Foodshare’s focus on healthy fruits and veg.

Car insurance

Our expensive car insurance is back in the news.

As many Westonians know, car insurance here is rather dear. I pay about $210 a month for one car, and I’m 44, with no accidents and no tickets.

It seems a lot, and I’m not the only one to think so.

The Star says that Ontarians pay the highest premiums in the country, and we in Weston spend more than average. It’s because, the Star says, insurance rates are determined by postal code. Parm Gill, a PC member from Brampton, is looking to change that by introducing Bill 42, which will forbid “postal code discrimination”—a bill that, to my mind, rather loosely throws around ‘discrimination’.

The critics quoted in the Star were not kind. They point out that insurance is a zero-sum game: if we pay less, someone will pay more.

Weston is *not* the second-poorest

A couple of posts ago, I asked if anyone had data on the poverty in Weston. You can all put your calculating machines away. I think I’ve done it.

I’d heard for ages that Weston is the second-poorest postal code in Ontario. I confess, I was sceptical, since I heard this very same second-poorest thing when I lived in a bad part of Vancouver. That struck me as too odd a coincidence. I know I like neighbourhoods that are a little rough around the edges, but really.

And, it turns out, I was right. We don’t live in the second poorest. We live in the 40th poorest.

Don’t get smug, though. That’s still really bad. Weston is poorer than 92% of the rest of Ontario. The average Westonian makes $33,422, while the average Ontarian makes $54,000.

To make the comparison, I downloaded 2015 tax data (the most recent year available) from Revenue Canada. Obviously, we don’t all live in a single postal code, but we live in a single FSA—a Forward Sortation Area: M9N. (Mount Dennis shares M6M with a few other communities.) I eliminated all the FSAs that didn’t start with L, M, N, K, or P, the postal codes for Ontario.

With a bit of Excelling, I came up with the following:

  • Mount Dennis is in the 21st-poorest region in Ontario, poorer than 95% of all postal codes.
  • Weston is the 40th poorest region, poorer than 92%.
  • The poorest area is Thorncliffe Park, Toronto, and part of Jane and Finch is the second-poorest. Residents there make less than $25,000 per person per year.
  •  Lawrence Park has the highest-income residents. They make $212,000 a year, per person.

Weston / Mount Dennis ‘on the rise’.

BlogTO has an article that has picked Weston Mount Dennis as one of five ‘Toronto and beyond’ neighbourhoods on the rise in 2019. That should come as no surprise for many residents who have witnessed the development and cultural activity that has been under way for several years. The article cites as evidence, the Eglinton Crosstown, the transit hub forming around the Kodak Building and construction starting this year on the new net zero daycare.

Read the article here.

Ron Taverner back on the job with TPS

After a storm of controversy, Ron Taverner has rescinded his resignation from the Toronto Police Service and is back on the job as north west district commander (Divisions 12, 23 and 31) that he left on Friday. On Saturday, Mr Taverner asked that his appointment as OPP Commissioner be put on hold pending the results of an inquiry (requested by the NDP) by the Integrity Commissioner.

Two days after the OPP Commissioner’s job was posted, the requirements (deputy police chief or higher) were lowered thus allowing Superintendent Taverner to apply and his selection, according to the Ontario Newsroom site, was the, “unanimous recommendation of a selection committee comprised exclusively of members of the Ontario Public Service and supported by Odgers Berndtson, an executive search firm.”. Apparently 23 out of the 27 candidates for the job met the original requirements so lowering them was probably not merited on the basis of a shortage of candidates.

Acting OPP Commissioner (and fellow candidate for the job) Brad Blair cried foul on Taverner’s appointment and has since been demoted.

Many pundits have claimed that the fix was in and that Taverner’s friendship with Premier Ford was the reason for his appointment. Superintendent Taverner may well have been the best candidate to lead the OPP. Unfortunately, perceptions of the Premier’s large thumb on the scale have tainted his appointment and there is likely no going back regardless of the Integrity Commissioner’s report.

10 Wilby sales going well

10 Wilby Crescent – artists concept.

The Humber, a 22-storey condo under construction at 10 Wilby is now 40% sold according to Options For Homes’ latest newsletter. Demand for parking spaces has exceeded supply (from the original 131) and OFH is planning to add another level of underground parking in response. This entirely non-smoking, (vaping allowed), building should be ready by 2021 or 2022.

OFH is offering a $500 reward to anyone referring someone who goes on to purchase a home in The Humber. Find out more here or in the latest OFH newsletter here.

Incidentally, OFH has some great information on their site about the amenities here in Weston.