Six stories in the news for Thursday, April 20
ONTARIO HOUSING PACKAGE COMING TODAY
The Ontario government will unveil a much-anticipated package of housing measures today aimed at cooling a red-hot market. Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa have signalled that the measures will take aim at speculators, expedite more supply, tackle rental affordability and look at realtor practices. The average price of detached houses in the Greater Toronto Area rose to $1.21 million last month.
ONTARIO OPIOID DEATHS RISING
Researchers in Ontario say more than two people die each day of opioid overdoses in the province. A report by the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network says the rate of opioid-related deaths has almost quadrupled over the last 25 years — from 144 in 1991 to 734 in 2015. Lead author Tara Gomes at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital says annual opioid-related deaths in Ontario now exceed the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents.
PARDON FEE A SIGNIFICANT BARRIER, MANY SAY
The $631 fee to apply for a criminal pardon poses a substantial hurdle for people trying to turn their lives around, say a majority of people who responded to a federal consultation. Eighty per cent indicated the fee is a significant barrier while 16 per cent considered it a modest barrier. The consultation led by the Parole Board of Canada is part of a Liberal review of Harper government changes that made people wait longer and pay more to obtain a pardon.
CRTC TO RULE ON DIFFERENTIAL PRICING
Canada's telecommunications watchdog is set to release a decision today that could change whether all video and music streaming services count toward customers' cellular data plans. The CRTC held hearings last fall into what's known as differential pricing, such as when companies allow customers to access certain streaming services without it counting against their data plans. That review stemmed from a complaint about Quebecor-owned Videotron over the way it bills customers for the data they use.
ONTARIO OMBUDSMAN TO RELEASE SEGREGATION REPORT
Ontario's ombudsman will release a special report today on inmate segregation. In December, Paul Dube announced an investigation into how the province tracks and reviews the placement of inmates in solitary confinement. He said the probe had been sparked by hundreds of complaints. The Correctional Services Ministry has also been reviewing prisoner isolation.
4-20 CELEBRATION TODAY IN VANCOUVER
Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts are expected to converge today on a scenic beach in Vancouver and officials will be asking organizers to pick up the tab for this year's edition of the annual party. Last year's 4-20 celebrations attracted about 25,000 people to Sunset Beach and cost an estimated $150,000 for policing and other expenses. This year's event is unsanctioned after the city's park board voted against granting a permit.
ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:
— Finance Minister Bill Morneau will attend the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Washington.
— Hisham Saadi, who is accused in an alleged bomb threat against Muslim students at Concordia University, returns to court in Montreal.
— Statistics Canada will release February data for employment insurance and travel between Canada and other countries.
— Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.
— Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna attends the Carbon World Conference in San Francisco.
— The Fraser Institute will release a study examining air quality in Canada.
The Canadian Press