As parents, we know our children well, but do you know how well your child can see? October is Children's Vision Month and it's a good reason to pause and think about how our children see the world. It's easy to assume that their vision is perfect, especially when they haven't mentioned otherwise, since children simply believe that everyone sees the way they do.
Marineland has launched lawsuits targeting myself, former orca trainer Christine Santos and animal care supervisor Jim Hammond. My latest round of legal bills totaled more than I will earn in this year -- $100,000. Our lawsuits are shining examples of the urgent need for the anti-SLAPP legislation that is Bill 52: Protection of Public Participation Act. It is unbearable to think that this historic piece of legislation -- as it is currently written -- will not apply to the very people who have largely inspired it. Why is the province turning its back on us and leaving us behind? Where is the procedural fairness for those of us who are already proceeding with unfair cases before the courts in Ontario?
The Wynne government is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Although provincial economists forecast an annual increase of 2.7 per cent in healthcare expenses, the province has agreed to fund only 1.25 per cent, barely half the projected cost. Ontario physicians are expected to make up the inevitable shortfall -- might as well ask teachers to bankroll the education budget.
Buying fresh, local food is a priority for many people, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Do you really know where your food comes from? Ask a few questions and you may just find the "local" food you're paying a premium for at your farmers' market or grocery store has traveled way farther than you'd like to think. It's no wonder we're all confused about where to get fresh and healthy food.
More needs to be done to identify the careers of the future -- this is especially important as the demand for a more professionally trained and highly skilled workforce continues to grow. It is more essential than ever to identify the future opportunities for young people and ensure students and parents know what qualifications are required to pursue those careers.
When a person dies, their assets are managed by an estate representative. In most cases, that person is the grieving spouse or children. Ontario has the highest Estate Administration Tax (EAT) the country. The EAT was previously called a "probate fee," but in this rare instance of honesty the Ontario government has changed the name to reflect what it really is -- an estate tax. Failure to comply with these new burdensome rules can result in fines starting at $1,000, imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
People with lived experience like myself have historically been excluded from being on the same committees, councils and boards as the people who are in charge of making decisions that will affect and impact people like us the most. After many years of waiting, we're finally starting to see organizations comprised solely of people with lived experience and -- even more rarely -- bodies with representation from patients, their families and healthcare professionals. It has always puzzled me as to how you could have committees and councils dedicated to patients with mental illness without having anybody from their community on them -- and it appears those who are working to improve Canada's health system are realizing this as well.
They recently swirled into Eastern Canada with a grand opening at Square One Mall in Mississauga. I was present for the star-studded opening and ribbon cutting ceremony which included Former Mayor Hazel McCallion and current Mayor Bonnie Crombie. Even fashion maven Jeanne Becker made an appearance, who asserted herself to be a "Pinkberry virgin."
The backlash against Ontario's new health curriculum has left many people confused. Is it radical? Are fundamental parental and religious rights being undermined? All parents want to protect their children, but opponents of sex education are inadvertently doing the opposite. Denying children accurate and inclusive information about their bodies, human relationships and sexuality is not protective; it is irresponsible. Without such information, children are unable to care for themselves and grow into healthy and responsible adults.
Healthy food or prescription medications? Transit fare or school supplies? Those are the choices families are forced to make when the cost of rent and utilities add up to half of their income. If we're committed to building a strong middle class we must demand safe, quality housing that's affordable to families in all tax brackets.
The September 15 deadline to bid for the 2024 Olympics is a big deal that boosters everywhere are downplaying. In Toronto, they are telling us not to worry, saying it's just a letter -- an "expression of interest" -- and that the letter doesn't mean anything. Elsewhere, no one is saying anything about that date at all. But September 15 is a big deal, and bid cities everywhere should be concerned.
As a lover of food, and a tourism professional, the fall holds a special place in my heart. The summer air cools, the season's bounty is gathered and celebrations abound. This fall, I'm particularly excited because I'm also returning to Galway, Ireland for the inaugural Food On The Edge Symposium -- where I'll experience a second harvest, of an idea planted by Chef Jp McMahon.
Colleges in Ontario and throughout the country have been working with small and medium-sized businesses on applied research projects to help businesses grow and innovate, as well as create new jobs. Applied research that Ontario's colleges conduct in partnership with business and industry will be central to our success when competing with international markets.
Parents have a right to know what's really at stake, the issues that could cause a further decline in the teaching profession's reputation and resources as political leaders attempt to pay off their debts through cuts to education. These negotiations are about the fact that teachers matter, and the way they're treated matters too.