Sudden snow days ‘little less problematic’ for some parents, challenging for others


When the Toronto District School Board made the rare move to cancel classes across the city because of Tuesday’s winter storm, it was the first time it had done so in eight years — in part because of the impact a decision like that has on thousands of families.

As the country’s largest school board in Canada’s largest city, the TDSB represents some 246,000 children. An email sent Monday ahead of the impending storm by John Malloy, the board’s director of education, noted that closing all schools « causes significant hardship for many families, some of which have no other options readily available for their children. »

British Columbia, too, has had to deal with unlikely school closures this week. Snow forced the shutdown of almost every school district in the Lower Mainland, including Vancouver, Surrey and Abbotsford.

For some single parents, challenges persist. But technology, including social media, has made it easier for some parents to unexpectedly work from home for the day or find caregivers for their children.

‘Little less problematic’

« I think with more and more companies providing their employees with the tools to work from home, it’s a little less problematic than it might have been in years past, » said Kim Shiffman, editor-in-chief of Today’s Parent magazine.

« I know, for example, the parents on my team, everyone brought their laptops home last night in anticipation of this possibility. »

Shiffman herself has two children, aged five and 10, and said she was able to work from home on Tuesday.

« Luckily they are at an age where they don’t require constant supervision, » she said. « And I can get a pretty significant amount of work done with minimal distraction. »

Vehicles make their way along a snow-covered highway in Victoria on Tuesday. A winter storm has pounded British Columbia’s capital, as well as Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

There are certainly parents in jobs who cannot work from home, but Shiffman believes those parents are a little more prepared for these kind of snow-day situations, from having to deal with staying at home with a sick child.

In her community, she said she noticed some stay-at-home parents and those on maternity leave offering assistance through messages posted online. Facebook has been a boon in creating tight-knit communities that allow people to reach out to try and support other parents, she said.

« I saw home daycare providers in my neighbourhood Facebook mom group saying: ‘I usually have this many kids, but today I only have one. So I actually have room to take two kids if anyone’s desperate. »

Not everyone has flexibility

But for some single parents, friends can’t step in, and grandparents and family don’t live near enough to help, according to Marianne Sorensen, executive director of the 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre in B.C.

« There isn’t another parent who can maybe take a day off work and stay home or help figure it out, » Sorensen told CBC’s On The Island.

« Lots of the single parents we work with are relatively isolated, » Sorensen said. « They’re really busy taking care of their kids and working jobs to make ends meet, and so many of them don’t have a strong social network of support. »

Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, said hundreds of thousands of children can be at loose ends when their schools and daycare are shuttered, causing a considerable impact on parents and on the companies who employ them.

High school teacher Melissa Watson takes advantage of a snow day by cross-country skiing on the streets in Burlington, Ont., on Tuesday. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

In some cases, kids are able to come to work with their parents. But in other cases, that’s just not possible.

« One of the things that has been helpful though over the last little while is … increasingly people are able to work remotely, where that was just not possible a decade or two ago, » he said.

« We’ve got people that are taking telephone calls, small-business owners across the country [where] that can be done using VoIP and other systems — they can pretty much be done from wherever. »

Kelly acknowledged, however, that if you’re in if you’re in bricks-and-mortar retail, a restaurant or a factory, that doesn’t give you very much flexibility — or comfort.


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Quebec government creates guidelines to control problem hockey parents – Montreal


Parents of minor hockey players in Quebec will now be required to make sure their conduct in the stands measures up to new guidelines set by the provincial government.

The Education Department in conjunction with Quebec’s minor hockey federation has put together a behaviour protocol governing how hockey associations should handle aggressive and unacceptable events involving parents of minor hockey players.

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READ MORE: Acadia, St. Francis Xavier to meet in first round of AUS men’s hockey playoffs for first time since brawl

“Excessive bad language and disgraceful conduct cannot be tolerated in hockey,” Junior Education Minister Isabelle Charest said Monday at a news conference presenting the 43-page booklet.

“And unfortunately today, we continue to see this type of behaviour too often in Quebec’s arenas.”

READ MORE: Call of the Wilde: Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs go to overtime

Paul Menard, head of Hockey Quebec, said the guide will be sent immediately to all minor hockey associations across the province. He said parent behaviour won’t change overnight, but he expects people to fall in line soon.

“If we have a situation, we will have to address it by what’s in the guide,” he said in an interview.

“And if you start working with a tool, people will join in.”

The guidelines set out the roles and responsibilities for parents, team and arena personnel, officials, league administrators and fans who wish to intervene when an aggressive situation risks getting out of control. The booklet also includes a list of unacceptable behaviours and suggests ways to intervene.

If parents tell a child to fight another player, for instance, the guidelines suggest they be confronted, placed into a mediation process and then brought in front of a disciplinary committee. For parents who threaten a coach or someone else, they could be expelled from the league.

WATCH: Hockey teams involved in brawl had ‘agreement’ about on-ice comments two seasons ago: league

Menard said the guidelines detail how associations should react up to the point when police need to be called.

“When a situation gets out of hand, or when people are not stopping, the thing to do is to call the police,” Menard said.


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Alexandre Bissonnette’s parents say ‘very severe sentence’ denies all hope of rehabilitation


Manon Marchand and Raymond Bissonnette issued an open letter Monday evening, questioning the severity of the minimum 40-year sentence handed down to their son Alexandre Bissonnette Friday and blaming the Crown for encouraging a « desire for revenge. »​

On Friday, Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, was sentenced to at least 40 years in prison for killing six men at a Quebec City mosque two years ago. He will be 67 before he’ll be eligible to seek parole.

Bissonnette’s parents point out the 40-year minimum sentence is the heaviest sentence ever imposed in Quebec since the death penalty was abolished in 1976. « We consider this to be a very severe sentence, » they write.

They say the position of the Crown — which had sought six consecutive periods of 25 years of parole ineligibility — amounted to circumventing the abolition of the death penalty and extinguishing all hope of rehabilitation.

« Why deny convicts even the faintest hope? » they ask.

Bissonnette’s parents said last summer when they spoke publicly for the first time that they didn’t realize until it was too late how years of intimidation and bullying had affected their son’s mental health.

In Monday’s open letter, they point out their son suffered psychological and physical bullying « which had devastating effects on his personality. » 

They say the solution to prevent another tragedy like the one perpetrated by their son is to « not lock someone up forever, but rather try to better understand and prevent bullying. »

Appeal of sentence likely

Legal experts said Quebec Superior Court Justice François Huot’s sentence is likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre Imam Hassan Guillet expressed sympathy for Alexandre Bissonnette’s parents after the sentence was rendered.

« They are as destroyed as we are, » said Guillet Friday, after seeing them in the courtroom.

Survivors of the Quebec City mosque shooting and the families of the slain men expressed their disappointment that children of the victims will have to revisit the case in 40 years, when Bissonnette is at last able to apply for parole.

Read the full letter from Manon Marchand and Raymond Bissonnette below:


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Toronto parents pay the highest child care fees in the country. Elsewhere in Canada, provinces are capping the burden


More than half of Canadian provinces are using fee caps to rein in parents’ galloping child-care costs, but Ontario isn’t one of them, according to a national survey being released Thursday.

“For the first time in five years we are seeing movement, with more provinces using public policy to make child care more affordable,” said study co-author David Macdonald of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Jessica Dumelie and her daughters, one of whom is almost 3 and the other who is 18 months. Dumelie and her husband will be paying $3,400 a month for child care when Jessica returns to work next year.
Jessica Dumelie and her daughters, one of whom is almost 3 and the other who is 18 months. Dumelie and her husband will be paying $3,400 a month for child care when Jessica returns to work next year.  (Richard Lautens / Toronto Star)

“But these bright spots are overshadowed by the fact that fees in Canada remain astronomical, outpacing inflation in most cities,” added Macdonald, senior economist for the left-leaning think tank.

Toronto parents continue to pay the highest median fees in the country, with infant care topping $1,685 a month or $20,220 a year, says the centre’s fifth annual report on child-care affordability.

Parents in Mississauga, Hamilton and Kitchener pay $1,490, while median infant fees in Vancouver are $1,400 a month, according to the study, which surveyed fees in licensed centres and homes in 28 cities across the country last summer.

Spaces for preschoolers (age 2-1/2 to 4), which make up more than half of the 717,000 licensed spots for young children in Canada, are still the most expensive in Toronto with median monthly fees of $1,150. Preschool fees in Brampton, Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham, London, Kitchener and Ottawa follow close behind at $1,000 a month, the report says.

Quebec, Manitoba and PEI enjoy the most affordable child care in the country, thanks to long-standing provincial fee caps. The median monthly cost for all age groups in Quebec is less than $200, while median monthly preschool fees in Manitoba and PEI are $451 and $586 respectively, the report notes.

But the recent introduction of fee caps in Newfoundland, British Columbia and Alberta are starting to make a difference for parents in those provinces too, Macdonald said. For the first time, median fees for preschoolers in St. John’s and Edmonton went down last year, the report says.

Read More:

Child care costs just $10 a day for these B.C. families — and it’s changed their lives

Alberta expanded a $25-a-day pilot project launched in 2017 from 22 centres to 122 locations last year.

B.C.’s new fee-reduction initiative has lowered parent costs by $100 to $350 a month in participating centres. And the NDP government rolled out its promised $10-a-day program in 53 centres last fall.

As part of a 10-year plan launched in 2012, Newfoundland introduced operating grants in 2018 to centres that agreed to cap daily fees at $44 for infants, $35 for toddlers and $30 for preschoolers.

“Almost half of the spaces surveyed in St. John’s in 2018 were participating in the Operating Grant Program, which is reflected in the more than $100 drop in median monthly fees since 2017,” the report says.

In all cases, provinces used federal funding to cap or reduce fees, the report notes, adding such collaboration “can hopefully create a foundation for improving child-care affordability in the future.”

But in Ontario, where the previous Liberal government had planned to introduce free preschool starting next year, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have promised a child-care fee tax rebate instead.

Toronto parent Jessica Dumelie, 30, who is on maternity leave with her second child, is bracing for the financial fallout when she returns to her health-care job next January.

Monthly child-care costs for her daughters, who will be 18-months- and almost 4-years-old when she goes back to work, will be $1,750 and $1,650 respectively and easily eclipse her family’s mortgage payments.

Fortunately, the whopping $3,400 monthly child-care bill will drop when Dumelie’s older daughter starts kindergarten in the fall of 2020. But Dumelie and her husband, who works in finance, will still be paying more than $2,000 a month for toddler and after-school care.

“We were very excited about the possibility of free preschool for our younger one,” said Dumelie, a member of parent group Toronto East Enders for Child Care. “But now that doesn’t look like an option.”

She’s not sure how the tax rebate would work or even if her family would qualify.

In the meantime, Dumelie said her family is “making sacrifices” and putting money aside to pay for child care when she returns to work.

“Costs are wild,” she said. “We’ll just have to find some way to make it work.”

Thursday’s report also takes a closer look at child-care costs in Quebec, where about two-thirds of centres and home daycares are publicly funded with fees set at $7 a day and the rest are private businesses that charge “market” rates.

Since the mid-2000s, Quebec has offered parents who use private centres a child-care tax rebate to help cover the cost. But even with the tax rebate, parents in those centres pay fees that are between two- and three-times higher than those in publicly-funded programs with a set fee, the report notes.

At an annual cost of about $800 million a year, Quebec’s child-care tax rebate clearly isn’t as effective as set fees when it comes to parent cost, Macdonald said.

Quality in Quebec’s private centres isn’t as high as in $7-a-day programs either, added the report’s co-author Martha Friendly, citing recent research in that province.

“Since we have been doing these studies, the fees (across the country) have continued to go up, up, up,” said Friendly executive director of the Child Care Resource and Research Unit.

“What this report found is that in provinces that set fees, it has an effect in the centres covered by the policy. But it doesn’t have an effect on market-fee centres,” she said.

The experience in Quebec shows Ontario would be making a mistake if it introduces its promised child-care fee rebate, added Friendly.

“We are moving from free child care — the most affordable — to a mirage,” she said. “You don’t create accessible, affordable and quality child care by sending (parents) a cheque or giving them a tax rebate.”

Laurie Monsebraaten is a Toronto-based reporter covering social justice. Follow her on Twitter: @lmonseb


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Ford government autism program overhaul met with outrage by some parents who fear kids will lose out


Parents of children with autism will be given the power to choose what services they want — but there will be a total family budget of $140,000 and high-earners will no longer be eligible.

In an announcement Wednesday in Toronto, Lisa MacLeod, the minister of children, community and social services, also said the government is doubling funding for diagnostic hubs and planning to clear the 23,000-child wait-list within the next 18 months.

Waiting for a diagnosis — which currently can take more than two years — can “throw a family into crisis,” said MacLeod.

“This is the best approach and the most fair approach to make sure every single child” is well-served,” she added.

The amount of funding will depend on the length of time a child will be in the program, and support will be targeted to lower- and middle-income families. Families with annual incomes above $250,000 will no longer be eligible for funding, MacLeod said.

“It ignores the fact that there are some kids on the severe end of the spectrum requiring tons of support and time and those on the mild end” who don’t, said Kirby-McIntosh.

“I’m diabetic and so is my husband, but it doesn’t make sense to give us the same amount of insulin.”

She said she’s “terrified” about means testing. Just because families are making more than $250,000 “doesn’t mean they have $80,000 lying around in the couch cushions.”

She said she was “devastated” by the direction the government is headed.

In her announcement, MacLeod said the government is doubling funding for five diagnostic hubs to $5.5 million a year for the next two years to address the diagnosis waiting list of 2,400 children, who currently wait on average for 31 weeks.

“Today, almost three out of every four children who require autism supports continue to be stranded on wait-lists, due to the cynicism and incompetence of the previous government,” MacLeod told reporters at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, one of diagnostic hubs.

“The parents of these children have told me they are feeling abandoned. We cannot, in good conscience, continue treating these parents and children like lower-class citizens, so we are introducing reforms to provide them with the fairness and equality they deserve.”

Parents of children with autism launched protests against the previous Liberal government in the spring of 2016 when it announced that kids over age 5 would be cut off from funding for intensive therapy.

The Liberals ultimately backed down and installed a new minister — Michael Coteau — to roll out a new program, which proved to be much more popular with parents.

Coteau announced more funding, a quicker start date, no age cut-offs, and a direct funding option to allow parents to either receive funding to pay for private therapy or use government-funded services.

Wednesday’s changes announced by the Progressive Conservative government include establishing a new agency to help families register for the program, assess their funding eligibility, distribute the money and help them choose which services to purchase.

Clinical supervisors will have to meet program qualifications by April 1, 2021 and the government will be publishing a list of verified service providers.

With files from The Canadian Press

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy


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Éducation sexuelle: ni l’Église ni les parents


Il est paradoxal qu’une religion comme le catholicisme ou l’islam puisse prétendre à l’éducation sexuelle dans le respect de l’intégrité morale, physique et psychologique des individus. Il faut se rappeler les très nombreux cas d’abus et de camouflage dont la Sainte Église s’est rendue coupable ; comme il faut tenir compte de la grande ambiguïté de l’islam en la matière.

Contrairement à ce qu’ont pu prétendre l’abbé Robert Gendreau (affilié à l’Opus Dei) et Riouf Ayas, il n’y a pas chez l’enfant de belle innocence. Au contraire, et parce que la sexualité commence avant l’âge du sexe, seule une éducation franche et respectueuse de leur identité sexuelle permettra aux enfants de se respecter, de se faire respecter et de respecter les autres, quelles que soient leurs préférences sexuelles.

J’ai donné pendant plus de 10 ans le cours Sexualité humaine : approche éthologique de la relation amoureuse, un cours s’adressant à de jeunes adultes dont plusieurs avaient de sérieuses lacunes qu’aucune éducation n’avait jugé bon de prévenir. Il faut comprendre au départ qu’aucune approche réductrice ne saurait rendre compte de la dynamique inhérente à la sexualité, de sa complexité. Un cadre éducationnel doit permettre d’apprendre à sortir de soi, mais aussi de sa famille, de sa culture. C’est ce qui permet d’aller vers le monde, en toute sécurité.

Il m’est arrivé trop souvent de vivre le type d’expériences que voici. En présentant mon plan de cours lors de la première des 15 semaines, j’expliquais entre autres l’inceste, son absence quasi totale chez les animaux en milieu naturel, comme le viol d’ailleurs. J’invitais les étudiant.e.s à poser des questions. Alors émergeaient des réactions comme celles-ci. Une étudiante, agressive, comme insultée, demande : « Va-t-on parler rien que de ça toute la session ? » Un étudiant est sorti en claquant la porte. Il revient la semaine suivante, évite mon regard, s’assied en arrière, ne lève jamais la tête, fermé sur lui-même à griffonner sur ses cahiers.

Vers la 10e semaine, l’étudiante m’apprendra que son agressivité renvoyait à une situation familiale dont elle avait de la difficulté à sortir. Les familles au climat incestueux sont plus nombreuses qu’on le pense : par exemple le père ou un frère, feignant la confusion, ouvre régulièrement la porte de la salle de bain pendant la douche de la jeune fille.

Cas troublant

Un cas m’avait particulièrement troublé. Alors que je recevais un conférencier un soir de semaine sur le thème « cinéma et sexualité », ainsi que la fabrication du porno, un père est venu me voir en cherchant à m’intimider parce que sa fille avait raté le dernier examen. Je l’ai invité à venir me voir à la pause. Avant celle-ci, le conférencier prend bien soin de prévenir l’auditoire qu’il y aura des séquences qui ne peuvent être vues que par des personnes de 18 ans et plus. Je remarque alors que la petite famille, père, mère et la jeune femme, quitte l’amphithéâtre. Le père va menacer le collège, si sa fille échoue, de signaler dans les médias qu’on présente des films pornos au collège. Lors d’une rencontre avec l’étudiante, il est clair qu’elle ne comprend rien à l’inceste, ne peut dire un mot sur plusieurs concepts vus en classe et bien documentés.

Qu’est-ce donc qui amène un père à surprotéger ainsi sa fille ? C’était une situation familiale dont faisait partie la mère : l’inceste. La jeune femme m’écrira quelques années plus tard pour confirmer mon intuition de départ, son drame de vie, une vie difficile à réparer. Quant au jeune homme qui avait claqué la porte, il vivait depuis sa naissance un amour fusionnel avec sa mère, un amour qui rendra impossible toute relation amoureuse ou simplement sexuelle. La compréhension de cette relation totalement pervertie par sa mère lui a été possible parce qu’il a pu reconnaître la chose par un mot, et une présence soutenue au cours. Même cela réalisé, ça lui prendra beaucoup de temps et de courage, un courage qui l’incitera finalement à la poursuivre en cour.

Notre identité est relationnelle, toujours médiatisée par autrui, la mère, le père, leur histoire de vie à chacun. Nous ne sommes pas une cire vierge à la naissance, pas plus qu’un produit essentiellement biologique. L’environnement participe de l’évolution des individus. C’est dans ce monde relationnel qu’on acquiert l’estime de soi, et sans cela, il ne peut être question du respect d’autrui. Au mieux, une expérience amoureuse améliore le style affectif d’un individu, le corrige ; au pire, c’est une désorganisation. C’est en pervertissant un lien d’attachement qu’un pédophile capture sexuellement et psychologiquement sa victime. C’est aussi ce que font les pervers narcissiques.

C’est là, me semble-t-il, qu’on voit l’importance de posséder des outils intellectuels pour mettre à distance l’objet sexualité et non pour s’y soumettre. Ce n’est pas la culture de la pudeur ni la censure morale au nom d’un idéal qui vont permettre aux jeunes un développement sécuritaire. Que les églises de tout acabit cessent leur racolage, leur emprise. Quant aux parents, on sait que parfois, ils font partie du problème. Si nos très jeunes recevaient une éducation à la sexualité adéquate, il y a fort à parier que beaucoup de ces expériences dramatiques n’auraient pas eu lieu.


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A third of Toronto’s young adults live with their parents. Here’s how Bloor West compares to the Bridle Path, and more


Twenty-six-year-old Ian Sinclair has found the perfect basement apartment in the west end.

It’s close to transit, with its own entrance. He even gets along well with his landlords, who happen to be his parents.

“Essentially I’m their basement tenant but not paying rent,” says Sinclair, who works full-time in the public sector. He moved back into the house he grew up in near Runnymede Station after graduating university in 2017.

“I definitely feel fortunate and privileged,” he says of his situation. “I have many friends from school whose parents aren’t from the city so they didn’t have a choice.”

As Toronto’s housing crisis continues, experts are seeing a new divide taking hold among the younger generation: those who can live with their parents — and save for a down payment — and those who can’t.

The highest percentage is found in one of the city’s wealthiest communities, Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills, where a whopping 75 per cent of young adults are sticking with mom and dad.

“I see living with parents as a form of privilege,” says University of Waterloo assistant professor Nancy Worth, who studied the issue in a 2017 report called GenY at Home.

Worth said living at home is also increasingly being seen as a smart financial move that sets younger people up for success, rather than the old stereotype of the “lazy millennial” trapped in their parent’s basement delaying adulthood.

“It’s sort of introducing a kind of inequality within a generation, rather than just across a generation.”

The trend is not only about money, Worth says, as many boomer parents and millennial kids have a closer relationship than previous generations. Precarious work also pushes people back home, as it’s hard to lock into a 30-year mortgage or even a yearlong lease on a six month contract.

But without affordable housing options for younger people, it’s the family who steps up, and that impacts who is able to then save and buy future real estate, she says.

“If you can’t give your kids $50,000 but you can give them their room back, especially in your large single family home, you’re essentially giving them a savings of rent which can be quite significant in a place like Toronto.”

In the Bridle Path, notoriously one of Toronto’s toniest addresses, adult children living with their parents just makes sense in terms of “pure square footage,” says Barry Cohen, owner of ReMax Barry Cohen Homes Inc., who sells homes in the area.

“It’s quite common through the Bridle Path because the homes are so large and extravagant,” he said, noting there are even a few multi-generational homes in the neighbourhood, with features such as separate entrances, designed for grandma and grandpa as well as mom and dad and adult kids, Cohen notes.

“Why not live in the lap of luxury?”

The lowest rates of young adults living at home are in neighbourhoods along the waterfront and financial district, like Niagara (4 per cent), and the Bay Street corridor (7 per cent), where smaller, newer, condo units make multi-generational living crowded.

“You’re in 450, 500 square feet, you don’t have room for parents, you don’t have room for a cat,” says Nora Spinks, chief executive officer at the Vanier Institute of the Family, with a laugh.

In a city where the average detached home costs about $1.3 million, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is now more than $2,000, say figures from market research firm Urbanation, cost is the biggest factor for many.

It certainly was for Sinclair, who’s saving the “tens of thousands of dollars a year on rent, at least,” for a future down payment, by living with his parents in the west end.

But there are other reasons for living with mom and dad, such as taking care of a sick parent, or coming from a culture where it’s more accepted, says Spinks.

Amani Tarud, 24, who grew up in Chile and has Middle Eastern heritage, says it’s normal and even encouraged for young single people to live with their parents there.

“It’s a very North American ideal that you have to leave once you turn 18,” she says.

Tarud lives in a two-bedroom apartment near Yonge and Eglinton with her mom, twin teenage sisters and the family dog. She graduated from the University of Toronto last June but is sticking around as long as she can to save a nest egg for rent and work on paying off her student loan. Even though it means sharing a bedroom with her mom.

“Does it get in the way of social and romantic life a little bit? Yeah sure, but it’s not terrible by any means at all.”

Tarud, who is working in child and respite care, says a place of her own would be way out of reach financially. And there are perks such as being able to take care of each other when they get sick.

“If I have to live with a roommate it might as well be here, because at least it’s someone that I get along with,” she says.

Urban planner Cheryll Case lived with her parents in the Etobicoke neighbourhood of Kingsview Village The Westway (where 49 per cent of single adults aged 20 to 34 do the same) for a year after graduating from Ryerson University.

She too feels lucky she was able to save up “a good cushion” for rent before moving into a townhouse with her boyfriend and a roommate.

But, she notes, there are many neighbourhoods where if you want to remain in the area the only real choice is to stay in the house you grew up in, because of a lack of affordable housing.

Building more “missing middle” units across the city, lowrise apartments and townhomes that are a more affordable alternative to the two extremes of highrises and single detached homes, would help with supply issues, she says.

“It’s a great privilege to live with your parents and you save money, but it’s a great privilege to be able to live on your own if you so choose,” she says.

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11


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Une couche connectée pour aider les parents


Monit a créé un capteur Bluetooth de la taille d’un petit biscuit qui s’attache à l’extérieur de la couche du bébé. Ce capteur est capable de détecter si la couche est sale. Si c’est le cas, l’application mobile alerte les personnes s’occupant de l’enfant qu’il est temps de le changer.

Le capteur mesure également la température, le taux d’humidité et la qualité de l’air entourant le bébé.

Fondée en 2017, Monit a déjà lancé son capteur pour couches en Corée du Sud et au Japon à la fin de l’année dernière. L’entreprise a conclu un partenariat avec le groupe Kimberly-Clark – qui est notamment propriétaire des couches Huggies – pour équiper les couches de cette marque avec son capteur à partir du mois d’avril.


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Parents voice concerns over relocation of students at Westmount Park School – Montreal


Students at Westmount Park School are bracing for change.

Their school could be undergoing a major renovation, meaning students would be temporarily transferred to either Marymount Academy or St John Bosco.

Parents voiced their concerns about the move at a meeting Monday night.

Concerns include “The bussing situation [and] the fact that their friends are going to be split among whose closer to one campus or the other,” said Christie Stilson, whose daughter and son have been at the school for a year.

School board votes to move Westmount Park Elementary students during major renovations

Parents got answers to some of their concerns from the school’s governing board and principals, including where their kids will likely be transferred.

That all depends on whether their address is located above or below the Ville-Marie Expressway, they explained.

“There will be transportation provided, that daycare will be provided, that the services will be there,” said Marylène Perron, the school’s principal.

Officials are trying to put parents’ minds at ease until a final decision is made on whether the renovations will , in fact, go ahead.

“Wherever we will be, we will be Westmount Park,” Perron said.

WATCH: Westmount teachers protest CAQ religious symbols ban

The school was built in 1913 and has major structural concerns.

“We do not have a ventilation system,” Perron said. “We do not have an elevator; the building is not accessible.”

The proposed two-year renovation is welcome news for parents like Clifford Jordan.

“It’s a good thing because the school does need improvements,” Jordan told Global News. “I came to school here 40 years ago.”

Video from Quebec school bus shows cars zooming by, even as lights flash

In the meantime, the school’s governing board took note of parents’ comments and concerns, in preparation for a report that will be delivered to the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) January 8.

The board will vote on the relocation the following week, and if it is approved, renovations would begin in June 2019.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Parents love to lift their children up to touch the leaves of weeping beech tree in Wychwood


Tree of the Week is a new weekly feature that will showcase some of the biggest and most beautiful trees in the GTA, compiled by Megan Ogilvie. Here, Martha Parrott tells us about the glorious European weeping beech tree that dominates her front yard.

This tree isn’t ours; it belongs to the city, but we love it as our own. So do the people on our street, Braemore Gardens, which is just west of Wychwood Park in Toronto.

Its trunk is 218 cm. in circumference and, at its widest span, its canopy is close to 15 metres. We believe the tree has been here for at least as long as the house, which was built in 1922, but probably longer.

The trunk is typical of beech trees: smooth, grey bark and a little bit of a spread at the very bottom, like an elephant’s leg and foot; ours even has a “knee.”

Our tree serves as an umbrella in inclement weather, and an air conditioner in summer; it envelops the front of the house and makes the front bedrooms seem like rooms in a tree house. It usually houses a minimum of five squirrels’ nests at a time.

The large supporting branches are magical when covered in snow and the weeping tendrils, often several metres long, caress the air and sometimes tall passersby. We have seen parents lift their babies up into the leaves.

It can be hazardous to strangers, but only because they are looking up as they pass under, rather than watching where they are going.

I started by saying that this is a city tree. In reality, no one owns a tree like this; we are just honoured to share its space for a little while.


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