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The world is changing every day. Now, more than ever, these questions matter. What’s happening? And why should you care? This Matters, a daily news podcast from the Toronto Star, aims to answer those questions, on important stories and ideas, every day, Monday to Friday. Hosts Saba Eitizaz and Raju Mudhar talk to experts and newsmakers about the social, cultural, political and economic stories that shape your life.
 
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Auto thefts are soaring in the GTA, which is now punctuated by a carjacking spree that saw several incidents in the past week, including one involving Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner. There have already been more carjackings in Toronto in 2022 than in all of the previous year, and police warn that some of these are turning violent. By looking…
 
Guest: Karon Liu, Food writer at The Star. The Michelin Guide to restaurants is coming to Toronto. This dining guide is known around the world for its three star rating system which highlights some of the best restaurants in the world. That said, it also has its critics as many believe it caters to higher end restaurants and there have been uninten…
 
Guest: Brendan Kennedy, social justice reporter on the Star investigations team A Toronto Star investigation has revealed that Canada confines hundreds of non-citizens in conditions meant for a criminal population. On any given day, there will be roughly 200 to 300 immigrants in Canadian detention. Immigration detention is not supposed to be puniti…
 
Guest: Richard Warnica, Business feature writer Plastic recycling in Ontario has been called a “green lie.” For instance, Canada produced about 1.9 million tonnes of plastic packaging in 2019, according to a recent report commissioned by the Canada Plastics Pact. Of that, the authors estimate just 12 per cent was sent for recycling. Now, things mig…
 
Guest: Martha Paynter, registered nurse and author of “Abortion to Abolition: Reproductive Health and Justice in Canada.” The U.S. Supreme Court may soon strike down its 50-year-old landmark ruling ending constitutional protections for abortion, according to a draft decision leaked to Politico. The ruling would mean U.S. states decide whether and h…
 
Guest: Rosa Saba, Business Reporter Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know if I’ll be making my flight out of the airport? That’s not how the song goes, but it’s a reality for many people in Canadian airports right now, as they face long lineups, wait times and other issues caused by an uptick of travellers and staff shortages at many flight terminals.…
 
Guest: Noor Javed, Star reporter Did you know that Toronto used to be a leading city for cricket a few decades ago? As the sport continues to be one of the fastest growing sports in Canada, with an increasing number of immigrants from cricket-loving countries, the city is looking to regain lost cricketing glory and become a premiere city for the sp…
 
Guests: Nadine Yousif and Cristina Selva As the pandemic surged in Ontario, the opioid crisis hit another peak. While opioid related deaths increased by 60 per cent in 2020, nearly one in three employed people who died were construction workers. To address the disproportionate impact of the opioid crisis on the construction workforce, Ontario passe…
 
Guest: Christine Dobby, Business Reporter You don’t have to look far to see those who experienced terrible financial hardship over the past two years. We don’t talk about our finances. But a recent report has painted a harsh picture just the same. The report published by ACORN, a non-profit organization advocating for moderate to low-income Canadia…
 
Guest: Jacques Gallant, Political Reporter A yearlong review by a panel of former military personnel has recently concluded that military leadership failed to tackle systemic racism and discrimination within its ranks for the past two decades, despite numerous calls to action. The panel that was created to identify racism, discrimination and hate w…
 
Guests: Ben Spurr and Jim Rankin, Star Reporters At the beginning of the pandemic, bikes became a hot commodity as people looked for ways to enjoy the outdoors. Cities like Toronto added more bikes lanes and even shut down streets for events like ActiveTO, so people could enjoy it. But now looking at the data, emergency room visits from cyclists we…
 
Guest: Wendy Gillis, crime reporter The Ontario election campaign is officially underway. Today, we zero in on an early pledge from Liberal leader Steven Del Duca who says that his government will ban handguns within a year if elected on June 2. Crime reporter Wendy Gillis joins us to explain what’s behind this pledge, why it is so contentious, and…
 
This Matters would like to let you know about another Toronto Star podcast launching today. ‘It's Political with Althia Raj’ is the Star’s new Canadian politics podcast. Every two weeks, Raj brings listeners behind the scenes on Parliament Hill with exclusive interviews, in-depth reporting and thoughtful analysis. Join us as we explore the ins and …
 
Guest: Arif Husain, Chief Economist at World Food Programme Ukraine was forced to close its four Black and Azov sea ports earlier this week and, as one of the breadbaskets of the world, this cut off access to the country’s rich grains. These ports help feed 400 million people, many of whom live in the poorest countries in the world. Even before the…
 
Guest: Edward Keenan, Washington Bureau Chief Protests erupted in Washington D.C. Monday night after a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito leaked to Politico suggested the country's highest court might be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the almost fifty-year-old landmark ruling that gave women the constitutional right to abortion…
 
Guest: Jacob Lorinc, business reporter Want a smoothie with a side of outsourcing? That’s what customers are seeing at several Freshii locations in Ontario. Instead of a regular cashier, a virtual customer service agent takes your order before actual staff in the restaurant prepare it. Called Percy, a virtual cashier is based in other countries, li…
 
Guest: Robert Benzie, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief The Ontario government just released a record budget for spending, with over $198.6 billion allocated to things like health care, education, tax cuts and much more. With the provincial election writ dropping soon, there’s no way the budget can be passed before June 2 so instead it serves as the platfo…
 
Guests: David Rider and Jennifer Pagliaro, The Star’s City Hall bureau With a municipal election coming in October, change is coming to city hall. While Mayor John Tory will be seeking his third term, it is in the race for council seats where a lot of the action and interest will be. While there are no political parties tied to Toronto’s council, t…
 
Guest: Nadine Yousif, mental health reporter A recent survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has found disturbing trends. More than half of the 2,200 kids in grades 7-12 surveyed are not just reeling from the effects of the pandemic, they are anxious about climate change and the future. This is an eye-opening glimpse …
 
Guest: Paul Kershaw, a professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and founder of Generation Squeeze, a non-profit that works for generational fairness They say timing is everything, but should it be when it comes to home ownership? Canada’s wealth gap is not just driven by income, but also by real estate with much determined by if an…
 
Guest: Stephanie Levitz, a reporter in the Star's Ottawa Bureau The Conservative party leadership race is underway and while the goal is to find a new leader, some think this contest could be for the soul of the party. While there candidates pushing more socially conservative views against others with more progressive stands on issues, there are al…
 
Guest: Megan Ogilvie & Kenyon Wallace, Star reporters Last week, Ontario expanded eligibility to testing and antiviral treatments such as Paxlovid for high-risk individuals as the sixth wave of COVID continues to gain momentum. Paxlovid is now also available with a prescription at dozens of pharmacies across the GTA. But questions still remain arou…
 
Guest: Heather Scoffield, economics columnist and the Star's Ottawa Bureau Chief. Inflation hit a 31-year high, rising to 6.7 per cent in March, with escalating prices across many sectors. Grocery store and gas bills in particular are where many people are feeling it, and the gas prices have risen almost 40 per cent from a year ago. There are sever…
 
Guest: Alex Boyd, Toronto Star reporter Almost two years after the first COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Canada, the excitement is somewhat over. Most Canadians are now vaccinated and demand is grinding to a halt. The rush for vaccines has also slowed down considerably after recently lifted mandates. This means that millions of doses are lying unused,…
 
Guest: Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, professor and satellite imaging specialist at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. Satellites and social media are working together to give new perspectives and viewpoints on the war in Ukraine. The amount and frequency of images, sophistication of technology and ever easier access for…
 
Guest: Ben Spurr, the Star’s transportation reporter. It has been a terrible week for tragic events on public transit, with New York City dealing with a subway shooting, a murder outside of Sherbourne station and a woman getting pushed onto the tracks at Yonge station. While these are nightmare scenarios for any transit service, there are all kinds…
 
Guest: Wendy Gillis, Star reporter As Toronto Police say the average age of those linked to gun violence continues to drop, Sunnybrook Hospital is taking action because “patching people up and sending them home” isn’t working. Today, we are joined by Star reporter Wendy Gillis, who’s been following the rollout of the new program designed to stem th…
 
Guest: Alex Boyd, Star reporter COVID-19 continues to circulate with the very transmittable Omicron variant BA.2 now dominant, just as most parts of the country have dropped mask mandates, restrictions are lifting and the future is anything but certain. While Omicron cases might be generally less severe for those who are vaccinated, vulnerable peop…
 
Guests: Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Rachel Mendleson, Star reporters While Ontario Premier Doug Ford touted rapid tests as a "game changer" and directed for them to be distributed to hot spot neighbourhoods to help quell the virus, a Star investigation found that only one fifth of 20 million tests ended up in those areas in the first 10 months of the pr…
 
Guest: Alex Ballingall, Ottawa Bureau The latest report released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been damning. It’s now or never, as scientists warn the world must cap global greenhouse emissions or risk irreversible damage and the worst effects of climate change. Ottawa has now unveiled an ambitious new $…
 
Guest: Jennifer Yang, investigative reporter Even if you’re not a dog owner, it is always nice to check out your local dog park to see which furry creatures are out for an afternoon romp. But where do those dogs came from? Toronto Star investigative reporter Jennifer Yang’s ongoing investigation about one popular dog rescue in particular, Redemptio…
 
This Matters is running today's opening day episode of Deep Left Field, the Toronto Star's baseball podcast, with host Mike Wilner. He gets down on the field with the Jays. It's a longer episode today but if you are a Jays fan, you'll want to stick around. Guests: Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette, pitchers Jose Berrios, Alek Manoah and Jordan Romano…
 
Guest: Dr. Tim Sly, an epidemiologist and professor emeritus from the School of Public Health at Ryerson University Ontario is in the sixth wave of COVID-19. It is not known how many people are infected, but anecdotally, it certainly feels like a lot. With Omicron subvariant BA.2 now dominant and others on the horizon, this is another sign that whi…
 
Guests: Victoria Gibson, affordable housing reporter, and Gru, a resident of a temporary shelter During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto leased a number of hotels to augment the number of homeless shelters and allow adequate space between residents. These temporary shelters now account for 27 sites housing over 3,000 people and 40 per cen…
 
Guest: Dr. Siddharth Sridhar, virologist at the University of Hong Kong If it feels like suddenly COVID-19 is everywhere again, that is because it probably is. As Ontario’s indicators point to a sixth wave, the Omicron variant hit Hong Kong and New Zealand hard within weeks. Its impact could not have been more different. While COVID is spreading at…
 
Guest: Brandi Morin, a French, Cree, Iroquois journalist from Treaty 6, reporting from Rome After a week of historic meetings between the Pope and 32 Métis, Inuit and First Nations delegates, a formal apology has been issued. To a crowd of nearly 200 on Friday morning, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential s…
 
Guest: Lauren Haw, CEO and Broker of Record at Zoocasa Spring is usually the busiest time of the year for the real estate market, but many are wondering what this year might look like two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many trends that seem to be turning, and changes like workers returning to the office are starting to take effect. One…
 
Guest: Laura Armstrong, sports reporter It almost seems like a fantasy to long-time followers of the sport but the Canadian's Men's National Team has qualified for the World Cup and are heading to Qatar in November. The team has been on a remarkable run, climbing the rankings over the past year and making it so punching their ticket became almost i…
 
Guest: Robert Benzie and Tonda MacCharles, Star reporters With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford signing on the dotted line confirming the province of Ontario is in, Canada will have a national child-care program for the first time in history. With the province having one of the highest child-care rates in Canada, the federal gove…
 
Guest: Rosa Saba and Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Star reporters Jerry Dias was one the most high-profile and well known union leaders in Canada, but now Dias is under investigation for breaching union rules and allegedly accepting money from a supplier and then trying to share it with another employee. The consequences for the former head of Unifor, Canada…
 
Guest: Arthur Brooks, author of the bestselling book, “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life” What if everything that brought you to success, happiness and satisfaction in the first part of your life does a terrible job to prepare you to find those things in the latter half of it? That’s s…
 
Guest: Dr. Samantha Nutt, War Child Canada and War Child USA It’s been exactly a month since Russia invaded Ukraine. According to the United Nations, more than three million people have been forced to flee. Half of those are children. In addition, Ukrainian officials say more than 100 children have been killed. Children have nothing to do with war …
 
Guest: Susan Delacourt, national columnist With a deal in hand with the federal NDP, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government will be staying in power until at least 2025. Effective immediately, Trudeau has promised to roll out an NDP plan for dental care, pharmacare, climate change and other policies – all items that have long been on NDP Leader…
 
Guest: Richard Warnica, business feature writer Ontario's Blue Box paper and plastic recycling program is in the midst of the overhaul, catching up with jurisdictions all over the world by putting more of the responsibility for getting rid of waste packaging on to producers. The made-in-Ontario solution has left no one happy, including industry sta…
 
Guest: Alyshah Hasham, courts reporter A recent court ruling in Brampton, where a Superior Court judge ordered a man to pay his ex-wife $150,000 in damages for a 16-year pattern of abuse, might change how courts look at domestic violence. In considering such cases "often go beyond assault and battery to include complicated and prolonged psychologic…
 
Guest: Katie Daubs, feature writer Many of us have gotten that call from someone saying they are returning your call even though you never dialed their number. Then there are calls about owing money to the Canada Revenue Agency or border security. It’s something the scam operators do that’s called spoofing, which along with robocalling technology a…
 
Guest: Noor Javed, reporter for The Star who focuses on municipal politics and affairs in the 905 region. As Premier Doug Ford pushes ahead with two major highway projects, how those roadways actually get built is a not-often considered process. Unless, of course, you happen to live next to one of the open-pit mines needed for the gravel to build t…
 
Guest: Karon Liu, food reporter Two years of a pandemic have changed the hospitality industry, including the way we look at labour, essential workers, the way we eat and our relationship with food. The Star’s food reporter Karon Liu and food writer Suresh Doss have kept us updated by sharing the best of what the city has to offer our taste buds fro…
 
Guest: Grant LaFleche, investigative reporter Ontario is the wild west when it comes to regulations for ownership of exotic animals and the running of zoos and other animal exhibitions. This has led to some people opening roadside zoos in rural communities, leaving local governments dealing with all kind of problems including attacks and bites. The…
 
Guest: Rob Ferguson, Queen’s Park reporter Ontario will be dropping mask mandates in most settings including schools on March 21, right after March break. Ontario’s top doctor Kieran Moore cites the province’s vaccination rates, decreasing case numbers and a decline in hospitalizations as reasons to ease some of the rules, and has indicated all oth…
 
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