Your hydro bill will go up, whatever the government says

Your hydro bill will go up, whatever the government says

Electricity prices in Ontario will steadily rise until 2035, even though the government lowered residential bills by 25 per cent earlier this year. That’s according to the government’s long-term energy plan, which was released today.

The Ministry of Energy outlook report, published every four years, is a forecast document that lays out expected energy demand, capacity, technology changes, and pricing for the next 20 years.

“Our long-term energy plan… outlines additional work we will be undertaking to make our electricity system more cost-effective and efficient, continuing to prioritize affordability,” Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said at a press conference in Toronto.  

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TVO: Why can't female entrepreneurs catch a break?

TVO: Why can't female entrepreneurs catch a break?

When Caitlin MacGregor started looking for seed funding for her startup in 2014, she didn’t think it would take two and a half years to raise $2 million.

“Without any doubt, that’s at least twice as long as any male CEO that I’ve ever come across,” she says. “That’s a really, really long time.”

MacGregor was raising money for Plum, a company that offers psychometric assessments and a matching service for job candidates and employers. “Candidates complete an assessment that tests for problem-solving ability, social intelligence, and personality priorities,” she explains. “And then we have the employers complete a job analysis … And then we match the applicants against the requirements for the job.”

While there are many psychometric tests on offer in the marketplace, MacGregor says her software’s ability to match candidates to jobs makes it unique. But even so, raising capital was a slog. “Fundraising is a full-time job, so that was energy away from my business,” she says. “That was time that I could have been closing sales, that was time that I could have been attracting talent, that was time that I could have been doing things other than raising money … It really holds the company back.”

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TVO.org: New report warns that Ontario must change its fiscal ways

TVO.org: New report warns that Ontario must change its fiscal ways

An aging population will make it difficult for Ontario to handle its debt and budget challenges over the next 35 years, according to a new report from the province’s Financial Accountability Office.

“Over the next three decades, Ontario will experience major shifts in its population and the economy as the large baby-boom cohort transitions from work into retirement and eventually into old age,” said David Wake, the temporary financial accountability officer, at press conference at Queen’s Park on Thursday. “Without significant changes to Ontario’s fiscal policy, the FAO’s projections suggest that the province will face substantial long-term budgetary challenges.”

The report is the FAO’s first long-term budget outlook, and it contains strong warnings for this and future Ontario governments about the province’s fiscal position.

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TVO: Multi-sport athlete soldiers on at the Invictus Games

TVO: Multi-sport athlete soldiers on at the Invictus Games

here was a time when Sergeant Brenda McPeak preferred not to talk about her health issues — but competing in this year’s Invictus Games has made her feel comfortable discussing them.

cPeak joined the Canadian Forces as a reservist when she was still in high school. Six years later, she joined the regular forces as a mobile support equipment operator, driving large vehicles, such as trucks and buses. “We deliver all the goods to the front-line guys,” she says. “We deliver all their food, their ammo, their beans and bullets, as we call it, and their mail. And transport even the troops sometimes.” In 2003, McPeak was sent on the very first rotation to Afghanistan — for eight months, she helped build the Canadian camp in Kabul. “Every day I was out on the roads from camp to camp, going to the Brit camp, the Germans, the Italians.”

Even being in a support role in the military can take a physical toll. “Being a trucker’s hard on your body, lifting supplies and fuel cans and water cans,” McPeak says. In 2012, she suffered a back injury. “I think that it was festering over time.” She’d just been posted to Gander, Newfoundland, and was unpacking at her new home. “I was picking clothes out of a box, and snap, crackle, pop, my back went.”

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TVO: Meet a veteran who’s in it to win it at the Invictus Games

TVO: Meet a veteran who’s in it to win it at the Invictus Games

After Mike Trauner lost his legs in December 2008, doctors told him he’d never walk again and would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. But eight months later, he walked the five-kilometre Canada Army Run in Ottawa on prosthetics. And this week in Toronto, he’ll be competing in rowing and cycling at the Invictus Games.

That day in 2008, Trauner came close to losing more than his legs.

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TVO: ‘Everybody’s there to give’r’: Veteran serves Canada in a new way

TVO: ‘Everybody’s there to give’r’: Veteran serves Canada in a new way

At the 2017 Invictus Games, being held in Toronto from Sept. 23 to 30, retired sergeant Tyron Lincoln will be competing in three different sports — wheelchair rugby, cycling, and track and field — even though he battles chronic pain.

An accident that occurred while he was loading a bomb onto a fighter jet left him with a linear skull fracture. “So I suffer from severe headaches,” he explains. “I suffer from severe pain all the time. So I’m at a pain management clinic, and they can’t do nothing. The doctor just tells me, ‘You know what, you’ve got to live with it.’”

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TVO: Veteran finds a new community at his first Invictus Games

TVO: Veteran finds a new community at his first Invictus Games

For most of Al McFarlane’s 35 years with the Canadian Forces, he served as an aviation technician in the Air Force. But near the end of his military career, he worked at Defence Research and Development Canada as a crash and casualty investigator, studying the protective equipment worn by members of the Forces who died in Afghanistan. “We’d have to go to the morgue and pick up all the personal protective equipment that was on the bodies, take it back to our lab, and try and see how we can make that gear more efficient, safer for the troops in theatre,” he says.

McFarlane remembers exactly how many casualties he saw: 89. He had to analyze everything from their socks to their flack vests. At a certain point, he started responding personally to the victims. “I learned their names and I learned their faces,” he says.

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TVO: New report says GTA small businesses need to think big

TVO: New report says GTA small businesses need to think big

A new report argues small and medium-sized GTA businesses need to trade more with the world — and especially Europe — to boost economic growth.

According to the report, published Wednesday by the Toronto Region Board of Trade, only 4 per cent of Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (those with fewer than 500 employees, also known as SMEs) export. That’s compared to 28 per cent in Germany, 27 per cent in France, and 24 per cent in Japan. Among G7 nations, Canada finishes last.

By comparison, 23 per cent of large Canadian firms trade internationally. The report found that if the same proportion of SMEs did so, they would generate $225 billion more in exports and create 2 million new jobs.

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TVO: Liberals roll out rules for rolling up in Ontario

TVO: Liberals roll out rules for rolling up in Ontario

Ontario’s Liberal government announced today that as of next July, consumers will be able to buy marijuana online and at 40 LCBO-run retail outlets.

The date is in line with the federal government’s plan to legalize pot by July 1, 2018. By the end of 2020, 150 small stand-alone stores should be up and running across the province. The legal age for purchase will be 19, one year higher than the minimum set by the federal government earlier this year.

Edibles and oils will not be on sale in Ontario, only dried cannabis, in line with federal requirements. The province is waiting on federal guidance on labelling and packaging, and had no comment on the potency of the pot that would be on offer.

Consumption will be limited to private residences, at least at the start. So while individuals will be able to spark up in their backyard, they won’t be allowed to use the drug in public spaces, at work, or in their cars. Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s attorney general, said there may be opportunities in the future for licensing private establishments for the consumption of pot.

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TVO: Five things Canada wants in a new, progressive NAFTA — and how they could play out

TVO: Five things Canada wants in a new, progressive NAFTA — and how they could play out

The first round of negotiations toward a new North American Free Trade Agreement starts Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland laid out Canada’s priorities in a speech at the University of Ottawa earlier this week.

Besides promising to modernize the trade deal, cut red tape, ease the movement of professionals across borders, and improve government procurement, Freeland emphasized that Canada would seek to make NAFTA a “more progressive” deal.

To this government, making the deal more progressive means adding chapters on labour safeguards, the environment and climate change, gender rights, and Indigenous issues, and it means reforming investor-state dispute resolution.

“Freeland was really focusing on a new agenda, or pushing out the envelope of what’s possible,” says Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Centre in Washington. “And I think she did that because it’s important to Canadians, and it’s important to the Trudeau government.”

“When I look at Freeland’s agenda, I say, wow, good luck with that. Trade agreements are tough, and it’s really hard to put binding commitments into trade agreements that encourage positive behaviour,” she says. “Trade agreements are much better at the ‘thou shalt not’ stuff … But we don’t really know what’s possible to achieve until you put the stuff on the table.”

So what could these new progressive chapters look like?

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