toronto winter

Morning Brew: Fraud at special needs school, Ford won't increase ombudsman's staff, tenants are getting raw deal from City budget, major TTC closure this weekend, and Toronto sports teams do what they do

The Toronto Police Service has charged five people with fraud over $5000 against the Bloorview School Authority, a school for children with special needs. Among the accused is the school's former director and former superintendent of the Toronto District School Board, Linda LaRocque. The alleged fraud was perpetrated through "the misappropriation of funds through the use of school [credit cards], overpayments, and people being paid for work not performed," said Detective Adkin Holder of the Toronto Police Service's fraud squad. That misappropriation of funds totaled approximately, $700, 000.

Looks like Mayor Rob Ford's plan to increase city staff doesn't include any for his ombudsman, Fiona Crean. Toronto's budget committee has rejected her request for more staff - a move she says will prevent her from doing her job and calls into question the city's commitment to funding and supporting an independent watchdog. And, she added, if the committee vote passes at council, it'll throw into doubt Ford's commitment to customer service above all.

Critics are saying that Toronto tenants are getting a disservice when it comes to the city's incoming budget. "We have frankly screwed tenants," said Councillor Gord Perks, as the city tabled information Monday on proposed tax changes caused by shifts in property values. Because of market changes, tenants are supposed to see a 3.08 per cent drop in their property taxes but due to city tax policy, they in fact will see a decline of only 2.46 per cent. And you're not getting a tax reduction either because the tax rate of commercial and industrial properties will be reduced instead. Adding fuel to the tenants' fire, Perks said, "Who takes public transit? Tenants. Who uses our recreation centre programs? Tenants."

Getting around downtown this weekend will be made difficult by the closure of the subway for track work at College Station. The YUS line will be shut down from Union to Bloor stations starting at 2 a.m. Saturday until Monday at 6 a.m. Shuttle buses will, of course, be running.


Photo by Christopher Brian's Photography in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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