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Newsstand: February 19, 2013

Hope our readers enjoyed their Family Day! In the news: Riverdale Farm could get a $25,000 donation; a TDSB memo causes controversy over interviewing practices; Toronto could become a "safe haven" city; a man has head injuries after being hit by a subway train; and Toronto police are considering new policies for strip searches.

newsstand_eglinton

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has pledged $25,000 to Riverdale Farm in Cabbagetown, announcing yesterday that it will match every dollar the community is able to raise for the farm, up to that amount. The farm narrowly escaped losing its City funding after the 2011 KPMG report named it as a candidate for cost savings for the City, but was spared after the Riverdale Farm Coalition successfully sold council on a business plan. That plan requires that Riverdale Farm become self-sufficient over the next few years, through grants, sponsorships, and fundraising.

A memo circulated to staff by the Toronto District School Board instructed that gender and race be considered when choosing applicants for interviews. The Globe and Mail obtained copies of the memo, which went out to principals and teachers, saying “The first round of TDSB interviews will be granted to teachers candidates that meet one or more of the following criteria in addition to being an outstanding teacher: Male, racial minority, French, Music, Aboriginal.” Competition for jobs with the TDSB is fierce, and the board is working to increase diversity among teachers in order to reflect the diversity of the city’s students. Regardless, competency is the most important quality, board spokesperson Ryan Bird told the Globe.

There are an estimated 200,000 undocumented migrants in the GTA, and council is being asked this week to consider making Toronto a “sanctuary city,” where those migrants can access services without fear of deportation. Later this week, councillors will vote on an “access without fear” motion based on a plan developed by the community development and recreation committee, whose members looked at laws passed in San Francisco and other U.S. cities. If passed, the motion would allow undocumented residents in the city to access services like food banks and homeless shelters without risk of being reported to immigration authorities.

New entry on your list of things to worry about: a man waiting for the subway at Osgoode station on Monday had his head clipped by the incoming train, and was taken to the hospital with a traumatic head injury. Bystanders said the man leaned over as the northbound train entered the station. The subway along the Yonge-University-Spadina line was delayed for about a half hour during rush hour due to the investigation.

Toronto’s police services board meets today to consider a proposal to reduce the number of unnecessary strip searches. They’ll consider new recommendations that any time a strip—or Level 3—search happens, the officer must fully explain and record the reasons for it to the arrested person. The Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, a watchdog group, believes the recommendations don’t go far enough. Officers should have to conduct less-invasive searches for weapons before a Level 3 search is done, the group said, and approval from a senior officer should be required if a strip search is done.

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