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Newsstand: May 9, 2014

Even when he's in rehab he's still in the news. Rob Ford really has a knack. Sharing the news pages with our illustrious mayor: the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario defends the lack of mandatory inquests into migrant farm workers' deaths, and police are still making money on the side after council tried to stop them.

matt newsstand raccoon

Apparently the brothers Ford will be releasing evidence proving that Rob is indeed in rehab. This news came via Toronto Sun reporter Joe Warmington, who has long been one of the only media people in town the mayor will speak to. Warmington’s story also included a video shot April 27, near the time of the second video allegedly showing Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine. In the video, which a source sent to Warmington, the mayor threatens to “kick you in the fucking head,” though it’s unclear whom he is addressing. As Warmington’s source said of Ford being in rehab, “maybe he should be allowed to heal in peace.”

When mining and construction workers die on the job, the Coroners Act requires that inquests be conducted. These investigations are intended to root out any possible negligent conduct or lax standards that could have led to the deaths. Farm worker deaths, on the other hand, do not require an inquest. After the death of Jamaican migrant farm worker Ned Peart in 2002 and the lack of a resulting inquest, Peart’s family charged that the Act discriminates against seasonal farm workers. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, though, has ruled that this is not the case, as construction and mining workers die on the job in higher numbers and more varied ways, meaning inquests into their deaths are more likely to produce useful recommendations. Peart was crushed by a 450-kilogram tobacco bin.

City council’s 2009 attempt to cut back on the hours and earnings of police officers who do off-duty work seems not to have been effective. Officers earned an extra $26.1 million in 2013, up from $24.2 million in 2009. For the 3,047 officers who collected extra pay, that averages out to $8,565 in income above and beyond their officers’ pay. And for that extra pay they may be doing nothing more than standing beside a construction site or in a beer store, collecting at least $65 per hour. The auditor called on Police Chief Bill Blair to establish a firm limit on extra pay for officers, but that demand was rejected.


CORRECTION: May 9, 2014, 10:00 AM This post originally stated that inquests into workers’ deaths are carried out by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, when in fact they are carried out by the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario. We regret the error.

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