Environmental assessment ‘first step’ to subway

Funding for an interim bus rapid transit route to York and an environmental assessment of a University subway link featured prominently in Toronto-area media coverage March 31 of the tri-government announcement of $1 billion for Toronto transit improvements on the 50th anniversary of city’s subway.

The Toronto Star reported that an entourage from York University was very happy. York’s Keele campus – home to 50,000 students – is gridlocked all day with cars and buses, the paper said. It noted that a bus rapid transit route would be established from Downsview station to York. Part of the funding has also been set aside to conduct environmental assessments of an expansion of the Spadina line to York University and the Sheppard line to Scarborough Town Centre. “An environmental assessment is the first step,” said Ted Spence, senior policy adviser and executive director of York’s Office of Institutional Research & Analysis. Spence was also interviewed on “VR Land News” (CKVR-TV), Barrie, about the impact of the funding.

The Star editorial said: “A healthy system must grow along with the city it serves. And Toronto is in serious need of new subway expansion, serving York University and pushing the Sheppard line east to the Scarborough Town Centre. That would cost another $3.5 billion. But it should be spent and spent soon.”

According to The Globe and Mail, observers have said the system needs $3.8 billion over 10 years for its state-of-good-repair budget and another $3.5-billion over 10 years if it is to expand the subway to York University and complete the Sheppard line east to the Scarborough Town Centre.

CBC Radio’s “Here and Now,” CBC TV’s “Canada Now” and CFRB-AM’s “Ted Woloshyn Show” mentioned dedicated bus service to York in their coverage of the funding announcement.

Jetsgo no threat to Air Canada, says Lazar

Jetsgo is mounting a direct challenge of the insolvent Air Canada with an hourly weekday shuttle between Toronto and Montreal beginning next month, reported the Globe and Mail March 31. Fred Lazar, an aviation expert and economics professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, questioned the company’s strategy, which competes mainly with Air Canada and WestJet on domestic long-haul routes. Lazar maintained Jetsgo isn’t reliable enough to attract business travellers, and said he expects the additional service to be only a “minor irritant” to Air Canada. “It’s not a strategy that makes any sense, and it’s not really going to attract any significant number of full-fare business-class passengers from Air Canada.”

The generational divide

If baby boomers have trouble understanding Generation X, they should brace themselves for Generation Y – “Gen-X on fast forward,” say two self-described “Xers” who have studied the generational divide in Canadian workplaces, reported the Globe and Mail March 31. The newest entrants to the work force, born after 1980, “have come to expect everything immediately, including challenging career opportunities,” say Adwoa Buahene and Giselle Kovary, founding partners of Toronto-based consulting firm n-gen People Performance Inc. They come in with the attitude: “Show me what you can do for me – right now.” Keeping up with the kids will be a huge challenge for organizations that hope to lure, engage and keep them, Buahene and Kovary wrote in a research paper. “There’s even a challenge with Xers and Ys working together,” said Kovary, who formed a working relationship with Buahene when both worked for York University’s Schulich School of Business developing executive training programs. They found many employers were not preparing for the labour shortages that will hit when boomers start to retire.

On air

  • Three York faculty members were featured on a series on Canada’s working poor on CBC Radio’s prestigious “Ideas” program. Craig Scott, associate dean of research and graduate studies at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and Barbara Cameron, political science professor at York’s Atkinson School of Social Sciences, spoke about what happens when rich countries like Canada claim that social and economic rights – like adequate housing and basic health care – are too expensive, on the March 29 segment. Leah Vosko, Canada Research Chair with the Atkinson Faculty’s School of Social Sciences, who recently published a study on precarious employment, discussed the impact cheaper foreign labour has on local communities, on the March 30 segment of the three-part series.
  • Alan Hutchinson, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed vacancies in and how judges are appointed to the Supreme Court, in a CBC Radio item aired on Charlottetown’s “Island Morning” and Yellowknife’s “Trail Breaker” March 30.