March News Briefs

UTM hosts Sustainability Week for the fifth year in a row

From March 18 to March 22, the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) hosted its annual Sustainability Week in partnership with the UTM Student Union, the Sustainability Office, and the MScSM Student Executive Council. Events included a business case competition, workshops, a TED Talk, and even hospitality from the UTM Fair Trade Market—one of UTM’s food partners on campus, promoting sustainable alternatives to coffee and other material goods.

This year’s theme was “Bridging the Gap,” which speaks of UTM’s aim to address the current climate crisis and create a greater sustainable community through the collaboration of students and faculty. At one event, a panel of young professionals discussed their commitment to make a positive impact toward sustainability. The panelists included Ragu Bhaskar, who is a sustainability specialist for Sobeys; Jen Wojtaszek, founder and CEO of BetterBrie, Inc.; Diljot Badesha, a UTM recycling coordinator, and Charles Binks-Collier, CEO of Circulr. On its website, UTM leaves a call to action for its students and faculty: “We all have a part to play, be it academic discipline, lived experience, and everything in between.”

Ontario Liberal leader to exclude carbon tax in 2026 election 

On March 18, leader of Ontario’s Liberal party Bonnie Crombie announced she will not introduce a provincial carbon tax if she is elected premier after the 2026 election as part of her climate policy. On her website, Crombie indicated one of her goals is to prioritize immediate carbon emissions reductions, which will make Ontario a climate leader and allow the province to “grow a resilient economy and protect [its] cherished natural landscapes.” 

According to her announcement on Monday, Crombie is prioritizing decarbonization in Ontario. “Instead, I want robust action on building up public transit systems; investing in electric vehicle infrastructure; reforming land-use planning to build livable, walkable communities; protecting our water, sensitive land, and nature; decarbonizing our energy grid; supporting our farmers; and, most importantly, finding ways to help families save money by helping households become more energy efficient,” she stated. For the 2026 election, Crombie announced she has already gathered an expert policy panel to guide consultations on the Liberals’ climate platform.

Muslim Food Bank struggles to meet demands during holy month of Ramadan

According to a CBC News article, the Muslim Food Bank in Toronto, which feeds more than 500 people per month, is facing a shortage of halal meals during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Volunteer CEO Azim Dahya told CBC News that “the demand [has been] huge for the last few years. It’s really doubled or tripled due to high inflation.”

The food bank is struggling to meet demand due to the high cost of food and the influx of refugees as it is currently appealing for more donations. Dahya also says that there is a decrease in the number of halal meat options and that there is too much demand, leading to fewer people coming who need help. 

According to Canada’s Food Price Report 2024, food affordability is a top concern for Canadians. The report indicated food prices will continue to rise and even increase from 2.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent. However, Dahya says the Muslim Food Bank is facing a unique situation because there is a shortage of halal food across Canada. The food bank receives the highest volume of people of any food bank in Toronto. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford shuts down fourplex housing policy 

On March 21, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference he would no longer allow fourplexes in the province and called the policy a “massive mistake,” despite the policy being recommended by his government’s housing affordability task force. During this announcement, Ford also said the province will receive C$1.5 billion in funding for more homes to be built and new infrastructure. Ford said his focus will be to build more single-dwelling homes and townhomes as opposed to four-story or six-story buildings that house multiple families. 

Staff Writer (Volume 49); Associate News Editor (Volume 48)Razia Saleh is currently completing a Biology degree at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2020 as a contributor and continued to write for The Medium as an Associate News Editor during Volume 48. She hopes that her experience as a writer with The Medium will help her contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers. She hopes to take her interest in ongoing research within the scientific field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she paints natural landscapes inspired by her travels and enjoy a few live concerts throughout the year. You can connect with her on Linkedin.


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