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Hard Numbers: Ontario booze strike looms, Scientists predict 'megathrust' site, Canada-US border apprehensions soar, Cannabis pardons compared, LA schools ban cellphones

Bottles of liquor are being displayed at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on November 19, 2023.

Bottles of liquor are being displayed at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on November 19, 2023.


685: Workers at 685 booze stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario could go on strike as soon as July 5, as their union has yet to reach a new labor agreement with the government agency. The union representing the store workers is seeking better job protections after the provincial government decided to allow convenience shops and grocery stores to sell alcohol beginning this fall.

900: Earthquake prediction is, naturally, a shaky business – but scientists now think that the next Great Northern “Big One” could come from a 900-kilometer fault line off the Western coast of Canada. Tectonic drama at the Cascadia Subduction Zone – as it’s known to those who know – could generate two ferociously destructive things at once: a “megathrust earthquake” and a huge tsunami.

5,600: Between January and April, border agents apprehended more than 5,600 undocumented migrants attempting to enter the US via Canada. That’s already higher than the full-year totals for 2021 and 2022 combined. Human smuggling networks, which charge thousands of dollars per person, are particularly active along the Canadian border with New York.

845: In the five years since Canada created a program to pardon people convicted of marijuana-related offenses, only 1,300 people have applied, and just 845 have been granted. Critics say the program is difficult to navigate and that its requirement to prove no other recent offenses is an obstacle. The challenges in the Canadian program were spotlighted this week when the governor of the US state of Maryland pardoned 175,000 cannabis offenders in one go.

429,000: The Los Angeles School District, responsible for over 429,000 young minds, voted Tuesday to ban the use of cellphones and social media platforms during school hours. The announcement from the country’s second-largest school district (after New York) coincided this week with the US Surgeon General’s call to add cigarette-style warning labels to social media platforms amid what he said is a mental health emergency among young people. The LA school system has 120 days to work out a policy that will take effect in January 2025.


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