• Sikh teacher moves to B.C. over Quebec law banning religious symbols in public-sector jobs
    News
    CBC

    Sikh teacher moves to B.C. over Quebec law banning religious symbols in public-sector jobs

    Amrit Kaur, who recently graduated to become a teacher, has moved across the country from her Montreal-area home to B.C. so she can work while wearing her turban, after the Quebec government passed a law banning religious symbols for some public-sector employees."I have a new job as a high school teacher which I'm very excited about," said Kaur, 28, who recently arrived in Surrey, B.C. "It's unfortunate that I had to leave my home province to pursue my career."Kaur is a member of the Sikh faith and believes the law, formerly known as Bill 21, violates her human rights."People who look like myself, we are being told that we're second-class citizens."Kaur, also vice-president of the World Sikh Organization of Quebec, said her turban represents equality and is part of her identity."If you look all across the world, you will see traditionally men wearing turbans, but in the Sikh faith we believe men and women are the same. So me wearing a turban is very empowering because it's telling the world that I'm no different than a Sikh man," she said. "I am empowered because I wear my turban, I don't need saving," she said.Teachers already on the job at Quebec public schools are exempt if they stay in the same position. Kaur had not begun teaching in Quebec.She has a one-year contract to teach English, humanities and social sciences at a private Surrey high school starting in September. Kaur said she felt she had no choice but to leave her home province, and she empathizes with public sector workers who don't have the same opportunity. "I have the privilege of leaving the province because I got a job outside, but there are still people who will endure the effects of Bill 21," she said. "Our lives are so disrupted. I'm very much a Quebecer and I'd always like to go back home." Legal wranglingThe new secularism law bans public school teachers, police officers, government lawyers, judges and other authority figures from wearing religious symbols such as a hijab, turban or kippa at work.It invokes the notwithstanding clause, which protects the legislation from being contested on the grounds it violates the right to religious freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.The religious symbols law was a major campaign promise during last year's provincial election in Quebec.Quebec Premier François Legault has argued the law is needed to ensure the secularism of the state and stop debates about how to accommodate cultural minorities.The National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed a legal challenge hours after it was passed in June, and the case is still winding its way through the court system.Advocacy groups argue that by limiting access to certain public institutions, Bill 21 is criminal legislation — something outside the province's jurisdiction.In July, a Quebec Superior Court rejected an emergency request to temporarily suspend parts of the new religious symbols law, which prompted the two advocacy groups to file an application at Quebec's Court of Appeal.Waiting for a final resolution could take time.B.C. welcomes Quebec teachers As the court battle continues, B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming is encouraging teachers from Quebec to apply for jobs in his province, which he said is experiencing a "resurgence" in French-language schooling.Fleming said that last year, B.C. accepted close to 900 out-of-province teachers."We don't police what kind of faith or observances individuals have. We judge them on the kind of competencies and the job that they do for the public."

  • In the news today, Aug. 23
    News
    The Canadian Press

    In the news today, Aug. 23

    Four stories in the news for Friday, Aug. 23———GRITS DIG UP VIDEO OF SCHEER SPEAKING AGAINST SAME-SEX MARRIAGELiberals went trolling Thursday for young, progressive-minded voters with 14-year-old video footage of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaking out against same-sex marriage — a tactic that prompted Jagmeet Singh to vow that New Democrats won't prop up a minority Conservative government. Singh's statement came several hours after Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tweeted a short, edited video of an April 2005 speech Scheer gave in the House of Commons explaining his opposition to the Civil Marriage Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in Canada later that year. Along with the video came a challenge to march in Sunday's Ottawa Pride parade, with Goodale noting that Scheer has never yet participated in any Pride parade.———SCHEER IS PASSING THE BUCK, LETTS' PARENTS SAYThe parents of Jack Letts, a British-Canadian man imprisoned in northern Syria, are chastising Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer for saying he wouldn't lift a finger to help their son. Scheer might react differently if his own child was locked in a foreign dungeon without access to a lawyer or contact with his family, John Letts and Sally Lane said in a statement distributed Thursday. The couple, who live in Oxford, England, said it is time for Canadian politicians to show leadership and demonstrate that Ottawa is able to protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Questions about the fate of Jack Letts, who is being held in a Kurdish jail in Syria, recently resurfaced following word that Britain had revoked his citizenship. Letts' parents said their son, who still holds Canadian citizenship, went to Syria for religious and humanitarian reasons, not to fight for the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.———QUEBEC MAKES BIG CUTS TO ECONOMIC IMMIGRANTS IN 2019New statistics show Quebec is making good on its promise to reduce its share of immigrants in 2019, but the province has cut deeply in the category of skilled workers, which runs contrary to the government's stated goals. In the first six months of 2019, the number of immigrants to Quebec in the economic category fell by 32 per cent compared with the same period in 2018. Within that category, the province has so far accepted 41 per cent fewer skilled workers than it did in the first six months of last year. The numbers were compiled by Jack Jedwab, president of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration, using data from the federal Immigration Department.———ETHNIC MEDIA LOOK TO PROD VOTER TURNOUTZuhair Alshaer spends most of his day editing articles and organizing interviews with politicians for his Ottawa-based Arab Canada newspaper, to introduce Arabic-speaking new Canadians to federal politics. The community Alshaer's paper serves is growing — more immigrants are arriving in Canada from Africa, Asia and the Middle East than ever before, surpassing Europe that was once the dominant source. And it is also becoming more politically engaged: The voting rate of immigrant from West Central Asia and the Middle East increased to 73 per cent in the 2015 election from the 57 per cent recorded four years earlier, the largest increase among the 10 immigrant regions studied by Statistics Canada. Research published by Statistics Canada in 2016 highlighted that new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Statistics Canada will release its retail trade figures for June.— Transat shareholders convene in a special meeting today to vote on Air Canada's $720-million bid for the company.— Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi will announce funding today for a geothermal power project in Nisku, Alta.The Canadian Press

  • Paris prosecutor opens inquiry into whether Epstein committed crimes in France
    News
    Reuters

    Paris prosecutor opens inquiry into whether Epstein committed crimes in France

    The chief prosecutor in Paris has opened a preliminary inquiry to determine whether late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein committed any sex crimes on French territory or against any underage French victims, prosecutor Remy Heitz's office said on Friday. Epstein was arrested on July 6 in New Jersey after his private jet landed on a flight from Paris, where he had a residence on Avenue Foch, one of the French capital's most exclusive addresses in the 16th District near the Arc de Triomphe. Epstein died on Aug. 10 in his jail cell in Manhattan at the age of 66.

  • Special prosecutor to review actor Jussie Smollett's case: judge
    News
    Reuters

    Special prosecutor to review actor Jussie Smollett's case: judge

    A judge in Chicago on Friday named a special prosecutor to probe the case involving former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's allegation that he was the victim of a racist attack, which authorities have ruled a hoax. Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb to investigate the case. Smollett, who is black, gay and best known for his role on the Fox Television hip-hop drama "Empire," told police on Jan. 29 that two masked men threw a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressing support for Republican U.S. President Donald Trump.

  • Central Library makes Time magazine's list of World's 100 Greatest Places of 2019
    News
    CBC

    Central Library makes Time magazine's list of World's 100 Greatest Places of 2019

    One of Calgary's newest public buildings is already being declared an icon, as Time magazine has added the new Central Library to its 2019 list of the World's 100 Greatest Places.The magazine gives credit to Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta, and makes note of the beautiful materials and esthetic, noting it is "flooded with natural light and features several esthetic odes to its native land: walls made of cedar from nearby British Columbia, a curved facade meant to evoke cloud arches formed by the region's Chinook winds."The Central Library staff shared its excitement on Twitter.Calgary's Central Library has already received kudos from Architectural Digest, which named it one of the most futuristic new libraries in the world, and Azure magazine, which called it the best "civic landmark" built in 2018.The library was built at a cost of $245 million and opened in late 2018.But it has also faced criticism — not over its looks, but over its functionality, with questions raised about the awkward main steps and the fact that it's not easily accessible from the street.But few have criticized its interior, which features an oval design, curved wood accents and abundant natural light.Time also noted the library's role as an educational centre — "offering learning labs, residency programs and even a digital production studio built for podcasters and YouTubers."

  • News
    CBC

    Racetrack raid followed accusations of B.C. gaming employee misconduct

    The provincial employee implicated in Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) raid this week at Hastings Racecourse does not currently have access to any Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch offices or government systems, according the Ministry of the Attorney General.It was revealed at Immigration and Refugee Board hearings in Vancouver on Wednesday that a enforcement branch staff member allegedly falsified documents to allow foreign nationals without work permits to work as groomers at the horse racing facility. An investigation into those allegations is underway.In the course of the hearings, it was reported that workers paid hundreds of dollars for the licences, believing they were allowed to work.Seven men from Mexico were arrested in a CBSA raid at the race track early Monday morning. All seven men have been ordered out of the country and released from CBSA detention until their trips home.Now the Ministry of the Attorney General has revealed that Monday's raid was a result of a tip going back 10 months, long before the workers even arrived in the country and began work at the track."Following a complaint received by the Attorney General in October 2018, Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch immediately launched an investigation," a statement from a ministry spokesperson reads, without explaining the nature of the complaint.Gaming officials then contacted CBSA with information gleaned from its investigation, leading to a second investigation by border officials."CBSA subsequently led and directed enforcement action at Hastings Racecourse," said the ministry spokesperson, adding that gaming officials collaborated with the CBSA investigation that led to the expulsion of seven workers from Canada for at least a year.A ministry spokesperson would not clarify whether gaming officials are still investigating the allegations. In a brief statement sent in response to an interview request, the spokesperson did not say whether the employee has been fined, fired or charged with any offence."[The gaming enforcement branch] has taken steps to secure the integrity of licensing and registration at Hastings Racecourse," said the ministry spokesperson.Everyone working in the gaming industry in British Columbia — including racetracks — must register with gaming officials. Anyone working in horse racing must also obtain a licence for the specific track where they're employed.Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.caFollow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

  • Suspect in California campus killing was co-worker
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Suspect in California campus killing was co-worker

    FULLERTON, Calif. — A man arrested in the stabbing death of a retired administrator at the California State University, Fullerton campus was a co-worker, police said Thursday.Chuyen Vo, 51, was arrested Wednesday night at his home in Huntington Beach, officials announced at a news conference near the killing scene in a campus parking lot.Lt. Jon Radus, however, declined to elaborate on Vo's work relationship with the victim and whether it was current or in the past.Police also didn't reveal a motive for the killing.The victim, Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, worked as the director of budget and finance and student services for university extended education but retired in 2017. He returned to the campus in January to work as a consultant.Authorities have said Chan was found stabbed numerous times inside his silver Infiniti on Monday.A black-clad man was seen running away and later leaving a nearby parking lot in a black sedan.The school had no reports of any problems between Chan and Vo, university spokeswoman Ellen Treanor said.Vo, whom neighbours said they knew as Chris, lived in an Orange County neighbourhood lined with two-story homes near a busy freeway with his wife, mother-in-law and children, neighbour Michael Wood said.Besides his college job, Vo sold life insurance and annuities, which had had him travelling frequently, Wood said."It comes to me as a shock that he's the one suspected of this crime," Wood said.No one answered the door at the home listed to Vo.Neighbor Gloria Venlet said she knew Vo worked as an administrator at the Fullerton campus and drove a black BMW with tinted windows. When she read about the campus stabbing in the newspaper earlier in the week and that police were looking for a similarly described vehicle, she said she paused for a moment.However, Venlet said she couldn't imagine any involvement by Vo, who always wore a smile."I was considering making a call (to police) but thought, no, no, no, there's no way that would be him," she said.Chan, of Hacienda Heights, had an undergraduate degree in accounting and a law degree and previously worked as an auditor for the California State University system. His family asked for privacy earlier this week, and Treanor said co-workers said they couldn't fathom why someone would want to harm a man of few words known for his dry sense of humour and enormous patience.Cal State Fullerton is a nearly 40,000-student commuter school in the middle of its host city in Orange County and has the largest enrolment in the 23-campus California State University system.___AP writers Stefanie Dazio and John Antczak contributed to this report from Los Angeles.Amy Taxin And Natalie Rice, The Associated Press

  • News
    Reuters

    Canadian Consulate suspends travel to China for Hong Kong staff

    The Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong said on Friday it has suspended travel to mainland China for local staff, just days after an employee of the city's British Consulate was confirmed to have been detained in China. The Canadian Consulate, in an email to Reuters, did not provide a reason for the travel restrictions. On Wednesday, China's foreign ministry confirmed that Simon Cheng, an employee of the British mission, had been detained in the border city of Shenzhen neighboring Hong Kong.

  • Family doesn't blame police for death of Langley teen near skatepark
    News
    CBC

    Family doesn't blame police for death of Langley teen near skatepark

    Relatives of a teenage boy who died near a skatepark in Langley, B.C., say they don't blame police for not finding him until hours after the first 911 call but wish they'd done more. Carson Crimeni, 14, died of an apparent drug overdose on Aug. 7. He was still breathing when his grandfather found him at about 9:30 p.m. PT that night, laying slumped against a fence in the dark at Walnut Grove Community Park. "He was struggling for air," said Darrel Crimeni, who had been searching the area when his grandson failed to return home that evening. "The police were trying to save his life as much as possible when I got here." Carson's family say they believe someone gave him drugs and that witnesses stood by, laughing, and took videos of the boy overdosing and later posted them to social media. IIO investigating officersThe Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO), the province's police watchdog, is examining why officers didn't find the boy earlier. Two officers had been called to the scene earlier that night after a 911 call at about 8 p.m. said a video showing the boy in distress at the skatepark was circulating on a social media app called SnapChat. Police did not find Carson until a later 911 call came in. He was about half a kilometre away from where police were originally called in the park complex.    "What we're looking at is whether the actions, or perhaps more importantly any inactions of the police, may have lead to the death of this young male," said Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the IIO. The IIO is considering the distance between where the officers initially looked and the location where Carson was later found, the lines of sight, and whether the police made reasonable efforts to find the boy given the information they had at the time. No specific allegations of wrongdoing by the police have been made, he added. 'Maybe they could have saved him'Crimeni returns to where he found his grandson every night to lay down flowers."I wish they had found him at 8 o'clock [after the first 911 call], I really do. Maybe they could have saved him," he said.  "Maybe they could have looked harder but it's not for me to say. I know it wasn't them who killed him."For Carson's father, Aron Crimeni, it's difficult to return to the park where a memorial site has grown. He said he's still processing news of the IIO investigation and the possibility that more could have been done for his son. "I don't know what to feel about it. Anger, sadness, it's hard," he said. "There are so many things, it seems, that could have changed the outcome and it's just sad that of all those chances, nothing came and nothing saved him." Aron Crimeni questions why more witnesses and people who saw the video on social media didn't also call police earlier. "If you see someone who needs help, help them," he urged.

  • Winnipeg NFL fans disappointed as stars sit in pre-season game, IG Field comes up short — literally
    News
    CBC

    Winnipeg NFL fans disappointed as stars sit in pre-season game, IG Field comes up short — literally

    Much like the field, the National Football League's foray into Winnipeg fell short of expectations Thursday night.The pre-season contest between the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers came down to the wire, with a last-minute field goal giving the Raiders a 22-21 victory. But for many fans, the story of the game was what they didn't see on the turf at IG Field.For starters, the game had to be played on a field that was shortened by 20 yards due to safety concerns about the spots where the CFL goalposts had been removed. Virtually none of the top players on either team played a single down."I think its unfortunate this is how the NFL did come to Winnipeg," said Janice Labossiere, a Green Bay Packers fan who lives in the city. "I think it could have been done really well … the goalposts and the starters [issues] — that is really tough."Concerns about slow ticket sales in the weeks leading up to the game were confirmed by game time. Attempts by the promoter to attract more fans by slashing prices didn't prove to be enough to fill the thousands of empty seats that greeted the players when they hit the field.Typically as the NFL pre-season progresses, teams begin to put their season-opening lineup on the field more frequently to allow them to get some more playing time, but that was not the case on Thursday night.Big-name draws like Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Oakland counterpart Derek Carr were missing, while Raiders star wide receiver Antonio Brown missed game action yet again due to a helmet issue. Labossiere, who has flown to Green Bay to watch her beloved Packers play, was disappointed she couldn't even get a glimpse of her team's star quarterback."It would have been really nice to see Aaron Rodgers play at least a quarter. It's Week 3. Normally in Week 3 we're used to seeing some starters, but I think there are a lot of disappointed people."Denver Broncos fans Jason Guralnick and wife Kerri were also surprised the stars didn't play."You feel a little bit burnt that you expected to see Rodgers or Carr at least get a series," said Jason."For them not to trot out and hand the ball off three times, that is a little disappointing."'Opportunity missed'A big factor in the players not suiting up can be chalked up to safety concerns about the goalposts, and the holes in the end zones where the CFL posts previously stood. Attempts to cover the holes were deemed unsatisfactory.Guralnick said the issues should have been resolved well prior to game day."I understand the field conditions or the goal posts was an issue. It's unfortunate, but they had enough time, they should have come up with a solution," he said. "The 80-yard-field is kinda silly. It makes it a little sad."Guralnick said the fans showed their spirit, but logistically it turned into a bit of a letdown."The city looks good, but maybe the stadium or football facility, they will take a hit because of what happened out there, they should have been prepared and had a solution for it."Exposure for WinnipegWhile the stands might not have been full, Kerri Guralnick said she felt Winnipeggers were able to prove they live in a football city."They must view us quite highly, if we're able to draw a couple NFL teams here.… Given the fact its the pre-season and the teams are not going to probably fill their own stands, I think we did a pretty good job."Although the game might not have been spectacle many fans expected, Winnipeggers John Marsh and Jeff Krause agreed the city shone while in the spotlight."I think it's a great use of the stadium, I think it's great exposure, and I think overall because we're going to be on national TV, it's good for Winnipeg," said Krause."This city has a lot to offer, and it's great that the rest of the world gets to see this."Both men felt while there were some misses and the overall experience could have been improved, it's important to remember the positives."It's a beautiful night, we've got a great crowd out here, people are screaming and yelling and having a good time. Is this not what Winnipeg is?"

  • Watchdog probing role police may have played in B.C. teen’s overdose death
    CBC

    Watchdog probing role police may have played in B.C. teen’s overdose death

    B.C.’s police watchdog will investigate what role officers' actions or inaction may have played in the death of 14-year-old Carson Crimeni.

  • Sockeye returns plunge in B.C., official calls 2019 'extremely challenging'
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Sockeye returns plunge in B.C., official calls 2019 'extremely challenging'

    VANCOUVER — Federal fisheries experts are painting a devastating picture of the challenges facing Pacific salmon and point to climate change as the main culprit.Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said that 2019 has been an especially difficult year in what has been a decades-long decline in stocks, after his department released a new report on the state of wild Pacific salmon."There is no question that climate change is having a significant impact on our salmon," he said Thursday at a news conference in Vancouver."Not only do these declines have direct impacts on our ecosystems and the health of our environment, but they have serious impacts on the health of our economy."In one of the most dramatic shifts, the federal department has adjusted the number of returning Fraser River sockeye expected this year to about 625,000, down from an earlier projection of nearly five million. Twelve out of 13 Fraser River chinook populations have been recommended for protection under the Species at Risk Act, while coho returns in Alaska and Skeena River sockeye returns also prompted significant fisheries closures.Wilkinson also announced $2.7 million for five projects under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund."Part of any realistic plan to protect and ultimately restore key salmon stocks must include a comprehensive and aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions," he said.Ottawa is working actively with stakeholders, the province and First Nations to develop a long-term approach, he said. Wilkinson noted that the new Fisheries Act restores protections for fish and fish habitat, while the government is also working to restore habitat affected by industrial development, increase fisheries management and assess impacts of threats like predators.Sue Grant, one of the report's authors, said some of the declines are residual effects of larger climate change events like "The Blob," an enormous mass of warm water caused by a heat wave in the North Pacific.The Blob had significant impacts on the food web and prompted large fatty zooplankton, the primary food of Pacific salmon, to migrate north and be replaced by a much smaller, less nutritious species, she said."Everything we're seeing in salmon and ecosystem trends is embedded within this larger context," she said, adding that Canada is warming at a rate double the global average and the rate increases at northern latitudes."The planet is warming and the most recent five years have been the warmest on the planet's record."The report says that air and water temperatures in B.C. and Yukon are increasing, while changing precipitation patterns are altering freshwater habitats. These effects are compounded by human activity that alters the landscape.Species like pink salmon that spend less time in freshwater are showing fewer declines, suggesting they are less vulnerable to climate change.The report comes as officials continue to work around the clock to clear a barrier along the Fraser River blocking the migration route of millions of salmon on their way to spawning grounds."This is undoubtedly a crisis situation," Wilkinson said of the landslide, adding that the maximum 100 staff are on the case.About 270,000 salmon have been recorded in the river below the barrier, while only 26,000 have been moved upstream, primarily via helicopter, he said.The response effort is facing criticism.Esk'etemc Chief Fred Robbins, whose community is upstream of the slide, said he is concerned that the fish that make it past the slide are too exhausted to continue on to spawning grounds."The impact of the rock slide is devastating. We had a community meeting where my whole community showed up, probably close to 250 people jammed into our gym and we talked about the impact," he said."We need to stand up for our salmon."Robbins interrupted Wilkinson's news conference alongside Chief Judy Wilson of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs to call on Ottawa and Victoria to declare a state of emergency on the Fraser River.Wilson also questioned how the federal government could say it's committed to fighting climate change at the same time that it approved and bought the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which comes with a sevenfold increase in tanker traffic.Wilkinson said decisions about the slide response are made by members of a group that includes First Nations as well as provincial and federal officials.Don Willimont, a director with the Spruce City Wildlife Association, said fisheries officials should have acted boldly when the Big Bar slide was first discovered.Willimont said his groups have identified just 16 chinook in five Fraser River tributaries above the slide. Just under 5,000 fish were counted in those tributaries in 2014 and those numbers were considered dire at that time, he said.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    GO bus driver fails drug and alcohol test, removed from service after passenger alerts Metrolinx

    Metrolinx is investigating after a GO bus driver failed a drug and alcohol test Thursday morning.The provincial transit agency said in a news release that a customer contacted the transit safety unit because she was concerned about the bus operator's ability to drive.There were approximately 15 passengers on board at the time. No one was hurt and there was no collision, the agency said. The driver had picked up customers in Brampton and was removed from service at York Mills Station, before being subjected to testing. After failing the test, the driver was removed from duty pending further investigation, Metrolinx said."Our drivers are extremely dedicated, responsible and trustworthy employees. This is a rare and very disappointing occurrence, which will be fully investigated. We want to assure our customers that every employee has a responsibility to safeguard the trust and safety of the public in attending work fit for duty—without fail," said Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster.The agency says the driver had been a GO bus operator since 1989.In the release, Metrolinx said it introduced a new policy last September, formalizing that all employees report fit for duty, and introduced drug and alcohol testing for employees where an investigation has warranted a need for testing or where there is reason to believe an employee has been using drugs or alcohol.

  • Canada house prices to pick up from stand-still but risks aplenty: Reuters poll
    News
    Reuters

    Canada house prices to pick up from stand-still but risks aplenty: Reuters poll

    Canadian house prices will be flat this year, but will pick up in 2020, driven by lower mortgage rates and solid domestic economic conditions, according to economists and property market analysts polled by Reuters. The latest poll of 18 contributors taken Aug. 13-21, including all the big five Canadian banks, showed average national house prices will rise 1.8% next year after a flat 2019. "You still have a growing economy, a tight labor market, strong population growth in Canada, especially in the large urban areas.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Edmonton Fringe patron 'furious' after performer undresses him without consent

    EDMONTON — A woman says she hopes Edmonton's Fringe theatre festival puts a greater emphasis on consent after a performer pulled her husband on stage and started to undress him, making him so upset that he called police.Vikki Wiercinski and her husband have been avid festival-goers over the years and were taking in Wednesday evening's Late Night Cabaret, a racy variety show, with some friends.Right before intermission, she said, Mike Delamont — in character as the "Scottish Drag Queen" — started lip-synching to "Let's Get It On," pulled her husband from the audience, took hold of him from behind and unbuttoned his shirt, exposing his bare chest to an audience of 100 or so people. "He's the chillest human on Earth and I have never seen him this furious," Wiercinski said Thursday of her husband, Jim, who did not want to be interviewed or have his last name published.She said they had been to other Late Night Cabaret performances in the past and, while they knew the show would be risque, they were not prepared for what happened.After the bit, which lasted about 30 seconds, Delamont made a remark about having "passed all the rules of consent," Wiercinski said. The event's host said something to the effect of "get this man a drink" and offered drink tickets, she said.The couple reported what happened on the Fringe's "safer spaces" web page, which states: "We believe EVERYONE has the right to fringe in a safe place, where they are welcomed and respected. If you witness or experience bullying, harassment, discrimination, abuse, threats, or assault, please submit a report below."Jim also reported it as an assault to the Edmonton Police Service, but Wiercinski said officers were not receptive.The Fringe said in a news release that it has begun a "structured dialogue with a patron." The festival said the performer immediately recognized he did not have proper consent, stopped contact and acknowledged the error before leaving the stage.The Fringe also said the artist apologized and police indicated they would not lay charges. Edmonton police did not immediately confirm that was the case.Delamont said in an emailed statement he has volunteered to participate in sensitivity training."I immediately recognized I did not request clear consent, and that this individual may not be comfortable with participating. I stopped the scene and he left the stage," he said."I regret completely putting this individual in a position they were not comfortable with and I offer my sincerest apologies for any harm I have caused."The Fringe later confirmed that Delamont will no longer be performing as part of Late Night Cabaret. Fringe Theatre executive director Adam Mitchell said everyone has the right to feel respected and welcome."We are committed to supporting this patron in every way we can and will continue to take an active role in maintaining a safe space for everyone taking part in the festival."Wiercinski acknowledged it's tough to balance a show's sense of spontaneity while ensuring proper consent when there's audience participation.But the Fringe and other theatre outfits should have some sort of framework in place, she said."We have no idea what people's bodies have been through. This is not the case with my husband, but what if he was a childhood sexual trauma survivor?" she said."Ultimately, the trust got broken."— By Lauren Krugel in CalgaryThe Canadian Press

  • Fond du Lac Chief says airport runway should've been funding priority for province
    News
    CBC

    Fond du Lac Chief says airport runway should've been funding priority for province

    The chief of Fond du Lac Dene Nation wants the provincial government to reconsider its decision not to pay for renovations to the airport in the remote community.Chief Louie Mercredi said he was surprised other projects were picked instead. Mercredi said the Fond du Lac air strip is too short and he thinks it is partly to blame for a plane crash that killed one person in December 2017."We're not a priority. They are prioritizing wastewater, landfills, swimming pools," said Mercredi. "And what is more important than human lives."Deputy Premier Gord Wyant said Fond du Lac expressed interest in securing federal funding allocated through the province, but never submitted a formal application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) by the June 20 deadline.Wyant said the airport project would've been a strong contender, but the application needed to be forwarded to the federal government, which is contributing $896 million through the ICIP over the next 10 years."When we submitted our list to the federal government, in terms of the projects we wanted to move forward on, this additional intake, Fond du Lac wasn't on that list because we didn't have an application," said Wyant. "And in fact, we still haven't received a formal application from the band for that project." Mercredi said an application was submitted but was returned for some changes to be made. "Now that I found out [the] Moose Jaw airport application was also late and that was accepted by the province, what is going on here? Are they just supporting their ridings?" Mercredi said. "What I'm seeing is racism here."In response, Wyant said Moose Jaw's application was submitted correctly and on time. He refutes the allegation of racism, and said projects put forward by other First Nations were approved. Mercredi said the runway's size means only small planes can fly in and out of Fond du Lac. That rule came in after an investigation into the crash, although the cause of the crash has been blamed on inadequate de-icing.The chief said the fly-in community is running low on food and other supplies because of the airport's pitfalls. "The rest of Canada doesn't live like this. Why do we have to live like this?" said Mercredi.Airstrip renovations 'critical': NDPThe Saskatchewan NDP said the province is considering an airport project in Moose Jaw over Fond du Lac as a bargaining tool for the next provincial election. It argues that the renovations to the Fond du Lac airstrip are critical. "This airport is the only access point for many northern communities and the fact that needed improvements still haven't been made is ridiculous," said Buckley Belanger, the NDP's highways and infrastructure critic.Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron said details about applications shouldn't be in question when human lives could be in danger. He also had a message for the federal government. "Stop giving the provincial government funding on the First Nations' behalf because this is a clear example of the provincial government not allocating those funds where they specifically need to go," said Cameron. The federal government announced it would provide $12 million for the community to upgrade the Fond du Lac airport back in February.Mercredi said the First Nation needs $30-35 million on top of that to complete the project. He said if the runway was standard, food would be more accessible and prices would drop. "If I need to declare a state of emergency, I will," he said. Wyant said the province would welcome an application from Fond du Lac for consideration along with next year's pool of applicants.

  • News
    CBC

    Edmonton plans to keep using anti-icing agent on roads this winter

    The City of Edmonton plans to keep using an anti-icing agent to clear streets this winter after two years of a pilot project that used calcium chloride on nearly 3,000 kilometres of city roads. The city released reports Thursday that show the results of the pilot project. Fewer collisions happened in areas where the brine was used, the reports say.Gord Cebryk, city deputy manager, said the recommended solution is a combination of salt, sand, plowing and blading. "We're trying to focus on safety," Cebryk told media at city hall Thursday. "Our focus on achieving bare pavement is resulting in safer driving conditions." Since 2017, the city has been exploring different combinations with the goal of creating safer roads."The best way of achieving bare pavement is through the use of a variety of tools depending on the weather conditions," Cebryk said. He referenced a study done by the University of Alberta, which shows that during the pilot project collisions went down nearly 20 per cent in areas where the brine was used. The calcium chloride controversyCalcium chloride has been controversial with some members of the public, who believe it rusts vehicles, garages and impacts concrete. The reports say studies done in 2018 and 2019 found that "salt and brine impacts on asphalt and concrete are minimal." The city reports include a study on brine corrosion prepared by Corrpro Canada Inc., which said research has been done worldwide to determine the impact of anti-icing and de-icing agents on vehicles and metal infrastructure."However, the results of research programs found in literature review have been inconsistent," the study said. A memo leaked to media earlier this year, written in June 2018 by engineers, suggested the city's calcium chloride brine damages roads 20 per cent more than salt alone. Coun. Andrew Knack said few people likely know that the city has been using calcium chloride for many years, in different amounts. He noted the reports show there were fewer collisions on roads where the brine was used during the pilot project."I don't know if that's going to matter right now to a lot of people," Knack told CBC News Thursday. "There's been so much conversation around what this may or may not be actually doing to private property, to public infrastructure." In the 2018-2019 season, the amount of calcium chloride the city used was "significantly lower" compared to 2017-2018, while the amount of salt and sand was slightly higher due to extreme weather.Cebryk said the city used the brine only twice last winter. Calcium chloride brine contains a corrosion inhibitor to offset the potential impacts on metal and concrete, Knack said."It may not be causing the issue that people think it is. It could be — if we assume that there are in fact impacts— the level of salt that we use, particularly this last year in comparison to the level of salt the city had used in the past."The province uses a calcium chloride on highways like Anthony Henday Drive. Knack noted that the brine solution has made a positive difference at seniors' complexes and on sidewalks. He said other jurisdictions that use brine have accepted that any impact is "outweighed by the safety benefits."Councillors are scheduled to discuss the reports and the city's snow and ice policy at a community and public services committee meeting on Sept. 4. @natashariebe

  • 'We want to stay': Locals rally in Mackenzie, B.C., after mill closures
    News
    CBC

    'We want to stay': Locals rally in Mackenzie, B.C., after mill closures

    Nearly 1,000 people marched at a rally in Mackenzie, B.C. to draw attention to the devastating effects the downturn in the forestry sector have had on the community. The march was a display of support in the close-knit community of about 3,300 people."We love MacKenzie, we want to live here and we want to have jobs that sustain us," said Shannon Bezo, a member of the Mackenzie Matters rally committee."It's been a state of frustration, some states of anger. We've seen people [leave Mackenzie] immediately as the layoffs were put in," Bezo told Daybreak North reporter Nicole Oud.An estimated 3,900 people across the province have been affected by mill shut downs and curtailments, including close to 400 in Mackenzie — nearly 10 per cent of the community's population.  It's not the first time the small town, approximately 180 kilometres north of Prince George, has been affected by a forestry downturn, but residents are worried that without government intervention, they could be forced to leave town as job losses continue."Panic isn't full on, but it's starting," said Lynda Moreland, a rally organizer and local real estate business owner.Ever since the local Conifex sawmill began its six-week curtailment, and Canfor announced its sawmill would be closing operations indefinitely, she's been getting calls from people asking what their homes are worth, she said. "People, they don't know what to do."Government helpMoreland said Mackenzie was hit hard by mill closures in 2008. The town didn't fully recover after that, she said."We just want a sustainable industry to continue our town."In particular, she wants more government intervention when it comes to stumpage prices."The government has to do something. They have to lower stumpage," she told Daybreak North's Andrew Kurjata. "We understand that the other towns need the wood as well. We're willing to share. That's not the issue. The problem is don't kill us in the process."Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said he's tried to secure funding from the federal government. However, he said he doesn't think the government should intervene in stumpage prices."Stumpage rates are at the very heart of one of the longest running trade disputes between Canada and the U.S.," Donaldson said.He added B.C. Timber Sales, a government agency that manages some of the province's allowable cut for Crown timber, has been working with Conifex to address some of the short-term fibre access issues and he hopes they will be resolved by the end of the month. Community support Mackenzie resident Michelle French came to the rally because her husband who worked at Canfor for 37 years is now unemployed.French's husband wasn't able to attend the rally because he was at the mill with other longtime employees, cleaning up to shut it down, she said."I'd like to have the logs stay in Mackenzie here. It's kind of like they're ours and we need them," said French."We're a community and we want our jobs and we want to stay here."More stories from CBC British Columbia NorthSubscribe to CBC Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

  • E-scooter pilot project to launch in Toronto, but major hurdles remain
    News
    CBC

    E-scooter pilot project to launch in Toronto, but major hurdles remain

    It's an alternative means of getting around that's loved by some and loathed by others — and it's coming to Toronto.E-scooter sharing company Bird Canada says it is planning to launch a pilot project in the city in the coming weeks.   "Bird Canada is working to firm up the exact date to kick off a two-week pilot project for its Bird shared e-scooters in the Distillery District in early September," said Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, in a statement.Bird did not share any additional details about the project, such as the number of scooters, how people will access them, or the exact boundaries of where people will be able to ride.The news comes as debate about the use of e-scooters rages across North America. Though ubiquitous in some American cities, it's still a fledgling mode of transportation in most of Canada.E-scooter sharing systems work similarly to Bike Share Toronto. Users pick up a scooter, use an app to unlock them, and are then charged a fee for the time they use.But there's one key difference: unlike bike-share bikes, the scooters aren't docked in any one place at the end of the ride — users can simply drop them anywhere. That has led to much consternation in some places when scooters are just strewn around cities.Though some people swear by the little two-wheelers, they are hardly universally beloved. Chattanooga, Tennessee, banned them for six months back in July, while Nashville recently contemplated a ban to rein in the approximately 4,000 scooters on the city's streets — after a 26-year-old man was fatally struck by a car back in May while riding one under the influence of alcohol, as reported by The Tennessean.Though Bird is dipping its toes into the Toronto market, the company faces a massive hurdle. According to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), e-scooters are not permitted on roads in Ontario because they don't meet federal or provincial safety standards.That means they can only legally be used in places where the province's Highway Traffic Act doesn't apply, like private property.That's the loophole that would allow Bird's pilot project in Toronto to work, as the Distillery District is privately owned.Province exploring optionsThe province is looking at reviewing its regulations, and held consultations with stakeholders about e-scooters back in May, said MTO spokesperson Bob Nichols in an email."MTO is aware that there are companies that offer environmentally-friendly e-scooters; however, safety is a top priority and the safe integration of new vehicle types with pedestrians and other vehicles is a key consideration before any new vehicle type will be allowed on Ontario roads," he said."Municipalities are currently able to set policies for the use of e-scooters on their sidewalks and pathways through municipal bylaws."The city says it is watching the province for any changes to existing laws governing scooters, as well as results from a recent pilot project that was run with Lime scooters on select private roads and paths in Waterloo, Ont. The city has asked staffers to return to council with a proposed regulatory framework for scooters, cargo and e-assist cycles later this year.The Waterloo project recently finished — and one of the reasons the company chose not to continue (aside from Lime wanting to focus on other projects in Montreal and in Calgary) is the current provincial legislation, said Rachel Martin, economic development coordinator with the City of Waterloo."That is the roadblock, and one of the factors into why they decided not to continue to operate an extension to the pilot project here," she said.'It's a lot of fun to use'Even though e-scooters are illegal on public property in Toronto, that isn't stopping some people from singing their praises.At the offices for Jiffy, an app that helps people find contractors, employees often use a scooter to get around, said co-founder Paul Arlin."It's much easier than having to hop in and out of a car, find parking — it's actually usually even quicker," he said."It's a lot of fun to use. Part of the journey is how much fun it is."Jiffy's offices represent peak start-up, with arcade machines, on tap komboucha and cold brew coffee, and an office dog named Denny. It seems like a natural fit for a group of people who use e-scooters to grab lunch or zip to a meeting.Arlin said he has used e-scooters in different locales in the U.S. to great effect."It's a bit messy when they're just left, but if they're parked in certain zones … I think it's great, and I don't think there's much downside to it if there's appropriate parking locations," Arlin said.But safety needs to be a focus too, said Richard Cao, CEO and founder of Roll Technologies, a new company that is based in Toronto and is about to launch an e-scooter pilot in Kelowna, B.C.Cao says his company is trying to mitigate safety concerns by using a scooter design with bigger wheels, shock absorbers, a larger base, and speed limiting functions for new riders.Other provinces are further ahead in the e-scooter conversation, he said — though that's not necessarily a bad thing."[Ontario] is definitely a little bit behind, but I think that's good thing, because we have to put more effort and more time into this evaluation," he said."We can't just say, 'Open the door, come and just operate.'"adam.carter@cbc.ca

  • News
    CBC

    Months-long construction at Dougall 'death trap' begins in Windsor

    If you have to take Windsor's Dougall Avenue through the 'death trap' tunnel under the rail crossing, find a different way to go for the next few months.Southbound Dougall Avenue will be reduced to one lane between Ouellette Place and South Cameron Boulevard during the construction. Access points to and from Dougall Avenue at Ouellette Place will also be closed. Ouellette Place is the name of the small section where Dougall Avenue and Ouellette Avenue join. Paul Mourad, city engineer, said the construction might last until the end of November. "This is part of our transportation master plan. In order to [do the work], what we decided to do is place an underpass and multi-use trail that will join into the trail network on the road," said Mourad. The multi-use trail addition will happen at the same as general intersection improvements, including a signal. "When people want to go either northbound or southbound on Dougall, there will be a control there," said Mourad. "That will promote safe passage back and forth."The rail road tracks aren't being changed — and the road isn't being widened. Work is being done beyond the curb, cutting into the railway embankment for the new trail. Cyclists won't have to 'squeeze' through"Right now, there's a safety concern going through those bridge abutments, because there's not much room," said Mourad. "Now cyclists will be able to use the existing trail network."Cyclists can come around South Cameron to close to Northwood Street, where they can take a separated trail through the underpass. When cyclists connect back to the road, there will be sharrows to accommodate them. According to Mourad, the changes are to bring things in line with Transportation and Bike Use Master Plans. "It will allow safe, multi-use pedestrian flow from south Windsor northbound to wherever people want to go," said Mourad. " During construction, drivers will need to use Eugenie Street or Tecumseh Avenue to access Dougall north of where the work is happening.

  • News
    CBC

    City to take control of LRT today — 456 days late

    The City of Ottawa is expected to take possession of the Confederation Line today, 456 days and numerous missed deadlines after it was supposed to get the keys to the $2.1-billion LRT system.At the announcement this afternoon, Mayor Jim Watson will also say when the public will get to enter one of the 13 new stations and ride the electric trains. The grand opening is expected to happen in mid-September.The original due date for the LRT handover was May 24, 2018. The completion of the LRT project triggers a payment of $202 million to Rideau Transit Group (RTG), the consortium that built the 12.5-kilometre Confederation Line.But even after the city takes control of the line, there will be further planning and operational drills before the system opens to the public.Running late * Aug. 23, 2019: 456 days after the first deadline, the city is finally expected to get the keys to the Confederation Line.

  • National shortage of blood pressure drug shows safeguards are needed, doctors say
    News
    CBC

    National shortage of blood pressure drug shows safeguards are needed, doctors say

    A national shortage of a popular drug used to treat high blood pressure is raising concerns among Canadian doctors about the lack of backup systems to protect patients' supply.Bayer Canada is reporting a temporary shortage of Adalat XL, an extended release formulation of nifedipine that is usually available in 20 milligram, 30 milligram, and 60 milligram tablets.The drugs, known as calcium channel blockers, are used to treat hypertension and forms of heart disease, including angina. The 20 milligram and 60 milligram dosages are affected by the shortage.It's a commonly prescribed medication in Canada. More than 145,000 prescriptions for Adalat XL were filled among recipients of Ontario's Drug Benefit program between February and April 2018 alone."We have a problem with drug shortages," said Dr. Christopher Labos, a cardiologist in Montreal."We don't have a system in place to correct for that and this happens with different types of medication every so often."In the case of Adalat XL, a generic alternative is available from the same subclass of medication. But that's not always the case.'Solutions exist'Labos couldn't believe it the first time a pharmacist told him a shortage of another medication for arrhythmia meant there was nothing he could give to a patient.He likened the shortages to a trip to a grocery store."We assume that there will always be food at the grocery store, but we forgot that we actually have to grow the food [and have] a distribution system to get it to the grocery store. Things can go wrong with that," Labos said. Similarly, safeguards also need to be put in place for the country's drug supply, he said.Labos said that for some generic medications, backup plans could include legally binding contracts that stipulate if one company isn't able to manufacture a drug, they need to ensure its made elsewhere. Government stockpiles, such as for flu medications, are another option, although the drugs do expire."Solutions exist. It's just that none of them are easy," Labos said.In an email to CBC News earlier this month regarding a shortage of three vital cancer drugs, Health Canada said it "recognizes the impact that these shortages have on the patients who rely on these important medications and is taking action to address them."The department said it monitors drug shortages closely.Bayer Inc. said the Adalat XL shortage occurred after it received a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year following a routine inspection at the company's Leverkusen Supply Center in Germany.FDA officials found problems with "Good Manufacturing Practices," which are are quality-control standards. Bayer said it is modernizing the plant to remediate."We are committed to helping health-care professionals access these products, and will provide updates as new information becomes available," the company said in a statement. "Patients who are prescribed these products should speak with their health-care professional to determine the best solution for them."Shortages 'notable in hypertension'Dr. Ross Feldman, a cardiologist in Winnipeg, said drug shortages increasingly are a concern."Generally we know that shortages disrupt patient care," he said. "It's especially notable in hypertension."The Canadian Pharmacists Association says drug shortages have increased in the last three to five years, leaving pharmacists to spend more time discussing alternative medications, finding alternatives, and calling around to track down supplies. The worst-care scenario would be having to switch a patient off a drug that works for them if there's no alternative, said Mina Tadrous, a pharmacist and scientist at Women's College Hospital in Toronto."We really have no understanding of what happens when a bunch of people start switching drugs," he said. As a researcher, he's planning studies to try to find out."The hope is that it doesn't lead to any harm but there is potential."Bayer estimates its current Adalat XL shortage will end on Sept. 15. The company also anticipates the 30 milligram tablets will run short at the end of August for one month.

  • Liberals highlight video of Scheer anti-gay marriage speech from 2005
    CBC

    Liberals highlight video of Scheer anti-gay marriage speech from 2005

    The Liberals are shining a spotlight on video of an anti-gay marriage speech by Andrew Scheer from 2005.

  • News
    CBC

    Prince Albert city council to explore curfew for walkways, back alleys

    Prince Albert voted this week to explore a bylaw that would implement a curfew on the city's back alleys and walkways, with hopes of reducing property crime rates in the Gateway to the North.Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski made the proposal on Monday.Council voted in favour of the motion, but one who opposed the motion said it could lead to racism. Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp said the proposed bylaw would be similar to carding, an action where police can randomly stop citizens to ask for identification."The City of Prince Albert, we do have issues with racism in our city," Lennox-Zepp said. "Other municipalities have made the decision to prohibit carding of this nature."Carding and police checks has come under scrutiny in other municipalities.Lennox-Zepp said there's no proof the tactic actually works. She said police shouldn't have the power to stop someone who hasn't committed any wrongdoing.The matter also needs to be looked at by the budget committee, according to Lennox-Zepp. Access to public parks at night in Prince Albert is already restricted by a city bylaw. That bylaw states signage, indicating when the public can access those areas, must be in place. Lennox-Zepp said the proposed curfew would require similar signage for every back alley and walkway."We don't know how many thousands of dollars that would cost."The city's budget committee and council has not finalized details about the costs associated with the proposal.Zurakowski, who put forth the motion, could not be reached for comment.Prince Albert's Mayor Greg Dionne was unavailable before deadline.Proposed bylaw similar to parks bylaw: Police ChiefPrince Albert Police Service Chief John Bergen cited the city's parks bylaw when talking about the proposed regulation to back alleys and walkways.He said he's not concerned about people's ethnicity playing a role in police interactions. "[The issue of carding] could come up there, and it hasn't," Bergen said. "When we investigate somebody that we recognize to be involved in suspicious activity, we investigate that person. Often, we don't know the ethnicity of that person until we're well into the investigation."While the process is still in it's very early stages, Bergen said he imagines the bylaw wouldn't make it unlawful for people who own property that backs onto an alley or walkway to access those areas.Police introduce other initiatives to tackle property crimeAccording to the most recent numbers published by the Prince Albert Police Service, property crimes saw a 12.75 per cent increase over last year. There have been 1,875 instances of property crime in the city so far this year.On Wednesday the Prince Albert Police Service launched a high-priority task force aimed at solving break and enters and reducing property crimes.Bergen said the task force will focus on analyzing trends and patterns behind property crime, while investigating break and enters to arrest suspects and return stolen property. "If you can solve the root cause of crime then you're likely to have a longer impact in reducing that crime," Bergen said of the task force's focus on finding patterns to property crime.

  • Financial literacy is key to helping millennials get out of debt, experts say
    News
    CBC

    Financial literacy is key to helping millennials get out of debt, experts say

    Jessica Moorhouse said it wasn't until after university she started to get a handle on her own personal finances. Like many other millennials, she continued to do her banking with the same bank her parents used. Moorhouse, who is now a millennial money expert and financial counsellor, began to wonder if she was doing this whole banking thing right. That's when she began to Google questions she didn't know the answers to, and eventually, she stumbled upon personal finance blogs."That was the thing that kind of changed everything for me because then I realized, oh I'm not an idiot for not knowing these answers," Moorhouse said. "This is actually something that everyone has asked themselves and that's what ... opened this world of personal finance to me."She said this inspired her to make a career out of it and help other millennials get a handle on their personal finances. Moorhouse said banks should focus more on financial literacy and transparency in order to help millennials get out of debt. According to a recent Statistics Canada study comparing millennials to the generation that came before them, millennials made more money than gen-Xers did at the same age, but they also owe more too. A report from credit reporting agency TransUnion tells a similar tale — millennials are now the generation carrying the second highest amount of total debt, behind gen-X, but ahead of their boomer parents.That's not a surprise to Moorhouse, whose clientele are primarily millennials."A lot of my clients, they come to me, they discuss where they're banking, and they have no idea that they're even paying monthly fees," Moorhouse said."How can you not know that? How did someone not explain that properly to you?" At the end of the day, Moorhouse said a big part of the problem is that banks are fundamentally selling debt, which many young people don't fully understand."They get a loan or get a credit card or get into some sort of debt product and they don't really know all the information and I feel like it's kind of up to the bank to really take responsibility for that." Do your own research outside of the bankMoorhouse said banks have a responsibility to educate their clients and be more transparent, but she thinks consumers should be proactive and do their own research."You can't just go to one bank and expect to get all the information you need from one person that's at that bank," she said.  "You need to do your own due diligence because it is your money."  We don't want to just be sold to, we want you to give us actual valuable information. \- Jessica Moorhouse, millennial money expert and financial counsellorSlowly but surely, Moorhouse said, banks are moving in the right direction. There are many robo-advisors, discount brokerages and online banks out there that are appealing to younger generations.Moorhouse said a lot of these companies that have a good online presence are putting a focus on making things more user-friendly and providing customers with financial literacy tools which attract not only millennials but the generation that follows — generation Z — who are even more tech-savvy."We don't want to just be sold to, we want you to give us actual valuable information," Moorhouse said.Tech-savvy solutionsFor example, TD Direct Investing offers online services for those new to online investing as well as those who are more experienced. TD Direct Investing also has an online learning centre which Moorhouse said provides customers with video lessons to broaden their investing knowledge. They also offer webinars and online master classes. RBC also released a new feature to their mobile banking app earlier this month called the RBC Mobile Student Edition aimed at teaching generation Z about money management and financial literacy. According to RBC's research, 38 per cent of post-secondary students and 33 per cent of high school students feel like they have their finances under control. RBC created this feature within its mobile app to respond to the significant need for financial literacy resources available to young adults. Rami Thabet, RBC's vice-president of digital product, worked with 400 young adults to come up with their app."What we heard loud and clear was that their financial needs were different," Thabet said. In addition to having a simple design and personalization features, the Student Edition focuses on accessibility like explaining key banking terminology and financial terms in a way that younger users can understand, Thabet explained. The feature also puts savings at the forefront and allows users to set up reoccurring savings right from the home screen of the app.  Different versions of financial successAndrew Au, millennial expert and co-founder of a marketing consultancy firm called Intercept Group, said one of the issues banks have with supporting younger generations and their debt is keeping up with their changing idea of financial success. Au said success for baby boomers meant financial stability which is not the case for millennials or generation Z. "Success, now, is about pleasure. It's about enjoying the ride. It's not about getting to any one destination," Au said. "I think it comes down to how the definition of success is evolving and banks need to keep up with that."Au said he personally likes Wealthsimple because it's an example of an online investment company that understands millennials and their idea of financial success.Wealthsimple is a digital investment manager that combines technology and human interaction to provide customers with investment products and advice.80 per cent of the firm's clients are under the age of 45. "This demographic really understands what technology can do," Michael Allen, portfolio manager at Wealthsimple, said."They expect to manage their money from their phones … it needs to be really simple and accessible."Wealthsimple offers clients various products like Wealthsimple Invest, Wealthsimple Save, and Wealthsimple Trade.  The first one offers low-fee funds, the second functions like a high interest savings account, and the last one allows users to trade individual stocks.The company also launched their Investing Master Class which teaches consumers the basics of investing and personal finance through a series of short video episodes. "It all boils back down to taking the jargon out of the industry," Allen said. "So making it fun, making it exciting to learn about personal finance is really important to us."Allen said Wealthsimple recognizes there is a stigma from previous generations around being open about personal finances and their goal is to try to break down those walls. "The more conversations we can have about money, the better people will be at making future financial decisions."Pays off in the long runFor Moorhouse, talking about finances openly with other people helped her along her own personal finance journey. Getting to hear personal experiences from others about their finances through, for example, a blog or forum is different compared to getting advice from someone at the bank, Moorhouse said. She said it is going to take the bigger banks a little longer to catch up to these smaller credit unions or online banks but the key is to focus on transparency and educating their clients. "They will be better off for it because their clients will be more inclined to stay with them if they feel like they're getting that extra help and that value," Moorhouse said.