Human rights advocate Amira Elghawaby talks about why the four-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque attack is a time to reflect on what more needs to be done to educate Canadians about Islamophobia.
Human rights advocate Amira Elghawaby talks about why the four-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque attack is a time to reflect on what more needs to be done to educate Canadians about Islamophobia.
A look at some second-leg matches in the Europa League's last 32 taking place on Thursday: AC MILAN-RED STAR BELGRADE (2-2) A meeting of two former European champions is level after the first leg amid controversy over apparent racist abuse aimed at Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. UEFA appointed an investigator Tuesday to look into the incident after footage published online appeared to show Ibrahimovic being insulted as he sat in the stands. There were no fans allowed in the stadium for the first game, but Red Star had officials and guests in the stands. Milan goes into the game without a win in its last three after losing 3-0 to fierce rival Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday. NAPOLI-GRANADA (0-2) Spanish club Granada is on the verge of a major upset in its first European competition. Yangel Herrera and Kenedy scored Granada's goals at home against a Napoli team whose season seems to be slipping away. One win from six games in all competitions this month has seen Napoli fall from challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A to clinging on in seventh. ARSENAL-BENFICA (1-1) The Europa League is Arsenal’s last opportunity for a trophy — and might represent the team's only route to qualifying for European competitions next season. Mikel Arteta’s team has dropped to 11th in the Premier League and is nine points off Chelsea in fifth place, which is set to be the sole Europa League qualifying position in the league. Thomas Partey has returned to training with Arsenal after a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the midfielder is fit enough to feature in the second leg against Benfica. The game will take place in Athens due to coronavirus travel restrictions. LEICESTER-SLAVIA PRAGUE (0-0) Leicester midfielder James Maddison will miss the match because of a hip injury. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers does not believe the issue requires surgery but said Maddison is in consultation with specialists. The in-form attacking midfielder, who came off hurt in the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Sunday, missed matches at the end of last season with a hip injury and had an operation in July. “We’re just having to get a specialist’s opinion on it to formulate a plan for his recovery,” Rodgers said. Leicester is in third place in the Premier League and has been one of the surprises of the season. MANCHESTER UNITED-REAL SOCIEDAD (4-0) Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba remain sidelined through injury for United, which is all but assured of progress after a big first-leg win in neutral territory in Turin. A shoulder issue prevents midfielder Hannibal Mejbri from making his first-team debut after a week that has seen fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo — signed from Atalanta in January — and 17-year-old Shola Shoretire make their first starts in the senior side. “Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he’ll be out for a month,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added 19-year-old Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith to United’s Europa League squad. “He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he’s out.” AJAX-LILLE (2-1) Even without two of its best players, Ajax is on the verge of eliminating the French league leader. Lille was heading for a win in the first leg before Ajax turned the game around with a penalty by Dusan Tadic in the 87th minute and a goal from Brian Brobbey in the 89th. Ajax is without striker Sebastien Haller after he was left off the squad list due to an administrative error. Goalkeeper André Onana was handed a 12-month doping ban this month after testing positive for a banned substance, something he blamed on a mix-up with his wife's medicine. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The spirit of cross-border co-operation is lingering as Canada's environment minister talks climate change priorities with presidential envoy John Kerry. Jonathan Wilkinson says he expects Canada and the United States to push each other to reach more ambitious climate targets as they work together over the next few months. Today's conversation follows a virtual meeting Tuesday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden. The two leaders vowed to move "in lockstep" in a shared North American effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Biden says their overall shared goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Wilkinson says Canada hopes to set a new target for emissions cuts by 2030 — somewhere between 31 and 40 per cent of 2005 levels — before Biden's April 22 climate summit. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, especially in Metro Vancouver, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t announce new measures to curb the spread of the virus in a briefing today. Henry urged British Columbians to continue to stay home when sick, wear a mask in public spaces and not socialize outside their households — public health orders that have been in place for nearly five months. “It is concerning that we’re seeing an increase in our per-cent positivity and in our weekly average, particularly in the Lower Mainland,” she said. “We know what to do to manage.” The province need only stay the course to lower transmission as it continues to roll out vaccines to the most vulnerable to serious illness, she said. But recent data shows the number of people infected is beginning to climb again after a slow decline. Earlier this month, the province was reporting about 450 new COVID-19 cases each day. On Thursday, the province reported 617 new cases. Today, Henry said 559 new cases had been identified. And the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases has surpassed 500 for the first time since early January. Recent polling also suggests British Columbians are less likely to consistently follow COVID-19 guidelines than people in other provinces. Concerns have also increased after seven schools reported students and staff had been exposed to COVID-19 variants that are believed to be more easily transmitted and potentially more likely to cause serious illness. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside acknowledged the issue in a briefing Monday. “I can appreciate the anxiety,” she said. But she added that testing has shown the variants are not being spread within schools. Henry said the province is testing all positive cases for evidence of a variant, and genomic sequencing has been ramped up to confirm the extent of variants in the community. “We are paying extra attention, so we better understand how and where these are spreading,” she said. “We’re learning about the impacts of these variants of concern,” Henry said. “But we know what we have to do to manage it.” Henry said there are signs the province’s vaccination effort has saved lives, particularly in long-term care. More than 220,000 people have been vaccinated, and at least 55,057 of those have had two doses. The province reported one death due to COVID-19 today, an individual in assisted living. There have been no new cases or deaths in long-term care in the last 24 hours, and 92 per cent of residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, Henry said. Outbreaks in long-term care have also dropped from almost 60 in December to 12. There are five outbreaks in assisted living facilities. On Monday the province will announce the plan for vaccinating seniors over 80 living in the community, Henry said, which will begin shortly. “We are in a period of vaccine hope and pandemic reality,” she said. Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
(Matthew Mukash - image credit) A community caribou hunt organized in northern Quebec by some Innu hunters from Matimekush-Lac John, near Schefferville, Que., has some Chisasibi tallymen and Cree government officials worried. The hunt happened on lands west of Schefferville and east of Chisasibi, northwest of Brisay, in northern Quebec between the end of January and mid-February. The area is more than 1,800 kilometres northeast of Montreal. About 280 caribou from the Leaf River herd were reportedly harvested by the group, a Cree investigation found, according to Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum. "We are not against hunting of caribou by the Innu of that community, but only that protocols were not followed, where those people whose trap lines where the hunt took place were not informed beforehand," said Bosum in Cree, adding he was also concerned so many caribou were harvested from a vulnerable herd. We are not against hunting of caribou by the Innu. - Abel Bosum, Cree Nation Grand Chief One of the traplines where the hunt took place is the responsibility of Cree tallyman Bobby Neacappo. He said he was also disappointed in how the hunt was carried out. "I feel that the hunt was not respectful, in the amount of caribou that were taken," said Neacappo in Cree. Tallymen are what Cree land stewards are called. Hunting restrictions in place In 2018, the Cree Nation Government put voluntary limits on the harvesting of the Leaf River herd. The sport hunt on the Leaf River herd has been closed since 2018. The government also banned the Indigenous hunt of the George River caribou herd. Bosum said he is aware of how important the caribou is for Innu people. "We understand there is a need ... the Innu people [have].… [The caribou hunt] that's their way of life, and we respect that and we acknowledge that, " said Bosum, who added that Cree leadership have sent a letter expressing their concerns over the hunt to Réal McKenzie, Chief of Matimekush-Lac John. Caribou near Radisson, Que., in 2019. "We need to maintain that respect among nations and also the respect for our trappers and our tallymen ... who depend on the wildlife," said Bosum, in English. McKenzie did not respond to requests for an interview. The population of the Leaf River herd stands at around 190,000, down from 600,000 20 years ago. The 2020 George River Caribou census estimates the population of the herd to be 8,100 animals, which is up from historic lows in 2018, but drastically down from population highs of 750,000 animals, according to figures from Newfoundland and Labrador. Overlapping territory The area where this recent hunt happened is at the far eastern regions of Cree territory in an area where the Innu say they also traditionally hunted. It is territory that is covered by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, signed in 1975, to which the Innu were not signatories. ''There [are] certainly areas that have been considered overlaps between the [James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement] signatories and the Innu," said Bosum, in English. "There's been a number of attempts in the past to try to resolve these overlaps. But nothing has come out of it." Bosum said Cree leadership is also asking for a meeting with Quebec government officials. "To discuss both what happened, but more importantly to see what are the options going forward," said Bosum. Leaf River caribou near the Cree community of Chisasibi on Nov. 16, 2020. Cree officials say conservation efforts are working, but now is not the time to over-harvest. Chisasibi tallyman Bobby Neacappo said in the past, the hunts by the Cree, the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and Innu of Matimekush-Lac John in that area, were an "occasion, where people were happy to see each other." "In those days, there was always a leader that the hunting group would listen to. This was always how it was in the past," said Neacappo, in Cree. Neacappo said he didn't want the harvested caribou taken away from the hunters, but to have them stay with hunters from Matimekush-Lac John. "Our community is in the process of addressing this with the Innu community and CNG (Cree Nation Government), and I'll wait for that to happen, because this should not happen again."
Les ministères de tutelle n’ont pas à s’immiscer dans ce qui relève de la responsabilité des chercheurs. À la communauté universitaire d’ouvrir le débat sur recherche et militantisme.
Approximately 20 people participated in a Wembley virtual town hall with the Beaverlodge RCMP last Tuesday. Issues discussed included the use of snowmobiles in town, the prospect of starting a local Citizens on Patrol (COPs) group and recent break-ins, said Ash Browne, Beaverlodge RCMP detachment commander. “The town hall gives me that raw information I need to build our annual performance plan,” Browne said. “We have these consultations to focus our policing efforts in certain areas.” Browne said the RCMP held the town hall via Zoom from Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum with assistance from the Town of Wembley. He was joined by another member of the Beaverlodge Detachment and one from the Crime Reduction Unit as well as Wembley council, he said. Browne acknowledged the participation level was lower than ideal and said this might be due to town residents’ conflicting commitments or the limits of having a digital forum. While participation was low, he said this allowed him to address each person individually. Browne said he received a question from a resident as to whether the community should launch a COPs group. “I was in support of that,” Browne said. “Hythe just went through this process … (and) community members can be part of the solution, because police cannot be everywhere all the time.” Browne said if the town starts a group the RCMP will provide a liaison. Another issue that arose was the use of snowmobiles in town. Wembley has a bylaw stating snowmobilers and ATV users should only leave a residence through the most direct route to fields, he noted. Browne said this issue is best addressed through patrols, and officers can be aware it is something to look out for. Patrols are mainly preventative, he added. Recent break-ins at the public works building and firehall earlier this month were also top of mind. The Beaverlodge RCMP shared images online of the suspect from another attempted break-in outside a business while the investigation is ongoing. Browne said he believes the incidents are all related. Browne previously hosted town halls for Beaverlodge and Horse Lake last year and an in-person event in Hythe in June 2019. He said his performance plan for the detachment should be ready for April 1. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
“Kill Shot: A Shadow Industry, a Deadly Disease,” by Jason Dearen (Avery) Lower back pain. Spinal stenosis. Cataracts. All those conditions are treated with drugs manufactured by compounding pharmacies. And those drugs can blind or kill you, due in large part to an almost total absence of regulatory oversight. In his terrific but unnerving new book, “Kill Shot,” Associated Press investigative reporter Jason Dearen explores the shadow industry of compounding pharmacies and various unsuccessful efforts to rein it in. The story centres on the New England Compounding Center, which in 2012 produced mould-infested batches of an injectable steroid that killed more than 100 people and sickened nearly 800 others across 20 states. Eventually, the lab in Framingham, Massachusetts, half an hour west of Boston, was shut down, and 13 people, including co-owner Barry Cadden and supervising pharmacist Glenn Chin, were convicted of federal crimes. But as Dearen makes clear in his gripping, tautly written narrative, the problems posed by pharmacy compounding — which accounts for at least 10% of the country’s drug supply — are far from over. Relying on transcripts, interviews, FDA inspection reports and other sources, he reconstructs this slow-moving tragedy in scenes of almost cinematic intensity. We meet the sympathetic victims, many of them elderly people living with chronic pain, who, after receiving the injections, died slow, horrible deaths from fungal meningitis and its complications. We also meet the callous lab owners, who set out to enrich themselves by cutting corners, hiring unqualified staff, running a filthy operation and relying on payoffs to drum up business. And while some NECC employees were eventually held accountable, they had a host of enablers. These included the lobbying group Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding; members of Congress, who accepted their campaign contributions and killed meaningful reform; and the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2002 struck down a section of a law designed to give the FDA more oversight. Thankfully, there were good guys as well: mostly, the dedicated doctors and scientists in hospitals, state health labs and federal agencies, including the FDA and CDC, who tracked the mysterious outbreak of deadly infections in real time and limited its scope by alerting the public. “Kill Shot” is coming out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the overall fragility of the U.S. health care system. By calling attention to just one facet of it, Dearen has performed a tremendous public service. He includes a handy checklist of questions to ask prescribers about compounded drugs, but his takeaway is inescapable. Consumers would do well to educate themselves about treatment options and press for tougher regulations. Their lives — and those of their loved ones — may depend on it. — Ann Levin worked for The Associated Press for 20 years, including as national news editor at AP headquarters in New York. Since 2009 she’s worked as a freelance writer and editor. Ann Levin, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today. One case is in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province and involves a staff member in their 70s at the Manoir Belle Vue long-term care home. That facility has reported more than 90 cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The other new case involves a person in their 50s in the Moncton region. There are now 64 active reported cases in the province and two people in hospital with the disease, including one in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,426 COVID-19 infections and 26 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will not trigger an election as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Singh says he will stand by his pledge to prop up the Liberal minority government on confidence votes regardless of whether the Liberals back an NDP bill to implement universal pharmacare, due for a vote later today. The government is expected within the next couple months to table a budget, which would trigger an election if it fails to garner support from at least one major opposition party. New Democrats have been hyping their pharmacare legislation in advance of a vote that will either kill Bill C-213 or send it to committee for further scrutiny. The NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program during the 2019 federal election campaign, but differ on the details. Singh says his party's universal medication plan, laid out in a private member's bill sponsored by MP Peter Julian, resembles the framework recommended by a government-commissioned report released in June 2019. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) A large fire Wednesday morning in Ingonish, N.S., destroyed a barn and the livestock inside, which were the heart of a young family's business and livelihood. The barn belonged to the Groovy Goat Farm & Soap Company, located along the Cabot Trail in northern Cape Breton. "It just was such a shock and it all just happened so fast," said Shannon Costelo, who owns the Groovy Goat with her husband, Ryan Costelo. Costelo said a neighbour knocked on their door to point out smoke coming from the barn behind their house. "We went out right away and there was smoke at that point ... It didn't seem like a lot so my husband ran out with the fire extinguisher. But he went in and the whole barn was already filled with smoke," Costelo said. She said her husband kicked the doors open, hoping the goats inside, which included some new kids, would run out, but none did. They were unable to rescue any of the animals that were in the barn. Engulfed in flames within minutes "It just went so fast and, you know, the whole barn was filled with hay in the hay loft, so ... it didn't take long," she said. It was only about, like, five or 10 minutes from the time we saw the smoke that it was totally engulfed in flames." The wind was blowing in the direction of the family home, Costelo said, so while her husband called for fire crews, she packed up their three children and got them off the property for fear the barn fire would spread. Costelo said her family built the barn about five years ago as their business was just taking off. They operate a petting farm and a shop where they sell their goat milk, soaps and other bath products. In addition to their goats, the family also owns some cows, which were out in a pasture at the time of the fire. 'It was pretty traumatic' Costelo said her husband is also the chief of the Ingonish volunteer fire department, which is not far from their home, so he got the truck from the station and started trying to extinguish the blaze with the help of neighbours before additional fire crews arrived. "It was very hard for him," Costelo said. "It was pretty traumatic." Crews from Ingonish and Neils Harbour responded to the blaze around 8:30 a.m. Victoria County deputy warden Larry Dauphinee was among the firefighters responding to the call. "It's a big loss to the community," Dauphinee said. "It's definitely a young couple with a nice business on the go ... I'm sure the community will pull together and assist as much as they can." Dauphinee said high winds made the fire difficult to control, as crews worked to save nearby buildings. A GoFundMe account has been launched to raise money for the Costelo family. Costelo said she and her husband haven't talked a lot yet about what comes next, but she's hoping to keep the business going. "We'll never, never get the animals back and we'll have to live with what happened," she said. "But we do hopefully plan to rebuild the barn and kind of pick ourselves up and keep going, if we can." MORE TOP STORIES
(Jeremy Cohn/CBC - image credit) A quarantine screening officer employed by a private security company hired and trained by Canada's federal health agency has been charged after allegedly demanding a cash fine from an Ontario resident and then sexually assaulting her when she refused to pay. Halton Regional Police say the accused, a 27-year-old Hamilton man whose full name is Hemant, went to the Oakville home on Feb. 18 to carry out a quarantine compliance check, telling the resident she was in violation of a quarantine order. Under Canada's Quarantine Act, designated screening officers regularly visit travellers' quarantine locations to ensure they are complying with the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements. The officers are not police and cannot issue a ticket or conduct an arrest, nor can they demand payment of any kind. Police allege the accused demanded the resident pay a fine in cash. "When the victim declined to pay, she was sexually assaulted by the accused," said a police news release issued Wednesday. Police also said he worked for one of four private security firms hired to help enforce isolation orders. The force said it will not identify the name of the security company where the man was an employee, but say he has been suspended. The accused, who now faces charges of sexual assault and extortion, has been released from custody. He is set to appear in court in Milton, Ont. on March 23. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from the alleged victim, said police spokesperson Const. Steve Elms, who had no other details. The Public Health Agency of Canada did not immediately respond to a request to comment. All people entering Canada are required to isolate for 14 days. Designated screening officers visit quarantine locations to confirm the person is where they said they would be in quarantine when they arrived in the country. Failure to comply can result in fines. Screening officers, contracted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, are not police officers and have no authority to issue a ticket or arrest anyone. As a result, police said, screening officers should never be demanding payment of any kind during a quarantine-compliance check. Police said other people might have been victimized and urged anyone who might have had a similar experience to contact their local police. Issues have previously arisen with quarantine guards. Last year, private security contractors at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, Australia, were accused of sleeping with guests, the Herald Sun reported.
ANHCORAGE, Alaska — A highly transmissible coronavirus variant originally traced to Brazil has been discovered in Alaska. The variant was found in a specimen of an Anchorage resident who developed COVID-19 symptoms, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The person had no known travel history. It’s the sixth case of the variant found in five U.S. states, officials said. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state health department, said there is evidence to suggest the P.1 variant is more transmissible than the original virus and that its mutations also “appear to change the antigenic profile of the virus.” That means it can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated. It’s also troublesome that the person in the Alaska case has no known travel history. “That does make it more concerning,” he told the newspaper. “So we are trying to do a thorough epidemiological investigation to figure out where the person actually got infected from.” The person ate at an Anchorage restaurant with at least one other person in late January and didn’t wear a mask. The infected person developed symptoms four days later and tested positive on Feb. 8 There is at least one person who had close contact with the infected person. The state has had two cases of people with the coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. “COVID is still circulating,” McLaughlin said, adding that more variant cases will likely be detected even as cases overall continue to decline. “We really want people to continue following all the mitigation strategies,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a reasonably high probability that the infection may have incurred while the person was eating at a restaurant with another person, so we just want to make sure people continue to stay within their social bubbles.” Alaska reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 55,560. The state has reported 287 deaths. Alaska has administered 232,811 doses of vaccine. Of those, 89,147 have been second doses. Alaska’s total population is about 731,000. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death. The Associated Press
TUCSON, Ariz. — It is now illegal in Tucson, Arizona, to enforce dress code or grooming policies that discriminate against hair texture and hairstyles in the workplace and public schools, officials said. The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday to adopt the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act, joining multiple cities across the country in passing the ordinance, the Arizona Daily Star reported. The ordinance has been part of a national campaign promoted by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law and Poverty. It also prohibits workplace discrimination based on headdresses worn for cultural or religious reasons. “We want to be sure there are no barriers for people in the workplace and in schools,” said Annie Sykes, president of Tucson’s Black Women’s Task Force. “These barriers are usually rooted in discrimination and prejudice.” Sykes cited a study showing that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair and 80% more likely to feel like they have to change their hair to fit in at work. “Your hair is your crown and it connects us to our culture and to our ancestry,” said Desiree Cook, a licensed hair stylist and founder of the local organization, I AM YOU 360. “So we ask that those crowns are honoured, whether it be in schools, in the community or the workplace.” The Tucson ordinance will be enforced through the human relations section of the city code and will apply to any facility or business with public accommodations, officials said. Violations can bring civil penalties. The Associated Press
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
Inside North York General Hospital, a 56-year-old man dying of an untreatable brain tumour is being held against his wishes — as doctors fear the patient, who has nowhere else to go, would otherwise face homelessness, frostbite and malnourishment in the throes of winter. He can’t be transferred to hospice, despite having just months to live, until he’s unable to leave on his own. He can’t go home: he was functioning at a “marginal level” in the years before the tumour was discovered in December, was kicked out of a shelter, moved in with his elderly mother, then risked her being evicted due to his erratic behaviour. His doctors appealed last month to Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board to keep him bound involuntarily to their psychiatric facility, though he has no known history of psychiatric diagnoses, and his behaviour is believed to be a result of his cancerous tumour. “His family was unable or unwilling to care for him. He suffered cognitive impairment rendering him unable to care for himself. With nowhere safe to live he would be homeless, disoriented and confused in January weather,” the board wrote in its decision. The North York case is an illustration of several issues colliding – a lack of available housing, and symptoms akin to mental illness – which medical experts say present barriers to accessing end-of-life care. Those with complex mental health needs often face hurdles to receiving adequate palliative care, they said, and homelessness compounds the problem. “Our systems are pretty good at supporting (patients) in their last hours and days of life, when they’re bed-bound and not mobile,” said palliative care physician Naheed Dosani, who works with homeless patients. “But when people are more mobile and have the complications of their disease, mental illness or (are) using drugs, and they don’t have a home or family to support them, there really isn’t a safety net, and many people fall through the cracks this way.” Data on barriers to access is sparse, Dosani said, but other data shows a need for palliative services in the homeless population, including life expectancies roughly 20 years lower on average for men and a higher prevalence of diseases like cancer. In 2016, Health Quality Ontario found that dying patients in the province’s poorest neighbourhoods were less likely to receive home visits from doctors, and more likely to be admitted to hospital in their final 30 days. Eyitayo Dada, the North York patient’s lawyer, declined to discuss the case specifically due to an inability to get her client’s consent. But she noted that she often saw concerns about patients with mental health issues “falling through the gap” becoming an issue in discharge planning. The hospital also declined to speak about the patient’s specific case. But its head of palliative care, Sandy Buchman, said he believes the health-care system overall lacks options for terminal patients with more than a few weeks to live. Layering on mental health concerns and a lack of stable housing only further exposed the system’s weaknesses, he said, “Patients like that are really stuck. We need to do better to take care of them.” At the hearing last month, North York General physician Jay Nathanson said that while the cause of the patient’s delirium was physical, it was classified as a mental disorder. He described the man’s confusion, “profound memory loss,” agitation, anger and lack of insight. His symptoms were only expected to worsen, as the cancer continued to spread through his brain. “Dr. Nathanson’s concern was that, in his current impaired state, (the patient) was utterly unable to care for himself and stay safe,” the board wrote. The patient’s son told the board his father was evicted from a shelter he was staying at, then put his grandmother’s housing in jeopardy. If he walked out, Nathanson said the man would surely be “lost to medical care.” Hospice was the “logical” end of the road for him, Nathanson said, but that could only happen once the man was unable to leave, or uninterested in doing so. “In his current state of agitated, angry exit-seeking he could not be placed in a hospice setting but had to remain as an involuntary patient in a psychiatric facility for his own safety,” the board wrote. “Discharge to hospice care was only a future prospect.” Harleen Toor, a palliative care physician at Sinai Health, said research shows patients with severe mental illness don’t get equitable access to health care in general, due to stigma that she said persists among healthcare providers who don't have psychiatric training. This inequity, she said, extends to palliative care. “It’s an enormous issue, and it’s only been really in the past five years that the areas of psychiatry and palliative care are really highlighting how we’re both doing a pretty poor job of managing and addressing these patients,” Toor said. Many people who stay in Toronto’s shelter system grapple with mental illness, with 32 per cent of the city’s homeless population self-reporting mental health issues in a 2018 survey. People who are homeless also often don’t have primary health-care providers who could sooner detect serious, life-threatening illnesses like the North York patient is facing, Toor said. “This patient’s care needs were not addressed until it reached a critical phase, where the safety of both himself and potentially his mother was in question, and so there was no recourse except to keep him in hospital,” Toor said, when examining the board ruling on his case. Many patients prefer to spend the end of their life in their own communities, and ideally should be able to with 24/7 access to a palliative care expert, nurses and personal support workers, Toor said. But by the time some patients with complex behavioural needs get a diagnosis, there isn’t time to arrange those supports. To Trevor Morey, a palliative care physician who specializes in caring for Toronto’s homeless, lack of affordable housing is a key barrier for vulnerable populations looking to access appropriate end-of-life care. Though Toronto gives priority on its social housing waitlist to households where someone has less than two years to live, with 315 households in the queue as of Feb. 21, Morey said those with shorter prognoses might die while waiting for a spot. Last year, 133 households in Toronto were given housing spots from that priority line. Housing not only allowed for stable end-of-life care, Morey said, but could be a preventative measure for people with complex health-care needs — offering them enough stability to access consistent medical care, to prevent manageable illnesses from becoming life-threatening. “If we can’t provide housing and meaningful supports for the people who are dying in our community, what does that say about us as a city?” he said. Victoria Gibson and Nadine Yousif, Local Journalism Initiative Reporters, Toronto Star
Ontario has announced new details of its vaccine rollout for residents aged 60 and older. Here's a look at the timeline issued by retired Gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading the province's vaccine effort: Third week of March: Vaccinations start for those 80 and older. April 15: Vaccinations start for those 75 and older. May 1: Vaccinations start for those 70 and older. June 1: Vaccinations start for those 65 and older. First week of July: Vaccinations start for those 60 and older. Essential workers could receive shots in May if supply allows but the government is still deciding who will be in that group. High-risk groups, including health-care workers who work directly with the public and Indigenous adults, will receive shots throughout. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
The opportunity to upskill during the COVID-19 pandemic has come to life for some Métis students, thanks to a pilot project that began last fall. Royal Roads University (RRU) Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) is offering an 18-week culturally inclusive Professional Project Administration (PPA) program to Métis citizens through a partnership with Métis Nation of B.C. (MNBC). “Our first cohort of 15 students will successfully graduate from the PPA Program on Feb. 26,” said Tim Brigham, RRU PCS project lead last week. “We’re implementing feedback from our graduates for the second iteration of the program and hope to enroll up to 22 student participants this April.” Participants in the Oct. 15, 2020 to Feb. 26, 2021 session completed eight online courses through RRU PCS in the pilot program. Content from the program included courses such as: Collective Leadership, Digital Literacy, Microsoft Office Fundamentals, Project Management, Operations Management, Data Management, Proposal Writing and Business Communications. Métis citizens from all over the province are eligible to attend the pilot program. Going forward, each course instructor will be implementing student feedback and amending content to ensure participants are set-up for success in the workplace. The project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre and is valued at $1.3 million. “The purpose of our program is to empower Métis citizens with an online delivery format where participants can upskill or retrain in a program that values their culture,” said Brigham. “My team is constantly working together to ensure there’s continuous improvement applied to the PPA Program across the board. We have welcomed Métis elders and guest speakers during the pilot and offer our instructional team, as well as program participants, cultural workshops while we strive to build a culturally inclusive program and prepare our students for success in the workforce.” Graduates from the first iteration of the program are currently working with a career advisor to practice interviewing skills, revamp their resumes and identify employment opportunities. Support for graduates through the career advisor will be ongoing, and is available to all program participants. The second cohort is scheduled to begin on April 12, 2021 and a session for the third cohort is currently being planned for September of 2021. Métis citizens interested in applying for the program can contact Brigham at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer
(Paul Tukker/ CBC - image credit) Whitehorse city council has given first reading to a new bylaw considering a zoning application that would allow a new drive-thru restaurant near the top of Two Mile Hill. The proposed business — not named in council documents — would be built on an empty lot on Range Road, just off the Alaska Highway and adjacent to the airport. The lot's zoning currently allows for an eating or drinking establishment, but not with a drive-thru. That would require an amendment approved by council. Councillors have expressed concern about the development, and some say it could take business from the downtown area. But councillor Dan Boyd says that traffic is the big issue, and also let it slip at this week's council meeting what the development might be. "It would be 1,000 visits or trips potentially through a busy drive-thru, if you built a Dairy Queen, or whatever this might be, downtown or if you built it at the top of the Two Mile hill," said Boyd. Whatever the development might be, it has raised questions about long-term planning for the city. Mayor Dan Curtis says there is only so much space that can be built on, and that the city should think about long-term planning. "Quite frankly I think our downtown is outgrowing itself. That's not to suggest I want something that enables people to get what they need and keep on going. I don't want that," Curtis said. "But I think that the services in the capital city and people here and the things they can see and do is going to be the real draw, not the fact there is perhaps a drive-thru on top of the south access or on top of the Two Mile Hill," said Curtis. The bylaw to rezone the area on Range Road to allow for drive-thru services is now open for public comment. A public hearing on the proposed development is scheduled for March 22.
(Evan Vucci/The Associated Press - image credit) U.S. President Joe Biden has agreed to work with Canada to protect the North's Porcupine caribou herd — marking another shift away from the policies and priorities of Biden's predecessor. In a joint statement issued after their meeting on Tuesday, Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they "recognized the ecological importance of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR]" in Alaska. The refuge is home to the calving grounds of the Porcupine herd. The two leaders also "agreed to work together to help safeguard the Porcupine caribou herd calving grounds that are invaluable to the Gwich'in and Inuvialuit peoples' culture and subsistence," according to the statement. The fate of the refuge on Alaska's North Slope has been the subject of debate for decades. The refuge's remote coastal plain is believed to contain billions of barrels of oil and Republican leaders in the state have long pushed for the area to be opened up to development. Indigenous groups and environmentalists in Canada and the U.S., meanwhile, have fought to maintain its protected status. The Canadian and Yukon governments have also opposed any development there. In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, caribou from the Porcupine Caribou Herd migrate onto the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska. President Donald Trump had said he "really didn't care" about opening a portion of the refuge to oil drilling but insisted it be included in 2017 tax legislation at the urging of others. Addressing fellow Republicans in 2018, Trump said a friend told him that every Republican president since Ronald Reagan wanted to get oil drilling approved in the refuge. "I really didn't care about it, and then when I heard that everybody wanted it — for 40 years, they've been trying to get it approved, and I said, 'Make sure you don't lose ANWR,"' Trump said. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Alaska held the first lease sale for the refuge's coastal plain on Jan. 6, and the issuance of leases was not announced publicly until weeks later, on Trump's last full day in office. Temporary moratorium on leasing Biden has opposed drilling in the region, and on his first day in office he announced a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in ANWR. Tuesday's statement from Biden and Trudeau signals a move toward providing permanent protections, which Biden called for during the presidential campaign. In a statement on Wednesday, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm commended Biden and Trudeau for agreeing to cooperate on ANWR. The Yukon First Nation relies on the Porcupine caribou for sustenance, and the herd has spiritual significance to the Gwich'in. Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, testifying in 2019 in Washington before a U.S. congressional subcommittee, on protecting ANWR. Tizya-Tramm commended Biden and Trudeau on Wednesday for agreeing to cooperate on ANWR. "Since 1988, upon our elders' direction, the Gwich'in Nation have worked tirelessly to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; the beating heart of an ancient ecosystem," Tizya-Tramm said in a written statement. "Hai choo' to Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden for making protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge part of a renewed U.S. – Canada Partnership."
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A trial date has been set for a pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove did not appear in court today as a three-day trial was set to start May 3. Coates, who was arrested last week and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions, remains behind bars. Several people gathered outside the Stony Plain courthouse in support of the pastor and urged Premier Jason Kenney to come to his senses and lift COVID-19 restrictions. The church has been holding services that officials say break public-health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing. Coates was charged this month with violating the Public Health Act and breaking a promise to abide by rules of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence. Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January. Coates has addressed the province's health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship. An associate pastor of the church, Jacob Spenst, conducted last Sunday's service and told the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in for the jailed pastor. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press