When Matt Fuchs needed money to hire a home-care worker for his 82-year-old mother, who has dementia, he figured getting a line of credit based on the equity in her house would be easy. After all, the home was mostly paid off. Instead, the application was denied over a $12,500 lien on the property for home heating and cooling equipment. Fuchs says he and his mother knew nothing about it. The lien was later increased to more than $15,000. Fuchs says the lien was put there after a company called Nationwide Home Comfort showed up at Mercedes Chacin de Fuchs's door in 2017 and convinced her to sign a 10-year rental contract for a furnace and air conditioner. "They came in and convinced somebody that has cognitive issues that they needed something they didn't need," Fuchs told Go Public. He says his mom, who also has Parkinson's disease, told him the salesperson said the company was part of a provincial environmental program that saves homeowners money. "She was duped. No doubt," Fuchs told Go Public. "Later, when I found out that this was a widespread problem across Canada, I got even more disgusted." Tens of thousands of Canadians are locked into similar "unconscionable," deals says paralegal John Robinson, who fights such contacts in court, including that of Fuchs and his mom. How it works, according to Robinson, is an HVAC company sells the contracts; mostly to seniors, people with disabilities or those with English as a second language. Then a different company buys that contract and starts collecting the monthly payments — providing "financing." That way, Robinson says, the financing company can say it had nothing to do with how the contracts were signed. Those companies then slap liens on the property for the equipment, usually right away, that often aren't discovered by the homeowners until they go to sell or refinance, he says. In tiny print and in written in legalese, Chacin de Fuchs's contract says the company has "the right to register a security interest" on the property, and that the owner waives to get a copy of the registration. (Wendy Martinez/CBC) Robinson says land title departments in some cities allow companies to register security interests, or liens, without informing homeowners. The HVAC companies "don't [inform owners] because if they did, no one would agree to these agreements. No one would sign them," Robinson said. It's a convoluted web of companies, he says, that often make a lot of money off the backs of the most vulnerable. Less than a month after Chacin de Fuchs signed, her contract was taken over by a financing company called Home Trust, which slapped a $12,500 lien on the property. A year later, in November 2018, the contract was sold to Crown Crest Capital, which replaced the first lien with its own security interest for more than $15,000. Few answers Getting answers from some of the companies is tough. Go Public found a lot of their websites are shut down, the phone numbers are out of service, and the emails bounce back. Home Trust didn't reply to Go Public's repeated requests for comment. Nationwide Home Comfort is no longer operating, according to its former director Roman Berson, who now heads up two other HVAC companies. WATCH | Woman with dementia locked into 10-year home-heating contract: He says any claim of misrepresentation by the salesperson is "completely false" — Berson says Chacin de Fuchs invited the representative into her home by booking an appointment and that their vehicle was clearly marked with the Nationwide logo. He says all Nationwide's contracts now belong to Crown Crest Capital and another company. Crown Crest Capital, owned by Simply Group — a major player in the HVAC industry — said in an email to Go Public it has "worked so hard to counter bad practices" in the industry and has supported consumer protection reforms. "Sometimes, customers facing financial challenges try to renege on their commitments after years of complaint-free leasing by claiming to have been misled at the time they signed up," wrote vice president of customer experience Tasleemah Ladak. The Fuchs family is suing the companies involved. Matt Fuchs says he discovered the $15,000 lien on his mom's home years after she signed the contract. (Tina MacKenzie/CBC) In its statement of defence, Crown Crest Capital denies all allegations, saying it is only the financial institution that took on the contract after it was signed. In her email, Ladak also says less than 0.01 per cent of its accounts end up in litigation. The company would not say how many customers it has. Ladak also said Crown Crest Capital does not have any liens on properties but instead registers "interest in the leased equipment" so future homeowners know the equipment won't automatically become theirs. Robinson calls that last point "semantics" saying, "it makes no difference what you call it, everyone knows what a lien is … it's the same thing." Crown Crest Capital also says it regrets the Fuchs sued before reaching out to the company directly. Joddy Prevost and his wife Cherie Prevost of Tillsonburg, Ont., found liens of almost $17,000 on his dad's property after Norm Prevost passed away in November 2019. He'd signed the contract two years earlier, when he was 73. Joddy Prevost, right, and his wife Cherie Prevost say they had no choice but to pay out thousands on a contract his dad signed but didn't understand.(Mark Bochsler/CBC) "It was Ontario Energy Savings that was on all the papers, but when we called … they said, 'No, we just installed, you need to call whoever you purchased it from,'" Cherie said. They were finally told the contract was owned by Utilebill, another major player in the industry. Utilebill wanted $21,000 to buy the contract out, so Joddy hired a lawyer to negotiate with the company, ultimately paying $15,600. The couple says they felt they had no choice but to pay. Neither Ontario Energy Savings nor Utilebill responded to Go Public's questions. Fix is failing Robinson, the paralegal, says such liens hold consumers hostage because people who sell or refinance their homes have no choice but to pay out the contract if they want to remove the lien. Consumer protection agencies across the country have received over 2,000 complaints about HVAC contracts in the last five years. Paralegal John Robinson says governments need to do a lot more to protect consumers against certain home heating and cooling companies.(Stephane Richer/CBC) Ontario has laid the most charges, 1,235, against HVAC companies under its Consumer Protection Act, but its convictions are low, just five since 2017. The province has a "consumer beware list" where the public can search for details on all charges laid against businesses and owners. Cases involving these contracts have been flooding the courts, with consumers suing the companies over the contracts and vice versa, says Robinson. He says the business — mostly led by just a few multimillion-dollar companies — is so lucrative it's worth it for the companies to fight in court or pay consumer protection fines. In 2017 and 2018, Alberta and Ontario banned these kinds of door-to-door sales and required more transparency with the contracts. Manitoba is set to follow, but Robinson says bans are just a small "Band-Aid" for a big problem. Matt is suing all the companies involved in the HVAC contract and the resulting liens on his mother's home.(Tina MacKenzie/CBC) He says the changes did nothing for the tens of thousands of Canadians still stuck with contracts and says some companies have learned to work around the rules — by soliciting new customers over the phone and under false pretenses, to get to the doorstep and say they were invited by the homeowner. The rules also fail to address liens. "Stop that and you'll solve the problem, because then they have no incentive … There's no monetary incentive," Robinson said. The Fuchs' case is now winding its way slowly, because of the pandemic, through the courts. Robinson was able to negotiate a temporary removal of the lien with Home Trust — before Crown Crest Capital took over the contract — so the family could secure the line of credit and get the home care his mother needs. The lien was then put back on. Submit your story ideas Go Public is an investigative news segment on CBC-TV, radio and the web. We tell your stories, shed light on wrongdoing and hold the powers that be accountable. If you have a story in the public interest, or if you're an insider with information, contact GoPublic@cbc.ca with your name, contact information and a brief summary. All emails are confidential until you decide to Go Public. Read more stories by Go Public.
OTTAWA — Canada will have to wait a little longer for a promised influx of COVID-19 vaccines. The federal government says it expects about 1 million shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to arrive this week, as the two pharmaceutical firms continue delivering doses on a regular schedule. Ottawa had planned to take delivery of about 1.2 million doses from Moderna as well, but that was before government officials revealed last week that the shipment would be both delayed and scaled back. The government has blamed a backlog in quality-assurance testing for the reduction, which will cut the number of doses Canada can expect this month in half and postpone their delivery by at least a week. Ottawa is not expecting any deliveries of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson vaccines over the next seven days. The federal government says it nonetheless remains confident that all adults will be fully vaccinated by the end of September, with several companies promising to speed up their deliveries in the coming months and Pfizer promising additional doses to help compensate for the Moderna shortfall. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Simply including more women at organizations without addressing underlying power structures and practices does little good. Representation isn't synonymous with change.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that he plans to propose his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden an extension of one of his key welfare programs to Central America to help curb immigration. "What I want to propose is that the program Sembrando Vida is implemented in Central America," Lopez Obrador said in a video message from Palenque in southern Mexico. One of Lopez Obrador's key welfare programs, Sembrando Vida aims to provide Mexicans with work and support the country's agriculture.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) reported 66 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Sunday. Since the pandemic began, there have been 14,803 COVID-19 cases recorded in Windsor-Essex and 409 deaths, according to WECHU. There are 472 known active cases in the region. Among Sunday's cases, 28 are close contacts of confirmed cases, 12 are community-acquired and 26 are still being investigated. There are 20 people in hospital in the region, with four in the intensive care unit. According to WECHU, 118,676 residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine — 105,988 people have received their first dose of the vaccine and 12,688 have received both doses. The public health authorities identified 458 preliminary or confirmed variant of concern cases. There are seven ongoing outbreaks. They include one school outbreak in St. John Vianney Catholic School in Windsor. Six workplaces have active outbreaks, including: One in Leamington's agriculture sector. Three in Windsor's health care & social assistance sector. One in LaSalle's manufacturing sector. One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.
BELGRADE, Serbia — Hamid Ahmadi still can feel the cold of the February night when Serbian police left him and two dozen other refugees in a forest. Crammed into a police van, the refugees from Afghanistan thought they were headed to an asylum-seekers' camp in eastern Serbia. Instead, they were ordered out near the country's border with Bulgaria in the middle of that night four years ago. In below-freezing temperatures and desperately in need of help, they had no choice but to head to Bulgaria — the country they had left just a day earlier. “I will not forget it as long as I live,” said Ahmadi, who was 17 at the time and now lives in Germany. “Even after a period of good life and stability, one cannot forget the tough times.” The Serbian border police had engaged in a pushback, or collective expulsion, one of many such actions along the travel routes used by migrants and refugees trying to reach Western Europe. But unlike most such illegal deportations, the officers' actions in February 2017 resulted in the Afghan refugees winning an unprecedented legal victory in Serbia's highest court. The Balkan country's constitutional Court ruled in December that the border control officers unlawfully deported the refugees and violated their rights. The court also ordered Serbian authorities to pay the 17 members of the group who brought the lawsuit 1,000 euros ($1,180) each in compensation. “The importance of this verdict is immense for Serbia,” said Belgrade lawyer Nikola Kovacevic, who represented the refugees in the case. It sends a “clear message to state authorities to harmonize their border practices with domestic and international law." The ruling is a rare official acknowledgment that countries in Europe conduct pushbacks in violation of European Union and international laws which ban forcibly returning people to other countries without looking into their individual circumstances or allowing them to apply for asylum. Although refugees and economic migrants passing through the Balkans regularly give accounts of the practice, authorities routinely deny that their agencies carry out pushbacks, which are difficult to prove and mostly go unpunished. Turned back and forth at various borders, people fleeing war and poverty spend months, if not years, on the road, exposed to harsh conditions and danger in the hands of people-smugglers and human traffickers. Sometimes, refugees and migrants are sent back over two or three borders it had taken them months to cross. Human rights groups have called repeatedly for governments to uphold their responsibilities involving refugee rights and accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to the illegal activity taking place at its doorstep. The United Nations mission in Bosnia called this month for urgent action to halt pushbacks along EU member Croatia's border with Bosnia after a U.N. team encountered 50 men with wounds on their bodies who reported authorities pushed them back and took their possessions away when they tried to enter Croatia. According to the U.N. refugee agency's office in Serbia and its partners, 25,180 people were pushed back into Serbia from Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary and Romania last year. Kovacevic, the lawyer in Serbia, said collective expulsions became increasingly common after the EU and Turkey made a 2016 agreement intended to curb migration to Europe. More than a million people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia had streamed to the continent the year before. The agreement called for Turkey to control the flow of people departing its territory in exchange for aid for the large number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as well as other incentives. “All the borders have introduced the practice of systematic violations of the ban on collective expulsions,” Kovacevic said. “But at least now in Serbia, this was officially confirmed, not by a non-government organization, local or foreign, but the highest authority for protection of human rights.” To hide any evidence of wrongdoing, border control officers routinely strip refugees of mobile phones or documents. In the case of Ahmadi and the others, a clear trace of evidence was left behind thanks to what Kovacevic said was the “blatant arrogance” of the Serbian police who “thought they could do whatever they wanted." It started on Feb. 2, 2017, when 25 migrants, including nine children, were caught at the border with Bulgaria and brought to a nearby police station in Serbia. They were kept for hours in a basement room, then taken before a judge to face charges of illegally crossing the border. The judge, however, ruled that the group should be treated as refugees and taken to an asylum centre. Ahmadi, who spoke to the AP from Germany through an interpreter, said he clearly remembers when the judge asked them if they wanted to stay in Serbia. He said he was happy they would finally have a place in the camp after travelling through Turkey and Bulgaria. Hours later, inside the border police van that was supposed to take them to the camp, Ahmadi realized something was wrong. When police abandoned them in the forest, “I felt broken," he recalled. “I thought about my family at home." In the pitch dark and freezing temperatures, the refugees headed on foot toward Bulgaria — and straight into the hands of border police in that country. They managed to phone an interpreter in Serbia, who alerted refugee rights activists in both Serbia and in Bulgaria. The refugees stayed in camps in Bulgaria, some for days and others longer, before making it back to Serbia again and later moving on toward Western Europe. The rights lawyers later collected documentation left behind by the Serbian court and the Bulgarian authorities, establishing a clear trace of events that helped build the case in the court. Four years later, Kovacevic is trying to establish contact with all the people from Afghanistan he represented; they are scattered in countries that also include France and Bosnia. Coronavirus lockdowns have made it more difficult to establish contact and arrange money transfers for the damages they won, he said. “It’s taking a little longer, but we will get there,” smiled Kovacevic. Ahmadi, who was granted asylum in Germany five months ago, said he plans to use the damages to help him and his wife start a new life in Europe. He is now taking German language lessons before looking for a job. “This compensation means a lot to me,” he said. “I will be able to buy a bed and a little something for our flat once we rent it.” ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Jovana Gec, The Associated Press
Recent developments: What's the latest? Police in Ontario have started checking drivers coming from Quebec to make sure they're coming for essential reasons under the strengthened stay-at-home order. Quebec has said its police will be doing the same. Today is also when Ontario students return from April break to at-home learning. Only students with special needs who can't learn remotely will be in classrooms. OC Transpo workers keep demanding more protection, including vaccine access, during a sharp rise in the number of drivers catching COVID-19. The federal budget should be released at 4 p.m. ET. The Ottawa International Airport is among the many local groups hoping it will include money to help it recover. How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, pushing hospitals past their limits. As of Sunday, 21,835 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 3,339 known active cases, 18,014 resolved cases and 482 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 33,900 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 162 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 185. Akwesasne has had nearly 600 residents test positive, evenly split between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 27 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order that has been extended until at least May 20. People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if absolutely necessary. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include people who live together, those who live alone and pair up with one other household, and small religious services. Police checkpoints are now in effect at border crossings between Ontario and Quebec and officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. WATCH | The decisions Ontario doctors may soon face: Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open for now. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Sunday in the Outaouais. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people and masks are no longer mandatory if doing so. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People there are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. WATCH | What's expected in the federal budget: Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are spreading quickly. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. WATCH | Doctors advocate for more essential worker support: Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. OC Transpo riders get on board a bus last summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a surge in COVID-19 cases amongst employees, prompting the union to call for better measures to protect operators and maintenance workers. (Andrew Lee/CBC) Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. WATCH | The federal budget hopes of the Ottawa airport: Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 525,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 238,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 93,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers. All health units in eastern Ontario are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics. It's 55 and over in Renfrew County. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. People who are 40 or are turning age 40 this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Phase 2 now includes people with underlying health conditions, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May. Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July. WATCH | Transit union pushing for access to vaccine: Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes, though supply is currently limited. Separately, some Ottawans in certain priority neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and make an appointment through the city. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces. Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way. Western Quebec Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers. The vaccination plan now covers people age 55 and older, along with local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses. People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès. Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province, not individual pharmacies. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
Friends and family are concerned about the well-being of a 65-year-old missing man in Moncton, N.B., who doesn't speak English or French. Abdulgadir Nur was last seen Thursday around 11:30 a.m. on Paul Street in Dieppe. He speaks Tigrinya, a language common to Eritrea and parts of Ethiopia, and some Arabic. Nancy Biddington, a friend of the family, has been part of a group searching for Nur since he was last seen. "We're very concerned," she said. Biddington described Nur as shy and said he is not likely to ask for help because of the language barrier. According to Biddington, Nur doesn't know his way around Moncton very well, aside from his daily travels in his neighborhood, and only walks or takes the bus. RCMP along with family and friends are searching for Abdulgadir Nur.(Submitted by Codiac Regional RCMP) "He only goes from his house to the language class," she said, noting he sometimes stop at the mall. Nur was missing once before. In September 2020, he was lost in the city for a day before he was found, according to Biddington. "He was just lost and he didn't know where he was," she said. "He was just walking. He didn't know how to get back home." Biddington said family and friends think that may have happened again. They have been searching the city for him. A group of 30 people searched for Nur until close to midnight Saturday. Searchers were planning to head out to look for Nur again Sunday afternoon. Nancy's husband, Ken, said they are asking people to check their backyards for Nur. Codiac Regional RCMP described Nur as five-foot-three and about 185 pounds. He has short white hair, a white beard, and brown eyes. Anyone with information on Nur's whereabouts is asked to contact the RCMP at 506-857-2400.
The woman who shot a video of a violent arrest by a private security guard at a Saskatoon FreschCo. earlier this week says she was frozen in fear as she watched the incident unfold before her. Now, after taking some time to reflect and steady herself, she says she's glad she recorded the video, but wishes she had stepped in. Jade Acikahte watched the entire arrest unfold, saying the Indigenous woman complied with the security guard fully before she was arrested. Acikahte says the security guard stopped the woman as she was leaving the store on 33rd Street West in the city's Mayfair Neighbourhood, and said he suspected her of theft. She says that when asked, the woman followed instructions from the man fully, emptying the contents of her purse as requested. However, when that didn't satisfy the guard, the man told the woman to follow him back to the store, at which time she said she didn't want to. "As she was putting her stuff back in her purse, she said 'No, I don't want to go with you. I'm not going with you,'" Acikahte said. The guard was blocking the woman's path, according to Acikahte, when the woman tried to walk away. Acikahte said the security guard grabbed the woman by her wrist and tried to force her into handcuffs. When she fought back, the man threw her to the ground. "With her hands still behind her back, so she wasn't able to brace for that fall," she said, and at that point, that's when she took out her phone and started to record. The incident has spurred calls for the security guard in the video to be fired and has already resulted in the termination of the contract between the FreshCo. store and the security firm that employs him. The woman, a 30-year-old, has been charged with theft under $5,000 and assault as a result of the incident. Calls for guard to be fired, charged The security guard has not been charged, but many — including Indigenous leaders with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the Saskatoon Tribal Council — want that to change. They also want all charges against the woman dropped. As for Acikahte, she says she had never seen anything like the arrest before, noting she agrees the guard should be fired and charged. "I felt really confused and scared for her," she said. "All I know is that I had to record." A photo of Jade Acikahte, an Indigenous woman in Saskatoon who recorded a violent arrest in a Saskatoon parking lot by a private security guard on April 14,2021. (Supplied by Jade Acikahte ) The company that employs the guard, Emergency Security Management Solutions, has told CBC News previously that every company has its policies and procedures around their employees and says they will be followed. Acikahte says the recording has been shared with police, as she does not feel the guard's behaviour was appropriate. It's also circulated widely online, with the original post being shared almost 2,000 times. WATCH | Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations calls for security guard to be fired following violent arrest at Saskatoon store: Acikahte, who saw photos of the arrests aftermath, says the woman in the video suffered numerous injuries as a result. "It was literally her entire body," she said. Acikahte, who is also Indigenous, says the fact the woman was charged as a result of the incident is "absolutely outrageous." "Just witnessing it from beginning to end, the force he used at the very beginning was just not necessary," she said. "I feel like she acted out of self-defence. Completely." However, Acikahte says while the video was shocking, it wasn't surprising, as it's a sign of a larger problem. "This is normal life for Indigenous people. I really hope that this situation can be an example and it's rectified in a positive way," she said. "It's upsetting. It's really, really upsetting to watch this unfold." Mayor addresses racism, profiling Saskatoon's Mayor Charlie Clark has also publicly stated the video has left him feeling angry, and this type of violence "needs to stop. "We can't ignore as a community that not everyone would have been treated this way. Our city has been coming to terms with the reality of our history and ongoing impacts of violence against women, and violence against Indigenous women," said Clark in the statement. "We have also been coming face to face with the reality that systemic racism, and profiling of people in stores and institutions in our community, carries on in large and small ways," he said. "The video of this arrest highlighted this. I hear too often from people who are Indigenous, Black, and people of colour that they regularly face discrimination, profiling and violence." In the statement, Clark says this type of violence has a real impact on a person's life and those who do not experience need to "listen and hear directly from people who do. "We have work to do to address the training and accountability of security guards, the racial profiling of people in stores and institutions, to address the hard truths of the impacts of a colonial relationship, and to build a way forward where we see each other as relatives and where everyone has opportunity here." Clark says he's committed to the work necessary to bring an end to this type of injustice and has already had communication with Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand on steps forward. "I will keep working with leaders throughout the community towards these goals," he said in the statement. "We can only be successful by doing it together as a community." The woman has been offered support by both the FSIN and the STC, and Acikahte says she too will do all she can to help. She's spoken to the woman about why she didn't get involved, as she was afraid of charges, and for her safety and said the conversation was important. "I apologized profusely for not stepping in for not being more help," she said. "She was not upset with me. She was not angry with any of us bystanders, she was glad it was recorded." On Friday morning, the Saskatoon Police Service confirmed its investigation into the matter is ongoing, but did not have any updates. "As with any call for service, we respond with the information we have at the time," the statement said. "I can add that if we need to seek an opinion from the Crown following the investigation, we will."
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc discusses his conversations with several premiers over why they've decided to send resources to help with Ontario's COVID-19 response.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday April 18, 2021. There are 1,121,498 confirmed cases in Canada. Canada: 1,121,498 confirmed cases (87,925 active, 1,009,950 resolved, 23,623 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 7,593 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 231.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 59,023 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 8,432. There were 32 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 294 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 62.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 29,907,670 tests completed. Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,043 confirmed cases (26 active, 1,011 resolved, six deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 14 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 234,141 tests completed. Prince Edward Island: 170 confirmed cases (10 active, 160 resolved, zero deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of eight new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 134,704 tests completed. Nova Scotia: 1,807 confirmed cases (49 active, 1,691 resolved, 67 deaths). There were seven new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is five per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 39 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.01 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 6.84 per 100,000 people. There have been 464,263 tests completed. New Brunswick: 1,788 confirmed cases (154 active, 1,601 resolved, 33 deaths). There were 10 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 19.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 66 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.22 per 100,000 people. There have been 283,622 tests completed. Quebec: 336,952 confirmed cases (13,449 active, 312,701 resolved, 10,802 deaths). There were 1,344 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 156.85 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,569 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,510. There were nine new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 60 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 125.98 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,813,292 tests completed. Ontario: 416,995 confirmed cases (41,588 active, 367,691 resolved, 7,716 deaths). There were 4,250 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 282.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30,387 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 4,341. There were 18 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 164 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 23. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 52.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 13,328,247 tests completed. Manitoba: 36,159 confirmed cases (1,688 active, 33,512 resolved, 959 deaths). There were 170 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 122.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 946 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 135. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 69.53 per 100,000 people. There have been 626,901 tests completed. Saskatchewan: 38,160 confirmed cases (2,742 active, 34,953 resolved, 465 deaths). There were 289 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 232.63 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,856 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 39.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 723,594 tests completed. Alberta: 170,795 confirmed cases (17,935 active, 150,820 resolved, 2,040 deaths). There were 1,516 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 405.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,893 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,413. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 27 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 46.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,913,177 tests completed. British Columbia: 117,080 confirmed cases (10,259 active, 105,291 resolved, 1,530 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 199.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,221 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 746. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 21 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.72 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,349,763 tests completed. Yukon: 76 confirmed cases (two active, 73 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.76 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,740 tests completed. Northwest Territories: 43 confirmed cases (one active, 42 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 16,904 tests completed. Nunavut: 417 confirmed cases (22 active, 391 resolved, four deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 55.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,246 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published April 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Vancouver police say they're investigating the shooting death of a man in the city's Coal Harbour neighbourhood Saturday night. Officers responded to calls about shots fired outside Cardero's Restaurant shortly after 8:30 p.m., police said in a written release. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say preliminary evidence suggests the shooting was targeted, and investigators don't believe there is any further risk to the public. "Although this shooting was targeted, we are very concerned about the potential impact on the public of an incident like this," said Const. Tania Visintin. "This happened in a busy spot on a nice evening and an innocent person could have gotten hurt." Visintin said police have yet to arrest anyone in relation to the shooting. This was Vancouver's fifth homicide of the year. Area taped off Video from the scene in front of Cardero's Restaurant shows about a dozen officers and paramedics working in a taped-off area and what appears to be a body under a white tarp. Another image shows what looks like a gun lying on the ground nearby. At one point officers struggled with a man screaming while he tried to access the scene. The man was later seen shouting as he lay on the ground and spoke on a cellphone.
China will expand digital yuan experiments to more cities, but there is no specific timetable for its official rollout, central bank vice governor Li Bo told an annual gathering on Sunday of top Chinese and foreign policymakers, executives and academics. China is one of the frontrunners in the global race to launch central bank digital currencies to modernise financial systems, ward off the threat from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and speed up domestic and international payments. Li said testing had shown that the issuance and distribution mechanism of the digital yuan, or e-CNY, are compatible with the existing financial system, and help minimize the impact on the banking sector.
Broadcasting before live audiences from country music's hometown, Nashville, Tennessee, the 56th Academy of Country Music awards show brought a star-studded Sunday night. For the second year, the ACM awards took place in multiple smaller sites around Nashville, including the emblematic Grand Ole Opry House, rather than at the usual Las Vegas venue. More than two dozen performers, including co-hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton, as well as genre stars Kenny Chesney and Maren Morris, who won two awards, took part in the three-hour show aired by CBS and Paramount+ at 8 p.m. ET (0000 GMT).
After a delay for processing reassigned and unassigned cases, Saskatchewan reported 289 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and one more death due to illness linked to the novel coronavirus. As of Saturday, 4,664 of the more transmissible variants of the coronavirus have been identified in Saskatchewan — over half of which have been in the Regina area. However, the central east, south west, south central and southeast zones, as well as Saskatoon, have all seen over 100 variant cases as well. Of the 38,160 known COVID-19 cases to date in the province, 2,742 are considered active. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is 261 — 21.3 new cases per 100,000 population. 189 people in Saskatchewan are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 45 are in the ICU.(Government of Saskatchewan) The new cases Sunday are in the following provincial zones: Far northwest: nine. Far northeast: two. Northwest: 21. North central: 12. Northeast: two. Saskatoon: 32. Central west: seven. Central east: 26. Regina: 106. Southwest: six. South central: 15. Southeast: 41. Ten new cases have pending residence information. There are currently 189 people in hospital in the province due to COVID-19, including 45 in intensive care. 30 people are in intensive care in Regina. The province also reported 205 new recoveries. There have been 34,953 known recoveries in total as of Sunday. To date, 728,491 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Saskatchewan, 3,623 of which were processed on Saturday. Upcoming vaccine shipment reduced 11,063 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province on Saturday. The total number of vaccines given in the province has now reached 345,126, and nearly half of Saskatchewan residents over the age of 40 have received their first dose. Those 48 and older can now book their vaccine appointment online or over the phone. Drive-thru and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics are now open to people aged 48-54. However, Regina's drive-thru clinic has used up its supply of vaccine for now, and is temporarily closed. The government does not expect it to reopen until May 2. The Ministry of Health has also said that a shipment of Moderna vaccines — expected to arrive on April 26 — has been reduced by 47 per cent. The Ministry says it is working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Indigenous Services Canada to mitigate the impact of this reduction on booked appointments and other vaccination availability.
The Parti Québécois will push for the province's language laws to be applied to the CEGEP network, meaning it wants to force francophone and allophone Quebecers to do their collegial studies in French. At an online meeting Sunday, party members voted overwhelmingly (94 per cent) to back a motion put forward by the PQ's youth wing to extend the application of Bill 101 to CEGEPs. "We see it every day: our national language is losing ground. Taking strong measures is no longer an option; it is a necessity," the party said in a statement on social media. It is a notable policy shift for a number of reasons. Current party leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, opposed the measure during his leadership campaign. The previous PQ leader, Jean-François Lisée, also left it out of the party's 2018 provincial election platform. In the past, many in the party had been uneasy at the idea of dictating the language of instruction of Quebecers older than 18. But concerns about the health of the French language have been running high in recent months. And the PQ's main rival on French-language issues is the governing Coalition Avenir Québec. The government has promised to present plans this spring to beef up Bill 101, but it has ruled out expanding the scope of the law to CEGEPs. "We're a democratic party. Either I don't give members and MNAs the right to vote freely, or this right is exercised freely and offers up a democratic result," Plamondon said following the vote. He added the PQ would only support the CAQ's Bill 101 reforms if they include an expansion to CEGEPs. Bill 101, also known as the Charter of the French Language, was passed by the first PQ government in 1977. Party members will have to meet again in the fall to vote on whether to include the proposition in the platform for the next provincial election, scheduled to take place in October of 2022.
Hong Kong will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 for two weeks after the N501Y mutant COVID-19 strain was detected in the Asian financial hub for the first time, authorities said in a statement late on Sunday. The three countries would be classified as "extremely high risk" after there had been multiple imported cases carrying the strain into Hong Kong in the past 14 days, the government said. Hong Kong has recorded over 11,600 cases in total and 209 deaths.
A second woman who says she was sexually harassed while working at a Halifax-area recycling depot is calling for legislative changes after she was turned away from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission because she did not contact them within the required 12 months. Samantha Chapman worked at Beaver Enviro in Spryfield from June 2017 until November 2018, when she went on maternity leave. It wasn't until last September that she contacted the commission to inquire about making a formal complaint. During that initial call, a commission staff member informed Chapman that since she had missed the 12-month window to file a complaint, she would not be allowed to proceed. "I was really mad about the situation," Chapman said. "Twelve months is just not enough." When her maternity leave was finished in November 2019, she chose to go back to school instead of returning to her job. Samantha Chapman is one of two people to contact the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to file a complaint about harassment at this Spryfield business.(Robert Short/CBC) She is the second person to come up against the 12-month statute of limitations when trying to file a complaint against Beaver Enviro. Last month, Christine Shupe's case was dismissed after the commission listed the wrong business name on the official complaint. The provincial Human Rights Act did not allow the error to be corrected, and Shupe was not permitted to file a new complaint because of the 12-month rule. The owner of Beaver Enviro, Wyatt Redmond, denied any harassment ever took place with Shupe or Chapman, and called it a "fabricated situation." "There's no substantiation to the accusations that are made," he said. "We're shocked and surprised." 12 months too restrictive Under the Human Rights Act, people must make a complaint within one year of the last date of discrimination. But some say that's not always enough time for victims to come forward. Chapman said she initially struggled to decide whether to speak out. "You're going to fight with yourself in your head to be like, 'Is it a smart move to even bring it up? Do I come forward? What's going to happen if I come forward and nobody believes you?' A lot of stuff went through my head the first year." The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission declined an interview request from CBC News. Equity Watch, a group that acts as a watchdog for the commission, said people who have experienced human rights violations may have had to quit their job, may be searching for employment, may have financial difficulties or problems with their personal relationships. "That means that top of mind is not filing a human rights complaint," said group spokesperson Judy Haiven. "And when they get around to doing it, knowing that there's nowhere else for them to go, the Human Rights Commission slams the door on them." Judy Haiven of Equity Watch says she'd like to see the 12-month statute of limitations on filing Human Rights Commission complaints extended.(Brian MacKay/CBC) In the case of sexual harassment, victims may not recognize it as such because they internalize that treatment and come to see it as "normal," said Nicole Slaunwhite, a counsellor with the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia. Slaunwhite fields phone calls and emails from the public to help them explore their legal options after facing discrimination. She said sometimes harassment causes mental health challenges that delay a person's ability to report it. Unlike with sexual harassment complaints, there is no time limit on filing sexual assault charges. "Is sexual harassment that doesn't escalate to sexual assault, is that any less important?" asked Slaunwhite. "I think probably for the people who experience that, they would say, 'No, I was equally traumatized and this was an awful experience.'" Haiven said Equity Watch would like to see the statute of limitations extended to three years, as it is in Quebec. Human Rights Act due for overhaul Nova Scotia's Human Rights Act is over 50 years old. Randy Delorey, the minister responsible for the act, was unavailable for an interview with CBC News. Premier Iain Rankin said Friday that updating the act was not a priority coming into this sitting of the House, but if the legislation is that old, it "probably needs a revamp." He said the issue is a "perfect scenario" for an impending review that will evaluate whether government programs are meeting Nova Scotians' needs. Extensions permitted 'in exceptional circumstances' The act does allow the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to grant extensions of up to 12 months "in exceptional circumstances," if doing so is in the public interest and is equitable to both the complainant and the respondent. The commission said it does not track the number of extensions granted each year. Chapman said complainants should at least be allowed to get some sort of sounding board when they go to the commission. "Have some empathy for these people that are going to open up about what they went through and not just be like, 'Sorry, it's been 12 months, can't help you.'" MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — The federal government will this afternoon unveil its spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course in a post-pandemic Canada. The Liberals' first budget in two years is expected to outline the government's plans for a national child-care system, including what strings will be attached to any spending. There are also expected to be measures to boost the supply of affordable housing and money aimed at greening the economy as the Liberals look to chart a path for promises on climate change. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is being asked by provinces for more health-care money to manage the ongoing pandemic and future costs, while hard-hit businesses, charities and workers are looking for a pledge to keep aid flowing beyond the summer when many programs are slated to end. There is also a political element to the budget, as the government needs to find at least one other major party to support the document in confidence votes in the House of Commons. Without a parliamentary dance partner, the government would fall and the country would be plunged into a federal election campaign. Elliot Hughes, a one-time adviser to the last Liberal finance minister to table a budget, Bill Morneau, said this budget should balance Canadians' present concerns about the pandemic with longer-term economic needs. The document will also likely outline the Trudeau Liberals' vision for the country that will, in turn, give opposition parties a chance today to lay out their own ideas to voters, he added. "It's for people to reflect and see and think, 'What kind of approach by government best suits me and who do I want leading, frankly, in the years to come as we emerge from the pandemic?' " said Hughes, now with Summa Strategies. The deadly virus has led to economic restrictions that in turn forced the closure of non-essential businesses, schools and daycares, causing a historic slide in employment. There was an equally historic flow of federal aid to brace the financial foundations of businesses and households, with today's budget detailing last year's deficit that was last estimated to be $380 billion. Although the economy overall has done better than previously expected, there are still pockets of hurt in the country with sectors highly reliant on in-person interactions, such as restaurants and tourism, looking at a long recovery. Public confidence, too, is being shaken in government as Canadians feel under siege in the face of a third wave of COVID-19, said Kathy Brock, a professor at Queen's University's school of policy studies. "They're looking at this budget to say, 'Well, what can government can do and what is government going to do to help citizens, to help sectors of the economy?'' " Brock said. The Liberals' favoured fiscal guardrail to keep spending from going off the rails — the debt-to-GDP ratio — has itself gone astray. The government should work to stabilize the figure and outline a plan to eventually reduce it, said RBC senior economist Josh Nye. "It's going to take an extremely long time to get back to the levels that we saw pre-pandemic," he said. "Certainly making sure things are moving in the right direction, I think that's something that investors and rating agencies will want to see." This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Alma Wahlberg, the mother of entertainers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and a regular on their reality series “Wahlburgers,” has died, her sons said on social media Sunday. She was 78. “My angel. Rest in peace,” Mark Wahlberg tweeted. Donnie Wahlberg posted a longer tribute to his mother on his Instagram account. “It’s time to rest peacefully, mom,” Donnie Wahlberg wrote. “I love you, miss you, thank you and will celebrate you, today and always.” No information was given about the cause, date or location of her death. Donnie Wahlberg often posted about his mother on his accounts and in July updated his fans on her health, writing that she “didn’t remember much and was often confused but somehow she was still Alma.” The Boston-born mother of nine became a household name thanks to her appearances on the A&E series “Wahlburgers,” about the family’s burgeoning burger chain. “She made no apologies for who she was, but never put herself above anyone else. She kicked our butts if we messed up, kicked anyone else’s butts if they messed with us. Taught us right, made us pay the price when we were wrong,” Donnie Wahlberg wrote Sunday. “She was the epitome of the word grace.” He also included a video of them dancing at his wedding to one of her favourite songs, “If I Could” by Regina Belle. He wrote that she danced to that song at each of her children’s weddings, but at his own, he surprised her by having Belle there to perform it live. On the “Today” show in 2018, Alma Wahlberg opened up about her parenting and how hard it was early on. “I invented the craziest meals,” she said. English muffin pizzas were among her creations to feed her hungry lot. More than a few of her children went on to great successes and fame. Her son Paul Wahlberg, who is the chef behind the namesake burger chain, also named the Alma Nove restaurant in Hingham, Massachusetts, after her. “People know me as being the mother of famous children, and although this fact has brought many gifts into my life and has afforded me opportunities that may never have been possible otherwise, there is a whole lot more to my story than most people know,” Alma Wahlberg said in an interview with Boston’s WCVB-TV in 2018. “I’ve lived with alcoholism and abuse; struggled with poverty and experienced great wealth; lost so many that I’ve loved; struggle to raise nine children, and I love them more than anything else; watch them suffer, learn and come out on the other side; lost myself; found myself, again and again; and kept moving forward, no matter what.” Alma Wahlberg is survived by eight children. Her daughter Debbie died in 2003. Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press