WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
Local businesses hard hit by the second lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto could have up to 90 per cent of their rent subsidized in some cases. The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), as it’s called, is one of several more supports the federal government has enhanced and extended until June 2021 responding to more lockdowns around the country in the fall and coming early winter season including Toronto. CERS provides rent and mortgage subsidies of up to 65 per cent of eligible expenses to qualifying businesses, charities, and non-profits. In cases where businesses are in lockdown zones, they can receive an additional 25 per cent subsidy. Businesses can also take advantage of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which covers 65 per cent of an employee’s wages for qualifying employers, available until June 2021. The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses are still available, with up to 25 per cent of the loan forgivable. For individuals, there are supports for loss of income, which have all been extended into the new year. The former Canada Emergency Response Benefit has been phased into Employment Insurance. Anyone who has lost income due to COVID-19 is eligible for support via EI. If not eligible for EI, in the case of some small business owners, they are eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). EI will offer a taxable benefit of $500 per week, as will CRB. “We know this health crisis has had a devastating impact on small biz, lockdowns that have accompanied have exacerbated those issues,” Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said. He said the federal government is in a “stronger fiscal position” to help Canadians with financial challenges from COVID-19, but he urged the Province of Ontario to “step up” with funding allocated to it for pandemic relief. “The provincial government is sitting on money to help people,” Erskine-Smith said. “They need to get those dollars out the door immediately and step up to help businesses.” He’s referring to unallocated $9.3 billion noted by the province’s Financial Accountability Officer. Citing the FAO, Erskine-Smith said that on Sept. 10, the FAO noted that of the first $105.6 billion spent in Ontario by governments, $102 billion or 97 per cent, was federal money. As a way to immediately help people, the province could start with a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions again, he added. “It’s one thing to spend federal dollars, but at a minimum to establish a moratorium, it costs them nothing,” Erskine-Smith said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canadians would begin receiving vaccinations for COVID-19 in 2021. While the details are still being drawn on the logistical challenge of vaccinating millions of Canadians, Erskine-Smith said Canada is in a good position. “This is the largest vaccine rollout in history,” he said. “We’ve entered in more agreements with vaccines than any other country to ensure a readily available supply.” Those include established agreements with AstraZeneca, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Medicago, and Moderna for a combined “414 million doses of vaccine candidates, with a guarantee of at least 190 million doses,” Erskine-Smith said. “Health Canada has received submissions for authorization of three vaccines, and expedited reviews are underway.” The earliest vaccinations are expected in the spring, aimed primarily for essential workers, long-term care homes, vulnerable populations, seniors, and those with pre-existing conditions. “There’s also a plan underway to help provinces distribute millions of vaccines in early 2021, including through the use of the Canadian Armed Forces, and through the procurement of logistics services,” Erskine-Smith said. “Our public health officials have already procured materials for the coming deployment, including needles, syringes, alcohol swabs, and cold storage.”Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
Local businesses are frustrated and exhausted as they weather the storm in Toronto’s second lockdown since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. The province announced Nov. 20 that Toronto and Peel were going into its Lockdown/Grey level of its pandemic response framework as of Nov. 23. The regions had seen continuous spikes of cases of COVID-19 since the end of summer, and hospitalizations and ICU admittance had drastically increased. But as the lockdown aims to reduce the spread of the virus, business owners in East Toronto are asking why big box stores are still permitted to remain open. “It’s just another hammer on the head,” Skaut Design owner Inese Korbs said. Her store on Kingston Road sells home decor, furniture, and other design products. Korbs doesn’t have the staff to move her inventory online for customers as a lot of her products are vintage pieces. “It’s another full-time job,” she said. Instead Korbs relies on “virtual visits” where people can phone in via video conference and she’ll walk them through the store. She said before the lockdown, while there were fewer visitors than normal years, individuals were buying more per visit. That came to a grinding halt last week. “The most difficult part is knowing that big box stores are allowed to operate,” Korbs said. “It’s kind of like they have different rules.” Walmart and Costco are some of the bigger chains permitted to open, while Amazon still remains ever popular for online shopping. It’s difficult to compete with bigger chains as it is, let alone if you can’t even stay open, Korbs said. Lita Yiu owns and operates the clothing store Set Me Free on Queen Street East. She expressed the same frustration that Korbs did about big box stores staying open. “If you really want to control the spread, shut down big box stores,” Yiu said. “I’m happy to have one or two customers allowed in the store at a time, we don’t have the same clout as big businesses, we can’t absorb the shock.” Yiu said she and her staff are uploading their inventory on e-commerce platforms online, but between all the clothing, accessories, and gifts, it’s a lot of work. “It’s tedious, it’s time consuming, and you don’t make much money. It’s not the same as walk-in.” However, Yiu and Korbs have been overjoyed by the local community’s support of their businesses. Before the lockdown, both business owners were receiving many local customers who were eager to support their neighbourhood businesses. “People came in, they expressed condolences, supported our store,” Korbs said of the weekend before the lockdown began. “The people in this neighbourhood are very supportive, and they’re going out of their way to help us.” It’s been the case throughout the pandemic, Yiu said. From the beginning to now, local customers have supported her. “They’re amazing,” she said. “They always try to shop local, especially after the first lockdown.” Like many small businesses across Canada, Yiu and Korbs have taken advantage of the federal government COVID-19 supports for businesses. It’s helped them with expenses such as rent and wages, but nothing will recover the loss of revenue in December and the anticipated holiday shopping seasons that so many retail businesses rely on. “The vast majority of small businesses adhere to the restrictions equally if not better than large chains,” Beach Village BIA executive director Anna Sebert said. “Most of the businesses on Queen Street can make a go of it with one or two people in the store at a time.” “Just because there are some bad apples, doesn’t mean all businesses should suffer,” she added. Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford agrees the “rules around some of the closures haven’t always made sense” regarding big box stores, but warns that the virus remains a threat. “There’s no doubt about it, the lockdown is taking a toll on all of us but we have to push through. It’s the only way out of this,” he said. “We’re all seeing the news of the businesses staying open in protest and people rallying against the closures. That’s concerning as it puts us all at risk, especially gathering in the way we’ve seen.” Bradford has received calls from local businesses asking if it is possible to ease up bylaw enforcement to allow some businesses to remain open. “I can understand the way they’re feeling,” he said. “We’re all tired, we’re hurting, but we have to follow the guidelines.” Cases have been among the lowest in the city for the Beach area, an achievement Bradford applauded as the community “is looking out for each other.” He said he’s making efforts to get relief for businesses from the federal and provincial governments. “What we need to focus on is getting the full weight of financial support possible for local businesses,” he said. “We also need clearer, fairer and more evenly applied rules if and when closures continue. City council doesn’t get to make these decisions – but we can elevate the voice of the impact they’re having on our communities and main streets.” Business owners say they understand the severity of the pandemic, and agree with most public health measures, but worry about local businesses in the community – especially restaurants, bars, and cafes. “I feel horrible for the restaurants,” Korbs said. “If they all survive that would be a miracle, their hands and feet are tied.”Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
With COVID-19 cases continuing to break records, Alberta added 20 additional intensive-care beds in Edmonton over the past week and 10 more in Calgary.On a day when the province saw its highest number of new cases yet with 1,733, Alberta Health Services said plans are in the works to more than double the number of ICU spaces."There is no doubt that the hospital system is under significant strain," Dr. David Zygun, medical director for the Edmonton zone, said at a news conference on Monday."Having said that, we have planned extensively for it, and we are executing those plans as the demand increases."AHS is maximizing space by cohorting patients and by using decommissioned spaces, Zygun said, and is looking at transferring patients from acute-care beds to other primary care or continuing-care facilities to free up hospital beds.The province normally has 173 general adult ICU beds but is preparing for increased demand over the coming days and weeks, with plans to expand the number of ICU beds to 425, he said.5,000 new casesOver the past three days, the province has reported more than 5,000 new cases, with 1,731 on Saturday and another 1,608 on Sunday.Across the province, hospitals were treating 453 patients for the illness, including 96 in ICU beds. Both of those totals also set new records.WATCH | Alberta increases ICU capacity as COVID-19 cases rise:Another eight deaths were reported on Monday, bringing the total to 541."Like all Albertans, I am alarmed by the rising case numbers reported today and over the weekend," Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said at Monday's news conference. "This is another reminder that COVID-19 has a long incubation period, meaning the actions we take today will not be seen until 10 to 14 days from now."At the peak of the average influenza season, Alberta typically has about 30 patients in ICU with influenza, she said, and COVID-19 patients are already at triple that number."And if we have continued spread, we are nowhere near that COVID-19 peak unless we can bring our numbers down."Long-term care outbreaksLong-term care centres have been hit hard in Alberta as COVID-19 cases surged throughout the past month. Capital Care Lynnwood is one of 25 long-term care sites that had an outbreak of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon in the Edmonton zone alone, according to the Alberta government's website. Lynwood's outbreak has so far included 56 residents and 29 staff testing positive for COVID-19 Bonnie Roberts, site director at Capital Care Lynnwood, said in a statement on Monday that the outbreak is in two units of the facility while other units are operating as usual. This has meant staffing has been a challenge, Roberts said. "This means that some services have been impacted, or reduced, on the affected units," Roberts said. WATCH | Alberta's top doctor says COVID-19 vaccines will not be made mandatory:The Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre is another continuing care facility dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in Edmonton.The care home has faced 46 resident cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths because of the virus. Currently, there 34 active cases among residents. There have also been 44 staff cases identified, 40 of which are still active. Sabrina Atwal, a spokesperson for Alberta Health Services, said staffing at the facility is extremely challenged. "Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre is a standalone site with no other sites to draw staff from, and staffing agencies are also strapped trying to support many organizations, some contracted by AHS and others that are not," Atwal said in an emailed statement. "AHS is working closely with the operator to ensure the safety of residents and has some staff supporting care at the site. Basic care needs, including meals, are being met at this time."'Normal part of grieving'Hinshaw said the province will likely continue to see case numbers and hospitalizations rise over the next several days while waiting to see what, if any, impact restrictions on businesses and social gatherings announced last week will have.Premier Jason Kenney announced a ban on social gatherings last Tuesday, but restrictions that closed some businesses, cut capacity for others and put a stop to most sport activities didn't come into effect until Friday. "Each of us must remain more vigilant than ever," Hinshaw said."I know we are all feeling a lot of different emotions about where we are right now: Anger, guilt, fear, sadness, denial and bargaining are all common themes. Experiencing these emotions is a normal part of grieving all that we have lost to COVID-19," she said."These emotions do not mean that we have lost the battle, just that it is a hard one to fight. The more we can support each other to keep going, while acknowledging the difficulty of these days, the better off we will all be."Here's a regional breakdown of active COVID-19 cases in Alberta: * Edmonton zone: 7,388 cases * Calgary zone: 6,141 cases * Central zone: 1,238 cases * North zone: 869 cases * South zone: 693 cases * Unknown: 125 casesThe most recent deaths reported were: * A man in his 40s in the Edmonton zone. * A man in his 80s in the Calgary zone. * A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at South Terrace Continuing Care in the Edmonton zone. * A man in his 60s linked to the outbreak at Good Samaritan Pembina Village in the Edmonton zone. * A woman in her 80s linked the outbreak at The Hamlets at Cedarwood Station in the Calgary zone. * A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Newbrook Lodge in the South zone. * A man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at Wing Kei Care Centre in the Calgary zone. * A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Rosealta Lodge in the Central zone.
Ce sont 20 nouveaux cas qui s’ajoutent au bilan du Bas-Saint-Laurent selon le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux régional, portant le total à 772 cas. Celui-ci déplore également un 17e décès sur le territoire. Le CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent a fourni la répartition des 34 cas pour les 48 dernières heures, dont les 14 cas de la journée de jeudi, et les 20 nouveaux cas actuels. Kamouraska78Rivière-du-Loup191 (+1)Témiscouata51 (+5)Les Basques11Rimouski-Neigette219 (+14)La Mitis32 (+3)La Matanie162 (+9)La Matapédia25 (+1)Inconnu3 (+1)Bas-Saint-Laurent772 (+34)En date du 27 novembre à 10 h, le CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent compte 600 cas rétablis au Bas-Saint-Laurent. Un nouveau décès a été enregistré, pour un total de 17 décès liés au virus. Il n’y a aucune hospitalisation en cours. Enfin, 799 dépistages ont été réalisés le jeudi. Le décès a été confirmé à la Résidence des Sages de Matane. Le résidence enregistre un total de 30 cas, dont 15 résidences et 15 travailleurs, et 3 décès. 10 usagers et 3 travailleurs sont rétablis. Quant au CHSLD de Matane, ce sont 4 résidents et 1 travailleur qui ont reçu un résultat positif à la COVID-19. Au total, il y a 20 cas, dont 14 (+4) résidents et 6 (+1) travailleurs. Finalement, il y aurait un nouveau cas à une unité de l’Hôpital de Rimouski, et la situation est stable à la Résidence Les Bâtisseurs de Matane.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
OTTAWA — Advocates of stricter gun control are urging the Trudeau government to get on with promised reforms, saying they are months overdue. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has pledged new measures, including a buyback of recently outlawed firearms, tougher storage provisions and steps to control handguns. Heidi Rathjen, coordinator of the group PolySeSouvient, told an online news conference Monday that several months later there are no signs of progress on legislation. "We urge minister Blair to return to the gun file with force and to aim to meet his commitments without delay." The plea came days before the Dec. 6 anniversary of the shootings of 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique, which Rathjen witnessed as a student. The federal government outlawed a wide range of firearms by cabinet order in May, including the one used at Polytechnique, saying the guns were designed for the battlefield, not hunting or sport shooting. The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons, meaning they can no longer be legally used, sold or imported. The measure has met with stiff criticism from some firearms owners and the federal Conservatives, who question the value of the ban. Blair has promised to follow the move with legislative changes to further tighten restrictions on firearms. “There is more to do, and we’re committed to doing it," Blair's spokeswoman, Mary-Liz Power, said Monday. "We will introduce legislation designed to deliver on the promises that we made to Canadians in the last election." PolySeSouvient wants to see the new prohibitions on assault-style guns, brought in through regulation, embedded into law to complete the ban and render it permanent — something the Liberal government has signalled it will do. It also wants the Liberals to legislate a system of pre-authorization for guns to ensure only new models inspected and authorized by the RCMP can enter the Canadian market. Blair has said the coming legislation will create a new evergreen framework for classification of firearms to ensure federal intentions can’t be easily overridden. But also on Monday, Blair announced a three-year delay in setting regulations for "marking" guns so they can be traced to registered owners if they're seized in connection with crimes. Those rules were due to kick in Tuesday after years of previous delays. His department said that without clear record-keeping requirements for some guns, it isn't sure how to to connect markings to owners. But it said it's committed to a marking system nonetheless, if not right away. "The government will not reintroduce the long-gun registry," the announcement concluded. Eyeing the next wave of federal legislation, PolySeSouvient also wants the government to: — Limit firearm magazines to five bullets to reduce the damage a mass shooter can do; — Give police officers easier access to commercial sales record data to help detect bulk gun purchases; — Invest significant efforts and resources in strengthening the screening and monitoring of gun-licence applicants and licensed owners; — End the importation and manufacture of handguns. The Trudeau government plans to empower provinces and cities to take steps to manage the storage and use of handguns within their individual jurisdictions, given that they have different needs and concerns. PolySeSouvient has counselled the government to avoid off-loading handgun restrictions onto municipalities, saying local bans are generally ineffective, as the patchwork of local and state laws in the United States shows. According to the RCMP the number of restricted firearms — predominantly handguns — registered to individuals or businesses rose to 1,057,418 last year from 983,792 in 2018. Claire Smith and Ken Price, whose daughter survived a Toronto shooting in July 2018, pressed Monday for a ban on the private ownership of handguns. "It's been over two years since our daughter was shot," Price said during the news conference. "And from our perspective, there has been zero legislative progress on handguns and the situation keeps getting worse." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks with Rosemary Barton, CBC's chief political correspondent, about the federal fiscal update and how the government will continue to provide financial support through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LAS VEGAS — The coronavirus pandemic’s widespread impact has reminded Las Vegas officials that they need to diversify their economy beyond tourism.There hasn't been a lack of trying but the need has been laid even more bare thanks to COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.With people afraid to enter hotels and casinos and residency shows postponed till next year, there have been wrenching job and revenue losses. Resort operators themselves have tried to broaden their offerings to all ages on casino and hotel floors. But it's not enough for some.“We've got all our money in one stock,” North Las Vegas City Manager Ryann Juden said.The region has successfully wooed many businesses and real estate developers in the last decade with tax breaks and a relatively cheap cost of living. Between 2010 and 2019, Nevada officials passed a combined $728.7 million in tax breaks for more than 180 companies setting up shop in Clark County. Southern Nevada has also become a distribution hub for online retailer Amazon, baby products maker The Honest Co. and other ventures that don't involve casinos.But there have also been ventures that fizzled. Faraday Future had proposed a 3.4 million-square-foot factory that would build up to 150,000 electric vehicles annually. Lawmakers even passed a $335 million incentive package. Faraday officials broke ground in 2016. But in 2017, the project went nowhere after reports of financial troubles. The company took over an existing facility in California instead.Some analysts say Southern Nevada still doesn't have the assets that some are looking for. Sin City's party image, underperforming schools and a shortage of doctors don't appeal to families.Bob Potts, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said a good jolt in the local economy would be some sort of industrial park south of Las Vegas near the California border.But, “you don’t build those kinds of things overnight," Potts said.The Associated Press
As the number of cases fluctuates almost daily, it can be challenging to determine whether measures will be decreased or more implemented from one day to the next. As of Friday, November 27, there are 13 active cases in the community. As there are more than 10 cases, it placed the Town of Fox Creek on an enhanced status. As well, Fox Creek also falls under the MD of Greenview, which is also under the enhanced status with 83 cases. In addition to the mandatory face-covering bylaw, CAO Kristen Milne issued a public notice regarding the new health measures for town-owned facilities. Due to being in an enhanced area, as of November 27, entry into the town office and the Community Resource Centre is by appointment only. The Community Resource Centre playroom and Community Hall are also closed until further notice, as are the party rooms. Meeting rooms within the Multiplex will remain open; however, they can’t exceed 25 percent capacity. The Fitness Centre is down to a maximum of six people, and guests must pre-book. Another family favourite is the swimming pool; this area will carry a maximum of 35 people at any given time. All sports areas are closed to the public; however, they can still be utilized if participants are from the same household. In the case of those who live alone, they can socialize with two other persons. The sports facilities include the fieldhouse and arena, are by bookings only. For those who have memberships to the Multiplex, usage is free, and for non-members, the cost is $30 per hour. Lastly, the running track will remain open, but again, those who utilize the track must be from the same family or, if living alone, two others you socialize with regularly. Most retail businesses, such as grocery stores, liquor, and pharmacies, are now limited to 25 percent of the Alberta Fire Code occupancy. Dr. Deena Hinshaw signed the Record of Decision for Order 38-2020 on November 24, 2020, which further defines the new provincial health measures put in effect. It states, subject to sections four and five of the order, a person who resides in a private residence must not permit a person who does not live in that residence to enter or remain in residence. The exemptions that would allow entrance would include housekeeping services, health care, emergency response, childcare, home construction, or renovations, delivery, or real estate needs. Those who live alone are permitted to interact with the same two persons in their social circle and permitted within the home. Under Section two of the order, a social gathering is defined as a group of people who come together to move about freely, mix and interact with each other for social purposes rather than remaining seated or stationary for the gathering duration. With that said, there are to be no indoor social gatherings in any setting unless all persons are from the same household and a maximum of 10 for outdoors. Weddings and funerals may still occur but are restricted to a maximum of ten persons or less. Worship services are also limited to 1/3 of the usual attendance. Starting November 30, students in grades seven to 12 will go back to online learning until January 11, 2021. Those in ECS to grade six will remain in school until the Christmas break and switch to online studies from January 4 to January 11, 2021. All restrictions will remain in place for three weeks as indicated by Premier Kenney, at which time, the Alberta Government and health officials will re-evaluate. To keep up to date on COVID-19 numbers and health updates, please visit www.alberta.ca. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
Niagara Catholic District School Board is reporting another case of COVID-19 at St. Martin Catholic Elementary School, bringing the school case count to 10. An outbreak was declared at the Smithville school on Nov. 19. Public health confirmed to Niagara Catholic that the new COVID-19 case was connected to the outbreak. The provincial database that reports on school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario on Monday identified four of the 10 cases as being infected staff and four as students. The remaining two cases were not immediately unknown as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its case reporting. Over the weekend, District School Board of Niagara announced an individual at Martha Cullimore Public School in Niagara Falls and an individual at Port Colborne High School tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, three classrooms will be closed: two at Port High and one at Martha Cullimore. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual are being contacted and told by NRPH (Niagara Region Public Health) to stay home and self-isolate,” DSBN said a media release. The board website Monday listed six active cases at four of its schools. There are three active cases in Niagara Falls, two at Prince Philip and one at Martha Cullimore; two active cases in St Catharines, all at Eden High School; and the one in Port Colborne. The provincial database had yet to identify if the cases are staff or student. Custodians at both schools will complete a thorough cleaning as required. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will visit the schools to complete a comprehensive assessment. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
The Merrickville Public Library Board is looking for financial support from the municipality to repair the roof and some exterior walls on the library building. Municipal staff presented a report to council at the meeting of November 23, outlining their current lease agreement with the library. In 2010, the building that currently houses the library was donated to the municipality by the Merrickville Lions Club. At that point, the library entered into a 25-year agreement with the municipality to lease the building at $1 a year, with the caveat that they take responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the building. Councillor Timothy Molloy, who sits on the Library Board, said that, despite the terms of the lease, the library should not be responsible for the maintenance of a building that they do not own. As of December 31, 2019, the Library Board had $84,051 sitting in its reserves; but he argues that, as this money has been accumulated through donations, it should go towards library operations and programming, not building repairs. CAO Doug Robertson confirmed that the estimated cost of the roof and exterior wall repairs is $20,000. “We have an issue where there are requirements for the building that the Library Board needs to take care of, and the money to meet those funds should not be coming from the operational programs that the library runs,” he said. “It would be a detriment to the children, teenagers, adults, seniors in the community.” Councillor Molloy suggested that council meet with the Library Board to go over their concerns and discuss the possibility of renegotiating the terms of the lease. Deputy Mayor Michael Cameron noted that, should they renegotiate the lease and start charging the library for the use of the building, they would have to include the cost of building upkeep in the rent. “Indirectly, they would be paying for the repairs anyway,” he said. According to the staff report, the library did have a building reserve fund that sat at around $64,000 at the end of 2009. Councillor Bob Foster suggested that, if they could discern if there was any money left in the library’s current reserve, that stemmed from this past building reserve, it could be used to pay for the repairs. Mayor Doug Struthers committed to council that he would meet with the chair of the Library Board to hear more about what they think might need to be adjusted with the current lease. Council is also encouraging the board to put their concerns in writing, to be considered by council. “There is no question that our library is a very important asset in service to all the residents of our municipality,” he said. “We are all on the same page on that one.”Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
OTTAWA — Key elements from the federal government's fiscal update, delivered by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland Monday afternoon:A boatload of borrowing. The federal deficit is sailing toward $381.6 billion this year, but could close in on $400 billion if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks, according to the fall economic statement. A big reason for that eye-popping sum is the total cost of Ottawa's response to COVID-19, which amounts to $490.7 billion. That also means more than $8 out of every $10 in federal and provincial support comes from the capital, down from $9 out of every $10 from the July fiscal snapshot.The "Netflix tax." For the first time, Netflix and other foreign streaming giants such as Amazon and Apple TV+ will be subject to sales tax in Canada, according to the fiscal update. The government says GST/HST will apply to all companies that provide digital services — which means Netflix and Airbnb would charge sales tax on subscriptions and reservations north of the border. While the European Union moved to tax digital platforms two years ago, Freeland said Canada is prepared to act "unilaterally if necessary."Work-from-home tax break. Employees working from home with "modest expenses" in 2020 can claim up to $400, based on time spent at the dining-room desk. Canadians can make the claim "without the need to track detailed expenses," and the tax man "will generally not request" confirmation from employers, the economic statement says.Increasing fiscal-stabilization payments. Responding to a call from provinces whose finances have taken a beating, the Liberals say they will increase the maximum payment under a program designed to help provincial governments deal with temporary economic shocks. The cap will go from $60 per resident, set in 1987, to $170 per person and increase with economic growth.Support the troops. The government is also proposing to sign off on an additional $600,000 to top up the Veterans Emergency Fund that would ensure more financial support for veterans whose well-being is at risk "due to an urgent and unexpected situation."All the wage. For businesses, the government wants to bring the wage subsidy back to 75 per cent of company payroll costs and extend the business rent subsidy to mid-March. The Trudeau government had previously extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to the summer, while the adapted business-rent subsidy — revised from a less popular iteration that hinged on landlord participation — was slated only to continue through the end of the year.Clean water for Indigenous communities. The government is pledging to invest $1.5 billion in 2020-21 to work toward lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in Indigenous communities, and $114 million each year after. The Liberals have maintained a years-long pledge to lift all outstanding boil-water advisories for Indigenous residents by March 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that about 95 advisories had been lifted since the party came to power in 2015, but more than 60 remained the last time figures were updated before the pandemic.A $100-billion stimulus. The government plans to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the next three years to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19. The boon amounts to between three and four per cent of GDP, and will tilt toward a "greener, more innovative" bounce-back, though the details are to be determined.Get retrofit. Ottawa is aiming to dole out $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their digs more efficient, starting in 2020-21. The cash, channelled through Natural Resources Canada, would take the form of up to 700,000 grants of $5,000 or less to help with projects that could range from energy-efficient heating to solar-panel installations. The upcoming plan, with eligibility retroactive to December 2020, fulfils a Liberal election promise from last year.Cash for families. Looking to boost temporary support for parents, the Liberals plan to provide up to $1,200 per child under six years old for low- and middle-income families that are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit, starting next year. The bump marks an increase of nearly 20 per cent above the benefit's current maximum payment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Hamilton may be eligible for a new program to support patients on the wait list for long-term care and their caregivers, the province announced Friday. The community paramedicine program launched by the Ministry of Long-Term Care last month involves paramedics working outside their traditional roles to help seniors on long-term care wait lists stay at home longer. They can provide assessments and referrals, wellness clinics, home visits and remote monitoring. “Paramedics can mobilize very quickly ... you have this skilled profession that can provide the services that people need especially on the medical side,” said Russell King, chief of paramedic services for Brantford-Brant, one of the first five communities to participate in the program when it launched. On Oct. 30, the province announced up to $5 million to expand existing community paramedicine programs to provide at-home care to patients on long-term care wait lists. On Nov. 27, the province named 29 additional communities that could be eligible, including Hamilton, Halton Region, Norfolk County and Niagara Region. Brantford-Brant is in the process of launching the program. Glen Cunnane, community paramedic supervisor, said the program will also support patients and families who decide not to pursue long-term care due to the spread of COVID-19 in facilities. “There may be a little bit of hesitation there that may lead to more people staying at home,” he said, adding the program is expected to reduce emergency room visits by offering 24-7 access to care. The program is fully funded by the province and will also offer home visits, ongoing monitoring, and referrals to home care and community resources. To be eligible, the City of Hamilton must express interest to the ministry and meet other criteria. That includes the ability for the city’s existing community paramedic program to expand “quickly” to support its target population, having enough advanced care paramedics without compromising emergency services and the support of the LHIN. “The long-term setting right now, there just quite simply is not enough beds for the demand,” said Cunnane. “That demand for admission into long-term care is going to continue to grow at a rate quicker than they’re going to be able to build capacity into the system.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
You should expect to see a lot fewer people gathered around the tree this Christmas. According to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby, celebrating the holidays with people outside your household is a recipe for disaster. “I know many people are looking forward to their traditional family celebrations at this time of year, but to keep your loved ones safe, traditions will have to be adjusted,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We’re asking everyone to please stick to your own household when celebrating. Avoid big holiday parties or large family dinners to help us stop the spread of this deadly virus. By following this public health advice, we can all have a safe and fun holiday season.” Those who live alone are encouraged to celebrate the holidays with only one additional household. As well, any post-secondary students living away from home are asked to consider a self-quarantine for 10 to 14 days before returning home. Dr. David Colby echoed Ford’s message, adding he doesn’t want people looking for loopholes in COVID-19 rules. The 10-person limit isn’t an excuse to invite over friends or relatives if you have a small household. Colby said a household and family members are two separate things. He defined a household as the people you live with. They are the ones who reside at the same address. They are your household and within your own living space. “I think it’s time to get away from rules. I mean, rules are helpful, but whenever there are rules, people are sort of saying, ‘Well, if I do this, can I circumvent the rules?’” said Colby. He added you not only have to look at the letter of the law but the spirit of the rule. “The spirit of the rule is to keep everybody safe,” said Colby. “Rather than worrying about whether the rules are being followed, we all have to ask ourselves, ‘What is the safest course of action for all concerned in this particular scenario?’ We’ve talked about that endlessly.” Additionally, Colby said people travelling from jurisdiction to jurisdiction is a big problem. He said when he does contact tracing, the trails always lead outside of Chatham-Kent. According to Chatham-Kent’s top doctor, smaller household parties mean less risk of catching and spreading the virus. Colby said this is something he has been “hammering away at for the last few weeks”. “There is clear evidence that the more people that you assemble, the higher the risk,” said Colby. “Indoor gatherings are riskier than outdoor gatherings, so having a large number of people, especially people who have travelled from a higher-prevalence jurisdiction, this is potentially a recipe for disaster.”Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
A small farm located south of Strathmore is providing sanctuary to hundreds of abused, neglected and unwanted animals. Misfit Farms started because its owner, Savannah Ross, “really wanted to get out of the city. “My plan when I first came here was to have a few small farm animals for ourselves, but I’m a bit of a sucker and I have a soft heart,” said Ross. The numbers grew from there. Currently, there are about 300 animals at the farm. “We have llamas, quail, chickens, ducks, geese, goats and potbellies (pigs),” she said. The farm is not a registered charity or official animal rescue, and does not adopt out animals or charge fees for rehoming. It also does not rescue cats or dogs, but partners with some rescues that will take larger animals. “We don’t take cows and horses here, so I send them off to my foster home,” said Ross. Many of the animals there would not win best-in-show, she added. “We have a lot of animals that are handicapped, some are blind, missing a wing, missing a leg. A lot of them are just unproductive – small farmers just can’t afford to keep animals that are not producing, so typically they end up getting killed.” But that doesn’t mean they are not valuable. “I just love being around them and can tell that they are thriving in this environment,” said Ross. “They let you give back in a way that you’re not really getting any kind of recognition – the animals don’t say thank you every morning when you’re out there feeding them.” The animals are fed through a “loop program” where once a week, groceries from Save On Foods are transported to the farm. “We get half a truckload, which takes us about 10 hours to go through it all,” she said. These donations allow the animals to eat things other than commercial feed. “They get to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, which they really love.” Ross said she appreciates the donations because they would be able to keep fewer animals without them. “It’s a very expensive project; there is no funding and we’re not part of any kind of rescue organization. It’s all dependent on the generosity of others, and we’ve had some lovely people donate a lot of items, like hay and bedding,” she said. Previously, the farm provided learning opportunities for families. “We really love to be able to put together a program to educate children on ways to care for animals and give them an opportunity to connect with them.” The farm has been challenged by COVID-19, noted Ross. “Obviously, it’s a lot of work, and because of the pandemic, we haven’t had any volunteers here for the last year.” Donations have also been down, she added. Misfit Farm is planning a membership campaign so they can continue to welcome animals. The campaign will allow people to visit the farm on family days and sponsor some animals. “We’re going to offer opportunities for people to just get a little bit more involved.”Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit Pour la première fois depuis jeudi dernier, le bilan du nombre de cas de coronavirus enregistrés en une journée dans la capitale fédérale est sous la barre des 30. Santé publique Ottawa (SPO) rapporte 29 nouvelles infections à la COVID-19, lundi. Il s’agit d’un retour dans la moyenne, puisque dimanche, la capitale fédérale a fait face à un bilan plus inquiétant de ce nombre, qui a bondi à 79 cas répertoriés au cours de la journée précédente, le plus haut total en deux semaines. Si l’on soustrait les cas résolus, le total du nombre de cas actifs actuels à Ottawa est maintenant de 344. Par ailleurs, un Ottavien atteint de la COVID-19 a perdu la vie au cours des 24 dernières heures, déplore également SPO, ce qui porte le bilan à 375 décès liés au virus depuis son arrivée dans la capitale fédérale. Selon le dernier bilan de SPO, 24 personnes étaient hospitalisées en raison du virus dimanche, dont un patient aux soins intensifs. Dans le système de la santé, la santé publique d’Ottawa compte actuellement huit éclosions en foyers de soins de longue durée et neuf en maisons de retraite ainsi que deux éclosions dans des hôpitaux de la ville.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
The family of a man who lived at a Hamilton long-term care home are speaking out about their battle with the facility to allow them to be considered essential visitors before his death. Sisters Sandie Berenger and Janet Volkes say Heritage Green Nursing Home in Stoney Creek threw “unnecessary” hurdles in their way as they tried to visit their father even though they’d been designated his caregivers. “They just kept putting out roadblocks trying to control who came in,” said Volkes. Berenger was the power of attorney for their father, Norman Hoar, and wrote to Heritage Green that she and Volkes were his essential caregivers. She emailed the director of care and submitted a printout of the note to the home’s front desk. Both sisters, who sit on the home’s family council, got COVID-19 tests per provincial guidelines, and after receiving results, Volkes called Heritage Green to book a visit. She says she was passed on to someone else to book a 30-minute lobby visit instead of one in her father’s room. Volkes went ahead with the visit Nov. 1, intending to followup for essential visitor status afterward. It ended up being her last visit. Heritage Green administrator Scott Kozachenko did not respond to multiple email and telephone requests for an interview. The Spectator previously reported about Berenger, Volkes and their father when Hamilton’s first COVID-19 outbreak was announced at the home in March. At the time, family members of residents and the union representing workers were concerned about a lack of communication about its spread. Their fight for access began in October, after the Ontario government updated its visitor policy for long-term care homes in September. Previously, during the first wave, an “essential visitor” was defined as someone “performing essential support services or a person visiting a very ill or palliative resident.” The province clarified that that included family caregivers. Under the policy, residents in long-term care or their substitute decision-makers can designate up to two caregivers who can visit residents any time without time limits, subject to direction from the local public health unit. As of Nov. 23, when Hamilton entered the red zone, the province requires essential caregivers to be tested weekly for COVID-19 and show proof of a negative test result before visiting. Jacqueline Durlov, a city communications officer, said long-term care facilities can introduce more restrictions than what the province requires to ensure safety. “It’s really the facility’s responsibility to provide the safest environment for their residents,” she said. Heritage Green did not respond to questions about their essential visitor policies. Volkes says when she followed up with Heritage Green’s administration after her lobby visit, she was told the home would hold a conference call to discuss policies with her first. “I just see it as a big stalling tactic,” said Volkes. “I had gotten to the point that if this had gone on any further, I was going to hire a lawyer.” But a few days later, her father’s condition suddenly became worse. On Nov. 5, he was moved to Juravinski Hospital, where he became palliative. He died the next day. “It’s been incredibly heartbreaking and stressful,” said Volkes, noting she and her sister visited Hoar in hospital. “They made my life hell unnecessarily.” As for Berenger, when she called to book an appointment, she says she was asked how she would be caring for her father. She listed off different tasks, including that she was going to tidy out his room for the first time since February. She got in. “You had to say the right words,” said Berenger. On her last visit before her father was sent to hospital, Berenger brought her father lunch. After about an hour and a half, she was told to leave because staff were changing shifts. Berenger said while staff took good care of her father, she feels like she had to prove she was providing essential care to get into the home. She thinks the facility was nervous about COVID-19 entering the home, but doesn’t think it’s fair for families or the residents. “The long-term care should trust families,” said Berenger. “We’re there to help them. We’re not their enemies.” In an earlier interview, Dr. Amit Arya said family caregivers provide essential services that reduce the workload of long-term care staff. “In many circumstances when homes were short-staffed, family caregivers were the glue that tried to hold things together,” said the assistant professor in palliative care at McMaster University. He noted family members often provide hands-on care and, importantly, help relieve isolation. He added when family members were shut out of long-term care homes in the first wave, residents were left “doubly vulnerable.” “There weren’t enough staff to look after them and their family wasn’t there either,” Arya said. “People literally suffered and died alone.” Last month in Toronto, a 90-year-old woman in a retirement home accelerated her application for medically assisted death after her health began a steady decline during the pandemic. Social isolation and loneliness were already a “serious health risk” for seniors before the pandemic, leading to cognitive decline and a higher risk of infection, falls and mortality, Arya noted. Family members also had to face separation from their loved ones and, in some cases, grieve without closure. He said visitor policies need to balance all of those risks. “We cannot make people’s lives only about infection control,” Arya said. “They need to allow family caregivers in.”Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
What happens when you’ve just returned to your remote community with your newborn? Or if something comes up during your pregnancy and it’s the middle of the night? Where do you go for support? To help answer some of those very questions, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) launched a ‘Maternity and Babies Advice Line’ for Indigenous families in B.C., available 24-7. “With babies and moms, things can happen anytime,” says Dr. Unjali Malhotra, medical director for women’s health at FNHA. FNHA worked with Rural Community Coordination to provide a service to help pregnant and new parents, guardians, and caregivers of newborns. Both family members and health care providers can receive support via the advice line. Doctors will provide advice on urgent and non-urgent maternal and child health topics, Malhotra says, which can include pregnancy, birth, newborn, and postpartum care. The doctors can also arrange referrals to obstetricians or pediatricians, if needed. “I come from a rural community,” says Malhotra, who grew up in Cree/Dene territory, in Northern Saskatchewan. “It's really near and dear to my heart that rural remote communities have equitable access to care, and that’s often not the case, particularly with COVID-19.” Approximately 30 per cent of Indigenous people in B.C. live in rural areas, according to 2016 census highlights, and while Zoom may be popular during this pandemic, 75 per cent of Indigenous communities in B.C. do not have the basic standards of the internet, according to First Nations Technology Council. “It can be very scary for moms and families and communities to have pregnancy concerns or newborn concerns, and potentially no services available to them,” Malhotra adds. The goal was an advice line that offered exceptional service, which includes making it accessible and culturally-safe, she says. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, and that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics. We have family doctors who are also obstetricians, and midwives answering the phones,” she explains. The advice line is set up as a triad delivery service, which means people access it with their care provider. The primary care provider sets up an appointment with the advice-line doctor, and attends the appointment with the patient.” “The provider in the community can be your midwife, your doula, your family, doctor, or a traditional healer, whoever is important to you and leading within your community,” says Malhotra. “We would, of course take any call, because the number is publicly available through phone or zoom, but we prefer to have a provider with that patient. What if someone doesn’t have the internet, or a device? “We also have a phone number,” says Malhotra. “So if someone doesn't have wifi or connectivity, they can certainly phone in.” And what if someone doesn’t have minutes on their phone? “That’s our next step,” says Malhotra. She explains the idea was planted in May, funding came quickly, and the team were able to get the advice line up and running by August, but there’s room for growth. “Our next steps, I don’t know in what order yet, would be text and patient direct contact,” she adds. The majority of the providers that participants would connect with work in rural and remote communities, says Malhotra. “Many we have are in First Nations communities and we deliberately invited the providers one by one that we knew are currently offering culturally safe care within their communities,” she explains. “We spoke to as many providers that we knew that offer culturally-safe care, that were also experts in primary care and obstetrics.” Most providers have more than 10 years experience within their communities, and are beloved in their communities, she explains, which is an important aspect of meaningful support. \----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our series on reproductive health access is made possible in part with funding from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. Their support does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced.Odette Auger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
The new Strathmore municipal building is nearing completion, with the town finding solutions for a few remaining pieces. An update on the project was presented to town council on Nov. 18 by Michael Stamhuis, the town’s special projects manager. The project is now in its “substantial completion” stage, meaning the building and work site are sufficiently completed such that they can now be handed over to, and occupied by, the town. The cost of the building has been updated to total $14.48 million, $130,000 less than the cost projected in mid-October. The final project costs will be more than $400,000 below the funding allocated for the project, reported Stamhuis. A report will be forthcoming presenting suggestions for how this surplus may be allocated. One of the options would be to set aside an amount for any issues that may arise, he said. Some uncertainties remain for the project. “While the project is substantially completed, it is not totally complete; there are some outstanding items,” said Stamhuis, who added these include the installation of audio-visual equipment, signage and furniture. All tenders for furniture and audio-visual equipment have been received, the cost of which is less than the $850,000 allocated for these components. The cost estimate for soft costs and furniture, fixtures and equipment decreased by $21,000, to $2.325 million. The audio-visual equipment was to be stored in a closet within the council chambers, but the consultant said it would generate too much heat to be stored there safely. So, the town is considering either installing a ventilation system for the closet or moving the equipment to the server room. The estimated cost for site servicing and rehabilitation has been revised to $2.599 million, representing a decrease of $16,000 from previous estimates. This reduction is due to a decrease in staff salary allocation (by $6,000) and reconciliation of consultant fees ($10,000). The total cost of the Strathmore Commons and north Kinsmen improvements is $1.675 million, equaling a reduction of $92,000 from prior estimates. The town saved money on soil disposal because the soil from site clearing was used on-site and hauling costs were minimal, resulting in a $92,000 cost reduction. Also during the meeting, a report was presented to council illustrating how the municipal building project resulted in improvements to several of the town’s assets beyond the new building itself. This assessment determined that of the approximately $14.5 million spent on the municipal building project, about $3.1 million can be attributed to Kinsmen Park and other site improvements. As such, about $11.3 million can be attributed to the building itself. According to Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule, this second report gives a more accurate picture of the cost of the new town hall building. “Obviously, some of those assets are tied to the new building, but some of them benefit and are tied to other parts of that project,” he said. The town is planning on having staff move belongings into the new building in late December and begin working there in the new year.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Vancouver police say several fines were issued over the weekend after officers were called to break up four separate gatherings, all of which violated provincial COVID-19 protocols.On Friday night, police were called to a downtown party after a concerned mother said her teenaged daughter and several other youth were at a party with adults where the parent suspected drug use, according to a statement posted to the Vancouver police website Monday.Officers found 16 people from different households inside the condo in question, the statement said. Officers broke up the party and issued a $2,300 violation ticket to the primary resident and the teenaged girls were released to a guardian, the VPD statement said.In a separate incident late Saturday, only two of six people discovered inside a broken-down limousine stalled on Stanley Park Drive were found to have come from the same household.In addition, police said the driver, who did not have a licence or permit to operate a limousine, was fined $2,300 for violating COVID-19 protocols.Highly intoxicated, hostile party-goers Later that same evening, police were called to two separate parties inside two different condo buildings, the statement said.At one of those, about 10 people were celebrating a birthday, police said. Despite the group being apologetic and remorseful for violating protocols, the condo owner was issued a $230 fine.But the other group of about 15 partiers, who police said were "highly intoxicated", became hostile when officers tried to break up the gathering, according to the statement.That owner was issued a $2,300 COVID-19 violation ticket by police.