• An investigation found several Canadian communities are under water advisories. An investigation found several Canadian communities are under water advisories.
    More than 1,800 Canadian communities started the year under drinking water advisories, a new report says.

    The investigation by the Council of Canadians found 1,838 advisories in place in January, 169 of them in First Nations communities.

    “There are thousands of people across Canada that aren’t able to drink their water,” said Emma Lui, a water campaigner for the council and author of the report.

    British Columbia accounted for almost 30 per cent of those advisories, with 544 advisories.

    Saskatchewan had 16 per cent, with 294, and Newfoundland represented almost 13 per cent, with 233.

    Ontario’s report includes only boil water advisories, while other provinces include “do not consume” warnings, water quality and other advisories.

    “There’s a lot of gaps in water protection across the country and a big one is having national enforceable drinking water standards,” Lui told Yahoo Canada News.

    “What there ends up being is a patchwork of different standards, depending on what a province has

    Read More »from Thousands of Canadians can't drink their water: report
  • “What was that?”

    “Turn down your music, you’ll ruin your hearing!”

    “WHAT?”

    “I couldn’t hear you, my music was too loud.”

    This scenario has been playing out between parents and kids for eons. But the risks for young people are higher than ever now that they can blast their music on portable devices all day.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that about “1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events.”

    Playing loud music has long been a rite of passage for young people. Ever since the Walkman first hit the market in 1979, music fans of all ages have been able to listen to their tunes via headphones wherever they go. Walk down the street today and it seems like most teens and young adults do nothing but listen to music. (As they simultaneously text and watch cat

    Read More »from Turn it way down: WHO finds 1.1B young people at risk of hearing loss
  • Toronto’s Georgina Rayner has been trying to retire for years now.

    At 67, she’s successfully raised her own two kids, both of them with special needs, and seen them go on to achieve professional and personal milestones.

    For 30 years, she’s used her own experience to advocate on behalf other parents whose kids are in danger of falling through the cracks in the education system.

    Trouble is, every time Rayner tries to step away from her unpaid work, she hears from another desperate family in need of help and she just can’t stop herself from getting back up on the soapbox and fighting for change.

    “Every child has the right to learn and to work and become something,” she told Yahoo Canada News. “It really irks me, because it seems like (special needs programming) always becomes the whipping post for all the budget cuts.”

    Her comments come as Toronto’s school trustees axe 22.5 support staff positions affecting those who work with special-needs students. The cuts come after the province

    Read More »from Budget cuts to special needs support staff a hit to Toronto’s most vulnerable students
  • In this supplied photo, a boat is seen which collided with a grey whale on Mar. 12, 2015. (AP)In this supplied photo, a boat is seen which collided with a grey whale on Mar. 12, 2015. (AP)

    The death of a Canadian woman after a grey whale crashed into a tourist boat in Mexico is likely a terrible and totally random accident, say whale-watching tour operators in Canada.

    But it does raise questions about the regulations and training that govern the tourism industry and whale-watching in particular, they said.

    “It’s very, very sad,” said Debbie Davis, who operates Prince Rupert Adventure Tours with her husband on the north coast of British Columbia, to Yahoo Canada News.

    “Whales are unpredictable. People have to be cautious – it’s a wild animal.”

    Early accounts of the accident differed.

    Firefighters said the whale breached and landed on the boat near Cabo San Lucas, while the tour company said the operator had to make a sudden movement to avoid the surfacing whale, which still hit the side of the vessel.

    Individual whales are like people. Some are very social and some are anti-social.
    —Michael Gatherall, Gatherall's Whale and Puffin Tours

    The 35-year-old woman, whose

    Read More »from Canadian tourist's whale breach death must be freak accident, say tour operators
  • Artist's rendition of the proposed American Dream Mall in Miami, Florida. (American Dream)Artist's rendition of the proposed American Dream Mall in Miami, Florida. (American Dream)

    The billionaire Edmonton family behind the West Edmonton Mall and the Mall of America have announced a massive new project in Florida.

    Debbie Patire, spokeswoman for Triple Five Group U.S., said the company is in the initial development stages for American Dream Miami.

    “We are in the very, very early stages of development for this project but it’s building on the success of what we started 30 years ago at West Edmonton Mall,” Patire told Yahoo Canada News.

    Triple Five is the multibillion-dollar economic offspring of the Ghermezian family.

    Patire declined a request for an interview with any of the notoriously publicity-shy family members.

    The company was founded by Jacob Ghermezian, a rug exporter in Iran who built his first successful retail multiplex in Tehran before emigrating to Montreal in the 1950s, according to his January 2000 obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

    In Canada, Ghermezian resumed his carpet export business and quickly built it into a chain of stores.

    In the early

    Read More »from Family behind West Edmonton Mall now planning America's (new) largest mall
  • Homeopathy's no better than placebos, says an Australian study (Michael O'Brien/The West Australian)Homeopathy's no better than placebos, says an Australian study (Michael O'Brien/The West Australian)

    Homeopathy was dealt another blow when Australia’s leading body for medical research came out swinging against the practice.

    After reviewing 225 studies, that country’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) said in a statement that there is “no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy iseffective in treating health conditions.”

    The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines homeopathy as: “a system of medical practice that treats a disease especially by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in larger amounts produce in healthy persons symptoms similar to those of the disease.”

    “NHMRC’s review shows that there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy works better than a placebo,” said the group’s CEO, Professor Warwick Anderson, in the statement.

    He added: “People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness.

    Read More »from No proof homeopathy works better than a placebo: Report
  • Julia Ratcliffe works at the MediJean medical marijuana facility in Richmond, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl DyckJulia Ratcliffe works at the MediJean medical marijuana facility in Richmond, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

    It’s worth noting, right off the bat, that no one in this suburban Ontario city, west of Toronto, is looking to rebrand their town as Marijuana Mississauga (tempting as it may be to start a new Twitter trend).

    The purpose of a new city bylaw aimed at regulating commercial marijuana grow-ops is far more practical:  

    “For us, it is really all about safety for our community and for our families,” said Jim Tovey, a Mississauga municipal councillor in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    The bylaw was approved earlier this month, making Mississauga the first city in Canada to licence legal medical marijuana growers who set up shop within the city boundaries.

    It’s not intended as an open invitation for pot growers to come to town. Tovey said city leaders were prompted to take local action following new federal regulations restricting who has the authority to produce medical marijuana.

    [ Related: N.S. medical marijuana user arrested, would rather be jailed than stop growing ]

    Hundreds of

    Read More »from Mississauga, Ont., to police medical marijuana facilities with new rules for growers
  • Left, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau; Right, Chiheb Esseghaier. (CP)Left, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau; Right, Chiheb Esseghaier. (CP)

    Terrorism-related crimes in Canada seem to be in the headlines every day now – but is terrorism on the rise, or are we just more interested in the subject? Yahoo Canada News posed those questions to a number of leading Canadian academics and terror experts.

    In recent months, there have been a number of cases before the courts, including plans to bomb the B.C. legislature, thwarted plans to derail a VIA passenger train and arrests in Halifax over a plot to open fire at shopping mall. And of course, there were the two killings of armed forces personnel last October as part of a jihadist movement.

    Canadians have also heard more stories of individuals going overseas to join ISIS to fight for the “Islamic State” in Syria or elsewhere.

    Dr. Amarnath Amarasingam has studied the radicalization question and estimates about 60 Canadians are fighting in Syria and Iraq, while the government stated last year that as many as 135 individuals “with Canadian connections who were abroad and who were

    Read More »from Homegrown terror plots and crimes fill Canadian courts and spark debate
  • The strange case of Jahanzeb Malik does nothing to allay the Canadian public’s fears about a potential attack on our soil.

    Malik is accused of plotting to use remote-controlled bombs to attack the U.S. Consulate in Toronto and bomb buildings in the financial district. Authorities allege Malik presented a very real threat, although the landed immigrant from Pakistan so far is facing only deportation, not criminal charges.

    An investigation by Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP that began last fall turned up evidence Malik allegedly wanted to bomb the U.S. consulate in Toronto, as well as other buildings in the city’s financial district.

    Malik, 33, who came to Canada a decade ago as a student, is being held while deportation proceedings take place. Officials won’t say why he hasn’t been charged criminally, even though they claim he had received weapons training overseas and tried to radicalize an RCMP undercover officer.

    It’s likely the evidence fell short or sustaining a criminal

    Read More »from Jahanzeb Malik’s alleged bomb plot plays to Canadian fears of attack on home soil
  • Green beer (Thinkstock)Green beer (Thinkstock)

    Perhaps this St. Patrick’s Day weekend you plan on having one bourbon, one scotch and one beer … and that’s before you head to the pub to drink more with your friends.

    Well, you may want to rethink those plans.

    Just last week, several college students in California celebrating “St. Fratty’s Day” were injured when the roof caved in due to many revelers standing on it. The partiers were reportedly “brewfing,” a term meaning drinking beer while on a roof.

    Here in Canada, alcohol was responsible for a sobering 8.22 per cent of all deaths under the age of 70 and 7.23 per cent of all days spent in hospital, according to a report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. And 15 to 20 per cent of Canadians meet the criteria for alcohol disorders, according to two doctors, who conducted a review of alcohol misuse published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

    Kids and young adults are starting to misuse alcohol at startlingly young ages. Binge drinking is generally

    Read More »from Canadians cautioned to watch for binge drinking behaviour on St. Patrick’s Day

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