• 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
  • A woman holds a ticket purchased for the U.S.  Powerball lottery on February 9, 2015. (Reuters)A woman holds a ticket purchased for the U.S. Powerball lottery on February 9, 2015. (Reuters)

    If you play the lottery regularly, you probably love that interval between the time you buy the ticket and when the numbers are drawn.

    You get to dream a little about what you’ll do with all those millions if you win. You conjure fantasies about quitting your job, lying on a beach, paying cash for your dream house and studding the driveway with toys or playing lady bountiful to your family. That’s what the lottery ads suggest, anyway.

    The dream almost always evaporates after you check your numbers. But for the rare few, that moment makes the dream real. And that can be a daunting prospect.

    Suddenly, you’re confronted with the challenge of actually making decisions about the equivalent of several lifetimes’ earnings for the average person. No one could blame you for being intimidated.

    In B.C., for instance, someone came forward Monday to claim a $50-million Lotto Max price just days before the March 14, 2014, ticket was set to expire.

    It’s the longest anyone has ever waited to bring

    Read More »from Winning the lottery can be more frightening than exciting for Canadians
  • You think we had lots of snow and cold weather in Canada this winter? You're absolutely right. (CBC)You think we had lots of snow and cold weather in Canada this winter? You're absolutely right. (CBC)

    We are Canadian. Winter does not scare us.

    We invented snowmobiles, the snow blower, Polar fleece and Plexi-glass. There may be some debate about whether we invented hockey but, let’s be honest, we own it now.

    But enough already.

    Environment Canada statistics confirm what Canucks felt in their frozen bones — this winter has been a brutal beating from Mother Nature.

    There are reports that the snow banks in Moncton, N.B. are three storeys high.

    Three. Storeys.

    NASA kindly pointed out on Jan. 8 that it was warmer in the Gale Crater on Mars than it was throughout much of Canada, and there was one day in January that Ottawa was the coldest capital city on Earth — colder than Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, and Moscow, Russia.

    Niagara Falls froze. Okay, that happens a lot… when it’s incredibly cold.

    Ontario and
    Read More »from Environment Canada confirms how ridiculously cold winter has been this year

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