Many Ontarians have been left confused by the latest COVID-19 restrictions, including those who have to enforce the rules. The ongoing confusion has experts worried it will only exacerbate pandemic fatigue, leading to more cases and deaths.
Many Ontarians have been left confused by the latest COVID-19 restrictions, including those who have to enforce the rules. The ongoing confusion has experts worried it will only exacerbate pandemic fatigue, leading to more cases and deaths.
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
The Moose Hide Campaign is gearing up for its tenth anniversary with an upcoming livestream and set of virtual workshops. Founded in 2011 by a then 16-year-old Raven Lacerte and her father Paul, the campaign has now distributed more than two million squares of moose hide pins, representative of the commitments made during the campaign’s decade-long effort to end violence towards women and children. While out on a hunting trip near the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, called as such because of the many women who have gone missing or have been murdered along that 725-km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, the father-daughter duo began thinking of the White Ribbon Campaign. Co-founded by former federal New Democratic Party leader, the now late Jack Layton, the White Ribbon Campaign was sparked in response to the hate and violence that led to the shooting deaths of 14 women and others injured at École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. “As we were talking about it, this moment of inspiration came to us,” Raven said. “We thought that moose hide would be something that men and boys would feel connected to with a hunter-gatherer, warrior feel to it,” she said, and that in turn could help raise awareness about the issue of violence toward women and children in the Indigenous community. Paul Lacerte had been at a conference in Vancouver focused on ending such violence when he recognized how few men were engaged by the issue. Of the hundreds of attendees, Lacerte noticed less than five men taking a true interest. “Women were doing all of it, the advocacy, the support, bearing the burden of the trauma and the healing,” Raven said. “We’ve been learning and growing over the years, as you can probably imagine as a 16-year-old and her dad just trying to sort it all out,” Raven said of the Moose Hide Campaign’s development over the years. “When we started, our idea was that ‘men need to end violence towards women and children’, with a special focus on Indigenous women and children,” Raven said. “As visibly Indigenous people, we know that the likelihood of something bad happening to me is much higher than other people. My dad really wanted to do that work to ensure that myself and my sisters could live lives free from violence.” Men and boys soon became engaged in the campaign, which includes a fast for one day as part of a call to action, which tests and deepens an individual’s personal commitment to honour and protect the woman and children in their lives. There was also a strong interest from other participants across the gender spectrum. “Immediately, women and gender non-binary folks were asking what their role could be in this movement,” Raven said. “It’s an awareness campaign. We invite everyone to wear the moose hide pin and fast with us, and continue these really important conversations.” “We’re still targeting men and boys specifically, but in the same breath saying that this campaign is for everyone. We need all of us to work together to end violence against women and children.” Raven also emphasized a greater integration of trans people and members of the greater LGBTQ2S+ community, with a goal of bringing an end to all gender-based and domestic violence. An event planned for Feb. 11 will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time. The intention is “To remember those we have lost. To share our stories and struggles. To grow closer through the experience of fasting and ceremony. To motivate one another with all we have managed to achieve,” reads the Moose Hide Campaign website. Forced online due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event offers the opportunity for attendees to hear from keynote speakers, the campaign’s founders, Elders and to participate in ceremony. February 11 is also the day people will undergo the traditional fast, which offers the opportunity for humility, healing and a signal that those taking part are serious about making change. Raven emphasized the importance of signing up through the campaign website to register for the day’s events, order a set of pins, learn healthy fasting techniques, and tips on organizing local Moose Hide Campaign events. There is also an option to order non-leather pins for those interested. Lacerte emphasized that the moose hides come from a variety of sources that are sent to a tannery, including donations from hunters who otherwise would have left the hides in the bush. “No moose are killed solely for the purpose of the campaign,” Raven said. The campaign encourages participants to wear the hide pins year-round. “Moose are iconically Canadian,” she said. “We wanted to offer a bit of the beauty and love and healing energy of the land as part of this movement. This is not just something you can throw in the garbage. We want you to wear it with pride.” Windspeaker.com By Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
Area healthcare services were top of mind at Mono Council’s meeting last Tuesday (Jan. 12).The President/CEO of Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, Jody Levac delivered a presentation to Council about the hospital’s new expansion and the impact it will have on both the facility and roughly 200 Mono residents who use it instead of Headwaters Health Care Centre.Long a staple of both Alliston and the surrounding area, Stevenson Memorial has been struggling with its size compared to its growing patient load and is thrilled to announce the new expansion. Opening in January of this year, will be a new Level 2 ICU at the hospital, with four ICU beds initially and a fifth to come later. In addition to providing care for patients with advanced care needs, close to home, the facility will house respiratory therapists – a new area of care at SMH. The trauma room, originally built in 1964, in the Emergency Department, is being reno-vated and updated, with new flooring, paint, lighting, fixtures and glass door entrance that can be turned opaque, for patient pri-vacy. All this is being done, while waiting for the much needed redevelopment.The hospital stepped up when COVID-19 struck, opening an assessment centre in the parking lot, which is now operated on an appointment-only system, doing thousands of swabs to date. The clinic has since been converted to a two car at a time heated and winterized drive-through facility. SMH is working on establishing an Influenza Like Illness (ILI) Clinic to assess patients.The hospital is working to submit a Stage 2 submission to the Ministry of Health for the proposed redevelopment. The submission will see a total of 47 beds in the redeveloped hospital. The next step in the process will be to secure the local share of funding for the proj-ect, $30 million over the next 18-24 months. The proposed revitalized Hospital will see a new two story wrap around addition, which encompasses the existing hospital in its design. Also included in that design is a new trauma centre with an indoor ambu-lance bay that can house four ambulances.In his wrap up, Dr. Levac expressed his appreciation for the support that SMH has received from both Mono residents and busi-nesses, and added that he hopes Council can afford to help out with fundraising for the new development. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
BERLIN — Bayern Munich’s closest challengers, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, both lost in the Bundesliga on Saturday to give the eight-time defending champions a chance to move seven points clear at the top. Second-place Leipzig lost 3-2 at relegation-threatened Mainz and third-place Leverkusen lost 1-0 at home to Wolfsburg. Bayern visits last-place Schalke on Sunday. American midfielder Tyler Adams got Leipzig off to a great start with a goal in the 15th minute, but Moussa Niakhaté scored twice for Mainz, either side of Marcel Halstenberg’s 30th-minute strike for the visitors. New signing Danny da Costa set up Leandro Barreiro for Mainz’s winner in the 50th. Midfielder Ridle Baku’s 35th-minute header was enough for Wolfsburg. Leverkusen made a good start but Nadiem Amiri and Lucas Alario missed early chances, with Alario striking the post before Wolfsburg gradually settled. Leverkusen maintained its pressure but the defence took a break and left Baku to head in Renato Steffen’s cross against the run of play. Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz reacted at the break by bringing on former Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah for his Bundesliga debut, but Wolfsburg saw out the win. Luka Jovic scored his third goal in as many substitute appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt since returning from Real Madrid to seal a 5-1 win at Arminia Bielefeld. Augsburg goalkeeper Rafa Gikiewicz saved a penalty to secure a 2-1 win over his former team Union Berlin. Gikiewicz denied Marcus Ingvartsen in the 56th, then produced a fine save to also thwart Taiwo Awoniyi. Florian Niederlechner, who conceded the spot kick, had already scored twice for the home side. Freiburg beat Stuttgart 2-1. Hertha Berlin hosted fellow struggler Werder Bremen later Saturday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Health officials say a U.K. variant of COVID-19 is behind a deadly outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., north of Toronto. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples from Roberta Place Retirement Lodge have been identified as the highly contagious variant. The local health unit announced earlier this week that they had found a variant at the home and were conducting tests to determine what it was. Known variant strains of the virus were first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. An outbreak at Roberta Place was first declared on Jan. 8. A news release says as of Friday, 124 of 127 residents, and 84 staff were positive for the virus, resulting in 29 deaths. The health unit, in partnership with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, says it accelerated its immunization program on Friday and vaccinated all eligible residents and staff. Officials say they're also immunizing residents at the other retirement homes throughout Simcoe Muskoka this weekend. As of Jan. 16, eligible residents of all long-term care facilities in Simcoe Muskoka have also received their first dose of immunization against COVID-19. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place long-term care home has been heartbreaking for all," Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said in a statement Saturday. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." Ontario reported 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 52 more deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 708 new cases in Toronto, 422 in Peel Region, and 220 in York Region. She said there were also 107 more cases in Hamilton and 101 in Ottawa. Nearly 63,500 tests have been completed in Ontario over the past 24 hours. The province reported that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report. A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far. Since the pandemic began, there have been 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those, 222,287 have recovered and 5,753 people have died. Saturday's numbers were down from Friday's figures of 2,662 new cases and 87 more deaths. Meanwhile, the Ontario government has announced it's expanding its "inspection blitz" of big-box stores to ensure they're following COVID-19 guidelines this weekend. The workplace inspections, which started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, will now stretch out to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham regions. Officials want to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown. The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals. The province's labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections. Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders. "However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action," McNaughton added in a statement Saturday. "The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Larger organized gatherings and later hours for bars and restaurants are now allowed as P.E.I. eased some of its COVID-19 restrictions effective Saturday. There have been no reported cases of influenza on P.E.I. this season, as well as fewer cases of coughs and colds, which the Chief Public Health Office credits to "unintended impacts" of pandemic restrictions. With cough and cold season all but non-existent this year because of COVID-19 health measures, Honibe lozenge-maker Island Abbey Foods has laid off 30 staff. Despite those layoffs, it's been a banner year for P.E.I.'s biosciences sector, with more than 200 new jobs in 2020, and seven Island bioscience companies planning major expansions this year. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. remains 110, with seven still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick announced 17 new cases on Saturday. There are now 328 active cases in the province. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador had no new cases Saturday.. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Support for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has overseen the world's second deadliest coronavirus outbreak, has fallen sharply, a Datafolha poll shows, as a brutal second wave and a lack of vaccines sour views of his far-right government. However, despite his declining support, a majority of Brazilians are now against him being impeached, a second Datafolha poll found. According to one of the polls, Bolsonaro's administration was rated as bad or terrible by 40% of respondents, compared with 32% in an early-December survey.
Mayor Stasiuk called the regularly scheduled council meeting for the Town of Langenburg to order with all members present. After reviewing the agenda, Councillor Sicinski made a motion to accept the agenda; motion carried Next, the minutes were reviewed before Councillor Popp making a motion to accept; motion carried. The council then reviewed the town’s accounts. After a short discussion, Councillor Lundgren made a motion to accept the accounts as reviewed; motion carried. Next, the council heard the Town Foreman’s Report. Dave Tucker explained what the town maintenance staff have done over the last two weeks as well as what they are looking at doing over the next two weeks. Councillor Hunt made a motion to accept the Town Foreman’s Report; motion carried. Administrator Lemcke reviewed her report with the council. After a short discussion, Councillor Popp made a motion to accept the report which was carried. Corporal Darcy Theimann of the Esterhazy/Langenburg RCMP was in attendance to have an informal discussion with the council. Corporal Theimann was there to meet the new council as well as to inform the council of what’s happening with the local RCMP, the detachment is short-staffed at this time and it isn’t looking any better coming up as they could be as many as 3 staff members short. COVID restrictions were discussed as well as COVID fines, the RCMP are not going out to issue COVID fines but will investigate any complaints or concerns about COVID restrictions. Carrying on, the council reviewed the correspondence received by the town over the last two weeks. Councillor Hunt made a motion to file the correspondence which was carried. The council then moved in-camera with a motion by Councillor Sicinski; motion carried. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11 a.m. Ontario is reporting 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 today and 52 more deaths related to the virus. The numbers mark a slight decline from the 2,662 cases recorded a day ago. Meanwhile the province says it plans to expand an inspection blitz of big-box stores to ensure they're complying with protocols meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Labour says inspection efforts focused on the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, but will concentrate on Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions over the next two days. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
A 64-year-old woman is dead after a three-vehicle crash south of Lloydminster on Thursday, Maidstone RCMP say. Officers were called around 7 p.m. CST about the accident on Highway 17 near Lone Rock, Sask., roughly 25 kilometres south of Lloydminster. They determined a crash occurred between two vans, both southbound. The first van then crashed with a northbound semi, police say. The 64-year-old woman, who was a passenger in one of the vans, was taken to hospital, where she died. Police did not provide any information other than her age and where she was from. The drivers of the semi and the other van reported no injuries. RCMP said alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the crash. An RCMP collision reconstructionist from Prince Albert was on scene, the police news release said, and would investigate the crash with Maidstone RCMP.
With input from the Town Engineer, Ste-phen Burnett and Director of Development and Operations Jim Moss, Treasurer Carey Holmes outlined the connecting link grant contract for the East portion of Main Street.The RFP was closed in November and four bids were received. The winning bid, which includes option 1, of the three options pro-vided, was Coco Paving at $491,609.Stephen Burnett outlined to council the total scope of the project and all three options. He explained that when the appli-cation was filed, the total scope of the work was not determined.Once this was accomplished, it was deter-mined that the curbing along the core area of Main Street did need replacement along with the road resurfacing. Behind the curb-ing, between it and the sidewalk, was an area of interlocking stone. The decision that needed to be made was as to whether or not this should be replaced, reused, or left alone, hence the aforementioned three options.The recommendation was that option 1 was the most efficient and practical, replace the interlocking stone and the curbing, along with the resurfacing of the road way.Some of the old interlocking stone could be saved and reused in the renovations to Jack Downing Park.In addition, the curbing in front of Town Hall, at the crosswalk, would be extended out so as to remove one lane of traffic and negate the use to the current barriers to pre-vent motorists from trying to pass cars wait-ing for traffic in the crosswalk.Both the new stone and the lane change are awaiting MTO approval but no issue with that is presently foreseen.Treasurer Holmes indicated that the extra costs of the new stone, which was a little over $82,000, could be taken from the Road Construction Reserve, leaving it with a bal-ance of $293,500.Once the MTO approvals are received for the optional work, the project should commence as soon as weather permits are available, assumably in early spring of 2021. Council approved the project unanimously. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Yulia Navalnaya was taking part in a protest to demand the release of her husband when she was taken into a police vehicle.
After an eight-year human rights battle, a former correctional officer who was targeted for being Black at work will learn by Jan. 28 how much compensation he'll get. Levan Francis loved his job before he was transferred to the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam, where he faced repeated racial slurs and physical attacks. In 2012, Francis filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. On Friday, Human Rights Tribunal arbitrator Diana Juricevic said she will deliver her decision about compensation by Jan. 28, after hearing final submissions from both sides. The province of B.C. is offering up to $368,491.18 for lost income and other expenses. Included in that total is $20-$35,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect. But the lawyer for Francis said legal costs, at close to $250,000 after such a long legal odyssey, would eat up most of that. However, legal expenses are not compensable under the B.C. Human Rights Code. $1.2M proposed as compensation Larry Smeets says his client would be left vindicated, but broke, after losing his 15-year career, his family home — and his mental health. In his final submission, Smeets put forward $1,236,465.05 as a fair total for compensation for all the income and personal costs to Francis during this protracted case. The 51-year-old suffers from severe depression and PTSD, much of it attributed to his treatment at work. "I was good at my job. I treated inmates like human beings. But things just kept coming at me and it comes to the point when I'd had enough," said Francis, in an interview last summer. Two years ago — July 4, 2019 — the Human Rights Tribunal issued a 106-page decision deeming his former workplace "poisonous" and his complaint justified. In final submissions, his lawyer said that Francis was labelled a "rat" and had a "target on his back" once he complained. His case has been plagued with delays — and setbacks. Smeets said it was a struggle for Francis, who was in financial turmoil, to find a lawyer who would agree to take the complex case against the province. Lawyer Peter Gall represents B.C. in the Francis case. He said the province agrees Francis must be "fairly and appropriately compensated by way of damages for the discriminatory incidents that occurred in his workplace. The government regrets that they occurred and agrees fully that he should be compensated for the damages as a result of the discriminatory incidents." But Gall says Francis is seeking compensation for some incidents and conflicts that were not discriminatory. Gall cited examples including trauma caused by the death of an inmate that Francis dealt with, the stresses of his disability claims being cut off after he refused to participate in investigations or attend psychiatric assessments needed to access benefits. "We say really you are the author of your own misfortune here, by not following the advice of your doctor and your union," Gall said in his final submissions on Zoom. But Smeets said his client became paranoid, believing his employer tried to delay his efforts to get disability benefits, labelling him "disgruntled" and suggesting his medical claim was "bogus." In his submissions, Smeets said there was nothing to show anything had been done to improve the "poisonous" work environment at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre. And he said more should have been done given the evidence brought by other employees about how Francis was stereotyped for no reason as "a slow, lazy Black man," after he filed a complaint. Smeets said past attempts by the province to settle were less than generous and he urged his client to reject them. During the tribunal hearing, Francis raised 32 incidents of conflict at his workplace. Of those, nine were deemed discrimination, eight were not and 15 were too dated, having missed the legal deadline. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay's Amy Curlew is joining the big leagues this weekend, as she makes the jump from U.S. college hockey to the National Women's Hockey League. On Saturday, Curlew and her Toronto Six teammates will hit the ice for the first time in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the NWHL is holding its regular season and playoffs in a bubble in the leadup to the Isobel Cup final on Feb. 5. Curlew said playing pro hockey is a great chance to develop as a player and help grow the sport for women. "I think it's a great opportunity and there's definitely a lot of people that are pushing for us, and honestly, the NWHL is a great platform for women's ice hockey players and women athletes in general," she told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning. "We got a lot of great people helping us out and I think it's just phenomenal what they're putting together." Curlew was drafted in April by the Six, the NWHL's newest team and first team to play in Canada, based on the strength of her play while at Cornell University, where she put up 22 points in 32 games this year in a pandemic-shortened season. Her new coach, Margaret (Digit) Murphy — a fellow Cornell alum — noticed Curlew's game at the university and said she's a player who can play in all situations, in addition to being a "phenomenal human." "She stood out to me as someone who has energy for the game.… I think she has so much untapped potential and I think as players get older, they get better, they get more confident, and Amy's that kind of player that you can depend on," said Murphy. "She's there every day, working hard, comes with a smile on her face, has a lot of fun. And I think the other thing that inspires me is that other players are inspired by watching her play, so I think she's a magical Energizer bunny on the ice with us. I just love the way she plays." But Curlew is humble, despite the praise from her coach, who is among the most successful coaches ever at the highest level of American women's collegiate hockey. "She knows the game, so I guess she knows what she's talking about," she laughed. Curlew said her hard-working attitude began while she was growing up and playing hockey in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. "Starting at that rink back home and starting on my rink that my dad put together for me in my backyard, just shooting pucks, that led to something like Appleby College out here in Oakville, Ontario, which then led to me being able to go to Cornell University," Curlew said. "I think you need to go into every experience with an open mind, and just understand that you're going to go through some struggles, but you've gotta push through it.… If you're willing to do it, it's attainable." Role model for future players Murphy said Curlew's qualities as a skilled player and an inspiring person were just what she and the Six were looking for when they drafted her eighth overall. "When we built the team, it was really around more of a mindset than talent," she said. "What separates the Toronto Six and the culture that we build is how the connection and the mission is similar.… Do you want to play for a team that stands for, yes, women's hockey, great competition, but also being heroes, leaders and role models for the next generation?" With a team full of leaders and role models, Murphy said, her team will be able to compete on the ice, while creating opportunities for future female players who might not otherwise have a place to play just as they're entering their prime hockey years. "What happens is a lot of these players, they're just done and it's a hard stop in their NCAA career and there aren't a lot of opportunities post-college," she said. "What the NWHL is doing is they're affording players like Amy, and all the players on our team, top to bottom, opportunity to play post-collegiately, which quite frankly, I believe women deserve." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
What does it take to build a nation? It takes vision, confidence and bringing together everyone in that nation as one for the betterment of that whole nation. How does a person take a nation such as Canada, back in its early beginning, and make it one nation? There were not only citizens of countries in Europe emigrating, there as well as the original residents of the nation the Indigenous, Inuit and Metis. This was the challenge faced by the first Prime Minister of Canada. Beginning in the 1870s, both the federal government and Plains Nations wanted to include schooling provisions in treaties, though for different reasons. Indigenous leaders hoped Euro-Canadian schooling would help their young to learn the skills of the newcomer society and help them make a successful transition to a world dominated by strangers. With the passage of the British North America Act in 1867 and the implementation of the Indian Act (1876), the government was required to provide Indigenous youth with an education and to assimilate them into Canadian society. The federal government supported schooling as a way to make First Nations economically self-sufficient. Their underlying objective was to decrease Indigenous dependence on public funds. The government, therefore, collaborated with Christian missionaries to encourage religious conversion and Indigenous economic self-sufficiency. This led to the development of an educational policy after 1880 that relied heavily on custodial schools. These were not the kind of schools Indigenous leaders had hoped to create. Beginning with the establishment of three industrial schools on the prairies in 1883, and through the next half-century, the federal government and churches developed a system of residential schools that stretched across much of the country. Most of the residential schools were in the four Western provinces and the territories, but there were also significant numbers in northwestern Ontario and in northern Québec. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had no schools, apparently because the government assumed that Indigenous people there had been assimilated into Euro-Canadian culture. At its height around 1930, the residential school system totalled 80 institutions. The Roman Catholic Church operated three-fifths of the schools, the Anglican Church one-quarter and the United and Presbyterian Churches the remainder. (Before 1925, the Methodist Church also operated residential schools; however, when the United Church of Canada was formed in 1925, most of the Presbyterian and all the Methodist schools became United Church schools.) ( Canadian Encyclopedia - Residential Schools in Canada) Were the ideals of the first prime minister of Canada wrong? Was it wrong of Indigenous Leaders to want to teach their youth the skills of the newcomer to better assimilate into the new country being developed? The atrocities of the residential schools were definitely wrong. There were the atrocities of many of the boarding schools of the era such as St. Vincents and many other religious residential schools. We know our early politicians had a role to play in residential schools in Canada. Is it ok to tear down a statue commemorating a public figure who united us as one nation early in our beginning? Sir. John A Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada, and served 19 years; only William Lyon Mackenzie King served longer. Among his many accomplishments, he acquired territory that made Canada the second-largest country in the world. The National Post reported a quote from 1880 where Macdonald disparaged his forebears for the awful plight of Canada’s first peoples. “We must remember that they are the original owners of the soil, of which they have been dispossessed by the covetousness or ambition of our ancestors,” Macdonald wrote in a letter proposing the creation of the Department of Indian Affairs. “At all events, the Indians have been great sufferers by the discovery of America and the transfer to it of a large white population.” While there are many who hold different beliefs regarding Sir John A. Macdonald, it is important to have discussions regarding the context and events that took place, versus performing destructive acts on historical statues. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Ottawa-based company Spartan Bioscience has received Health Canada approval for its made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test, authorizing the sale of the device. "Spartan's test is the first truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market," a news release from the company states. "The Spartan COVID-19 system offers the speed and ease of use of a rapid test, while using the technology of lab-based COVID-19 testing solutions." Health Canada originally provided regulatory approval for the company's device in April 2020 — with the federal government ordering 40,000 tests monthly. At the time, the portable test was being called a "game changer" by health officials because it could deliver on-location results within 60 minutes. The federal agency restricted the device to research use in May, however, after finding problems with the test that made it unreliable. Approval was granted on Friday after the company conducted clinical trials based on a new device design, Health Canada spokesperson Natalie Mohamed told CBC News in an email. "The Spartan Bioscience test is a point-of-care molecular test," Mohamed wrote. "This new device meets Health Canada's requirements for safety and effectiveness." WATCH | Health Canada approves Canadian-made rapid COVID-19 testing system: New swab, upgrades to chemistry kit Dr. James Spiegelman, a co-founder of the company who also practises internal medicine at Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, said the problems stemmed from the efficacy of the swabs used to collect tissue samples, not the machine itself. Spartan originally used a proprietary cheek swab that it developed for other DNA diagnostics, he said, but it became clear that the swab wasn't collecting enough genetic material to produce consistent, reliable results. The company now uses standard nasopharyngeal swabs to collect tissue from the nose. "We found that that provides the best sample for increased sensitivity of the test," Spiegelman said. Spiegelman said the company also made improvements to the sample processing kit so that it no longer needs to be shipped and stored at frozen temperatures but can be stored at room temperature. With the Spartan test, a trained health-care professional swabs the nose of the person being tested, places the swab into a processing kit that generates a chain reaction and then puts that kit into the cube-shaped device, which takes about 50 minutes to analyze and produce results. Spiegelman said the test could be used to provide quick and accurate COVID-19 diagnostics everywhere from hospitals and workplaces to pharmacies and remote communities. "I think [Spartan's rapid test] will really help alleviate and give us a tool in our toolbox to reduce the spread of COVID-19," he said. Rapid tests already in use across Canada Rapid diagnostic tests are already in use in many settings across Canada to test for COVID-19, including in homeless shelters, long-term care homes and remote communities. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that the federal government had distributed more than 14 million to the provinces and territories. "Hopefully we see these integrated into work environments, especially work environments where we know they're at greater risk for outbreaks," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who is also a member of the Ontario COVID-19 vaccine task force. "I think you could think about certainly integrating them into certain schools or certain school settings, rural, remote, underserviced locations. There's a lot of places where rapid tests would be extremely helpful." Spartan Bioscience CEO Roger Eacock said the company currently has the manufacturing capacity to produce 60,000 of the tests per week, but the company plans to ramp that up to 200,000 per week in the future. Eacock said the company already has deals with the federal government and several provinces, as well as some airlines and resource companies, and that shipments are expected to begin in the coming week.
Dutch police have arrested the alleged leader of a large Asian drug syndicate who is listed as one of the world's most-wanted fugitives and has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, was detained on Friday at the request of Australian police, who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70 billion-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said on Saturday. Tse is expected to be extradited after appearing before a judge, Aling said, adding that his arrest by national police took place without incident at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
A decision to waive vision tests and other screening typically required to renew driver's licences for Ontarians aged 80 and older during the pandemic has some in the medical community raising concerns about the risks the move poses to those on the road. Residents aged 80 and older need to renew their licence every two years. The process involves a vision test, an education session, a review of driving records, a screening exercise, and, if needed, a road test. Last March however, in an effort to limit gatherings during the pandemic, Ontario paused licence renewal sessions for drivers aged 80 and older, and waived vision testing requirements. Seniors can currently renew their licences online with no testing needed. Dr. Hall Chew, an ophthalmologist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, said the situation is a difficult one. "On the one hand, our seniors are the people who are at risk of getting sick from COVID, so any unnecessary appointments or exposure puts them at high risk," he said. "However, we know it is harder for patients over 80 to drive. They have more medical co-morbidities and vision problems, which we see quite commonly, and this is why renewal requirements exist in the first place." Chew said the suspension of renewal requirements for those 80 and older could lead to some being behind the wheel when they shouldn't be, posing a risk to everyone on the road. He also noted that seniors are likely paying fewer visits to eye doctors during the pandemic, which means some may not yet have been told they should no longer be driving. Chew suggested that vision testing, at minimum, be considered an essential renewal requirement. He said it could be done through virtual consultations or at Service Ontario sites with minimal contact and physical distancing. Dr. Barry Goldlist, a geriatrician at the University Health Network and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said licence renewals for those 80 and older should be seen as an essential service. "Why did the government sites close down completely, while others are trying to find ways to provide safe essential services,” he said. Goldlist said masking and physical distancing could at least help vision tests and and the education sessions that are part of senior licence renewals take place. He also suggested that licences renewed online during the pandemic be extended only for six months, as opposed to the typical two years. Several seniors said they wanted to ensure they could keep driving safely and hoped the pause on renewal requirements would not lead to any issues in the future. Anita Longe, an 87-year-old retired nurse, said being able to drive has been particularly useful during the pandemic. “I’ve always enjoyed driving. During COVID we are inside so much, at least we can go for a drive,” she said. Longe, whose licence will expire in September, said she was a careful driver and appreciated the independence the skill brought. She said she was eager to be able to keep driving. Hiroshi Ono, an 84-year-old vision science researcher at York University, recently renewed his license online and said he only learned about being able to do so from a friend. "There was a good reason for having those tests and they are not doing them now,” he said. Meanwhile, some seniors said they've been told by customer service agents that they can keep driving without renewals during the pandemic. John Roce, an architect who turned 82 in September, said he had last been through the renewal process in 2018 and had not yet renewed his licence again. He said he wasn't sure how to do so. "I was told by the licencing bureau to sit tight until I heard from the government," he said. Michael O’Morrow, a senior advisor at the Transportation Ministry said the renewal requirements were suspended “in order to support public health guidance to limit gatherings and encourage self- isolation.” He said licences that had expired from March 1, 2019 onward could be renewed online. "We strongly encourage everyone to renew their driver’s licence," he said. The ministry did not provide statistics on the number of seniors who had their licences revoked since 2018. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Radha Kohly is an eye physician and surgeon and vice-chair in her department at the University of Toronto. She is currently a fellow in global journalism at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Radha Kohly, The Canadian Press
SOUTHAMPTON, England — Defending-champion Arsenal was eliminated from FA Cup competition following a 1-0 fourth-round loss Satuday to Southampton. Adding insult to injury was the defeat came the result of Gabriel's own goal. His decision to try to block a shot from Kyle Walker-Peters proved costly for Arsenal. Right-back Walker-Peters was allowed plenty of space to overlap the Arsenal defence, but his shot looked to be heading narrowly wide of the far post before Gabriel's failed attempt deflected the ball off the post and in. It was the first goal Arsenal had conceded since Dec. 26 after five consecutive shutouts. "I’m very disappointed because we wanted to continue in the competition, we had a dream to do it again like last year and the dream today is over,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. "I am as well disappointed with the way we conceded the goal in an area where we know we shouldn’t be doing that. "At the same time, I cannot fault the effort of the players, how they tried and how they went to get a goal in the second half.” Arsenal has won the FA Cup a record 14 times and Arteta before kickoff called it “our favourite competition.” Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored both of the team's goals in the 2-1 win over Chelsea in last year's final, but he wasn't available Saturday due to what Arteta called “a personal matter.” Arteta said he couldn't yet predict when Aubameyang might return. Southampton moves on to a fifth-round game away at Wolverhampton, which beat sixth-tier Chorley on Friday. Premier League clubs Manchester City, Brighton, West Ham and Sheffield United are all in action later Saturday against lower-league teams. There is also a rescheduled Premier League game between Aston Villa and Newcastle. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press