Downtown Mission purchase of Windsor Public Library Central branch falls through

The Downtown Mission has announced its deal to move into the Central branch of the Windsor Public Library building has fallen through.

Executive director Ron Dunn said the organization was not able to secure a mortgage because of a funding deficit over a two-year period, adding the location has been sold to a new developer.

"Since we made the announcement of the library in March, you could start to see the decline in donations from certain groups. So we just had a deficit — at a time when the need has exploded," Dunn said. ""It left us in a position to have to quickly come up with a new plan."

That alternative plan came with the help of two donors, allowing the Mission to purchase another property at 819 Ouellette Ave. for $1.2 million — with plans to construct a new building there.

On Feb. 28, the Central branch will be "assigned" — or handed over — to the new developer. That same day, the Downtown Mission will take over the vacant lot at 819 Ouellette Ave.

CBC File Photo

"That got us back our deposit money which we're really happy about. We're not losing any money," he said. "It's lemonade out of lemons. We were out of time. We were out of options. So getting our money back was helpful."

The original plan would have seen 50 apartment-style "dwellings" constructed in the Central branch, providing affordable housing for people who really need it.

"There's 6,000 people on a waiting list [for housing] right now ... 50 apartments is not a game-changer. But it's a game-changer for 50 people."

Due to a lack of space, those units won't be a part of the new build.

"While we're really sad about the loss of the housing components, which were so desperately needed, it does remove a nearly a $9-million mortgage we would've had," said Dunn. "We'll be able to build a small building there based on the generosity of our donors."

Why funding fell through

The Downtown Mission's current location on Victoria Avenue was built in 2000 "to help 100 people a day." But according to Dunn, the Mission regularly serves about 908 meals a day on average.

"The truth is, we underestimated how angry some people would be about us purchasing the library," said Dunn, adding some didn't want the Downtown Mission based on Ouellette Avenue, while others don't want them anywhere.

"Since we made the announcement, we've seen a decline in support," he added.

Katerina Georgieva/CBC

The library was sold to the Downtown Mission in May 2018 for $3.6 million.

Dunn acknowledged the concerns from library users who were not happy about the sale, but said that decision wasn't up to him.

"You can't buy what's not for sale," said Dunn, adding there was major fallout from the purchase.

"We also had people that said, 'If you can afford a library, you don't need our 20 dollars.' But what they failed to understand and what we've been trying to tell them is that we're going to get a mortgage just like everybody else."

Dunn added with their current funds, the Downtown Mission could still afford to purchase the Central branch. However, without being able to secure a mortgage, renovations there would not have been possible.

Tap on the tweet below to watch Dunn's full announcement:

Last March, the Mission set a fundraising goal of $5.1 million, with the aim of moving all programming and services from the Victoria Avenue location to the Central library by June 2020.

Dunn said, during that time, he approached council for an extension on securing a mortgage, but that was not granted.

"We raised more money in 2019 than we did in 2018. The challenge is the need far outgrew our ability to raise money," said Dunn, referring to the Downtown Mission as "ground zero" for the housing crisis and mental health service needs.

In recent months, the Mission has reduced spending, staff and programming, Dunn said.

"To not have a mortgage should say to our supporters that we're being fiscally responsible," he said.

An emotional announcement

Speaking to CBC News following Thursday's press conference, Dunn fought back tears discussing the "tireless work" his team did to design the Central library under the Mission's vision.

Every wall, every element and the programming that went around it was a result of many years of work," said Dunn, adding "people vote with their money."

"I really believed that I was following a plan that was supported. It became clear that it was not," he said.

Stacey Janzer/CBC

Dunn said the Downtown Mission will still continue to serve its clients in a "smaller, scaled-back capacity," continuing to offer programs like giving hair cuts, providing counselling and operating a food bank.

With its current location on Victoria Avenue having already been sold to a private buyer for $900,000, Dunn said the Downtown Mission has between eight months and a year — starting Sept. 2020 — to move out.

Referring to the yet-to-be-built property on 819 Ouellette Avenue as "condensed," Dunn said it will include a new kitchen and dining room, an office space for counselling and a small area for people to worship — all mortgage-free.

The estimated size of the property is pegged at about 6,000 to 8,000 square feet.

  • Model predicts 250 Alberta patients will need intensive care at peak of COVID-19 pandemic
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    CBC

    Model predicts 250 Alberta patients will need intensive care at peak of COVID-19 pandemic

    Public health modelling predicts cases of COVID-19 could peak in Alberta in early May, Premier Jason Kenney said in an emergency debate in the legislature Wednesday night.The model predicts at the provincial peak, about 250 people will be in intensive care unit beds with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.The calculations, prepared by Alberta Health Services (AHS) and still being adjusted, are also prompting the provincial government to prepare for a much more dire, worst-case scenario. That scenario would require 1,200 intensive care beds and 925 ventilators, which Alberta Health Services aims to have ready by late April, Kenney said."Things will get worse before they get better," the premier said. "I also want everyone to know that Alberta's pandemic response is second-to-none in North America."He said the provincial health system has the resources, equipment and personnel it needs to cope with the peak of infections of the novel coronavirus.Delayed surgeries and other measures have allowed AHS to free up 1,300 hospital beds across the province, and there should be 2,250 available to treat COVID-19 patients by the third week of April, Kenney said. There were 509 ventilators available at last count, he said.Planning for worst-case scenarioAlthough the premier said he was confident the public health measures to close businesses, prohibit large gatherings and keep people apart were succeeding at slowing the spread of the virus, the government is preparing for a more catastrophic scenario.It has plans to assemble "backup facilities" should the number of sick patients exceed hospital space and possibly call on the military to help prepare such buildings, Kenney said.Although AHS has a four-month supply of gloves, masks, gowns and other medical equipment, the province has ordered an additional two million N95 masks, Kenney said.Alberta is also working with other provinces and the federal government to try and find sources of extra testing reagents and other critical supplies, he said.Opposition leader Rachel Notley expressed several concerns to the premier and cabinet ministers, including that the emergency homeless shelters being set up in the province appear to have mats and beds in close proximity, which risks facilitating transmission of the virus."We believe these people, these people in Alberta who do not have homes, are entitled to the same dignity and the same rights as other Albertans," Notley said. "And we also believe that the kind of setup that we see these folks living in right now is bound to create a concentration of infections and disease spread."Notley said the provincial government will have to accelerate economic diversification when the pandemic subsides. She chastised the government for a prolonged battle with Alberta doctors over how physicians are paid.Notley also questioned how governments intended to help small businesses survive the economic crash and how seniors' lodges and long-term care homes are preventing the spread of the coronavirus.Kenney said the government is in talks with e-commerce platform Shopify to potentially help some Alberta businesses move online. He also said the provincial government would consider topping up a federal government emergency income payment of $2,000 a month.Oil price crash lobs $7-billion hit to provincial coffersKenney also said the Canadian oil industry likely needs access to between $20- and $30-billion worth of cash to survive the global oil price war. He urged the federal government to come to the aid of the sector.Within two to three weeks, the price of Western Canadian Select — the type of oil extracted from the oilsands — may be negative, Kenney said.Without help, small and medium-sized energy companies are at risk of folding if oil prices remain in the gutter, he said.Kenney also said Alberta's projected revenue for the 2020-21 year is likely between $7 billion and $10 billion lower than budgeted. The province had forecast $50 billion in revenue for this year.However, Kenney said he expects an "extraordinary federal investment" in orphan well reclamation within days.

  • 'A battlefield behind your home': Deaths mount in New York
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    The Canadian Press

    'A battlefield behind your home': Deaths mount in New York

    New York rushed to bring in an army of medical volunteers Wednesday as the statewide death toll from the coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900 and the wail of ambulances in the otherwise eerily quiet streets of the city became the heartbreaking soundtrack of the crisis.As hot spots flared around the U.S. in places like New Orleans and Southern California, the nation's biggest city was the hardest hit of them all, with bodies loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift outside overwhelmed hospitals, in full view of passing motorists.”It’s like a battlefield behind your home," said 33-year-old Emma Sorza, who could hear the sirens from severely swamped Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.And the worst is yet to come.“How does it end? And people want answers," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "I want answers. The answer is nobody knows for sure.”President Donald Trump acknowledged that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses and warned of trying times to come.“Difficult days are ahead for our nation," he said. “We're going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now that are going to be horrific.”Scientists offered more evidence Wednesday that the coronavirus can be spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, leading the U.S. government to issue new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a potential carrier.Stocks tumbled on Wall Street and markets around the world, a day after the White House warned Americans to brace for 100,000 to 240,000 deaths projected in the U.S. before the crisis is over. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 970 points, or over 4%.A new report Wednesday from the United Nations said the global economy could shrink by almost 1% this year instead of growing at a projected 2.5%.Under growing pressure, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis belatedly joined his counterparts in more than 30 states in issuing a statewide stay-home order. The governors of Pennsylvania, Nevada and Mississippi took similar steps.Trump said his administration has agreed to ship out 1,000 breathing machines vital for treating severe cases of COVID-19. He said the U.S. government has kept close hold on its stockpile of nearly 10,000 ventilators so they can be deployed quickly to states in need.Meanwhile, European nations facing extraordinary demand for intensive-care beds are putting up makeshift hospitals, unsure whether they will find enough healthy medical staff to run them. London is days away from unveiling a 4,000-bed temporary hospital built in a huge convention centre.In a remarkable turnabout, rich economies where virus cases have exploded are welcoming help from less wealthy ones. Russia sent medical equipment and masks to the United States. Cuba supplied doctors to France. Turkey dispatched protective gear and disinfectant to Italy and Spain.Worldwide, more than 900,000 people have been infected and over 45,000 have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, though the real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.The U.S. recorded about 210,000 infections and about 4,800 deaths, with New York City accounting for about 1 out of 4 dead.More than 80,000 people have volunteered as medical reinforcements in New York, including recent retirees, health care professionals taking a break from their regular jobs and people between gigs.The few who have hit the ground already found a hospital system being driven to the breaking point.“It’s hard when you lose patients. It’s hard when you have to tell the family members: ‘I’m sorry, but we did everything that we could,’” said nurse Katherine Ramos of Cape Coral, Florida, who has been working at New York Presbyterian Hospital. "It’s even harder when we really don’t have the time to mourn, the time to talk about this.”To ease the crushing caseload, the city's paramedics have been told they shouldn’t take fatal heart attack victims to hospitals to have them pronounced dead. Patients have been transferred to the Albany area. A Navy hospital ship has docked in New York, the mammoth Javits Convention Center has been turned into a hospital, and the tennis centre that hosts the U.S. Open is being converted to one, too.On near-lockdown, the normally bustling streets in the city of 8.6 million are empty, and sirens are no longer easily ignored as just urban background noise.“After 9-11, I remember we actually wanted to hear the sound of ambulances on our quiet streets because that meant there were survivors, but we didn't hear those sounds, and it was heartbreaking. Today, I hear an ambulance on my strangely quiet street and my heart breaks, too,” said 61-year-old Meg Gifford, a former Wall Streeter who lives on Manhattan's Upper East Side.Nearly 6,200 New York City police officers, or one-sixth of the department, were out sick Wednesday, including about 4,800 who reported flu-like systems, though it was not clear how many had the virus.Cuomo said projections suggest the crisis in New York will peak at the end of April, with a high death rate continuing through July.“Let's co-operate to address that in New York because it's going to be in your town tomorrow," he warned. "If we learn how to do it right here — or learn how to do it the best we can, because there is no right, it's only the best we can — then we can work co-operatively all across this country.”In Southern California, officials reported that at least 51 residents and six staff members at a nursing home east of Los Angeles have been infected and two have died. Mayor Eric Garcetti warned residents of the nation's second-largest city to wear non-medical-grade masks whenever they go outside.The number of dead topped 270 in Louisiana, Grand Canyon National Park closed to visitors indefinitely, and Florida was locked in a standoff over whether two cruise ships with sick and dead passengers may dock in the state.Even as the virus appears to have slowed its growth in overwhelmed Italy and in China, where it first emerged, hospitals on the Continent are buckling under the load."We don't have enough masks, enough protective equipment, and by the end of the week we might be in need of more medication too,” said Paris emergency worker Christophe Prudhomme.Spain reported a record 864 deaths in one day, for a total of more than 9,000, while France registered an unprecedented 509 and more than 4,000 in all. In Italy, with over 13,000 dead, the most of any country, morgues overflowed with bodies, caskets piled up in churches and doctors were forced to decide which desperately ill patients would get breathing machines.England's Wimbledon tennis tournament was cancelled for the first time since World War II.India’s highest court ordered news media and social media sites to carry the government’s “official version” of developments, echoing actions taken in other countries to curb independent reporting.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to order law enforcement to shoot troublemakers and stop massive food and cash aid if there are riots and people defy a lockdown imposed on millions. Duterte, who has been condemned for a brutal anti-drug crackdown that left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead, also said he would ask police to punish people who attack health workers with toxic chemicals by dousing the offenders with the substance or forcing them to drink it.The strain facing some of the world's best health care systems has been aggravated by hospital budget cuts over the past decade in Italy, Spain, France and Britain. They have called in medical students, retired doctors and even laid-off flight attendants with first aid training.The staffing shortage has been worsened by the high numbers of infected personnel. In Italy alone, nearly 10,000 medical workers have contracted the virus and more than 60 doctors have died.For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.___Charlton reported from Paris. Sherman reported from Washington. Associated Press writers around the world contributed, including Joseph Wilson in Barcelona; Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London; Frank Jordans in Berlin; Karen Matthews in New York; and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand.___Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakRobert Bumsted, Angela Charlton And Mark Sherman, The Associated Press

  • 'Unpredictable:' Super-spreading events linked to COVID-19 across the country
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    The Canadian Press

    'Unpredictable:' Super-spreading events linked to COVID-19 across the country

    Thousands of people smiled, laughed, shook hands and conversed at one of the largest dental conferences in North America last month unaware of a deadly virus circling among them.More than 15,000 attendees, presenters or vendors were part of the Pacific Dental Conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre in early March. Six days later, public health officials sent out a warning: an attendee had tested positive for COVID-19.More positive tests followed. A dentist from British Columbia, Dr. Denis Vincent, died two weeks after the convention.In the days and weeks that followed, positive cases linked to the conference popped up across Canada: at least 32 in B.C., nine in Alberta and three in Saskatchewan.It's not known how many people were infected with the novel coronavirus at the convention because not all regions have provided that information.Ontario let dental-care partners know of the potential risk, but has not revealed publicly how many cases have been traced back to the event.Quebec says it doesn't appear that many of its positive tests are linked.Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island say no cases there go back to the conference.Manitoba hasn't revealed any possible connections either. Although the first death in the province from COVID-19 was a woman in her 60s who worked for a dental supply company. That company had a booth at the Vancouver conference. The company directed The Canadian Press to speak with provincial health officials.Some attendees may have contracted the virus but never showed symptoms."(Infectious diseases) are unpredictable," says Jason Kindrachuk, a research chair in emerging viruses at the University of Manitoba.Kindrachuk says public health officials made decisions based on the information they had early on. There were "unfortunate misnomers:" believing the virus only affected seniors or people with underlying health conditions, and that only those showing symptoms could spread it.We now know a lot more people can be at risk and can unknowingly be carriers, Kindrachuk says.The situation across Canada has been changing daily as positive COVID-19 test results continue to rise. Some of those cases have been linked to other super-spreading events.More than 50 doctors from Western Canada were at a curling bonspiel March 11-14 in Edmonton, where an individual unknowingly spread the virus after returning from a trip to Las Vegas, said Alberta's chief medical health officer. Attendees from multiple provinces have since tested positive. At the time, events with less than 250 people could go ahead.A snowmobile rally where more than 100 people gathered for supper in Saskatchewan on March 14 has been connected to nearly 20 cases.And more than 100 positive cases, including one death, have been linked to funeral services in St. John's, N.L.Across the country, as more information came in, large-scale events were cancelled, then smaller events. Then it was recommended people only be around those they live with. Recommendations from health officials and politicians became orders.Alyson Kelvin is an assistant professor at Toronto's Dalhousie University and a research scientist at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology. She says we're still in the early stages of understanding COVID-19.Just a few weeks ago, there wasn't much evidence of community transmission in Canada. Scientists are now learning how long the virus survives on different surfaces and how easily it can be spread even at small events."There's a big difference between a couple of weeks ago and now," Kelvin says.Our understanding of how it is shared by children is also changing. Kelvin studied research out of China that traced children in households where people had tested positive. It showed that many children had contracted the virus but weren't showing any symptoms."This trend could continue in Canada or the U.S., where we have children being able to be infected and spread or transmit the virus and not even know that they had it."Normal life may seem like ages ago, Kelvin adds, but efforts to slow down the pandemic's spread are just beginning. And super-spreading events show just how important it is to keep social distancing."I know Canadians can do it because we have a great sense of our community in our country. Even though we are spread out, I know that we can come together by staying apart."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

  • Calgary woman finds heirloom seeds in attic, hopes to grow vintage flowers
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    CBC

    Calgary woman finds heirloom seeds in attic, hopes to grow vintage flowers

    Ramsay resident Julia Moore found a bonus in the attic of her home's garage — packages of heirloom seeds and a custom seed tray from the 1930s, courtesy of the original owner.It got her thinking about two things: whether she could grow the seeds, and who might have left them there.As Moore told the Calgary Eyeopener, it all started with some exploring around her Ramsay property."I live in an old house in one of the original communities in Calgary, and we have this amazing little garage in the back. It's the cutest little thing, and one day I was kind of just puttering in it and I realized that there was a hole in the ceiling," Moore said."I went up there and nobody had been up there in a really long time. It was full of old terracotta pots and canvas tarps, and this really cool seed tray."The seed tray is a wooden box, filled with little glass jars and seed packages."I noticed on the glass jars there were handwritten labels that had dates on them, years, like 1935, 1939, which I thought was really cool," Moore said, adding that most of the seeds appear to be flowers.She said the dates range from the 1930s to the '40s — she spotted petunias, calendula and sweet william.A quick Google search revealed that vintage items may be not just valuable on Etsy, but also a collector's item."It did make me wonder who they belong to, which made me think of my neighbour Dot, who has been living next door to this house since this house was built. So I connected with her, and she is still in contact with the original owner of the house, his daughter."Moore picked up the phone and was soon chatting with Judy Arena, who grew up in the Ramsay house.The seeds belonged to Arena's great-grandfather Thomas S. Purver, who came to Canada from England in 1904.And he was not your garden-variety gardener."His house had about three lots, so he grew flowers and vegetables, which he sold at his store ... T.S. Purver, Seedsman & Florist," Arena said."He sold ice cream, tobacco, plants and seeds. I still have the scale that he weighed the seeds on to sell. At the back of his house he had a shed, and all the walls were covered with first- and second-place certificates and his red and blue ribbons."Arena's family has carried on the gardening tradition with pride, she said, always growing plants from seeds."My grandfather taught my father Clayton how to garden, how to grow plants from seeds," she said, adding that his house was in Crescent Heights, known at the time as the Village of Crescent Heights.When my great grandfather died in 1951, he would have put those seeds in his cellar, where it would be cool," she said. "And they probably stayed there until my great grandmother passed away in 1967. And my dad has taken care of my great grandfather's house, and his gardens, for my grandmother."So, when she passed away, he would have taken that little wooden box and put it in, I guess, in his garage."Moore has owned the house in Ramsay — one of Calgary's oldest neighbourhoods — for six years."I'm so happy to hear about the history of the house," she said. "When we did have a chance to talk, she told me about how her parents built this house, and told me the history and, and it was so fun to hear. Kind of the origins of my house and her story, and now it's our family's story."Moore is going to return the seed tray to its rightful owner, but said she plans to try growing a few of the seeds in the garden.'Since I'm now homeschooling, like everybody else, we thought it would be a really fun project to do with my daughter to take some of the seeds and to see if we can grow any of them, see if any of them are viable," she said."So we're going to do a little science project with that."Arena approves of the plan."It's just so wonderful, and I have two great two granddaughters, Emma and Natalie, who are enjoying growing seeds right now themselves. So this is, it's just so nice," she said."My great grandfather, this was his passion, to see these flowers and vegetables grow. So he, I think, would be so happy to hear this, If he was alive."With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

  • New Zealand embraces teddies to help make lockdown bear-able
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    The Canadian Press

    New Zealand embraces teddies to help make lockdown bear-able

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Some are perched in trees. Some are hanging upside down. Some are baking scones.Teddy bears are popping up in the unlikeliest of places as New Zealanders embrace an international movement in which people are placing the stuffed animals in their windows during coronavirus lockdowns to brighten the mood and give children a game to play by spotting the bears in their neighbourhoods.The inspiration comes from the children's book “We're Going on a Bear Hunt,” written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.New Zealand last week began a four-week lockdown but people are still allowed outside to exercise if they keep a safe distance from each other. In other words, bear-spotting is okay.Mother-of-two and part-time school administrator Deb Hoffman started the Facebook page "We're Not Scared - NZ Bear Hunt" and also set up a website where more than 120,000 people have now put pins on an online map to show the location of their bears. “We're not scared” is a repeated line in the book, which features a family overcoming a number of obstacles in their search for a bear.Hoffman said she's been taken aback by the huge response. She said some people are creating personalities for their bears by having them do a different activity each day.Hoffman said one woman wrote that the teddy bears were the only thing getting her through the isolation, after she had already been housebound for six weeks following surgery before the lockdown began.“It's a way for people to feel connected, and to contribute,” Hoffman said. “It's really important at a time like this.”Hoffman said she's getting some help to enhance her website so that people will soon be able to interact with the bears by giving them an emotion.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has even joined in, saying people should keep an eye on her window because they might spot a bear.In a grimly ironic twist, the author of the book is hospitalized with symptoms similar to COVID-19.Rosen’s family said Tuesday that the 73-year-old writer was “poorly” but improving, having previously spent a night in intensive care.Rosen’s wife Emma-Louise Williams tweeted: “He has been able to eat today & will be getting a more comfortable oxygen mask soon. All good signs.”She did not say whether Rosen had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. In recent weeks, Rosen has described his illness on Twitter, wondering whether symptoms including fatigue and fever meant he had COVID-19 or a “heavy flu.”Nick Perry, The Associated Press

  • New Brunswick has enough COVID-19 supplies if used 'appropriately'
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    CBC

    New Brunswick has enough COVID-19 supplies if used 'appropriately'

    New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell both say they're confident the province will have enough medical supplies to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.But the supplies will have to be used "appropriately" and protective equipment must be prioritized for health-care workers, who will be instructed on "judicious use."Higgs and Russell are also counting on the federal government to come through with more supplies as the pandemic progresses, they said during Wednesday's daily update in Fredericton.Russell announced 11 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the province's total to 81.She also announced seven of the total cases involve health-care workers."This is precisely the type of situation we must avoid," said Russell. "As I've mentioned numerous times before, health-care workers are the ones who will be saving the lives of those who become ill with the disease."Public Health confirmed earlier this week that the virus is now spreading in the province through community contact, not just travel, but Russell urged citizens not to "obtain or use" the masks intended for the health-care sector, known as N95 masks. "In the current situation public masking by the general population is not necessary," she said."But health-care workers do need masks to safely carry out their duties and their needs have to come first."Even health-care workers must use the personal protective equipment (PPE) "wisely," however, said Russell.She has been in contact with the Horizon and Vitalité health authorities, Ambulance New Brunswick and other health agencies this week about "advising health-sector employees on the judicious use of PPE supply."Public Health officials have also informed WorkSafeNB and the various unions that represent the workers, she said. Our current stockpile is at the desired inventory based on the moderate level of pandemic influenza scenario and we are working with the federal government to obtain more as the pandemic progresses. \- Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health"I'm confident that we can continue to collaborate with all of our partners to meet this challenge — and it is a challenge.  It's a very, very real challenge," she said, pointing to the experiences of some other jurisdictions."We have enough supplies on hand to meet our current needs," Rusell told reporters."Our current stockpile is at the desired inventory based on the moderate level of pandemic influenza scenario and we are working with the federal government to obtain more as the pandemic progresses."New Brunswick's first allocation from the federal government is "en route" to the province's emergency stockpile warehouse, she said."We are committed to ensuring that our frontline health-care workers are appropriately protected so they can do their job safely."'Doing everything within our power'Higgs acknowledged the concerns of health-care workers regarding access to adequate personal protective equipment."I can assure you that the government is doing everything within our power to make sure we have the supplies we need," he said.On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $2 billion to produce necessary supplies, including ventilators, testing kits, and personal protective equipment, such as masks, face shields, gowns and hand sanitizers. "We will continue to work closely with the federal government and the other provinces to ensure we have access to these supplies in New Brunswick as the demand increases and we have been assured by the federal government that we will have the necessary supplies available to us," said Higgs.But he stressed the importance of properly managing the existing resources."If we don't do that then we run the risk of not having the right equipment for the people that need it the most. And that's why the caution."Russell said if New Brunswickers want to protect the people who protect them, the best thing they can do is stay home."Staying home will save lives," she said.It will mean fewer infections, less spread of the virus, fewer patients needing urgent medical care, and fewer deaths.

  • Advocate says Sask. women's shelters need more funding during COVID-19
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    CBC

    Advocate says Sask. women's shelters need more funding during COVID-19

    Jo-Anne Dusel said shelters in Saskatchewan — even those receiving no additional funding from the province in response to COVID-19 —are open and doing their best in these trying times."They are a safe place to go if you need to be free from an abusive partner," Dusel, executive director of the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS), said. Saskatchewan's Ministry of Social Services announced Tuesday that some emergency shelters serving those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic would get $171,000 in extra funding.Dusel said a majority of women's shelters will not see any additional funding.She said there is a need for some assistance from the province."The biggest need for shelters right now is for increased dollars for staffing," she said."[Public health initiatives] are setting shelters up for a staffing shortage. There's additional costs going on with paying someone who is sick, also at the same time as you have another staff coming in."She said since self-isolation started, PATHS hasn't heard of an increase in domestic violence.Dusel said she suspects people are, for the moment, staying where they feel comfortable and familiar. Shelters are, however, bracing for an increase."We know that countries like China and France have reported significant increases in the incidents of intimate partner violence, as a result of the pandemic and the families being cooped up in close quarters," she said. Dusel said community safety well-being representatives, through the Ministry of Justice, have been doing a good job supporting shelters so far. She said PATHS is helping connect people with income assistance at a quick pace and also working with Sask. Housing to find available units to get people out of shelters faster than before.City calls for faster provincial actionOn Wednesday, the City of Saskatoon called for quicker action and a "whole-of-government-approach" to addressing the concerns of vulnerable people throughout the province."Right now is an urgent time for the province to make it an immediate priority to get the systems in place to support our vulnerable population," Clark said."For two weeks, there's been discussions and meetings with the province, but frankly, we are lacking action."Clark was unsure how much money would be needed to adequately support the shelters across the province. He suggested moving from a model of funding shelters based on the number of people who use them — which will be reduced due to social distancing measures — to a funding model that allows them to provide their services safely. Clark also called for the creation of a plan that would see people unable to find space in shelters placed in hotel rooms, something Merriman said is being done on a case-by-case basis.  "Historically we've housed evacuees in hotels on occasion," Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city's director for emergency planning said."The hotel strategy needs to include measures like front-line staff in the hotel to help co-ordinate the services this group needs … There needs to be one hotel that's COVID-related."The city outlined its requests in a letter sent to the province on Monday.Ministry outlines COVID protocols at sheltersStaff at shelters are to practice physical distancing, wash their hands frequently and ensure anyone presenting health issues contacts 811 about a COVID-19 test. If someone in a shelter requires a test for COVID-19, they would be given a hotel space to self-isolate until their results come back.If the test comes back positive, Merriman said the SHA would begin it's investigative process and start contacting anyone who that person may have come in contact with in the previous 14 days. "Right now, we think that's sufficient," Merriman said. "We haven't seen a large increase in the shelter's capacity over the last week or so; we are anticipating that's going to change." He said the so-called "hidden homeless," or those who are couch-surfing who might need to self-isolate, or living in a home with someone presenting symptoms of COVID-19, could start showing up at shelters. Merriman said the ministry wants to ensure those people are brought in and tested as soon as possible.

  • Acts of kindness help kids celebrate birthdays during pandemic
    News
    CBC

    Acts of kindness help kids celebrate birthdays during pandemic

    First responders in Saskatchewan are making sure children's birthdays can still be happy during a pandemic.Lexi Leis celebrated her ninth birthday on Monday in Regina and got quite the surprise.Local police officers, firefighters and paramedics all stopped by to wish her a happy birthday."It was special,"  said Lexi's mother, Amanda Watson. "This potentially could have been an awful day for her because, you know, not being able have a birthday party, not being able to have family over, and it turned out she's never going to forget her ninth birthday."Watson asked neighbours and friends to organize a scavenger hunt in which Lexi could look for birthday wishes in windows and hearts hidden in yards.It was Lexi's grandmother who organized the surprise birthday drive-bys by first responders.The Regina Police Service said that it doesn't have the resources to reach out to every child during their birthday, but two patrol vehicles happened to be nearby Lexi's home.Firefighters responding to more than just emergenciesWarman Fire Rescue started adding birthday wishes to their daily duties during the pandemic.The volunteer service is lead by Chief Russ Austin. He said a member got the idea from their Texas counterparts."These poor kiddos, a lot of them, don't even understand why their birthday is cancelled or why people can't come over, they don't get the whole thing," Austin said. "Anything we can do to give a little light for these kiddos is kind of our mandate."The fire department had made gift bags for children for an open house scheduled for next month, but decided to use them now to spread joy. They are filled with a birthday card, stickers, activity books and a plastic fire helmet.When a birthday call comes in, a crew of about three pulls up to the child's home, drops off the gift bag by the front door, then gives air high fives and birthday wishes from the firetruck."The reaction we get from the kiddos is pretty special and and the reaction from the parents was even more so," said Austin.He recounted one call where a woman was in tears listening to the firefighters sing Happy Birthday to two siblings. When Austin asked her is she needed help, she said they were singing to her grandchildren, who she hadn't been able to see during the pandemic."I wanted to go and give her a hug but that's really not in the cards right now," Austin said.The fire department has responded to about 30 birthdays and plans on attending 70 more before the end of April. People can request a birthday shout out on Facebook as long as it is for someone 12 years and under.Austin said about 13 other fire departments in the province have been inspired. He has shared details with them on how he prepares the gift bags."That's why people become volunteer firefighters is they want to help others," said Austin.Child counselor turned performerSaskatoon's Brett Williams has been dressed in a colourful costume made of hoola-hoops and pool noodles, doing somersaults and animal impressions for children, all for free.He posted his services on Kijiji and can be hired by parents for their kid's birthdays or just to help entertain them during the pandemic.Williams came up with the idea after starting to work from home. He is a child counselor and now does video calls with clients rather than meeting in person."In consultation with my friends and family members of kids, and hearing about their struggles to keep their kids entertained, I thought I could help out with that," said Williams."I also am an extrovert. I need social connection myself and I've been struggling with the all the self isolation stuff. I also have depression and so I know I need social connections for my own mental wellness."He has done about a dozens performances in Saskatoon and nearby small towns.Moose Jaw Parades Moose Jaw residents are getting birthday wishes in the form of car horns honking.Inspired by birthday parades happening across Canada, Jody Chell and Krista Antal started the Moose Jaw Birthday Parade Facebook page.People decorate their vehicles in balloons and streamers and parade down the street. Nobody leaves their vehicle or home, making it a safe way to celebrate, Chell said.The thought of a teenager or child not being able to celebrate a milestone was heartbreaking to Chell, but she said they aren't just helping adolescents celebrate.On Monday, Chell and others wished a woman at a seniors home a happy 88th birthday."I really enjoy just watching the smiles, and the one thing that we noticed is when people hear us honking, it's not just the birthday person that's looking out the window or standing on their lawn, we've been thanked so many times for just giving people a reason to smile right now," said Chell.Birthday wishesWendy Wiest set up a wishing well on the front lawn of 215 Coldwell Road in Regina after collecting pennies for more than 50 years.After dealing with health issues, she wanted to spread luck to others.People are invited to pick up a penny off her front lawn and make their wish in her well. If their wish comes true, Wiest wants people to contact her and she'll log if in her wish book.She says she has 53 logged so far."It's a place to give hope," Wiest said.

  • News
    CBC

    Cambridge Bay bans alcohol imports to encourage physical distancing

    A ban on importing alcohol to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, takes effect Wednesday night and continues for 14 days.The motion enacting the ban was approved by the town council on March 23 in an effort to encourage self-isolation and reduce the number of police calls to crowded homes, according to a letter from Mayor Pamela Gross posted on her Facebook page."Most residences in Cambridge Bay are occupied by numerous occupants," it reads. "With the current Nunavut Emergency Management measures in place ... the daily number of people in each residence at any given time has increased significantly."The letter says "recently, 98 per cent of the calls for police assistance are to residences where the underlying factor is alcohol."Gross says the usual remedy is to arrest and detain the intoxicated individuals — "temporary measures which do not resolve the underlying factors."Cambridge Bay has no liquor store but, unlike a number of other Nunavut communities, it also normally has no restrictions on importing alcohol. Residents can normally order alcoholic products from warehouses in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.The ban on alcohol imports comes into effect March 31 at 11:59 p.m. and continues for 14 days — the maximum duration allowed under the territory's Liquor Act.

  • Exploding population of parasitic sea worms a worry for endangered orcas, says U.S. researcher
    News
    CBC

    Exploding population of parasitic sea worms a worry for endangered orcas, says U.S. researcher

    A tiny parasitic ocean worm that's seen a population explosion since the 1970s may be contributing to the decline of endangered orcas, according to a Washington State researcher.The worm population has exploded in tandem with the failure of fish-eating southern resident killer whales to thrive off the coast of British Columbia and Washington State.The herring worms called anisakis have increased 283-fold in the past 40 years, according to a newly released study from the University of Washington in Seattle.Author Chelsea Wood, an associate professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, suspects that's had a dire effect on southern resident killer whales because there is evidence they've been plagued by the parasites."We're especially worried about those [marine mammals] that are not doing well," said Wood, noting that southern resident killer whales populations are "tanking."At last count the endangered group numbered 73. Scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tried with limited success in 2018 to deworm a juvenile whale dubbed J50 after finding a high burden of worms in her fecal and breath samples The emaciated, lethargic animal later vanished and is believed dead.Wood suspects the worms in J50, also called Scarlet, helped kill the critically ill animal.De-worming did help save an orphaned orca dubbed Springer back in 2002. After the animal was medicated, her appetite improved and she tripled her fish intake, eventually recovering and calving her own offspring.Martin Haulena is head veterinarian for the Vancouver Aquarium and he says the parasite explosion may also be linked to the decline of salmon, reducing the number of hosts for anisakis."As each fish that a [marine mammal] eats is loaded with more and more parasites in the larval stage, then you can get a bigger and bigger parasite load," said Haulena.He says the bigger the parasite load in salmon and fish, the more they build up in salmon-eating orcas. In most cases the parasite is a normal part of their gut, but he says there are critical points in an orca's development when they are more susceptible to the negative effects of the parasite.He said malnourished or weak animals may end up with a "super infection" which puts an extra load on a young, developing animal. Small public health concern for humansHerring worms are found in wild fish and can also be transmitted to humans when they eat raw or undercooked fish. The tiny flesh-coloured worm is almost invisible on raw pink salmon."These worms are not fatal for people in general. They're not even particularly dangerous, but they're probably a cause of a large proportion of the cases of what we call food poisoning from consumption of sushi," said Wood.If accidentally ingested the parasite can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.In their more common hosts — including seals and whales  — the worms are not a problem for healthy animals. But the parasite can penetrate the stomach lining in thin or weakened animals, boring into internal organs or causing a bacterial infection in the bloodstream."It's highly possible that worms are impeding the conservation progress for those endangered and threatened marine mammals," said Wood.Parasites thrive when hosts thriveIt's not clear why anisakis worms are thriving. But there are theories.The parasite became more abundant after the implementation of the 1972  Marine Mammal Protection Act, a  U.S. moratorium for the protection of many marine mammals."Parasites profit when their hosts profit," said Wood.But other factors include nutrient runoff from farms that helps feed small crustaceans called krill that host the worms. It also causes phytoplankton blooms that may increase worm populations.She said climate change may also play a role."It's really tricky to attribute these global changes to particular drivers because everything's changing at the same time," said Wood

  • Coronavirus outbreak: B.C. records 53 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 death
    Global News

    Coronavirus outbreak: B.C. records 53 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 death

    British Columbia's chief provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Wednesday there were 53 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and one new confirmed death. She also said there were now 606 people who had recovered from the novel coronavirus.

  • Elon Musk's SpaceX bans Zoom over privacy concerns -memo
    News
    Reuters

    Elon Musk's SpaceX bans Zoom over privacy concerns -memo

    SpaceX's ban on Zoom Video Communications Inc illustrates the mounting challenges facing aerospace manufacturers as they develop technology deemed vital to national security while also trying to keep employees safe from the fast-spreading respiratory illness. In an email dated March 28, SpaceX told employees that all access to Zoom had been disabled with immediate effect.

  • Coast Guard: Cruise ships must stay at sea with sick onboard
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Coast Guard: Cruise ships must stay at sea with sick onboard

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The U.S. Coast Guard has directed cruise ships to prepare to treat any sick passengers and crew on board while being sequestered “indefinitely" offshore during the coronavirus pandemic.The new rules outlined in a memo are required for ships in the district that covers Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Puerto Rico. They also come with a stiff warning: Any foreign-flagged vessels “that loiter beyond U.S. territorial seas" should try first to medically evacuate the very sick to those countries instead.Many South Florida cruise ships are registered in the Bahamas, where hospital capacity is limited and people are still recovering from last year's devastating Hurricane Dorian.The rules, which apply to vessels carrying more than 50 people, were issued in a March 29 safety bulletin signed by Coast Guard Rear Admiral E.C. Jones, head of the seventh district. All ships destined for U.S. ports were already required to provide daily updates on their coronavirus caseload or face civil penalties or criminal prosecution.Dozens of cruise ships are either lined up at Port Miami and Port Everglades or waiting offshore due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most have only crew aboard, but Carnival Corp., which owns nine cruise lines with a total of 105 ships, notified the SEC on Tuesday that it has more than 6,000 passengers still at sea.Federal, state and local officials have been negotiating over whether Carnival's Holland America cruise ships, the Zaandam and Rotterdam, would be allowed to dock at Port Everglades this week. But the company's Coral Princess is coming, too, with what that ship's medical centre called a higher-than-normal number of people with flu-like symptoms.Carnival said three of the 40 ships that were at sea when it paused its cruises last month are expected to arrive at port by week's end. In addition to the ships arriving in Fort Lauderdale, other ships are approaching Civitavecchia, Italy, and Southampton, England, spokesman Roger Frizzell said.Two of four deaths on the Zaandam were blamed on COVID-19 and nine people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Carnival's maritime chief officer William Burke told Broward County commissioners at a Tuesday meeting. The company said more than 200 have reported symptoms. More than 300 Americans, with about 50 Floridians, are on Zaandam and Rotterdam. Four children under 12 are on board.Gov. Ron DeSantis said he expected a resolution Wednesday after speaking with President Donald Trump, but port authorities later said discussions between the company and officials over the terms of docking were ongoing and they did not expect to update Broward County commissioners on Wednesday as foreseen at the Tuesday meeting.DeSantis maintained Florida's health care system is stretched too thin to take on the ships' coronavirus caseload, but he said he would accept the Florida residents on board.“My concern is simply that we have worked so hard to make sure we have adequate hospital beds,” he said.Trump had expressed sympathy toward the passengers on Tuesday.“They're dying on the ship,” Trump said. “I'm going to do what's right. Not only for us, but for humanity.”Passengers expressed their frustrations to The Associated Press on Wednesday.Andrea Anderson and her husband Rob coughed their way through a video chat from the Zandaam. Asked what she would say to Florida's governor, Anderson said, “How would he feel if his mother was on this ship? Would he still be saying, 'No they can't dock?'”Mary Beth Van Horn said she's “terrified” for her brother Tom Brazier, 77, of Ocean Park, Washington, who went on the South American cruise with his wife before he was supposed to begin a new bone cancer treatment in April. They weren't allowed to transfer to the Rotterdam with other apparently healthy people because they have portable CPAP machines and other mobility problems.“He is afraid. Last time, he told me 'I just don't see how this could end well,'" she said.For most people, the virus causes a fever and cough that can clear up in two to three weeks without hospitalization. Older adults and people with existing health problems are more likely to suffer severe illness and require oxygen to stay alive.Under normal conditions, a ship can call on the Coast Guard to medically evacuate people too sick to be cared for on board.Now a Coast Guard flight surgeon in the seventh district will decide if a transfer is absolutely necessary, but the cruise companies then would be responsible for arranging on-shore transportation and hospital beds.“This is necessary as shore-side medical facilities may reach full capacity and lose the ability to accept and effectively treat additional critically-ill patients," the memo said.___ Associated Press contributors include Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale and Julie Walker in New York City; Gomez Licon reported from Miami.___Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.Freida Frisaro And Adriana Gomez Licon, The Associated Press

  • 'No room left on my credit card': 1,300 stranded Canadians apply for emergency loans
    News
    CBC

    'No room left on my credit card': 1,300 stranded Canadians apply for emergency loans

    Cash-strapped and stranded abroad, hundreds of Canadians are waiting for an emergency loan from the federal government because they need money to pay for hotels or book flights.The Canadian government has paid out $1.8 million in loans to 525 recipients through the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. It is currently processing another 800 loan applications, according to Global Affairs Canada.The repayable loan of up to $5,000 is intended to cover flights back to Canada, or basic expenses, such as hotels and food, until citizens can return home. There are currently 391,451 Canadians signed up to the Registration of Canadians Abroad. Kimberley Bradley, 50, of Pembroke, Ont., says she needs the emergency loan to cover her hotel bill in Varadero, Cuba. She's been forced into quarantine with hundreds of other travellers and only has enough cash to cover four more nights, she said."People have run out out of money. They're waiting on emergency loans, begging the hotels to wait," she said. "I have no room left on my credit card."Bradley said she has booked three different commercial flights out of Cuba in the past 10 days, each paid for on her credit card, but they've all been cancelled. Each time, she received credit for future travel but no refund.Travelling on a tight budgetBradley started the loan application process eight days ago. She received an email from Canada's emergency response centre today that said, "Due to a high volume of requests, we will not be able to give updates on the status of individual loan applications." The most recent communication warned the process could take a week.In a statement released Tuesday, Global Affairs Canada said it is working "around the clock" to ensure it is "providing emergency assistance and consular services to Canadians abroad who need it."Bradley, who has an autoimmune disease that is exacerbated by the cold, arrived in Cuba in early January. She rented an apartment in a fishing village for six months, she said.When COVID-19 concerns escalated in early March, she weighed her options. She says she didn't have a place to quarantine in Ontario because she lives with her daughter, who is an essential service worker. Bradley also survives on a disability pension and had pre-paid six months' rent in Cuba.So, she decided that she would self-isolate in her private apartment in Cuba until the end of June. That plan fell apart last Tuesday, when Cuban immigration officials decided to force all foreigners into quarantine in hotels to try to control the fast-spreading virus."A lot of people missed opportunities to take flights because they thought they were just going to wait things out here," Bradley said.Nonetheless, she doesn't blame Cuban officials for taking steps to contain the virus, she said.Now, she's forced to pay $50 a night at the Barcelo Solymar hotel, which she said is beautiful, with kind staff, but far beyond her tight budget.There are no commercial flights in or out of Cuba, but Bradley was informed late Wednesday that the Canadian government is chartering a flight out on Sunday. She can't afford the ticket unless she receives the loan in time, she said.Loan application deniedToronto resident Alexandra Acosta helped her 62-year-old father apply for a $1,000 emergency loan last week to go toward a plane ticket home from Lima, Peru.Given the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and her own circumstances, Acosta couldn't afford to loan him money herself, she said."I have enough money to last me for my groceries. My husband's not working. I'm not working. You can only use your credit card so much," she said.Her father, Juan Acosta, just received an email from the Canadian Embassy in Lima that he was denied the loan. The rejection email didn't specify why, but said: "This program is intended to provide assistance to Canadian citizens who plan to return to Canada, have been prevented from doing so because of COVID-19, and have no other source of funds."The federal government has arranged three flights to bring Canadians home from Peru this week. Acosta said she is devastated."If he was here with me, he would be ... in this house, so I could make sure he is OK," she said. "You gotta take care of your parents because they took care of you." Acosta said she searched for a commercial flight out of Peru for her father last month after the Canadian government warned travellers that they should return home while they still can. She wasn't successful.She said her father moved from Canada to Peru two years ago to pursue a business opportunity and care for his elderly father. Acosta concedes that Peru is her father's primary residence these days, but she says he's a Canadian citizen and she wants him home.The eligibility criteria to qualify for an emergency loan from the federal government include: * You are eligible if you are a Canadian citizen impacted by COVID-19 who plans to return to Canada and who has no other source of funds. * Global Affairs will consider that you plan to return to Canada if you: * Had a return flight booked and your flight was cancelled or delayed. * Attempted to book a flight, but cannot due to the travel restrictions or exorbitant pricing. * You must be a Canadian citizen. * You must be a permanent resident travelling with an immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen, or facing a threat to life or other grievous harm.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Manitoba shuts two government liquor stores after worker positive for COVID-19

    WINNIPEG — Two Manitoba government liquor stores in north Winnipeg have been temporarily closed after a worker tested positive for COVID-19.Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries says the employee worked in a store in the Garden City neighbourhood last Saturday and is self-isolating at home.A second outlet has been closed because a worker there had been in contact with the Garden City employee who tested positive.Both outlets are being cleaned and the Crown corporation is asking customers who attended the Garden City store last Saturday and who may have symptoms to call the provincial Health Links phone line for advice.Manitoba has ordered non-essential businesses to close to stop the spread of COVID-19, but there are many exceptions such as liquor and cannabis stores, grocers, banks and hardware stores.The union that represents liquor store workers says it wants new safety measures such as Plexiglass shields at cash registers implemented right away."We know that some locations have recently had Plexiglas screens set up, and social distancing markers have been placed on the floor — but all our stores need to be outfitted with these social distancing and safety measures immediately," the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union said in a statement Wednesday."We are also calling on the employer to limit sales to transactions by credit and debit card only to further limit the potential for transmission of COVID-19."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    'Everybody understands': P.E.I.'s harness racing season delayed due to COVID-19

    This is usually a time of excitement for horse owners, drivers and fans as they get ready for the start of the harness racing season. But on May 2, no horses will be coming around the backstretch, and no announcer will be announcing the winner over the loud speaker.Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of P.E.I.'s harness racing season has been pushed back at least a month.The season was supposed to start on May 2 at Red Shores in Charlottetown. It has now been tentatively rescheduled to June 4.But that may be pushed back further if restrictions on public gatherings are still in place, said Blaine MacPherson, chair of the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association."Everything's so uncertain right now. Things change every day," he said. "But we decided to not race in May."MacPherson said he was on a conference call Wednesday with representatives from Red Shores, the Prince County Horsemen's Club and the P.E.I. Standardbred Horseowners Association.He said there will be lost revenue for the horse owners, but that "everybody understands.""Whatever Dr. [Heather] Morrison recommends, that's what we'll have to do as a group until we get this whole issue under control."Red Shores is closed to the public but the track, paddocks and barns are still being maintained. There are about 270 horses at Red Shores, MacPherson said. He said they will continue to train in hopes the season will not be lost.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • News
    Reuters

    U.S. believes Iran was 'directly involved' in killing of Iranian dissident in Turkey

    The United States believes Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security was directly involved in the killing of an Iranian dissident last November in Turkey, a senior administration official told Reuters on Wednesday. Masoud Molavi Vardanjani was shot dead on an Istanbul street on Nov. 14, 2019. Citing Turkish officials, Reuters last week reported that two intelligence officers in Iran's consulate in Istanbul had instigated his killing.

  • News
    CBC

    Ontario public high school teachers to resume bargaining on Thursday

    Ontario's public high school teachers are set to resume bargaining with the province on Thursday, the union confirmed on Wednesday night.Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), told CBC Toronto that the mediator has asked the union to return to the bargaining table and it has accepted the invitation."Well, we've said all along, if we were asked to return to the table, we would," Bischof said in a phone interview Wednesday evening."We will have a serious look at what the proposals are."Bischof said he was not surprised at the invitation given that the Ontario government has reached tentative agreements with the three other major unions representing teachers in the province.Outstanding issues include the number of education workers supporting students, class sizes that are appropriate for a good quality education and mandatory online learning, he said."We will make a good faith effort to conclude negotiations," Bischof added.Bargaining to be done by teleconferenceBischof said the logistics of the meeting still have to be worked out because there will not be face-to-face bargaining amid the COVID-19 outbreak."I don't think that anything is going to happen very rapidly," he said. "We can sort out the details."Bischof said documents could be exchanged electronically but there will be "no physical meetings." He acknowledged that COVID-19 will change the negotiating process."It's pretty clear to everybody that we are working in a very different environment at this time" he added.A spokeswoman for Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the negotiations will be conducted via teleconference.When talks broke off in December, both sides had only met for a day. The mediator at the time had said both sides were too far apart to continue, and had suggested that talks could restart in January after both sides had time to consider their positions.The contract between the OSSTF and the province expired in August 2019. The union, with more than 60,000 members, represents high school teachers in the English public school system in Ontario and many other education workers.Education minister would like to save part of school yearIn an interview with CBC's Power & Politics on Wednesday, Lecce said he would like to save some of the school year even though it is not yet clear whether that is possible as the pandemic continues."If we can save some of the school year, I think we should. And the decision point I have made, in conjunction with cabinet, is that if we can save some of those weeks at the back end, if a child could be in school, so long as it is safe, I think we should do so," Lecce said."However, if the chief medical officer indicates that that's not an option, then I'll have to communicate that transparently and we'll come up with alternate plans."Tentative deals reached with 3 other teachers' unionsThe union representing the province's 12,000 French-language teachers reached a tentative deal Tuesday with the government.Memos obtained by The Canadian Press show that the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association secured annual wage increases of one per cent and benefits increases of four per cent.Before the deals were struck, Lecce had almost entirely backed down on large increases to secondary class sizes after months of contentious negotiations and strikes.The OSSTF also represents occasional teachers, educational assistants, early childhood educators, continuing education teachers and instructors, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff and attendance counselors.

  • The world's oceans could recover from human threat by 2050, says new study
    News
    CBC

    The world's oceans could recover from human threat by 2050, says new study

    Marine life that's been ravaged by years of fishing activity, nuclear tests and chemical pollution could see a "substantial recovery" by 2050 if world governments invest billions a year in restoration, according to a study released Wednesday.The paper was published in the scientific journal Nature and co-authored by two researchers from Dalhousie University in Halifax, including marine ecologist Boris Worm. He told CBC's Mainstreet the findings counter previous concerns that some ocean ecosystems might have been irreparably damaged by human activity."This study really made me happy," said Worm. "I've been spending 20-years-plus chronicling threats to ocean ecosystems and species decline and so on."Worm and Dalhousie colleague Heike Lotze were part of an international group of authors that reviewed hundreds of case studies on revitalized marine ecosystems, including: * A rebound of fish stocks during both world wars due to a decrease in fishing. * Coral reefs that recovered from nuclear tests in the South Pacific. * Improved conditions in the Black and Adriatic seas after the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a reduction in fertilizer use.Worm also provided an Atlantic Canadian example, noting that a major decrease in trawling in the Scotian Shelf led to the recovery of halibut and barndoor skate, two species of fish that had been approaching extinction.The resilience of the world's oceans has also been severely tested, including by war. The U.S. military carried out 67 nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands, a chain in the Pacific Ocean, beginning at the end of the Second World War. One of the atolls, Bikini, was the site of at least two Hiroshima-size atomic tests as well as the detonation of the world's first hydrogen bomb, estimated at 1,000 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb. The massive bomb created a crater two kilometres wide and 80 metres deep."You would think that place is gone forever, but it wasn't," said Worm."Divers go there now because it's one of the best places in the Pacific to see vibrant coral reef ecosystems, huge numbers of fish, sharks, turtles, you name it. The place has just rebounded in a spectacular way."While clear-cut forests can take generations to recover, marine recovery happens far more quickly, in part because industrialization is far less intense in the oceans, Worm said. He notes the closure of a large section of the Georges Bank fishery sparked a massive population boom."Within a few years, scallops increased 14-fold in that area and haddock stocks more than sevenfold," said Worm. "And now haddock in that area is more abundant ever than in the last 100 years."Potential dividends?The study's authors issued 45 recommendations, including a call for governments to continue the recovery trend by protecting vulnerable habitats and species, adopting sustainable fishing practices and taking action against climate change.Researchers put the price tag for such efforts at $10 to $20 billion US a year, but Worm said the initiatives would spark a renaissance in the global seafood and ecotourism industries."They're essentially paying for themselves because of the value of some of these assets," he said."So for example, if we were to keep rebuilding fisheries the way we're attempting here in Canada ... globally the benefits from it would be north of $50 billion a year to the fishing industry, sustainably, year after year."MORE TOP STORIES

  • News
    CBC

    City wants to extend secondary suites amnesty

    City administration is proposing to extend the amnesty on secondary suite applications in hopes to enticing more homeowners to convert their units to legal suites.City council approved the two-year amnesty in 2018. It is currently slated to end on June 1. Under the amnesty, 1,600 new suites have been added to the city's registry of approved suites. Only those meeting all the city requirements and the fire code can be on that list.During the amnesty, all registry and development permit fees are waived.Thousands of illegal suites remainIt's estimated there are still 13,000 illegal basement suites in Calgary. Many of them may not meet the current building code as they've never been inspected.The COVID-19 pandemic is seen by the city as a good reason for extending the amnesty rather than cracking down on illegal suites.In a report that went to city council's planning committee on Wednesday, administration noted that "moving to an enforcement approach during the current health emergency will mean an erosion on homeowner cooperation and could create cynicism among the public."Cliff de Jong, who works with the city's building services, told the committee that secondary suites play a critical role in Calgary's housing stock.However, their importance may only increase as Calgary's economy is jolted by COVID-19 and yet another downturn in oil prices."Obviously, they're on the more affordable side of the spectrum and we think that that is going to be a need that is only increasing over the coming months," he said.Planning committee on boardThe committee agreed, voting unanimously to extend the amnesty period.The chair of the planning and urban development committee, Coun. Jyoti Gondek, said the amnesty has accomplished exactly what council wanted."It's very clear that the goals of council in offering amnesty was to help people come forward and have their secondary suites brought up to code so that it's a safe environment for anyone who wishes to live there," Gondek said."I think it's a great idea to extend that period especially in light of what we're seeing with COVID-19 right now."City council will vote on the amnesty extension at its meeting next Monday.

  • Inshore fishery champion Tom Best dead at 74
    News
    CBC

    Inshore fishery champion Tom Best dead at 74

    A fierce advocate of the Newfoundland and Labrador inshore fishery is dead at the age of 74.Tom Best died of cancer Tuesday afternoon at the Miller Centre in St. John's.Best became a licenced inshore fisherman in Petty Harbour in 1963 after finishing high school.Petty Harbour mayor and fisherman Sam Lee said, "I've known Tom all my life really, but I've been working with him for over 50 years closely. It's a great loss to our community and not only to the community but to Newfoundland as a whole."Best was founding president of the Petty Harbour Fishermen's Cooperative, a position he held for most of the last 36 years. The Co-op is owned and operated by fish harvesters.Spoke up for the inshore fisheryLee also helped found the Co-op in 1984, "He spent his whole life fighting and arguing, doing whatever he had to do for the betterment of the fishermen. And not just fishermen either.  Anybody that came across his path knows Tom Best was a very good man."Never media shy, years prior to the collapse of the northern cod fishery Best took aim at the fishing practices of offshore draggers. He often spoke out against the use of gill nets because fish left for too long in the water affected quality.Fisherman Doug Howlett has been a member of the Petty Harbour Fishermen's Cooperative since 1984 and says he got to know Best over the years. "Coming into your shed or seeing him on the wharf to have a chat with him. He was always asking your opinion if there was anything going on in the fishery," Howlett said."He had his own opinion, he was very outspoken but he listened to other people."Lee said Best was the kind of man you could have a disagreement with, then have a beer and continue on being good friends."He was always down in his shed. Whenever we came in out of the boat we'd sit down in the shed and have a drink and we'd talk about the day, whatever went on, discuss what the future is going to bring." Best travelled to different parts of the world to talk about the cooperative movement and the idea of sustainable fisheries and communities.Fishermen in the small outport came to expect visitors from far and wide to arrive at Tom's invitation. "You were always welcome there no matter who you were." \- Sam Lee, mayor of Petty Harbour"You were always welcome there no matter who you were," said Lee.To the end, Best always believed in the fishery. Speaking to CBC in 2012, he said, "Oil and gas and the movement to Alberta, that's only going to be what you call a sequence in time and after that we're back to where we were a few years back. We need to be looking at our renewable resources. If it's managed properly and it's handled properly and it's pursued properly, we could do things a lot different then we did in the past and have a very lucrative fishing industry."Best sat on numerous local and national committees and was a founder of the town's harbour authority.Tom Best is being cremated and has asked that some of his ashes be scattered at sea.A memorial ceremony is being planned for this coming summer in Petty Harbour.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Under pressure, UK government promises 100,000 daily coronavirus tests
    News
    Reuters

    Under pressure, UK government promises 100,000 daily coronavirus tests

    Britain's health minister promised a tenfold increase in the number of daily tests for coronavirus by the end of the month after the government faced criticism for failing to roll out mass checks for health workers and the public. Appearing for the first time on Thursday since recovering from the virus himself and ending a period of self-isolation, Matt Hancock announced a new strategy to ramp up the UK diagnostics industry. Britain initially took a restrained approach to the outbreak but Prime Minister Boris Johnson changed tack and imposed stringent social distancing measures after modelling showed a quarter of a million people in the country could die.

  • China logs fewer coronavirus infections but tightens some curbs on movement
    News
    Reuters

    China logs fewer coronavirus infections but tightens some curbs on movement

    China, where the coronavirus outbreak first erupted in December, logged fewer new infections on Thursday, but measures restricting movement have been tightened in some parts of the country due to a fear of more imported cases. China had 35 new cases of the disease on April 1, all of which were imported, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday. The central province of Hunan, which had recently downgraded its emergency response to the lowest level, reported its first imported infection on Wednesday, state media reported on Thursday, citing the provincial health commission.

  • Law firm criticized by USSF asks to withdraw from lawsuit
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Law firm criticized by USSF asks to withdraw from lawsuit

    LOS ANGELES — Seyfarth Shaw, the law firm whose arguments critical of American women's players led to the resignation of U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro, has asked to withdraw from representing the federation in the lawsuit.Members of the women's national team filed a gender discrimination suit against the USSF last year under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They claim they have not been paid equally to the men's national team and asked for more than $66 million in damages. A trial is scheduled for May 5 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.In papers filed March 9 by Seyfarth Shaw, the USSF argued women's national team players had lesser skills and responsibilities than their male counterparts.Following widespread criticism that included rebukes by several USSF sponsors, Cordeiro apologized and brought in Latham & Watkins, the firm where former USSF President Alan Rothenberg is a retired partner. Latham defended the USSF in a wage discrimination complaint filed by women's players in 2016 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.Kristen M. Peters of Seyfarth filed a request to withdraw Wednesday night on behalf of herself and Brian M Stolzenbach, Chantelle C Egan, Cheryl A Luce, Ellen E McLaughlin, Giovanna A Ferrari, Kyllan B Kershaw, Noah A Finkel and Sharilee K Smentek.Jamie Wine of Latham & Watkins was listed as the new counsel in the filing, which was signed by Greg Fike, a USSF senior counsel. USSF chief legal officer Lydia Wahlke has been placed on administrative leave.Cordeiro resigned March 12. He was replaced by Cindy Parlow Cone, a former national team's player who had been vice-president. She disavowed by arguments made by Seyfarth Shaw and said she hoped the case could be settled. Her public comments entered the record when both sides filed a joint stipulation with the court on Wednesday night.“The parties have conferred and defendant has clarified that it is no longer relying on the specific argument that the work of WNT players does not require `equal skill, effort and responsibility' to that of MNT players in its motion for summary judgment or in opposition to plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment,” they said.Latham & Watkins' lawyers first asked the court for permission to join the case on March 16 and had taken over the federation's filings.___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Socce r and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press

  • Feds: Man intentionally derailed LA train near hospital ship
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Feds: Man intentionally derailed LA train near hospital ship

    LOS ANGELES — A train engineer intentionally drove a speeding locomotive off a track at the Port of Los Angeles because he was suspicious about the presence of a Navy hospital ship docked there to help during the coronovirus crisis, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.The locomotive crashed through a series of barriers and fences before coming to rest more than 250 yards (230 metres) from the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Mercy on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release.Nobody was hurt.Eduardo Moreno, 44, was charged with one count of train wrecking, prosecutors said. It wasn't immediately known if he has an attorney.Moreno acknowledged in two separate interviews with law enforcement that he intentionally derailed and crashed the train near the Mercy, according to the criminal complaint.“You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to," Moreno told investigators, according to the complaint. "People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”Moreno said he was suspicious of the Mercy and believed it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover, an affidavit states. Moreno stated that he acted alone and had not pre-planned the attempted attack.In an interview with FBI agents, Moreno stated that “he did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’” according to an affidavit.“Moreno stated that he thought that the USNS Mercy was suspicious and did not believe ‘the ship is what they say it’s for,'" the complaint said.The Mercy arrived in port this week to provide a thousand hospital beds for non-coronavirus cases to take the load of regional medical centres expecting a surge of COVID-19 patients.Cell phone video showed the locomotive upright in a patch of dirt. It apparently smashed through a concrete barrier at the end of the track, slid across pavement and gravel, and hit a chain-link fence before coming to a rest.Phillip Sanfield, spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, said the locomotive never came close to the Mercy.“It would have had to have gone several hundred yards through a parking lot and cross a water channel to reach the ship,” Sanfield said. “ The tracks are nowhere near the Mercy.”The engineer wasn’t a port employee but apparently was working for Pacific Harbor Line Inc., a train company that handles cargo in the port and connects to major railroad lines, Sanfield said. The company didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.A small fuel leak was quickly controlled and port operations weren’t seriously affected, Sanfield said.Moreno was arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer who witnessed the crash and captured him as he fled the scene. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Port of Los Angeles Police are now leading the investigation.The CHP officer reported seeing “the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence,” according to an affadavit.___Associated Press writer Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.Christopher Weber, The Associated Press