Teen banking app Step has raised $50 million (37.4 million pounds) from investors led by Coatue Management alongside celebrities such as singer Justin Timberlake, influencer Charli D'Amelio and former quarterback Eli Manning. Step, which offers teenagers a bank account connected to a secured spending card and peer-to-peer payments, also said it had secured funding from existing backers including Stripe, Will Smith's Dreamers VC, CrossLink Capital and Collaborative Fund. San Francisco-based Step allows parents to view balances and real-time activity, add money to their teens' accounts and manage and freeze cards.
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The head of the European Parliament delegation representing Hungary’s ruling party is being targeted for expulsion from his political group in the European Union legislature after comparing the group's leader to the gestapo.Members of the European People’s Party have called for a vote on expelling Tamas Deutsch, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the centre-right group. Deutsch is a founding member of Hungary’s right-wing ruling party, Fidesz, which belongs to the European People's Party.In a Monday letter addressed to the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, and delivered to all group members, EU lawmakers referenced their “growing dismay and impatience (with the) increasing radicalization and verbal abuses of certain Fidesz MEPs."The signatories demanded that a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion be held at the group’s next meeting on Dec. 9.Weber, who represents Germany, has been critical of Hungary and Poland’s decision to veto passage of the EU’s next seven-year budget and coronavirus recovery fund, which the two countries oppose due to a so-called rule of law mechanism which would link payment of EU funds to countries’ adherence to democratic standards.Weber had called the veto “irresponsible,” and said if media freedom and judicial independence were upheld in Hungary, the country's leaders had no reason to fear the rule of law mechanism.Deutsch told two Hungarian news outlets last week that Weber’s comments were reminiscent “of the Gestapo and (Hungary’s communist-era secret police) the AVH.”In the letter demanding a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion, EPP lawmakers called his remarks “shocking and shameful.”“Comparing our support for the rule of law with Gestapo or Stalinist methods is an insult to all of us in the EPP group,” the letter reads.Deutsch told pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet on Tuesday that the effort to oust him from the EPP was proof that Hungary must “use all means” to prohibit adoption of the rule of law mechanism.The Hungarian delegation to the European People's Party also is facing fallout from the news that another senior lawmaker had attended an illegal lockdown party in Brussels. Fidesz MEP Jozsef Szajer resigned Sunday after police broke up a party that media reports described as a sex orgy.The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary and engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric. In a weekend interview with Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Weber said the EPP would have already made a decision on expelling Fidesz from the group were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.A spokesperson for the EPP confirmed to The Associated Press that Weber had received the letter, and said that it would be up to the EPP’s presidency when to hold a vote on Deutsch’s exclusion.Justin Spike, The Associated Press
A 31-year-old man is facing several charges after police were alerted to an improvised explosive downtown.Officers were flagged by three men on 11th Avenue and Rose Street around 3:44 p.m. CST on Saturday, according to a news release from police.The men told police they found a suspicious package in front of a downtown business, although the release didn't indicate where the business is located.Officers were given a bag containing four containers filled with fluid and what appeared to be a wick tied to each.Police then searched the area but didn't find any other suspicious items. However, security personnel at the business helped identify the suspect using surveillance video, which showed him carrying a bag that matched the one left outside of the business.In the video, police say it appears the suspect left the bag when he saw a police car in the area on an unrelated matter.Further investigation found the fluid in the containers was combustible/explosive.The suspect, Lyndon Adrian Chamberlin, was then found and arrested without incident.Chamberlin is facing numerous charges, including making or possessing an explosive substance, unlawful possession of explosives and possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace.
TORONTO — Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has agreed to sell its interests in the RiverStone Europe insurance business to a fund managed by CVC Capital Partners.Fairfax says it will receive US$750 million for its stake on Riverstone Europe, once the deal closes, and it is entitled to up to an additional US$235.7 million after closing.The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System has also agreed to sell its entire stake in RiverStone Europe as part of the deal.RiverStone Europe managing director Luke Tanzer will remain in his role and Nick Bentley, CEO of the RiverStone Group, will continue to serve on the board of RiverStone Europe once the deal closes, Fairfax said in a statement.CVC is making the acquisition through its Strategic Opportunities Fund II.The deal is contingent on approval by regulatory agencies and is expected to close in early 2021.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:FFH)The Canadian Press
The images of Mississauga in years to come are stunning. The city’s waterfront has been opened up to the public and painted with modern architecture, while the wasteland of parking lots around Square One has spawned gleaming glass towers that rise to the sky. Hurontario Street boasts a sleek and modern LRT, while Dundas Street has its own rapid transit corridor shuttling residents from east to west and back again. The air is clean and Mississauga has become a destination for everyone. Those renderings of Mississauga in the next ten to twenty years are exhilerating, inspiring and creative, but they’re relatively easy to conjure. A talented graphic designer and an urban planner with half an imagination can easily create the beautiful mockups, specifically designed to draw pre-construction down payments and other investments into the projects. In the short term, there is a huge obstacle to this vision. Years of underinvestment in rapidly aging infrastructure have taken their toll and the city faces a laundry list of urgent problems it must tackle before it can really embrace its future. Nowhere is this neglect more apparent than the fire service. At $122 million, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services (MFES) makes up 22 percent of the City’s net 2021 operating budget. The service is proposing a modest increase of two percent in its operating budget, driven largely by labour adjustments in its union contracts, which are already set. Despite its status as the single greatest expense Mississauga taxpayers bear, the service is woefully below its required response times and has buildings in a desperate state of repair. Difficulties as a result of COVID-19 mean education and enforcement plans designed to reduce call outs and offset terrible response times have also been delayed. Figures included in the 2021 budget refer to 2019, the last year for which a complete dataset is available. In 2019, the number of fires the City responded to grew, after falling slightly in 2018. Last year, there were 167 residential fires and 384 in buildings of all kinds. According to staff, a comparison of data from 2018 and 2019 shows a significant increase of 19 percent in unintentional fires related to mechanical or electrical failures. The risk of hard-to-fight fires will only increase in the years to come. Already, the city is home to 340 buildings exceeding a height of 18 metres, a point at which they are deemed “high risk” by firefighters. With massive high-rise projects on the planning horizon, such as Oxford Property’s 37-tower Square One development, that number is going to go up with every passing year. A risk assessment completed by MFES found industrial fires were another key worry for the city. Only 1.9 percent of property in Mississauga is industrial, yet 12 percent of fire loss takes place in these settings. “This is significantly higher than the provincial average and higher than expected given the actual number of industrial occupancies,” the budget says. Even with the increase in fires, the number of calls attended by the service was down in 2019. An unlabeled chart in the budget document shows calls significantly below 2018 levels, after years of consistent increases. Mississauga Fire’s central and well-documented failing is its response time. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets a target for the first vehicle to arrive at a fire within 384 seconds of a call coming in 90 percent of the time. To achieve this, the standard target is 240 seconds (four minutes) for travel time. For years, Mississauga has failed to hit this target. In 2019, the department admitted defeat and asked council to lower its target to 240 seconds 75 percent of the time instead of 90. On its internal metrics, MFES does better, but on both fronts 2019 saw travel times barely improved from the previous year and concerningly far from their targets. Mississauga’s plan to close the gap is two-fold. The first pillar is a capital program to add six stations over 12 years. The first of these was opened in 2019, with strategic locations identified to attempt to reduce callout times by targeting underserved areas and reducing how long trucks spend in traffic. The service’s 10-year capital plan includes $7.9 million to construct Fire Station 123 by 2023 and a further $14.9 million to build Station 124 by the same deadline. Further funds after 2023 will be set aside for Fire Stations 125, 126, 127 and 128. The Public Safety Reserve levy, designed to raise funds to buy land and build these new stations, was collected in 2020. For 2021, the City has put it on hold “to assist in managing the 2021 tax impact,” but says it will not have an effect on construction. A delay in acquiring land for Station 124 means the costs will fall into the 2022 budget instead. As The Pointer has previously reported in a three part investigation, the City’s problems go beyond its need for new infrastructure. Fourteen of Mississauga’s 21 fire stations are more than 20 years old and some are in desperate condition. Three cannot be upgraded to meet standards and will need to be rebuilt from scratch, while City documents also show at least nine stations have asbestos in them. The internal audit that informed The Pointer’s reporting estimated $31.4 million to get the 14 stations up to standard, excluding the cost of rebuilding the three unfixable stations. No money has been put into the 2021 budget for these projects, with promises to get to them eventually. The 10-year capital plan suggests funds will be put aside to renovate Fire Station 102, 108 and 115. However, Fire Station 108 is the only building included in the City’s damning audit slated for repair from 2022 onwards. Chief Nancy Macdonald-Duncan told The Pointer a plan to repair the other stations featured in the audit would be presented to council in January 2021. The move means funds can’t be set aside until at least 2022, when the City is already predicting a significant tax hike. “The plan is to return to Council in January on this topic,” Macdonald-Duncan told The Pointer by email. “The Fire Building Condition Audit study was completed in 2019, and with the disruption of COVID-19 in 2020, it was difficult to integrate the study’s recommendations into the capital plan in time for the budget presentation. This is still a work in progress.” The Pointer's Forgotten Fire Series: The second part of Mississauga Fire and Emergency’s plan is to increase targeted enforcement and education. The service hopes improved public awareness and safety can reduce the number of callouts, freeing up trucks and reducing response times as a result. This need for education and inspections is glaringly obvious. Data from the past four years show 62 percent of all fire calls are to locations that do not have a working fire alarm, despite it being a legal requirement to own one. Two elements are slated to make this change: a proactive fire inspection program and a public education program. The education program proposes 2 full time staff members for the 2022 budget, but does not draw on the 2021 finances. The proactive inspection element is set to hire seven staff in 2022 and have 13 in 2023. The Interim Chief says, while budget savings are a welcome bonus, the pandemic means the two programs would be difficult to deliver even if funds were flowing more freely. “COVID-19 closures and precautions did not allow for a normal public education program nor for the full implementation of proactive inspections,” she said. “Public education traditionally involves attending and hosting public events, meetings etc. Proactive inspections were difficult to conduct when businesses were closed or in the interest of limiting exposure between inspectors and the public. So this program would have been deferred or greatly reduced due to COVID19 anyway; the hiring deferral did help the City with its deficit situation, but the delays made sense from a program standpoint as well.” As strong as the pandemic justification may be, it doesn’t avoid the reality of the situation facing Mississauga fire. Response times remain well below their targets, fire stations are in desperate need of repair and inspections can’t yet take place. The plan? Wait until next year. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Lakefield resident Brant Dunford decided to paint a powerful image on a paddle because he wanted to contribute to the Burleigh Falls Beautification Project and to keep the conversation alive about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. “The idea to paint this portrait came to me when I was doing another drawing on the paddle. I changed my mind, basically erased what I had and got inspired to do the portrait. I’m happy with how it turned out,” said Dunford. The paddle depicts an Indigenous girl with a bloodied hand across her face. It’s a strong image that’s used to show the blood shed of Indigenous woman, while at the same time bringing awareness of MMIWG to the forefront. Dunford says the paddle was purchased at a local store. He says in order for him to paint the paddle he had to sand the surface. “From start to finish, it took me the better part of two days,” he says. Dunford, a father of two and the great-grandson of the late Chief Moses Marsden of Alderville First Nation, says he likes to paint as a hobby and says he has a lot of time to do other work. “During the pandemic I find myself doing more paintings,” he says. He said he has painted a few other paddles with different images and says he plans on doing another one to bring awareness to MMIWG. The auction to bid on the paddle began Dec 1 and continues to Dec. 3. Details about the auction are listed on the Burleigh Falls Beautification Project Facebook page. Stephanie Doughty, organizer, says the project is going strong. She expects there to be a large turnout to bid on the paddle as the art is very well done. She says there was a sneak peak on Nov. 15 where many posted comments on the beauty of the artwork and showed interest in bidding before the auction began.Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Peterborough This Week
Nearly every segment of society in British Columbia is affected by food insecurity — including the province's youngest residents. One program at the Surrey Food Bank is trying to provide support for those infants and their parents. The program, called Tiny Bundles, is a lifeline for one single mom, Lindsay, whose last name CBC News has agreed to withhold. Lindsay has two children, one who is 3½ and one who is six months old."Unfortunately, I'm only on welfare so I have to go to the food bank to make sure both my young children have food every day and healthy stuff as well," she said. Every week, in addition to getting a full hamper of food for herself and her son, Lindsay gets specific items for her baby. "We get the formula. Every week we get one, and it lasts a week. So that's money I don't have to spend," she said, adding formula is "really expensive.""Now that she's six months, they're giving the jar food and the cereal, so she's set to go."Advocates across the country say children are increasingly at risk of food insecurity as parents who were already living paycheque-to-paycheque lost jobs, fell ill or had to self-isolate because of COVID-19. Many support services reported an increase in families accessing their services this year. Feezah Jaffer, the executive director of the Surrey Food Bank, says the Tiny Bundles program is unique as it is specifically tailored to pregnant moms and infant children. "We provide milk and eggs for pregnant and nursing moms, formula, diapers, baby items, food, wipes, things like that," said Jaffer.Jaffer says the program has run smoothly thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers from the Tzu Chi Buddhist Society, who have worked with the program for 14 years. "They're so helpful. They're so accommodating," she said. "They go above and beyond. They have been instrumental in the success of the Tiny Bundles program."For Lindsay, the program has proven to be a lifeline during a difficult time. "[Without it] I would be struggling — very, very much so," she said.On Dec. 4, join us virtually for special broadcasts and digital meet-and-greets with your favourite CBC British Columbia hosts, and donate to Food Banks B.C. from the comfort of your own home. For more, visit cbc.ca/openhouse
OHSWEKEN, Ont. — Provincial police are assisting Six Nations Police Service with a homicide investigation on Six Nations territory just east of Brantford. Six Nations police say the shooting on a driveway in front of a home was reported Tuesday evening. A 27-year-old man died of a gunshot wound. Provincial police say two suspects who were known to the victim left before police arrived, and Six Nations police say there is no apparent danger to the public. An autopsy has been ordered and will be conducted in Toronto. Investigators ask anyone with information about the shooting to contact them. This report by The Canadian Press was first reported Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
Albertans feeling cooped up by COVID-19, can take solace in some winter sunbathing. A high-pressure system hovering over Western Canada means the forecast across the province for the week ahead is downright balmy. By the weekend, most Alberta communities will hit double-digit highs. And the unseasonably mild temperatures will be accompanied by sunny, cloud-free skies, perfect for working on your tuque tan. A high of 10 C is expected in Edmonton on Sunday. Calgary will be even milder with a high of 17 C expected by Monday afternoon. Even northern communities like Fort McMurray will get a taste with a long-term forecast free of any icy wind chill. "This is almost tropical in a way," said Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. "It's clearly an atmospheric gift. You don't expect weather like this." The temperatures started to thaw over the weekend, melting mountainous snow banks, turning roads into skating rinks and giving sun-loving Albertans a welcome reprieve from winter temperatures. The province is being temporarily shielded from the cold by a massive flow of pressurized, sinking air, Phillips said. "It's like putting a dome over the Prairies and it doesn't allow any kind of weather to get in. "You're squeezing in all those air molecules; they're jiggling and jaggling and creating all kinds of heat. And this is what makes it so, so unseasonably mild. "And it doesn't matter where you are. It's not just that Edmonton's getting all the good weather. The entire region is getting this gorgeous kind of weather." 'Sweater weather' The temperatures expected are about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than average for this time of year, Phillips said. He said some temperature records could be broken but the most notable thing about this mild stint of weather is its duration. The balmy temperatures are expected to stick around for more than a week. "One- or two-day wonders are usually in the offing, but not a whole week or even longer with wall-to-wall sunshine, no weather to get in the way," Phillips said. "I mean, it's going to be well, not muscle shirts and tank tops, but hey, you'll be changing. "It'll be going to sweater weather rather than leather weather." After a frigid fall marked by the stress of the pandemic, the balmy forecast is likely a welcome weather anomaly. Phillips said temperatures will begin to cool off next week but the current forecast could be a tiding of things to come. "I mean, we've never cancelled winter in Alberta and we're not going to this year, but we certainly think that December looks milder than normal. "And you know, when you can claim that winter is maybe only three months long instead of five months long, you're already ahead of the game."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will be ready to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians soon after they are approved by Health Canada. He says four promising vaccine candidates are currently under review.
Big data is playing a prominent role in life insurance this year.Interest in coverage has surged during the pandemic, but for many people, social distancing mandates took the life insurance medical exam off the table. As consumers look for quick, noninvasive ways to buy policies, insurers have turned to accelerated underwriting, a process that uses algorithms instead of exams to evaluate applicants.While accelerated underwriting isn’t new, more than a third of life insurers have expanded it due to the pandemic, according to a study by the Society of Actuaries. And no-exam life insurance appeals to many people. “They want it to be fast and easy,” says Gina Birchall, chief operating officer for the life insurance trade group LIMRA.Accelerated underwriting can help you get life insurance quickly online, but there are caveats. What you gain in speed, you may lose in flexibility and price.HOW BIG DATA HAS CHANGED LIFE INSURANCETraditionally, buying life insurance was a lengthy process involving bloodwork, urine samples and long waits for approval. “It was probably the hardest or most difficult product to buy left in the modern economy,” says Brooks Tingle, president and CEO of John Hancock Insurance.This changed as the world became steeped in big data. Insurers now typically check your prescription drug history and data from the MIB Group, an information-sharing service for insurers. Companies may also consider non-medical data, such as your credit history, driving record and shopping habits. Algorithms then combine these data points to quickly determine eligibility and cost of coverage.This data can be tricky to dissect, but industry experts expect the trend to grow.“The more information we have, the deeper the data that we have, the more capable we are of making sound decisions,” says Jackie Morales, chief insurance officer for Bestow, an insurer that uses accelerated underwriting.HOW ACCELERATED UNDERWRITING WORKSCompanies typically use accelerated underwriting techniques in two ways:1\. TO FAST-TRACK HEALTHY PEOPLE’S APPLICATIONS. Many major carriers approve low-risk applicants based on big data and then require medical exams for everyone else, says Jeremy Hallett, CEO of Quotacy, a life insurance broker. On average, it takes nine days for an insurer to reach a final decision using accelerated underwriting instead of the traditional 27, according to LIMRA. These policies are considered fully underwritten, even if you don’t take an exam.2\. TO PROVIDE INSTANT ANSWERS. Insurers like Bestow use information from your application and big data algorithms to assess risk, and never require a medical exam. Coverage is not guaranteed, but the application process is fast and you often get an answer within minutes.Accelerated underwriting is not to be confused with “simplified issue” life insurance, which considers the answers on your application but doesn’t tap into big data. These policies typically cost more and offer less coverage than standard policies because they rely on limited information.WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A POLICYWhen you shop for life insurance, be sure to ask how the policy is priced. Both instant-answer and fully underwritten policies have pros and cons, and your specific needs will dictate what is right for you.Before you apply, ask yourself these questions:HOW FAST DO YOU WANT COVERAGE?If speed is paramount, consider instant-answer policies that solely use big data and never require an exam. You will get an answer quickly, although the answer may be no.“What big data is providing people is speed,” says Bestow’s Morales. Nearly 85% of people who apply for a Bestow policy do so on a mobile device, she says.HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO PAY?A policy with full medical underwriting is likely to be the cheapest option. If the insurer chooses to use accelerated underwriting to fast-track your application, you are not penalized; your price and product will likely be the same as if you had taken the exam, Hallett says.Instant-answer policies may not offer rates in the cheapest brackets since the insurer doesn’t have the option of a medical exam to get more information. But Morales says, “Some people will trade off that ability to get a fast decision at a reasonable price.”DO YOU WANT FLEXIBILITY?Fully underwritten life insurance may offer more options, such as the ability to convert from term to permanent coverage. This is not always true of policies that rely solely on your application information and big data.“When you at least have that medical exam as a possibility,” Hallett says, “you get a more robust product.”___________________________________This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Georgia Rose is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.comRelated Links:NerdWallet: Options for No Medical Exam Life Insurance https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-medical-life-insuranceMIB Group: Request a copy of your report https://www.mib.com/request_your_record.htmlGeorgia Rose Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
A Windsor elementary school outbreak with 49 cases set the "precedent" for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in the province, according to one expert.Biostatistician Ryan Imgrund, who is based in Newmarket, Ont., and works with a number of public health units across the province, told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning that the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public Elementary School set the example of what should be done. "At the time that they found those cases, Windsor was not one of those super danger zones like Toronto, Peel and some other areas like that," Imgrund said. "So I don't think it was expected by anyone that a school that is in a lower-risk area would find up to 50 cases ... I think Begley set the precedent for the whole entire province what we should be doing." After three staff members tested positive for the disease, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit dismissed the entire school on Nov. 17 and advised everyone to get tested. COVID-19 testing was prioritized for the entire school population, with a temporary testing site set up in the school's gymnasium. Overall, 40 students and nine staff members have tested positive. In the same week that Begley was declared an outbreak, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School also went into outbreak and dismissed all students after two positive cases. Testing was prioritized for all members of this group, with a temporary testing site set up in the school, and seven people were confirmed positive. Despite this, and the fact that Begley is the largest school outbreak in the province, Windsor was not included in the launch of an asymptomatic testing pilot project announced last week. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Thursday that the pilot is available for students and staff in the province's COVID-19 hotspots of Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa. "Right now, the next four weeks are targeting the highest-risk regions," he said at the time. "We're following the advice of public health. If they determine, they provide a recommendation it should be expanded or we should augment the list, of course we will continue to follow that direction and implement it swiftly."Lecce told reporters that 99.85 per cent of students in the Windsor-Essex region remain COVID-free, and he and his staff are in contact with school board and public health officials to keep transmission down.Though Begley remains closed, superintendent of education at the Greater Essex County District School Board Sharon Pyke told CBC News Wednesday that the board is working with the health unit and hopes to announce a reopening date this week. A letter sent out to parents in regards to the outbreak had asked them to have their child tested, even if they were asymptomatic. When asked whether she'd like to see asymptomatic testing in schools available in the region, Pyke said it might be best to spare our resources. "I think that if we can keep on top of doing our self-assessments, I think that we perhaps may be better served in terms of our resources in our area, we want to make sure that we're able to test the people that need to be tested," she said."So do I agree? Any kind of preventative measure is good for anyone so of course I want the best for students, I want the best for our staff. I just want to make sure that they're allocated in the right space and the right spot." An investigation by the local health unit is still ongoing to determine how COVID-19 transmission was so widespread in Begley.
A former Barrie surgeon has given up his licence to practise medicine and has promised his regulatory body to never apply to register as a physician ever again, anywhere. The agreement arose following a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) disciplinary hearing last week. “The agreement to never reapply for registration… is the maximum level of punishment available in this situation,” said CPSO communications advisor Josh McLarnon. The college had earlier launched investigations into Dr. Emad M. Guirguis and his now-defunct Lakeview Surgery Centre on Dunlop Street following complaints. He was found to perform cosmetic surgery that was outside his scope of practice as a physician, not having the proper training and certification. He also engaged in unprofessional conduct through online advertising and communications with a specific patient. In addition to the practice ban, he was ordered to pay $6,000. “Dr. Guirguis has been brought forward to the discipline committee on a number of occasions,” McLarnon added. An investigation was first launched in 2015 resulting in a caution three years later. Another caution was later issued relating to his compliance of the first issue. In one complaint, Guirguis tried to perform bariatric revision gastric band surgery, but decided not to complete the surgery because he encountered extensive scar tissue from previous surgeries. According to documents from the college’s compliance and monitoring department, he perforated the patient’s bowel during the surgery, resulting in ongoing complications. The complainant said he did not communicate or follow up with her after the surgery or provide a refund of her fee. “The committee... was of the view that the respondent’s pre-operative assessment was insufficient,” the decision of the inquiries, complaints and reports committee found. In another report, an independent assessor concluded: “Dr. Guirguis did not meet the standard of practice of the profession in some of the cases reviewed; his knowledge was adequate but basic; his surgical skills were adequate for his limited scope of practice; his judgment was not always adequate, mostly because the brief documentation does not allow a full understanding of his train of thought and exposes omissions or incomplete assessments; and in the reviewed cases his clinical practice, behaviour, or conduct had the potential to expose one patient to harm.” Other assessors, it added, found broad deficiencies in Dr. Guirguis’s practice. In a report from Dec. 14, 2018, Guirguis was cautioned about not providing a full explanation of a procedure to a patient and ensuring the patient had full clarity about what was going to be done following a complaint to the college about the outcome of a cosmetic surgical procedure. According to CPSO documents, Guirguis agreed he has engaged in an act or omission relevant to the practice of medicine that would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. He was ultimately found to have committed an act of professional misconduct. Dr. Guirguis’s certificate of registration expired Sept. 4, 2020. In addition to the clinic, Guirguis was also once a staff general surgeon at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. Guirguis did not respond to requests for comment, but according to his Facebook page he is studying for his master's degree in theological studies at Tyndale University College and Seminary.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — The Supreme Court of Slovakia on Wednesday increased the prison sentence of a former soldier convicted of killing an investigative journalist and his fiancée, a case that triggered a political crisis and brought down the country’s government.In April, a lower court gave Miroslav Marcek a 23-year prison term for the contract killings of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in February 2018. The high court increased the sentence to 25 years.Marcek had pleaded guilty to fatally shooting the two but appealed as did the prosecutors.The verdict by the Supreme Court is final.In September, a court acquitted a businessman, Marian Kocner, who was accused of masterminding the slayings, and one of his co-defendants.Prosecutors appealed the verdicts but the Supreme Court has yet to rule on that.Kuciak, 27, was shot in the chest and Kusnirova, also 27, was shot in the head at their home in the town of Velka Maca, east of Bratislava, on Feb. 21, 2018.Kuciak had been investigating possible government corruption. The killings prompted major street protests and a political crisis that led to the government’s collapse.Two other defendants have been sentenced in the case.One received 25 years in prison in September for his role. The other, who had acted as a go-between, agreed to co-operate with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser sentence and received a 15-year prison term in December.The Associated Press
Workplace safety-relatedcharges against the company managing construction at the Faro mine site and a site supervisor have been stayed.Parsons Inc. and Len Faber, who's also the mayor of Faro, were charged under the Yukon's Occupational Health and Safety Act in September 2019 for allegedly intimidating workers, obstructing safety officers in the course of their duties and failing to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.Both parties pleaded not guilty to all charges. The matter was set to go to trial on Nov. 16 but was adjourned to Nov. 24, when territorial Crown prosecutor Kelly McGill told the court that Parsons Inc. and Faber had successfully met the terms of a diversionary arrangement. The terms included Parsons Inc. augmenting its health and safety training program, while Faber had to complete coursework in psychological heath and safety. They also donated $5,000 and $1,000 to the Northern Safety Network Yukon, respectively, and paid $1,500 and $500 in administrative fees. McGill told Judge Karen Ruddy that, in light of the successful arrangement, there was no longer a public interest in proceeding with the prosecution and entered stays on all charges. Lawyers representing Parsons Inc. and Faber did not immediately return requests for comment. The federal government awarded Parsons Inc., an international engineering firm, an $80 million construction management contract for the Faro mine site in 2018. The firm held the care-and-maintenance contract before that. Faber won Faro's mayoral election in October 2018 by chance when his name was pulled out of a box after he and incumbent mayor Jack Bowers both received the exact same number of votes. The Faro mine was, at one point, the largest open-pit lead-zinc mine in the world but was abandoned in 1998. Remediation work, set to begin in 2024, is expected to cost upwards of $500 million and take about two decades, with officials needing to monitor the site indefinitely after that.
A large number of Victoria residents looking to become patients at a new primary care clinic were disappointed Monday when the clinic's website crashed, preventing them from applying. Health Care on Yates opened in late September and is one of a handful of new clinics in the province staffed by nurse practitioners. The clinic has been slowly enrolling new patients in batches, taking applications online, in person and over the phone on the first Tuesday of every month."I was on the website at 8 a.m., and then at 8:01, everything went '503 Error-Service Unavailable,'" said Amber Marie Goss.Goss has fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that causes pain and fatigue. She's been looking for a primary health-care provider for three years and was excited at the potential of applying to the Yates clinic, but her hopes were quickly dashed."It crashed so quickly," she said. "Maybe they should get a ticketing company to do it for them because a clinic website isn't built for this kind of traffic."The next intake day isn't until Jan. 5. Even then, there won't be a guarantee patients get accepted.First-come, first-served doesn't work, says patientVem Stevens is another resident who was unable to apply because of the website crash. They are a non-binary transgender person and said finding health care that is safe is a challenge."It's definitely a danger for me to just walk into a walk-in clinic ... The way in which people treat non-binary people, it's very difficult to just go talk to a stranger about it," Stevens told CBC.Stevens said they're disappointed with the first-come, first-served application process at Health Care on Yates, and the clinic should consider screening applications based on need.In a written statement, officials from the Ministry of Health said the clinic was not prepared for the large demand for its services and will be rethinking how it takes on new patients in the future.In a post on its website, Health Care on Yates apologized for the crash and said it managed to enrol nearly 100 new patients who showed up in person.
Paralympic champion Josh Dueck was named Canada's chef de mission for the 2022 Beijing Games on Wednesday.The Canadian Paralympic Hall of Famer from Kimberley, B.C., competed at two Games, winning gold in super combined alpine skiing and silver in downhill in 2014 after also taking silver in sitting slalom in 2010. The 39-year-old served as the closing ceremony flag-bearer in Sochi."When I got the call with the news that I was named to lead the Canadian Paralympic Team my mind started to dance with possibility," Dueck said. "To be a champion for sport, friend and mentor to the athletes and part of the support team for Canada at the Paralympic Games is an incredible privilege. There is a great sense of honour and duty that comes with this storied role, and I look forward to learning from our history and building on this legacy with our teams."Dueck, who lives in Vernon, B.C., was injured in a ski accident just six years before his Paralympic debut. The first person to successfully perform a back flip on a sit ski, Dueck now works as a peer mentor and motivational speaker as well as leading Freestyle BC.Dueck worked with CBC Sports as a broadcaster for the 2018 Paralympics. The 2022 Games are scheduled to run Mar. 4-13 from Beijing, with Canada planning to participate in all five sports.Speed skater and two-time gold medallist Catriona Le May Doan was recently named Olympic chef de mission for Beijing.WATCH | Josh Dueck excited to be chef de mission:Canadian Paralympic Committee president Marc-Andre Fabien said Dueck is poised to impact the 2022 team in a positive manner."He is the epitome of strong athlete leadership and will bring so much positive energy, thoughtful introspection, fresh ideas, and valuable support to the team. He is incredibly well respected within the sport community, has been a longtime passionate advocate for Paralympic sport and brings in many different experiences and perspectives from his many roles in sport," Fabien said.As chef de mission, Dueck is tasked with promoting Team Canada, guiding its athletes in Beijing and fostering a positive environment."The story of every athlete is filled with hope, opportunity, challenge and often uncertainty. Athletes are trained to embrace challenge, let go of the things they cannot control, and to persevere through even the most difficult situations, in an effort to be a little better today than we were yesterday," Dueck said. "In the world today, we need more beacons of hope that remind us we can rise above the challenges we face. My goal is to help share these stories of hope."
UNALASKA, Alaska — An Alaska city that is home to one of the nation’s busiest fishing ports has included wastewater testing among the mitigation efforts that could help maintain a low number of coronavirus infections.Unalaska began testing its wastewater in July for traces of COVID-19, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Monday.The island community of about 4,500 year-round residents located on Dutch Harbor, 800 miles (1,287 kilometres) from Anchorage, has recorded 107 coronavirus cases, including 85 from a single factory trawler.Despite the island’s first case of community spread two weeks ago, any virus in Unalaska’s waste remains below the detection level.“If somebody has COVID-19, they’re shedding this virus in fragments,” said Karie Holtermann, lab manager at Unalaska’s wastewater treatment plant. “It’s in their GI tract, they’re shedding it into their feces, into their urine. And so we’re trying to pick that up in our testing here.”The plant processes about 350,000 gallons (1,325 kilolitres) of waste and greywater daily, equating to about 70 gallons (265 litres) per Unalaska resident per day.Sewage testing has been successfully used as an early detection method for other diseases such as polio, Holtermann said.A Netherlands-based study concluded wastewater serves as an early warning system for coronavirus spread by detecting the virus in people who have not been tested or who have mild or no symptoms, Holtermann said.“What they’ve all seen is that wastewater monitoring can predict an outbreak a week before showing up at the clinic,” Holtermann said. “And once it is shown that COVID-19 is in a community, it’s able to show the beginning, the tapering and the resurgence of an outbreak.”If the virus levels increase with an influx of winter fishing season workers, the wastewater tests could pinpoint the part of town where the cases are focused, she said.Holtermann takes two to three wastewater samples during peak flow times, dipping a bucket hanging from a rope at some of the 10 lift stations on the island.“We go all around the clock,” she said. “So, at midnight, three o’clock in the morning — it’s a very interesting view of Unalaska.”For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press
Huit ans, un mois et 13 jours. C’est le temps qui a passé depuis que Jason-Billy Coonishish-Rock a été arraché brutalement aux siens. Sa mère, Katia Rock de Pessamit sait qu’elle ne se sortira jamais de cette peine immense. Endeuillée, comme pratiquement au premier jour, Katia Rock a décidé qu’il était venu le temps de tout raconter dans les moindres détails pour ne jamais oublier son fils, pour partager l’événement le plus difficile de sa vie et aussi pour qu’elle puisse faire son deuil, si possible. Sa porte d’entrée pour exprimer cette indescriptible souffrance: les réseaux sociaux. « J’aimerais vous prévenir que le contenu de mon partage sera difficile à lire, mais les gens doivent connaître les circonstances du décès de mon garçon. Mon seul et unique », lance-t-elle d’emblée en entrevue téléphonique avec macotenord.com. C’est donc avec une voix tremblotante et chargée d’émotion qu’elle se lance. « Chaque année, un peu avant Noël, je revis ce pénible scénario. » Son fils de 22 ans a été sauvagement assassiné par Darryl Neeposh, un individu « dérangé » qui a agi comme un sanguinaire. Un meurtre crapuleux et d’une extrême violence. Lors de l’autopsie, la famille de la victime a eu de la difficulté à l’identifier tellement il était méconnaissable. « Une scène digne d’un film d’horreur. Il était défiguré. Son œil gauche crevé et enfoncé par le doigt de son assassin. Il a été battu à mort », livre Mme Rock, les trémolos dans la voix. Un témoignage à glacer le sang raconté une première fois lors du procès, alors que Mme Rock avait pu s’adresser au meurtrier de son fils, Darryl Neeposh. L’homme, qui avait 31 ans au moment de commettre son acte irréparable, était demeuré insensible dans le box des accusés. 4 ans de pénitencier Malgré une preuve accablante de ce sordide meurtre, Darryl Neeposh avait été accusé et reconnu coupable de meurtre au deuxième degré. Une peine d’emprisonnement de 4 ans. Aujourd’hui, il est libre. Les émotions se transforment en colère pour la mère lorsque nous abordons le nom de cet homme: Darryl Neeposh. « Injustice » est le premier mot qui a été prononcé par Katia Rock qui déplore le manque d’humanité de notre système de justice. « Il vit aujourd’hui en liberté, sans aucune conséquence. Il s’est même remarié. Mon fils, lui, ne reviendra jamais. Il est parti si jeune, alors qu’il avait toute la vie devant lui. Injustice », a martelé la femme de 48 ans. « Sa peine ne sera jamais assez suffisante pour tout le traumatisme que j’ai vécu et dont j’en garde encore aujourd’hui des séquelles psychologiques, et ce, à cause de lui », ajoute-t-elle avec la rage au cœur. Katia Rock était persuadée que la solide preuve dévoilée lors du procès aurait mené à une accusation de meurtre prémédité où aucune libération conditionnelle n’est possible avant 25 ans. Or, il a été démontré que Jason-Billy avait tenté de fuir son assassin à plusieurs reprises durant cette macabre soirée. En effet, des traces de sang retrouvées sur la neige près de la galerie de la résidence du meurtrier ont confirmé que la victime avait essayé de s’enfuir. Le jeune homme a rencontré son futur meurtrier vers 2h du matin alors qu’il était en chemin pour retourner chez ses grands-parents après avoir passé la soirée avec une copine dans la communauté autochtone de Mistissini, située à quelque 90 km au nord de Chibougamau, dans le Nord-du-Québec. Invité par le résident de la rue Minschiweek à le suivre à son domicile, Jason-Billy a accepté, ce qui lui aura coûté la vie. Vers 6h, un témoin a mentionné avoir vu les deux hommes prendre un taxi. À 7h30, la voisine du duplex dit avoir entendu Jason-Billy crier « Ekuen ma shash! (Arrête! ) » plus d’une fois. Ensuite, il y a eu un long silence. Vers 10h, la conjointe du tueur, qui avait dans le passé signalé aux policiers sa peur face à son copain violent, s’est rendue au domicile afin de récupérer des effets personnels pour elle et ses enfants. De retour chez sa mère, elle est persuadée qu’il s’est passé quelque chose de grave, précisant avoir vu un jeune homme inanimé et allongé par terre dans une mare de sang. Elle contactera les policiers. Rapidement, les policiers autochtones demanderont assistance à leurs collègues de la Sûreté du Québec. L’enquête a aussitôt été confiée aux policiers de l’unité des crimes contre la personne. Darryl Neeposh est retrouvé sur les lieux, allongé face contre le sol. Réveillé et amené au poste pour interrogatoire, il sera ensuite accusé du meurtre de Jason-Billy Coonishish-Rock. Au procès, il sera mentionné que Jason-Billy était étendu par terre, ne voyant que le bout de ses pieds avec une botte manquante, un matelas simple sur son corps meurtri. Quand les policiers ont soulevé le matelas, ils ont vu un jeune homme portant un masque Spiderman sur son visage. En retirant le masque, c’est la terrible découverte d’un visage »massacré ». Le thanatologue ira même a fortement recommander à la famille de ne pas ouvrir le cercueil lors des funérailles. « Je tenais à ce qu’il soit exposé pour que les gens puissent lui faire un dernier au revoir et pour que je puisse le voir et prendre conscience de sa mort. Même avec des heures de travail et malgré les efforts mis sur la reconstruction du visage, il était encore méconnaissable. » Mourant, il continue de le frapper Toujours devant le Tribunal, il a été démontré que le meurtrier s’était acharné sur sa victime jusqu’à son dernier souffle. « Il a reçu tellement de coups de la part de celui qui s’est permis de lui enlever la vie. Je ne peux croire qu’une personne puisse faire autant de mal à une personne de façon gratuite. Il est mort seul dans des conditions épouvantables. Je suis bouleversée en pensant à ça, moi qui par mon métier d’infirmière accompagne les gens en fin de vie. Je sais comment c’est difficile de mourir seul, loin de ses proches. » Katia Rock souligne qu’elle savait depuis longtemps qu’elle devait extérioriser sa peine, mais elle n’avait pas la force ni le courage d’exprimer ce qui la hante, jour après jour, depuis huit ans. Aujourd’hui, elle espère qu’avec cette sortie publique, elle pourra tourner la page et accepter l’absence de son fils, celui qui était sa raison de vivre.Stéphane Tremblay, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
For months in British Columbia, it has been a tale of two pandemics: cases steadily rising in the Lower Mainland, but no serious outbreaks in the Vancouver Island, Interior or Northern health regions. No longer.In the past three weeks COVID-19 cases have stayed steady in Vancouver Coastal Health and doubled in Fraser Health areas — but they've gone up by nearly 500 per cent in the rest of B.C.There are 247 cases in Island Health, 535 cases in Interior Health, and 250 cases in Northern Health.Just as concerning, the positivity rates in tests for Interior and Northern health are at six and eight per cent each, and have grown steadily for weeks. In contrast, the Lower Mainland's positivity rate is around seven per cent, and has been decreasing over the past week. "It's here. It's legit," said Revelstoke Coun. Cody Younker, whose community is at the centre of the biggest hotspot outside the Lower Mainland at the moment. "I don't want to say that people were maybe naive, but I think there was a little bit of complacency that was coming into effect here because we had a pretty good summer … but now it's not good."Revelstoke outbreakThere was a time in June when there were zero active COVID-19 cases for all of British Columbia outside the Lower Mainland — but even after cases increased slowly, Revelstoke had zero outbreaks between July and September. Now, an outbreak in the community has infected at least 46 people, or more than one in 200 residents of the town of 8,000 people. A public notification was only made once 22 cases were declared. "I do believe we should have known sooner," said Younker, repeating a common criticism of the B.C. government, which only reveals the geographic location of cases once a month. "I think that would have given us the opportunity to get out ahead, get our bylaw officers enforcing, really letting the community know that we have to hunker down." Revelstoke isn't one of the six communities in Interior Health with dedicated COVID-19 beds, and Younker is worried about what will happen if cases surge further. Outbreaks at natural resource projects?While the exact location of the active cases in Northern and Interior Health outside Revelstoke aren't known, the biggest increase last week came in the health region for Prince George, Quesnel, Burns Lake, Vanderhoof and Mackenzie. There have also been recent cases at the LNG Canada construction site in Kitimat (52 recent cases, eight remain active) and the Site C dam, where 27 workers are now in self-isolation. David Bowering, the former chief medical health officer for Northern Health, has long called for tighter restrictions on those natural resource projects because of the risk of spreading the virus. "As much as these large companies would like to isolate themselves and have protocols that protect everyone involved, including their workers, there is inevitably a fair amount of back and forth between local communities," he said. "I think the government turned a blind eye because of their economic bias. They want to see all these jobs continuing, the political points continuing. But I don't think that's realistic or even fair or appropriate."'Exacerbating the things that were already in place'Ashleigh Weeden, a University of Guelph PhD candidate working with the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation on how the pandemic is affecting rural Canada, says these outbreaks can be very concerning when they reach smaller communities. "It's not exposing new issues in rural-urban dynamics. It's exacerbating the things that were already in place. We know that rural communities have far more limited health-care capacity and often health outcomes," she said. Weeden said clear communication of guidelines is important, along with understanding that isolation and limited travel become bigger challenges when the community is more remote. But she emphasized that the chances of getting COVID have less to do with where somebody lives, and more to do with a host of underlying factors. "This is something that maybe rural communities thought that because of their lower density and maybe higher distances between [communities] might have been more protected," she said."But as we found out very early in the pandemic and we're finding out again now, it has very little to do with density and more to do with inequity and inequality."