Parts of Southern Ontario got their first taste of snow the last week of October.
Parts of Southern Ontario got their first taste of snow the last week of October.
Ralentie par la pandémie de COVID-19, qui a causé une baisse de 3 % des heures travaillées en 2020, l’industrie de la construction au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean devrait rebondir de 9 % en 2021, soutenue par les investissements publics. Comme le veut la pratique, la Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) vient de publier son bilan 2020 et les perspectives de la prochaine année pour cette industrie qui compte 170 000 travailleurs à travers la province, dont 6000 au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Selon les prévisions publiées, les travailleurs oeuvrant dans le secteur des chantiers électriques devraient profiter de l’année 2021 avec l’accélération de la construction de la nouvelle ligne Micoua-Saguenay d’Hydro-Québec, un projet d’une valeur de 793 M$ qui doit être complété en 2022. L’ensemble du projet sera partagé avec la Côte-Nord, qui a subi une baisse de 28 % des heures travaillées en 2020. La CCQ ajoute à la liste la réfection de la centrale d’Isle-Maligne par Rio Tinto, au coût de 160 M$, d’ici 2026, ainsi que la réfection du centre de cuisson d’anodes avec un investissement de 209 M$. La construction du parc éolien Val-Éo figure également parmi les chantiers liés à la production d’électricité. Il y a lieu de croire que certains travailleurs de la région profiteront de la réouverture du chantier Romaine 4, sur la Basse-Côte-Nord, ralenti dans la dernière année par des problèmes de sécurité. La CCQ prédit une hausse de 28 % des heures travaillées. La réfection de la Centrale Rapide-Blanc, en Mauricie, sera également une source d’activités pour les travailleurs de la région, alors qu’un entrepreneur du Lac-Saint-Jean vient d’y décrocher un contrat de 12 M$. Dans le secteur résidentiel, l’année 2021 pourrait être marquée par l’ouverture de trois chantiers de maisons des aînés ainsi que par le début de la construction du stade de soccer intérieur de Jonquière. Le démarrage des grands projets se fait attendre alors que Métaux BlackRock est toujours à la recherche de financement pour pouvoir lancer la construction d’une mine de ferrovanadium et d’une usine à Grande-Anse, bien que l’entreprise ait tous les permis en main pour lancer la construction. Il en va de même pour le projet d’exploitation d’apatite d’Arianne Phosphate. Résidentiel Les données publiées pour la construction résidentielle n’incluent pas de prévisions régionales, mais la CCQ indique que ce secteur terminera 2020 avec 51 550 mises en chantier, une hausse de 7 % comparativement à 2019. Un total de 32 millions d’heures travaillées figure au tableau, en baisse de 3 %. La CCQ prédit une baisse de 3 % en 2021 avec 47 000 habitations construites et 31 millions d’heures travaillées. La baisse du nombre d’entrées de résidants non permanents, qui était en forte croissance ces dernières années, et la crise sanitaire expliquent la baisse anticipée. Industriel Selon les chiffres publiés, l’année 2020 aura été plutôt éprouvante pour le secteur industriel. L’activité allait déjà en ralentissant depuis le milieu de 2019, et le secteur peine à reprendre sa vitesse de croisière depuis la réouverture des chantiers. Le volume de travail s’établira à 9,5 millions d’heures travaillées, en baisse de 17 % par rapport à 2019. Ce sera le plus faible niveau d’activité généré par le secteur depuis le milieu des années 1990. La fermeture des chantiers de la fin mars au début mai explique en grande partie ces faibles résultats. De plus, l’incertitude entourant la pandémie a entraîné l’annulation ou le report de divers projets, comme c’est le cas des travaux prévus par Valero à Lévis, qui sont repoussés à une date indéterminée. Institutionnel Le secteur institutionnel et commercial a été ralenti dans sa forte impulsion amorcée en 2018, et perdra 10 % en 2021, avec un volume de 88,0 millions d’heures travaillées, toujours selon ce qui est avancé par la CCQ. Loin d’être une catastrophe dans les circonstances, ce niveau se révèle être celui qui a été atteint il y a deux ans seulement. En 2021, le secteur reprendra graduellement du poil de la bête, même si l’incertitude risque d’être encore présente. Du côté du commercial, la confiance est ébranlée et différents acteurs privés pourraient repousser leurs projets.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
COPENHAGEN — Denmark has decided to end all oil and gas activities in the North Sea by 2050 and has cancelled its latest licensing round, saying the country is "now putting an end to the fossil fuel era.”The Danish Parliament voted late Thursday to end offshore gas and oil extraction, which had started in 1972 and made the country the largest producer in the European Union. Non EU-members Norway and Britain are larger producers, with a bigger presence in the North Sea.Denmark is this year estimated to pump a bit over 100,000 barrels of crude oil and oil equivalents a day, according to the government.That is relatively little in a global context. The U.K. produces about ten times that amount while the U.S., the world's largest producer, pumped over 19 million barrels of oil a day last year. Environmental activists nevertheless said the move was significant as it shows the way forward in the fight against climate change.Greenpeace called it “a landmark decision toward the necessary phase-out of fossil fuels.”“This is a huge victory for the climate movement,” said Helene Hagel of Greenpeace Denmark. Wealthy Denmark has “a moral obligation to end the search for new oil to send a clear signal that the world can and must act to meet the Paris Agreement and mitigate the climate crisis."The 2015 landmark Paris climate deal asks both rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and shifting rainfall patterns. It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).Denmark has been an early adopter of wind power, with more than a third of its electricity production deriving from wind turbines. They are considered key in the transformation of the energy system and should enable Denmark to no longer be dependent on fossil fuels in 2050 for electricity production.The agreement to end oil and gas extraction means that a planned eighth licensing round and any future tenders have been cancelled and makes 2050 the last year in which to extract fossil fuels in the North Sea.It was backed by both the left-leaning parties as well as the centre-right opposition, suggesting the policy is unlikely to be reversed.“It is incredibly important that we now have a broad majority behind the agreement, so that there is no longer any doubt about the possibilities and conditions in the North Sea,” said Climate Minister Dan Joergensen, a Social Democrat.According to official figures, the move would mean an estimated total loss for Denmark of 13 billion kroner ($2.1 billion). The industry has earned the small Scandinavian country over 500 billion ($81.5 billion) since the 1970s.In October, energy group Total pulled out of the latest tender process leaving only one applicant, Ardent Oil, according to authorities.In June, the Danish Council on Climate Change - an independent body that advises the government - recommended ending any future exploration in the North Sea, saying a continuation would hurt the country’s ambitions as a front-runner on fighting climate change.Jan M. Olsen, The Associated Press
The mayor of San Francisco on Friday ordered new lockdowns and business restrictions across the Bay Area in the face of the COVID-19 surge, as political leaders nationwide ramp up pressure on Americans to stay home until vaccines can be distributed. The new measures announced by Mayor London Breed, a first-term Democrat, apply across five Bay Area counties and are among the harshest of any major U.S. city, closing all personal services, outdoor dining and most public gatherings. California Governor Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, said on Thursday he would impose similar stay-at-home orders statewide, to take effect region-by-region as intensive care beds reach capacity.
Had the ATAC mining access road in the Beaver River watershed been built, it would have constituted a “breach of the honour of the Crown” and betrayed First Nations people, according to a decision document released by the Yukon government after inquiries by The Narwhal. The document provides insight into the territorial government’s Nov. 27 decision to reject the proposed all-access road by Vancouver-based ATAC Resources, a mining exploration company with gold and copper claims in the region. The document also sheds light on concerns raised by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, on whose territory the claims are located. The rejected road was given a conditional green light by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board in 2017 but was awaiting a final decision from the Yukon government. The new route would have opened access to a 65-kilometre portion of the company’s three mineral claims that form the Rackla gold property and connected Keno City to the Tiger gold deposit, the site of a planned ATAC Resources’ open-pit gold mine. The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun was “strongly opposed” to the project going ahead, the decision document reveals. The document contains a list of concerns raised by the nation, including fears the road would have caused “significant adverse impacts” on treaty rights such as hunting, fishing and trapping in traditional territory. That list also noted concerns the road would have prevented Na-Cho Nyäk Dun citizens from adequately exercising treaty rights in “one of the few remaining wilderness areas in its traditional territory.” The road would have “fundamentally alter[ed] an untouched portion of” the nation’s territory and would have “alienated” citizens from their lands. “Approving the application would permanently impair the process of reconciliation that the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, the Yukon government and Canada have been engaged in for more than 30 years,” the document states. Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn did not return a request for comment. Andrew Carne, ATAC Resources’ vice-president of corporate and project development, told The Narwhal this week that the company is seeking legal counsel on the Yukon government’s decision and that, as a result, there’s little else he can state at this time. “ATAC does not agree with many material aspects of the government’s decision,” Carne said in an email to The Narwhal. In an ATAC Resources’ press release, president and CEO Graham Downs said the road’s cancellation suggests Yukon isn’t open for business. “We are extremely disappointed with and surprised by this decision,” he wrote. The Yukon chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has warned that roads such as the one ATAC Resources’ proposed can fragment wildlife habitat, interrupt migratory patterns and lead to an increase in mining activity and hunting pressure. The Beaver River watershed, northeast of Mayo, is a vast expanse of relatively intact wilderness that’s home to moose, grizzly bears and wolves. According to the Yukon government’s decision document, ATAC Resources’ plan for the road didn’t adequately consider cumulative effects on the region’s ecosystem — particularly on wildlife. Todd Powell, director of mineral resources at the Yukon Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, told The Narwhal the company did not review wildlife impacts “in a meaningful way.” “The bigger the project, the bigger the effects are. In this case, a road into an area like that was going to have fairly significant effects.” The company’s plan to mitigate effects on wildlife “simply didn’t go far enough,” he said. According to ATAC Resources’ draft management plan, mitigation efforts included building the road in the Rankin Creek valley, where fewer wildlife are present, reducing or suspending traffic during calving and rutting and making the route private to prevent hunting. The company also said it would conduct road patrols to further deter hunting. The decision document notes there were baseline data “deficiencies” that would have affected environmental monitoring efforts. In its draft management plan, ATAC noted Lebarge Environmental Services conducted eight aerial and three ground surveys of wildlife between 2010 and 2013 that noted the project area is home to species that are considered of “special concern” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada including woodland caribou, grizzly bear, wolverine, collared pika, horned grebe, rusty blackbird, peregrine falcon and dolly varden. Threatened species that are found in the project area, according to ATAC, include the common nighthawk and the olive-sided flycatcher. Without adequate monitoring, Powell said there was little hope potential impacts could be mitigated in the future, which contributed to the Yukon government pulling the plug on the project. The Beaver River watershed is largely roadless and the ATAC road would have set a new “precedent” for mineral exploration in the territory, the document states. No roads longer than 50 kilometres have been built for operations that, like ATAC Resources’, are purely exploratory over the past decade, the document notes. “Far more typically, existing access routes and new access routes have only been upgraded or constructed once mine development and production has been authorized.” ATAC Resources is not currently operating any mines in the region and is not permitted to. The company is only permitted to conduct exploratory work until 2024, which raised questions about the need for the access road and concerns the company wouldn’t have long enough to successfully build and decommission the road as proposed. “The nearness of the expiration date doesn’t suggest that they would have a reasonable timeframe to get all of that work done,” Powell said. A sub-regional land use plan for the Beaver River watershed was recently launched by the Yukon government and the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation. Work on the plan is set to continue, regardless of the ATAC road cancellation, Powell said. “Everybody recognizes that this is a highly mineralized area with lots of potential,” he said. “The commitment remains in place to finalize [the land use plan] as soon as we can.” Randi Newton, conservation manager with CPAWS Yukon, recently told The Narwhal she hopes that the sub-regional land use plan will be replaced with a much broader plan that encapsulates the entire Beaver River watershed. CPAWS recently released a report that cautioned the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board against approving road projects before land use plans are completed. “Land use planning can take that broader view of how much development is allowable in an area, which areas should we keep remote and free of roads,” Malkolm Boothroyd, the report’s author and campaigns co-ordinator at the Yukon chapter of CPAWS, told The Narwhal in a previous interview. Powell said that while the sub-regional land use plan won’t be scrapped, it could help inform a region-wide plan in the future, so the intention now is to finish what has already been started. Lewis Rifkind, mining analyst at the Yukon Conservation Society, told The Narwhal his organization has been highlighting concerns associated with the ATAC road since its inception. While he questions why it took the Yukon government so long to cancel the project, he’s hopeful environmental protection is coming to the region through land use planning. “It does give us a chance to protect or manage a pretty large-scale landscape,” he said. “Now we can do the planning without having the road dictate certain land uses.”Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
NEW YORK — Miguel Algarín, poet, professor and a founder of New York City's beloved Nuyorican Poets Café performance space, has died. He was 79. Algarín died Monday at a Manhattan hospital from sepsis, said Daniel Gallant, executive director of the Nuyorican Poets Café. Born in Puerto Rico, Algarín and his family came to New York City when he was a child. After Algarín had returned to New York with degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania State University, he held gatherings with other poets in his apartment in the early 1970s, exploring Puerto Rican identity and other themes. Out of that was created the Nuyorican Poets Café, which by 1981 had moved to a building on Manhattan's lower east side where it remains. “Miguel was a brilliant poet, an influential professor and leader, and a supportive mentor who inspired and guided generations of artists," Gallant said. Algarín was a prolific writer, with multiple books of poetry to his name, and edited several anthologies as well. He spent years at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he taught classes on Shakespeare, creative writing and ethnic literature, and became a professor emeritus. Gallant said the cafe would have an online tribute for Algarín this month, and would do something in person as soon as conditions allow. The Associated Press
Ontario reported another 1,780 cases of COVID-19 and 25 more deaths from the illness on Friday, as the provincial government announced the members of its vaccine distribution task force.The province also said three more regions are moving into new levels of the province's colour-coded restrictions framework for at least 28 days. York Region continued to avoid being placed in lockdown despite being among the hardest hit regions after Toronto and Peel.As of Monday, Middlesex-London and Thunder Bay will be in the orange "restrict" tier, while the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will move into the yellow "protect" category."Over the last seven days we have seen the trends in key public health indicators continue to go in the wrong direction in these three regions," said Minister of Health Christine Elliott in a news release.The new cases reported Friday include 633 in Toronto, 433 in Peel Region, 152 in York Region and 94 in Durham Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Windsor-Essex: 68 * Halton Region: 51 * Hamilton: 43 * Simcoe Muskoka: 41 * Waterloo Region: 40 * Middlesex-London: 39 * Ottawa: 36 * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 25 * Niagara Region: 21 * Southwestern: 20 * Thunder Bay: 13 * Brant County: 11 * Huron Perth: 10Also included in today's new cases are 129 that are school-related: 102 students and 27 staff members. Some 776 of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools, or about 16 per cent, currently have at least one case of COVID-19, while eight schools are currently closed because of the illness.(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)Given today's figures, the seven-day average of new daily cases dropped slightly to 1,759.There are currently 14,997 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, the most at any point since the outbreak began in late January.They come as Ontario's network of labs processed 56,001 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 3.6 per cent. Another 62,400 tests are in the queue waiting to be completed. Moreover, the number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of the illness climbed to 674. Of those, 207 are being treated in intensive care, though an internal Critical Care Services Ontario report puts the current total at 214 as of Friday morning. Some 116 are on ventilators.The 25 additional deaths pushes the province's official toll to 3,737. Vaccine task force members announcedMeanwhile, the province has appointed nine people to its vaccine panel, including the province's top coroner.The panel, headed by retired chief of national defence staff Rick Hillier, will oversee distribution of the vaccine when available.Health Minister Christine Elliott said it will be up to the panel to ensure effective and ethical delivery of a vaccine.WATCH | Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a member of the vaccine task force, details his priorities:Key tasks include delivery, logistics and administration, clinical guidance as well as public education and outreach.The panel includes Chief Coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer, former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders, and Linda Hasenfratz, head of car parts giant Linamar.LTC commission recommends annual inspectionsOntario's Long-Term Care Commission released its second interim report Friday morning, making seven more recommendations to the Progressive Conservative government. The interim report, which comes amid surging cases, notes 100 homes have seen an outbreak in the last six weeks, with 300 more deaths.Among them is a call to reintroduce comprehensive annual inspections, known as Resident Quality Inspections (RQI), which were eliminated by the province in the fall of 2018. The process required a minimum of one thorough, unannounced inspection each year. Only 27 homes were inspected last year, far fewer than in previous years, the report states. Inspectors looked at only 11 of the province's 670 nursing homes proactively from March 1 after the pandemic hit to Oct. 15.Inspectors issue mandatory orders only in "extreme circumstances," the report says, noting only 21 were handed out between January 2019 and August 2020. Fines or prosecutions are "rarely applied," resulting in a "lack of urgency" from home operators to address violations.CBC Marketplace reported in September that an analysis commissioned by the Ministry of Long-Term Care in 2015 concluded that RQIs were up to five times more effective than other types of inspections.In a statement, Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton didn't specifically mention the issue of inspections but said the government has already moved to address many of the commission's ongoing recommendations."We have invested over $750 million to protect residents, caregivers, and staff in long-term care homes during the pandemic, and we will continue to act on the commissioners' recommendations to protect our most valuable.
NEW YORK — A year after a series of concerts in Puerto Rico that ended up being his last because of the pandemic, Daddy Yankee is bringing those performances to YouTube as a Christmas gift to his fans around the globe.“DY2K20,” the digital version of his show “Con Calma Pal’ Choli,” will be released in three parts on Yankee's YouTube channel, with the first installment out Friday. The others will drop on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, respectively.“I wanted to give a Christmas present to all my fans during the pandemic, bring the party to their homes free of charge, bring them joy in such difficult times,” the reggaeton star told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Miami.Yankee, who has stayed mostly out of the spotlight in 2020, said that while the pandemic has hit many very hard, it has also allowed him to do something he hadn't done in three decades: Focus on his health and rest.It's something he had to gradually learn after gaining 40 pounds (almost 20 kilos) during the first months of quarantine.“Maybe because of the anxiety... I started eating and eating and eating and I put on the pounds like never before. I got to weigh 230 pounds (105 kilos) ... But I recovered my normal weight from 10 years ago. That was my focus,” said the “Despacito” and “Gasolina” singer, adding he achieved his goal by watching what he ate and exercising, a lot.“I devoted myself to my health and to something that was unknown to me, which was rest,” he said. “I started to learn how to live with calmness and to appreciate it... And I feel different, I feel in a new phase completely.”Now that he gained some balance in his life, he feels ready to reactivate his career. In addition to “DY2K20,” he has another surprise for his fans: A new music collaboration he will release in the coming days, although he wouldn't provide details yet.For now, he said he was blessed to finally share with the world the footage of a show staged at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot, which involved over 80 people who worked with “great passion, great creativity.” It was well-received, going from two scheduled dates to a full residence, with 12 sold-out shows, or 170,000 tickets.What many don't know is that a technical problem on opening night resulted in a new business opportunity: Massive concerts in the daylight hours, something never seen before on the island.After getting stuck on a platform over the stage, Yankee announced to the audience that he would give them an extra show for free, and it was a matinee. He adjusted the content to make it family friendly, and ended up doing one more that way.Another unique aspect of “Con Calma Pal’ Choli,” which featured artists like Ozuna, Wisin & Yandel and Nicky Jam, was the use of holograms to replace those who weren't there to perform live.“I wanted the artists to be gigantic, on people's faces, so the audience could feel that they were in front of them and we achieved that,” Yankee said. “It was a concert that became a residence, like if Las Vegas had moved to Puerto Rico.”___Follow Sigal Ratner-Arias on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.Sigal Ratner-Arias, The Associated Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off the inaugural meeting of a global council on artificial intelligence on Friday by warning of the danger of unbridled digital technology, despite its potential to change the world for the better. The virtual summit marks the latest step in the slow march toward international co-operation on digital governance.
Niagara is now home to one of the best young spellers in Canada. Leena Jalees, 14, of St. Catharines took home the gold at this year’s Spelling Bee of Canada national championship, beating out 25 other competitors in the intermediate division (ages 12-14) across the country. Jalees, who has entered the regional competitions on two previous occasions, said this was her first time reaching the national level, after winning Niagara’s competition earlier in November. Jalees said she had always been a good speller, particularly when it came to everyday words, and thought entering a spelling bee would help her expand her spelling abilities when it came to new and unfamiliar words. “I thought it would be fun to learn new words, and become a better speller, and know the tactics of how to break down the words and be able to spell words I have never heard of before. So I decided to do a spelling bee, just to see how well I could do.” Jalees did more than okay. In her first appearance on the national stage, she was crowned the winner in the intermediate division of the Spelling Bee of Canada after correctly spelling the word “taxonomist”. For Jalees, the word was a no-brainier. “When I found out that was the word, I was so relieved because I was already familiar with that word. I already knew how to spell it, so I didn’t have to think about it.” So how does one study for a spelling bee? The competitors were given a manual of 400 words two and a half weeks prior to the competition, but that doesn’t include tiebreaker words, which are entirely new, and come down to the participants' ability to break down the word itself. Jalees said her strategy involves looking at the words as multiple units, and understanding the origin of the word itself. “One of the words was polemicist. I thought it was a medical word, but then when I knew it had to do with politics, then I decided to change the way I spelled it to ending in 'cist'. So I was very grateful I didn’t start spelling it the way I was initially going to.” Jalees, who hopes to one day be an OB/GYN said she hopes to defend her title at next year’s competition, as it may be her last year of eligibility. “I am going to try again next year, and see how well I can do again.” Also representing Niagara at the national championship were Jimmy Zhou, of Niagara Falls, who competed in the junior division (ages 9-11) and Shirley Chen, of St. Catharines, who competed in the primary division (ages 6-8).Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
The Congress of Aboriginals Peoples (CAP) is calling on the resignation of Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Christine Tell. More than 100 inmates at Saskatoon Correctional Centre have tested positive for COVID-19. “Minister Tell has fumbled the ball in her role as minster responsible to Saskatchewan correctional facilities,” said National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin Dec. 3. “This requires leadership with a level of foresight and compassion that is lacking in her public response to COVID-19.” The CAP is also calling on the federal government to intervene in Saskatchewan’s provincial jail system. They want all non-violent inmates to be released immediately. They also want testing of all inmates and staff and measures to ensure infected inmates are given separate living quarters from other inmates. "Our people are now facing a death sentence in Saskatoon Correctional Centre due to Covid-19,” said Beaudin. "These are lives being intentionally put at risk, and is nothing short of a genocidal, colonialist policy.” Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety department was contacted for comment on the situation at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre but have not responded. Earlier this week protesters – concerned for their loved ones inside - picketed in front of the Saskatoon Correctional Centre. A group of Saskatchewan lawyers sent a letter Tuesday to Tell calling for the release of non-violent, low-risk inmates who are elderly and have compromised immune systems. CUPE 1949, the union that represents 130 lawyers and legal staff at Legal Aid Saskatchewan, says the outbreak at Saskatoon Correctional Centre shows the volatility of the situation. “Our jails are overcrowded with vulnerable people who have virtually no means of protecting themselves,” said Julia Quigley, President of CUPE 1949. “Once the virus gets in, our clients are at an incredible risk.” Quigley said the majority of inmates in Saskatchewan are on remand, meaning they haven’t been convicted of any crime. “In essence, these inmates have a bull’s eye on their backs, and yet they are legally innocent,” said Quigley. She said that Saskatchewan remands people at twice the national average and the majority of inmates in Saskatchewan prisons are Indigenous and medically vulnerable to COVID-19. “This virus doesn’t discriminate, but the criminal justice system does. Our Indigenous clients will bear the brunt of the Saskatoon outbreak, and any other outbreaks if we don’t contain it.” “We cleared the jails effectively in the first wave, without any discernible risk to the public. We need to do it again, now,” added Quigley. Noel Busse, director of communications for Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice/Corrections and Policing, however, told the News-Optimist in July that no prisoners were released early from Saskatchewan jails during the COVID-19 pandemic. “No sentenced offenders have been released early as a result of COVID-19,” Busse said about the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic that hit the province. In March, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections and Policing put in measures to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread. They used existing infrastructure and program space in correctional facilities to create additional separation between offenders and staff. They also restricted the movement and placement of offenders within a facility, and provided personal protective equipment to corrections staff and offenders. COVID-19 also prompted the province’s Crown prosecutors to rethink remanding some defendants who were charged but not yet convicted. Some non-violent inmates held on remand in Saskatchewan’s jails were released while waiting for trial. Saskatoon Correctional Centre is a provincial jail run by the province of Saskatchewan. As of Dec. 4 there are no COVID-19 positive cases in the federal penitentiaries in the province, such as the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, and Willow Cree Healing Lodge. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
SANTÉ. Par une triste coïncidence, c’est au moment où l’on apprenait un autre cas de maltraitance d’enfants à Granby où la DPJ s’est fait pointer du doigt pour son inaction que le CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS a présenté son Rapport annuel de gestion 2019-2020. Bien que l’on y mentionne «les services de protection de l’enfance, une priorité absolue», Marie-France Thibeault, chef de service relations publiques et partenariats au Service des communications n’a pas cru bon acheminer les questions du GranbyExpress au président-directeur général, Stéphane Tremblay. «En lien avec la fillette de Granby et le cas révélé aujourd’hui (26 novembre), est-ce que des sanctions ont été imposées à des employés sous la responsabilité du CIUSSS de l’Estrie? Si oui, lesquelles? Si non, pourquoi?» Bien que l’on ait sollicité ses questions tant par courriel que lors du Facebook Live du 26 novembre dernier, l’organisation n’a pas répondu à nos demandes. «La séance d’information annuelle du conseil d’administration de ce soir n’est pas un point de presse. Nous pouvons parler des services jeunesse en général ou du plan d’action à venir, mais nous ne commenterons pas une situation particulière. Merci», a fait savoir Marie-France Thibeault, chef de service relations publiques et partenariats au Service des communications du CIUSSS de l’Estrie. Rappelons que le 13 novembre dernier, une mère de famille de Granby a été condamnée à une incarcération de huit ans pour des sévices effroyables qu’elle a fait subir à son fils de 17 ans. «À l’instar de deux pédiatres qui ont pris soin de X, le Tribunal considère que le présent dossier demeure un des pires cas de maltraitance à lui avoir été soumis», indique le juge de la Cour du Québec Conrad Chapdelaine dans son jugement. «S’acharner de cette façon sur un enfant blessé, défiguré, sans défense, devant se déplacer à quatre pattes pour se mouvoir ou s’occuper de ses deux jeunes frères, isolé socialement, sans aucun filet de protection, comme l’école par exemple, dépendant à tous points de vue de son seul parent, l’accusée, constitue un comportement d’une cruauté extrême», ajoute-t-il. Dans son jugement, Conrad Chapdelaine a également dénoncé la DPJ de l’Estrie. En effet, une dizaine de signalements concernant cette famille n’ont pas mené au retrait de l’enfant qui avait de nombreuses plaies, des os brisés et une maigreur effroyable qui s’apparentait aux victimes des camps de concentration selon Francis Livernoche, un des pédiatres qui l’a traité, a rapporté le journal La Presse. C’est l’appel aux policiers d’un huissier, Louis Martin, qui a découvert son état lamentable le 14 février 2019 lors de l’exécution d’une ordonnance d’éviction de la Régie du logement qui a mené à l’arrestation de la mère. Cet autre cas de maltraitance à Granby a trouvé écho en ouverture de la conférence de presse du premier ministre du Québec du 26 novembre. François Legault a qualifié la situation de «terrible» et «gênante». Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Three Windsor-Essex hospitals have issued a strong warning over the current surge in COVID-19 cases — and what could happen if the trend continues.In a joint statement, they pleaded with the public to continue to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus."The scenario that our Windsor-Essex region residents have seen on TV taking place in other jurisdictions around the world, where hospital resources are stretched beyond capacity, is showing signs of occurring in our area of the province," chief executives from Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Shores Healthcare said Friday.Recent COVID-19 outbreaks at Hôtel-Dieu Grace and Windsor Regional risk "significant reductions" in bed capacity, while use of beds is already above 100 per cent, they said."As hospital bed capacity deteriorates, clinical teams will have no option other than to cancel scheduled surgeries and other procedures to ensure we have bed space available for emergency and other urgent cases," they stated.There are currently 27 people in hospital with COVID-19 and seven in ICU, according to the Windsor-Essex County Public Health Unit (WECHU). "There is definitely a lot of pressure on the health-care system in the region and also across Southwestern Ontario, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with WECHU, said Friday.The health unit announced 65 new cases on Friday, bringing the active case total to 424.21 outbreaks in Windsor-EssexDr. Ahmed said there's also record number of outbreaks in the region — 21 across workplaces, long-term care homes and other institutions."We have never had that many outbreaks, clearly indicating that we need to do more," Dr. Ahmed said.As of the most recent data, which Dr. Ahmed presented on Friday, Windsor's seven-day average test positivity rate is 4.3 per cent -- the fourth highest in the province behind Toronto, Peel and York regions.Analysis of the presence of the virus wastewater suggests rates of infection exceed the number of known cases, Ahmed said.Not moving to lockdown Despite the rising cases, the province did not announce a lockdown for Windsor-Essex on Friday, meaning the region remains in the red "control" zone of COVID-19 restrictions in place since Monday.Dr. Ahmed said earlier on Friday that he didn't anticipate a lockdown would be announced, though earlier in the week he said the region is at risk of heightened restrictions."We would like to see the results of us in the red zone first before we move on to any criteria at this time," he said.Snapshot of the pandemic in Windsor-EssexSince the pandemic started, 3,864 cases have been diagnosed in Windsor-Essex, 3,358 of which have been resolved.Eighty-two people have lost their lives to COVID-19, including 56 death in longterm care and retirement homes.Of the 65 cases announced across the region Friday , five are close contacts of a confirmed case, two were community acquired, 58 are still under investigation. Twenty-seven people are in hospital, with seven in the intensive care unit.There are 21 outbreaks in the community, including eight at workplaces. * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. * One in Kingsville's manufacturing sectorTwo community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. There are three school outbreaks: Corpus Christi Catholic Middle School - Central Park Athletics Campus, Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School. The latter two schools have been closed for two weeks. Officials are working on a reopening plan for both schools.There are outbreaks at six long-term care and retirement homes: * Chartwell St. Clair Beach in Tecumseh with one resident case. * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with two staff cases. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with two staff cases. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
Après une longue saga, voilà que les communautés innues de Uashat mak Mani-utenam et Matimekush-Lac John ont signé une entente de réconciliation et de collaboration avec la Compagnie minière IOC. Depuis 2010, de nombreuses négociations ont eu lieu entre la minière et les deux communautés. Une poursuite judiciaire avait même été entamée contre IOC. Au cœur du litige se trouvait l’exploitation du Nitassinan (territoire ancestral traditionnel des Innus) qui a été exploité sans le consentement des Innus. L'entente qui a été ratifiée aujourd'hui prévoit notamment que l'entreprise minière fournira des paiements financiers, des avantages en matière d’emploi et des opportunités d’affaires aux communautés innues ainsi qu’une meilleure collaboration sur le plan environnemental. L’entente prévoit également que IOC présente des excuses. Les deux communautés se sont engagées à retirer les poursuites judiciaires qui avaient été intentées contre la compagnie. Cet accord a été baptisé « Ussiniun », ce qui signifie « renouveau » en langue innue. « Cette entente marque le début d’une nouvelle relation avec IOC, basée sur le respect et le partenariat. Les compensations et les retombées pour nos membres nous permettront de prendre encore plus en main le développement de notre communauté. Le respect démontré par IOC nous permettra de tourner la page sur un historique de conflits et de regarder l’avenir avec optimisme », a affirmé le Chef de Uashat mak Mani-utenam. De son côté, le président et chef de la direction de IOC, Clayton Walker, a déclaré : « Cette entente à long terme est une étape importante qui nous permet d'avancer ensemble et de construire des relations solides basées sur le respect, la confiance et les avantages mutuels. Nous nous engageons à travailler en collaboration avec les communautés de Uashat mak Mani-utenam et de Matimekush-Lac John afin de concrétiser les nombreux avantages de cette entente pour toutes les parties concernées. » L'entente qui a été acceptée en août par les deux communautés innues a par la suite été présentée aux membres de chacune des communautés. Un référendum a été effectué dans la communauté de Matimekush-Lac John pour approuver l'entente et l'option du oui l'a emportée à 83%.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
The Humboldt Special Olympics Floor Hockey Team took home the Special Olympics Canada Team of the Year Award. TSN hosted the award ceremony on Facebook Live on Dec. 3 with athletes and coaches sending in their thank you videos for the ceremony. The team has been collecting the hardware over the last two years with a bronze medal win during the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational youth games in Toronto and another bronze win at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay 2020. Floor hockey has been part of the Humboldt Special Olympics sporting list for the last 16 years. Ever since the team lost fellow teammate, Brody Hinz, in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the team has played to honour him, said Vic Rauter, a TSN announcer, during the ceremony. “Since the loss of their friend and teammate, the Special Olympics Humboldt Broncos floor hockey team have been on a mission to honour those lost and those who were affected.” This award comes on the cusp of two provincial awards in October, another team award for the floor hockey team and a coaching award from coach Brain Reifferscheid. Reifferscheid said the award was unexpected and the coaches and players are pretty happy and proud and excited and humbled by the honour, he said. The provincial award was enough of a surprise for the team to wrap their heads around and celebrate but it was not long after before they were contacted by Special Olympics Canada about their national award. This will be the second year in a row that a Humboldt Special Olympics athlete or team has received a national award from Special Olympics Canada, with Tianna Zimmerman from Englefeld taking home Athlete of the Year during the 2019 award ceremony as well as the provincial honour that same year, just like the floor hockey team. This two year stretch at both the national and provincial level said a lot about the Special Olympics Humboldt, Reifferscheid said. “We've got a group of athletes that are very sports-minded and committed to achieving high goals. It also says something about the Special Olympics Humboldt organization, all the volunteers and coaches and all the sports. Everyone has a piece of contributing to helping athletes be successful.” On behalf of the Humboldt Special Olympics floor hockey team, they are honoured to receive this award, Reifferscheid said.Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
While the Municipality of Powassan has received a “clean audit report,” there are dark clouds on the horizon as the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to be felt. In a report to council delivered virtually, chartered professional accountant Dean Decaire of BDO Canada in North Bay said “there are no errors or irregularities” in Powassan's 2019 financial statement. But, although taxes received in 2019 amounted to $755,596, tax arrears stood at $319,302. And while Decaire said he hoped the municipality had exercised “strong collection” practices this year to rein in the late taxes, “COVID-19 happened and it may have impeded tax collections for 2020.” The municipality, Mayor Peter McIsaac told Decaire, has been “working on rectifying” that situation. “It's a priority,” McIsaac said. “We have to make sure we collect our taxes from residents and businesses.” Later in his presentation Decaire added a section dealing with the impact COVID-19 could have on the community in future. He said Powassan isn't alone and virtually all municipalities will face financial impacts from the virus. “At this time, the full potential impact of COVID-19 on the municipality is not known,” he wrote in his report. Decaire says the actual disruptions the virus has caused are expected to be temporary, but because the circumstances are dynamic in nature, the length of the disruptions and the related financial impacts can't “be reasonably estimated at this time.” Decaire also addressed the municipality's future ability to deliver essential and non-essential services as a result of COVID-19. When it comes to non-essential services, Decaire said, Powassan's ability to keep delivering these services and to continue employing the related staff will depend on what help comes from the provincial and federal governments. With regard to delivering essential services, Powassan must focus on collecting the money it's owed, continue managing its expenditures, leverage its existing reserves and access “available credit facilities,” Decaire said. He said it is “fabulous” the municipality continues to pay down on its long-term debt, which was $4.2 million at the end of 2019, or $118,000 less than 2018. Decaire also noted Powassan does a good job of controlling its operating expenses, which amount to $6 million a year. It posted a $742,000 budget surplus in 2019, in part due to government grants. Decaire commended council for making “significant” infrastructure investments. In the past two years, the municipality has spent more than $5 million to improve its infrastructure. Decaire made a point of saying residents often won't easily see the infrastructure because much of it involves water and sewer projects beneath the ground. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska has returned to work after recovering from COVID-19, his office said. Young's staff said the veteran Republican lawmaker was back at work in his congressional office in Washington, D.C., The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday. The 87-year-old announced Nov. 12 he had tested positive for the coronavirus. In March, Young referred to the coronavirus as the “beer virus” before an audience that included older Alaskans and said the media had contributed to hysteria over COVID-19. His campaign manager told the Anchorage Daily News at the time that the virus’ impact is real and that Young was trying to urge calm. After contracting the virus, Young said he had not grasped the severity of the illness. “Very frankly, I had not felt this sick in a very long time, and I am grateful to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers,” Young said following his release from an Anchorage hospital Nov. 16. Young is now “preparing to fight harder than ever” for Alaskans, spokesman Zack Brown said. Voters last month reelected Young, Alaska’s lone U.S. representative, to serve his 25th term in office. Young has held his seat since 1973 and is the longest-serving Republican in congressional history. For most people, the new 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 number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The Associated Press
BERLIN — Veteran German diplomat Helga Schmid, a key behind-the-scenes negotiator of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, was named Friday as the new administrative head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.The Vienna-based regional security organization plays an important role in trying to resolve conflicts in Europe and on its periphery, including Ukraine. Its 57 members include Russia and the United States.A career diplomat, the 59-year-old Schmid was the German embassy's spokeswoman in Washington during the early 1990s, before taking senior roles at the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin, and later moved to Brussels. She spent the last four years as the head of the EU's diplomatic service.The post of OSCE secretary general comes with a three-year term that can be renewed once. The secretary general is the administrative head of the OSCE, complementing the presidency which rotates annually among member states.A branch of the organization also conducts election monitoring missions, including during last month's U.S. presidential vote.The Associated Press
AL-QAYYARAH, IRAQ (Reuters) - Tuqqa Abdullah and her Iraqi family have wandered from one displaced people's camp to the next in the past three years, buying time and hoping they will one day be able to go home. Just 14 when her father took the family to the then Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Mosul, she has inherited a legacy that might take generations to overcome. When Iraqi forces captured Mosul in the dying days of the three-year-old IS caliphate in 2017, Abdullah's father and older sons were killed.
Canada's economy added 62,000 jobs last month, which is better than economists had been expecting, but it's also the lowest total since the labour market recovery from COVID-19 began in May.Statistics Canada reported Friday that the jobless rate ticked down four basis points to 8.5 per cent. That's down from a peak of 13.7 per cent in May, but still well above the 5.6 per cent rate seen in February, before the pandemic.Canada lost more than a million jobs in March and another two million in April, before the job market started to recover in May. According to Statscan, more than 19.1 million Canadians aged 15 or over had some sort of job in February. Last month, that figure stood at just over 18.6 million.There are currently 1.7 million people in Canada officially categorized as unemployed, which means they would like to work but can't find any. Roughly one quarter of them — 443,000 people — have been out of work for more than half a year.Manitoba lost 18,000 jobs last month, while Ontario added 36,000 and Quebec 15,000. British Columbia added 23,000 and the Atlantic provinces added a total of 17,000.Mostly full timeWhile the overall rate of job gains is undeniably slowing, economist Royce Mendes with CIBC did see some reason for optimism in the numbers, specifically the fact that most of the new jobs were full time, which boosted the total number of hours worked by 1.2 per cent — faster than the increase seen a month earlier.But with cases spiking across Canada and more regions locking down more parts of the economy, he thinks the streak of job gains will come to an end this month. "It's likely that COVID will catch up with the Canadian economy in the December data, with a decline expected in both employment and overall economic activity," Mendes said.Leah Nord with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the job slowdown shows that the government needs to do a better jobs of testing for COVID-19 and tracing contacts, and making much broader use of rapid testing to ensure businesses stay open for the long Canadian winter ahead."The short-lived partial rebound in jobs is turning an unfortunate corner heading into a potentially protracted second wave," she said. "As we look forward, we believe there is increasing risk for a steady decline in employment over the coming months as governments and health authorities grapple with transmission mitigation."
Despite a province-wide rental freeze for 2021, Windsorite Amanda Younan says she's "angry" that her landlord is trying to increase her rent for March. Younan, who has been renting a home off of Erie Street for the last seven years, says she was notified three weeks ago that her rent will increase by 1.5 per cent. But in October, the province implemented a rental freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The freeze prevents rental increases for most tenants in 2021. When Younan emailed her landlord about the freeze, she said they told her it only applied to people on social assistance or those who have occupied a residence after 2018. Yet, on the Ontario government's website, it says the rent freeze applies to most tenants, including those living in: * Rented houses, apartments and condos (including units occupied for the first time for residential purposes after Nov. 15, 2018). * Basement apartments. * Care homes (including retirement homes). * Mobile home parks. * Land lease communities. * Rent-geared-to-income units and market rent units in community housing. * Affordable housing units created through federally and/or provincially funded programs. Worries others might be 'taken advantage of'Younan currently pays $900 for her space. Although she acknowledges that the increase is minimal — about $13 — she says it's the "principle of following the rules." "I think everyone just needs to know about it because they're going to be taken advantage of," she said. "I don't want [my landlord] to retaliate against us for anything like we're just trying to follow the rules. They should have to follow the rules like everybody else." Younan said she went to the Landlord and Tenant Board, which confirmed that she shouldn't be subject to the increase.But Younan said her landlord has not responded to her email that includes the board's response. CBC News has reviewed the emails between Younan and her landlord. Home 2 Home Properties Inc. is the property management company for Younan's rental. Marie Latif with Home 2 Home Properties Inc. spoke with CBC News, though she did not want to do a formal interview. Latif said that the tenant does not have to pay the rent increase, though Younan says they have not told her that. Few exemptions to rent freezeIn an email to CBC News, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing confirmed that the government's passing of bill 204, Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act, 2020, means that most rents can not increase next year. "There are very few exemptions to this freeze," the statement reads. Exceptions to this include above guideline increases approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board before Oct. 1, 2020. These can still be approved by the board and applied to 2021 rents if they are for "costs related to eligible capital repairs and security services, but not if they are for extraordinary increases in municipal taxes and charges," the website states. Additionally, the website notes that tenants and landlords can still agree on rent increases in exchange for another service or facility, such as air conditioning or parking. The rent freeze is expected to end on Dec. 31, 2021, and landlords are to give "proper 90 days' notice beforehand for a rent increase that takes effect in 2022," the website states. As a result of this, Legal Assistance of Windsor lawyer Anna Colombo told CBC News that anyone given notice of a rent increase does not have to pay it for 2021, regardless of their income level. "[Younan] might want to have a conversation with her landlord ... and communicate that she's not going to be paying that rent increase that those aren't allowed until January 2022 and again providing that proper 90 day notice, within the proper amount and the proper form," Colombo said. MPP says many similar complaints have been heard Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky says Younan is not alone and that what she has experienced is "very common." "It goes back to the fact that the government needs to do a better job of ensuring that the tenants know their rights and that those rights are respected and enforced. But also that landlords know the rules and are clear on what it is that they can and can't do as far as the rent increases come or evictions and things like that," she said. Gretzky attributes uncertainty on this to the government failing to appropriately and consistently communicate. "What we've seen with many government announcements and decisions lately is it tends to be very fluid so things change and people get confused or direction is unclear," she said. She said tenants should continue to voice their concerns or issues to their local MPP.