Though focused primarily on Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region, Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled new public health measures for the province to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
A couple in B.C.'s interior say they were nearly forced to sell their retirement dream home after two renters left them in the lurch for thousands of dollars. Now Clive Callaway, 76, and Cathryn Rankin, 70, say the province needs to do more to support low-income landlords like them who rely on rent to make ends meet.The pair reside on Gardom Lake near Salmon Arm in the province's Shuswap region, with much of their fixed income going toward home repairs and maintenance.To help cover costs, they started renting a suite to two tenants in January.Rankin said the relationship started out fine, but the rent payments stopped coming in even though at least one of the tenants was receiving government support during the COVID-19 shutdown."One of them got support from the CERB and was earning more money than I did per month," Callaway said. "For us, it was actually a survival issue." Then the tenants disappeared, one in June and the second in August, owing a combined total of $4,663 for five months of unpaid rent and utility bills.Faced with the loss, Callaway contemplated selling the house to get by."As low income seniors struggling and being dependent on the rental income to top up our low pensions, it was nerve-wracking," he said. Instead, the couple got an order from the province's residential tenancy branch stating the former tenants have to pay the owed money. Unfortunately, Callaway has no idea where they are."I feel personally the government's almost legislated a form of theft on us," Callaway said. "We've been forced to pay up the money, but we're getting no help to recover it."Dave Hutniak of the non-profit organization LandlordBC said many landlords are people like Callaway and Rankin, renting out a room or basement suite so they can afford to keep their home.And while there are legal options for recovering unpaid rent, he said it's a difficult and time-consuming option for people who might already be struggling to make ends meet."If you're a small landlord experiencing financial hardship…. That's small consolation," he said.Hutniak said the situation was exacerbated in some cases by a provincial order in March that banned most evictions so people wouldn't be made homeless during COVID-19.While he understands the policy was aimed at protecting renters, Huntiak said it created uncertainty for many landlords facing their own financial struggles.Callaway said he was also frustrated by the fact commercial landlords could apply directly for relief money, small residential landlords could not."I feel that over 50 per cent of the problem is really caused by the government and their, I call it 'No-evict bylaw'," he said. "It wasn't deeply thought out enough."No one from the residential tenancy branch or responsible ministries was able to speak to the issue because of the provincial election.Hutniak said COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation and emphasized that most landlords and tenants were able to work together to navigate the crisis using tools provided by the province."It's a small amount of irresponsible renters that ruin it for landlords, just as it's a small number of [irresponsible] landlords." he said. "The vast, vast, vast majority of tenancies work."Callaway and Rankin hope that's true. For now, they have found "two great new tenants" and are optimistic the relationship will let them continue living in their dream retirement home."Our rental income is the only way we can afford to stay here and age-in-place so we will give it one last try," Callaway said.
Fourth time’s the charm for Adrian Olmstead from Blenheim, Ont., who burst into tears after he discovered he was a $70 million Lotto Max winner.
The fiercest, fattest contest in Alaska is raging online this week — and the competitors are true heavyweights.Fat Bear Week is delighting the internet, as the public votes for their favourite salmon-slammer."Its a contest the contestants are completely unaware of," said Sara Wolman, project manager with Katmai Conservancy. The annual bracket contest has been celebrating brown bears in Brooks River in Katmai National Park since 2014.Each day the public votes for the fattest bear, as they chunk up on salmon before winter hibernation.Twelve bears compete, and one will be crowned champion on Tuesday. The bracket-style tournament pins two bears against each other in daily elimination rounds.People can also watch the bears feast in the river via a live bear cam.Wolman is pulling for Bear 747, a "really big" bear who weighed 1,408 pounds last year.Last year's winner, Holly, was crowned the Queen of Corpulance. While she's back in the running this year,Wolman said she now has cubs to feed so is not quite so bulky.Wolman says "Otis" — Bear 480 — is a long-time fan favourite."He's one of the oldest bears," she said. He sits at the far end of the falls and waits for salmon to come to him."They call him Zen Master Otis because he's just very chill."There's also "Chunk," formally known as Bear 32.The bears are in a state of hyperphagia, a drive to keep eating in order to store fat before winter."It essentially allows them to keep eating and eating and eating," she said."These guys are doing really well this year. We had a pretty robust salmon run this year so these guys have packed on the weight. It's going to be a pretty close call."Bristol Bay is home to the world largest salmon fishery, and the bears are "just feasting on them."She's not sure neighbouring Yukon bears can compete."The reason why they get so fat is because they have this massive salmon run," she said."Some of these bears are probably the biggest ones, if I dare say, in the world."Wolman says the contest has become a good way to educate the public on "how amazing these bears are."
Halifax's Darryl Plandowski didn't have long to celebrate after the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Dallas Stars for the Stanley Cup earlier this week.A scout for the Lightning for 12 years, he joined the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday as director of amateur scouting."The week was a little stressful but it's pretty exciting to finally win the Cup and now I've decided to take a big step and start over again," he said.Plandowski spent his last year with the Lightning as assistant director of amateur scouting. He has also worked as a scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres."Sometimes you're gone probably 25 days a month flying and driving all over the place," said Plandowski. "But I've been lucky the last few years because there have been players here we've been watching with teams in the Maritimes."The Lightning have been among the top teams in the NHL for several seasons, a testament to good work from their scouts.While Plandowski looks forward to the day he receives his Stanley Cup ring, he's hoping to soon start laying the groundwork to build the Coyotes into contenders. He looks forward to working with Arizona general manager Bill Armstrong, someone he's known for years."A team can kind of be stuck in the mud and then the right player comes along and you can take off," said Plandowski. "You just don't want to be one of those organizations that is stuck for long."Plandowski and his wife, Jill, a power skating coach, have three sons who are all hockey players.Marshall played part of last season with the East Hants Penguins junior B team, Oscar is a second-year defenceman with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and their youngest son, Jack, is attending the selects program at Bishop Kearney School near Rochester, N.Y.Darryl Plandowski grew up in Lloydminster, Alta., and played U.S. college hockey at Northern Michigan University.MORE TOP STORIES
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Friday that all COVID-19 assessment centres in the province will operate by appointment only as of Oct. 6, adding that walk-ins will no longer accepted beginning Oct. 4.
Hockey, football and judo may no longer be allowed in the province's red zones starting next week, as the province tries to control an ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases. According to a working public health document obtained by Radio-Canada, no team sports or contact sports will be allowed in red zones. Earlier this week, the Greater Montreal area, Quebec City area and Chaudière-Appalaches region were labelled as red zones and placed under new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.Those restrictions included banning indoor private gatherings and shutting down restaurant dining rooms and bars. While gyms and indoor sports facilities were allowed to remain open in those regions, it now seems that may not be the case for much longer. "We will be coming back to you with a very clear announcement regarding sports. We need to analyze every situation. In principle, it isn't recommended," Quebec's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said at a news conference earlier this week.In a news conference Friday, Premier François Legault said the government would be making an announcement about sports and schools next Monday, though he did not specify exactly what that announcement would be. According to the document, all individual sports, such as yoga or running, will be allowed to continue in red zones. However, all locker rooms and shared spaces, with the exception of washrooms, will be closed. As for sports in elementary and high schools in red zones, the documents state that they can be practiced only within class groups.On Monday, Montreal's public health director Mylène Drouin said outbreaks in sports teams have been on the rise in recent weeks.Latest case numbers 'critical' The province's second wave of cases reached new heights Friday, with 1,052 new cases reported — the highest single-day total since May 1 when there were 1,057 new cases.It is also the third-highest single-day total the province has seen since the pandemic started.On top of that, hospitalizations increased once again, seeing a jump of 27 overnight, and the province now has a seven-day moving average of 94.5 cases per million inhabitants — a statistic health authorities had hoped to keep below 25. Legault said the latest case numbers should be reason enough for Quebecers to start taking the new health measures seriously. "Today's numbers show us that the situation is really critical," said Legault. "It's urgent to reduce our social contacts. We might need to close other activities in the coming days." Legault urged people to stay two metres apart from anyone who is not in their household.The government also announced it would be setting up check points to discourage residents from travelling between regions.Announcement coming on schoolsLegault said the province is still doing everything possible to keep schools open. "Regarding schools, for me, it's the last place I want to close," Legault said. He said public health officials are looking into the possibility of expanding mask rules in the school system by making them mandatory in classrooms — something parents and health professionals have been calling for since before schools even reopened. As of Thursday, there were 1,341 active cases of COVID-19 among staff and students in the province's schools.Of the 2,997 schools in the system, 636 schools currently have at least one active case.
It began with a conversation with his sister, Hallie.Rylan Scarfe, 12, was in his yard in Yellowknife splitting wood and bundling it up for the upcoming winter, when they got to talking about the potential for a little pocket money.What if he sold some of the bundles?Their parents thought it was a great idea. The bundles of split wood are perfect for kindling to get a fire get going."There's probably lots of people who would appreciate thin cut kindling," said their father Lee Scarfe.So Rylan got to work, processed a bunch of kindling and decided to sell them for $10 a bundle.His mother Jenna then posted a picture of his bundles for sale on Facebook. And wouldn't you know it, they sold out immediately."People wanted 10 bundles, people wanted five, people wanted them by the weekend," said Rylan. "It was crazy."WATCH | These young wood splitters in action:That meant it was time for help.Enter 13-year-old Hayden Murray."I started like maybe five days after he started ... a whole bunch of people were asking for it," Hayden said. "I started splitting wood when I was like eight or nine, same as [Rylan]."The wood the boys use for the kindling comes from old pallets found around Yellowknife.Rylan's dad helps them search for the pallets with a truck and trailer. Once they have enough it's time to bring them to his backyard. Lee Scarfe saws the pallets so they can be split.Then the fun begins."Sometimes it feels pretty good when you hit it once and it just splits nicely, and sometimes there's knots and it's a big deal to split it," said Rylan.Now they are putting all that experience toward a nice little local business. Each bundle takes about 30 minutes."The ones that I help [with] we split the money," said Hayden."Five dollars [for] each of us," said Rylan.But it's not all about the money for these guys."Some people out there can't really split wood so it's nice to help people out," said Rylan."They're getting off on the right foot and developing some work ethic," said Lee Scarfe. "I think that's pretty important at this age."
A Canadian warship has sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, the island's defence ministry said on Saturday, a voyage that comes at a time of heightened military tension between China and Taiwan and which could anger Beijing. China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up its military activity around the island in the past few weeks, including sending fighter jets to cross the unofficial mid-way line buffer in the strait. Taiwan's defence ministry said the Canadian corvette had sailed into the Taiwan Strait from the South China Sea and was heading in a northerly direction after leaving the waterway.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, warned the public that as many areas continue to see high COVID-19 infection rates, local public health, health care and laboratory services are “at risk of being overwhelmed."
TORONTO — The Ontario government announced Friday a slate of new measures meant to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases in the province. Here's a look at some of what's coming: FACE COVERINGS EVERYWHERE For the first time, the government is mandating face coverings in public places throughout the province. Such measures had previously been left up to municipalities, with Premier Doug Ford saying a one-size-fits-all approach didn't make sense in such a vast province. The province says masks will be mandatory in places such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services. POP THE SOCIAL BUBBLE — MAYBE A news release from the government says it is "pausing social circles" and suggesting that all Ontarians only have close contact with those who live in the same household. It says people should maintain a two-metre physical distance from everyone else. Those who live alone, it says, can consider having close contact with another household. But at a news conference Friday, Ford declined to go that far, saying people should shrink their circles as much as possible. DROP-IN TESTING NO MORE COVID-19 assessment centres will stop offering walk-in testing starting Sunday, and in an effort to cut down on a backlog of 90,000 untested swabs, will start offering tests again by appointment-only on Tuesday. HOT SPOT-SPECIFIC RESTRICTIONS The province is restricting the number of people able to participate in some indoor activities in Toronto, neighbouring Peel Region and Ottawa, which for weeks have been the epicentres of COVID-19 cases. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs will be limited to the number of patrons who can maintain at least two metres of physical distancing from every other patron, with a hard cap at 100. No more than six people will be allowed at a table, and each patron must give their name and contact information for optimal physical distancing. Group exercise classes at gyms will be capped at 10 people, and the total number of people in fitness settings will be limited to 50. At meeting and event facilities — such as banquet halls — there will be a cap of 50 people, with only six people allowed at each table. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press
For New Brunswickers of a certain age, the name Malcolm Bricklin brings forth a couple of images.One is a man in his mid-30s, good-looking. A charming playboy dressed in hip, casual clothes — sunglasses included — and with a salesman's gift for gab.Of course, they also remember the car. The sleek Bricklin SV-1, with gull-wing doors, New Brunswick's foray into the world of luxury sports cars.It was the result of Philadelphia-born entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin's dream to build the safest production vehicle in the world, wrapped in what he hoped would be a beautiful car to own and drive, combined with then-premier Richard Hatfield's desire to paint this province as a progressive place to do business.The dream ended in 1975, when Bricklin Canada went into receivership, with only three years of production models made, fewer than 3,000 in total.Forty-five years later, Malcolm Bricklin still has a lot of similarities to the entrepreneur who took New Brunswick by storm in the mid-70s.Gone are the American playboy clothes, replaced with Wall Street power suits, but the 81-year-old CEO of Visionary Vehicles still has a passion for finding the next big thing in the car business — and the charm and eloquence to pass along that passion to others. And reached by phone in New York City, he's still happy to talk about the SV-1"It still looks like tomorrow. Yeah, I love it, I love it." Bricklin said, "I really think it's great. I'm proud of the car. I'm proud of the people who did it. It was one of my great adventures." The adventure beginsIt was an adventure that began as the head of Subaru America. Bricklin was importing the Japanese cars for sale in the U.S., but the tiny Subaru 360, which weighed less than half a tonne, became a target for a consumer market growing more safety-conscious."Consumer Reports put it on the front cover of a Cadillac nose to nose to our little 360," Bricklin recalled, "And then it was 'The most unsafe car in the world', which it wasn't, by the way. And it doesn't matter. It ruined that business."At the same time, the big car companies were pushing back against new safety regulations."I was reading all these statements by the automobile companies about, 'Oh, please don't give us all these safety rules, the cars are going to be ugly,'" Bricklin said, "'And because they're going to be so ugly, nobody's going to buy it. That's going to ruin the business.'"And I kept thinking to myself, 'Why are they saying that other than self-interest?'"And something just got in my system … a 'damn it, I'm going to build the safest production car there is. And it's going to be beautiful."By the end of 1972, he had a prototype, and engineers went to work redesigning and re-engineering it.The SV-1, which stands for "Safety Vehicle 1" had many innovations that are now considered standard on today's cars. They included a welded roll cage and impact-absorbing bumpers.And the body was made from acrylic and fibreglass, so it would not rust.But Bricklin needed a place to build his car, and an investor with deep pockets to help.Enter Richard HatfieldHe looked at coming to Canada and setting up in a former Renault plant in Quebec, but concerns around a rocky labour environment in the province ended the idea.That's when Premier Richard Hatfield's name came up."Somebody that was working for me that was familiar — was Canadian actually — and I can't remember his name, but said to me, 'Hey, I know where you can get money and they'll give you enough money to build a factory. New Brunswick,' Bricklin recalled."And I remember saying, 'New Brunswick, where's that?'"He said, 'Well, you've got to meet Premier Hatfield. He is really a sharp man. He's somebody you're going to really like, and he's going to really like you'."According to Bricklin, the first meeting proved that now nameless co-worker was right."I was taken with the man. I thought he was really intelligent, very personable and told him what I wanted to do.""And he told me, 'Malcolm, I'll help fund your factory. And here's what I want to get out of it. I want publicity that New Brunswick is more than fishermen and loggers, that this is a progressive place and they're building this futuristic car. And if they can do that, they can do anything'," Bricklin said."I said, 'Well, I can guarantee it will get a lot of publicity.' He said, 'I'll be there with you.'" And Malcolm Bricklin delivered on that promise. The SV-1 got lots of publicity.Unfortunately, as time went by, a lot of it wasn't the kind Richard Hatfield wanted.The car factory was set up in the Grandview Avenue industrial park in Saint John. The plant to make the unique acrylic-fibreglass body panels was put in Minto.But building a car from scratch isn't easy. Especially one using new materials never used in car manufacturing before.Problems startA test of the new car in the desert of Arizona discovered a problem with the chemical used to bond the acrylic panels to the fibreglass underbody."I remember getting this call from one of the test drivers who said, 'Mr. Bricklin, we have a very serious problem ... we've been driving around in the heat and we put it in an air-conditioned [garage]. I came out at nighttime and I looked and the body had fallen off'," Bricklin said.The bonding agent between the acrylic panels and the fibreglass wasn't able to stand up to the expansion and contraction of the two different materials in the desert heat."The whole body is sitting on the ground and the fibreglass is now your body! I mean, you want to talk about a nightmare."Neither the company that supplied the fibreglass or the company responsible for the acrylic panels could find a solution. So Bricklin's own people had to find a chemist willing to tackle the problem.It wasn't the only issue. As production ramped up, Bricklin learned his engine supplier, AMC, was refusing to sell him any more engines. He was forced to switch to a Ford V-8, one that had 50 fewer horsepower, and that made it impossible to offer a standard transmission.Then there were those famous gull-wing doors. They operated by hydraulics and took six seconds to open, and six seconds to close.Twelve seconds was fine, until one day Malcolm Bricklin himself tried to get into his car in a downpour."You know what that is when it's raining on your head? It's horrible, unbelievable. Nobody had figured that out until I sat and got rained on my head."The solution was to replace the hydraulic fluid with air. But Bricklin never got the chance to get that fix into his cars.The Bricklin was becoming an expensive venture for the New Brunswick government. Its initial $4.5 million investment had turned into $23 million, a lot of money in 1975.And the fledgling car manufacturer had seen its retail price balloon to almost $10,000 a vehicle to try to stay above water.Despite Car & Driver magazine comparing the SV-1 favourably to the Chevy Corvette, its reputation for having design and workmanship problems was taking a toll.But Malcolm Bricklin said he still had thousands of buyers waiting to get cars, and he was feeling safe with his friend, Richard Hatfield, just newly re-elected in late 1974."The front pages of the papers were 'Premier wins the Bricklin election,' and had a cartoon of him with a Superman costume flying out of the top of a Bricklin."Now, I saw that and thought, 'Well, it sounds like we were pretty well in now with the government, he won the election, he used the Bricklin, and it's called the Bricklin election."Hatfield had a different view when he visited Bricklin the next year."He said, 'I'm closing it down.' And I looked at him like, 'I don't even know where the joke is,'" Bricklin said."He said, 'Malcolm, I made a mistake. I used the car to win an election. You know what happens to me every day of my life now, when I go out to talk to the reporters? I want to tell them what's going on. I want to tell them what we're going to be doing. You know what? They're interested in two things. How's Malcolm and what's happening with the car? That's all they're interested in."Nobody will talk to me about anything else. I am no longer politically viable,' he said. 'So here's what I'm going to do. We're going to close you down. I'm going to get a lot of abuse. A year from now, I'm going to call another election, which I'll win on my own.' And he did exactly that."Bricklin said he holds no ill will toward Hatfield."We were close friends. I really like that man. A great man and I still do have great respect for him."The years and hindsight have been much kinder to the SV-1. There are still some 1,700 on the road, with that acrylic body looking just like it did the day the cars rolled out of the Saint John plant.Bricklin said most of those owners have worked out the bugs and teething troubles that Bricklin never got the chance to fix.He personally bought five, and gave them all away to museums. He said he's not a collector.Bricklin has stayed involved in the car business, importing Yugos into North America in the 1980s.He spent the early years of this century making electric bikes and is now jumping into the electric car business.Visionary Vehicles is looking to produce the 3EV, a three-wheel, two passenger electric car that looks like a luxury vehicle but will sell for under $30,000 US.He hopes to have prototypes by the new year and be in production in late 2021.Bricklin said there were two lessons he learned making cars in New Brunswick."Well, the first thing is I don't want to do business with the government because they're too arbitrary. "Number two is ... experience. I know what it is to build a car. I put together a team that knows what they're doing. "I just know what I can do. I know how to do it."
The next battle in the ongoing war between Ottawa and Alberta is the clean fuel standard that the federal government wants to bring in as part of its efforts to fight climate change. Alberta says it will see the feds in court. It's just the latest in a series of salvos from the cash-strapped heart of the oil industry in Canada toward a government that has made reducing carbon emissions one of its central pillars. It's also just the latest headache for the minister in charge of the portfolio. Alberta has already taken Ottawa to court over the federal carbon tax — as has Saskatchewan and Ontario — and is awaiting a decision in the Supreme Court. "We remain pretty, pretty comfortable that our position will be upheld at the Supreme Court. But obviously we will all need to wait to see that over the coming months," said Jonathan Wilkinson, speaking on the West of Centre podcast. "And we certainly hope that that will come forward in the not too distant future. The clean fuel standard is actually done under a completely different regulatory regime." The Saskatchewan native who now lives in B.C. said he's confident the federal government will win any legal challenges to the clean fuel standard. "The unfortunate thing about all of this is I don't think there's much productive work being done by, you know, defaulting to the courts," he said. Good relationship, questions over policy Wilkinson, however, says he has a good relationship with his provincial counterpart, Jason Nixon, even if they don't agree. He's optimistic there are shared concerns that can be worked through in order to achieve ambitious goals from Ottawa, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. He didn't mention Nixon's boss, Jason Kenney, who responded to the recent federal throne speech with a barrage of condemnations and who, on Friday, called for a pause on federal environmental policies affecting the oilpatch in wake of announced layoffs at Suncor. The clean fuel standard will mandate the amount of additives that help reduce the carbon emissions of fuel, including ethanol and hydrogen — a stepped up version of something that already exists in Canada. It's not without costs, to consumers and producers, a key source of frustration in a province that doesn't veer too far from that feeling when it comes to most things related to the government of Justin Trudeau. "One thing I found really interesting is his comment about GHG reductions need to be economically viable as well as environmentally responsible," said University of Calgary economist Jennifer Winter. "There is research out there that suggests that the clean fuel standard is far more expensive per ton of emissions reduced than other sources like a carbon tax." Wilkinson, for his part, thinks the standard will spur innovation that can drastically reduce the financial impact on producers and consumers. What of the oilsands? It's part of the political push and pull that has come to define climate change policies in Canada, where science mingles with politics, perception and salesmanship. Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said conservatives across Canada seem to favour regulation over carbon taxes, even if it's clear Kenney and his United Conservative Party reject the clean fuel standard. "The difference is between the direct cost and the indirect cost, even if the indirect cost to consumers is much higher," he said. "Politically, it may be smarter to do that than the direct carbon tax." The politics also come into play as Wilkinson carefully addresses what his mandate to drastically reduce emissions means for Alberta, and its oilsands industry in particular — something that could be far more expensive for the province compared with its peers. Wilkinson said he's focused on his target to get Canada to net-zero, but if there are reductions in emission intensity or improvements to technology like carbon capture and storage, there is no reason the oilsands could not expand at the same time. "I'm concerned about the goal. I'm concerned about meeting our targets and I'm concerned about ensuring that we get to that net zero pathway," he said. "And so at the end of the day, if we can do that, I mean, anything that can fit within that envelope, assuming that it doesn't have other environmental impacts, is fair game." An emissions cap without teeth Alberta did establish an emissions cap for the oilsands, but the cap lacks regulatory teeth, and Wilkinson said it's entirely up to the province to bring it into force. "That's a decision that Mr. Kenney's government is going to have to make," Wilkinson said. It's part of a delicate dance for the minister in charge of the high stakes portfolio, imposing regulations tied to his mandate while pirouetting around Canada's never-ending jurisdictional battles. For Winter, the coming fight over the clean fuel standard and the ongoing battle over the carbon tax is much more about that than policy positions too far apart to bridge. "To me, this just signals that the politics is all about: Alberta wants to regulate emissions in its own way and make its own choices," she said. "And the federal government should stay out of Alberta's business."
A recently unsealed court document offers a rare glimpse at how Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers carried out part of their complex investigation into a pair of immigration consultants who are now facing dozens of charges.The document was filed in 2017 to obtain warrants to search a Surrey, B.C., business — Can-Asia Immigration Consultants, the couple's Langley home, and multiple safety deposit boxes.None of the claims in the document, which is known as an ITO (Information to Obtain), have been tested in court. The couple, Rupinder "Ron" Batth and Navdeep Batth are scheduled to make their first court appearance Oct. 13 at Surrey Provincial Court.The ITO was drafted by Gary Sidhu, a CBSA officer with the agency's criminal investigations section. In its 110 pages, Sidhu describes in stunning detail the scale of a significant alleged immigration fraud network. It implicates other consultants, as well as 144 foreign nationals and 29 businesses that are named in the document.The fraud alleged by Sidhu in the document revolves around different schemes to help foreign nationals obtain temporary work permits and permanent residency, as well as getting employers to "pad" applications to hire temporary foreign workers.The document describes the various investigative methods Sidhu and the CBSA carried out prior to getting the search warrants and the 2017 raid on the Can-Asia office and the Batths' Langley home, including surveillance, critical details found in another agent's cellphone at a border crossing, a tip from a restaurant manager who lost his cook and countless other leads.'Garbage pulls'Sidhu describes two trips — referred to as "garbage pulls" — that he and another officer made to the Batths' home in April and May of 2017 to search the discarded garbage and recycling at the house. They rifled through the waste to find torn documents that — pieced back together — gave a picture of the fees collected for Can-Asia's services, and several names of clients to investigate.The businesses the investigator names are located around Metro Vancouver and B.C.'s Interior. They include restaurants, farms, vineyards, various construction companies and trades, even a jewelry store.Many of the foreign nationals have South Asian names, but many others appear to be from countries all over the world.Resulting chargesWhile the investigation wasn't limited to the Batths and their businesses, the ITO is specifically aimed at searching their property, so it largely focuses on the couple. In early September the pair was charged with 69 counts under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.The charges include counselling or attempting to counsel misrepresentation or helping people misrepresent facts related to their immigration, knowingly misrepresenting or withholding facts that can induce error in administration, and communicating false information with regard to someone's immigration.Rupinder Batth faces 54 counts, while Navdeep Batth faces 15.Different alleged schemesSidhu described in the ITO different types of immigration fraud and how they work. Some are straightforward, like falsifying documents to claim more work experience than an applicant actually has — this equals more "points" that can be used for different types of permanent residency applications.The falsified documents could be created out of thin air — as Sidhu claimed one source describes — or made by employers issuing cheques and pay stubs for work that isn't actually done.The ITO details "padding" of labour market impact assessments, which are documents employers often need before hiring foreign workers and are meant to show there is a need for a foreign worker — rather than a Canadian or permanent resident — to fill a job. The "padding" of these documents essentially creates jobs that don't exist, which are then "sold" for the benefit of the employer or consultant. Foreign nationals think they're buying a legitimate job but find there's no job when they arrive, according to Sidhu. Batth allegedly misrepresented 26 applicants' eligibility to apply under the federal skilled worker category. All 26 applicants became permanent residents of Canada.Cash deals for immigration fraudThe investigator claimed that Can-Asia charged cash for fraudulent labour market assessments, ranging from $17,000 to $23,000 and even as high as $60,000.According to FINTRAC, Canada's financial intelligence agency, and Royal Bank reports quoted in the document, cash totalling $208,200 was deposited by the couple at three RBC Langley branches between May 2016 and Jan. 2017. Navdeep Batth allegedly told the branch the money was from business proceeds.In the ITO, Sidhu described a plan to use a dog trained to smell bulk cash to search the Batths' home.Do you have more to add to this story? Email CBC Vancouver's Impact Team: email@example.comFollow Rafferty Baker and Manjula Dufresne on Twitter.
Five pigs fell out of a truck on Highway 401 outside of Kingston Friday morning, and Good Samaritans helped the animals back to safety, say police.Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said in a news release the Lennox and Addington detachment responded to a report of "pigs falling out of a tractor trailer" at about 7:30 a.m., entering Highway 401 eastbound from County Road 4.Darren Pruner, president of the animal rescue group Second Chance Ranch in Odessa, Ont., said he got a call about the pigs this morning, and drove over to see if he could help. He said when he got there, he saw two pigs on County Road 4."We went and got our horse trailer," said Pruner. After loading them on there, Pruner said he went and found two more pigs on the on-ramp going into Highway 401. > It needed to be done so we went and did it. \- Darren Pruner, Second Chance Ranch"[I saw] a policeman with a rope around the pigs neck," he described the scene. "We were told there's one more down the 401. So we [went] down ... and got the last pig loaded up. That's about all the excitement." He said staff from CoCo Paving Inc., also helped police corral the pigs.Not a typical morning"This is not something that we run across normally at all," said Pruner, chuckling. The closest thing, he said, is his neighbour's potbelly pig down the road that runs back and forth to eat apples."It was a rainy morning, definitely not something we planned on doing. It needed to be done so we went and did it." Pruner said one pig looked "quite injured," with a "little bit of a road rash." He said they wrapped it in a blanket and carried it to the horse trailer. OPP said in the news release that the five pigs were not seriously injured.Pruner said they helped take the pigs to the original truck driver. OPP said the driver of the truck was charged with having an insecure load under the Highway Traffic Act.
The Ontario government's recent suggestion that municipalities allow compostable coffee pods into their green bin programs is leading to objections from environmental and industry groups — and shining a light on unresolved issues in the province's waste system. Last week, the Ontario environment ministry laid out plans to amend its food and organic waste policy statement, explaining that the goal is to "clarify and expand" the items that municipalities should accept in their green bins.The province gave just one specific example of a new item in its release: coffee pods that are "certified compostable," meaning they have been lab tested and proven to break down within three months. That caught the attention of the Ontario Waste Management Association, whose members handle 85 per cent of the province's garbage, recycling and compost. The issue, according to association CEO Mike Chopowick, is that municipal compost facilities simply aren't able to process the pods at present — meaning that even if they go into green bins, they'll have to be screened out and will wind up in landfills eventually. "We have very practical concerns," said Chopowick in an interview with CBC Toronto. "This will result in, quite frankly, more expensive garbage," he said. "It does increase the cost of the processing system." Municipal facilities vs. 'compostable' plastics So why can't municipal facilities break down products like certified compostable coffee pods?Chopowick says it comes down to time. Ontario's municipal facilities, he says, are designed to break down organic materials quickly to deal with the "heavy volume of incoming waste" from the province's cities and towns. Cups, cutlery, bags and coffee pods that are branded as compostable or biodegradable simply don't break down fast enough, "even though they may be compostable in the long run," he said, adding that some compostable-branded products can take as long as two years."The proper operation of these facilities depends on that fast turnaround time," he explained. Producer responsibility model Environmental Defence, an organization that describes itself as a "group of innovative, passionate and determined problem-solvers ... working hard to protect Canada's environment and human health," is also raising concerns about the province's directive on coffee pods. "They end up gumming up the machinery, and being perceived by the machinery like plastic," said executive director Tim Gray. "That ends up causing all of that organic waste that is contaminated by these things to be rejected and go to landfill." Both Gray and Chopowick say a better approach would be to adopt a model of producer responsibility — similar to what's being worked on for recycling in Ontario — to force people who make coffee pods to deal with them themselves. "Why wouldn't they just mandate the producers of these materials to collect them themselves and compost them, if they're so convinced that they're really easy and cheap to compost?" asked Gray. Consumer confusionCBC News has identified one site in Ontario that breaks down certified compostable products like cups and cutlery, located in Kingson, Ont. In fact, the facility, called Tomlinson Organics, was cited by the province to CBC Toronto as a compost innovator whose example could be followed by others. There are issues, though — including that Tomlinson Organics currently only takes in compostable plastic items from commercial sources. The facility's manager also told CBC journalists in an interview in March that the "jury's still out" on whether compostable plastics will ever be viable in a municipal system, given the sheer number of products that claim to be compostable and the ensuing confusion for the public around which ones are legitimate. It's a worry shared by Chopowick, who says adding to the list of what's allowed in green bins will be "very confusing" for people. "One scenario that we can anticipate is that more residents will put more of these items into their green bins that don't belong," he said. Pods can break down in 5 weeks, Club Coffee saysClub Coffee, a company that produces certified compostable coffee pods in Ontario, said in a statement it too believes that consumer confusion is the real issue preventing municipalities from accepting their product. "We have run successful tests with many municipal and private sector composting... [showing] clearly that the pods can break down in as little as five weeks, faster than many forms of food waste," said a company spokesperson. "Many municipal waste officials in Ontario have told us privately that their reservations about formally accepting the pods centre largely on ensuring consumer education. They don't want people to put non-compostable pods into green bins." After being asked by CBC Toronto, the province couldn't name a municipal composting program that currently accepts the certified coffee pods, though it did say that "most facilities" allow compostable plastic bags. There's a caveat to that too, said Chopowick, who notes that while places like Ottawa have sprung for a special bag shredder to be able process compostable plastic bags, the price is significant, with that city paying $8.5 million for its equipment.In a statement from the environment ministry, a spokesperson said that the changes to the waste policy represent the province's interest in "working with municipalities and industry" to "better understand the path to incorporating innovations in compostable packaging."The spokesperson also described a pilot project undertaken with the federal government to put more compostable packaging like coffee pods through Ontario's facilities, and a commitment to investing in research to figure out ways to "effectively manage compostables." For Chopowick, the proposed changes to the waste policy are simply "moving just a little bit too fast."Compostable plastics "just aren't there" yet, he said, explaining that if they're able to break down faster they may one day be compatible in municipal facilities — but that for now, they belong in the trash. "We also think both producers and the government should be a little bit more transparent with consumers about that," he said. Gray puts it more bluntly. "I think this is purely catering to private industry lobbying," he told CBC Toronto. "This has got nothing to do with improving the waste management system. The environment has to pay, and in this case taxpayers are going to pay as well."
China accused the United States on Friday of "fabricating lies" and trying to take the world back to the "jungle age" after Washington blamed Beijing and U.N. agencies for "the murder of millions of baby girls." The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Friday said it regretted the accusations by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, which were made at a U.N. General Assembly meeting on Thursday on the anniversary of a landmark 1995 women's conference. UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem told reporters that any coercion of women was "against our practice and policy."
Calgary's Catholic school board has apologized days after a recording surfaced of a principal using the N-word in discussion with a group of Black students.Four students at St. Michael School were suspended for recording principal Lianne Anderson's remarks without her knowledge and posting it online — something the school board said violates the student code of conduct, CBC News reported WednesdayChief superintendent Bryan Szumlas apologized Friday on behalf of the Calgary Catholic School District."I want to share our deepest, deepest apology. It's never appropriate to share a word like that, no matter the context," he said.Szumlas said he also "stand[s] behind the principal as a very caring, compassionate individual. I think, as human beings, we all make mistakes, and to quote what the principal told me this morning, 'Dr. Szumlas, I will never say that word again.'"One former St. Michael student has 1,000 signatures on a petition demanding mandatory anti-racism training for the school district's faculty and administration."If this is allowed to happen in our school, across the district I'd imagine that students face similar situations," said 16-year-old Allih Pineda.. Szumlas said the district agrees, and is working on a course in which staff can "learn more about racial justice and even situations like this and how to respond.""Not only the individuals that were directly impacted at the school, but all of society can learn that [in] saying a word such as that, no one could ever understand the emotion and the harm that a word like that can bring to the emotions of an individual who is hearing it," he said. Szumlas said, when it comes to the suspensions, there is still more to the story than what has been reported."These are private, personal, confidential matters that reside with youth and students and their families that I unfortunately can't get into all of those details with you," he said.'Who's in charge?'Pineda says he saw a similar situation unfold when he was in Grade 6 at St. Michael, and doesn't want more students to go through it. "I had a math teacher just openly say the N-word in class a well. I just remember we were in class and talking about words you should not say," he said."He easily could have just said 'N-word' as a replacement and we would all understand, because as an educator, you can tell your students, 'don't use the F-word,' and you don't have to use the F-word in that circumstance for them to know it's wrong."Pineda's petition also calls on the school board to say what percentage of its executive leadership and full-time faculty members are Black, Indigenous or people of colour."I just want to know, who is in charge?" he said. "The students just like aren't reflected in the staff, is what I'm getting at."Szumlas said this is also something the board is working on."We are definitely looking at that, like I have said it before, and I'll say it again, systemic racism does exist and part of it is in our composition of our leadership and administration," he said. "But you also have to to note, too, that we hire the best candidates. And so we're going to continue to hire our best candidates, and I encourage Black, Indigenous, multi-race people of colour to apply for positions and to come work for the Calgary Catholic School District."Pineda said he'd also like to see a way for students to safely report racism on campuses and be provided with adequate protection."Some students may not feel comfortable with their principals at this point," he said.Szumlas said he loves that idea."I think is a great idea, one that we will definitely consider as we go forward," he said. "I think sharing these stories is the first step to healing and the first step to improving."
There were peaceful protests Friday in Nova Scotia by commercial fishermen, following a symbolic gesture of peace the day before between some commercial fishermen and the First Nations band at the centre of a disputed lobster fishery.Several hundred fishermen and supporters made their way through downtown Yarmouth on Friday morning to express concern over unregulated "moderate livelihood" fisheries being launched by First Nation bands.The peaceful protest saw streets blocked around the local Department of Fisheries office, according to a report by CJLS radio.In Antigonish, another 75 fishermen gathered outside the DFO office.Gordon Beaton, the president of Local 4 of the Maritime Fishermen's Union, said fishermen are worried where the fishery is headed.Two bands have started commercial fisheriesTwo Nova Scotia bands have started small self-policed commercial fisheries without DFO authorization or management. Other Nova Scotia bands are planning to launch their own."It's small at this point, but I mean, where does it end," said Beaton."You can't catch lobsters twice. So that burden obviously gets put on the inshore fisheries, whatever is taken."Some MFU members were in Saulnierville on Thursday, where they presented a Mi'kmaw elder with a basket containing sweet grass, tobacco and sage during Treaty Day celebrations held by members of the Sipekne'katik band.The wharf was the scene of ugly protests last month when the Sipekne'katik band became the first to launch its own moderate livelihood fishery in defiance of DFO and at a time when the commercial season is closed.The band says it is exercising a treaty right to fish for a moderate livelihood recognized by courts 20 years agoNot challenging treaty rights"We don't argue the treaty," said Beaton. "We're not arguing the fishing rights that they have. They have a right to First Nations fishery, but we want the right to be executed in a way that's sustainable for everybody."The dispute threatens to disturb the peaceful co-existence that has existed between commercial and First Nations, said Beaton."We've been fishing with these First Nations in our fishery, in the commercial fishery for 20 years with little or no problems," he said."We want them to enforce the rules that are there, to enforce those regulations of an in-season fishery, and we want to be part of the discussions."First Nations hold 684 commercial fishing licences in N.S.DFO and the Mi'kmaq have yet to work out the meaning of moderate livelihood.But in the 20 years since the Supreme Court ruling, the government of Canada has spent half a billion dollars integrating bands into the commercial fishery, buying up licences and training Indigenous harvesters.Maritime First Nations now hold over 2,000 commercial fishing licences that generated $152 million in revenues to Indigenous communities in 2016.Pictou Landing plans fisheryThe Pictou Landing band, which fishes alongside fishermen represented by Beaton, now holds 136 commercial licences. That's up from nine at a time of the landmark "moderate livelihood ruling" in 1999.On Friday, Chief Andrea Paul said the band is moving ahead with a moderate livelihood fishery."We are currently in the discussion stages and yes we will be launching a moderate livelihood plan," she said in an email.MORE TOP STORIES
The federal government is preventing provinces from buying new rapid COVID-19 tests directly from their manufacturer, and is instead forcing the provinces to await a federal allotment, Manitoba's central services minister said Friday. Reg Helwer said the federal government should not control the supply of ID Now tests from Abbott Diagnostics. The federal government also signed a deal to buy nearly eight million of the tests, as well as 3,800 analyzer units that process the results.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams responded Friday to a letter from Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, calling for stricter restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including prohibiting indoor dining and shutting down indoor gyms and sports team activities. He said they are reviewing her recommendations for Toronto.