How furry pals at MacEwan University are reducing student stress

A program at MacEwan University is helping students who are having a 'ruff day.' 

Pets Assisting With Student Success (PAWSS) offers pets to help alleviate stress and since it launched in 2017, has become very popular among students — last semester they recorded 3,600 visits. 

"It does make a difference to students quality of life and changes the culture of the university environments. It's more calm ... it improves classroom culture," says Andrea Chute, associate professor of nursing and co-founder of the program. 

The program offers a wide variety of dogs and a couple of cats. 

While dogs visiting schools isn't necessarily unique — MacEwan's homegrown program stands out from the pack.  

"Most of the programs at different universities only have the dogs come in for an hour at a time, ours are here all the time," Chute says. 

The dogs aren't service dogs, but they are evaluated by professionals to ensure they are well-suited to the wellness program.  

Chute is hoping their program will inspire other universities to offer similar initiatives. She is headed to the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) conference in New Orleans this weekend to talk about the benefits of PAWSS. 

They've already had success broadening the initiative locally, with PAWSS programs at Vimy Ridge Academy, Lillian Osborne High School and Grovenor School. Dogs will soon be visiting NAIT and NorQuest as well. 

Watch the PAWSS program in action: 

Chute and her colleagues are also studying the interactions between the animals and MacEwan students. They measure momentary stress ratings, and found that before students went in to visit the dogs, they rated their stress level six out of ten. 

After cuddling and petting the furry volunteers, students rated their stress level again and it was cut in half. 

"It is subjective, but if it's meaningful for whoever is interacting with the dogs then that's meaningful for them," Chute says. 

Mackenzie Moody is a nursing student and PAWSS volunteer. She says students often message her asking when she'll be on campus with her dog, Aza. 

"Being able to bring her to campus gives me more of a feeling of purpose. Seeing her bring the happiness to them that she does to me, it's beneficial — it's very heartwarming," Moody says. 

This semester's PAWSS program begins on Jan. 24 and Chute is excited for it to continue. 

"A lot of students will smile when they see the dogs and tell me it's the best day ever. It just brightens everyone's day," she says. 

  • Moscow deploys facial recognition technology for coronavirus quarantine
    News
    Reuters

    Moscow deploys facial recognition technology for coronavirus quarantine

    Moscow is using facial recognition technology to ensure people ordered to remain at home or at their hotels under coronavirus quarantine do so, the mayor of the Russian capital said on Friday. Russia has temporarily barred Chinese nationals from entering the country to curb the spread of the virus, but has welcomed Russians who return home with an order to spend two weeks at home, even in the absence of symptoms. Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, said some 2,500 people who had landed in the city from China had been ordered to go into quarantine.

  • Decision on Teck oilsands mine coming next week: Jim Carr
    News
    CBC

    Decision on Teck oilsands mine coming next week: Jim Carr

    The prime minister's point man for the Prairies said today the fate of the proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine will be decided next week, setting the table for another potential showdown over an oil and gas project in this country.Liberal MP Jim Carr said the nearly $21-billion project represents a complex challenge for the federal government, one that demands a balance between the interests of Alberta — which sees the project's thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue as critical to the province's future — and environmentalists who insist that approving the project would make a mockery of the Trudeau government's international commitments on climate change."I believe that when the decision is made, the arguments will be advanced why it is in the public interest and the national interest," Carr said in an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House. "And always and ultimately, Canadians will decide if they agree."Carr insisted he was not signalling that cabinet is ready to approve the project, although he acknowledged that the decision the government announces in the coming days — whatever it is — will be a tough sell."It's complex. It's full of issues that are important to Alberta and the country," he said. "As always, there are the balances and trade-offs and the consideration of environmental stewardship while living up to international obligations."Canada has committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 — a target that Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith insists will remain out of reach if Teck Frontier is approved.'A pretty easy 'no' — Erskine-Smith"There is no clear picture of how this project, which lasts until 2067, fits within our net-zero commitment," Erskine-Smith said in a separate interview with The House. "When you look at this project, when you look at the climate commitments specifically, I think it's a pretty easy 'no'."Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been warned already about the political risks of killing the project. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has lobbied hard for its approval, warning Trudeau that a rejection could give a boost to separatist sentiments in the province."Here in Alberta, it would interpreted as a rejection of our most important industry and it could raise roiling western alienation to a boiling point — something I know your government has been attentive to since the election," Kenney wrote in a Feb. 5 letter to Trudeau."The rejection would send a signal to the international investment community that Canada's regulatory system is arbitrary, subject to moving and invisible goal posts and that even the best evidence can be trumped by narrow politics."The Frontier mine has received regulatory approval already, even though the review panel concluded there would significant adverse environmental affects.This week, federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson wrote to his Alberta counterpart urging him to introduce regulations to enforce a 100-megatonne cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands introduced by the province's previous NDP government.Adding to the stakes was a warning issued by Teck Resources on Friday that it would take a writedown of more than $1 billion if Frontier is rejected.Carr said that's just another factor to consider."You know that's their point of view. There are lots of points of view," he told CBC News. "The one point of view that will determine the fate of the project is the government's assessment of Canada's interest."Erskine-Smith said he doesn't believe the project is profitable at current prices for oil — or that the Liberals would escape unscathed politically if cabinet approves it."In terms of political backlash I think there will be great concern in my community that we are not taking our climate change obligations seriously," he said."We have obligations to the work, to future generations, and we have to do our part in tackling climate change."

  • News
    CBC

    Jason Kenney announces $40M for 'renewal' of Glenbow Museum

    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney pledged $40 million on Friday for the renovation and "complete renewal" of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. The institution, which houses art and historical artifacts, is seeking a total of $115 million to complete the project. * Watch the video above to listen to the announcementKenney said he hoped the provincial government contribution would spur private donations and he encouraged the City of Calgary to also provide funds. "I believe today's commitment will make it much easier for the board to go out and find those contributions."Kenney said he wants to see the institution transform into one of the top cultural institutions in Canada.The Glenbow introduced new CEO Nicholas Bell last year with a mandate for "a full transformation of its building and exhibit spaces." Gallery spaceBell said on Friday that he wants the Glenbow to be "one of the most ambitious and progressive museum spaces in Canada."Much of that focus will be on art and culture.Kenney stressed that Calgary is an outlier among major cities for not having a significant public art gallery. The announcement comes just one month after another significant art institution opened its doors. Contemporary Calgary, which revamped the old Planetarium space on the west side of downtown, focuses on contemporary art and hopes to fund a major expansion of the space.It is seeking $30 million from the Alberta government to help finance its expansion.

  • Flash flood kills 6 students on Indonesian school trip
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Flash flood kills 6 students on Indonesian school trip

    YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — A flash flood hit hundreds of students and teachers who were hiking along a river on Indonesia's main island of Java, killing at least six of the students, officials said. Five others were reported missing.The group of 250 junior high students was conducting scouting activities in Sleman district of Yogyakarta province and wasn't paying attention to weather conditions, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Agus Wibowo said.Local military chief Lt. Col. Diantoro, who led the search and rescue operation, told TVOne that at least six bodies were found a short distance down the Sempor river from the site of the flood. He said a downpour burst the river's banks, causing the flood.He said 239 students were rescued, including 10 who were treated for injuries.Rains cause frequent landslides and flash floods in Indonesia, where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near flood plains.The Associated Press

  • News
    CBC

    It shouldn't be a crime to raise funeral money through lotteries, raffles, MLA says

    Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak is asking the government of Nunavut to check itself on how it regulates legal, or illegal, fundraisers done through lotteries and raffles.  Earlier this week the Department of Community and Government Services issued a public service announcement to warn Nunavummiut that lotteries and raffles held without a government- or municipality-issued license are illegal. Under the Nunavut Lotteries Act only charitable organizations, non-profits and religious groups are allowed to run lotteries. That means people who hold 50/50s, bingos or the like without a licence can be prosecuted. "Individuals who wish to fundraise for personal reasons through raffles are not eligible for a lottery licence," the announcement reads. "If you are concerned of possible fraud from an unlicensed lottery, please contact your local RCMP detachment."Angnakak said fraudsters and scammers should be prosecuted, and lotteries shouldn't be used to pay for "Vegas vacations" or "buying a new truck." But, given the high crime rates and serious violence seen in the territory, Angnakak questioned the wisdom of having law enforcement penalize people who are raising money for a good cause. "When it comes to desperate people who are looking to raise a few dollars to help with funeral-related expenses or travelling to be with a dying relative we need to take a more humane approach," she said. "Prosecuting someone in these circumstances is not the best use of our governments time and resources."When Angnakak asked Community and Government Services Minister Lorne Kusugak for his opinion on the regulation of unlicensed lottery and raffles in communities, he said, "I believe it's my right not to state an opinion on this issue." Kusugak was also unaware of any prosecuted offences related to unlicensed lotteries within the last year.  Angnakak called the current Lotteries Act out of date, it having been brought in from the Northwest Territories and only updated a few times. She asked to see an overhaul of the act, and for lottery games and fundraisers that are common in Nunavut, like Chase the Ace, to be reflected in those changes.

  • Places for pot: Edmonton to look at options for cannabis cafes
    News
    CBC

    Places for pot: Edmonton to look at options for cannabis cafes

    Edmonton will take its first real look at licensing cannabis cafes next week, though currently such establishments are not legal in Alberta nor anywhere in Canada. The provincial Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act would have to be revised before municipalities can approve business licences. The city released a report Thursday presenting three models, when or if the rules are relaxed. The first scenario would allow patrons to consume cannabis edibles in a stand-alone facility, another would allow both cannabis edibles and alcohol in the same location and a third option would allow patrons to consume cannabis in the same venue, but in a separate room from alcohol. Smoking or vaping cannabis inside would not be allowed. Edmonton city councillor Mike Nickel asked administration last November to look at other jurisdictions that allow cafes, to outline the economic benefits of such a business and present the regulations needed to put them in place. Nickel sees the potential for new business and jobs in Edmonton.  "There's value-added manufacturing because I'm also interested in people actually making product, you know, to be consumed be it drinks or cakes or whatever — brownies whatever — but they have to have a safe place for them to actually consume."The city report notes that a stand-alone cannabis cafe with no alcohol would likely result in the most economic benefit, as new sites would require construction and specialized service. Several U.S. states have cannabis lounges, including California, Alaska and Michigan. The states listed in the report separate cannabis consumption from alcohol. They have other regulations, such as requiring lounges to be 600 feet from a daycare, school or youth centre. Health Canada said the federal government is required to review the Cannabis Act by Oct. 17, 2021 — three years after went into effect.  A report outlining the results of the review must be tabled in Parliament within 18 months, no later than Apr. 17, 2023.But allowing lounges is really up to the provinces."While a personal chef, restaurant or commercial kitchen could seek a federal licence to produce edible cannabis products for commercial purposes, they would not be able to sell those products to the public without a provincial or territorial licence," Health Canada said. A spokesperson for the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance Ministry, which oversees cannabis legislation, told CBC News that the minister has no plans to review the act. John Carle, executive director of the Alberta Cannabis Council, a non-profit working to raise awareness on the industry, said it's not clear yet if there's strong interest in starting such lounges."I don't know who's going to be that first company to take that first step because someone's got to break the mould here and it just seems like everyone's waiting for everyone else to do it."Nickel said the hospitality industry will be a key player in paving the way for legal cannabis cafes and that someone from industry needs to present a business case to the city.In turn, the city can lobby the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, which enforces the provincial legislation and can suggest changing the rules. Council's community and public services committee is scheduled to review the city report at a meeting Feb. 26.    @natashariebe

  • 'Like losing a family member': Community mourns loss of Jane and Finch rec centre to fire
    News
    CBC

    'Like losing a family member': Community mourns loss of Jane and Finch rec centre to fire

    Residents in the Jane and Finch area say their community has lost its heart.A fire ripped through Firgrove Learning and Innovation Community Centre (FLICC) last week, leaving kids without a place to gather and organizers scrambling to keep programs running.The space is a non-profit community centre that opened in 2008.Now, those who loved the facility are wondering what will be done with the building."To see this gone, its very hard," said 13-year-old Tahmya Anderson as she fought back tears. Anderson says she's been going to the recreation centre with her mom since the building opened."Now she picks me up from school and we go home and there's nothing really to do," she said. Watch: Jane and Finch community mourns the loss of their recreation centre to a devastating fireThe space was home to after school programs for children, community sewing circles for adults, computer literacy classes, virtual learning and food banks.Janessa Dacosta, 9, is one of the many children who say they've benefited from those after school programs. Dacosta has been going to FLICC since she was five years old."It was fun for me and I could do a lot of stuff. I loved drawing but now I have to find somewhere else to do that," she said. Dacosta says she cried when she saw the building burning because it reminded her of the drawings she had posted on walls inside.Many of the people who frequented the rec centre consider themselves part of an extended family, said Christine Prevedel, an after-school program co-ordinator. "As soon as the school bell rang, this is where everybody was going to be," she said.Vanesha Cardwell has spent 17 years in the neighbourhood and says it was a safe space for many youth.  "Many young people that were affected by gang violence or problems at home, they would come to the rec centre to talk to someone about it, they were heard," she said.'It's like losing someone'Executive Director Lorraine Anderson, who is also Tahmya Anderson's mother, is still coming to terms with what happened.She hasn't been back to the building since it burned through the night on Feb. 12."It's like losing someone. It's like losing a family member, what this centre has inside is a lot of memories, a lot of love, a lot of care," she said. It took just two hours for the blaze to burn through 12 years of work. Everything from the children's artwork to newly donated soccer equipment to computers were lost, says Anderson. Now staff faces a tough logistical challenge."Finding new spaces to hold homework help, family barbecues, summer camps and food banks are going to be really hard but we just go day-by-day," she said.  An uncertain futureFor now, programs like the women's exercise group are running in an adjacent building, while kids do school work in the next room.Meanwhile, the blaze is still under investigation by Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal and Toronto fire services.It is believed it began in a computer room, firefighters said, though it remains unclear how it may have started.Anderson says the building is likely going to be demolished as a result of the city's Jane Finch revitalization project. Toronto Community Housing says it's assessing the damage to see just how bad it is before deciding on what to do next."We do know it's an important part of the community so we're going to be looking at things with that in mind" said Bruce Malloch, TCH's director of strategic communications.

  • Tragedy stole Aly Jenkins from her family, the sport she loved is helping them heal
    News
    CBC

    Tragedy stole Aly Jenkins from her family, the sport she loved is helping them heal

    MOOSE JAW, Sask. — It was supposed to be Aly Jenkins's moment.The promising Saskatchewan curler so badly wanted to wear her provincial colours one day and play in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Canada's crown jewel for women's curling.But on that first Sunday of competition at this year's tournament it was Jenkins's husband, Scott, and their three children who stood at ice level inside Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Sask. Aly Jenkins wasn't there. But her presence could be felt by everyone inside the arena."It was a tough decision to come," Scott said this week. "I think she'd be proud. I think she might think I would just fold maybe and not come. But she always pushed me to do these things so that's why I'm doing it."It had been just four months since Aly had died giving birth to the couple's third child. She had suffered an amniotic embolism, a rare complication during childbirth and almost unthinkable for a healthy 30-year-old.It sent a chill through the curling community.WATCH | Devin Heroux reports on Aly Jenkins' story for The National:In the days that followed, people from across Saskatchewan, Canada and around the world rallied around Scott and his family, doing whatever they could to help him make it to the next day."I can't thank them enough," Scott said. "I wish there was a way I could thank every single one, and help them with something they're struggling with."This past Sunday, at the opening weekend of this year's Scotties, Curling Canada honoured Aly.WATCH | Tribute for Aly Jenkins:In front of a capacity crowd, Scott, his four-year-old son Brady, one-year-old daughter Avery, and new baby Sydney courageously walked out onto the ice surface area in front of a crowd of thousands.  Scott held Brady, with Aly's former curling teammates holding Sydney and Avery nearby. They played a video tribute honouring her, highlighting Aly's love of curling, zest for life and infectious smile. Tears streamed down their faces as photos of Aly flashed across the screen inside the arena.It was devastating and beautiful.Scott had to be there. For Aly. For his healing process. And to help his kids know their mom."Just trying not to let them forget. That's my biggest worry right now is them forgetting her," Scott said. "They ask about mom. Not as much lately which scares me."The 'miracle' babyOctober 20 was supposed to be the perfect day.It was Scott's birthday. It was also the day Aly, a physiotherapist, went into labour.Scott doesn't want to revisit it. But all he does is revisit it, over and over in his mind — their drive to the hospital, being in the delivery room and then the chaos that followed."We were joking and laughing when we arrived. It was my birthday. So we were talking about having the same birthday and all the stuff and trying to have this baby on the same day. She was all excited for that," Scott said."Everything switched in a hurry."Aly was in a lot of pain. She quickly got an epidural. But nothing was getting rid of her severe pain. Her heart rate started dropping. Aly was having trouble breathing."All of a sudden in the blink of an eye everything just dropped," Scott said. "She had a seizure and all the machines were dinging and ringing. They grabbed me and I went out to the hallway and I collapsed. They had nurses on me and then I saw them take her away.""It was the last time I saw her," Scott said. One doctor came in and told me when Aly passed away, for some reason, everything started to change with Sydney. \- Scott JenkinsFor hours doctors tried everything to save Aly, pumping litre after litre of blood into her. Nothing worked. While that horrifying situation was unfolding doctors were also trying to save the baby."Sydney wasn't breathing for the first two minutes or three minutes," Scott recalled.Sydney had no brain function. Her lungs weren't working. It wasn't looking good."I was running up and down floors to try to meet doctors," Scott said. "I remember every second of it. It's crazy."And then a miracle moment."One doctor came in and told me when Aly passed away, for some reason, everything started to change with Sydney," Scott said.Sydney started breathing.WATCH | Curling helping Aly Jenkins's family ease the pain:Doctors thought Sydney would be in the hospital for at least 30 days recovering, hooked up to machines. Scott left the hospital nine days later with a healthy "miracle baby.""She's the last person that was with Aly. I see so much of her in Sydney. She's a fighter like her mom," he said.Picking up the piecesScott, 31, is now adjusting to life as a single father, on leave from his sales job with a construction company.In his Warman, Sask., home he's filling bottles, changing diapers, playing mini sticks, trying to maintain normalcy for kids who need love and fun. The routine of parenthood, but underlying it all, his grief. There are two TVs, one for Avery's cartoons and one for Brady's shows. Sometimes Scott is able to watch sports late at night if he doesn't fall asleep on the couch after another exhausting day.He's finally getting a routine down, but wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of his parents and Aly's parents who drop by the house on a daily basis."They've been amazing. I couldn't have done without them. Just the daily challenges," Scott said. "I can't just curl up in bed and sulk. We have three kids so I keep pushing."But he has his moments. When all he wants to do is cry. Avery is too young to know what's happening right now. But Brady is acutely aware of his dad's feelings, stepping up to help as much as he can."He's an eight-year-old in a four-year-old body. He doesn't complain about anything. He'll help me with the bottles and diapers. He cleans up. Avery is my little Aly. She's feisty just like her mom," Scott said.   "We have our moments. I try to keep it away from them as much as possible when I'm upset."Brady knows. He always says we're okay, and gives a hug. It's special."Back to the ScottiesEverywhere Scott turns he's reminded of his high school sweetheart.The two met when they were in Grade 11 during a golf tournament in Waskesiu, Sask. They immediately fell in love.For the next number of years, Scott would drive four hours almost every week from Prince Albert, Sask. to Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask., where Aly grew up, to spend the weekend with her. They had been inseparable ever since."We were drawing up something pretty perfect," Scott said.Five years ago, in February 2015, the two made the drive together from Warman to Moose Jaw and dreamed of their future.It was the previous time the Scotties was held in Saskatchewan. Scott remembers the drive along the expansive prairie landscape with Aly like it was yesterday."She was so excited. Her dream was to make it and I knew she would have one day for sure," he said.They spent that week in the Mosaic Place stands together, laughing, cheering, and imagining Aly being on the ice one day."I know exactly where we were sitting," Scott said, pointing to the spot. "Across the rink. Right over there."This week, Scott had to make the drive without her. As he walked up to the arena with Avery in his arms and Brady walking beside him holding his hand, Scott shared memories with them of that time with Aly."That connection to curling is going to keep it together for sure," Scott said. "It's forever going to be attached with mom and curling,"Not long after Scott and his family arrived, he was met by Rachel Homan, the three-time Scotties champion from Ottawa.She gave birth to her first child, a baby boy, this past summer, and news of Aly's death hit her in a visceral way. She immediately reached out to Scott and the pair had remained in contact, Homan offering whatever support she could.On this day, the two hugged each other on the Mosaic Place concourse with their two babies in their arms."It's devastating and emotional so I just wanted to reach out to see if there was anything I could do to support or help," Homan said.  "Being through a similar experience but obviously a different ending.  I just can't even imagine going through that."Homan is the skip of Team Ontario. They decided to put stickers with Aly's name on their brooms to honour her throughout this year's tournament.It's little things like this that keeps Scott going."The curling community is quite amazing and I'm so grateful to be a part of it," Scott said. "We're all a big family."Aly's teammates were her second family.Nancy Martin and Sherry Anderson were two of the last curlers to be on the ice with her. They came within a shot of making it to the Scotties in 2019 — they so badly wanted to play a role in helping Aly achieve her dream."I think you saw probably on our faces when we lost last year she was down and beside me and the tears were rolling," Martin said. "It was heartbreaking to lose that game. You always think there's another year." You wanted her to experience the joy of the win and getting to go and play in the Scotties. \- Sherry Anderson, Jenkins's former teammateAnderson has been to the Scotties a number of times; she knows what it takes to win at that level. And she knew Aly was good enough to one day be there."You wanted her to experience the joy of the win and getting to go and play in the Scotties because that is every female's dream in Canada, to go to the Scotties and perform. So, it was hard."The two have kept in touch with Scott and the kids, helping out as much as they can. And like Scott, Martin and Anderson have been overwhelmed by how the curling community has rallied together in the wake of this tragedy."I think the one thing that blew me away was it was curlers. Friends of friends of friends curlers who didn't know Aly that reached out to us and it really made me realize what a small community we have really," Martin said.  "We all have each other's back."Keeping Aly's memory aliveIn Scott's bedroom, in the corner beside the bed, sits a duffel bag.Scott points to it, the emotions beginning to bubble up inside him."She packed that before going to the hospital," he says.Aly's previous two deliveries were lengthy and so she wanted to be prepared for her third.Scott can't bring himself to open the bag to see what's inside.Some days are better than others. But there are these daily moments, out of nowhere, where he's hit by the reality that Aly isn't there to watch their three beautiful children grow up."Every day it's something. And that's what hurts. Avery started to talk a lot more and little things like that set me off because it's just stuff that I wish Aly could have witnessed."I see them growing up and doing things their mom would've been so proud of."He has her phone. Aly recorded moments together with Brady and Avery — at the park, at the curling rink, in the kitchen with the kids. Scott will watch those videos from time to time to remind him of her.Aly loved being a mom."She kept the family together. I have to learn so many new things now. She took care of everything around this family."And in some ways she's still taking care of them, through the community she leaves behind, and the rinks that were her second home.

  • New project aims to inform Islanders on legal consequences of cyberbullying and sexting
    News
    CBC

    New project aims to inform Islanders on legal consequences of cyberbullying and sexting

    A new project aiming to better inform youth and caregivers on the legal elements of cyberbullying and sexting is seeking public input. Community Legal Information is behind the project called Sexting, Cyberbullying and the Criminal Code.The project will also include information about forming healthy relationships and decision-making skills.Sarah Dennis, a project manager with the organization, said the group has already conducted one focus group with youth. Now, the organization is looking to conduct focus groups with caregivers, she said.Dennis said the hope is to get a sense of what the landscape of cyberbullying and sexting looks like on the Island from different perspectives.Videos and other resourcesOnce the information is gathered, the organization plans to rollout three videos and a workshop geared toward youth in Grades 7 to 9,  she said.  Social media has been so integrated into our daily lives that maybe we don't think about the consequences of a simple post before we make it. — Sarah Dennis"It's been identified that sexting and cyberbullying is a reality for youth on P.E.I., and this project will deliver, you know, tangible resources that people can go to and reference to be able to get the facts in a plain language way," she said. Dennis said the plan also includes a youth advisory committee which will oversee the project. "The role there is to ensure that the information that we put out into the community is vetted through a youth lens so that it has more impact on the community."'We don't think about the consequences'Youth who want to get involved must be between 12 and 18 years of age and should expect to commit to about six hours of their time to meet with organizers. The caregiver focus group is expected to take about two hours and involve one session. "Social media has been so integrated into our daily lives that maybe we don't think about the consequences of a simple post before we make it. Maybe with these resources it'll give people pause to think about what they're posting before they do." Resources from the project will be rolled out over the next two years, Dennis said. More from CBC P.E.I.

  • 'I started crying, I started dancing': Rencontre student wins $100K scholarship
    News
    CBC

    'I started crying, I started dancing': Rencontre student wins $100K scholarship

    Lydia Hardy of Rencontre East, roughly 200 kilometres south of Grand Falls-Windsor, won a scholarship valued at $100,000 — now she's ready to do for the world what she did for small-town Newfoundland.Rencontre East has a population of less than 150, but now can boast that one of their own is among the most recent Loran Scholar recipients, a four-year award for undergraduates who show character, service and leadership.When it comes to living in a tiny community, Hardy said people don't often speak about their struggles in rural communities where everybody knows everybody. She was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 11 years old. That same year she came out as bi-sexual."Right now I'm still the only openly gay person living in my community," she said."A lot of people haven't had exposure to the LGBT community, but I found them generally accepting and supportive of me."Hardy took things in stride, opting to take the reins and lead the charge in breaking the stigma within her community. She successfully obtained a government grant to renovate her school's bathrooms to double as safe spaces. Hardy has worked summer jobs with MOWI, a Norwegian-based seafood company, her local town council and is an advocate for human rights.But, now it's time for Hardy to leave behind her tightknit community, at least for the time being, but the dedicated student says she's ready to go, albeit with fond memories."Growing up as a kid in Rencontre, we just had all the freedom in the world. There was never any safety issues. Everyone was family," Hardy, a student of St. Stephen's All Grade, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show."I've learned the most valuable life lessons here ... but I'm ready to move on now to bigger things."  Almost 5,200 applicantsThe award gives Hardy an annual living stipend and matching tuition from one of Loran Scholar's 25 partner universities, plus summer internship funding, one-on-one mentorship and the opportunity to connect with other "high-potential" youth through the foundation's gatherings.She was flying home from Toronto — where the 88 finalists had travelled for the last part of the scholarship's selection process — and she got stuck in Montreal due to flight cancellations. It was then she got the call that was one of the winners. "I dropped to the floor, I started crying, I started dancing," Hardy said.Loran Scholar's Foundation said 5,194 students applied for the 2020 scholarship — only 36 were chosen overall. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • News
    CBC

    City preparing to help low-income Calgarians cope with provincial policy change

    The City of Calgary will take steps to help low-income people affected by the province's decision to change when it sends money to those on income support programs.The UCP government announced in January that it's shifting the date for making those payments from a few days before the end of the month to the first day of the month.If the first day of a month doesn't fall on a weekday, then the money will go out on the last business day of the previous month.Most recipients get that money through a direct deposit in a bank account.Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the city will do what it can to help thousands of low-income Calgarians who rely on those payments."This is not a good change. It is really disruptive to some of the most vulnerable people in our community," he said.Additional cost, inconvenienceFor example, most people who qualify for Calgary Transit's monthly low-income transit pass line up to purchase their pass in the final days of the month.Nenshi said now some of those people who may not have enough money to buy the pass ahead of time will likely join a huge lineup on the first day of the month, when they receive their income support or AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) payments.That opens up another problem."How are you going to get to the place where you buy your bus pass without having to pay another fare?" Nenshi said. He said it could mean someone has to pay a $3.50 adult transit fare to pick up a monthly low-income pass, which costs $5.45."These are things I wish the provincial government had considered and consulted on before making this decision." City looking at opening officeGiven March 1 falls on a Sunday, the province will make the support payments on February 28.Nenshi said the city is looking at opening its Calgary Transit customer service centre on Seventh Avenue S.W. downtown on February 29 to sell passes.The centre normally only operates Monday to Friday. In this case, Nenshi said the city would have to absorb the cost of the additional day of operation.As for what happens in future months, Nenshi said city council may have to look at amending its transit bylaw, but no details on changes were discussed at Thursday's meeting of council's intergovernmental affairs committee."At the city, we are committed to make sure that vulnerable people are not hurt by this transition. It's not our decision, but we will work hard to make sure that we're managing the impacts."

  • OSSTF president says Ontario protest a 'demonstration of unity'
    Global News

    OSSTF president says Ontario protest a 'demonstration of unity'

    Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation President Harvey Bischof said on Friday that the mass protests happening across Ontario and at Queen's Park in Toronto was a "demonstration of unity" by unions with their membership, as well as the parents and students who support them. The protests are being held the same day all four major school unions are holding a provincewide strike.

  • China's leaders say nation yet to turn corner in virus fight
    News
    The Canadian Press

    China's leaders say nation yet to turn corner in virus fight

    BEIJING — China's leadership sounded a cautious note Friday about the country's progress in halting the spread of the new virus that has now killed more than 2,200 people, after several days of upbeat messages.The Politburo, made up of the senior officials of the ruling Communist Party, said the situation in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, remains grave.“We should clearly see that the turning point of the development of the epidemic across the country hasn't arrived yet," the Politburo said at a meeting led by President Xi Jinping and reported by state broadcaster CCTV.The 25-member body said the outbreak has been “preliminarily contained" and urged party committees and governments at all levels to carry out prevention and control work without any relaxation to “win the people's war against the epidemic.”The National Heath Commission earlier reported 889 newly confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total in mainland China to 75,465. The death toll rose by 118 to 2,236. More than 1,000 cases and 14 deaths have been confirmed elsewhere, from Japan to France.Newly reported infections in China have trended downward in recent days, though changes in how health authorities have counted cases have muddied the true trajectory of the epidemic.“The overall situation is trending towards the better, and the outbreak is under control with zero increase in some provinces," said Zeng Yixin, vice director of National Health Commission. “In Hubei and Wuhan, however, newly reported deaths remain at a high level. We need to take that seriously.”The outbreak began in Wuhan and has hit the city and the rest of Hubei province the hardest.Officials have been sacked in Hubei and other areas after more than 500 cases were diagnosed in prisons, Justice Ministry official He Ping told reporters at a daily briefing.He and other public security officials reiterated that legal measures would be brought against those defying demands to wear masks and take other containment measures.People in China mourned the death of another doctor who had succumbed to the disease Thursday, according to an announcement from the district in which he worked in Wuhan. Peng Yinhua, a respiratory and intensive care physician, was infected last month while treating patients with the illness.Chinese media reported that Peng was 29 years old, which would place him among the youngest to die from COVID-19, the name of the new illness. Most of the fatalities have been people aged 60 and over with underlying medical conditions, according to a report from China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.A newspaper profile of Peng last month said he had postponed his wedding to help fight the epidemic, working day and night to accommodate the influx of patients.He is at least the third doctor to die in China from the illness.Hong Kong reported the first infection of a police officer in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The city has confirmed 69 cases of the virus, with two deaths.The 48-year-old officer had been at a dinner Tuesday with 59 other police officers, who have been placed in quarantine, the force said on its Facebook page. It urged officers to pay attention to hygiene to reduce the risk of transmission.___Associated Press writers Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Yanan Wang in Beijing contributed to this report.Ken Moritsugu, The Associated Press

  • How art is helping N.W.T. teens learn about drugs, alcohol and wellness
    News
    CBC

    How art is helping N.W.T. teens learn about drugs, alcohol and wellness

    A projector casts light onto a large white sheet in a classroom at Moose Kerr School in Aklavik, N.W.T.Behind it, students re-enact the story of Aklavik's infamous Mad Trapper while other students film the scene. The fugitive's story comes to life in shadows.This doesn't look or feel like a health lesson, but between building props and learning lines, the students are asking questions and having conversations about vaping, marijuana and alcohol and how to cope with stress in their lives."These aren't easy conversations to have," said Alana Kronstal, manager of social marketing for the N.W.T.'s Department of Health and Social Services. "Using art as a way to explore all these things has been really effective."The Dope Experience is an arts-based health education workshop that was developed by the territory's Health Department in consultation with youth and elders for the N.W.T.The initiative costs more than $1 million, and is partially funded by Health Canada through funds related to cannabis legislation. There will be workshops in more than two-thirds of the N.W.T.'s 33 communities. Two territorial non-profit organizations — Western Arctic Moving Pictures and the NWT Association of Communities — are delivering the workshops."We heard loud and clear that [youth] really want hands-on opportunities to come together and that they wanted to be exposed to healthy alternatives as well as talking about the hard stuff," said Kronstal.Positive tools help resist substance useThe workshops are run by facilitators with backgrounds in media, music and art. They spend one week in each community.Groups of students range from six to 25 participants, depending on the size of the community. The workshops are for students in Grade 7 and higher, but they have been tailored for students as young as Grade 3.Students do stop-motion photography with clay, digital storytelling and shadow plays that focus on local history and culture."Re-enacting the Mad Trapper is one way for us … to be proud of our communities and the stories and the history and a way for people to connect," said Jeremy Emerson, a filmmaker and a workshop facilitator.Making connections and showing resiliency though art, he said, can help youth in their daily lives."These are positive sort of tools for people and youth to use that, you know, can help them resist using substances when they feel overwhelmed or dealing with emotions or stress."Each day, the facilitators answer questions from an anonymous box. The content and discussions are driven by what the students want to learn."They all know that they can come to us," said Emerson.Watch the Dope Experience:'I really enjoy this'Philip Elanik, 19, says this informal approach is working for him."[It's a] really good self-esteem booster," he said. "We get some answers where you're comfortable with your peers and with your classmates and able to talk and open up."Petra Arey, 17, says the workshops are an easier way to get information."I really enjoy this. This workshop I guess you could say, it's a lot of fun," she said.Youth 'surprisingly receptive'The project only has enough funding to hold workshops in each community once.Kronstal says the department hopes to secure more funding to offer similar programming, but on a smaller scale.The workshops are just one way to support youth, she said."The social determinants of health are real. We have to be supporting youth from all fronts in order to ensure that they have the best chance at life and have that information at their fingertips when they need it," she said.Youth who typically haven't been engaged in the education system have been "surprisingly receptive" and coming out in numbers that's surprising administrators, said Kronstal.At the end of each workshop, the students share their projects with the community and online."We're hearing from communities that it's been really meaningful," she said.

  • Flight carrying Canadian coronavirus evacuees from cruise ship in Japan lands: minister
    News
    Reuters

    Flight carrying Canadian coronavirus evacuees from cruise ship in Japan lands: minister

    All repatriated passengers on the chartered flight had tested negative for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while the Canadians who contracted the illness did not board the flight, CBC News said http://bit.ly/2T6Iqfp. The plane is part of a repatriation effort by several countries - including the United States, Australia and Hong Kong - for hundreds of foreigners aboard the Diamond Princess. The cruise, operated by Carnival Corp , originally had roughly 3,700 passengers, 256 of which were Canadian.

  • Wellington West traffic plan for Scott Street work raises concerns
    News
    CBC

    Wellington West traffic plan for Scott Street work raises concerns

    Residents west of Ottawa's core aren't impressed with what repairing the sewers on Scott Street could do to traffic in their neighbourhoods.The city says it has to repair its aging sewers and water mains from west of Athlone Avenue to Smirle Avenue ahead of LRT Stage 2 construction, which will send more buses down that stretch of Scott in late 2021.This roadwork is expected to last from late spring until December and close eastbound Scott from Island Park Drive to Ross Avenue, on the western edge of Tunney's Pasture.It will involve detours onto Richmond and Wellington streets from Churchill to Holland avenues.The city said traffic volumes along Richmond and Wellington are expected to double and there will be parking restrictions on those streets and Holland. Most will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with certain sections getting relief from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m."Many of my businesses just won't be able to survive that," said Dennis Van Staalduinen, executive director of the Wellington West Business Improvement Area, at a public meeting on the plans Thursday night."Parking is part of the mix of how people get to the neighbourhood … Many of our businesses rely on that stop-in traffic. So if you're a small bakery or you're selling fresh meat or you're a coffee shop, people are stopping, grabbing the product [and] getting back in their vehicle."He said he would rather see the restrictions only during rush hour. The city said the restrictions are needed to create more traffic flow, especially for detoured buses, and that they were developed with traffic studies. The detoured bus routes include the 16, 50, 81 and 153.Bike lane not safe say residentsAs part of the plan, the multi-use pathway on the north side of Scott will be widened.There will also be a separate dedicated bike lane on the south side for a small section.But people living along Scott Street don't think it's safe."It's basically like Russian roulette trying to get out of our driveway as it is right now with the snowbanks," Joshua Abrams said "I have a big fear of backing out, having a biker come and not seeing it."Abrams said there is currently no room to put snow from his driveway and worries the bike lane will impact that further.The city is accepting written comments on the traffic plan until March 5 and said it will consider all opinions before finalizing them.

  • MLA Natalie Jameson hopes to bring 'new perspective' to PC cabinet
    News
    CBC

    MLA Natalie Jameson hopes to bring 'new perspective' to PC cabinet

    Natalie Jameson, MLA for Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park, has become the most recent addition to Premier Dennis King's cabinet, being sworn in Friday morning.Jameson was named minister of environment, water and climate change — a portfolio previously held by Brad Trivers, who will stay in cabinet as minister of education and lifelong learning. Jameson was also named as the minister responsible for Charlottetown and for the status of women, absorbing those files from ministers James Aylward and Darlene Compton respectively.She is one of only two women in the PC caucus, and becomes only the second woman in the King cabinet. She's also the only MLA the current PCs have elected in Charlottetown.Oil and gas industry experienceSpeaking immediately after her swearing-in, Jameson said she brings a "new perspective" to cabinet."I have small children, I have renewed energy. I certainly feel that I'm going to add another voice to the table in terms of representing women and of course the residents of Charlottetown," she said.Jameson also brings a decade of experience working in the oil and gas sector in Alberta, work which continued right up until she was elected in July 2019.Now she will take charge of efforts to reduce P.E.I.'s carbon emissions to meet an ambitious new target written into law through a bill passed by the Green Party."I think we all bring a variety of experience and expertise to anything that we do," Jameson said of her work as a recruiter and marketing representative for Obsidian Energy."That to me was 10 years of extremely professional experience where I gained a lot of skills and expertise and I think that fundamentally it'll just help me." Finding 'economic opportunities' in changing environmentAfter reiterating his government's commitment to act on climate change, King outlined the credentials of his new climate change minister. We'll be holding her to account to make sure that she is fulfilling the role. — Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker"The Natalie Jameson that I've come to know in the last year is a passionate Islander," he said. "She is very, very aware, having two young children, the importance of having a healthy environment.… I think her background gives her a unique look at many, many things of course, like all of us. But I'm probably more focused and excited about what she will do moving forward."King said he expects Jameson not just to lead the province in meeting its emission reduction target, but also to help "find the economic opportunities that are wrapped up inside of a changing environment. I want Prince Edward Island to be innovative in leading that charge."For his part, Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker welcomed the news of Jameson's appointment."That work of hers is in the past," said Bevan-Baker. "And I would hope actually that from that part of her life she could bring forward some knowledge of how that sector actually works and to use that effectively and positively in her new role."If the Greens don't feel the new minister is committed to bold action on the environment, Bevan-Baker said the party's reaction would be the same regardless of who the minister is or what's in their work history."We'll be holding her to account to make sure that she is fulfilling the role that she is mandated to do as minister of climate change," he said.Water Act, one of first prioritiesThis has brought King's cabinet to 10 members. That means only three MLAs from his caucus are not cabinet ministers.Jameson was elected in the deferred election held on July 15, 2019. She currently serves on the special committee on poverty.One of Jameson's first tasks will be the proclamation of the Water Act.Last month, then Environment Minister Brad Trivers said when the act is proclaimed it will likely include a continued moratorium on high-capacity wells. That is expected this spring. King introduced his first cabinet less than a year ago, during a ceremony in Georgetown, P.E.I., on May 9, 2019. Shortly after last year's election, the incoming premier suggested a mixed-party cabinet was possible, but in the end he opted for an all-PC cabinet.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • News
    CBC

    Work 'paused' at mine near Yukon-B.C. border, company says

    The owners of the Silvertip mine on the B.C.-Yukon border have suspended operations, citing low prices for lead and zinc.The mine is located 90 kilometres southwest of Watson Lake, Yukon, and is owned by Chicago-based Coeur Mining. The company bought it in 2017, a year after the underground mine had gone into production.The company's website says there are 167 employees at Silvertip.A news release from Coeur on Wednesday blames deteriorating zinc and lead markets for the "paused" operations.The market slump "represents significant headwinds to our ability to generate positive cash flow," according to a written statement from company CEO Mitchell Krebs.The release says the company will continue to drill for new deposits at the site, in hopes of extending the mine's life.It does not say when mining and processing activities might resume.According to the release, Coeur will also look into expanding the Silvertip mill to increase production when the mine reopens.The company owns four other mines in North America, including the Kensington gold mine near Juneau, Alaska.

  • Cremation not yet an option in N.W.T., but it might be soon
    News
    CBC

    Cremation not yet an option in N.W.T., but it might be soon

    Cremation can't happen in the Northwest Territories right now, but residents and their loved ones who want the option may soon get it.Until recently, cremation fell into a kind of legislative grey area. While a law paving the way for cremation in the territory passed in 2017, there were no regulations to guide the practice.But that changed on Jan. 15, when cremation regulations finally came into force in the territory."It's been a long road I'm happy to see that happen and that people and families here have more options in terms of end of life options," said Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly, who brought the private member's bill that would allow for cremation.O'Reilly's bill came at the urging of Janice McKenna, the owner of McKenna Funeral Home in Yellowknife.At least one obstacleShe's wanted to offer her own cremation services for over a decade.  "I have this dream to develop this for the Northwest Territories," said McKenna. "It's timely and I am hoping there will be no further obstacles in my way."But right now, there's at least one: zoning.Yellowknife's city government needs to amend a zoning by-law to allow for cremation, which requires public hearings and three readings in council, said spokesperson Alison Harrower. The city is also preparing for a water license application related to the cremation method McKenna wants to use.Harrower said the city can't yet provide a timeline for the by-law amendment.Still, McKenna is hopeful she will be able to offer the service. She met with city officials on Thursday and said "it went really well."Demand on the riseDemand for cremation is on the rise, said McKenna. She handles about 100 deaths a year and estimates that cremation is requested for a little under half of those. "When you talk about coming to a funeral home, and you have to make a decision of your final disposition of the body, it's a very emotional topic," said McKenna. She added there are many reasons why people may choose cremation.Some families may find keeping the ashes with them comforting, she said. Others may not want to take up land space that could be used for something else. When you talk about coming to a funeral home, and you have to make a decision of your final disposition of the body, it's a very emotional topic. \- Janice McKenna, owner of McKenna Funeral HomeMcKenna suspects that if cremation is offered in Yellowknife, demand for the service will grow further.In the meantime, McKenna makes arrangements for the service to be done in Edmonton. The whole process takes about a week. McKenna said she's secured deals with a company there, and with airline Canadian North — discounts she said she passes on to her customers — but the whole package still comes out to around $5,000. "Costs of a funeral are exorbitant," said McKenna. "I feel badly for that."She says if she could offer cremation in Yellowknife, it would cut those costs down substantially.AquamationMcKenna hopes to perform her cremations using a process called alkaline hydrolysis — also known as aquamation. Instead of burning, aquamation reduces a body to ash using a potassium hydroxide and water solution. She said the process takes about 12 hours.Aquamation is viewed as an environmentally-friendly alternative to incineration, said McKenna, and "the outcome is the same." "As a watered system, you can have [the machine] on my site here," she said, adding that there would be "no effect to my neighborhood."It isn't just people in Yellowknife, though, who McKenna expects would use her cremation service. She's arranged cremations for residents of Fort Simpson, Norman Wells, Hay River, Fort Resolution and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. "There's people all over who want to have cremation," she said, "and the business should stay in the North."

  • Protesters peacefully abandon blockade on Montreal's South Shore
    News
    CBC

    Protesters peacefully abandon blockade on Montreal's South Shore

    After giving a short speech to reporters Friday night, masked protesters who have been blocking a CN Rail line on Montreal's South Shore abandoned their blockade.It was tense throughout the day as counter-demonstrators and police negotiators tried to convince the protest group to leave as they had been blocking the busy commuter line since Wednesday.The protesters were served an injunction Thursday evening, but many held their ground throughout the night, building snow forts, huddling around a barrel fire and sleeping in tents.Finally, Longueuil officers, clad in black riot gear and wearing ski masks, stood in formation around the remaining protesters Friday. Officers closed St-Georges Street, which crosses the train tracks near the rail blockade, and pushed media back from the site.Officers gave the protesters until 5 p.m. to leave, but nothing physical happened and the riot police eventually left the scene despite Quebec Premier François Legault's Wednesday promise to "dismantle the blockade" once the injunction was served.Legault said Longueuil police would be in charge and use force if necessary.The number of protesters blocking commuter trains on the Mont-Saint-Hilaire line near Saint-Lambert station has dwindled since the injunction was served.By Friday evening, roughly two dozen protesters remained on site in a show of solidarity for Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in BC, who are against a pipeline passing through traditional territory. Unlike most other rail blockades, the one in Saint-Lambert is not on Indigenous territory. Before leaving at around 10 p.m., unidentified protesters expressed their support for the hereditary chiefs, criticized colonialism and called for action.They then hefted their colourful array of plastic shovels onto their shoulders and walked off into the night.Riot police moved into their place, forming a line across the road and watching the protesters leave.The encampment has been dismantled.'We're trying to be pacifists'Saint-Lambert resident Henri-François Girard told CBC News he decided to join the protesters because he supports their cause."I was just passing by and I saw 'Hey, these guys are doing the right thing,'" he said.He feels their protest has been portrayed negatively in the media, but in person, "they're all good people over there in the camp."Girard said he was moved to join them because he feels the climate crisis is an issue that can't be ignored. He hopes the stand-off between protesters and police won't lead to violence."We're trying to be pacifists, we're not trying to cause trouble," he said.The Mont-Saint-Hilaire line is the second commuter train route to be disrupted in the greater Montreal region. A blockade in Kahnawake, on Montreal's South Shore, has forced Exo to cancel travel on its Candiac line since Feb. 10.Legault said the Kahnawake blockade will not be dismantled by the Quebec government, because it is on Mohawk territory.Many of the protesters in Saint-Lambert were young people and students, the majority of which are not Indigenous.A special case in Saint-LambertSaint-Lambert Mayor Pierre Brodeur emphasized this distinction in an interview with Radio-Canada's Tout Un Matin Friday morning.He said that "it's frustrating to watch a small group of people who are depriving the citizens of Longueuil of access to commuter trains," adding that the protest isn't taking place on Indigenous land, nor is it led by Indigenous people."These are people who have nothing to do with Indigenous people," he said.In his view, the protest happening in Saint-Lambert is "completely different" from those taking place in other parts of the region.Brodeur said it's not fair that commuters in his area should be impacted by the solidarity protest, saying "we are just waiting for the green light" and that he is "impatient to get started dismantling these barricades."Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that "this is so much bigger than an issue of land rights out in BC. It affects everyone," he said.Picard said if police remove Saint-Lambert protesters by force, it might mobilize more groups of people to take action in solidarity."People are talking and trying to find ways to be supportive," he said.He said this crisis provides an opportunity for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to prove his commitment to building relationships with Indigenous people in Canada and resolving the conflict peacefully will be a key part of that.On Friday, Trudeau said the blockades "need to come down now," but said he would not be sending in the army to do so.

  • News
    CBC

    Alberta family lawyers puzzled by suspension of unified family court project

    The launch of a new unified family court, an initiative to streamline the duplication and complexity of family law cases, has been put on hold indefinitely by the Alberta government. Family lawyers were told about the suspension at Court of Queen's Bench town halls in Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday. The project — which would set up a centralized access point for families — was supposed to start in September. Wayne Barkauskas, a family lawyer from Calgary who is a past national family law chair for the Canadian Bar Association, said people were shocked by the news, particularly since they were expecting to hear about a launch date. Instead, they were told how Alberta Justice alerted the Court of Queen's Bench about the suspension on Feb. 14.The reason wasn't immediately clear, but Barkauskas has heard that the province was concerned about a small increase in the costs of support staff. "It doesn't make any sense that the province would delay this as a result of cost implications," Barkauskas said in an interview with CBC News on Thursday. "Actually, it seems counterintuitive."A unified family court would eliminate duplication of resources and judges would be paid by the federal government, which has already committed funding, he said. Clients would also save money on legal costs. Barkauskas said the unified family court was supported by both judges and Alberta family lawyers. He said the current system is in crisis with some cases taking three years to get to court. He said a family could appear before as many as four judges. "So you're trying to explain to four different judges, none of whom talk to each other, about what's going on with the file," Barkauskas said. "Each of these judges play a different part or piece in this puzzle."Suspension a mysteryJonah Mozeson, press secretary for Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer, confirmed there were no immediate plans to set up the Alberta Family Court. In an email, he said the federal government had committed to appointing 17 justices, but would not commit to funding support positions. "The idea of a Unified Family Court would have been intended to save taxpayer money and cut red tape. However, these and other ongoing expenditures would have cost Alberta taxpayers millions of dollars a year," Mosezon said. "This would be in addition to the tens of millions of dollars in capital and infrastructure changes in Edmonton and Calgary that would have been required during a time of fiscal restraint."In Canada, federally-appointed judges that sit on provincial superior courts — like Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta — hear matters relating to the Divorce Act. Provincial court judges deal with issues like the separation of common-law couples and child support and custody. Under a unified family court, a judge who specializes in family law would hear everything related to a case. The matter could also go to mediation prior to ending up in the courtroom. The idea of a single court for family matters has been around since the 1970s. Alberta is one of the last Canadian provinces to put the system in place. Calgary-Mountain View MLA Kathleen Ganley, the NDP opposition critic for justice, said most of the work for the unified family court was complete when she was justice minister in the previous government. Like Barkauskas, Ganley says she is confused by the government's decision. "There shouldn't be additional cost to the province," Ganley said in an interview. "In fact, the province should be able to hire more folks because they get back the money from the judges' salaries."Families in distressPatricia Hebert, a family lawyer and mediator in Edmonton, said the suspension was a disappointment. She calls the move a disservice to families trying to navigate a complicated system while they are in personal distress. Many represent themselves at court, she said. "The last thing they need is more confusion trying to determine which level of court is best for them to go to," Hebert said. Streamlining the system means people won't have to go to court as often, she added. "That reduces costs to the court and the court system but that also reduces cost, stress to the family members involved. And that's really who we all are here to serve."Barkauskas is unhappy the suspension appears to have occurred without any consultation. He says the government is disregarding the extent of the crisis in family law. "All of the available resources are being put toward criminal law matters which are also critically important," he said. "But as a result of that, everything in family law is getting pushed back further and further and further and nobody's talking about that. And it's causing some real problems."

  • News
    CBC

    Will tech be Alberta's next big thing? Industry and schools are a hard yes

    Post secondary schools, worker transition programs and the energy industry are putting a lot of their eggs in the tech basket, hoping it can become a more stable economic pillar than the highs and lows of oil and gas, experts tell CBC News.Tyler Farmer, now with the Information and Communications Technology Council, used to work in oil and gas.He says technology is impacting the oil and gas sector in ways many people could not have imagined just years ago."It's on the data side," Farmer told The Homestretch."We are hearing a lot that data is the new oil. It's what you can do with that, refine it, and find the return on investment that people are getting really excited about. Oil price may not go back up to where it was, but there's a lot we can do with this collected data to find and eek out value at every point of the process."He says big industry players already see the writing on the wall."On the clean tech side, they are looking to find efficiencies that correspond with climate change and lowering our carbon footprint," he said."We are seeing companies like Shell investing $1 billion to $2 billion in this, and going forward that's going to be $4 billion a year."How do we transition people?And technology can proactively find problems averting costly pipeline shutdowns and work stoppages."Predictive analytics can forecast when wear and tear is going to happen months in advance and then send people out at specific times for upgrades," Farmer said.But that technology will mean a shift in where the workers are placed."Different jobs, so we have to figure out, 'How do we transition people into some of these tech jobs?' There are many institutions already trying to tackle that."A problem that was set up to address that exact challenge, EvolveU, is starting to show results."It's a way for people to transition into technology," facilitator Margo Purcell said."There are two components. They build technical capability, they are learning how to code, software development. The non-technical component is learning to work with others, collaborate and communicate with people with a variety of styles."EvolveU is based at the new central library in Calgary and so far it's attracted a range of people, many wanting to leave oil but all wanting to get into tech."There are a lot of tech company job openings and they were having difficulty finding talent to fill those roles. There are a lot of very talented people in this city."'Gives me quite a bit of hope'Jason Moore is retraining as a full stack developer after eight years in oil and gas."It gives me quite a bit of hope," Moore said."Even if the work isn't in Calgary, you can work in this industry from Calgary and provide services across the world. In software programming, I get excited anytime I get a piece of code to work. It's very millennial of me to say, but it's instant gratification."Haydee Peralta decided to leave academia last year."Everything started in 2019 when I decided to switch careers, to go into data science," Peralta said."It's challenging but it's fun. I am hoping I can find a job. We are all looking for an opportunity in tech."Program facilitator Purcell says EvolveU has a success rate of about 80 per cent of people finding work after the program.New programs to address huge demandPost-secondary schools in southern Alberta are taking placement a step further, with fresh programs to serve hoards of students interested in the tech sector."We need to not only keep the tech sector alive and well but help add to the ecosystem," University of Calgary computer science department head Christian Jacob told The Homestretch."We are partnering with a lot of companies in education and research programs"U of C is launching a new information security certificate program in the fall and an intensive computer game design week in June, if you just can't wait.That's on top of a data science analytics program launched a couple of years ago.Undergrad enrolment jumps 50%The number of computer science undergraduates at the school has increased 50 per cent in five years, from 800 to 1,200 students, so you'll need a 90 per cent to get in from high school.Down at the University of Lethbridge, seats in the program are up as companies snatch students before they graduate, school officials say.There's a new computer science and fine arts combined degree program on the way.Lethbridge College is riding the information tech wave, too."The program has doubled in size in the last year," Stephen Graham said."Our grads enter the tech workforce at small businesses and startups in Lethbridge, go on to university, or start their own businesses."400 applicants for 50 spacesBack in Calgary, Mount Royal University now offers the option of staying on its campus for a full, four-year computer degree, rather than transferring to another school after two years."It has caught us all off guard. We could have easily offered a program with a much bigger intake, but we were approved for 50," science and technology dean Jonathan Withey said.Those 50 seats drew more than 400 applicants.Demand is also up at Bow Valley College, the associate dean of creative technologies says."If the wait list is any indication, the demand has continuously gone up, 10 to 15 per cent over the last couple of years," Sharaz Khan said."A couple of the programs we are offering in September are three-quarters full right now, so we have had to lift the cap on some of that to increase our capacity."Bow Valley already has diploma and certificate programs. This fall, it is launching a new cybersecurity program and cloud computing and artificial intelligence programs are on the horizon.SAIT scrambles to build new schoolThe Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is busy trying to figure out how to build a new digital school from the ground up after a record $30-million donation by local philanthropist David Bissett. It's expected to be a game changer in the province.SAIT has degrees and diplomas in information analysis and cybersecurity systems and some customized programing for managers from the energy sector.Also on the receiving end of gifts, Olds College is launching two programs out of its Werklund School of Agriculture Technology.And DOT technology is on the leading edge, the school's dean says."Agriculture is one of the last mega industries to be fully disrupted by technology," James Benkie said."Cross-sector technology is flowing into agriculture readily. It is a lot of time just looking for problems to solve. Autonomous technology is one of the exciting things they will be teaching."Benkie says Olds College will be one of the first in the world to offer this technology training to students.

  • Avalanche techs say 'rein it in' this weekend in White Pass
    News
    CBC

    Avalanche techs say 'rein it in' this weekend in White Pass

    Avalanche technicians have a message for any Yukoners heading to the White Pass this long Heritage Day weekend: play it extra safe."We're at high avalanche danger at treeline, and also at high avalanche danger in the alpine," said James Minifie, lead avalanche field technician for Avalanche Canada, on Friday morning.Minifie said the area got a big dump of snow on Thursday night, and it was continuing into Friday. It's also been extremely windy, he said. The temperature has also risen in the last few days.He said the team of avalanche technicians is eager to get out in the back country, but it's risky. They've been keeping to more sheltered, "low-angle" places.  "We're chomping at the bit, but this is the time to kind of really kind of rein it in," Minifie said."We really have our guard up at this time, with these with these elevated conditions."The White Pass is a popular weekend destination for many Yukoners who want to ski or snowmobile in the backcountry.

  • Inquest to focus on 1 of 3 Sask. Penitentiary inmates who died in 2-week period
    News
    CBC

    Inquest to focus on 1 of 3 Sask. Penitentiary inmates who died in 2-week period

    Saskatchewan Penitentiary will be back in the spotlight next week as a coroner's inquest probes the circumstances in the death of Curtis Cozart — one of three inmates to die at the Prince Albert-area federal prison in a two-week period in 2017.Little is known about how Cozart, 30, died on May 23, 2017.According to Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice, he was found unresponsive in his cell. Paramedics tried to revive him. He died later in hospital. Shortly after his death, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) said it did not suspect foul play.But the inquest into Cozart's death promises to return the focus to an institution plagued by a series of inmate deaths in one very short period. Two deaths in one dayOnly two weeks after Cozart's death, two other Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmates died on the same day.In the early morning hours of June 7, 2017, Daniel Tokarchuk, 40, was taken to hospital and pronounced dead at 4:24 a.m., according to Correctional Service Canada. CSC has declined to confirm whether Tokarchuk died of natural causes.Several hours later on the same morning, guards found the body of another inmate, Chris Van Camp, in his cell bed on the prison's maximum security ward.Van Camp's cellmate, Tyler Vandewater, now 31, was recently on trial for second degree murder. He testified he stabbed Van Camp, 37, dozens of times in self defence shortly after midnight.The court heard that guards doing hourly checks thought Van Camp was asleep in his bed.The judge will give his decision in the Vandewater case next monthPreventing future deathsThe inquest into Cozart's death begins Monday morning in Prince Albert. Jurors will be tasked with making recommendations on how to prevent other inmate deaths. It's not a criminal proceeding. Cozart, Tokarchuk and Van Camp's deaths all came only months after a December 2016 Saskatchewan Penitentiary riot that left one inmate dead.Correctional service respondsCBC News reached out to CSC for comment on the fatalities at the prison. "[We take] the death of an inmate very seriously," a spokesperson for the service said. The loss of life is always a tragedy."For all cases of non-natural inmate deaths, CSC convenes an internal board of investigation (BOI). BOIs allow the CSC to examine circumstances of incidents and to present findings and recommendations that may prevent similar occurrences in the future. Any actions that address any areas of concern are considered and implemented accordingly."

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    WALL STREET JOURNAL-BEST SELLERS

    Bestselling Books Week Ended February 15th.FICTION1\. “Dog Man: Fetch-22” by Dav Pilkey (Graphix)2\. "Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam's Sons)3\. “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy (HarperOne)4\. “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron Books)5\. “Love From the Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle (World of Eric Carle)6\. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball" by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)7\. “Golden in Death” by J.D. Robb (St. Martin's Press)8\. “Love From the Crayons” by Drew Daywalt (Penguin Workshop)9\. “Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George” by H.A. Rey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)10\. “Snug” by Catana Chetwynd (Andrews Mcmeel)NONFICTION1\. “Open Book” by Jessica Simpson (Dey Street)2\. “A Very Stable Genius” by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig (Penguin)3\. “Profiles in Corruption” by Peter Schweizer (Harper)4\. “StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath (Gallup)5\. “Get Out of Your Head” by Jennie Allen (WaterBrook)6\. “Built, Not Born” by Tom Golisano (HarperCollins Leadership)7\. “Floret Farm's a Year in Flowers” by Erin Benzakein (chronicle)8\. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (Avery)9\. “Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover (Random House)10\. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama (Crown)FICTION E-BOOKS1\. “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron Books)2\. “Golden in Death” by J.D. Robb (St. Martin's Press)3\. “The Island of Sea Women” by Lisa See (Scribner)4\. “Criss Cross” by James Patterson (Little, Brown)5\. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens (G.P. Putnam's Sons)6\. “The Museum of Desire” by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine)7\. “The Girl You Left Behind” by Jojo Moyes (Penguin)8\. “Crooked River” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central Publishing)9\. “Get a Life, Chloe Brown” by Talia Hibbert (Avon)10\. “When We Believed in Mermaids” by Barbara O'Neal (Lake Union)NONFICTION E-BOOKS1\. “Open Book” by Jessica Simpson (Dey Street)2\. “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Pink Daniel H. (Riverhead)3\. “The Scribe Method” by Tucker Max (Tucker Max)4\. “A Very Stable Genius” by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig (Penguin)5\. “Knitting Yarns” by Ann Hood (Norton)6\. "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover (Random House)7\. “Breaking Bread” by Martin Philip (HarperWave)8\. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House)9\. “On Tyranny” by Timothy Snyder (Tim Duggan)10\. “If You Tell” by Gregg Olsen (Thomas & Mercer)The Associated Press