With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
An envoy hired to defuse tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia has released a bleak interim report highlighting poor communication and a lack of trust between both sides. The report by Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette found perhaps the only thing the fishermen can agree on is blaming the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the situation. "The lack of trust and respect has been presented to me by many of the individuals I interviewed," Surette said in his interim report filed with Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Carolyn Bennett, minister for Indigenous-Crown relations. "Firstly, I have heard from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties of the lack of trust in government," Surette wrote. "Added to this level of the lack of trust and respect, some interviewed also expressed the lack of trust and respect within parties involved in the fishery and I also heard of the lack of trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, stakeholder groups and organizations." Appointed by Ottawa Surette was named special federal representative by the Trudeau government after an outbreak of violence and protests at the launch of an Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band in St. Marys Bay last fall. The band cited the Mi'kmaq's right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 but never defined by Ottawa. The fishery was conducted outside of the regulated season for commercial lobster licence holders in Lobster Fishing Area 34, who objected saying the fishery was a blatant violation of fishery regulations. The reaction included alleged assaults, arson, blockades, volleys of wharfside profanity and online venom. It garnered international attention. The blowup capped years of tensions over an escalating Sipekne'katik food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay that was, in some cases, used as a cloak for a commercial fishery. Lobster caught under food, social and ceremonial licences cannot be sold. In one case, a Crown prosecutor said the lobster caught under those licences from Sipekne'katik supplied an international "black market operation." Despite a number of federal initiatives to integrate the Mi'kmaq into the fishery since 1999 — including half a billion dollars for training and buying out and providing commercial licences — there has been a lack of progress defining moderate livelihood and implementing the fishery. Expectations of the First Nations were not met, leaving many of them to doubt the sincerity of DFO, Surette reported. Debate over enforcement Surette said the issue is complex and will not be easily solved. Non-Indigenous fishermen have argued there is not enough enforcement when it comes to Indigenous lobster fishing while the bands have complained of harassment. "However, the point to note on this matter, and more closely related to my mandate, seems to be the lack of clear direction from the government of Canada and the multiple facets and complexity of implementing the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood," he said in the report. Surette's mandate is not to negotiate but rather to "restore confidence, improve relations" and make recommendations to the politicians. His interim report calls for more dialogue to build trust, suggesting areas of declared common interest like conservation and marketing. A lack of information from DFO was a recurrent complaint from the commercial fishermen, said Surette. "There should be some type of formal process for the non-Indigenous to be kept up to speed, especially the harvesters, since this could affect their livelihood. Some process, even though they're not involved in negotiation, that they could have input or at least understand what's going on," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday. Improving communication He made three suggestions for improving communication: a clearinghouse for accurate information, a formal process for talks between the commercial industry and the government of Canada, and forums to create a "safe space" to talk on important issues without extreme emotions. Surette interviewed 85 people — 81 per cent were non-Indigenous. "In some cases, they were heavily focused on the fishery. Others said that they preferred dealing with the ministers at this present time," he told CBC News. Surette said he will be reaching out to gather more perspectives. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan will start to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses, as supplies run short. Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. Official guidelines say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing doses 28 days apart. The National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI), a body made up of scientists and vaccine experts, say provinces should follow the dosing schedule as closely as possible, but the panel is now offering some wiggle room. WATCH | Canada's COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee approves delaying 2nd dose NACI recommends spacing out the doses up to 42 days when necessary. The recommendation is also supported by the World Health Organization and Canada's chief medical health officer. "The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible," reads a statement released Thursday from Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as the provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health. The same day, Saskatchewan announced it would further space out its doses. "Saskatchewan will be implementing these recommendations of up to 42 days where operationally necessary in order to deliver more first doses to eligible people," the government of Saskatchewan said in a news release. WATCH | Dr. Howard Njoo addresses questions on taking first and second dose of vaccine 42 days apart: Saskatchewan's supply runs short As of Friday, 96 per cent of the province's vaccines have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has been used. Pfizer has said it will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium, to boost capacity. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it's very reassuring to have the length between doses extended to 42 days. "When there's a sudden, further disruption that does present challenges," Shahab said during a news conference on Tuesday. "Most provinces are able to give the second dose of both Pfizer and Moderna within 42 days ... and that becomes very important with the disruption of shipment." Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, agreed. "It does mitigate some of the decreased doses coming in. We also know through contact with the federal government that once the Pfizer plant is back online, they'll be increasing our shipment," Livingstone said during Tuesday's news conference. Livingstone said the new shipments coming in will be allocated for an individual's first and second shot. WATCH | Canada facing delays in vaccine rollout More vaccines on the way Another shipment of vaccines will arrive in Saskatchewan on Feb. 1, says the government. The province is expecting 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and 6,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine. The government says they will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West. A second shipment of 7,100 doses from Moderna will arrive on Feb. 22, and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. "Our immunization team is trying to be as nimble as possible knowing that we could at any time through the pandemic receive more vaccines, but also then having to readjust our targets and still focusing on the most needy in this Phase 1, and we will continue to do that as vaccine supply keeps coming back up," Livingstone said.
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada Post is telling customers to expect delivery delays due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a key mail facility in Mississauga, Ont., that has sickened dozens of workers. A spokesman says testing at the Dixie Road site has found 39 positive COVID-19 cases over the last three days. Canada Post says 182 workers at the site have tested positive since the start of the new year. Spokesman Phil Legault says the Mississauga facility is central to the crown corporation's entire national delivery and processing network. Legault says the plant continues to operate and process heavy incoming parcel volumes, but there will be delays. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Tanner Stewart can think of no better way to flush 2020 down the drain than by filling up a tub with his cannabis-infused bath bombs in 2021. Stewart, founder and CEO of St. Stephen-based Stewart Farms, said his new bath bomb, made with 50 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 50 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) and essential oils, has been receiving rave reviews. "It's a really nice way to engage with a familiar thing like a bath bomb for a lot of consumers who already really like bath bombs and combine it with a cannabis-infused experience," he said. Stewart Farms makes three different types of bath bombs, each tailored with the help of the essential oils for a different experience. Trainwreck combines the scents of eucalyptus, sweet orange and Spanish rosemary to be uplifting and energizing. Bubba Kush is meant to be calming, with the scents of lavender, white grapefruit and cassia, and Blue Dream is meant to be a harmonizing bath bomb, with the scents of lemon grass, pepper, orange and lavender. CBD is a known anti-inflammatory, Stewart said, and THC is known to be antibacterial and anti-fungal. All of the products, which retail for $16.99 per bath bomb, are packaged individually in 100 per cent biodegradable packaging. Stewart said it's believed his farm is the first cannabis producer in Canada to use this type of packaging. He said environmental protection is a cannabis company’s responsibility. "We think that's setting a new precedent in the industry," he said. Stewart Farms' bath bombs have just sold out for the second time in multiple locations since launching about a month ago. Products are being sold in New Brunswick and in Alberta for now, with plans to expand from coast to coast by the end of 2021. Stewart said the bombs are a great, easy and harmless introduction for those who've never used cannabis products before, especially older people. "They need to be grabbing these things, and giving themselves a nice, well-deserved self-care treatment." Stewart said bath bomb users won't get high from the cannabis per se, but he's received feedback from customers that tell him their skin feels great after, they're relaxed and they have a great night's sleep. Some other say they feel clarity and it helps with pain, he added. Stewart, who's originally from Miramichi, said he's grateful the cannabis industry allowed him to move back to his home province in August 2019 from Alberta to start this business. "This industry has allowed me not only to come back home to my own province and have a job, but I'm able to build a business in a globally-leading industry." The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's admission Friday that he might have to improve the vetting for high-level appointments sparked criticism over why he didn't figure that out before he chose Julie Payette as governor general. Trudeau named the former astronaut as Canada's 29th governor general in 2017 after disbanding a non-partisan, arm's-length committee created by the previous Conservative government to recommend worthy nominees for viceregal posts. Thursday, she resigned over allegations she created a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall, an unprecedented move for a monarch's representative in Canada. Trudeau faced questions Friday about his judgment and his government's failure to check with Payette's former employers at the Montreal Science Centre and the Canadian Olympic Committee, where she faced similar allegations of harassing and bullying subordinates. "We will continue to look at the best way to select people for viceregal appointments," Trudeau told a news conference Friday outside his residence at Rideau Cottage. "It's an important role for Canadians and we will look at how we can improve it." But Trudeau would not commit to reinstating the non-partisan, arm's-length committee to choose her successor. Payette announced her resignation about a week after the government received the damning findings of an independent investigation into allegations of harassment and other workplace issues at Rideau Hall. Trudeau said he spoke with the Queen by telephone Friday to inform her that Chief Justice Richard Wagner is stepping in until a new governor general is named. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said earlier that the Queen was being kept informed and will leave the matter in the hands of the Canadian government. Trudeau said everyone deserves a safe and healthy workplace, including employees at Rideau Hall. He also said the work they have done has been "exceptional." But he deflected a question over whether he owed those employees and all Canadians an apology. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the choice of Payette was one of style over substance. "Really it comes down to Justin Trudeau, who was more interested in a flashy announcement of a governor general rather than doing the work of making sure it was the right selection," Singh said Friday. "And it seems to be an ongoing trend, this pursuit of a flashy headline instead of working to get the job done." Patricia Faison Hewlin, of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, said leaders with authentic leadership skills have never been more important than now. "During these uncertain and devastating times, we are in critical need of leaders who are skilled at connecting to people in meaningful ways — building unity, allaying concerns, and showing empathy," she said. "The days are over when leaders could skimp on emotional intelligence and building relationships. Employees are demanding more from their leaders." Trudeau's minority Liberal government could be defeated at any time and, were that to happen, it would fall to the governor general to decide whether to call an election or give Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole a chance to see if he can command the confidence of the House of Commons. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday the government has begun discussions with those responsible for vetting, but the prime minister hasn't had time yet to reflect on the best way to choose Payette's successor. The government will have more to say on that likely next week, he said. He agreed the debacle of Payette's tenure shows a need to strengthen the process for vetting viceregal appointments. LeBlanc said the government report came to "compelling" and "stark" conclusions and that Payette's tenure shows that the vetting system for such appointments needs to be strengthened. "There always has been a process of vetting, of checks that are made when somebody is appointed to any government job. But clearly, the process can be strengthened, can be improved," LeBlanc said in an interview shortly after Payette's resignation. The government does not intend to release the report due to privacy issues and the promises of confidentiality made to all complainants, LeBlanc said. It will instead release a redacted version of the report in response to requests made under the Access to Information Act. LeBlanc would not discuss the contents of the report, but said it found Rideau Hall "was obviously an unacceptable workplace." LeBlanc said federal public servants "have the right to a secure, safe and healthy workplace and we are adamant … that standard be upheld at every institution of the government of Canada." He said the report "painted a picture that was not consistent" with that standard. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on Trudeau to stop paying the expenses of former governors general after they have left office. Former governors general also qualify for a pension of more than $140,000, the federation said. "Two years ago, the prime minister said he would review this program," said federation director Aaron Wudrick. "Nothing has happened since. It's time to save taxpayers money by scrapping this outrageously wasteful program." The Senate recently agreed to pay $498,000 in compensation to nine former employees of ex-senator Don Meredith, who was accused of sexually harassing, belittling and humiliating his staff. LeBlanc said there's been no consideration thus far — and no mention in the report — of paying compensation to Rideau Hall employees, some dozen of whom complained anonymously to the CBC about Payette yelling at, belittling and publicly humiliating staff, reducing some to tears and prompting some to quit. He said such questions will be handled by senior federal officials, who are planning to talk with all employees at Rideau Hall to plan next steps. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Mike Blanchfield and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is thinking about getting Canadians the COVID-19 vaccine "when I wake up in the morning, when I go to bed, and every hour in between."
MADRID — Public outrage is growing in Spain as cases of politicians and well-connected opportunists jumping the queue in the national coronavirus vaccination campaign come to light, even as delivery delays have forced some regions to stop new inoculations. Spain’s Defence Ministry has been the latest governmental department to launch an internal inquiry to find out if the military top brass dodged coronavirus vaccine protocols by receiving a jab before their turn. El Confidencial Digital, an online news site, first reported that Chief of Staff Gen. Miguel Ángel Villarroya and several other high-ranking officers in Spain’s Armed Forces had recently received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Spain, top government and other officials have not been granted preferential access to the vaccine — unlike other European countries where they were among the first to get the jab, to encourage members of the public to follow suit. Nursing home residents and staff, as well as first-line health workers, are currently receiving jabs as priority groups in the national vaccination plan. The rollout is suffering delays due to a shortage of deliveries by Pfizer-BioNTech, currently the main supplier of vaccines. Having administered over 86% of the 1.1 million vaccine doses received, several regions have halted new vaccinations until fresh supplies arrive. The Health Ministry announced this week that the next group will be those above 80 years old. Defence Minister Margarita Robles said Friday that the Armed Forces had their own vaccination plan but that she nevertheless had requested a report from Gen. Villarroya, who is 63, to clarify the issue. The questions follow several cases of queue-jumping by politicians or people with connections that have come to light in recent weeks, drawing widespread criticism and leading to high-profile dismissals. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party on Friday issued a statement urging any elected official who has skipped the line to resign immediately. Top members of the Popular Party, the conservative leader of the opposition, have made similar remarks. But whereas the regional health chief of the south-eastern Murcia region, a PP member, appeared on television, tearful, after he lost his job when media revealed that he had received the first vaccine jab, party colleague Javier Guerrero, who has the equivalent position in Ceuta, a Spanish outpost in northern Africa, refused to resign saying that fieldwork often exposed him to contagion. Guerrero, who is a physician himself and has diabetes, said at a press conference Thursday that he accepted getting the jab because his staff insisted. “I didn't want to get vaccinated, but my technical staff told me that unless I did it they wouldn't do it themselves,” he said. “I really didn't want to. I don't even get the flu vaccine. I don't like vaccines.” Pressure from the public has so far led to resignations or dismissals of several local mayors and councillors, as well as some hospital directors. At the San Carlos Clinic Hospital in Madrid, retired health workers and family members were asked to show up for a vaccine so as not to waste soon-to-expire doses. Experts have highlighted the need to ramp up vaccination to counter the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 2.5 million and killed over 55,400 people in Spain. The health ministry reported 42,885 new infections and 400 additional confirmed deaths on Friday, as several regions launch new restrictions aimed at curbing the contagion. One in five hospital beds and over 37% of ICU beds are now devoted to treating coronavirus patients. In six of the country’s 19 regions, half or more of ICU beds are already filled with patients that need ventilation or other acute treatment. Authorities say that while the number of new cases continues to soar, the daily percentage increases are diminishing, indicating the surge could be levelling out. Some experts have argued that a strict stay-at-home order is needed urgently. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Associated Press, The Associated Press
Yukon is getting a new health care research unit that will include more patient and community participation than has been the case in many research projects. The federal government will contribute more than $5 million to develop the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). The territorial government will provide staff, facilities and other in-kind contributions. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research say in a news release the Yukon will be joining all 10 provinces and the Northwest Territories in a network of similar units. "Patients in Yukon will benefit, as the SPOR SUPPORT Unit will ensure that research has direct impacts on their lives in ways that are important to them by making them partners in research and giving them a say in which topics are researched," the release says. Yukon Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said there has been an ongoing research project in the North that has already demonstrated the importance of community participation. People in Old Crow, Yukon, Fort MacPherson, N.W.T., and communities in the Mackenzie Delta have worked with researchers for more than a decade looking at the higher prevalence of a stomach bacteria and stomach cancer in the region, Frost said. "So the attention and the research that was done... was to look and work with the communities to figure out what triggers that. What can we do to prevent that from advancing to a further stage," she said. Yukon's deputy minister of health, Stephen Samis, said research driven by Yukoners for Yukoners can help the territory focus on important areas like prevention. "So rather than someone sitting in a chair at the University of Alberta or somewhere thinking up what they would like to research and how that might be able to be undertaken in Yukon, these are going to be research priorities that are really driven by Yukoners," Samis said. The unit will be based at Yukon University, but it will also involve the health department, Yukon hospitals and other organizations, said Bronwyn Hancock, associate vice-president, research development at the Yukon University Research Centre. Citizens are involved in the process from the start helping researchers sort out what they want to look into, she said, with researchers taking a holistic approach. "Which will include the person interacting with the health system, but also their families, their caregivers, the support network that they have around them," Hancock said. The university will host the unit's scientific director and operations manager with other positions located at other facilities, she said. Hancock said she expects the position of scientific director to be posted in February or March. In the meantime an interim oversight committee will begin meeting next month.
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod says the public health directive supporting in-class learning in northern Ontario schools is more political than scientific. The community’s high school opted to keep Nbissing students online until at least February 16 after the province extended its COVID-19 pandemic emergency order. The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is one of the few in Ontario to support in-class learning, a decision panned by many in light of it closing down toboggan hills, outdoor skating rinks and snowmobile trails. “We're just trying to deal with the Covid and we just shut our rinks down and we're just kind of monitoring what provinces and municipalities are doing and making sure that we're consistent or more stringent in areas like our school being closed,” McLeod said about Nbisiing Secondary School Thursday. “It's all online right now, despite the provinces still allowing it, at least in northern Ontario, the high schools are still open,” he said, noting that seems to be out of step with what some provincial experts are saying. “I was listening to Dr. Kevin Brown. He's the co-chair of the Covid Science Table for Ontario,” said Chief McLeod. “He was giving an update to the Chiefs of Ontario and he honestly can't understand why the schools in northern Ontario are still open. And you know, that, to me was troublesome, right? ‘You have one of the top epidemiologists saying that he doesn't understand. I was expecting ‘Here, this is the data, shows this or that,” because I like listening to the data, not just listening to people rant on Facebook. But, yeah, he was lost for an answer as to why it's still open. “And so obviously it's a more political call than a science one,” McLeod said. The school posted the update on its website, as did the community. “In response to Ontario’s second declaration of emergency and to align Nbisiing with Nipissing First Nation’s response to the provincewide stay-at-home order and shutdown restrictions, Nipissing First Nation (NFN) Council has approved changes to Nbisiing’s return to in-person learning date,” it reads. “In order to keep people home as much as possible to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect vulnerable populations, and keep our school community safe, Nbisiing will continue to teach all classes virtually and will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 (Monday the 15th is Family Day).” Nipissing FN only closed its outdoor rink in Garden Village, which is enclosed with walls and roof, because they don’t want people from outside the community taking advantage of it while their rinks are ordered closed. “Our problem with the skating rinks, as soon as North Bay and Sturgeon closed, we have to close because they all come down hours and we don't want them there,” he said. Chief McLeod did what many others are doing in response by creating their own ice sheets, whether that’s in a yard or on the lake. They can control the numbers and make it safe by following the known protocols, he added. “Well, I made one in my backyard and I Facebooked all my family members saying, ‘You want to come skating with your family, book it … just message me so I know that there's no other family there and you can have it to yourself.’” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has suspended the sale of decommissioned RCMP vehicles, two days after a man in Nova Scotia was arrested for allegedly impersonating an officer while driving a fake police car. The suspect's 2013 Ford Taurus was a decommissioned police car and was allegedly altered to look like an unmarked police vehicle. The car was similar to the replica RCMP cruiser used by a gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia during a 13-hour rampage on April 18-19. Blair issued a statement today saying the RCMP's resale process for decommissioned vehicles ensures they cannot easily be misused for criminal purposes. The minister said, however, such sales will be suspended to ensure the process is not flawed. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said today he was pleased with Blair's decision. "It's a great first step," McNeil said, adding that the province's justice minister, Mark Furey, has been working with Blair on the police vehicle file. "We have a piece of legislation that will be introduced during the next session. It deals with (police) accessories and how to deal with municipal (police) vehicles in our province." On Wednesday, the Mounties said that in the most recent case, a 23-year-old suspect from Antigonish, N.S., may have used the car in question to pull over other vehicles in the Halifax region and Antigonish County. The vehicle was outfitted with LED lights in the rear window, a microphone on the dashboard, a public address system, citizens band radio and a push bar with LED lights mounted on the grill. Police also confirmed the suspect did not appear to have any police clothing or firearms of any kind. "It remains illegal to impersonate a police officer and we will take every step possible to prevent such crimes from taking place," Blair said in the statement. "We will continue to work so that all Canadians feel safe in their communities." The vehicle used in the April mass shooting was heavily modified with an emergency light bar on the roof and decals that looked exactly like those found on marked RCMP cruisers. Early in the RCMP's investigation of the mass killing, a senior officer said the killer's vehicle allowed him to "circulate around the province, steps ahead of our investigators." The replica vehicle was so convincing that questions were raised about the availability of former police vehicles for public purchase. The Mounties have confirmed that on the night of April 18, the killer set fire to several homes and killed 13 people in Portapique before evading police later that night while disguised as an RCMP officer. The next morning, he resumed killing people he knew and others at random before he was fatally shot by a Mountie at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., which is just north of Halifax. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
More than $100,000 worth of unpaid water and sewage bills could result in the Town of St. George starting to turn off the taps for some customers as soon as this spring. Town CAO Jason Gaudet said the town couldn't shut down off any delinquent accounts last year due to the province's emergency order as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that changed in October. "We'll be back shutting water off for delinquent accounts in the spring," he said. With a total water and sewage budget of $800,000 for the town annually, Gaudet said that $100,000 in unpaid bills is "like one-eighth of our budget is being held in delinquency." Without those payments coming in, Gaudet said the town's ability to maintain its aging water and sewage system is hampered. Some of that system dates back to the 1930s. It's also believed St. George has more sewage lift stations than other towns because the town is hilly. Those lifts all require maintenance. Earlier this month, St. George had a boil water advisory because of a valve and water main break. In order to fix the problem, Gaudet said the town had to repair the water main break, pay for two tests to declare the water safe to drink again, and pay the wages for the workers involved in the project, which all in total cost about $7,000. This all come out of the water and sewage fund. The funds collected are reserved for maintenance and repairs on the water and sewage system throughout the year, said Gaudet. That work can include clearing out sewage lines, rebuilding sewage lift stations, flushing testing and preparing for capital projects. "If you don't have the money there, you have to wait until it's there or postpone the project, or work," he said. "It's tough to budget for." He said he believes some St. George water customers were less inclined to pay their bills because of the past year's emergency order and they may have just forgotten during the frenetic year, but the town will be turning off service for delinquent customers this year. Typically, the town shuts the water off on the first of April or May, he said. But before that happens, final notices are sent out followed by phone calls. Customers typically have three months from the date the bill was sent out to pay, he said. Bills are sent out twice annually, in January and June. Past due notices were recently sent out, Gaudet said, noting notices are being sent out for those who haven't paid their bills as of June 2020. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Nearly a year to the day after the Chinese city of Wuhan went into lockdown to contain a virus that had already escaped, President Joe Biden began putting into effect a new war plan for fighting the outbreak in the U.S., Germany topped 50,000 deaths, and Britain closed in on 100,000. The anniversary of the lockdown Saturday comes as more contagious variants of the coronavirus spread and efforts to vaccinate people against COVID-19 have been frustrated by disarray and limited supplies in some places. The scourge has killed over 2 million people worldwide. In the U.S., which has the world's highest death toll at over 410,000, Dr. Anthony Fauci said a lack of candour about the threat under President Donald Trump probably cost lives. Fauci, who was sidelined by Trump, is now the chief medical adviser to Biden in an ambitious effort to conquer the virus. He told CNN that the Trump administration delayed getting sound scientific advice to the country. “When you start talking about things that make no sense medically and no sense scientifically, that clearly is not helpful,” he said. Biden signed a series of executive orders Thursday to mount a more centralized attack on the virus and has vowed to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days, a number some public health experts say is not ambitious enough. Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the U.S. should aim to vaccinate 2.5 million a day. “This was already an emergency,” Topol said, but with more contagious mutations of the virus circulating, “it became an emergency to the fourth power.” In Britain, where a more transmissible variant of the virus is raging, the death toll hit close to 96,000, the highest in Europe. And the government's chief scientific adviser warned that the mutated version might be deadlier than the original. Patrick Vallance cautioned that more research is needed but that the evidence suggests that the variant might kill 13 or 14 people out of every 1,000 infected, compared with 10 in 1,000 from the original. Germany extended its lockdown this week until Feb. 14 amid concern about the mutant viruses. Some nations are imposing or considering new travel restrictions for the same reason. France said it will require a negative test from travellers arriving from other European Union countries starting Sunday. Canada said it may force visitors to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense upon arrival. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned the country: “No one should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve still got one planned, cancel it. And don’t book a trip for spring break,." In another apparent setback, AstraZeneca said it will ship fewer doses of its vaccine than anticipated to the 27-country EU because of supply chain problems. Amid the crisis, Japan is publicly adamant it will hold the postponed Olympics in July. Many experts believe that to pull that off, the nation will have to vaccinate all 127 million citizens, an effort that may not even begin until late February. The 76-day Wuhan lockdown began a year ago with a notice sent to people’s smartphones at 2 a.m. announcing the airport and train and bus stations would shut at 10 a.m. It eventually was expanded to most of the rest of Hubei province, affecting 56 million people. By the time of the lockdown, the virus had spread well beyond China's borders. Wuhan has largely returned to normal. The rollout of shots in the U.S. has been marked by delays, confusion and, in recent days, complaints of vaccine shortages and inadequate deliveries from the federal government as states ramp up their vaccination drives to include senior citizens as well as teachers, police and other groups. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that of nearly 40 million doses distributed to the states so far, just 19 million have been dispensed. Why there are reports of shortages when so many doses are apparently going unused is not entirely clear. But some vaccination sites are believed to be holding back large quantities to make sure that people who got their first shot receive the required second one on schedule a few weeks later. At the rate vaccines are being delivered, Alabama officials said it would take two years to vaccinate all adults in the state of 5 million people. “Every state had the idea that they were going to get much more vaccine than they ultimately got,” said Scott Harris, head of the state Department of Public Health. “There just wasn’t enough vaccine to go around.” Louisiana said it plans to set up mass vaccination events but can’t do so until it receives larger quantities of vaccine. The state said it has been receiving about 60,000 doses weekly for the last few weeks and was told by federal officials to expect similar allocations for the next month or so. “We all are asking for the exact same thing,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said of the nation’s governors. “We want more vaccine as soon as we can possibly get it, and we want more lead time to know how many doses we’re going to get so that we can do a better job of planning at the state level.” In Boston, nearly 2,000 doses vaccine were spoiled at a Veterans Affairs hospital after a contractor accidentally unplugged a freezer. Biden pledged to set up Federal Emergency Management Agency mass vaccination sites, but some states said they need more doses of the vaccine, not more people or locations to administer them. “We stand ready, willing and able to handle it,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “Trying to find FEMA set up sites, first of all, that would take like 30 days. It’s not necessary in Florida. I would take all that energy and I would put that toward more supply of the vaccine.” Brian Melley, The Associated Press
The bill proposes that the Minister “respect and promote certain rights for persons receiving care, support or services in congregate care settings and their designated caregivers.”
While an exact date for the Canadian Championship final between Toronto FC and Forge FC has yet to be determined, the teams now have a deadline to meet for the matchup. CONCACAF confirmed Friday that the opening round of 16 for the 2021 edition of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League will go April 6 to 8. With the Canadian Championship winner advancing to CONCACAF's flagship club competition, Toronto and Forge will have to play before that April window. The tournament draw is scheduled for Feb. 10 in Miami. It's believed to be unlikely the Canadian showdown will take place before the draw. The 2020 Canadian Championship originally was to have featured 11 clubs — the three Canadian teams from Major League Soccer and eight Canadian Premier League sides. The tournament was slated to kick off June 16 and run through Sept. 23, but was delayed when soccer suspended play due to global pandemic. In August, Canada Soccer decided to scrap the tournament and just stage a one-off final with the first quarter of 2021 eventually targeted for timing. Hamilton-based Forge qualified for the final by winning the CPL's Island Games in Charlottetown last summer. Toronto made it by finishing first among the Canadian teams in the first phase of the revised MLS 2020 schedule. The Canadian Championship was first held in 2008. Toronto FC has lifted the Voyageurs Cup seven times compared to four for CF Montreal, formerly the Montreal Impact, and once for the Vancouver Whitecaps. The CONCACAF Champions League field features teams who have qualified via domestic leagues and cup competitions and through the CONCACAF League, a feeder tournament that sends six teams to the Champions League. Forge FC took part in the CONCACAF League but failed to advance via that route. The CONCACAF Champions League normally starts in mid-February. CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, said it has been pushed back to April due to scheduling and travel challenges associated with the pandemic. CONCACAF says the host for the single-leg Champions League final will be the highest-performing club in the earlier rounds of the tournament, based on wins, draws and, if required, goal difference. Toronto (2018) and Montreal (2014-15) have both finished runners-up in the tournament. 2021 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Schedule Draw: Feb. 10 Round of 16: April 6-8 (first leg) and April 13-15 (second leg) Quarterfinals: April 27-29 (first leg) and May 4-6 (second leg) Semifinals: Aug. 10-12 (first leg) and August 24-26 (second leg) Final: Oct 26-28 (single leg) Field Canada: Forge FC or Toronto FC. Costa Rica: Deportivo Saprissa, LD Alajuelense. Dominican Republic: Club Atletico Pantoja. Haiti: Arcahaie FC. Honduras: CD Marathon, CD Olimpia. Mexico: Club America, Club Leon, Cruz Azul, CF Monterrey. Nicaragua: Real Estelí FC. U.S.: Atlanta United FC, Columbus Crew SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers. Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Le coiffeur natif de Chicoutimi-Nord, Marcus Villeneuve, se fait de plus en plus connaître dans le milieu artistique québécois. Alors qu’il est depuis trois ans le coiffeur officiel de Véronique Cloutier, il est aussi derrière les plus récents changements capillaires de Jay du Temple, qui ont beaucoup fait parler. L’année 2020 a été différente pour le coiffeur. En effet, alors que son milieu a été durement affecté par la COVID-19, Marcus voit tout de même du positif dans ce qui s’est passé, et surtout en ce qui s’en vient. Pour ce confinement-ci, l’artiste qui fêtait ses 32 ans mardi prend ce temps pour décrocher et recharger ses batteries. Il sait maintenant à quoi ressemblera la réouverture des salons. « Maintenant que nous l’avons vécu une fois, on sait que quand ça va recommencer, ça sera vraiment de plus belle. Je ne suis pas inquiet que la clientèle soit au rendez-vous », se console-t-il, lors d’un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Progrès. Des clients célèbres En plus de travailler à son salon Chez Marcus, à Québec, il a tout au long de l’année continué à s’occuper de Véronique Cloutier, ce qu’il fait depuis maintenant trois ans. C’est pour lui un rêve qui se réalise. Avec elle, il touche à tout, aux séances photo, aux galas, à la télévision, et plus. « Quand j’ai fait mon cours de coiffure à Alma, il y avait beaucoup de madames qui faisaient leur formation en même temps que moi. Elles voulaient, par exemple, ouvrir un salon dans leur sous-sol, pour coiffer les membres de leur famille et leurs voisins. Moi, mon but, c’était de coiffer une vedette, pas plusieurs, mais de vraiment me concentrer sur une, la suivre dans ses événements et que ce soit ma signature sur son cheveu. Dix ans plus tard, je suis vraiment content que ce soit arrivé. Avec Véro, je ne pourrais pas être plus comblé », note fièrement l’homme originaire de la région. Si l’animatrice radio est sa principale cliente, elle n’est tout de même pas la seule vedette québécoise qui est passée sous les ciseaux du coiffeur saguenéen. Il a déjà travaillé avec Marilou, Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse et c’est également lui qui est derrière les nombreuses récentes couleurs capillaires de Jay du Temple, qui ont particulièrement fait jaser. Ce n’est pas la première fois qu’une coiffure de l’artiste enflamme le Web. « J’ai déjà fait un “wetlook” à Véro, pour un gala Artis, qui n’avait vraiment pas passé. Ça m’avait plus atteint, parce que c’était mon travail qui avait été remis en cause. Mais là, c’est l’extravagance de Jay qui est remis en question et ses cheveux entrent là-dedans. Je suis quand même fier d’avoir fait partie de ce changement-là et de ce débat de société », révèle le coiffeur. Dix ans après avoir commencé à coiffer, Marcus repense souvent à son parcours. Ayant vécu de l’intimidation à l’école, n’ayant pas fini son secondaire, il ne l’a pas toujours eu facile. Mais aujourd’hui, il est vraiment fier de ne pas s’être laissé abattre, alors qu’il gagne maintenant très bien sa vie en vivant son plus grand rêve. Il pense d’ailleurs que sa grande force de caractère lui vient de la région, celle qui l’aime toujours autant après ces années et qu’il a toujours hâte de retrouver. Année à venir L’année qui commence s’annonce prometteuse. Déjà, l’homme a été approché par Redken pour être ambassadeur de la marque pour 2021. Il a été bien sûr flatté par cet honneur, alors qu’il travaille avec eux depuis maintenant 10 ans. Il prend ce rôle très au sérieux. « Nous en avons longtemps discuté. Je leur ai expliqué que je ne veux pas vraiment éduquer les autres coiffeurs avec ce rôle, mais plutôt les inspirer, pour qu’à leur tour ils inspirent eux aussi », souligne-t-il. Il compte utiliser les réseaux sociaux pour y arriver. Si le contexte le permet, il aurait aimé faire une tournée dans les régions, au cours de l’année, pour rencontrer et discuter avec les personnes intéressées. De plus, l’homme prépare un grand projet qu’il dévoilera dans les prochains mois. Il laisse comme indice qu’il a décidé de faire de la limonade avec des citrons et que cela touche son salon. Il ne peut en dire plus, mais a très hâte de le partager.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
OTTAWA — Health Canada says vaccine clinics are doing an "extraordinary" job preventing many doses of precious COVID-19 vaccine from going to waste. Canada has received more than 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna since mid-December, and has now given at least one dose to more than 767,000 people. A spokeswoman says "wastage has been very minimal" and well below initial estimates. Before the vaccination campaign began, there were concerns that as many as one-fifth of the doses delivered to Canada could end up being wasted due to intense cold-chain requirements and the complexity of distribution. The federal department did not provide statistics but said provinces and territories are reporting their experiences and waste has not been an notable issue thus far. Both vaccines have to be kept frozen, but the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is particularly delicate and must be stored at temperatures below -60 C until just before it is used. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
If we didn't know any better, it would have seemed that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took a tour through Canada's North recently. The U.S. senator popped up in a series of spoof photos this week that showed him in front of Iqaluit's post office, at a handgames tournament, and all the way to Yukon, posing in front of the SS Klondike. The hilarious shots were part of a wave of Bernie Sanders memes that have cropped up after he drew fashion praise on social media for his cozy, comfortable attire at President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, including a fuzzy pair of mittens. And northerners couldn't resist turning the photo of Sanders, cozied up on a chair with his mittens, into memes. Thaidene Paulette in Fort Smith, N.W.T., was behind the meme of Sanders playing traditional Indigenous handgames. "We basically live in the age of memes right now ... like with the internet and stuff going viral," Paulette said. "Whatever the meme may be at the moment, Indigenous people always put the best spin on it." He said he opted to put the U.S. senator into the handgames photo because it was fitting, based on Sanders' posture, which is similar to how players sit. Opposing teams of men kneel in lines and challenge each other to guess which hand an object is in — the idea is to trick the opponent into guessing the wrong hand. Paulette says Sanders could make a good handgames player in real life, calling him "pretty sly." "Those old timers are pretty good, you know, you don't think they move around too much, but once they get playing, they're into it and they can pull some tricks," he said. "So I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie's an old champ, maybe." Handgames isn't the only adventure the senator had in the North. Northerners enjoyed putting Sanders on a scene of a Nunavut government COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer. And they took him on a hunting trip. He watched Yukon's well-known Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher Bhangra. And was outfitted with more traditional wear. He went to the recycle depot in Whitehorse, made a pit stop at Tags gas station downtown, and of course, dropped by the public library. Then Sanders took a load-off at the Iqaluit post office. And finally, he waited for the northern lights to dance through the sky.
A Vancouver 7-Eleven store manager was assaulted inside his store on Dec. 17 after he asked a customer to wear a mask and leave his small dog outside. The incident occurred Dec. 17 just before noon at the 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue. The Vancouver Police Department says the customer, who had a small dog with him, allegedly spat on the store manager and yelled profanities at him. Video of the incident shows a man charging at the store manager who falls to the ground. "A witness told police that the staff member and suspect were involved in a physical altercation. Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault," said Const. Tania Visintin. Watch | Surveillance video released by police shows how the assault unfolded: Despite their efforts, investigators have been unable to identify the suspect and,officers are now asking for the public's help identifying the man. Police say the man is in his late 20s, with dark skin, dark short hair, standing five feet t10 inches tall, with a medium build. He was wearing black Kapa shorts, a black T-shirt, a light-coloured hooded sweater and black running shoes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vancouver Police Department at 604-717-4034. Face masks are required in indoor public spaces by provincial health order. Those who fail to comply could face a $230 fine.
Residents and local organizations are joining Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher in objection to a cluster of seven cannabis shops around Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue. It’s the second time Fletcher’s office has sent a letter to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regarding the issue. The first was sent in July 2020, when the city passed her motion requesting ACGO to consider the proximity to community services and parks, as well as communications from the city against clustering of cannabis shops. While in the summer the initial objection referred to four pending applications for pot shops on Queen Street East, this second objection comes as the area is expecting to see seven such shops. “It is concerning that there are so many along this stretch of Queen Street East, and that they are so close to the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre, the Ralph Thornton Community Centre, the Queen/Saulter Library and public parks,” Fletcher wrote in the letter. She said she has heard from several community members, with more than 20 constituents writing in, all trying to understand why there are seven cannabis stores near one major intersection and how the AGCO approves applications for these shops. “Everyone’s clear, no one is opposed to legal marijuana,” Fletcher told the Beach Metro News. “They’re opposed to the overconcentration of shops.” She cites the corner store model adopted by the current provincial government as problematic for residents and communities, akin to having “seven LCBO stores one after the other.” Original regulations set up by the provincial government of Kathleen Wynne restricted cannabis shops within 300 metres of a school, childcare centre, or daycare centre, but Fletcher said “it flew out the window” with the change in Ontario governments. Others in the community raise economic and social concerns of the clustering of pot shops. “The problem is what’s happening on Queen is if you end up with all these stores selling the same thing a whole lot of them will go out of business,” Ralph Thornton Community Centre board chair Alan Lennon said. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many small business closures and commercial evictions, Lennon is concerned that it will become more and more difficult to fill the small storefronts in an economically viable way. “The other part is, if you have a block with all the same shops, you’re not going to have a lot of traffic – you’ve limited it,” he said. “It doesn’t make economic sense to us,” Lennon said. “You’re setting up people for failure in their business, and you’re making it so they will fail, and it doesn’t make social sense, you’re setting up a community to be one-dimensional.” “That’s not what we want,” he added. “And they’re [AGCO] not listening.” Non-profit community organization Fontbonne Ministries has a branch – Mustard Seed – on 791 Queen St. E. The location is a short walk from Queen Street East and Boulton Avenue, where there are three pending cannabis shops at the small intersection. “We understand it’s something legal, regulated, and you have these stores,” Fontbonne Ministries executive director Ben Vozzolo said. “But we question the need for that many in such a small area.” The organization serves vulnerable populations and runs a drop-in program at its Mustard Seed location on Queen Street East. Vozzolo raises concerns of having so many cannabis stores in close proximity to vulnerable people. But it’s not just the social effects, they’re concerned about the diversity of retail in the neighbourhood. “I’m curious to know what AGCO’s criteria is for determining how many of these shops are put in one neighbourhood,” Vozzolo said. Fontbonne, along with Ralph Thornton Community Centre, and other community members, has sent letters to the AGCO asking about the approval of these shops. No one has received any replies. “It would be nice to have a response acknowledging the concern,” Vozzolo said. In December 2020, AGCO announced it was issuing 80 cannabis retail store authorizations per month. To date, it has received more than 1,300 applications for retail store authorizations, 305 have been issued and 269 authorized cannabis retail stores are currently open in the province. Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
TORONTO — In the wake of Julie Payette's resignation from the role of governor general on Thursday after an investigation into harassment allegations, some Canadian workers may find themselves relating to the rank and file at Rideau Hall.Ottawa lawyer Yavar Hameed says the pandemic has caused an uptick in complaints of toxic workplaces, leading more employees to seek legal solutions like human rights complaints, health and safety inspections, constructive dismissal damages, or even accommodation for post-traumatic stress disorder.Human resources consultant Janet Candido says many companies are slow to act on complaints of harassment when a worker is high-ranking, popular or productive. Candido says workplaces should train managers to intervene in disputes across departments, rather than putting the onus on workers to confront their bosses.Fredericton employment lawyer Dan Leger says workplaces are required to have harassment policies in place, and many do begin with an informal mediation between the two workers that are clashing.Leger says employment contracts typically protect workers from retaliation over good faith complaints, adding that good workplace policies should prevent blowups by letting workers lodge complaints with someone other than their boss — or their boss's friends.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press