HALIFAX — Court documents released Monday describe the violence a Nova Scotia mass killer inflicted on his father years before his rampage as well as the gunman's paranoia and suspicious financial transactions ahead of the killings.Fifty-one-year Gabriel Wortman took 22 lives on April 18-19 before police killed him at a service station in Enfield, N.S.In documents that a media consortium, including The Canadian Press, went before a provincial court judge to obtain, Wortman's spouse and cousin both describe how in 2016 he smashed his father's head against the pool during a family vacation in the Caribbean, causing blood to flow in the water.The cousin, a former RCMP officer, said as Wortman was growing up he was a "strange little guy" who later became a career criminal who financed his way through university with illegal alcohol and tobacco smuggling."(The cousin) went to Dominican (Republic) in 2016 with family and could see problems with Gabriel ... While in Dominican he beat up his father," the document states.The document says the witness told police he'd believed Wortman was capable of perhaps killing his parents but hadn't imagined he would go on a mass shooting rampage.The accounts of Wortman's tensions with neighbours are also discussed in the documents, with one witness describing how the 51-year-old denturist had once argued with Aaron Tuck — a Portapique neighbour he would later murder during the rampage — over the price Tuck was asking for his home.The spouse told investigators Wortman disliked police officers and even once mentioned they would be easy to murder.Yet, there is also a description from her of a calm period on the morning of April 18, as the couple drove around the countryside in the area of Debert, N.S., hours before he began his rampage."We were making plans," she's quoted as saying about the night of April 18. "It's like he snapped. I don't know."The documents contain a chilling description of the gunman's attempt to kill RCMP Const. Chad Morrison in Shubenacadie, N.S., on April 19, when the officer was shot and wounded by Wortman.Morrison said as he awaited his partner, Const. Heidi Stevenson, he hadn't been expecting Wortman's arrival, believing the gunman was still 22 kilometres to the northwest.The constable realized Wortman's intent as he pulled alongside him in the replica police cruiser he drove for much of his rampage."Const. Morrison said the suspect looked to have a melancholy expression as he was turning in front of him and then he had a 'grit' look on his face as he started to raise the gun," the document said.The documents released by Judge Laurel Halfpenny MacQuarrie include an account of a federal Finance Department agency looking into allegedly suspicious financial transactions by Wortman and Northumberland Investments Inc., a firm he owned.Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, told the RCMP it learned that "Gabriel Wortman used his account to make purchases of vehicle accessories commonly used by police, including items explicitly labelled as being intended for police use via eBay."It's unclear from the document when FINTRAC first started tracking Wortman's financial activities, but the court documents say the reports were prepared April 22 and 30, shortly after his rampage.Erica Constant, a spokesperson for FINTRAC, said in an email the agency is prohibited from disclosing information that may have been provided to it by police, and a RCMP spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment.The agency looked at transactions on Aug. 10, 2010, when Northumberland made deposits of $200,000 in cash and $46,000 from a term deposit to a Toronto-Dominion bank in Fredericton. There is a also detailed account of how Wortman received $475,000 in $100 bills from a Brinks facility in Dartmouth, N.S., on March 30 this year, as he grew increasingly anxious about COVID-19.Investigators also describe a series of 2019 transactions the gunman made via PayPal as he created his mock police vehicle. The purchases included police cars, light bars, siren light controls, a dashboard camera, vinyl decals and a push bar for the front of the car to create an almost identical replica.In addition, witnesses quoted in the documents cast fresh light on the assistance Wortman received in creating decals for the vehicle. Peter Griffon provided a statement to police describing how he'd made the RCMP decals for Wortman's car, without the knowledge of his employer, using a computer at the back of the shop to research RCMP emblems.The owner of the graphics company is quoted in the documents saying he'd told Griffon not to make the decals, as "he should not be messing around with stuff like that."Griffon, who was on parole from prison, has since had his parole revoked as a result of the work he did for Wortman.The 40-year-old man had been on parole, and living with his parents in Portapique, N.S., doing odd jobs for Wortman, when he completed the decal work.A National Parole Board decision provided to The Canadian Press says Griffon was convicted of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking in 2017, and received parole a year later.The board said in its decision, "the consequences of your (Griffon's) most recent flawed decision-making contributed to a horrific end that touched every life in your province. Those decisions are inconsistent with being on parole."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
The body of a man who fell into a river two months ago, while stopping for photos in Banff National Park, has been located. RCMP say the 23-year-old from Calgary, was found by conservation officers Saturday on a small island west of Abraham Lake, a large man-made reservoir along the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta's Clearwater County. A Parks Canada official has said the man was hiking along the trail with two other people, and stopped for photos when he fell in and was swept away.
A 13-year-old Utah boy with autism was shot by police after his mother asked for help getting him hospital mental-health treatment and officers agreed to talk with him, police footage released Monday showed. The videos show Salt Lake City officers chasing him down an alley after they arrive at his home, then yelling at him to get on the ground.
TORONTO — Under pressure to further respond to escalating rates of COVID-19 in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said he will unveil his government's plan to deal with a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday.During his daily pandemic media briefing on Monday, Ford defended the delay in releasing the much-anticipated plan, stressing that the situation in the province has changed frequently since the first wave of the virus hit in March.In recent weeks, Ford has promised an updated fall preparedness strategy but pressure to release the document has intensified as daily case rates have steadily increased in recent weeks — with 425 new cases, and two new deaths, reported in Ontario on Monday."Everyone understands what happened in March is different than what happened in July," he said. "What's happening in July is different than September, and we have a solid, solid plan ... but this is fluid. This is moving day-by-day."The new plan comes as Ontario continues to grapple with long line ups at some of its 147 COVID-19 assessment centres and days after Ford announced an Ontario-wide crackdown limiting the number of people permitted at social gatherings.COVID-19 continued to spike in three virus hot spots on Monday, with 175 new cases in Toronto, 84 in Peel Region and 60 in Ottawa. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 67 per cent of the new cases are in people under the age of 40.The province also said it had processed 31,753 tests over the previous day, as it aims to complete 50,000 daily tests over the next few weeks.Elliott said that some elements of the new fall preparedness plan are already being implemented, including the ramp-up in testing. The second wave will be more complicated to respond to because of flu season and the need to address the province's surgery backlog, she added."We have planned for the worst and are ready for it," she said.Elliott said the plan will involve "hundreds of millions" in spending, which has required the government to complete "due diligence" on the strategy."We have to work with the federal government to make sure that they are going to be able to release their funds in a timely manner to support those areas that we have really focused on, testing, lab capacity, and making sure that we're ready for the flu," she said.Meanwhile, Ford said again Monday that he hopes to have a plan to permit pharmacies to conduct COVID-19 testing in place by the end of the week. The province has reached out to university and private laboratories to help process the increasing number of tests, he added."As we go up with testing, we want to make sure that lab capacity keeps up," he said.NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the province has known the potential for a second wave was real for months and should have delivered its fall strategy before the first day of autumn, which is Tuesday."It's pretty rich for the Premier and Minister of Health to suggest they a plan and it's already being implemented," she said. "If that were the case we wouldn't be seeing moms in line ups with sick kids for eight hours ... waiting to get a test."Unions representing more than 75,000 workers in long-term care homes across Ontario held a news conference on Monday morning, calling on the Ford government to address what they called a "broken system" that was struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic even began."We are seeing an uptick in the number of COVID cases across the province and many are saying we are on the verge of a second wave, if we're not in it already," said Candace Rennick, the secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario."Sadly, in long-term care, many of us are left questioning if we've learned any lessons from the first wave of this deadly virus."Rennick was joined by Sharleen Stewart the president of SEIU Healthcare and Katha Fortier an executive with Unifor National as well as three personal support workers. Stewart said that all three unions haven't heard or seen anything from the commission that is leading an inquiry into the state of Ontario's long-term care facilities.Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservative government and Opposition politicians have come to an agreement to manage the number of legislators at Queen's Park during sittings to practise physical distancing.The new cohorts will see a set rotation of some government ministers and legislators assigned to sittings of the house this fall, restricting contact between cohorts.Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and some other ministers will not be part of the cohorts to allow them to participate in more debate.Government House Leader Paul Calandra said news of federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's positive COVID-19 test influenced the arrangement."I would be lying if I didn't say that what we saw in Ottawa over the last week ... didn't have an impact on us working together to make sure (the legislature) continues in this fashion," he said. Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, who announced last week that he was in self-isolation after having dinner with O'Toole recently, has subsequently said both he and his family have tested negative for the virus.-with files from John Chidley-Hill.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
After six seasons, an explosion of popularity abroad, and now a historic sweep of the comedy awards at the Emmys, Schitt's Creek has cemented its place as a TV legend. Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy all won for their performances, while the show itself took home top comedy of the year. Despite the accolades, all good things must end. The finale aired more than five months ago already, and cast members are now moving on. Here's what they're working on now and where you can see them next.Daniel Levy (David Rose)As director, writer, producer and actor, Daniel Levy truly got Schitt's Creek done, but he's not done working yet.Late last year, Levy signed a deal with Disney's ABC Studios, coming on to develop and produce scripts for a three-year period. He is also set to appear in the upcoming romantic comedy Happiest Season, alongside Kristen Stewart, Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza. The movie follows Stewart as Abby, who is planning on proposing to her girlfriend, but has to deal with her conservative parents' response. Levy plays a character in a supporting role.It is currently scheduled to premiere in November.And while he did not actually confirm anything, backstage at the Emmys Levy did speak about the possibility of a movie to follow the events of the Schitt's Creek."If there is an idea [for a movie] that ever pops into my head worthy of these wonderful people, it has to be really freaking good at this point," he said. "Because this is a really nice way of saying goodbye. So fingers crossed that we get a really good idea coming into our heads at some point."Eugene Levy (Johnny Rose)Eugene Levy's first nomination — and win — at the Emmys was nearly 40 years ago, and that was already a decade into his career. The actor and writer has an impressive list of credits already, though it's unclear what he'll be working on next. The only officially announced title for Levy is the animated short The Beast, Heroes of the Wildfire. Partly produced by comedian Tom Green and starring Michael J. Fox, Bill Burr, Norm MacDonald, Howie Mandel and Schitt's Creek co-star Catherine O'Hara, it is an eminently Canadian production about the wildfire evacuations of Fort McMurray, Alta.Catherine O'Hara (Moira Rose)O'Hara has a similarly bare schedule, though just as many credits as Levy in her back pocket. The two actually won their first Emmy together in 1982 for outstanding writing in a variety or music program for their work on sketch comedy series SCTV.In the future, O'Hara is slated to appear in another animated feature, Extinct, as well as Heroes of the Wildfire .She will star in Extinct alongside Adam DeVine, Ken Jeong, Jim Jeffries and Steve Aoki. The movie is scheduled for a 2021 release.Annie Murphy (Alexis Rose)Murphy will next appear in the AMC Studios dark comedy Kevin Can F*** Himself, as a sitcom wife rebelling against the world she finds herself in, who "escapes her confines and takes the lead in her own life." It's a subtle nod to cancelled CBS show Kevin Can Wait, which infamously killed off lead actor Kevin James's wife Donna (played by Erinn Hayes), so he could be matched with Leah Remini. Prior to Kevin Can Wait, James and Remini were an onscreen couple in the long-running series King of Queens.There is currently no premiere date for Kevin Can F*** Himself.Noah Reid (Patrick Brewer)Reid began shifting focus from working as an actor to a musician last year and released his sophomore folk album Gemini in May. Pandemic closures forced him to cancel a subsequent tour. Reid took time off from professional pursuits and got married. "[E]ven in the hardest times, there is so much to be thankful for," Reid wrote in Hello Magazine's Pandemic Diaries series. "For everything it has taken away, 2020 has given me some magical, life-changing moments."Sarah Levy (Twyla Sands)Sarah Levy, who played Twyla Sands, will appear alongside another Schitt's Creek alum in an upcoming Syfy show. Levy and Tim Rozon (Mutt Schitt) have both been cast in The Surrealtor, a horror series about a team of realtors who sell haunted and possessed homes.Production on the show began mid-September, shooting in Newfoundland. Karen Robinson (Ronnie Lee)Karen Robinson, who played Ronnie Lee, will stick with CBC for the upcoming comedy Lady Dicks. The buddy-cop project stars Baroness von Sketch Show's Meredith MacNeil and Orange is The New Black's Adrienne C. Moore as "two radically different female detectives in their early 40s."Production on the show began in September, with filming taking place in Ontario. Emily Hampshire (Stevie Budd)The dry, sarcastic Schitt's Creek motel worker Stevie Budd — portrayed by Emily Hampshire — was a fan favourite. She has since begun work on two new projects. The first is the horror-mystery film Home, which started filming in Montreal in late 2019. It follows Hampshire as a mother who loses her newborn son and is then terrorized by "a nightmarish entity." Hampshire is also listed as an executive producer for the movie.The second is a similar departure from comedy, and which Hampshire is currently filming. Set in the 1850s, Chapelwaite is a series based on Stephen King's short story Jerusalem's Lot, and features actor Adrien Brody alongside Hampshire. It follows Captain Charles Boone (Brody) who relocates his family to Maine after his wife dies at sea, though the family is soon forced to confront "secrets of his family's sordid history." Hampshire plays a governess who works for Boone's family. Filming is currently taking place in Halifax.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his officials never conducted checks with Julie Payette's former employers at the Montreal Science Centre and the Canadian Olympic Committee that might have raised red flags about her behaviour with co-workers and subordinates before her appointment as Governor General, sources tell CBC News.Multiple sources have told CBC News they were stunned by Trudeau's decision to appoint Payette in 2017. They have questioned the prime minister's judgment."A number of us were blown away when she got appointed," said a former board member at the Canada Lands Company (CLC), the self-financing Crown corporation that owns and operates the Montreal Science Centre. Payette was vice president of CLC and chief operating officer of the Montreal Science Centre from 2013 to 2016."This is a Crown corporation owned by the government," said the former board member. "You would have thought they'd call to check out her credentials."Payette and her Rideau Hall office are now at the centre of an unprecedented third-party investigation launched by the Privy Council Office. In July, a CBC News report quoted a dozen confidential public servants and former employees who claim the Governor General belittled, berated and publicly humiliated Rideau Hall staff.Payette received severance in 2016: sourcesPayette was given severance of roughly $200,000 when she resigned from the Montreal Science Centre in 2016 following complaints about her treatment of employees, say multiple sources. In 2017, Payette left the Canadian Olympic Committee after two internal investigations into her treatment of staff, sources said.CBC News spoke to 15 confidential sources who worked with Payette, including current and former employees and board members at the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Montreal Science Centre, the Canada Lands Company and the Canadian Space Agency. They spoke on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly, could lose their jobs, still work in the industry or, in some cases, continue to interact with Rideau Hall.The Prime Minister's Office would not say if it was aware of the complaints made against Payette at these institutions."The Governor General is recommended on a broad range of factors and done with the appropriate due diligence," said press secretary Alex Wellstead in a statement to CBC News. "Any questions about previous roles should be directed to the organizations in question."A spokesperson for the Governor General's office issued a statement to CBC News calling Payette an "outstanding Canadian" and "a trailblazer for women" and pushed back against the reports of workplace harassment."Over the course of her career, no formal complaint has ever been filed against her, nor has she ever resigned from a board of director position, including at the Canadian Olympic Committee, where she finished her term," said the statement from Payette's press secretary, Ashlee Smith."She has served on more than a dozen boards over the years in an exemplary manner," the statement said.Payette accused of berating staffer at 2016 OlympicsIn April of 2016 — the year Payette left the Montreal Science Centre — she was appointed to the board of the Canadian Olympic Committee. That same year, two employees of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) complained to the committee about Payette's treatment of staff, triggering internal HR investigations.The COC board spoke to Payette about the complaints, said the sources. Payette did not apply for an extended term.In one case, Payette was accused of berating a young female employee to the point of tears while at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio in August, according to several current and former Canadian Olympic Committee staffers.Payette is alleged to have screamed at the employee over having to wait with her son for a Canadian Olympic Committee vehicle to pick them up from an event they attended privately in Copacabana, the sources claimed. Payette complained it wasn't healthy for them to be standing on the street breathing in pollution for that long and called the situation "ridiculous," the sources claim.In the second instance of a COC employee filing a complaint against Payette, say sources, Payette was accused in November of 2016 of overstepping her authority by threatening to fire an employee during a meeting for not having ready answers to her questions."Staff couldn't do anything to make her happy," said one former COC employee. "She would erupt out of nowhere. What she chalked up to appropriate behaviour would under every circumstance be inappropriate behaviour. We were all just supposed to sit there and take it."When contacted about this story, Payette's press secretary suggested CBC News speak to John Furlong to provide balance to the unnamed accounts of Payette's conduct. Furlong worked with Payette on the board of Own the Podium, a not-for-profit organization that supports Canadian Olympic athletes, for several years before she joined the COC.Furlong, the former chair of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC), said he witnessed no incidents of harassment involving Payette during that time and called her "an exemplary board member."She had a perfect attendance record. She did her homework and read the material, which was extensive," he told CBC News."She was very engaged, collaborative [and] involved. I would give her a very high mark for her performance there."(Furlong is himself no stranger to controversy. He was accused in 2012 of verbal and physical abuse of First Nations students in northern B.C. decades ago, allegations Furlong has consistently and strenuously denied. The RCMP investigated and concluded there were no grounds for charges, and civil claims were either dropped or dismissed.)In her media statement, Smith pointed out that, "shortly before her term was completed, [Payette] was appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee Women in Sport Commission on which she still serves."Payette became a COC board member in April 2016 after the former president Marcel Aubut resigned over a sexual harassment scandal in 2015. In the wake of the controversy, the organization vowed to make sweeping changes to prevent similar issues in the future.In a statement issued to CBC News, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it "is not appropriate for us to make public comment on any former or current Board member on such matters and leave this to the mandate of the Office of the Privy Council." Instead, the organization pointed CBC News to its conduct policy, which states that harassment is not tolerated and says that even "one incident could be enough to constitute harassment.""Harassment includes bullying, and can take many forms but often involves conduct, comment or display that is insulting, intimidating, humiliating, hurtful, demeaning, belittling, malicious, degrading, or otherwise causes offence, discomfort, or personal humiliation or embarrassment to a person or group of persons," reads the policy.A former Canada Lands employee with direct knowledge of the matter said the Crown corporation could have warned the Prime Minister's Office had it reached out before Payette's appointment."The red flags were her relationship with her employees, her controlling attitude and her resistance to administrative authority," said a former board member.The board of directors at Canada Lands met Payette at an annual gala in 2013. Bowled over by her charisma and celebrity status in Quebec, they rushed to hire Payette without the normal due diligence or evaluation process, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.The board members hoped Payette would woo donors and boost fundraising. But it quickly became clear Payette lacked experience in managing staff and was learning on the job, multiple sources claim.A 'tense' and 'painful' timeThe National Post documented Payette's tumultuous time at the science museum and how her behaviour foreshadowed issues later reported at Rideau Hall. Radio Canada also reported on claims that Payette had created a toxic climate there by subjecting employees to unjustified criticism.CBC News spoke to several people who worked with Payette at the Montreal Science Centre, including former employees who claim they were victims of verbal harassment. One former staff member described it as a "tense" and "painful time" and said staff members never knew who would be the target of Payette's criticisms at a meeting."HR was aware," said a different source with direct knowledge. "Everyone was aware. HR were witnessing it because they were in the same meetings. Some colleagues complained directly to HR."Senior management at Canada Lands also saw Payette sulk and turn teary-eyed in meetings if she didn't get her way, said a source. In one case, said a source, Payette pushed back against a plan for Canada Lands to commission a routine survey of employees to improve the working environment at its properties."Julie fought it tooth and nail," said one former Canada Lands employee. "She strongly resisted wanting it done at the Montreal Science Centre."Canada Lands went ahead with the survey. Payette was still so upset with the project that, when an HR consultant arrived to give a presentation about the survey, Payette pointedly ignored them, according to two sources who say they witnessed the interaction first-hand.The Canada Lands Company quietly awarded Payette a year's salary as severance when she resigned in Oct. 2016, said multiple former employees and former board members. Sources said she was paid the severance so that the federal Crown corporations managing the science museum — Canada Lands and the Old Port of Montreal — could protect their reputations.Canada Lands said that for privacy reasons, and out of respect for current and past employees, it "will not discuss personnel matters." It did say it has a "comprehensive" policy on respect in the workplace that applies to all staff. "Ms. Payette's departure was her decision after serving three years at the Montreal Science Centre," said Canada Lands' VP of corporate communications Marcelo Gomez-Wiuckstern in a statement to CBC News. "She contributed greatly to the Science Centre's success and we appreciated her ideas and vision."'I don't want to be in a room with her'Complaints about Payette's workplace behaviour date all the way back to her years at the Canadian Space Agency in the 1990s and early 2000s. Some who worked with her there say they have no wish to interact with her again."I don't want to be in a room with her, unless she wanted to apologize," said one former Canadian Space Agency employee. "She would comment on people's work in a very negative and demeaning way. There is Julie Payette's way or it's not good."Sources report Payette would lash out at staff by calling them at home during off-hours to denigrate their work."For me leadership is about helping others grow. She's the other way around," said one former employee. "She didn't want to help others shine."Others describe a more professional, collegial workplace relationship with Payette. Fabienne Lebranchu worked at the agency on Payette's second mission to space, booking her travel tickets and expense claims. She said that when she travelled to Houston for work, Payette would invite her to her house for a glass of wine so that she wouldn't be stuck alone in a hotel room.Lebranchu said Payette has a type-A personality, like other astronauts, and had a stressful job at the Canadian Space Agency, but she never saw her treat her colleagues poorly."She was very nice," said Lebranchu, adding she'd like to work with Payette again at Rideau Hall. "She appreciated the work we did for her, she would thank us and always asked us if she needed anything else for her expense claims."Maclean's magazine has reported that, for two years in a row, Payette's office at Rideau Hall ranked among the worst in the public service for harassment complaints. An annual government survey conducted last year showed 22 per cent of respondents working for Rideau Hall claimed to have experienced harassment. Of those employees, 74 per cent attributed the harassment to individuals with authority over them.Trudeau defended vetting processTrudeau is now facing renewed criticism over his approach to choosing Payette for the job — selecting his personal pick for the role rather than using former prime minister Stephen Harper's advisory committee process to suggest suitable candidates.For months, Trudeau skirted the controversy over Payette's relationship with Rideau Hall staff. He came to her defence early this month, calling Payette an "excellent" Governor General and saying he had no intention of replacing her right now. That comment upset the whistleblowers who claimed harassment — one said Trudeau's words felt like a "kick to the stomach."In 2017, the online political news outlet iPolitics reported that police had charged Payette with second-degree assault in 2012 while she was living in Maryland; the charge was later dismissed and expunged from her record and Payette herself called the charge "unfounded".The Toronto Star also reported that Payette had struck and killed a pedestrian while driving in Maryland in 2011. Police subsequently found Payette was not at fault.Trudeau defended his vetting process In 2017 and said nothing in Payette's past disqualified her from the job of Queen's representative."I assure everyone that there are no issues that arose in the course of that vetting process that would be any reason to expect Mme. Payette to be anything other than the extraordinary governor general that she will be," he said in July 2017.Barbara Messamore, a history professor at the University of the Fraser Valley and fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada at Massey College, said the advisory board is a recent innovation and Trudeau didn't abandon a time-honoured tradition. She said there's still a strong argument for using it now, in light of the recent controversy.And if the government didn't ask the Montreal Science Museum and Canadian Olympic Committee for references, she said, it "suggests a failure of the vetting process.""The process that was used was evidently not entirely adequate," said Messamore. "It didn't uncover some things that ought to have been known. If they did indeed know those things, I would have described them as a deal-breaker." Ashley Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kristen Everson can be reached at email@example.com.
A family court judge will decide whether three eastern Ontario kids can continue attending school, or must begin learning remotely to protect their father and his new wife, who both have asthma, from COVID-19.The father, who has joint custody of the children, ages 13, 11 and eight, has petitioned the court to begin home-schooling them in Brockville, Ont. He and his wife argue their medical condition puts them at higher risk of severe illness if they're exposed to the virus. On Tuesday, the man and the children's mother will present their cases in a teleconference hearing before Justice Ken Pedlar. An advocate from the Ontario court's Office of the Children's Lawyer (OCL) will also be present. There's a publication ban on the names of the parents and the children. CBC requested a comment from both parents: the father declined and the lawyer for the mother did not respond.Asked by the judge during a hearing last week about how the kids are doing through the process, OCL lawyer Judy Millard said the experience has been "tough."Growing number of casesThe case is part of a growing number of disputes between joint-custody parents that began moving through the Ontario courts in late August as schools demanded decisions about whether parents preferred remote or in-person learning for their children.Ottawa family lawyer Beverley Johnston said her office has been dealing with a number of similar disputes and welcomes a local case to help guide families, especially when it comes to parents with underlying health conditions.It's also the first case dealing with kids already in school. If the judge finds on behalf of the father, they would be removed from the classroom and begin learning remotely.A difficult decision"If in-class learning meant that a parent couldn't continue in a shared parenting regime, I think that would be a very difficult decision for a court to make," said Johnston. "It's unfortunate because it does create conflict for children, and the court wants to minimize that conflict."So far courts have leaned in favour of sending kids to in-person classes.The first judgment of this kind in Ontario came Aug. 25, when Superior Court Justice Andrea Himel ruled the government, not the court, is the best arbiter in deciding whether it's safe to send children back to school. The case has now been cited in subsequent decisions.Lawyer Melanie O'Neill, who represented the mother in the August case, said that earlier judgment has done a lot to clarify the court's position on future cases. But while Himel said the best interest of the child in that case was to return to school, she left the door open to remote learning in circumstances where "the child or someone in either parent's home would face unacceptable risk of harm."Kids caught in the middleOn Sept. 8, such a circumstance came up in a case before Ontario Justice Darlene Summers. In that case the mother petitioned the court to keep her children home in order to protect a 15-month-old baby, as well as her new husband who has an underlying health condition.Summers decided in favour of remote learning in that case, however an element that helped tip the scale was the fact that both parents are elementary school teachers who are specially equipped to support their child's learning at home.Pedlar told the parents during last week's phone conference that leaving the issue to the courts risks taking a heavy toll on the children, who generally "just want the conflict between the parents to stop — that's the greatest gift that you could give our kids."Himel made a similar comment in her judgment in August. "I would encourage the parents to return to mediation as this is a process that empowers them to make these important decisions," Himel said.
Neighbours rallied around a resident of an East York apartment building just as sheriffs were about to enforce an eviction order against the woman. As Seán O’Shea reports, a large number of Toronto police officers stood by and watched as sheriffs sat surrounded by protesters.
There's less than 24 hours until Nova Scotia starts to feel the effects of hurricane Teddy, but there's still a large range for where the storm could actually track over the province.In an update Monday evening, CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said Teddy remains a strong Category 1 hurricane and is undergoing a post-tropical transition.As it does, there's a chance that the storm briefly strengthens back to Category 2 hurricane overnight Monday.There is a tropical-storm warning in effect for coastal Nova Scotia as of 3 p.m. Monday, and a less-intense tropical-storm watch for central and northern counties.Teddy is expected to become a post-tropical storm when it arrives in the region, and should bring heavy rain, strong winds and pounding surf to much of the Maritimes and southern Newfoundland.Major winds expected WednesdayThe first round should arrive through Tuesday morning and ramp up for the afternoon and evening hours, Snoddon said.Widespread gusts of 60 to 80 km/h are expected across Nova Scotia with coastal gusts above 90 km/h. Rainfall amounts from this first section should range from 25 to 50 mm for Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and southeast New Brunswick.There will be a lull overnight Tuesday before round two arrives with the centre of Teddy on Wednesday afternoon, bringing another round of rain and strong winds.The Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, including Halifax and Cape Breton, could see gusts in the 70 to 100 km/h range on Wednesday afternoon.The current track has Teddy crossing just east of Halifax and over the northeast corner of the province. But Bob Robichaud, meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said the field of the storm could see it easily swing west of the capital city, or move east offshore of Cape Breton."All of that area is still on the table in terms of the track of the storm," Robichaud said.The strongest winds will fall to the right side of the storm as it goes by on Wednesday, and could reach 80 to 100 kilometres per hour or higher in exposed areas on the east coast.The heaviest rain — anywhere from 50 to about 100 millimetres — is going to be to the left of the track, which as of Monday evening will likely be central and eastern Nova Scotia. Robichaud said he's mostly keeping an eye on the east part of the Eastern Shore, and Cape Breton, as the areas that could see the most damaging winds on Wednesday.If the storm tracks west of Halifax, that would put "a very significant portion" of the province under an area with the strongest winds. But if it trends farther east, those strong winds will just cover a "very small portion" of eastern Nova Scotia."A track for the east would generally mean fewer impacts for the Maritimes, in terms of wind especially," Robichaud said.With the centre of the storm still 48 hours away, he said that wide range of track is still significant.A couple of different factors will impact the direction of the storm, Robichaud said. They include an area of high pressure to the north and to the west that will dictate when Teddy turns towards the northeast.It's also becoming embedded within some winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere. "Exactly when that occurs and where it occurs is all going to dictate where the centre of Teddy actually goes," he said. "But right now, we're focusing on that area of the Eastern Shore between Halifax and Canso."Large waves will approach later on Tuesday afternoon, so people along the coast should keep a close eye on the water during the evening hours and especially near high tide around midnight Tuesday night into early Wednesday. Snoddon is calling for three- to four-metre waves on Tuesday morning that will build to seven to nine metres later in the day, with waves breaking higher along parts of the coast.With a storm surge of 50 centimetres expected, he said there could be coastal damage overnight Tuesday at high tide around midnight. Storm-surge warnings are in effect for the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, from Shelburne County to Guysborough County."The type of waves that we expect to arrive at the coast should be fairly high-energy waves. So this should pack a significant punch, especially in that evening hours of tomorrow into the overnight hours," Robichaud said.Robichaud said there definitely could be some coastal flooding, possibly even significant flooding, especially along the Eastern Shore.Teddy is coming nearly exactly a year after Hurricane Dorian, which brought major damage and power outages across the province and Maritimes, but Robichaud said the "wind field" for Teddy is not nearly as large as Dorian and won't bring as much rain.However, winds from Teddy could break tree branches and lead to downed power lines. People are reminded to stay away from the shore, since the combination of surge and large waves could lead to dangerous rip currents.For southwest Nova Scotia, including the site of a fishery dispute between Mi'kmaw and non-Indigenous lobster fishermen, Robichaud the main concern would be the potential of high waves. In Herring Cove on Monday, Tom Reyno was hopeful a new seawall and lots of straps would keep his dock in place when Teddy arrived.When Dorian tore through the area last fall, Reyno said the waves smashed the breakwater that has yet to be repaired and took out 30 feet of shoreline.It also lifted Reyno's boathouse off its moorings and carried it to sea."I don't think there is such a thing as hurricane-proof. Mother Nature is going to win every time," he said.But this year, he's taken steps to avoid major damage. He's strapped down a new walkway and has his fingers crossed the 100 tonnes of rock and boulders installed into a seawall will bear the brunt of the surge.Reyno also pulled both his boats out of the water and noticed this week there was a long line at Dingle Park in Halifax of people waiting their turns to do the same."People are preparing for this I think and if you look along the shoreline, everyone's been scurrying around," Reyno said.Utilities prepare for stormNova Scotia Power said it opened its emergency operations centre at noon on Sunday to prepare for possible power outages.On Monday afternoon, a convoy of power trucks could be seen on Highway 104 in the Pictou and Colchester counties heading to their positions.Halifax Water is also taking various precautions to prepare for Teddy. Those include filling fuel tanks and water reservoirs, testing backup power generators, securing construction sites and clearing drains and pipes in flood-prone areas. People are encouraged to report any blocked catch basins or culverts in their areas and to proactively prepare any privately-owned drainage systems or properties that are prone to flooding.Halifax Water's emergency operations centre will operate around the clock throughout the storm.'The more we can do now, the better'The Baddeck waterfront has been a hive of activity since the weekend.Baddeck Marine manager Tyler Germani said he's been going flat out since Friday getting boats out of the water."I mean, it's a quieter year in general, but we've probably hauled a little over 40 boats in the last couple of days, getting ready for the storm."Germani said the boating season isn't over yet, but most owners are pulling their boats out and they won't go back in until next year."There's not too many left in the harbour, that's for sure," said Germani. "Only a couple, and they're on secure moorings."In North Sydney, the Northern Yacht Club has also pulled out seven boats and another three left for calmer waters at the nearby Ballast Grounds wharf.Commodore John Astephen said the rest are adding extra tie-downs and taking down sails to ride out the expected high winds and waves."You're always a little worried and there's always that apprehension," he said."We'll certainly be keeping an eye [out], but what we try and do is prepare well beforehand. During the storm itself, it's not nice being out, it's probably not safe, so the more we can do now, the better. And for the most part that's been done."Astephen said the club is applying some lessons learned during post-tropical storm Dorian last year, including moving boats off the docks next to the shore.That part of the marina is more exposed to wind and waves, he said.Doug Milburn was on board his sailboat at the Ben Eoin marina, adding some tie-downs and taking in a headsail on the bow.He said the wind is forecast to be about 40 knots, or about 80 kilometres per hour, which is not uncommon in Cape Breton."It's not that big a deal around here," Milburn said. "In Cape Breton, we get lots of wind that's over 80 kilometres an hour."The Ben Eoin marina is sheltered by trees on either side and a large breakwater in front.Milburn said the marina easily weathered Dorian and will likely be safe from Teddy this week, but he is still battening down the hatches."You've got to be prudent, because you never know exactly what it'll end up to be, but I'm not that worried about it by the sound of it."Tuesday night ferry crossings cancelledMarine Atlantic spokesman Darrell Mercer said the federal ferry service changed its schedule for Tuesday."We originally anticipated that the Tuesday morning crossings may be impacted, but it looks like the storm has slowed a little, so that's allowing us to get the crossing in [Tuesday] morning," he said."Unfortunately, the night crossings will be cancelled."Mercer said customers who booked passage on the 11:45 a.m. trip to Port aux Basques are being notified and the schedule is being updated because that crossing on Tuesday morning will be leaving an hour earlier, at 10:45."Because there is that small window to get the crossing in before the storm arrives, the vessels will be leaving an hour earlier, so that'll allow us to get in before the winds start to pick up in both Cape Breton and in southwestern Newfoundland," he said.Decisions on Wednesday crossings are expected to be made later.MORE TOP STORIES
Hong Kong has no legal basis to demand that any particular rights be extended to 12 Hong Kong people detained in China as they tried to flee by boat and they will have to face the law there, the city's chief executive said on Tuesday. The 12 were arrested on Aug. 23 for illegal entry into mainland Chinese waters after setting off from Hong Kong in a boat bound for self-ruled Taiwan following a crackdown on pro-democracy activists in the former British colony. China's foreign ministry has called them "separatists."
ST-HUBERT, Que. — RCMP raided a residence on Montreal's south shore Monday in connection with envelopes containing the poison ricin that were sent to the White House and to various locations in Texas.The home is tied to a woman arrested Sunday night at the New York-Canada border who authorities suspect is involved in the case, Cpl. Charles Poirier told reporters at the scene."We don't know if she lived here but there is a clear link between her and this residence," Poirier said. The home is located in a multi-unit building on Vauquelin Blvd. in St-Hubert, Que., bordering a forest and not far from an airport.Some of the units in the building were evacuated after police arrived around 10 a.m. Police were still on site as of 5 p.m. The RCMP's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team is leading the operation with support from local police and firefighters."We don't know what we're going to find, that's why we've deployed multiple resources," Poirier said. "We also have a specialized unit to make sure that if we find something that is highly toxic inside the residence, we are prepared."The Associated Press reported Sunday that three U.S. law enforcement officials said a woman suspected of sending a toxic envelope to the White House was arrested at the New York-Canada border. They said the letter had been intercepted last week before it reached the official residence of U.S. President Donald Trump.Poirier said Monday that envelopes containing ricin — a toxic substance found naturally in castor beans — had also been sent to various locations in Texas.Contacted by The Canadian Press, the sheriff's office in Hidalgo County, in southern Texas, referred all questions to the Twitter account of Sheriff Eddie Guerra. He posted late Monday afternoon, "I can confirm that envelopes, containing the deadly toxin ricin, was mailed to me and three of my detention staff."At this time due to (an) active federal investigation I cannot make any further comments ... No injuries were sustained."Canadian law enforcement was called in to help the FBI investigate after American authorities found evidence the suspicious letter to the White House had originated in Canada.The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Fort Erie, Ont. She is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Her name was not immediately released.There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.— With files from The Associated Press.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A group representing more than 1,400 Ontario pediatricians is warning of "an imminent crisis" in rolling out the flu shot this season.An online petition by members of the Ontario Medical Association says there's already "unprecedented strong interest amongst parents for the influenza vaccine."At the same time, they say it will be impossible for clinics to meet demand while adhering to pandemic precautions, including the need to sanitize between appointments and ensure social distancing. They suggest several measures, including that the province set up vaccination centres where public health nurses, community pediatricians and volunteer doctors can inoculate large numbers of people.Dr. Dan Flanders, one of the physician members of the working group behind the petition, suggests this effort be incorporated into the province's COVID-19 testing centres, where a separate area could be dedicated to the flu shot.Flanders says the flu shot is especially crucial for children aged 0 to 2 years old, who are considered a higher-risk group, and children younger than four who cannot get the shot from the pharmacy."Toddlers and young school-aged kids, they're the best spreaders of flu of them all. They're the super-spreaders," says Flanders, owner and executive director of Kindercare Pediatrics in Toronto."The fact that there's limited options for the parents of zero to four-year-olds is problematic."The president of the Ontario Medical Association says the broader organization is also pressing for a detailed flu season plan, anticipating challenges for patients and doctors attempting to identify illnesses with symptoms very similar to COVID-19."Previously, a clinic or a pediatrician or a family doctor could vaccinate hundreds of patients in one day. And it's going to be very hard to replicate that indoors, taking all the precautions we need to take for COVID as we move forward," says Dr. Samantha Hill.Hill says she's aware the province is developing a flu-shot plan and that details are expected soon. Beyond that, she said "we're all waiting with bated breath.""There's a lot of different ways that can play out — we've heard references to mobile clinics, we've heard references to pharmacies, we've heard references to using (private) labs like LifeLabs and Dynacare, and those kinds of things," she says, acknowledging "a very tight timeline."The pediatric group says 30 to 35 per cent of the population typically get the flu shot each year, but is urging Canadians to get vaccinated so those numbers increase to "much higher levels" this year. But they say that can only be done through large-scale, community-based province-wide flu vaccination clinics."This is an emergent public health crisis looming before us," states the Change.org petition, which emerged Saturday seeking 500 supporters and signed by "Pediatrics Section, OMA.""Government and public health need to step up and help co-ordinate this effort."Flanders says other measures could include provincial funds to help supply and staff primary care clinics to deliver the shot, or that the province increase how much doctors are paid per shot."It's much, much more expensive for us to run our flu clinics because it's a fee-for-service model. If we're only able to give half of the number of shots per clinic then it becomes far more cost-ineffective," says Flanders, estimating the payment per shot is $9 or $10."I'm going to be losing money every flu clinic I run. Am I OK with it? No, but I'm still going to do it."Canada's chief public health officer said Friday that "more than usual amounts of flu vaccine have been ordered" in anticipation of increased demand.But Dr. Theresa Tam also admitted "the public health system is quite tapped out in terms of response to COVID.""It's actually a really good rehearsal for actually putting out the mass immunization programs we may need to do for the COVID-19 vaccine," said Tam."Everyone is looking at this as a good approach so that we can iron out anything else that we need to do from an implementation perspective."Flanders notes that very little influenza circulated in the southern hemisphere during its flu season, possibly because of measures to control COVID-19.He says it's possible that means Canada will see a milder flu season, too, but that we should plan for a bad flu season, as well as the likelihood that the flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses will circulate at the same time. "The biggest challenge is that there's a lot of unknowns, including the virus's behaviour."Hill points to rising COVID-19 case counts that are also increasing strain on health-care services, much of which have been put on hold with serious consequences for many patients."We have people — mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, kids — who are waiting for procedures that haven't been done that need to be done. They're not elective, they're just non-emergent. We have people who are at risk because of various lung diseases, we have people who need regular health care and it's all been cut off so that we can deal with this," she says."We can't stop now. We have to keep taking care of each other, because what's the saying? Winter is coming."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version quoted Dr. Flanders referring to a "COVID clinic" when he misspoke and meant to say "flu clinic."
The chiefs of P.E.I.'s two First Nations, Abegweit and Lennox Island, say they are in the first phases of community consultation over what launching a moderate livelihood fishery in the province may look like — regardless of whether they reach an agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.This comes after the Sipekne'katik First Nation launched its new self-regulated fishery in Saulnierville, N.S. last week. It was launched on Thursday, exactly 21 years after a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.On Sept. 17, 1999, the court ruled that Marshall, charged with fishing eels outside of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans regulated season, was justified in doing so — under the 1760s Peace and Friendship Treaties.The decision recognized the First Nations' right to earn a moderate living from fishing, but also comes with a limitation: the federal government retains the authority to regulate that fishery in the public interest and for conservation.Tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers have been running high in Saulnierville since the Sipekne'katik First Nation launched their fishery.Meanwhile, in P.E.I., the chiefs of both First Nations say they have also been looking for clarity on what a moderate livelihood means since the Marshall decision."We will launch a livelihood fishery," said Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard. "When we're going to do it, I don't know the answer to that, because I have to consult with my community."Regardless of what happens in the next weeks or months, we are going to continue to engage our community and we're going to have to put together our plan.""It's not all of the sudden, you know, it's been ongoing for 21 years," said Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould. "We're not being counterproductive and we're trying to be a part of the industry. We want to work with the industry to help us determine it. "Federal talks going nowhereOn Friday, Bernard and Gould put out a joint statement. In it, they outlined the difference between the commercial fishery, with a set season and catch limits, and the moderate livelihood fishery granted under treaty rights, which grants Indigenous people the ability to provide necessities, such as food, clothing and housing."It is important to note that our current commercial fishery is not a rights-based fishery and it follows DFO limits and rules," the statement read. "Our increased commercial access happened as a result of the Marshall decision and it has been very valuable for our community, but it is not the moderate livelihood fishery we have been fighting to have implemented since Marshall."According to a release from the Sipekne'katik First Nation, previous discussions with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have been unsuccessful due to a lack of shared understanding about what a "moderate livelihood" means.The P.E.I. chiefs echoed this in their statement and said they have communicated this on many occasions, including in a letter to the minister last month. They said the letter indicated that they would be preparing to go ahead with their own livelihood fishery if the federal government was not willing to help them find solutions to implement the rights granted under Marshall."We're at the beginning stages of consultation with our communities to see what they envision the livelihood fishery to be," said Bernard. "When we implement our livelihood fishery, it's going to be well thought out, well planned, have solid governance structures and enforcement things in place."The Sipekne'katik First Nation has so far distributed licenses and lobster trap tags to seven Mi'kmaw fishers. Each license can fish up to 50 traps, a process which will be monitored and governed by the First Nation. "This is a culmination of many, many years of trying to bring the federal government to the negotiating table to discuss the livelihood fishery for the Mi'kmaq," Bernard said. "It comes from frustration. It comes from government not truly wanting to engage the First Nations and how that we shape our livelihood fishery."Tensions high in SaulniervilleLast Tuesday morning, hundreds of non-Indigenous commercial fishermen set up lobster-trap blockades in Saulnierville to protest what they said were "illegal" fisheries in St. Marys Bay.Officials with the Sipekne'katik First Nation said their first livelihood traps were cut and when Mi'kmaw fishermen went back out to recover their gear, they were chased by boats wielding flares.On Friday morning in Saulnierville, a group of boats belonging to non-Indigenous fishers could be seen circling the mouth of the harbour in front of the docked Mi'kmaw vessels. Two people were later arrested and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs declared a state of emergency in response to "violence occurring over Mi'kmaq fisheries across the province."Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould saw the scene playing out over social media and went over to Saulnierville with about 20 other people on the weekend."It looked like an unfair situation and something that was needing support, so I made the decision as chief and as a leader to be there as an observer and a supporter," he said."We have a right to feed our family. We have a right to take care of our children. We have a right to determine our own destiny."Gould said following the lead of the Sipekne'katik First Nation in launching its own fishery is not the first choice for his First Nation, but may be necessary if negotiations don't progress."We've always fished within the seasons, within the parameters, but it hasn't gotten us anywhere in 21 years," said Gould."I'm hoping that people will come to the table in good faith negotiations and we'll be able to come to a resolution and determine what a moderate living is."The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs has called for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, RCMP, and the government of Nova Scotia to assist in the protection of Mi'kmaw fishers, families, and supporters."DFO should have been, like, really working hard to educate the non-Indigenous people about the fishery and about the rights," Bernard said."They have to be out there right now protecting this livelihood fishery. They need to come to the table and negotiate with us. They need to help us to move forward into the future and keep the peace."Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan has said she wants to have a sit-down meeting with commercial harvester representatives and Indigenous leaders to find the best path forward.More from CBC P.E.I.
Now that class is back in session, new cases of COVID-19 have begun to pop up at schools across the province.To find out which schools have reported exposure events, all you have to do is go to your region's public health website, where a list is regularly updated.Unless you live in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.That's because Vancouver Coastal Health has not been following the same policy for notifying the public when there's a COVID-19 exposure event within a school. Vancouver Coastal Health covers Vancouver, Richmond, the North Shore and Coast Garibaldi, Sea-to-Sky, Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.The other health authorities — Interior Health, Island Health, Fraser Health and Northern Health — have all stated they will update their online school exposures list with information on possible exposures within schools."We are providing this information so school staff, students and parents can be assured that public health is following up in their community and exposure risks are being mitigated to the best of our ability," the four authorities say on their individual websites.Vancouver Coastal Health has the same information written on its school exposures page, but it is currently showing no exposure events, even though it confirmed to CBC News it has seen cases in schools."We are aware of and will continue to see cases of COVID-19 occurring in staff and students," the authority wrote Sunday in an email.Provincewide approachAt her Monday COVID-19 health update, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there is one provincewide publication approach for COVID-19 exposures in the province. However, she believes there has been a miscommunication with her colleagues at Vancouver Coastal Health."We expect that Vancouver Coastal would adhere to what everyone else is doing, as well as our provincial standard," she said.Cases in schoolsSince students returned to classrooms about two weeks ago, there have been at least 20 COVID-19 exposures reported by health authorities and schools.There have also been unconfirmed reports of cases at two West Vancouver schools, one Vancouver school and one Richmond school, all within the Vancouver Coastal Health region — but you won't find that information listed on their website.Vancouver Coastal Health said in a statement that when it comes to confirmed cases in schools or other settings, it notifies all people exposed in the most direct manner."This is more effective than public notifications and respects patient confidentiality," it wrote in a statement."When we aren't able to directly reach all people who may have been exposed in a timely manner, we use other means, including a letter or public notification."Vancouver district PAC calls for transparencyBut that's not sitting right with all families in the Vancouver Coastal Health region."I want to see it posted, sooner rather than later," said Gordon Lau, chair of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council.Lau, who has two children in Vancouver's public education system, says he has no doubt that VCH is properly notifying everyone directly exposed. But he says it's important that the information is posted to help build public trust in the health authority.As well, he says it allows parents to stay informed."By allowing parents to see what is happening at the district level, we can better see what's happening in the big picture and assess for our own families what the level of risk is in our community," he said."When we see the absence of information on VCH's website it is honestly disappointing and we are unable to do that assessment and understand exactly what is happening in our schools and we're unable to make the choices we need to make for our families."
MONTREAL — Religious leaders in Quebec are denouncing new restrictions on the number of congregants allowed inside houses of worship as officials clamp down amid a spike in new COVID-19 casesQuebec on Sunday tightened public health directives for indoor public and private gatherings, saying a maximum of 50 people can now attend indoor religious services.In regions classified as orange under the province's alert system, including Montreal and Quebec City, that limit goes down to 25.In a statement on Monday, a group of leaders from various faiths said they want houses of worship to be classified like theatres and concert halls, which can host as many as 250 people, even in orange zones.Their demand comes as Quebec reported 586 new cases of COVID-19 — a jump of more than 100 infections compared with Sunday.Health officials also reported three additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, which they said occurred from Sept. 14-19.Quebec has reported a total of 68,128 COVID-19 infections and 5,804 deaths attributed to the virus. Health officials said they mistakenly attributed an earlier death to the virus and removed it from the total.The province's public health director, Horacio Arruda, and the director of Montreal public health, Mylene Drouin, both said on Monday that Quebec was at the start of a second wave of the pandemic.Arruda urged Quebecers to reduce their contact with others to prevent the potential spread of the virus.Speaking alongside Arruda, Genevieve Guilbault, Quebec's deputy premier, said police handed out more than 90 infractions to bars and restaurants across the province over the weekend for violating public health guidelines.Police officers conducted over 2,000 visits as part of blitz, said Guilbault, who described it as a "great success."She also urged people across Quebec to keep social gatherings to a minimum and avoid parties, dinners with family and other gatherings.Health officials said Monday that the number of people in hospital increased by 10 compared with the prior day, for a total of 148. Of those patients, 30 people were in intensive care, one fewer than on Sunday.The province said it conducted 23,126 COVID-19 tests on Saturday, the last date for which the testing data is available.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canada's largest school board is once again delaying the start of some of its virtual elementary classes as it tries to keep up with growing demand for online learning.The Toronto District School Board says 60,000 elementary school students have now signed up for online classes amid rising COVID-19 case numbers, and it originally intended them all to begin their studies on Tuesday.But the board now says it hasn't been able to assign staff to all classes, meaning some students will have to wait to begin school until they have a teacher in place.The TDSB says parents and students will have to log on to its online learning portal on Tuesday morning to find out if their lessons can get underway on schedule.It says students with no teacher assigned will have to move forward with independent learning.The board says it's "working around the clock" to hire enough staff to cope with the surging demand for e-learning.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020. The Canadian Press
A hospital in Calgary was working Monday to contain COVID-19 outbreaks that were identified on the weekend in two separate areas and don't appear to be connected to each other. Alberta Health Services said 14 patients and four staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Foothills Medical Centre. The outbreaks are in two cardiac care units and one general medicine unit, and there's no evidence they're related.
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation with its state-of-the-art laboratories, top-flight scientists and stockpiles of medicines and emergency supplies.“It is completely unfathomable that we’ve reached this point,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health researcher.The bleak milestone, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world, was reported by Johns Hopkins, based on figures supplied by state health authorities. But the real toll is thought to be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on, before widespread testing.The number of dead in the U.S. is equivalent to a 9-11 attack every day for 67 days. It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama.And it is still climbing. Deaths are running at close to 770 a day on average, and a widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. toll will double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in. A vaccine is unlikely to become widely available until 2021.“The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering, in some respects stunning,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, said on CNN.The U.S. hit the threshold six weeks before a presidential election that is certain to be in part a referendum on President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis.In an interview Tuesday with a Detroit TV station, Trump boasted of doing an “amazing” and “incredible” job against the scourge, adding: “The only thing we’ve done a bad job in is public relations because we haven’t been able to convince people — which is basically the fake news — what a great job we’ve done.”And in a pre-recorded speech at a virtual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump lashed out at Beijing over what he called “the China virus” and demanded that it be held accountable for having “unleashed this plague onto the world.” China’s ambassador rejected the accusations as baseless.For five months, America has led the world by far in sheer numbers of confirmed infections and deaths. The U.S. has less than 5% of the globe’s population but more than 20% of the reported deaths.Brazil is No. 2 with about 137,000 deaths, followed by India with approximately 89,000 and Mexico with around 74,000. Only five countries — Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Spain and Brazil — rank higher in COVID-19 deaths per capita.“All the world’s leaders took the same test, and some have succeeded and some have failed,” said Dr. Cedric Dark, an emergency physician at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who has seen death firsthand. “In the case of our country, we failed miserably.”Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians have accounted for a disproportionate share of the deaths, underscoring the economic and health care disparities in the U.S.Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 31 million people and is closing in fast on 1 million deaths, with over 965,000 lives lost, by Johns Hopkins' count, though the real numbers are believed to be higher because of gaps in testing and reporting.For the U.S., it wasn’t supposed to go this way.When the year began, the U.S. had recently garnered recognition for its readiness for a pandemic. Health officials seemed confident as they converged on Seattle in January to deal with the country's first known case of the coronavirus, in a 35-year-old Washington state resident who had returned from visiting his family in Wuhan, China.On Feb. 26, Trump held up pages from the Global Health Security Index, a measure of readiness for health crises, and declared: “The United States is rated No. 1 most prepared."It was true. The U.S. outranked the 194 other countries in the index. Besides its labs, experts and strategic stockpiles, the U.S. could boast of its disease trackers and plans for rapidly communicating lifesaving information during a crisis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was respected around the world for sending help to fight infectious diseases.But monitoring at airports was loose. Travel bans came too late. Only later did health officials realize the virus could spread before symptoms show up, rendering screening imperfect. The virus also swept into nursing homes, where infection controls were already poor, claiming more than 78,000 lives.At the same time, gaps in leadership led to shortages of testing supplies. Internal warnings to ramp up production of masks were ignored, leaving states to compete for protective gear.Trump downplayed the threat early on, advanced unfounded notions about the behaviour of the virus, promoted unproven or dangerous treatments, complained that too much testing was making the U.S. look bad, and disdained masks, turning face coverings into a political issue.On April 10, the president predicted the U.S. wouldn't see 100,000 deaths. That milestone was reached May 27.Nowhere was the lack of leadership seen as more crucial than in testing, a key to breaking the chain of contagion.“We have from the very beginning lacked a national testing strategy,” Nuzzo said. “For reasons I can't truly fathom we’ve refused to develop one.” Such co-ordination should be led by the White House, not by each state independently, she said.Roberto Tobias Jr., a 17-year-old from Queens in New York City, lost his mother and father to COVID-19 a month apart in the spring. He and his sister also contracted the virus but recovered. Tobias is now applying to college, hoping to get into Columbia University and become a neurosurgeon.“Because it’s just me and my sister, we sort of have to rely on each other," he said. “We were the only blood left.”The real number of dead from the crisis could be significantly higher: As many as 215,000 more people than usual died in the U.S. from all causes during the first seven months of 2020, according to CDC figures. The death toll from COVID-19 during the same period was put at about 150,000 by Johns Hopkins.Researchers suspect some coronavirus deaths were overlooked, while other deaths may have been caused indirectly by the crisis, by creating such turmoil that people with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease were unable or unwilling to get treatment.Dark, the emergency physician at Baylor, said that before the crisis, “people used to look to the United States with a degree of reverence. For democracy. For our moral leadership in the world. Supporting science and using technology to travel to the moon.”“Instead,” he said, "what’s really been exposed is how anti-science we’ve become.”___Associated Press writer Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this story.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press
The fine in British Columbia for hitting a cyclist with the door of a parked car, otherwise known as "dooring," has increased to $368 from $81.Effective Monday, anyone opening the door of a parked car when it's not reasonably safe to do so could receive a fine. The province said it implemented the increase to help reduce cycling collisions. "Dooring can kill or severely injure a person. Making the offence of dooring equivalent to distracted driving and excessive speeding offences in terms of the fine is another necessary step to help keep our most vulnerable road users safe," said Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, following the initial announcement. Advocacy group HUB Cycling says the change is a positive step forward, but calls for more action. "We must continue to make our roads safer not just by imposing harsher fines, but rather by building safer infrastructure that is comfortable for people of all ages and abilities," said Navdeep Chhina, acting executive director of HUB. Practising the 'Dutch Reach'Chris Foord, member of the Capital Regional District's traffic safety commission believes the increased penalty isn't a cash grab, but an effort to draw attention. "The object is not to hand out a bunch of tickets here. It's to use the occasion to say, 'Listen, people can get seriously hurt if a car door suddenly opens in front of you, so let's focus on how to avoid that occurrence,'" Ford told CBC's Kathryn Marlow on All Points West.To avoid dooring cyclists, Foord advises motorists and passengers to practise what's known as the "Dutch Reach," where occupants reach over with the hand furthest away from the door to open it, forcing them to glance over their shoulder to make sure no one is coming. "Take that extra half second and make sure that you can do that shoulder check," said Foord. "It's just one of these elegantly simple things." The provincial government says in 2019, 10 per cent of British Columbians commuted to work using active transportation, the highest among the provinces.
Moncton councillors rejected a plan to cover part of Rabbit Brook in the north end to allow a restaurant to expand its parking lot, with councillors calling it a precedent-setting vote on how the city approaches environmental issues. The 6-3 vote means Skipper Jack's Maritime Restaurant on Mapleton Road can't expand its parking lot over the small waterway multiple people described as devoid of life. "It's probably not over," owner Robert Holmes told reporters after the vote Monday. Staff told councillors that the rejection would still require sorting out a tangled history of land and legal issues since there's a requirement the city provide the business six to eight parking spaces to replace some lost to a previous expropriation. The debate over the request touched on the city's approach to parking and the environment. City staff recommended rejecting the restaurant's plans to install a 40-metre culvert and cover the brook because it would violate Moncton policies around protecting waterways. The city's planning advisory committee also rejected the plan. The plan required city approval to rezone the land from community use and conservation to suburban commercial. "If we do something like that, where does it place all other conservation land in our community," Mayor Dawn Arnold said. "Nothing will be safe."More than 30 objections to the plan and two letters of support were received ahead of the public hearing. Eight people spoke at Monday's meeting against the idea.Holmes told council his business needed to expand the restaurant to add more seats to accommodate its customer base and deal with physical distancing rules implemented because of COVID-19. "It's critical for our proposed changes to materialize" for the viability of the business," he said.After the vote, however, Holmes said, "it doesn't mean anything for our business, we just have to go with what we have." Ahead of the meeting, the Atlantic Wildlife Institute has suggested the brook was habitat for wood turtles. The species is listed federally and provincially as a species as risk.Andrea Kalafut, an environmental engineer with Hive Engineering Ltd. hired by the restaurant, said a survey around the brook found no signs of turtles or fish. "That is not suitable turtle habitat," Kalafut said.Lindsay Gauvin, executive director of the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance, told council that Rabbit Brook is one of the few cold water brooks in the watershed and with water quality improvements it could once again be a viable habitat.Holmes at several points suggested the restaurant's plan would improve the health of the brook. "That environment where Rabbit Brook is right now is very despicable," Holmes said, calling it a garbage-filled inhospitable hole.The plan would have required federal and provincial environmental approvals, though Kalafut told councillors she had been verbally told that would be granted if council voted to allow the changes. She said the brook above the business already runs through culverts under a strip mall and other parking lots before running through culverts under residential areas of the north end. "For the most part, the damage has been done," Kalafut said.Several speakers said that while they support the restaurant, they don't think its plan is appropriate. "We have the chance today to be proactive to save the stream that we have," said Claire Kelly, who recently ran for the Green Party in Moncton Southwest, which includes the brook. Antoine Zboralsk suggested people use other parking spaces already built in the neighbourhood. He said to continue increasing parking spots and keep the car central to life "is a strategy of the past, it's a strategy of the last century."Arnold and councillors Pierre Boudreau, Susan Edgett, Blair Lawrence, Charles Leger, Paulette Theriault voted against allowing the rezoning. Deputy mayor Shawn Crossman as well as councillors Brian Hicks and Bryan Butler voted for the restaurant's request. Coun. Paul Pellerin declared a conflict of interest and didn't vote. "I think it shows the direction we're heading in as a city and as a community," Krysta Cowling, one of the speakers opposed to the plans, said after the vote.Cowling and Kelly both expect more people will speak out at future council meetings when councillors are considering proposals affecting the environment.