Fearless Forecast Week 11: 8 Car, 73 Yds
Projected Points: 11.2
Fearless Forecast Week 11: 8 Car, 73 Yds
Projected Points: 11.2
The Nova Scotia government is using $21.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to purchase thousands of new computers for students and upgrade servers and Wi-Fi systems in schools.The news comes several days after two schools were shut down and moved to at-home learning for two weeks due to several COVID-19 cases.Education Minister Zach Churchill said the province will buy 32,000 new computers, 24,000 of which have already been ordered and are expected to arrive by next month. The rest are to come in the new year.This is in addition to the 14,000 devices the province has already purchased. During a virtual briefing, Churchill said the level of need was determined by surveys submitted earlier this year by students and parents, as well as local input from regional education officials. The minister said the new supply would be able to meet demand."This is about ensuring that there's not a digital divide in our education system, that all of our students have equitable access to the tools they need to learn and succeed, even in an at-home learning environment," he said.The computers are coming from IMP following a tender process.A silver lining for the departmentThe timing is particularly relevant because on Friday the province closed Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour and Graham Creighton Junior High School in Cherry Brook for 14 days after three cases of COVID-19 were detected between the two schools.When schools were shut down last spring and learning moved to an at-home model, it caused a number of problems for families and teachers. Churchill said much has been learned from that experience and he expects things to go more smoothly this time.Along with ensuring people who need technology have it, there are guidelines in place to help teachers and other staff and options such as teleconferences, USB drives for the sharing of work and appointments to attend schools in cases where students do not have high-speed internet at home.If there is a silver lining to the situation, Churchill said it's that his department has been forced to consider technological capacity and assess who does and does not have access to digital learning tools sooner than perhaps was otherwise planned."I don't see us moving back from this. In fact, I see us enhancing our ability to utilize technology in the learning environment at school and at home for the long run," he said.Erring on the side of cautionIn announcing the school closures on Friday, Premier Stephen McNeil acknowledged that it was as much about addressing concerns parents, students and staff had about the situation as it was anything else. Churchill said Monday that officials will err on the side of caution when it comes to determining whether a school should shift to a blended learning model or full at-home learning."Even if the risk may be low, we want to make sure that we're responding in a way that minimizes the risk of spread to the best of our ability."Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, has confirmed that evidence of community spread now exists in the greater Halifax area and his office has started announcing new restrictions. As of Monday, there were 51 known active cases of COVID-19 in the province.The funding announcement is in addition to the $40 million the province announced in August to help with the restart of the school year. Although the issues with technology were well established before September, Churchill said his department was awaiting access to the money from Ottawa before it could act.It's his hope the upgrades to servers and Wi-Fi systems will be completed before the end of the school year. The funding also includes money for 10 new full-time positions to help support the new devices, infrastructure upgrades and general at-home learning needs.MORE TOP STORIES
Some Penetanguishene community partners could have a reason to smile this week. Penetang elected officials are coming together Tuesday to discuss community grant requests made by several local non-profits. According to the report, staff is recommending council approve a number of those requests. If council agrees with staff, the Georgian Bay General Hospital will receive $15,000, the Southern Georgian Bay Physician Recruitment will receive $8,500 and $1,000 will go toward Sistema Huronia Music Academy. A further $2,000 will be given to the Midland Penetang District CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). Staff is asking Cultural Alliance's request of $10,000 be deferred until after the non-profit's presentation on Dec. 9. The agenda also includes a number of requests around an increase in budget to extend contract positions. The first one up is the position of junior planner for which staff is asking an additional $25,000 be included in the budget to expand the current part-time position to a one-year full-time contract at a total cost of $57,000. A similar extension request is being made for the current part-time contract for a bylaw enforcement officer. The increase in budget would be almost $32,000, bringing the total cost of the one-year full-time contract to $47,500. A third budget request related to staffing comes after the decision to reopen the arena was approved by council. Staff is recommending that funding for 40 weekly hours for a facility attendant be included in the 2021 operating budget in anticipation of a 2021-2022 ice season. The move would require that $12,270 be included in the 2021 arena operating budget. The staff report says this step will also ensure the town is financially equipped to reopen the arena for a 2021-2022 ice season. A number of departmental draft budget documents included in the agenda are being presented to council for information. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and will be streamed live on the town's YouTube channel. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
BROCKTON – The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund allocation for Brockton has been decreasing over the past several years. Brockton received $2,380,000 in 2012; by 2017, that had decreased to $1,607,100. Brockton was notified that the 2021 allocation will decrease by $48,500 from 2020’s $1,536,600 to $1,488,100. The municipality relies on the OMPF grant to provide government services. Small, rural municipalities don’t have the large tax base that cities do. Coun. Steve Adams suggested drafting a letter to express concern over the decrease. Coun. Dean Leifso wondered if other municipalities in the area were getting the same decrease. Mayor Chris Peabody regarded the information as “mixed” news – both good and bad. It’s a bit of a drop. But he also noted Brockton has received a number of grants from “this government” and credited MPP Lisa Thompson for working on behalf of her constituents. Peabody said Leifso’s idea was a good one. “Let’s do some research.”Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Michigan election officials on Monday certified Democrat Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the state, another setback for President Donald Trump. (Nov. 23)
Rick Massini has dedicated a good chunk of his time to public education, and helping students learn. This week he was honoured by the Alberta School Boards Association with the President’s Award. “I found out about this second hand, actually,” said Massini. “I was shocked and extremely honoured to get this award. “I’ve met so many great trustees around the province, and to be chosen for this award is amazing. “I’m speechless.” The award is given out every year to someone in the province who has made “an exemplary contribution to education.” Alberta School Boards Association president Lorrie Jess picked the winner of the award. Massini started teaching in the Hat in 1980 and began his career in Calgary eight years before that. He started in the Hat at Medicine Hat High School as a science, math and physical education teacher. He then went into a counselling role at Hat High. He then moved into the role as vice-principal at the same school. After that he moved to Ross Glen School to be principal. He is now the vice chair of the public school board. “It’s always been about helping people learn for me,” he said. “I really identified with students who may not have learned in traditional ways and may not have learned as fast, because I am a non-traditional learner. “Education is so important to me and I’ve always wanted to help students learn.”Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
For Albertans fearful about the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the big numbers just keep piling up — on Monday the province reported 1,549 new cases and a total of 13,166 active cases. At her news conference, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province has reached "a precarious point" where the virus is spreading faster and more widely than at any other previous point in the past nine months."Today I will meet with the priorities implementation committee of cabinet to discuss a series of new measures to reduce the rising spread of COVID-19," Alberta's chief medical officer of health told the media just after 2 p.m. "Based on their decisions, we will provide a detailed update to Albertans tomorrow."Hinshaw kicked off her news conference with a stark reminder about what is at stake."To put it as plainly as possible, this is like a snowball rolling down a hill growing bigger and faster, and it will continue unless we implement strong measures to stop it," she said. "We must take action. Waiting any longer will impact our ability to care for Albertans in the weeks and months ahead. As chief medical officer of health, my role is to provide advice to government on how to protect the health of Albertans."The rapidly-rising case numbers is severely straining hospitals and ICU admissions and challenging the health system's ability to deliver care, Hinshaw said.On Monday, 328 people were being treated for COVID-19 in Alberta hospitals, including 62 in ICU beds. Another five deaths were reported, bringing the total of 476.More bad newsHinshaw had more bad news. She said the province's contact-tracing system has been unable to keep up with demand, given the significant increase in new cases over the past several weeks.Despite Alberta Health Services' efforts to recruit and train new contact tracers the team has not been able to keep up, she said."This means that there has been a slowly growing backlog of cases over the past several weeks who have not yet had a call from AHS to do the case investigation, Hinshaw said."To be clear, these have all received notification of their positive result. It is simply the investigation they have not had the opportunity to complete," she said."We are left with an incredibly difficult problem to solve. In order to maximize the effectiveness of the team, I have asked AHS to start with the most recently diagnosed cases and work backwards, trying to reach as many cases as possible, but prioritizing the cases which will have the greatest benefit in reducing further transmission."WATCH| Dr. Hinshaw says COVID-19 cases in Alberta are like a snowballAs a temporary measure, starting on Tuesday, if 10 days have passed since someone received a positive COVID-19 test result, AHS will no longer call that person to conduct a case investigation or contact tracing, she said. Those people will instead receive text messages notifying them to not expect calls, and to provide guidance on if or when their isolation period has ended."I am sorry that this change will leave a group of people without the opportunity to have a conversation with AHS to understand where they acquired the infection and how to better prevent onward spread," Hinshaw said. "But we must focus on looking forward and using our contact tracers where they have the greatest impact."It's a further deterioration of contact tracing in the province. Earlier this month, contact tracers stopped notifying anyone who was in close contact with an infected person, unless that contact occurred in a hospital, school or continuing care home.Some school cases to go untrackedDue to the current backlog, AHS may not be able to track and record every case linked to a school in the last two weeks, she said.In-school transmission has happened 182 times, so far, with 99 of those having only one new case as a result, Hinshaw said."I am confident that because of the diligence of our schools, parents, guardians and students, the number of cases in schools will remain stable, and we will continue to see a limited number of transmission events in schools. The best thing we can do to protect schools is to lower community transmission.Cases among health-care workers and those who work in continuing care are flagged through a separate mechanism, she said, and should not be part of the backlog.Over the past five days, Alberta has racked up 6,729 new cases, with 1,105 on Thursday, 1,155 on Friday, 1,336 on Saturday, 1,584 on Sunday and 1,549 on Monday. With 13,166 cases, Alberta now has more active COVID-19 cases than any other province or territory in Canada.Here's the regional breakdown of active cases reported on Monday. * Calgary zone: 4,845 * Edmonton zone: 5,991 * North zone: 748 * South zone: 664 * Central zone: 812 * Unknown: 106With COVID-19 cases setting new records on a daily basis, the Alberta Opposition is demanding the provincial government bring in mandatory measures to slow the spread of the virus.The five people whose deaths were reported on Monday were: * A man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline in the Edmonton zone. * A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in the North zone. * A woman in her 50s linked to the outbreak at Intercare Chinook Care Centre in the Calgary zone. * A man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at the Peter Lougheed Centre in the Calgary zone. * A woman in her 70s from the South zone.'Crisis situation'"We are definitely in a crisis situation," Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Monday. "I think we've lost control of the virus."What we do need is for the government to step up and to engage with Albertans. And we haven't seen that."Notably, the number of new cases on Sunday was higher than those announced in Quebec and Ontario, which have populations two and 3.5 times larger than Alberta. As of the Sunday update, Alberta had 12,195 active cases. There were 319 people in hospital, including 60 in intensive-care beds. But Notley said there needs to be more than talk."We need to be taking pretty stringent steps at this point, now, to bend the curve. We need to be looking at targeted lockdowns and targeted restrictions in order to reduce the rate at which the virus spreads," she said.She couldn't be more specific about the types of measures, noting that would require access to data about the spread of the coronavirus.Only province without mask lawThat said, mandatory masks and limitations on places where people congregate would be obvious starting points, Notley told CBC. "For heaven's sakes, we're the only province in the country that doesn't have a mandatory mask bylaw. We have members of the UCP caucus literally saying, claiming, that masks increase the spread of the virus. I mean, they're on a completely different planet," she said.In Alberta, mask bylaws are the decision of municipal governments. Both Calgary and Edmonton have had mask bylaws in place since Aug. 1.Edmonton's bylaw was extended last week so that it will remain in effect until December 2021.Notley noted that any lockdowns would have a serious impact on businesses, especially smaller ones, and said it is important to bring in measures to ensure their economic health."Unfortunately, our premier and his caucus have been framing this decision-making process through the lens of saying you either protect the economy or you protect health," she said."Now we're in the situation where Alberta is by far and away the worst province in the country and the numbers are growing so quickly that we're going to have to make greater sacrifices in order to get the crisis under control."Cities can't go it alone, Iveson saysEdmonton Mayor Don Iveson said the city renewed its mask bylaw on Friday because councillors feel "very, very strongly" that the province faces an immediate crisis."I think this council is very, very committed to trying to support the right public health measures," he said. "We've also been consistent that we would prefer the province to take those steps, because they have the clearest mandate, the sharpest tools, the ability to do it in a regional catchment that's borderless, just like the virus. And also because they have better data than we have access to."The mayor said he has heard from business owners concerned about the safety of their employees and customers, and from epidemiologists concerned about the state of the health-care system."The numbers are extremely concerning, but they're also exactly what the epidemiologists who've been commenting have been saying for more than a week now. In terms of what the city can do, I'm loathe to act unilaterally because the virus is borderless."Iveson said he has spoken with several mayors around the region about the possibility of a co-ordinated response."It sounds like the province is going to take some further steps today or tomorrow," he said. "We'll look forward to see what those are. But we are looking at simultaneous regional emergency advisory committee meetings later this week, if necessary, should it fall on municipalities, as it did with the mask bylaw, to take decisive and hopefully co-ordinated action."Hinshaw also issued a plea for help from the public on Monday."We all need to reduce our social and cohort interactions as much as possible," she said. "If you can adapt your life to reduce the amount of time that you spend interacting with others, please do so now."This is a challenging moment but our province is strong and there is hope. We are seeing extremely promising news around vaccines and treatments, which may start being available sometime in the new year. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot give up now."
It’s no secret that many rural and remote Indigenous communities suffer with lower-quality internet or no connectivity at all. COVID-19 restrictions have shone a light on broadband inequity which limits the ability to work from home, attend school online, or access services such as healthcare virtually. The Universal Broadband Fund (UBF), announced by the federal government recently with additional funds, is looking to rectify some of those concerns. But it remains unclear how, or if, Indigenous communities will really benefit. The fund, which contributes $1.75 billion to “advance large, high-impact projects, which will leverage partnerships including with the Canada Infrastructure Bank broadband initiative,” was originally announced in the 2019 budget as a $1 billion investment, with an addition of $750 million added this month in the wake of the pandemic. “Today's investments will help make progress on the Government of Canada's commitment to create over one million jobs, and its work to support Canadians living in rural, remote, and northern communities,” a media release on the project said. "High-speed Internet access is more than just a convenience,” said Patty Hajdu, minister of Health and Liberal MP in the riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North. The Government of Canada website states that the “goal is for all Canadians to have access to high-speed Internet of at least 50 Megabits per second download and 10 megabits per second upload speeds.” But not everyone in the House of Commons believes it’s time to celebrate. “One thing I’ve learned about broadband promises is that I wait until I see the money out the door,” said Charlie Angus, the NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay. “I’ve seen multiple big ticket promises that they’re going to connect everybody within two or three or four years and yet we still see that we’re in the same situation.” The broadband fund announcement states it will allocate $50 million of the total budget for “mobile Internet projects that primarily benefit Indigenous peoples.” “This investment will help connect 98 per cent of Canadians across the country to high-speed Internet by 2026 so that they can better participate in the digital economy,” the release states. “These mobile projects are expected to extend 4G LTE coverage or better mobile services to unserved areas. Projects must target Indigenous communities, roads within or leading to Indigenous communities, or highways and roads where the deployment of mobile network coverage would benefit Indigenous peoples. Unserved sections of roads that would be deemed strategic for the socio-economic development or public safety of Indigenous peoples could also be eligible,” the government website reads. But Angus says he’s unsure of exactly whether that’s enough funding to help out an impactful number of Indigenous communities. “The fact that they’re talking about $50 million set aside for First Nations… That seems to be a very small amount for regions that are among the most isolated in the country, and there’s no clear timeline which is concerning,” he said. “In the first wave of the pandemic when so many people had to work from home and students had to work from home — in isolated or even just rural communities — people were being shamelessly gouged by the telecom giants. This was a moment where the government did nothing.” Angus also raised a concern that the projects in Indigenous communities might be investing only in older satellite technology, rather than more modern fibre optic initiatives. “If you want communities to participate in the modern economy, you’re going to need to invest in fibre. To me, it’s a stopgap, not a solution,” he said. Angus drew parallels with the ongoing issues with boil water advisories in 61 Indigenous communities that the Trudeau Liberals promised would be resolved by 2021. “Broadband is another huge promise,” he said. “But it doesn’t seem to have the same levels of accountability mechanisms to make sure government actually delivers.” Windspeaker.comBy Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
LONDON — Google faces fresh regulatory scrutiny in Britain over plans to revamp its ad data system, after an industry lobbying group complained to the competition watchdog that the changes would cement the U.S. tech giant's online dominance. Marketers for an Open Web, a coalition of technology and publishing companies, said Monday that it's urging the U.K. competition watchdog to step in and force Google to delay the rollout of its “privacy sandbox” scheduled for early next year. The new technology would remove so-called third party cookies that allow users to be tracked across the internet by storing information on their devices, replaced by tools owned by Google. That means login, advertising and other features would be taken off the open web and placed under Google’s control, the group said. The Competition and Markets Authority confirmed it received the complaint. “We take the matters raised in the complaint very seriously, and will assess them carefully with a view to deciding whether to open a formal investigation under the Competition Act,” it said in a statement, adding that if the concerns need urgent attention, it would consider using “interim measures" to stop any suspected anti-competitive conduct pending a full investigation. The complaint follows up on concerns about Google's new system that the watchdog raised in a July report about online platforms and digital advertising. The report recommended the British government adopt a new regulatory approach to governing digital giants making big money from online ads. Google said the new technology will increase privacy for users while also supporting publishers. “The ad-supported web is at risk if digital advertising practices don’t evolve to reflect people’s changing expectations around how data is collected and used," the company said. Google's Chrome is the world's dominant web browser, and many others like Microsoft's Edge are based on its Chromium technology. Google controls more than 90% of the U.K.’s 7.3 billion-pound ($8.8 billion) search advertising market, the CMA said in its July report. Third-party cookies allow ad buyers to more effectively target their ads to web users. Privacy sandbox will deny publishers access to the cookies they use to sell digital ads, which will crimp their revenues by up to two-thirds, Marketers for an Open Web said. The group said Google’s changes will move the digital ad business “into the walled garden of its Chrome browser, where it would be beyond the reach of regulators.” It wants a delay until authorities come up with long term remedies to mitigate Google's dominance over key parts of the web. ___ For all of AP’s tech coverage, visit https://apnews.com/apf-technology ___ Follow Kelvin Chan at www.twitter.com/chanman Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press
Sharing is caring, and also a cheap and affordable way to live, according to one Chatham-Kent councillor. On Monday, South Kent Coun. Mary Clare Latimer will be presenting council with a motion that staff investigate the implementation, maintenance and benefits of starting a Chatham-Kent Homeshare Program. A homeshare program is when residents, most commonly seniors, open up their home to those in need of affordable housing. The idea is that an individual will help out a senior with their everyday needs in exchange for no rent or very low rent. “It's a way where anyone can age comfortably and safely in their own home,” Latimer said. “Also I think it really addresses that isolation piece and intergenerational support as well. I really like that piece about it.” Latimer said home sharing happens all the time in an informal way between family or friends. The program would be a more formal way to help connect individuals with someone they might not know. “This may not be for everyone obviously. But it's another tool in the tool box.” Latimer said Chatham-Kent remains a “housing first” champion, as also noted in her motion. There are currently 749 individuals on the waitlist for affordable housing, the majority of which have jobs but spend 30-40 per cent of their income on rent. Latimer said there is a lot of underutilized real estate and infrastructure in Chatham-Kent with a lot of seniors living in houses that have two or three empty bedrooms. “There are a lot of people (seniors) caught. They can't sell their home and buy another home. And they don't want to move into a retirement home because it's too expensive. They can't afford that without selling their home. So they're caught, there's nowhere to go.” Other programs in Sarnia, Burlington and Toronto have been successful, according to preliminary research Latimer has done. Most programs have started through connecting students with seniors. Latimer hopes to use that model and hopes to partner with St. Clair College to pair international students with residents. Latimer does not expect the program will pick up quickly during COVID-19. “But I think it's something we need to have there in our toolbox like I said, because it may be an option where people are at least considering it and they can look at it.” Most programs have leases with clauses in them, such as a probation period, and include the terms of agreement like a normal rent agreement would. An example could be a lease that states the renter pays nothing and in exchange they must mow the lawn, do the groceries once a week and prepare meals everyday. “It's really a fantastic way and economical way to live. And we've gotten away from that. You know our whole culture is to live independently but in other cultures, very much you live together and support each other financially and socially and emotionally.” Latimer said it would be most appropriate to find a community partner to run the program and city staff should only enable it. If passed, staff will be expected to report back to council by January 2021 on the viability of such a program. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
ROME — Pope Francis is supporting demands for racial justice in the wake of the U.S. police killing of George Floyd and is blasting COVID-19 skeptics and media organizations that spread their conspiracies in a new book penned during the Vatican’s coronavirus lockdown.In “Let Us Dream,” Francis also criticizes populist politicians who whip up rallies in ways reminiscent of the 1930s, and the hypocrisy of “rigid” conservative Catholics who support them. But he also criticizes the forceful downing of historic statues during protests for racial equality this year as a misguided attempt to “purify the past.”The 150-page book, due out Dec. 1, was ghost-written by Francis’ English-language biographer, Austen Ivereigh, and at times the prose and emphasis seems almost more Ivereigh’s than Francis.’ That's somewhat intentional — Ivereigh said Monday he hopes a more colloquial English-speaking pope will resonate with English-speaking readers and believers.At its core, “Let Us Dream” aims to outline Francis’ vision of a more economically and environmentally just post-coronavirus world where the poor, the elderly and weak aren’t left on the margins and the wealthy aren’t consumed only with profits.But it also offers new personal insights into the 83-year-old Argentine pope and his sense of humour.At one point, Francis reveals that after he offered in 2012 to retire as archbishop of Buenos Aires when he turned 75, he planned to finally finish the thesis he never completed on the 20th-century German intellectual, Romano Guardini.“But in March 2013, I was transferred to another diocese,” he deadpans. Francis was elected pope, and bishop of Rome, on March 13, 2013.The publisher said the book was the first written by a pope during a major world crisis and Ivereigh said it was done as a response to the coronavirus and the lockdown. For Francis, the pandemic offers an unprecedented opportunity to imagine and plan for a more socially just world.At times, it seems he is directing that message squarely at the United States, as Donald Trump's administration winds down four years of “America first” policies that excluded migrants from Muslim countries and diminished U.S. reliance on multilateral diplomacy. Without identifying the U.S. or Trump by name, Francis singles out Christian-majority countries where nationalist-populist leaders seek to defend Christianity from perceived enemies.“Today, listening to some of the populist leaders we now have, I am reminded of the 1930s, when some democracies collapsed into dictatorships seemingly overnight,” Francis wrote. “We see it happening again now in rallies where populist leaders excite and harangue crowds, channeling their resentments and hatreds against imagined enemies to distract from the real problems.”People fall prey to such rhetoric out of fear, not true religious conviction, he wrote. Such “superficially religious people vote for populists to protect their religious identity, unconcerned that fear and hatred of the other cannot be reconciled with the Gospel.”Francis addressed the killing of Floyd, a Black man whose death at the knee of a white policeman set off protests this year across the United States. Referring to Floyd by name, Francis said: “Abuse is a gross violation of human dignity that we cannot allow and which we must continue to struggle against.”But he warned that protests can be manipulated and decried the attempt to erase history by downing statues of U.S. Confederate leaders. A better way, he said, is to debate the past through dialogue.“Amputating history can make us lose our memory, which is one of the few remedies we have against repeating the mistakes of the past,” he wrote.Turning to the pandemic, Francis blasted people who protested anti-virus restrictions “as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!”He accused some in the church and Catholic media of being part of the problem.“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because there are shantytowns where children lack water or education,” he wrote. “They turned into a cultural battle what was in truth an effort to ensure the protection of life.”He praised journalists who reported on how the pandemic was affecting the poorest. But he took a broad swipe at unnamed media organizations that “used this crisis to persuade people that foreigners are to blame, that the coronavirus is little more than a little bout of flu, and that restrictions necessary for people's protection amount to an unjust demand of an interfering state."“There are politicians who peddle these narratives for their own gain," he writes. “But they could not succeed without some media creating and spreading them."In urging the world to use the pandemic as an opportunity for a reset, Francis offers “three COVID-19” moments, or personal crises of his own life, that gave him the chance to stop, think and change course.The first was the respiratory infection that nearly killed him when he was 21 and in his second year at the Buenos Aires diocesan seminary. After being saved, Francis decided to join the Jesuit religious order.“I have a sense of how people with the coronavirus feel as they struggle to breathe on ventilators,” Francis wrote.The second COVID-19 moment was when he moved to Germany in 1986 to work on his thesis and felt such loneliness and isolation he moved back to Argentina without finishing it.The third occurred during the nearly two years he spent in exile in Cordoba, northern Argentina, as penance for his authoritarian-laced reign as head of the Jesuit order in the country.“I’m sure I did a few good things, but I could be very harsh. In Cordoba, they made me pay and they were right to do so,” he wrote.But he also revealed that while in Cordoba he read a 37-volume “History of the Popes.”“Once you know that papal history, there’s not that much that goes on in the Vatican Curia and the church today that can shock you,” he wrote.Francis repeated his call for a universal basic income, for welcoming migrants and for what he calls the three L’s that everyone needs: land, lodging and labour.“We need to set goals for our business sector that — without denying its importance — look beyond shareholder value to other kinds of values that save us all: community, nature and meaningful work," he writes.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakNicole Winfield, The Associated Press
B.C. health officials have confirmed another 1,933 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days, a weekend which also saw 17 more people die of the disease.The number of patients in hospital with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus is at 277, another new high, with 59 people in intensive care. There are now 7,360 active cases of the virus across B.C.Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional during Monday's briefing, as she addressed the growing spread of the virus in long-term care and assisted living, saying the majority of those who died this weekend were seniors and elders living in long-term care.She said it is urgent for everyone to do their part to reduce their social interactions and get the spread of this virus under control, but also offered reassurance that health officials and members of the public. have the tools and the knowledge to do that."I say this to fuel that fire of determination and resilience that I have seen in people across this province," Henry said.Monday's update included six new outbreaks in the health-care system. There are now 54 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and six in acute care units of hospitals. The majority of the new cases announced Monday — about 89 per cent — continue to be in the regions covered by Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health.To date, 27,407 people in B.C. have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 348 people have died. There are now 10,200 people in isolation and under active monitoring by public health workers because of exposure to the disease.'The next leg is not in sight'The weekend was the first in B.C. under a long list of public health orders and recommendations that came into effect on Thursday.The orders, which include mandatory masks in indoor public spaces and social gatherings that are restricted to members of the same household, will be in effect until at least Dec. 7. All indoor and outdoor events of any size have been suspended — that means popular events like the Stanley Park Christmas Train and VanDusen Botanical Garden's Festival of Lights in Vancouver have been put on hold.Henry clarified Monday that despite some confusion over the weekend, movie theatres must also close for now.Initially, stricter orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 only included the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, which were seeing a disproportionate spike in case numbers.Monday marks 16 days since Henry enacted those first regional orders. It takes at least 14 days, the incubation period for COVID-19, to be able to determine whether those measures are working.During Monday's briefing, Henry compared the pandemic to an Iron Man triathlon competition, with "three different, strenuous legs."We got through the swim — just barely. And now we're on the bike ride and we've got some big hills to climb ahead of us," she said."Right now, we have a distance to go. The next leg is not in sight."The final leg of this pandemic will only come when a vaccine is available, Henry explained.New measures and restrictionsSocial gatherings in B.C. are now restricted to household members only. That means no one should be meeting for social reasons with anyone outside of their immediate household, although a physically distanced walk with a friend or arranging for grandparents to pick up the kids from school is still acceptable.People who live alone can create a small exclusive "bubble" with one or two others, Henry has said.Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday that there can be no bartering or compromise when it comes to the orders that are currently in place."We cannot negotiate with the virus. We can't deal with it that way — there's no litigation to be had," he said.In response to questions about how much notice event organizers might receive about when they're able to reschedule because the current orders are being lifted, Henry said she didn't have an answer."Things we were able to do in the summer — we had a buffer, we had the weather on our side. We can't get away with that anymore. We will see if that is going to make a difference over the next coming weeks," she said.The new mandatory mask mandate is a requirement for workers and members of the public to wear face coverings in all retail environments, restaurants and indoor public spaces, including common areas of workplaces, except when eating or drinking.The order for mandatory masks does not include schools.Henry said Monday that schools aren't public places where strangers can come and go at will. Instead, the same people are spending time together every day.However she said that masks are encouraged within school environments, particularly for adults.
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — The Christmas movie, that yuletide evergreen, is subtly changing. “Happiest Season,” which premieres Wednesday on Hulu, has many of the genre's comforting standards — a homecoming trip, family discord, a secretly planned engagement — but it opens the holiday comedy to a fresh cast of characters, and comes away all the more charming for it. Writer-director Clea DuVall's film — originally planned as a theatrical release by Sony Pictures — stars Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as Harper and Abby, a couple who travel to Harper's Waspy family for the holidays. Just before they arrive, Harper confesses she isn't out to her family. The spirited supporting cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen and Daniel Levy. — “Superintelligence,” too, is a studio film uprooted to a streaming service by the pandemic. The Melissa McCarthy comedy, her latest with director-husband Ben Falcone ("Tammy," “The Boss"), had been headed to theatres but will instead debut Thursday on HBO Max. In it, an artificial-intelligence supercomputer voiced by James Corden tasks McCarthy's unemployed character with saving the world. — Ironically, the week's top Netflix release is the one that's been playing in theatres. After two weeks in select cinemas, Ron Howard's “Hillbilly Elegy” begins streaming Tuesday. The adaptation of J.D. Vance's much-talked-about 2016 bestseller hasn't been a hit with critics ( including this one ), but it's also a kind of regular feature to the season: a big 'ol helping of awards bait, with a handful of big performances by elite actors (Glenn Close, Amy Adams). —AP Film Writer Jake Coyle MUSIC — Miley Cyrus is ready to rock ‘n’ roll on her new album. The pop star recruited some famous rock stars to help on her seventh studio release “Plastic Hearts,” including Stevie Nicks, Billy Idol and Joan Jett. And Mick Rock, the iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographer who has shot everyone from David Bowie to Debbie Harry, photographed the “Plastic Hearts” cover art. But pop fans shouldn’t worry too much about Miley’s rock sound, the album – out Friday – also features a collaboration with hitmaker Dua Lipa and includes producers like Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars) and Louis Bell (Post Malone). — Speaking of Dua Lipa, the Brit has had a major year in music thanks to the success of her sophomore album “Future Nostalgia” and the smash hit single “Don’t Start Now.” She’ll celebrate her big year on Friday with “Studio 2054,” a multidimensional live experience where Lipa is promising fans “a night of music, mayhem, performance, theatre, dance and much more.” The singer said there will be “surprise superstar guests” at the event, and standard tickets costs $11.99. — Grammy-winning Chicago-based rockers Smashing Pumpkins will release a double album on Friday. “CYR” features 20 tracks produced by founding member and frontman Billy Corgan. The band’s 11th album also features founding members James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin as well as guitarist Jeff Schroeder. “CYR” is the follow-up to 2018’s “SHINY AND OH SO BRIGHT, VOL. 1 / LP: NO PAST. NO FUTURE. NO SUN” – Corgan, Iha and Chamberlin’s first collaborative album in 18 years. — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — If you like “Bones” and “CSI” but just need more French accents, your best bet is the terrific NOVA special “Saving Notre Dame.” The hour-long PBS documentary airing Wednesday shows the incredible lengths architects, engineers and craftspeople have gone to restore the iconic Paris cathedral stricken by 2019's fire. There is detective work — where did the original limestone come from? — and painstaking efforts to reclaim the building’s glory, like stained glass specialists using cotton swabs to remove toxic lead. Everyone wears wear full hazard protection gear as they navigate a “giant house of cards.” — Can you have a “Saved by the Bell” without Screech? Peacock is hoping fans won't notice that character's absence when its sequel to the popular TV series brings back members of the original cast — Elizabeth Berkeley, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar — but not Dustin Diamond, who played the quirky Screech. In this sequel kicking off Wednesday, Gosselaar is California governor who has a son at Bayside High, Berkeley is a guidance counsellor and Lopez is once again A.C. Slater, now a gym teacher. — It happens all the time: You wake up next to a dead body in a Bangkok hotel. In the case of HBO Max’s adaptation of “The Flight Attendant,” the comedy and darkness work simultaneously. Kaley Cuoco of “The Big Bang Theory” plays an air hostess with a drinking problem whose looney attempts to cover up her part in the death place her in the crosshairs of the FBI. The first three episodes of the limited series premier Thursday, with the first one free now if you're willing to give HBO Max your email. — AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
NORTH HURON – A new investigator was appointed by North Huron to look into livestock and poultry incidents, when they have been injured or killed as a result of wildlife predators. The current municipal investigator/livestock and poultry valuer, Keith Black, notified the township of his resignation recently and was thanked for his many years of service. Following Black’s resignation, the township initiated a public recruitment process to fill the position. According to Carson Lamb, who prepared the report for council, at the closing date of the advertisement, no applicants expressed interest in the position. Randy Scott expressed his interest after the township reached out to other area municipalities to see if any individual would be interested in the position. Scott brings his knowledge and experience to North Huron. He will be enlarging his present territory of Howick Township, where he currently holds the investigator position. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture administers the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (OWDCP). They provide compensation to eligible applicants whose livestock, poultry, or honeybees have been damaged or killed due to wildlife. The OWDCP stipulates that municipalities must appoint a municipal investigator/livestock and poultry valuer to investigate incidents of damage that have been reported to the clerk of the municipality. Under the OWDCP, the municipal investigator/livestock and poultry valuer is responsible for: · Carrying out a full and impartial investigation within 72 hours of receiving the notification of the injury or death of livestock or poultry. · Taking three to six colour photos per eligible kill/injury incurred and collecting all necessary information to complete the application accurately. · Providing a completed program application to the owner and the clerk of the municipality within seven business days of completing an investigation.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
CLEVELAND — A customer left a $3,000 tip for a single beer as a restaurant voluntarily closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.The man walked into Nighttown on Sunday in Cleveland, ordered the beer and asked for the check, which came to $7.02, owner Brendan Ring wrote on Facebook.Ring said the man wished him well and told him to share the tip with the four employees who were working brunch service.As the man walked out, Ring wrote, he looked down at the tip and “realized he left a whopping $3,000.”“I ran after him and he said no mistake we will see you when you reopen!”Ring said he would not post the customer's name because he thinks the man wouldn't want that.The owner said he and his serving staff were “humbly grateful for this incredibly kind and grand gesture.”The Associated Press
GREY-BRUCE – It took from March to May for the number of COVID-19 cases to reach 100. The area didn’t see the 200th case until Nov. 12. Since then, there have been 24 cases of COVID-19 reported throughout Grey-Bruce, with the most recent being three in Southgate. The health unit is working with the Bluewater District School Board to address a case in Northern Bruce Peninsula involving a school. The health unit is handling contact tracing and will get in touch with anyone deemed to be at risk. No school bus routes are affected. As of press time, the total number of cases in Grey-Bruce stood at 224, with 33 active cases. No one is currently hospitalized, and there are no outbreaks in facilities (long-term care homes, schools or daycares). Currently, Grey-Bruce remains Green – Prevent. In order to remain there, the local health unit states on its website, “We must stay vigilant with COVID-19 precautions. We have been seeing a deeply concerning trend of a significant increase in the number of cases locally, and in the number of close contacts of these cases. “These findings are indicative of fatigue related to following public health measures. It is important that we refocus our energy on the basic measures that can keep us safe – the same ones that got us through the spring first wave, including the three Ws of washing hands frequently, watching distance (ideally six feet) and wear face coverings correctly (over both nose and mouth).” The increase in numbers locally led to discussion on what to do about the community recovery centre located in Kincardine. The other community recovery centre in Hanover has been dismantled, with the components stored in case there’s a need. The council there decided it was important to get the ice surface back in use. Neither recovery centre was used prior to the dismantling of the one in Hanover. In light of rising numbers, Kincardine council has agreed to leave the recovery centre at the Davidson Centre in place for now. It’s in a gym, not on an ice surface (like Hanover’s), and public health has given permission for the indoor walking track above the gym to be used. There was some concern expressed at a recent council meeting in Kincardine that if the centre is dismantled, the components will not remain in the area but will be appropriated for use in an area where numbers are much higher. Neighbouring health units are reporting spikes in the numbers of cases, and deaths, including at long-term care homes.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
The government of the Northwest Territories has not been collecting aircraft landing fees, lease fees, concession fees, and licence fees for all businesses operating out of N.W.T. airports since about April 1, but will begin again in the new year. The collection of fees was suspended to help operators and small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a news release from the territorial government Monday, that program has meant about $6.3 million in support for businesses operating at airports across the N.W.T.Come Jan. 1, the government will no longer offer that relief."The [government of the Northwest Territories] must now take into account the financial situation of its airports and ensure they have the funds to safely operate," states the news release from the Department of Infrastructure. "The revenue generated through airport fees enables essential investments in airport infrastructure, improvement projects and maintenance activities."The suspension of landing fees was announced on March 20, while the suspension of other airport fees was announced on April 1. Both measures were extended for the rest of 2020 in July.
Le gouvernement du Québec a deposé, le 16 novembre, son Plan pour une économie verte (PEV). Québec dit réaffirmer son engagement « de réduire ses émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) de 37,5 % d’ici 2030 par rapport à leur niveau de 1990 ». Québec investira 6,7 milliards de dollars entre 2021-2026 dans le PEV. L’électrification des transports sera le fer de lance de ce plan de dix ans. Au total, 3,6 milliards de dollars iront au secteur des transports qui serait à lui seul responsable de 46 % des émissions de GES au Québec. Cet effort doit aussi permettre de gonfler le PIB du Québec de 2,2 milliards d’ici 2030 et de créer plus de 15 000 emplois. Pour y arriver, Québec prévoit notamment d’interdire dès 2035 la vente de véhicules neufs à essence. Le gouvernement fédéral a misé sur 2040. Il devra peut-être revoir ses plans. Québec espère ainsi pouvoir compter 1,5 million de véhicules électriques sur les routes du Québec dès 2030. Il s’est vendu en 2019 plus de 400 000 véhicules neufs (voitures, VUS, camionnettes) au Québec, précise Jean Cadoret, directeur des événements et publications à la Corporation des concessionnaires automobiles du Québec. Atteindre le chiffre magique du 1,5 M de VÉ est donc statistiquement viable. Robert Poéti, president-directeur general de la Corporation, se demande cependant si les fabricants auront, en 2035, la capacité mondiale de livrer au Québec l’ensemble des véhicules nécessaires. «C’est ambitieux et le temps est un peu court», affirme M. Poéti. Alissa André, directrice marketing chez Véhicules Électriques Simon André, spécialisé dans la vente de véhicules électriques et hybrides branchables, soutient qu’il faut qu’il y ait plus de choix afin que les consommateurs trouvent réponse à leurs besoins. L’autonomie et le prix figurent au haut de la liste. « Plus il y aura de modèles, plus les prix seront bons. Il faut que les manufacturiers emboîtent le pas, c’est évident», fait-elle remarquer. De son côté, Gabriel Auger, propriétaire d’ Auger Automobile, souligne que GM envisage de faire 18 nouveaux modèles de voitures électriques d’ici cinq ans. Il doute cependant des objectifs chiffrés du gouvernement Legault. «Je ne sais pas si on va se rendre, mais l’idée est bonne. Plus on va en faire, moins ils seront dispendieux. Il va falloir qu’ils inventent une autre sorte de batterie. Ils vont manquer de lithium bientôt!» lance M. Auger. Le président directeur général de Roulez Électrique de Trois-Rivières, Sylvain Juteau estime que le PEV n’est pas assez ambitieux : «Le prix des véhicules diminue très rapidement, c’est plus agréable à conduire, plus convivial. Les concessionnaires se font demander des véhicules électriques, mais ne sont pas capables d’en trouver. Tous les grands manufacturiers investissent des milliards. Ils savent qu’ils n’ont pas le choix », indique M. Juteau. Quant à lui, Patrick Bonin, responsable de la campagne climat-énergie chez Greenpeace Canada, aurait préféré que les véhicules neufs à essence soient interdits dès 2030. «Plusieurs pays ont déjà pris cet engagement», mentionne M. Bonin en citant le Royaume-Uni et les Pays-Bas. Il regrette aussi que le PEV ne soit pas accompagné de mesures dissuasives permettant de taxer les véhicules les plus polluants et énergivores. Il salue cependant le fait que «Québec accompagne ce bannissement d’une loi zéro émission qui force les constructeurs à mettre sur le marché un plus grand nombre de modèles plus verts». Québec doit réduire ses émissions de GES de 29 millions de tonnes d’ici 2030. Le PEV déposé ne permet cependant qu’un effort de 12 millions de tonnes. Le gouvernement espère atteindre la carboneutralité en 2050. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
HURON COUNTY – Residential development proposals will soon have a comprehensive document to ensure that housing developers understand the community’s goals and expectations. Andrea Sinclair, urban designer for MHBC Planning Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, presented the final Residential Intensification Guidelines (RIGS) to Huron County council on Nov. 4. The motion was approved to accept the guidelines, and staff will distribute copies to local municipalities for information. These guidelines will help when evaluating development proposals and provide the community with more housing choices. The document mainly focuses on multi-unit development and will apply to all residential intensification projects in the county. The guidelines also address residential conversions and Additional Residential Units (ARUs). The RIGS are intended to be used by the builder and development community to guide residential developments. The guidelines address a full range of design considerations, including site layout, building design, parking, and landscaping. The guidelines, not meant to add more red tape to the process, are expected to streamline the process by setting out the design expectations early on and avoiding the development community and planning staff’s back-and-forth. By setting clear design objectives and priorities early in the process, the development community will understand what staff will be looking for when reviewing applications. The RIGS will ensure that neighbourhoods continue to be diverse while maintaining the need to accommodate a growing community. The County of Huron’s website states, “single detached dwellings meet many residents’ needs – but not all of them. When housing takes a wide range of forms, it can better meet the diverse needs of community members: those who rent, families requiring multiple bedrooms, seniors who are interested in downsizing, first time home buyers who can afford a house provided they can rent out the basement unit. “Neighbourhoods are dynamic places; the shifts anticipated in the next 20 years will bring about a renewal of our housing stock and the introduction of more dense forms of housing. This document is a tool to help manage that change and ensure that housing is available – and affordable – for all who call the county home.” For more information or to see the Residential Intensification Guidelines visit the Huron County website at www.huroncounty.ca.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
DETROIT — General Motors says it will no longer support the Trump administration in legal efforts to end California's right to set its own clean-air standards.CEO Mary Barra said in an letter Monday to environmental groups that GM will pull out of the lawsuit, and it urges other automakers to do so.She said the company agrees with President-elect Joe Biden's plan to expand electric vehicle use. Last week, GM said it is testing a new battery chemistry that will bring electric-vehicle costs down to those of gas-powered vehicles within five years.Barra sent the letter after a call with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the company said.“We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned, to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions,” Barra said in the letter.Last year General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and 10 smaller automakers sided with the Trump administration in a lawsuit over whether California has the right to set its own standards for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy.Tom Krisher, The Associated Press
As Toronto enters a new lockdown Monday, Mayor John Tory says an additional package of supports for those living in communities hardest hit by COVID-19 is coming."We owe it to the most vulnerable to make sure that extra measures are provided, extra supports are provided in their fight against COVID-19," he said at a news conference Monday. Tory said there will be expanded testing in the northwest parts of the city and northeast part in Scarborough that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 since the pandemic began. COVID-19 has exacerbated long-standing systemic health inequities related to racism, he said, noting Black people and racialized people who may be living in multi-generational households are at a far higher risk than others.He added that data demonstrates that COVID-19 hot spot neighbourhoods are experiencing lower testing rates and higher positivity rates. These neighbourhoods often house more essential workers who feel pressure to go to work, even when sick, he said. New supports involve a partnership with 11 community based organizations, and will include a broader sharing of public health information, expanded testing in harder hit neighbourhoods and increased public transportation to those testing sites. Tory also said an eviction moratorium is crucial along with better access to emergency services. "The city has been clear that the residential eviction ban in place earlier this year should continue. And we repeat that request to the provincial government again today," he said. As well, mayors and chairs across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton have gathered this week and are now calling on companies and governments to reassure workers that self-isolation after a positive test will not result in job loss or loss of income, said Tory.They are seeking additional assurances from the province that workplaces will be inspected to guarantee that they are following public health protocols, protecting workers and not requiring employees to be on the job while ill.Testing hesitancy an issue in hard-hit areas: CressyCoun. Joe Cressy, also the city's board of health chair, said new support measures will be implemented immediately for neighbourhoods in the northeast and northwest.Extra city facilities will be transformed into testing centres and buses will be retrofitted as mobile testing centres, he said.Testing hesitancy continues to be an issue those communities are grappling with, said Cressy. "For many residents, they're worried that a positive test result will mean staying home, which can mean lost income," he said. WATCH | Premier Doug Ford addresses business closures during lockdown:To address those concerns, the city is rolling out an outreach program that will be operated by "trusted local community outreach workers on the ground," he said.Those workers will also help residents with access to the city's isolation centre, so they know they can isolate safely without infecting other family members. Limit contact to support essential workers: de VillaThere are 331 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Monday, along with 167 people in hospital. Forty-one of those people are in intensive care units, said Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, at the same news conference.Since de Villa's last update on Wednesday, there have been 2,177 new cases of COVID-19 in the city, she said. Toronto has reported 45 per cent of all cases for entire pandemic since Oct. 1.De Villa echoed Tory's comments in asking Toronto residents to stay home — as many essential workers do not have the option to do so.City data shows the risk of infection for those who live in more severely impacted neighbourhoods is close to double other areas, which house more essential workers, she said. "They're there because that's where we need them to be," she said. "So we owe it to them, those of us who can choose to keep more apart than others."Tory also spoke about retailers doing their part to limit the spread as well by not holding in-person Black Friday sales this week."You are open by order of the province so residents can buy essentials. You are not open to cash in on Black Friday," he said. Torontonians should engage with Black Friday sales online only, or use the curbside pickup option for smaller, independent retailers in the city, he said. Charges laid after large weekend gatheringsMatthew Peg, Toronto's fire chief and head of emergency management, announced a series of charges laid over the weekend due to large gatherings. He also provided an update on a variety of other COVID-19-related violations reported in the last few days.A large party in a storage unit held Friday night resulted in one charge, he said. Similarly, a crowded gathering on Lawrence Avenue West in the area of Allen Road on the same night resulted in 15 charges. Enforcement teams also extinguished 35 bonfires on Toronto beaches over the weekend and laid 33 charges in relation to trespassing on beaches and parks. Another 39 charges were laid after complaints were called in to 311 about at-home gatherings. Tory, de Villa address mental health, opioid crisisThe mental health of all residents, specifically those who are more impacted by the pandemic, is also a concern for the city and a " dramatic improvement and expansion of the mental health system" is required, Tory said in an interview Monday with CBC's Metro Morning."I mean, it's scandalous, really what we started with when the pandemic started. We should have been on a much better foundation before we began in terms of treatment programs for people with mental health and substance use issues," he said. While the city has expanded it's 211 service — where residents can call a hotline to speak to a mental health professional directly — there's much more left to be done, he said. In Toronto, as is the trend for Ontario overall, there's been a dramatic increase in opioid deaths over the course of the pandemic. A report from the start of November showed a total of 132 people in Toronto died between April 1 and Sept. 30 due to a suspected opioid overdose, nearly double the number from the same period in 2018 and 2019.Toronto officials have urged actions to tackle the opioid crisis including further collaboration with other levels of government. When asked about the increase in opioid-related deaths at the news conference, Tory said there hasn't been enough focus on the crisis.While the city has a "significant" harm reduction program, more needs to be done through the provincial health-care system, he said. De Villa also addressed opioid overdoses, stating that the city's board of health wants to move forward on recommendations to address the issue."COVID-19 has been an almost all consuming challenge for us to deal with. But that doesn't mean that we're not paying attention to other challenges," she said."So we continue to advance our overdose action plan. And we are certainly advocating at the other levels of government."