Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security Commends Swift and Generous Government Action to Support Emergency Food Relief

MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 3, 2020 /CNW/ - The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security commended the Prime Minister's announcement today of $100 million to support emergency food organizations to meet the needs of vulnerable Canadians.

Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (CNW Group/The Maple Leaf Centre For Action On Food Security)

"The federal government has meaningfully engaged with, listened and responded to the needs of front-line emergency food organizations who are struggling to meet surging demand as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates," said Lynda Kuhn, Chair of the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security. "We laud the government for its action and ongoing collaboration to support the needs of all Canadians during this crisis, especially those who face monumental challenges to feed their families."

Food insecurity is a widespread issue in Canada, affecting one in eight households, including one in six children. This is not a food availability issue, it is a poverty issue, which disproportionately impacts low income households and minority group populations. Its impact is pervasive and defies stereotypes, with over 60% of food insecure Canadians in the workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only driving a surge in demand but requiring organizations to significantly shift their services to support the health and safety of their clients and staff.         

About the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security:

The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (the Centre) is a registered charity committed to working collaboratively, across sectors, to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50% by 2030. The Centre advocates for critical public policies and works with innovative food-based programs that advance the capacity of people and communities to achieve sustainable food security. 

The Centre was created in 2016 and is governed by a board of directors, including four independent experts. Since its inception, Maple Leaf has contributed a minimum of 1% pre-tax profits annually to support the Centre and other community investments, totalling over $10 million in financial contributions and gifts-in-kind. The Centre builds on its strong connection with Maple Leaf, enabling greater public awareness, volunteer participation and skills matching to increase capacity in community-based organizations. 

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (CNW Group/The Maple Leaf Centre For Action On Food Security)

SOURCE The Maple Leaf Centre For Action On Food Security


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  • Retaliation after Meng ruling and Trump on Twitter;  In The News for May 28
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Retaliation after Meng ruling and Trump on Twitter; In The News for May 28

    In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 28 ...\---COVID-19 in Canada ...The Team Canada spirit that has prevailed among first ministers during the COVID-19 crisis will be put to the test today as Justin Trudeau broaches with premiers two topics that fall squarely within provincial jurisdiction: the operation of long-term care homes and paid sick leave for workers.The prime minister has promised federal support in both areas but his offer has met with a mixed reaction from provincial and territorial leaders.He has also promised to raise the issues tonight, when he conducts his eleventh first ministers' conference call.So far, those calls have been notable for their collegial, collaborative spirit as prime minister and premiers all work as one to cushion the impact of the deadly pandemic on Canadians' health and the country's economy.But there are signs that team spirit may be starting to give way to the usual regional tensions and jurisdictional spats that have historically bedevilled federal-provincial relations in Canada.Quebec Premier Francois Legault, whose province has always jealously guarded its jurisdiction against perceived federal intrusions, is lukewarm about Trudeau's promise to ensure 10 days of paid sick leave for workers who fall ill with COVID-19 or are required to go into quarantine after exposure.\---Fallout from Meng Wanzhou case...The two Canadians imprisoned in China could face retaliation because Wednesday's court ruling in the Meng Wanzhou case didn't go the way the People's Republic would have liked, experts are warning.The Chinese embassy in Ottawa angrily denounced the decision by Justice Heather Holmes in the extradition case of the Huawei executive, who is wanted on fraud charges in the United States, as it once more called for her immediate release.Canada held firm, with Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne calling for the release of the two "arbitrarily detained" Canadian men.Michael Kovrig, an ex-diplomat working for the International Crisis Group, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur who did business in North Korea, have been in Chinese prisons with no access to lawyers or their families since they were arrested nine days after Meng's arrest by the RCMP in December 2018.They are accused of violating China's national security interests, and they have been denied even the regular monthly visits by Canadian diplomats since January because of COVID-19 restrictions on Chinese prisons.But some analysts say their treatment could get a lot worse, especially based on recent Chinese government statements leading up to the ruling.\---COVID-19 in sports...Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wants the federal government to help clear the way for NHL players to come to Edmonton.His counterpart in British Columbia, John Horgan, says his province isn't interested in making any concessions.The two premiers had markedly different responses to the NHL's plan to resume the 2019-20 season, in which teams would play at two hub cities, one for each conference.Edmonton and Vancouver, as well as Toronto, are three of the 10 cities still in the running to be host cities, should the plan come to fruition. 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White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah said Trump would sign it Thursday.In his tweet, he repeated his unsubstantiated claim — which sparked his latest showdown with Silicon Valley — that expanding mail-in voting "would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots."\---Helicopter remains, wreckage found...The Canadian Armed Forces has located the remains of some of the military members who died last month when the helicopter they were in crashed in the Mediterranean.A Canadian search and recovery team working with the United States Navy discovered the remains early Wednesday morning, not far from where they also located a large piece of the helicopter's fuselage, the military said in a written statement."This is encouraging news," said Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, the commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command."We do not leave our fallen behind, and recovering Stalker 22's crew is of the utmost importance to all of us in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence."The CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, known as Stalker 22, crashed in the Ionian Sea April 29, killing four members of the air force and two from the navy. The helicopter was returning to HMCS Fredericton after a training flight and crashed within full view of the ship, which was in the Mediterranean participating in a NATO mission.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020The Canadian Press

  • This Halifax man's family all got COVID-19. Here's what he wants people to know
    Health
    CBC

    This Halifax man's family all got COVID-19. Here's what he wants people to know

    Shawn Selfridge doesn't want to keep the fact that his family contracted COVID-19 a secret. "I want people to know and see that you can get it and survive and that's not to diminish the fact that people have suffered greatly from the virus, but I wanted to also destigmatize perhaps in some way having had it," the Halifax osteopath and father of two told CBC's Information Morning.Selfridge, his wife and their kids were infected while visiting family in Maine in mid-March. They've all since recovered, but Selfridge said it's not a "get out of jail free card," and he still has questions about his family's safety. "There seems to be conflicting evidence whether or not recovered COVID patients have immunity and then we also don't know about different strains or mutations that could result in the future," he said.Medical researchers who study the virus are still trying to determine whether people are protected from getting it again, and for how long that immunity might last.To date, 1,053 people in Nova Scotia have tested positive for COVID-19 — 975 people have recovered and 59 people have died. How they got the virusSelfridge and his family travelled to Sandy River, Maine, in March for a family reunion like they do most years. But what they didn't know was that a relative who was there had recently been to New York.The relative, who's in his 80s, had a cough but not a fever, so at first Selfridge didn't think it could be COVID-19."I was kind of reassured because at that time one of the main symptoms that was being reported was fever. So I said, 'Well OK, he has no fever, so he seems OK,'" Selfridge said. But just 36 hours after the family arrived in Maine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was telling Canadians to return home, so the Selfridges quickly left and drove back to Halifax through New Brunswick."We tried to have minimal contact, you know, and exercised all the other recommendations, which were handwashing, avoiding contact, those sorts of things," he said. When the family got back home, Selfridge said they self-isolated and soon got word that their relative had tested positive for COVID-19.So he immediately contacted public health so they could get tested too.A total of nine family members contracted the virus from the relative in Maine, Selfridge said.Kids were 'completely asymptomatic'Selfridge's symptoms lasted about two days. He'd wake up in the morning with "very routine body aches and cold chills. I had no fever, no cough."On the third morning, he woke up with a splitting headache that lasted all day, but after that felt fine. For him, having COVID-19 didn't feel much different from having the flu, although he's quick to point out that everyone experiences the virus differently. The only symptom his wife developed was a reduced sense of smell, which can be one of the symptoms of COVID-19."My kids were completely asymptomatic, so you wouldn't even have known that they had COVID," Selfridge said. "My daughter, I think, is still the only child under 10 who tested positive in Nova Scotia."Selfridge checked their temperatures and watched for symptoms every day, while also trying to put them at ease. "I asked them about it. They weren't concerned about it. They weren't afraid and I didn't want them to be afraid because I knew that they're going to be OK based on what I could observe in their normal behaviour," Selfridge said.Even though they've all had COVID-19, Selfridge said he and family are still following the same rules as everybody else. They wash their hands often, practise physical distancing and spend a lot of time at home. To pass the time, Selfridge built a halfpipe in his backyard for his son who is learning to skateboard.MORE TOP STORIES

  • After her toaster oven caught fire, Ontario woman was told by Whirlpool to take it up with a company in China
    Business
    CBC

    After her toaster oven caught fire, Ontario woman was told by Whirlpool to take it up with a company in China

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She was referred to Elec-Tech International. Hammond says she tried contacting the company in China using the phone number Whirlpool provided. Her calls would ring through but no one would ever pick up. Her emails also went unanswered."I was so frustrated with Whirlpool and didn't know what else to do … This was a David-and-Goliath fight because they weren't going to listen to me," she said. She says she won't use the replacement after the company wouldn't tell her what caused the fire."Basically it's a paperweight," she said.No recalls have been issued for that oven's make and model.After hearing from Go Public, Whirlpool apologized, calling Hammond's experience "unacceptable" and saying it would be "appropriately addressed." It eventually paid Hammond $5,000 for the damage and her trouble. LISTEN | Valerie Hammond tries to find out from Whirlpool what went wrong with her toaster oven:Nowhere to turn But consumer advocates say that a lot of Canadians are having similar problems — left on their own to deal with sometimes unco-operative companies when something goes wrong after finding government agencies set up to protect consumers are often difficult to access or ineffective.Hammond is one of many frustrated Canadians who don't know where to turn for help or have little faith in the federal, provincial or private agencies set up to protect consumers when companies refuse to take responsibility for damage caused by goods, says Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada, a non-profit organization that advocates for consumer rights."It really pays to really consider who you're buying from. Don't just be dazzled by brand names," he said.There is provincial consumer protection legislation that is intended to protect consumers like Hammond, but most consumer protection agencies don't offer help enforcing those laws in cases where damage was done by appliances, leaving consumers to take on big companies in court on their own if they want compensation, Whitehurst says. "There are some retailers and some manufacturers who are prepared to play a game with it, to see what they can get away with."In Hammond's case, the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services told Go Public, the "legal responsibility when a product causes damage to property is not one that the ministry can address. It is suggested that the consumer consider seeking legal advice about this matter."Many provinces say the same thing. For example, consumer protection agencies under the governments in B.C. and Alberta say they don't deal with compensation for damage done by appliances, and that those kinds of disputes often end up in court.But Robert Hawkes, a lawyer specializing in commercial litigation, says those who do go to court need to know they are protected beyond what's in the warranties that come with appliances. He says while consumer laws differ slightly across the country, they all include an implied warranty that goes beyond the one that's issued by the manufacturer or retailer. "So there is the warranty from the company but then there is how that interacts with the consumer protection acts … She's [Hammond] not just limited to getting the new toaster oven. If there was damage to her house that was caused when the toaster oven exploded, then she can claim that against KitchenAid."No faith in the systemA recent survey found about 68 per cent of the 2,000 respondents said it was difficult to find the appropriate government or self-regulatory agency to file complaints about goods and services they felt were misrepresented, unhealthy or unsafe.The survey — conducted by Environics Research for the Consumers Council of Canada — also found that consumers see government complaint handlers as, "only marginally effective" and have low confidence they can effectively deal with complaints. What's needed, Whitehurst says, is a better way to protect consumers: a single, national organization that goes to bat for people fighting big companies, and would track recurring problems so they can be identified and addressed — like the "super-complaints" system established in the U.K. in 2002.Public funding for that organization, he says, would also mean consumers could get support in resolving complaints.In their most recent campaign platform, the Liberals admitted the current consumer protection systems are "confusing" and have "disjointed rules, making it difficult to resolve" problems.The party promised to put a consumer advocate in place: an independent, single point of contact for consumers with complaints related to banking, telecom or transportation — but not appliances.Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is the department in charge of making that happen. In a statement, the department said it's working with the federal departments for those three areas to figure out the "mandate and scope of responsibilities" for the advocate.Asked if the advocate's scope will be expanded to cover other areas, the department said it recognizes the "opportunity exists."'Do the right thing'  Hammond says she contacted Go Public out of frustration — with the appliance company and with the government agencies set up to protect consumers.After hearing from Go Public, Whirlpool Canada negotiated compensation with Hammond. In the end, it paid her $5,000, more than eight times what she asked before going public.She says she played hardball with them, because she wanted to make a point that the company would have had to pay less if it had taken her concerns seriously in the first place."If they had been nicer, it would only have been $600." The company says it paid that amount because it wanted to "do the right thing" after not meeting Hammond's expectations.In its statement to Go Public, the company said customer safety is a top priority and its "appliances, like this countertop oven, are designed and tested to leading industry standards."The company wouldn't say what caused the fire but says, after an initial investigation, it believes it was an isolated event, and has reported the incident to Health Canada as required by law.Hammond says she's happy with the company's response and the compensation it offered, adding that she donated $1,000 of Whirlpool's money to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

  • Health
    The Canadian Press

    Ontario says more heath providers can reopen including dentists, optometrists

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  • Legendary Mexican beach resort Acapulco upended by coronavirus
    News
    Reuters

    Legendary Mexican beach resort Acapulco upended by coronavirus

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  • Quebec nurses, health care workers protest conditions amid COVID-19
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Quebec nurses, health care workers protest conditions amid COVID-19

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  • Searchers find wreckage, human remains at scene of Canadian Forces chopper crash
    News
    CBC

    Searchers find wreckage, human remains at scene of Canadian Forces chopper crash

    The wreckage of a Canadian military helicopter and human remains have been located on the bottom of the Ionian Sea by a U.S. Navy drone submersible.The Department of National Defence issued a statement today saying the recovery ship EDL Hercules arrived at the crash site and the remotely-operated REMORA III quickly located the sunken CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, about 220 nautical miles east of Catania, Italy.The recovery and salvage drone located large pieces of the fuselage in 3,143 metres of water.Human remains were also found "in the vicinity," said the statement, but DND was unable to say whether they're the missing crew.'Encouraging news'The search for more debris and remains will continue over the next few days. The military said again that it will stay on the scene as long as possible to collect as much as it can."This is encouraging news," Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, commander of Canadian military operations, said in the statement."We do not leave our fallen behind, and recovering Stalker 22's crew is of the utmost importance to all of us in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence."Retrieving the helicopter wreckage itself will also go a long way toward helping crash investigators find out what happened, he added.The relatively new Cyclone helicopter inexplicably went down on April 29 as it was approaching HMCS Fredericton, the Canadian patrol frigate it was attached to during NATO operations in the Mediterranean Sea.The accident killed six members of the military — four aircrew and two sailors.The body of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough was recovered almost immediately after the crash. The partial remains of one of the Cyclone's pilots, Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, also was retrieved from the crash scene.The remaining members on board the flight — Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins — are missing and presumed dead.Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, the commander of Canada's East Coast fleet, said the recovery operation could take some time because the salvage team will need to be precise and thorough."While early search efforts have been met with a degree of success, the operation is complex and may continue for some time before we are able to determine that all critical requirements have been met to cease recovery efforts," he said in the statement.The Cyclone maritime helicopter fleet has been effectively grounded since the accident.Flight safety investigators are required to file a preliminary report within a month of the crash, which, while not conclusive, will outline the avenues of investigation and probable causes.

  • PHOTOS: Swarms of locusts threaten India's crops
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    Yahoo News Canada

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  • Legal experts weigh in on Meng Wanzhou decision from B.C. Supreme Court
    News
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  • Ontario's police watchdog investigating death of woman who fell from west-end balcony
    News
    CBC

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    Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after a woman fell to her death from an apartment balcony in the west end on Wednesday while Toronto police officers were dealing with a domestic incident in the building. According to a news release from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), officers responded to a call at the building on High Park Avenue near Glenlake Avenue at about 5:15 p.m.While officers were inside an apartment unit on the 24th floor, they "observed a woman on the balcony," the SIU says.A short time later, the release says, "the woman fell from the balcony to the ground below."She was pronounced dead at the scene, the SIU says.The release says the woman was 29 years old, but beyond that there is no information on her identity, why she was on the balcony, or what part the officers might have played in the incident. The SIU says two investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to the case and it is urging anyone who may have information to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529."The unit is also urging anyone who may have any video evidence related to this incident to upload that video through the SIU website," the release says.The SIU is called in to investigate incidents involving the police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.

  • Canadian man finally receives Canada Post package after 8 years
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    Canadian man finally receives Canada Post package after 8 years

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  • Health
    The Canadian Press

    Toronto releases map showing neighbourhoods hardest hit by COVID-19

    TORONTO — Canada's most populous city has released a map of neighbourhoods hardest hit by COVID-19.Toronto's chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 is present in every neighbourhood, but the northwest and northeast parts of the city have the highest number of infections.Dr. Eileen de Villa notes that the map represents where patients live, not necessarily where they caught the virus.She says it's important to note that a neighbourhood having more cases of COVID-19 does not mean there's a higher risk of infection there.De Villa says the data should be used to encourage proactive testing in certain neighbourhoods and promote education, rather than stigmatizing the regions.The city is also introducing a new measure to promote physical distancing at Trinity Bellwoods Park, where thousands of people gathered on Saturday to the consternation of many: black circles will be painted on the ground to ensure people are keeping a proper distance.Toronto Public Health says the city has recorded 10,525 cases of COVID-19, and 7,814 of those patients have recovered.It says another 780 people with the virus have died.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • P.E.I.'s COVID-19 response 'heavy-handed,' says man moving to Magdalen Islands
    News
    CBC

    P.E.I.'s COVID-19 response 'heavy-handed,' says man moving to Magdalen Islands

    A man who moved from Ontario to the Magdalen Islands says when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Prince Edward Island won't be at the top of his list of places to visit because of the experience he had driving through the province.Kevin Penhorwood said he felt "vilified" after a photo of his U-Haul began circulating on social media and someone called police when he tried to collect a curbside pickup at a Charlottetown grocery store. Penhorwood and his wife purchased a new home in the Magdalen Islands before the pandemic hit."We thought it was going to be a fairly simple move, even though it was a fair distance, and then COVID happened," he said. "That threw a whole other wrench into the system."Penhorwood was living in Ontario and had to pass that province, Quebec, New Brunswick and P.E.I. to get to the Magdalen Islands. He said he contacted each province he would have to travel through to make sure he had proper documentation and permission.That included written permission to travel through Quebec, which he obtained from that province's public health office, and documentation proving he had purchased his new home and had a job as an essential worker in the Magdalen Islands."I had to speak with the RCMP to get permission to cross from Quebec into New Brunswick, which I did and I had some paperwork for that," he said."I called P.E.I. I guess more like a month ago and they said what I had from the government of Quebec and New Brunswick was enough for them," he said.According to P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety, essential travel within the province includes residents of Quebec travelling to the Magdalen Islands, which are part of that province.When Penhorwood started his trip, P.E.I. required travellers to give 36 hours' notice that they were coming to the province. Penhorwood said he gave the province 72 hours' notice, sending an email on May 17  — but he said he did not get a response back.In an email to CBC, provincial officials said they cannot comment on individual cases but know there are many reasons why people want to come to the province."Given the unexpectedly higher than anticipated volume, there has been a time delay in responding to applicants. The expected response time has recently been changed to 72 hours due to the volume of requests," the email said.Smooth sailingPenhorwood said he and his wife had a smooth trip from Ontario to New Brunswick. They stayed in a motel for a night in Quebec and provided documentation at the checkpoints along the way."We showed them the paperwork and we did our due diligence. We had a mask on while we were speaking," he said.Throughout the trip Penhorwood said he and his wife followed isolation recommendations. He said they only paid for gas at the pump, wore gloves, and used hand sanitizer and masks."It worked well until we got across the Confederation Bridge onto P.E.I. and that's where some problems began," he said.Penhorwood said he provided the person at the checkpoint with his documents. When he handed over confirmation for a Charlottetown hotel room,  he was told he couldn't stay there."We were told from that border checkpoint we were to drive directly to Souris, P.E.I., to the ferry terminal," he said.Penhorwood said the couple was told not to fill up with gas, not to use public washrooms and not to eat at restaurants if possible.Reported to policePenhorwood said he needed to set up a curbside pickup at a grocery store so he and his wife would have enough food to complete 14-days of quarantine on the Magdalen Islands.He said he parked his U-Haul at the back of the lot because it couldn't fit into a delivery parking space."A gentleman came up to me in his vehicle and asked me what I thought I was doing," he said.Penhorwood said he had no intention of going into the store and was trying to get close enough to see the number for curbside pickup so he could call the store and tell them where he parked.He said he had no issue with the person asking him what he was doing, but he was upset to see a picture of his U-Haul uploaded to Facebook."I felt kind of vilified on social media and in fact also he had actually called the police on me," he said, adding people shouldn't jump to conclusions when they see an out-of-province plate.Police confirmed to CBC no charges or fines were laid.Penhorwood and his wife slept in their car with their three dogs at the Souris terminal overnight."It was a chilly two degrees by the water that night," he said. "It wasn't a very comfortable sleep."We understood we couldn't fight city hall so to speak. So we did what we were told to do. We felt it was a bit heavy-handed."He said he had no issue getting on the ferry this past Saturday afternoon.Isolating in QuebecPenhorwood and his wife are now at their new home in the Magdalen Islands and he said things are lot different there compared to P.E.I."No phone calls here on the Magdalens. Nobody stopping by, whether it be police or community health."Penhorwood said the rules and recommendations don't seem to be uniform across the country."I really think people just need to use some common sense and I mean if they see something overtly, you know, dangerous … somebody coughing on elevator buttons, things of that nature should absolutely be reported," he said.However, if travellers are showing they're being careful, he thinks "it should be left up to them to do their thing."The rules have changed for travel again since he made his trip. Quebecers who want to drive to the Magdalen Islands in the coming weeks will have to fill out a mandatory form to be able to travel through Atlantic provinces."It is important to note that an application does not guarantee or imply approval. Travellers are strongly encouraged to get confirmation from government officials before finalizing their travel arrangements," said an email from the P.E.I. government.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • Leaving out long-term care was medicare's original sin — and we're paying for it now
    Politics
    CBC

    Leaving out long-term care was medicare's original sin — and we're paying for it now

    In 1983, as the federal and provincial governments were negotiating what would become the Canada Health Act, the Canadian Medical Association created a task force to study "the allocation of health care resources."Included in the task force's final report, released in 1984, were comments on the state of Canada's "nursing homes" — observations that now sound depressingly familiar."The standard of care provided in many nursing homes is grossly inadequate," the task force wrote. "They provide a life of immobility and tedium, and lack any guarantee of adequate basic care."Thirty-six years later, COVID-19 has exposed the deadly vulnerabilities in Canada's long-term care system. Members of the Canadian Forces, called in to deal with a crisis, have become witnesses to the dismal state of care in some facilities.The voices of those soldiers might be too hard to ignore — which means it's down to Justin Trudeau's government and its provincial counterparts to address a problem that has been too easy to avoid for far too long.'Largely invisible'"Long-term residential care is largely invisible in Canadian policy debates," wrote the authors of a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives entitled, "They Deserve Better" — in 2009.When the Canada Health Act was drafted, long-term care was not fully incorporated into it as an "insured service." At the time, the federal government's primary concern was to limit the spread of user fees.But the general neglect of long-term care might be traced back at least as far as the creation of medicare in Canada.Gregory Marchildon, a former senior civil servant in Saskatchewan and executive director of the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, said that nursing homes and long-term care were not a point of emphasis when the public medicare system was being designed in the 1960s.Back then, most senior citizens were cared for by their extended families, Marchildon said. They also didn't receive the same level of care they do now, added Pat Armstrong, the scholar who co-authored the CCPA's report. Dementia was also less of a problem at the time because fewer people were living long enough to develop cognitive issues.Sleepwalking into a catastropheIn the decades since, care for the elderly has remained a peripheral issue in our politics. In the absence of federal leadership, long-term care in Canada became a patchwork of provincial systems that mix public and private options."Other things always come up ... that squeeze long-term care," said Marchildon, citing prescription drugs and dental care as examples. "We've been kind of sleepwalking, for decades."For several years, beginning in the 1970s, the federal government provided provincial governments with funding for "extended" health care services, including long-term care homes. But there were no strings attached to that funding and eventually it was rolled into the overall health transfer.Through the 1980s and 1990s, the trend across governments was fiscal restraint and privatization, as noted in "They Deserve Better," and the federal government's share of national spending on health care fell just below 15 per cent. The royal commission in 2001, chaired by former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, proposed a dedicated federal transfer for home care — but Paul Martin's Liberal government didn't apply conditions when it made a ten-year deal to boost transfers to the provinces in 2004.Political prioritiesIt might be too easy to blame this failure entirely on governments, however. Political leaders are motivated by public concern, so it stands to reason that if governments have failed to act, it's at least in part because the public hasn't seen caring for the elderly as a priority."I think part of it is that we try not to think about old age," said Armstrong, who is engaged in a ten-year study of long-term care.Armstrong said the "sexy stuff" in health care involves fixing and curing people, while long-term care is less focused on such things. Most of the residents and staff members in long-term care facilities are female, she said, suggesting that gender also plays a role. While child care is often framed as an investment in a future labour force, long-term care has no such selling point.There's a broader cultural issue at play here that goes beyond Canada. A royal commission on care for the elderly in Australia, for instance, issued an interim report last fall with a one-word title: 'Neglect'But fixing the problems will still depend ultimately on the regulations, laws and resources that governments control.Studied to deathThe Trudeau government's attention is primarily focused on the short and medium term — reopening the economy and preparing for the possibility of a second wave of infections. But Health Minister Patty Hajdu already has expressed an interest in tackling the larger problem of long-term care."I think there should be a long-term national project to examine long-term care homes and how we can better support [them] at every level of government, to make sure people who are living there are protected and ... can live their lives in dignity and in safety," she said at a news conference in April.After this week's revelations, Trudeau himself said that "everything is on the table." And there's no shortage of research to draw on.The weaknesses in long-term care the pandemic exposed were identified in a report issued last fall by the National Institute on Ageing. Among other things, the report pointed out that staff in long-term care facilities are underpaid and overworked. Many long-term care workers have to hold down jobs at multiple facilities to make a living — something that likely contributed to the spread of COVID-19."I think that you have to start by focusing on the labour force ... the conditions of work are the conditions of care," Armstrong said.The delivery of health services falls under provincial jurisdiction — but the federal government can provide funding and make that funding conditional on the provinces agreeing to certain standards.The need for 'meaningful standards'Back in 1984, the CMA's task force recommended "the implementation of strict regulations enforcing meaningful standards" and a transition away from the use of for-profit institutions. Those proposals were broadly echoed last month in a new set of recommendations issued by Armstrong and her fellow researchers, which included a call for a halt to privatization.Amending the Canada Health Act to include long-term care and establish standards of care, staffing and employment is one option — although Armstrong points out that opening up the act for renegotiation could lead to more demands for funding in other areas. Alternatively, the federal government could just draft new legislation dedicated to long-term care.Either way, Marchildon and Armstrong said, standards will have to be enforced, with genuine oversight.Some amount of federal funding would have to follow. The Trudeau government also could provide more funding for home care; in 2017, the Liberals agreed to give the provinces $6 billion over ten years to fund such services. Infrastructure funding could be used to increase capacity.At some point, however, the Liberals might have to make difficult choices about priorities. Before the pandemic hit, the Liberals were loudly committed to tackling pharmacare. Hajdu's mandate letter also charged her with improving access to family doctors and setting national standards for mental health services. National dental care was supposed to at least get its own study.It remains to be seen whether, in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, there will be time and money enough to fix long-term care and do all of those other things.But it will be hard to argue against the idea that the time has come to fix long-term care in this country — because it's clear that work is long overdue.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Princeton's first black valedictorian says his 'heart still lies' in Canada

    When taking advanced-level courses at Princeton University, Canadian Nicholas Johnson says he was often one of the only black students in the classroom. It was a strange feeling, Johnson says, one that's familiar to many people of colour working to overcome systemic barriers at elite academic institutions. The Montreal-raised student says he was fortunate to find mentors who pushed him to pursue his studies in operations research and financial engineering.

  • Meng decision impact on Canada-China relations
    News
    Global News

    Meng decision impact on Canada-China relations

    The BC Supreme Court decision on Meng Wanzhou's 'double criminality' will continue to put Canada is a difficult spot, stuck between the U.S.A. And China, and with two Canadians imprisoned by Beijing. Aaron McArthur reports.

  • There's been an increase in loud banging noises near the Downtown Eastside, but police don't know why
    News
    CBC

    There's been an increase in loud banging noises near the Downtown Eastside, but police don't know why

    If you think there's been an increase in explosion-like sounds around downtown Vancouver lately, you're not alone. Vancouver Coun. Pete Fry has asked the city to look into the rise of the sound, which most believe are bear bangers — a noisy flare used in the wilderness to scare off bears. Fry has lived in and around the Strathcona neighbourhood for three decades and says he's never heard them more often than in the past few weeks. "Bear bangers actually do have the potential to cause harm depending on the type of model," he said."If they're being indiscriminately used throughout the city, not only is it jarring and upsetting for folks, but somebody might actually get hurt."  All across downtownWhile the noises appear to be concentrated near Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside, they've also been heard in Chinatown, Crosstown and as far as the West End at all hours of the day, causing plenty of angst in several communities."We're all hearing it and it's interrupting our sleep. You never know when it's going to go off" said Heather Donily, a Strathcona co-op resident."Is that a bear banger, a firework, a gunshot? There's a sense of panic when you first hear it."Donily said members of her co-op have let police know about the noises, and that it is bringing extra worry during a time where crime in the area has increased.But she also understands it's not the easiest problem to solve.     "I'm really not sure how the police are supposed to be dealing with it. By the time they would get out there, they wouldn't be able to do anything about it anyways."Police say call 311 Vancouver Police Department Sgt. Aaron Roed said despite social media comments, they haven't received more complaints about bear bangers than usual."But this is something we're taking very seriously, because we don't want people misinterpreting this for shots fired," he said. While Fry said he's heard speculation the bangers are used to help arrange drug deals, Roed said, the police don't know why they're being used.However, both say people should call Vancouver's 311 phone line, saying that more complaints will lead to better data — and hopefully, enough clues over who is behind the noises. In the meantime, Donily says she'll continue to sleep on edge. "It's really anxiety inducing," she said, "hearing things that could be gunshots going off in your neighbourhood."

  • Contract to clear B.C.'s Big Bar landslide balloons to $52.5M as crews race to allow for salmon migration
    News
    CBC

    Contract to clear B.C.'s Big Bar landslide balloons to $52.5M as crews race to allow for salmon migration

    The cost of the federal contract for clearing out the Big Bar landslide has tripled to $52.5 million as crews try to meet the "very, very difficult" goal of allowing salmon to migrate naturally along the Fraser River in B.C.'s southern Interior.Peter Kiewit Sons' contract with the federal government has now been amended 17 times since it was awarded to the construction giant on Dec. 31 at an original value of $17.6 million.On a call with reporters earlier this week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) project leader Gwil Roberts said Kiewit has fulfilled the terms of the original contract, but it became obvious early on that more work would be necessary."We knew from the start that this is a very difficult place to work and there's a mass amount of material that has landed in this river. We're talking about 75,000 cubic metres of rock," Roberts said."To remove enough of that to restore natural fish passage … it was a very, very difficult objective and that's the challenge that is still facing us."In the meantime, with the annual salmon runs fast approaching, "what we realized in a pretty timely fashion here was that we needed other measures for fish to move over the slide site," Roberts said.That includes building a concrete fish ladder and installing a pneumatic tube system to help salmon move past the rock fall.The Big Bar landslide happened in a remote area north of Lillooet some time in November or December 2018, but it was not reported to Fisheries and Oceans Canada until June 2019.The landslide completely blocked migration routes for several salmon runs, and prompted officials at multiple levels of government to organize a rescue mission that saw thousands of salmon lifted by helicopter across the rocks that blocked their migration route.But a large number of those salmon died before reaching their spawning grounds, and federal scientists have warned some chinook and sockeye populations face a "meaningful chance of extinction" as a result.2019 federal contracts worth $5MLast year, DFO signed contracts worth more than $5 million with other companies for work related to the landslide, according to federal government documents obtained through an Access to Information request.But none of the rocks or debris that had fallen into the Fraser had been cleared away before Kiewit crews began work on the site this year, a spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada said this week."Much of the work in 2019 focused on manipulating existing rocks through the use of hydraulics and small bursts to create resting pools to restore immediate fish passage," Kavitha Palanisamy wrote in an email to CBC.So far, DFO has spent $28.6 million on the project, Palanisamy said. That total doesn't include spending by other government agencies, including the provincial forests ministry, which has awarded contracts for everything from portable toilets to heavy equipment rentals.Kiewit has made some notable progress on the slide this year, including blasting work that removed portions of the obstruction from the river.Meanwhile, there was an unexpected rock fall earlier this month on the project site, bringing down a bit less than two cubic metres of rock. WorkSafeBC is investigating, and Kiewit has now installed mesh curtains to protect workers from further incidents, according to the latest DFO update.Kiewit is currently awaiting trial on a charge of criminal negligence causing the death of Sam Fitzpatrick, who was killed by a falling rock in 2009 on another Kiewit worksite near Toba Inlet on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast.

  • Newlyweds deal with double diagnosis of rare cancer
    Health
    CBC

    Newlyweds deal with double diagnosis of rare cancer

    The newlywed couple can only describe it as "the worst luck ever."Luke and Lindsey Belding are coming to terms with each receiving a rare leukemia diagnosis, completely unrelated to each other."Next to impossible," said Lindsey Belding, describing the odds from her hospital bed in Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre."We've had friends try to run numbers, the doctors have tried to put it into words, but there's really no way to put a number to it just because it's so rare that two people would wind up with the same exact cancer." Luke Belding was born and raised in Sussex, southern New Brunswick. After moving stateside for university he met Lindsey, who is from Massachusetts, in 2013.The two dated for several years, eventually making plans to move to Winnipeg. Luke would pursue his PhD studying climate change effects on sturgeon. Lindsey would start her career as a pharmacist. Then came Luke's cancer diagnosis. "In January 2018, he was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia," said Lindsey. WATCH | Newlyweds deal with double diagnosis of rare cancer:Luke was 27 when he received the news.Disease more common in children, older people"It's the type of leukemia that messes with the immune cells in your body. It makes it so your body can't effectively fight off the disease," said Luke. The couple said the cancer diagnosis was a shock, given that it normally presents in children under 15 or adults over 65. "The doctors were all pretty vocal about that point," said Luke. "They said, 'It was pretty rare for someone like you to get this.'"A stem cell donation from Luke's brother gave him a fighting chance, and enough strength to tie the knot."We actually got married at the sanctuary here in the hospital after he had his first transplant, while he was recovering," said Lindsey. But Luke relapsed, and a second stem cell treatment from a separate donor was needed. Luckily, one was found. Luke recovered and was set to be discharged from the hospital on May 7, his 29th birthday. That didn't happen."Lindsey started to feel unwell," said Luke. 'It's a freak chance'Fever and a sore throat were enough of a concern that doctors decided to thoroughly examine her out of fear an illness could compromise Luke's weakened immune system.On May 13, Lindsey was diagnosed with the same B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia as her husband. The two spent 24 hours together in the hospital before Luke was sent home and Lindsey was kept in the hospital to start her cancer treatments at 28 years old."We've had the worst luck ever," said Lindsey.Because of the pandemic, they haven't been allowed to see each other since that day. "It's a freak chance," said Lindsey, who says chalking the situation up to awful odds is really the only way to process it. She started her chemotherapy earlier this week."Overall, I feel pretty good," said Lindsey. "Some side-effects here and there, but all things considered I feel pretty fortunate that I'm not worse off." Both husband and wife admit that some days are tougher than others. Being unable to see family members from New Brunswick, or the U.S., given border restrictions because of COVID-19, has been extremely difficult. But they do take comfort in Luke's previous experience with treatments. Fundraiser for health-care bills raised more than $40KDespite not seeing each other, the two keep in contact "constantly" with text messages "all day every day," and the occasional video chat. "It's a lot of emotional support and that's what you need with this sort of thing. Just someone to be there with you even if it's just sending smiley faces back and forth," said Lindsey. Since neither of them can work, Luke's brother started fundraising online to help pay the bills, raising more than $40,000 over the last five days. "It's been a huge upswell of support for us," said Luke. Lindsey said she was humbled by the support."It puts a lot of our faith back in humanity, especially during a time when things are so uncertain for everyone," she said.With two more treatments to go for Lindsey, Luke said the best-case scenario is the two can be reunited in about a month. They are counting down the days when it may be possible to see each other.  "We're taking it day by day," said Lindsey. "One step at a time."

  • Former MP among more northern Sask. residents denied medical services in south
    News
    CBC

    Former MP among more northern Sask. residents denied medical services in south

    More stories have emerged from northern Saskatchewan residents, including former MP Georgina Jolibois, who say they have been denied medical appointments in the southern part of the province after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the far north region.Northern residents starting raising concerns last week, saying they were denied appointments for optometry and physiotherapy because they were from the north. Some said they were also turned away from hotel rooms. La Loche resident Georgina Jolibois, a former MP for the federal riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River and former Mayor of La Loche, said she was denied an optometrist appointment Wednesday morning. "It is a humiliating experience, especially when I've followed the rules, I followed the protocol, I'm helping to flatten the curve, practicing social distancing," she said, adding that she has been a customer of the business for about 20 years. "It's just a very uncomfortable situation to be in." Jolibois said she was told by the optometry business that she could not get an appointment until travel restrictions between the north and the south of the province are lifted.Travel restrictions do apply to the northwest, where there are currently 55 active cases, but residents are allowed to travel south for medical appointments — including those that are non-urgent.Sheila Spence, executive director of Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists, said last week she understood that northerners could only travel south for urgent medical care.She said at the time the association doesn't condone turning away patients based only on the fact that they are from the north. She said it's likely optometrists are dealing with a lot of backlog.Access should be provided: SHA officialSusan Shaw, the chief medical health officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), clarified the authority's stance at a news conference Wednesday.She said she is aware of some medical services turning away northern residents, but none that are part of the SHA.  "People should be able to access services regardless of location as long as they are asymptomatic and the risks are managed," Shaw said.  "Absolutely in an emergency or urgent care situation then we wouldn't want any barriers to exist for anybody."Jolibois said northern residents are being treated unfairly and discriminated against. "Many, many people are being denied … and my worry is that people that need to get to their appointments should be allowed to go and get the help they need."She said Premier Scott Moe could help "tremendously" by addressing the issue both behind the scenes and by addressing it publicly.La Loche resident says she was treated like 'walking disease'La Loche resident Georgina Park-Janvier said she started calling dental clinics down south after her son started experiencing severe pain from wisdom teeth. She said the first clinic she called was willing to take her appointment until she declared where she was from. Then then the answer became no. "The way she said it was like we are all [a] walking disease," said Park-Janvier. "The next few places I called my first question was 'do you guys take in anybody from the north, especially La Loche,' and the response was no." Park-Janvier said she tried clinics in Prince Albert, Meadow Lake, North Battleford and Saskatoon and was told multiple times her son's case would not be taken."Just because we're from the north and we have COVID cases doesn't mean everybody is affected," said Park-Janvier. "There's people in town who are being cautious ... this is a town where we are a big family but there's a few that make us look bad."She said she eventually gave up calling, having concluded no clinic would take her son's case. Park-Janvier is now worried her daughter, who is pregnant with a due date in one month, could be affected. "How long are we going to be denied?" said Park-Janvier. "Is she going to be denied medical services? Is she going to be denied rooms?"

  • Our dismal relationship with China just got a whole lot worse
    News
    CBC

    Our dismal relationship with China just got a whole lot worse

    Meng Wanzhou lost the first round in her bid to avoid extradition to the United States on Wednesday. But it's clear the B.C. court ruling doesn't help the Trudeau government much either.Relations between Canada and China are arguably at their lowest point since the prime minister's father was prime minister and established diplomatic ties back in the early 1970s. The ruling already has led to warnings about blowback from Beijing — especially for detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.Both are accused of violating China's national security. Unlike Meng, they aren't free to move about — as she did this week while posing with a bevy of friends and colleagues on the courthouse steps in Vancouver for a photographer.Kovrig and Spavor remain in solitary confinement. Neither man has been seen, in person or virtually, by Canadian consular officials since January.Bad news for Kovrig and SpavorFormer Canadian ambassador to Beijing David Mulroney said he expects their plight to get even worse."My takeaway is that this (decision) is not good news for the two Michaels," he said Wednesday. "That's human and personal. It affects two Canadians who are victims in this, who are being held hostage, and we can never forget that."The two men are caught in the middle of a diplomatic dispute not of their making. They're the human faces of a tug-of-war between two superpowers that continues to stretch Canada to its diplomatic limits.The Chinese government has loudly demanded the release of Huawei's chief financial officer, and has warned just as loudly that its relations with Canada will not improve until she's free.The reaction Wednesday from the Chinese embassy in Ottawa didn't stray from those themes. In a statement, the embassy accused Canada of assisting the Trump administration by "arbitrarily taking forceful measures" against Meng in a bold attempt to prevent her telecommunications company from making inroads into new markets."The purpose of the United States is to bring down Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies, and Canada has been acting in the process as an accomplice of the United States," the statement read."The whole case is entirely a grave political incident."From the U.S. Justice Department came the briefest of acknowledgements that anything had happened at all in the Meng case.Our pandemic PPE lifeline"The United States thanks the Government of Canada for its continued assistance pursuant to the U.S.-Canada Extradition Treaty in this ongoing matter."As important as the fate of the two Michaels is for Canada's diplomatic efforts, it's not the only problem the court decision could aggravate.Canada now depends on China for much of the personal protective equipment needed by front-line health care workers in the battle to contain COVID-19. Access to that equipment is not guaranteed.China is a major export destination. Renewed trade sanctions on Canadian food and agricultural products amount to another potential threat.Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne insists Canada continues to take principled stands on China despite the Meng case — by supporting Australia's call for an independent investigation into the origins of the pandemic and by joining other western countries in condemning China's proposed national security law, which will allow its state police to deal harshly with pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.Sanctions coming?U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress on Wednesday that the administration no longer considers the city to be autonomous — a decision that opens the door to U.S. sanctions on the Chinese officials working to eliminate the last vestiges of Hong Kong's independence.The Canadian Senate is considering its own bill to impose sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against the Chinese officials violating human rights. The bill, sponsored by senators Leo Housakos and Thanh Hai Ngo, sparked a furious response from China's ambassador, who warned of severe counter-measures if it goes ahead.And then there's that pending decision on whether to allow Huawei to take part in Canada's 5G network — a decision that's been moving through government channels slower than the processors in those early laptop computers.If there's anything positive to take away from China's growing assertiveness on the world stage and its denial of human rights, it's that Canada isn't alone in pushing back, said Sen. Peter Boehm, a senior diplomat before his appointment to the upper chamber in 2018."As we move forward, we have to do it in solidarity with like-minded countries who have similar concerns ... on Hong Kong, the threats to Taiwan, the claims to the South China Seas and  the suppression of human rights," he said.A distracted superpowerDavid Mulroney offered another glimmer of light. China, he said, is picking a lot of fights these days — including its increasingly tense border standoff with India in the Himalayas and its handling of the pandemic."Their ability to focus on any one irritant is limited," he said.Mulroney's advice to the Trudeau government is to not overreact to Wednesday's ruling, to allow the judgment to speak for itself.More than anything else, he said, that would underscore the independence of Canada's judiciary from the kind of political direction Chinese authorities take for granted.

  • Following disturbing care home revelations, questions remain about extent of issues
    Health
    Global News

    Following disturbing care home revelations, questions remain about extent of issues

    Global's Amber McGuckin speaks with a former care home worker who says she quit because of the poor quality of care she witnessed, which was sometimes outright abuse.

  • News
    Canadian Press Videos

    Disney, SeaWorld to reopen theme parks in July

    Disney and Seaworld say they will re-open Florida theme parks in June and July, hoping to reverse a months-long tide of lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. (May 27)