If you were on the fence about getting a mini pig as a pet, let this video help you decide! Check it out! Full credit: @percivald_piglet (Instagram)
If you were on the fence about getting a mini pig as a pet, let this video help you decide! Check it out! Full credit: @percivald_piglet (Instagram)
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
Un convoi composé d'un autobus et d'une vingtaine de voitures s'est rendu, le 3 mars, à l'Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé de Laval pour manifester son appui envers le personnel de la santé. «Ça fait maintenant un an qu'ils sont au travail à combattre cette pandémie, mentionne Sonia Ethier, présidente de la Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) qui a organisé l'événement. Nous voulions saluer leur travail et leur rappeler à quel point ils sont importants.» L'événement était organisé conjointement avec la Fédération de la Santé du Québec (FSQ-CSQ) et la Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ). «Les employés des services de garde d'urgence ont aussi fait un travail remarquable, ajoute Mme Ethier. Ils arrivent tôt et partent tard du travail, tout en ayant une responsabilité importante. Ils travaillent sans relâche au détriment de leur santé et au risque de ramener le virus à la maison.» Les membres présents sur place n'ont d'ailleurs pas manqué l'occasion de faire du bruit à plusieurs reprises pour se faire entendre par leurs collègues qui travaillent à l'intérieur des installations de la Cité-de-la-Santé. La CSQ a aussi profité de cette occasion pour rappeler que les négociations des nouvelles conventions collectives n'avançaient pas. Les organisations syndicales souhaitent d'ailleurs que le gouvernement provincial améliore leurs conditions de travail. «Après un an et demi de négociations, il n’y a toujours aucun article de signé, affirme Claire Montour, présidente de la FSQ-CSQ. Nous avons rejeté à l’unanimité une proposition globale. Nous n’avons pas fait ça par caprice, mais bien parce que nous voulons obtenir de meilleures conditions de travail, une vraie reconnaissance du travail d’infirmière, d'infirmière auxiliaire et d'inhalothérapeute.» Mme Ethier précise quant à elle que le regroupement syndical avait réajusté ses demandes au printemps dernier pour prendre en compte le contexte économique auquel la province doit faire face en raison de la pandémie. Cela n'a toutefois pas mené vers un débouché dans les négociations. «On est ici pour demander du respect pour notre personnel, conclut-elle. On veut un ratio personnel-patients, des équipes stables et la fin du temps supplémentaire obligatoire. On veut arrêter de se promener dans tous les sens et mettre fin aux agences de placement. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Parents accessing child-care services are now eligible to receive a one-time $561 per child under the new working parents benefit, unveiled by Alberta Children’s Services last week. The benefit is meant to help parents cover the costs of childcare, including licenced and unlicenced daycares, day homes and pre-schools, used between April and December 2020. “I think there will be quite a few (local families) who will benefit from this program,” said Alysha Martin, Beaverlodge Daycare executive director. Martin said Beaverlodge Daycare currently has 55 to 60 children enrolled but is uncertain as to how many families will benefit from the program, because it depends on their income. The $561 may be a small help, but better than nothing, she said. Families with annual household incomes of $100,000 or less and have receipts for three months of childcare between last April 1 and Dec. 31 will be eligible, according to the Alberta government. If local families have thrown out their receipts, they may still be able to benefit. “They can always get a receipt from us upon request,” Martin said. Families can apply for the benefit with a MyAlberta Digital ID at alberta.ca/Working- ParentsBenefit now, with applications closing March 31, according to Alberta Children’s Services. Families of up to 192,000 children across the province may be able to benefit from the program, according to the Alberta government. According to Alberta Children’s Services, the benefit has a $108 million budget and is an expansion on the critical worker benefit, which provides $1,200 payments to front-line and essential workers. As of Feb. 12, 2,739 daycare programs across the province remain open while 102 are closed. Childcare operators across the province have also received more than $100 million in relief to go toward meeting health, cleaning and safety guidelines, according to the Alberta government. Martin said Beaverlodge Daycare has received some financial support via grants during the pandemic. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Nova Scotia reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday after completing a record number of daily tests for the second day in a row. Nova Scotia Health's labs completed 6,875 tests on Tuesday, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Wellness. That's up from 5,146 tests on Monday. "This is an indication of the strong uptake in testing among Nova Scotians," Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said in the release. "Let's continue to make testing a part of our regular COVID-19 prevention measures." Two of the new cases are in the central zone, while the third is in the northern zone. All are close contacts of previously reported cases. There are now 30 known active cases in the province. Four people are currently in hospital related to COVID-19, with two of them in intensive care. Vaccine rollout on track As of Tuesday, 35,291 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province, and 13,512 Nova Scotians had received their second shot. Next week, the province will receive 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by Health Canada. It's slated to be used on Nova Scotians aged 50 to 64 on a first-come, first-served basis. The province announced Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines will be made available in pharmacies, with four locations set to open prototype clinics this month. Vaccine eligibility will also expand to include more health-care workers. The province is still expecting all Nova Scotians to have an opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of September. On Wednesday, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said the maximum interval between the first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should increase from three weeks to four months. Since the first doses of all three available vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. It's unclear if or how that would impact Nova Scotia's vaccine rollout plan. A person enters the Halifax Forum Multi-Purpose Centre on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, for a COVID-19 test.(Richard Woodbury/CBC) Asymptomatic rapid testing Asymptomatic rapid testing sites continue to be set up across the province. Nova Scotia Health is holding asymptomatic rapid testing at the following locations: Thursday, March 4 at the Spryfield Lions Rink and rec centre at 111 Drysdale Rd. in Halifax from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The entrance to the gymnasium is on the left hand side of the building. Friday, March 5 at the Spryfield Lions Rink and rec centre from noon to 7 p.m. Friday, March 5 at the Halifax Convention Centre, Argyle Street entrance, from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 6 at the Halifax Convention Centre, Argyle Street entrance, from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. As well, the province's mobile testing unit will be available for drop-in or pre-booked appointments at the following locations: Thursday, March 4 to Saturday, March 6 at the Brooklyn Civic Centre at 995 NS-215 in Brooklyn from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Testing will also take place on Sunday, March 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, March 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the New Minas Fire Department at 6 Jones Road in New Minas. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
HALIFAX — Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan released a plan Wednesday outlining conditions for Indigenous lobster fishers to participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during commercial seasons. The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs, however, said Ottawa's latest overture is "unacceptable." Jordan said her plan would allow moderate livelihood fishing activity during the commercial, federally regulated season, through licences issued under the Fisheries Act. She said her idea wouldn't increase the total amount of fishing conducted in the country's waters. "I need to make sure the stocks are health and sustainable," she said in an interview Wednesday. "And we have the seasons for that purpose: to make sure that this is orderly, it's regulated and it does meet our conservation objectives." The plan would also allow First Nations communities to sell moderate livelihood catches to processors, which is currently illegal under Nova Scotia regulations. "The difference is we are now authorizing a moderate livelihood fishery, which is completely separate from a commercial fishery," Jordan said. She said the plan — which she said can be long-term or yearly — can be used while First Nations communities and the government negotiate an overarching Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Indigenous fishing rights. She said there are a number of banked licences that can be used to give access to First Nations communities, adding that she hopes there can be some voluntary buyouts of existing commercial licences. The Fisheries Department, she said, will work with First Nations communities to develop moderate livelihood fishing plans that could be unique to each community. The minister said the interim plan is a "path" that is "flexible and adaptable" and is based in the implementation of First Nations treaty rights, the conservation and sustainability of fish stocks, and transparent management of the fishery. The Sipekne'katik and Potlotek First Nations have launched lawsuits against the Nova Scotia government, with both saying existing regulations interfere with their treaty right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia argue that a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. That decision was later clarified by the court, however, which said Ottawa could regulate the Mi'kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack said his band is not impressed with the government's new plan. The First Nation launched its own moderate livelihood fishery last fall in St. Mary's Bay, outside of the federally regulated season. Members of the band encountered violence from non-Indigenous residents that resulted in the destruction of a lobster pound and the burning of a band member's van. Sack said it was "kind of the same old stuff" when asked about Jordan's plan. "We are strongly for not having the department issue our licences and we want to exercise our right and have our own season," he said. "It's way off the mark." Sack said Sipekne'katik plans to go ahead with its own fishery this spring, likely in June. Meanwhile, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs said in a news release on Wednesday the plan by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was "unacceptable." "Minister Bernadette Jordan ... has also made unilateral decisions and asserted a position ... having full control over our Rights-based fishery. This is unacceptable. "DFO is continuing to impose rules without consultation with, accommodation of, or agreement with, the Assembly." Gordon Beaton, president of Local 4 of the Maritime Fishermen's Union, said commercial fishers are open to allowing First Nations participation as long as any agreement adheres to three primary pillars: in-season fishing only, no overall increased fishing, and the same basic rules for all fishers. "If there is some different kind of access, the industry has no problem with that as long as it's under the same rules," Beaton said. "As always, it will be what's in the (plan's) details." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
The Acho Dene Koe First Nation (ADKFN) in Fort Liard has released its shortlist of nominees for its chief and council election set to take place on April 26. The First Nation posted the final list on Facebook on Tuesday night after nominations closed. There are a total of three eligible candidates running for the chief position, including current chief Eugene Hope. There are six council positions available, with 13 candidates running for a spot. Two candidates – previous ADKFN chief Floyd Bertrand, who was running for the position again, as well as Marlene Timbre, who was running for councillor – were both deemed ineligible according to the chief electoral officer's notice. The election has been postponed twice due to the pandemic. Federally introduced legislation allowed six-month extensions for First Nations elections to ensure leadership stability during the crisis. The election was further delayed by a cluster of COVID-19 cases that saw Fort Liard shut down all non-essential businesses in January, including ADKFN’s office. In order to provide time for those interested in running to pick up nomination forms, pay off outstanding dues, and ask questions at the First Nation office, the election date was duly changed from April 14 to April 26. Appeals regarding nominations must be made no later than March 9. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - La vaccination contre la COVID-19 semble prendre son envol sans trop de turbulences, malgré quelques petits problèmes dans les premiers jours de la campagne, notamment au site de vaccination des Galeries Normandie. En raison d’un problème informatique, entre 200 et 300 places excédentaires ont été ouvertes pour des rendez-vous cette fin de semaine au site de vaccination des Galeries Normandie. Le Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal a donc dû contacter les personnes qui s’étaient inscrites à ces rendez-vous afin de les déplacer. Cette opération a nécessité le blocage de la prise de rendez-vous au site des Galeries Normandie pendant quelques heures mardi. Une lectrice du JDV avait contacté le JDV en constatant qu’on ne lui offrait par la possibilité de se faire vacciner à cet endroit. Le CIUSSS explique avoir pris le temps de joindre tous les usagers pour lesquels il fallait déplacer le rendez-vous avant de rouvrir les inscriptions aux Galeries Normandie. La résidante qui avait contacté le JDV a confirmé, par la suite, qu’elle avait finalement pu prendre rendez-vous pour sa vaccination aux Galeries Normandie. Des scènes de cohue avaient aussi été rapportées dans les premières heures de la campagne. On avait notamment vu des files importantes se former devant le centre de vaccination la semaine dernière.. L’approvisionnement en doses devrait s’accélérer dans les prochaines semaines, alors que le Canada vient d’approuver un troisième vaccin, celui d’Astra Zeneca. D’ici la mi-mars, le vaccin sera d’ailleurs également offert en pharmacie a annoncé le gouvernement du Québec. Si vous faites partie des groupes prioritaires déjà appelés, et que vous désirez prendre rendez-vous EN LIGNE pour vous faire vacciner, cliquez ici. Si vous faites partie des groupes prioritaires déjà appelés, et que vous désirez prendre rendez-vous PAR TÉLÉPHONE pour vous faire vacciner, cliquez ici. Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia will get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine next week. Health officials said today the upcoming shipment must be used by April 2 and therefore all 13,000 doses will be administered to residents across the province aged 50 to 64 years starting March 15. The vaccine will be given out at 26 locations in Nova Scotia on a first come, first served basis. Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Tuesday that it not be administered to people 65 years of age or older. Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine was found to be 62 per cent effective in clinical trials, unlike the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines, which boast effectiveness rates of over 90 per cent. Officials say the delivery of the new vaccine won’t interfere with the scheduled rollout of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines for people aged 80 years and up. Health officials in Nova Scotia reported three new cases of COVID-19 today, all of which involve close contacts of previously reported cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Contrary to what “Game of Thrones” might have you believe, not all dragons are agents of destruction. In the newest offering from Walt Disney Animation, “ Raya and the Last Dragon,” they are kind, full of magic and, when needed, the saviours of humanity. Five hundred years ago, we’re told in a prologue, dragons sacrificed themselves for humans when a mystical evil called the Druun passed through the lands of Kumandra and turned many to stone. The kingdom splintered into factions — Tail, Talon, Heart, Fang and Spine — who perpetually teeter on the edge of war. Sisu, the only remaining dragon, hasn't been seen in five centuries. Raya (voiced by “Star Wars’” Kelly Marie Tran) is the young Princess of Heart. Her father (voiced by Daniel Dae Kim) is the Chief who hopes to unite all the territories. It doesn’t go as planned, he’s turned to stone, and Raya is set on a dangerous quest to track down the dragon who she believes is their last hope. The film comes from the odd but inspired pairing of co-directors Carlos López Estrada (who made the Sundance breakout “Blindspotting”) and Disney veteran Don Hall (“Big Hero 6”) and was co-written by Vietnamese playwright Qui Nguyen and “Crazy Rich Asians” co-writer Adele Lim. The result is a sweet-natured and wonderfully imaginative fantasy adventure that has shades of “Indiana Jones” and is suitable for the whole family. “Raya” gets off to a bit of a slow start but stick with it. Once she sets out on her mission, things pick up considerably thanks in no small part to the introduction of Sisu, played by Awkwafina, who doesn’t try to disguise her wonderfully distinctive voice. Raya discovers Sisu is not quite the hero she is looking for, but that’s just part of the journey. Along the way their brood grows with others displaced and orphaned by the Druun and Raya must confront her main foe, a Princess from another land, Namaari (Gemma Chan) who is part of the reason things went awry in the first place. The animation is both stunning and very computer generated. Sometimes extended shots of the humans talking can start to feel like the uncanny valley and it makes you miss the hand drawn elements of the form. But hand drawn animation also wouldn’t be able to create the stunning vistas and astoundingly lifelike water. It’s a compromise and “Raya” is undoubtedly a visual feast. It’s also the best kind of feminist film in that it’s one that doesn’t clobber you with the message. Raya is allowed to be awesome without the script shouting about it all the time and it’s better for it. It does however hammer home a message about trust, which, you know, is fair enough. And it has chosen to have yet another middle-aged semi-dystopian female leader bedecked in all white with a severe gray haircut (Namaari’s mom, voiced by Sandra Oh). It’s not that it’s inherently bad, it’s just a lazy choice for a film that is otherwise so inventive. “Raya” is also notable for the simple fact that it features predominately Asian American voice actors — a first for Disney Animation. The animated “Mulan” had a fair amount too, but a lot were white actors voicing Chinese roles. Will that make a difference to the kids watching? Probably not at the moment, but down the line the authenticity will be appreciated. “Raya and the Last Dragon,” a Walt Disney Pictures release, in theatres and on Disney+ Friday, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for “Some violence, action and thematic elements.” Running time: 114 minutes. Three stars out of four. ___ MPAA Definition of PG: Parental guidance suggested. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — A well-known Quebec lawyer says she's mounting a legal challenge to provincial laws that don't grant common-law spouses the same rights as married couples in the event of a breakup. Anne-France Goldwater said today Quebec family law treats unmarried women as having less value than their married counterparts because they aren't entitled to the same alimony and property rights. Goldwater previously argued the issue all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in 2013 that Quebec's family law regime was constitutional and did not have to be changed, even though the court found there was discrimination against common-law couples. The case, known as "Eric and Lola," involved a woman and her former lover, a prominent Quebec businessman who contended he should not have to pay alimony because they were never legally married. Goldwater, who represented "Lola" in the case, has filed a new motion in Quebec Superior Court contesting the constitutionality of all the articles relating to family law in Quebec's Civil Code as well as the section of the provincial Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that deals with rights and obligations of married and civil union spouses. The case she's arguing concerns a common-law couple called "Nathalie" and "Pierre," who were together 30 years and have four children. Goldwater told reporters today the years that have passed since the Supreme Court of Canada decision have reinforced the need for the law to change. She notes in her court submission that successive provincial governments have promised to reform the province's family law without ever doing so. "Quebec family law perceives non-married women and their children as having less value than married families and it's even worse for women who are common law without children," Goldwater said. "Why are Quebec women not equal under Quebec law?" she said. The 2013 Supreme Court decision noted that while there was discrimination toward common-law couples, it could be allowed under a section of the Canadian charter which allows for the limitation of rights in certain circumstances. Goldwater says she believes the current situation represents a form of "systemic sexism" that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which she says has had a disproportionate impact on women. "Why do we have to have a pandemic to convince the leaders that women are economically disadvantaged?" she said. Under Quebec's current law, common-law spouses aren't entitled to alimony, division of the family patrimony or the right to occupy the home after the split. While any children stemming from the relationship have a right to support, the fact that the parent doesn't get alimony or a share of the wealth will result in a lower standard of living for the children, Goldwater says. She argues this creates "two sets of rules" for children: one for those whose parents married, and another for children whose parents were common-law spouses. Like others before it, Premier Francois Legault's government has promised to reform the province's family law, which has not been overhauled since 1980. Goldwater says the change could be made with the "stroke of the pen," namely by adding de facto spouses to the definition of couple and family, as was done for same-sex spouses when they were granted the same rights and benefits as heterosexual married couples in Quebec. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press
Identity management company Okta Inc said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy its smaller rival Auth0 in a $6.5 billion all-stock deal, one of the largest software deals so far this year. Okta expects to leverage Auth0's customer identification product to accelerate growth in the $55 billion identity market, as COVID-19 has pushed companies of all sizes to shift to remote working and interact with clients online. Both Okta and Auth0's cloud-based offerings help verify and secure the identities of an organization's workforce and customers before they can access certain applications or websites.
Editor's note: This story is part of a series on the LGBTQ+ community in the Ottawa Valley. A Friday night art club in Pembroke not only teaches macrame, watercolour painting and embroidery for LGBTQ+ youth, it has also become a supportive place to “bare wounds,” according to one of the participants. Ky Crosby, 16, has been attending Rainbow Art Club at Studio Dreamshare since January this year. “We were baring wounds ... showing each other what we have been through. We were each other’s support systems,” Crosby said of the 26 participants. Crosby, from Petawawa, admitted being scared during the first meeting but found the group to be kind and accepting. “It changed me. I love it there,” Crosby said. Cameron Montgomery, a full-time artist and owner of the gallery, has been leading the art club online since the summer of 2020. The art club was made possible through a federal grant of $20,000 in partnership with Pflag Renfrew and United Way East Ontario. “(The youth) say ‘this is the highlight of my week.’ They really get value from it. It’s become a safe space for (LGBTQ+) youth,” Montgomery said. Participants receive boxes of craft supplies sent in the mail. There’s a different project every week. Crosby identifies as a lesbian and uses the pronouns they/them. “A few months ago, I told (my parents) I was gender fluid. Some days I’d feel more masculine, other days feminine, some days I’d feel in-between.” “I didn’t know if people would understand it,” Crosby said. When asked about the challenges LGBTQ+ individuals face, Crosby admitted it’s heartbreaking to see stigma. “I believe in 44 countries you could be killed (for being LGBTQ+). If anything, I just want to open people’s minds. Let them know that we are people, we feel things, we want the same things they do,” they said. Small-minded people, according to Crosby, are a “common threat": people who are not understanding and not willing to understand. “I also believe that within ourselves, we ourselves are big threats. We undermine, we doubt ourselves. We really need to let our guard down and allow other people to see in,” Crosby observed. “We all want to love, we’re scared. We all want to be happy at the end of the day,” they said. For more information, visit the following websites: http://www.pflagrenfrewcounty.ca and https://www.studiodreamshare.com Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
The Town of Kensington is reminding snowmobilers in the area that sidewalks and roads are off-limits. The Kensington police chief and the mayor have both noticed snowmobiles that aren't keeping to their designated paths within the community, and they want to raise awareness about what's allowed. "I suspect that it could be just a matter of not being ... informed as well as they need to be and not recognizing that there's a safe corridor to travel off the streets in Kensington," said Mayor Rowan Caseley. The mayor believes having snowmobiles travelling on the sidewalks is dangerous. "You could be hitting somebody that's walking," he said. "It also packs down the snow on the sidewalks and makes it slippery for the other people." Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley stands by the sign that tells snowmobilers where they can safely travel in the town. (Laura Meader/CBC) Casely stressed that the town and its businesses do appreciate having snowmobiles around. "We do have a corridor marked off between the train station and the downtown … where operators can travel and get to the downtown core to get their gas and coffee, etc.," he said. "Travelling on streets is certainly frowned upon — and I think it's actually probably illegal." New snowmobilers less familiar? The president of the Kensington Area Snowmobile Association said the snowmobilers who are cutting away from the designated corridor could be unaware of where they're allowed to go. "We're seeing a lot of new snowmobiling this year, a lot of people that haven't snowmobiled in years or haven't snowmobiled at all," said Russell Jollimore. "These people need to be made aware of the dos and don'ts." Jollimore said that as soon as the Kensington police chief spoke to him about the issue, he posted a reminder on the group's Facebook page. He noted that the town has set aside parking for machines near the gas station and the train station. "People can walk, you know, a few hundred feet to get to their restaurant or down for their coffee or or whatever. They don't need to be going up and down the side of the road. That's just not acceptable." More from CBC P.E.I.
The province's top court says a sentencing judge went too far in banishing a man with a past conviction for manslaughter from a southern Saskatchewan village. Nikki Sixx Serafino pleaded guilty in September 2020 to a charge of criminal harassment, following what a court document called "a campaign of harassing and intimidating conduct." That included ensuring people in the village of Abernethy knew he had killed before, the court document says. He was sentenced to one year, less 71 days for time on remand, for the harassment, to be followed by 18 months probation. The probation order included, among other things, a condition that prohibited him from being in the village of Abernethy "unless he has the prior written permission of his probation officer or designate or the court," according to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruling. Serafino appealed that term of his probation order. The appeal court agreed and struck that provision. 2012 manslaughter conviction The appeal court ruling laid out the background of the criminal harassment charge and Serafino's troubled history in British Columbia. Serafino and his partner moved from B.C. to Abernethy in May 2019. It was less expensive to live in the village, about 100 kilometres southwest of Yorkton, than to remain on the West Coast. Serafino also had a significant criminal history in B.C., including a conviction for manslaughter in 2012. Serafino was arrested in April 2010 and originally charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting of a man in Surrey, B.C. News stories at the time noted that Serafino was a fan of the rock band Motley Crue and had legally changed his name to match that of the band's bass player, Nikki Sixx. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to six years. He also had a prior conviction for criminal harassment in 2002 and convictions for uttering threats in 2007 and 2010, the appeal ruling said. 'Come out of retirement' The trouble in Abernethy began about six months after Serafino bought a house on an acreage, the court document said. It all turned on a set of propane tanks that Serafino had moved onto his property. The tanks did not comply with the village bylaws. A member of council hand-delivered a letter to that effect. "[The councillor] opened the door to the residence and placed the letter inside. Mr. Serafino viewed this as an unlawful entry of his home and let [the councillor] know of his displeasure. Things went downhill from there," according to the court document. "Over the course of the next six months, Mr. Serafino engaged in a campaign of harassing and intimidating conduct." Mr. Serafino made reference, on more than one occasion, to the fact that he'd killed someone in the past and suggested that he may have to 'come out of retirement.' - Court document Part of this campaign included letting everyone in the village know he was capable of lethal violence. "Mr. Serafino made reference, on more than one occasion, to the fact that he'd killed someone in the past and suggested that he may have to 'come out of retirement.'" In June, he was charged with criminal harassment after the targeted councillor heard an intoxicated Serafino talking loudly on a phone, saying that he was "planning on getting a gun" and that when he did so, he would not hesitate to walk into the house of "that f---tard" and "gun them down." The sentencing judge described his behaviour as "intimidating, confrontational, aggressive, threatening, frightening and at times even terrifying." The Court of Appeal ruled that the sentencing judge made the mistake of banishing Serafino without giving his lawyer the chance to argue against it. The Crown had not asked for that provision. "It was an error for the sentencing judge to impose a term of probation — banishment from the community — that was not part of the submissions by counsel and not the subject of an invitation for counsel to make further submissions."
WHITEHORSE — Yukon's premier says COVID-19 vaccine uptake has been "fantastic" as just over half the territory's residents have received their first dose, but he's concerned about rising numbers of variants elsewhere in Canada. Sandy Silver says the territory is focusing on meeting its goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of the population to reach herd immunity before lifting current restrictions despite zero cases in Yukon. He says a clinic for everyone aged 18 and over opened in Whitehorse this week and mobile clinics are returning to smaller communities to provide second shots to people over 60. Silver says as of Monday, 11,503 Yukon residents had received their first shot while second shots were administered to about half that number. He joined chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley in saying numbers on vaccine uptake would not be provided for specific areas to prevent pitting communities against each other. Hanley is urging residents to continue taking all precautions as clinics go "full tilt" in the territory. "If cases, and particularly variants, lead to increased COVID our risk of importing variants will go up day by day," he says. Seventy-one Yukoners have recovered from the illness and one person has died since the pandemic began. Hanley says 850 people were immunized in the mass clinic on Tuesday, and he would be among those lining up for a shot in the arm on Wednesday. Yukon and other territories have received a higher allocation of vaccine doses because remote areas have limited access to specialized care. "While we recognize that immunizing the territories is the right thing to do for Canada this incredible opportunity should provide us with extra motivation to step up and get a vaccine," Hanley says. However, he says "vaccine hesitancy is a reality" and it will be important to address people's questions so they're comfortable being immunized in order to protect everyone. Hanley says despite four weeks without any active cases, the restrictions will remain because the territory is in a "nebulous" time and on guard against variants. "This is a huge consideration for us because regardless of whether we have zero or 10 cases right now we are always managing risk of importation," he says. "Vaccine uptake is so critical to getting to a place where we can be much more confident about being able to propose a solid framework for opening up." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that he informed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of allegations of misconduct against Gen. Jonathan Vance during a “hostile” closed-door meeting three years ago. Walbourne’s remarks appear to contradict Sajjan’s own testimony to the same committee Feb. 19, when he said he was as surprised as anyone when Global News first reported Vance’s alleged misconduct in early February. At that time, Sajjan repeatedly refused to confirm media reports that Walbourne raised allegations against Vance when the minister and ombudsman met in March 2018. Sajjan cited confidentiality and also said any allegations brought to him were taken seriously and referred to the appropriate authorities. Walbourne, whose testimony is protected by parliamentary privilege, used his opening statement to the House of Commons' defence committee to publicly confirm the conversation for the first time. “Yes, I did meet with Minister Sajjan on March 1, 2018,” he said. “Yes, I did directly tell him about an allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour made against the chief of defence.” Global News has reported that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. He is also accused of having made a sexual comment to a second, much younger, soldier in 2012, before he became commander of the Armed Forces. Vance, who turned over command of the military in January after more than five years in the job, has not responded to requests for comment by The Canadian Press and the allegations against him have not been independently verified. Global says Vance, who as defence chief oversaw the military’s efforts to root sexual misconduct from the ranks, has denied any wrongdoing. Military police are now investigating the allegations against Vance. They have also launched an investigation of Vance’s successor as defence chief, Admiral Art McDonald, who temporarily stepped aside last week in response to unspecified allegations of misconduct. Walbourne did not spell out the specifics of the allegation that he presented to Sajjan, and confirmed earlier reports that no formal complaint was filed. However, he said he came to possess “irrefutable, concrete evidence” about Vance, which is what led him to raise the matter with the minister. Walbourne told the committee Sajjan refused to look at the evidence and later cut off all contact until the former ombudsman’s resignation on Oct. 31, 2018. Walbourne also said he asked Sajjan to keep the matter in confidence until they could figure out how to handle the allegation, but that the minister instead told the Privy Council Office, which asked the ombudsman for information about the complainant. Walbourne, who initially declined an invitation to appear before the committee before being formally summoned to testify, said he refused to provide that information because the complainant had not given permission to do so. The former ombudsman, who has repeatedly decried a lack of independence for the office, went on to draw a link between his meeting with Sajjan three years ago and the Department of National Defence cutting off his financial and staffing authorities. The ombudsman’s office was being investigated at that time following a whistleblower’s complaint. Walbourne was adamant the complaint had no merit, and instead alleged that it was used as an excuse to put pressure on him and his team. Asked if there was any attempt by the government to cover up for Vance, Walbourne said: “I don’t know if it was an attempt at a coverup, but I know it was a full-court press to get rid of me.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
After Mateo Perusse-Shortte, experienced racism while playing his sport, he and his mom decided to plan a hockey diversity group in Quebec.
Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin said he needed to be "100 per cent sure" he was ready to make the decision to fire longtime goaltending coach Stephane Waite. It turns out the reached that point during the second period of the Canadiens' 3-1 win over visiting Ottawa on Thursday night. The Canadiens announced shortly after the game that Waite, who had been with the club since 2013 and helped Carey Price reach elite goaltender status, would be replaced by Montreal scout and former NHL goalie Sean Burke. Bergevin, who said the move was made while the game was in progress, said the decision to fire Waite was the result of a years-long pattern in his goaltenders' play that he found troubling. "There was not one incident that happened," Bergevin said Wednesday in a video conference. "I thought about it thoroughly and 98 per cent is not good enough for me. I had to be 100 per cent sure it was the right decision for me and I came to that decision yesterday." The abrupt dismissal of Waite was another example of how quickly Bergevin is ready to make a move in a shortened NHL season with little room for error. Waite was fired a week after Bergevin replaced head coach Claude Julien with Dominique Ducharme following a string of disappointing results. The last straw was a pair of road losses to the last-place Senators. After an impressive start to the season that saw the Canadiens briefly lead the North Division standings, Montreal has produced just three wins over its last 11 games to slide to fourth place. Part of the issue has been the play of Price, who has posted a pedestrian 6-4-3 record with a .296 goals-against average and an ugly .893 save percentage so far this season. "I've seen ups and downs. You guys saw it," Bergevin said. "Again, everybody goes through it, but it was a gut feeling I had and sometimes you have to trust your instincts. My instincts told me a change was needed." Bergevin said Price was not consulted on the change. The goaltender said Wednesday that he found the move "surprising." "I'm grateful for the time I spent with Steph," Price said. "He's been a hard-working, dedicated goalie coach, and I really appreciate all that hard work he's done with us. "Right now it's a quick turnaround. We don't have a lot of time to dwell on things, so it's about regrouping, getting the work done and start bonding quickly." Price added he expects to start getting to know Burke quickly, despite Burke having to finish a 14-day quarantine period due to COVID-19 protocols before joining the team. Bergevin said Burke will work with Montreal's goaltenders through videoconferencing while in quarantine. Tuesday's decision ends a largely productive relationship between Price and Waite that reached its zenith in 2014-15, when Price posted a 44-16-6 record with nine shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and a ,933 save percentage. He cleaned up at the 2015 NHL awards, winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender among other honours. While Price has had some excellent runs since then, his play has been mercurial over the past few seasons. He also struggled during the 2019-20 season before returning to top form when the league resumed after a months-long break due to COVID-19. Bergevin said he didn't notice any problems with the chemistry between Price and Waite. "There was no fight or argument, none of that," he said. "I think they had a good relationship. I make decisions for the organization, for the team, for the players. That's my job. And I take for responsibility for making that change." Despite Price's struggles, backup Jake Allen has found early success in his first season with Montreal with a 4-2-2 record, 2.12 GAA and .929 save percentage. Asked why Allen has played well and Price poorly under the same goaltending coach this season, Bergevin declined to get into specifics. "I go back to a pattern I saw occurring the past few years, so I felt it was necessary for me to make that change," he said. The Canadiens return to action Thursday with the first of two home games against the Winnipeg Jets. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Curtis Withers, The Canadian Press
The global technology services company Infosys plans to create 500 jobs in Calgary over the next three years as it ramps up its Canadian workforce. Infosys president Ravi Kumar made the pledge at a virtual news conference on Wednesday with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "Calgary is a natural next step as part of our Canadian expansion and represents a significant and promising market for Infosys," Kumar said. "The city is home to a thriving pool of talent that the economic downturn of COVID-19 has impacted. We will tap into this talent and offer critical skills and opportunities that will build on the city's economic strengths." The company, which started in India and now has operations in 46 countries, provides digital services and consulting for clients in many industries, such as natural resources, energy, media, retail and communications. Infosys's head of global government and public affairs, Anurag Varma, who spoke from the company's office in Silicon Valley, said because he was born in Calgary and educated in Alberta he's confident that the expansion is a smart move. "It only gives me more pride that our global company is coming to a neighbourhood that I know very well, and I believe that this is going to be a match made in heaven," he said. Officials said the Calgary office will be in the core, but a location was not specified. The Calgary office currently has fewer than 10 employees, but the company has hired about 2,000 people in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver over the past two years. Officials say the plan is to double the Canadian workforce to 4,000 employees by 2023. Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, says the Infosys expansion could be a game-changer for the city. "We are embracing digital transformation in Calgary and Infosys can support companies on their digital journey as they address global challenges like cleaner energy, safe and secure food supplies, safer and more efficient transportation and logistics and better health solutions," she said. Infosys says it will hire tech grads from 14 educational institutions in Canada, including the University of Calgary, SAIT and the University of Alberta.