Premier Scott Moe says officials will look at whether it can inoculate more in the health sector against COVID-19.
Premier Scott Moe says officials will look at whether it can inoculate more in the health sector against COVID-19.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is loosening many restrictions on stores, gyms, restaurants and household gatherings as its COVID-19 case numbers continue to drop. Starting Friday, maximum capacity at stores and restaurants will increase to 50 per cent from 25, although restaurants will still have to ensure that only members of the same household sit together. Indoor religious services will be able to run at 25 per cent capacity or 100 people — whichever is lower — up from 10 per cent. Licensed establishments will be able to reopen their video lottery terminals. People who want to hold gatherings in their home will have more options. Currently, people are allowed to designate up to two people from different households as visitors. On Friday, people will be able to choose between that option or designating one entire household to visit, in essence, creating two-home bubbles. Outdoors, a limit on public gatherings will jump to 10 people from five. "Manitoba's case numbers and test positivity rates continue to trend in the right direction," Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, said Tuesday. "That's why we're able to begin to look at other options to cautiously reopen services in Manitoba." The Opposition said the government should expand the two-households rule to restaurants. "I wonder why a grandparent couldn't sit with their grandkids at a restaurant, if, in fact, they are part of that same (two-) household bubble," NDP Leader Wab Kinew said. Health officials reported two additional COVID-19 deaths and 64 new cases Tuesday. However, eight cases from unspecified dates were removed due to data corrections for a net increase of 56. The percentage of people testing positive, which peaked near 13 per cent in the fall, was down to four per cent. Roussin said COVID-19 variants remain a concern. One new case involving a variant first seen in the United Kingdom was reported Tuesday, as were two cases involving a variant that first surfaced in South Africa. The looser rules to take effect Friday will also allow fitness facilities to restart group classes, although masks will be required. Casinos, bingo halls, theatres and concert venues must remain closed. "These changes, once again, are cautious changes to ensure we continue to protect and safeguard Manitoba lives," Premier Brian Pallister said. He also announced another round of grants to businesses and charities that have had to scale back due to public-health measures. Like the previous two rounds, the new one will offer each business up to $5,000 to make up for some lost revenue. The loosening of some restrictions is not a sign that life is returning to normal, Roussin said. People must remain cautious, wear a mask and stay home if they are ill. "We are getting closer ... but we still have more work to do." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Quebec government has reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March, Health Minister Christian Dube said Tuesday. Dube told a news conference that some 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments for vaccinations by March 15. COVID-19 vaccinations are open to Quebecers aged 85 and older in outlying regions, while they are open to people as young as 70 in the Montreal area. Dube said the Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the B.1.1.7 mutation that was first identified in the United Kingdom. "We're afraid," Dube said. "We’re afraid the Montreal region is the calm before the storm." Quebec reported 588 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Hospitalizations rose by 16 to 628, and 121 people were in intensive care, a drop of one. Dube said that while the general COVID-19 curve is dropping, cases of the U.K. variant are rising quickly. The province has confirmed 137 cases of variants, most of which have been identified in Montreal and involve the U.K. mutation. He said there are also 1,095 presumptive variant cases across Quebec. The province began vaccinating older members of the general public at mass vaccine centres on Monday, and administered 16,458 doses over the course of the day. Dube said the first day was a success despite some small issues, including long lineups at some sites. He said adjustments will be made in the coming days, and also asked people not to show up too early for their appointments in order to avoid a long wait. The minister said mass vaccination would be expanded in other regions as quickly as possible. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
After nearly 40 years in business Wa-Su-Wek Limited of Brooklyn is diversifying to make ends meet. The company, owned by the Zone 9 Native Council of Nova Scotia, will soon be adding storage units to its menu of offerings. Wa-Su-Wek began 39 years ago by offering floristry services and wreath making at its location at 85 Hillside Road, the former Brooklyn School. It’s now one of the few wreath-frame makers, if not the only one, in the province. The Wa-Su-Wek building has also been the home of the Brooklyn Post Office for more than 10 years. This latest development is designed to create more of a steady income during the “off-season.” “We’re trying to generate more revenue. We do the wreath thing, which is mostly seasonal at Christmastime,” said Shannon Jollimore, office clerk and spokesperson for the group. “With the storage units, as long as people pay their bills, we know that we will have money coming in, and that will get us through the slow season.” She said there is a need for units along the South Shore and estimates that there is a two-or three-month waiting list to get one. The hope is to have at least four units ready for occupancy by April 1, and another 10 units within a year-and-a-half. All the units will be located within the main building and each will be 2.4 metres by 3.7 metres in size. The cost to rent a unit is expected to be $125 plus tax per month. Customers will be able to access the units during regular business hours — 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — or after hours by appointment. Meanwhile Wa-Su-Wek’s main focus is its wreath-ring sales, which centre around Christmas and extend across the country. Customers can order singularly or in bulk. According to Jollimore, last year the company sold more than 200,000 units. She suggested that was somewhat higher than normal and due to the fact that more people were staying home amid the pandemic and wanted to make their own decorations. Wa-Su-Wek also is extending its framing product line for more of a year-round offering. The Brooklyn company, which employs one full-time employee and seasonal workers in the summer and Christmas months, recently added tomato cages and funeral saddles to its items for sale. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
As cases of coronavirus variants continue to rise in Montreal, the city will remain the focus of Quebec's mass vaccination campaign. At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Health Minister Christian Dubé said vaccines are the province's best tool in preventing a variant, first detected in the United Kingdom and believed to be more contagious, from taking hold elsewhere in the province. He said the plateau of new cases seen across Quebec could be the "calm before the storm," if the growing number of variant cases detected in Montreal is any indication. Last week, variants accounted for about 10 per cent of new cases in Montreal. Now, they're hovering at around 12 to 15 per cent. Dubé announced that eligible Quebecers will soon be able to book appointments to get a vaccine from their local pharmacy. Starting the week of March 15, he said as many as 350 pharmacies in Montreal will be taking appointments. The province has reached an agreement with about 1,400 pharmacists across the province to administer vaccines — with the goal of 2 million doses given by the end of July in pharmacies. "[Pharmacists] are very close to their patients and the level of trust is there," said Nirvishi Jawaheer, the owner of a pharmacy in Parc-Extension and vice-president of the Fédération des Pharmaciens du Québec. "We are very accessible, we're open long hours and we have the competency for taking care of patients." The federation says the vaccines will be offered free of charge. "We must be prudent of these variants," said Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's director of public health. He said more infectious variants, such as the B.1.1.7 strain, could cause a new spike infections. Arruda says they are paying close attention to the spread of variants as they decide whether to loosen COVID-19 restrictions. An update on the province's bans on gatherings and other activities is expected Wednesday afternoon. Lessons learned from Day 1 of mass vaccinations Daniel Paré, who is in charge of Quebec's vaccination campaign, said much was learned on Monday, when more than 16,000 vaccines were administered — many at mass vaccination sites including Montreal's Olympic Stadium, the Palais des congrès and shopping malls. "We are really pleased that people accept to be vaccinated," Paré said. He said the government is working on increasing the capacity of its phone system and encouraged Quebecers to book appointments online or have a family member help them do so. He also said that more chairs are being provided today for the elderly people waiting in line and that additional staff are being deployed to answer questions when people arrive for their appointment. Dubé asked Quebecers to show up only five to 10 minutes before their appointment, accompanied by a maximum of one caregiver, to reduce the number of people waiting in line at one time. In Montreal and Laval, those aged 70 and older can now book an appointment to get their shot. As the province receives more vaccines, Paré said more appointment slots will open up. In the Montérégie, just south of Montreal, vaccines are only available to those aged 80 and older. But the priority, Dubé said, is completing vaccinations at the many private seniors' homes in that region before making the shot available to those under 80.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today, including one infection involving a health-care worker at a rural hospital. Four of the cases are in the eastern region of the province, where authorities have been battling an outbreak in the St. John's area. The fifth case involves a health-care worker at a hospital in St. Anthony, a town of about 2,200 people on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. Officials say there are no patients among the worker's close contacts and that a drive-through testing site has opened in the area. Public health says there are 203 active reported cases of COVID-19 across the province. Nine people are hospitalized with the disease, including five in intensive care. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the decision to delay second doses of COVID-19 vaccine by four months is based on scientific evidence combined with real-world data from the province’s immunization campaign that began in late December.
The Rotary Clubs of Kingston and area are providing a volunteer schedule for the local COVID-19 immunization clinic at the INVISTA centre. There are four Rotary clubs and two Rotaract clubs in Kingston, and members from all six clubs are assisting this effort. “Rotarians have been assisting Kingstonians for 100 years in many areas, particularly support to youth, seniors, and the underprivileged,” said Mike Moore, local Rotarian. “COVID has presented an entirely new challenge for Kingston. So, Rotarians and Rotaractors have responded by donating significant sums of money to the Food Bank, have helped deliver food to needy families, produced and distributed masks to disadvantaged families, and will be helping KFL&A Public Health in perhaps the most positive, impactful event of our lifetime, vaccinating our residents.” The mass vaccination clinic at the INVISTA center is operational, currently only serving those who are healthcare workers in the highest or very high priority categories, and will stay in line with the provincial directive for immunization priority. It is expected that this location will immunize up to 3,000 people per day when the vaccine supply is stable. Moore said that deciding to provide this service came naturally for Rotarians. “It was an easy decision,” he shared. “The number of Rotarians and Rotaractors who expressed a desire to help out was impressive and heart-warming. I initially advised KFL&A Public Health that we could cover one of the volunteer positions, but after checking the pulse of Rotarians, I realized that we could cover two, which takes 42 volunteers committing to a three-hour shift every week. Even with that level of commitment, I still have a long list of spares.” The Rotary Club volunteers will work as screeners and ushers to keep the clinic running smoothly. About the Rotary Club: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service in our communities and worldwide. There are four such clubs in Kingston totaling about 150 members. Their focus is on youth, seniors, and the under-privileged. As such, they support organizations like the Kingston Food Bank, Food Sharing Project, Salvation Army, RKY Kids Camp, Boys and Girls Club, Pathways for Education, and many others. Legacy projects include Rotary Park, Rotary Hall at Fairmount Home, a boardwalk at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, and lately a sizeable financial donation to the Kingston Hospice Centre. Internationally, Rotary’s biggest project is work wide the W.H.O. to help eliminate polio from our planet. Besides contributing financially, they also participate in hands-on projects. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
A planner’s report was received by Southgate Council on the new phase of White Rose with about 86 units on property just to the east of the Todd Street development. It was the subject of a recent public meeting. Council supported bringing a bylaw for the development back for approval at a future meeting. Right now, Dundalk doesn’t have the wastewater capacity to service the development, so a hold will be placed on the property. Design and construction of improvement to expand system capacity should start in 2022, the report said. Residents of the present development raised concerns about its unfinished state during the public meeting in September. But in his report, planner Clint Stredwick said that wasn’t an acceptable planning reason for affecting the decision on a future phase. The proposal is for 12 40-foot lots, 18-30 foot lots, and 24 townhouse units, 24 units in a seniors block, as well as another eight to 10 future seniors units. These are planned now to have drive-in spaces at the front and will appear detached but share a foundation. The main entrance will be from Bradley Street, although it also connects to Todd Crescent. The planner recommended that lots closest to the existing White Rose be built first to shelter the Todd Crescent homes from noise and dust. Draft plan conditions include clearly establishing ground water levels and keep basements out of the water table. Residents’ concerns about truck traffic will be addressed by additional signage and enforcement measures. Council passed a “no heavy truck” bylaw for Artemesia Street North from Owen Sound Street to Grey Street. The total property is actually more than 20 acres, but the natural area to the east will be maintained and protected by a wide buffer. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
VANCOUVER — The federal government has provided nearly $3.5 million in funding for five vending machines that will dispense medical-grade opioids in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, in order to prevent overdoses. Darren Fisher, parliamentary secretary to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, says two machines are located in Vancouver, one is in Victoria and one each are in London, Ont., and Dartmouth, N.S. The machines, called MySafe, are similar to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned. Fisher says MySafe allows participants to access a safer drug without fear, shame and stigma, and without contact with anyone, which is all the more essential during the pandemic. Overdose deaths have spiked during pandemic with many people using alone and a more toxic illicit drug supply. Drug users are assessed by a doctor and a baseline urine sample is collected before they can access safer drugs through the MySafe machines, which are bolted to the floor. This is a corrected story. A previous version said $5.6 million in funding. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Spin Master Corp. recorded meteoric growth in its digital games business in the latest quarter as users of its Toca Life World app filmed themselves playing the game and shared the videos on social media, the company’s co-CEO said Tuesday. “There was a crazy amount of people that were actually filming themselves playing in the game and then uploading it to TikTok, and that exposure of the game really started to increase the amount of users,” Ronnen Harary told investors during a conference call. “When you have that many people seeing the product, playing with the product and telling their friends, there's a multiplier effect.” The Canadian toymaker’s digital games revenue increased by more than 400 per cent to $31.8 million in its fourth quarter, driven by the Toca Life World platform. The app, developed by Spin Master's Swedish app studio Toca Boca, lets players imagine stories for characters in the virtual game, including kids, babies, elders and creatures, and drag the characters around the screen with their finger and make them do activities. While it's free to download the app, Spin Master makes money through the in-game purchases and upgrades. The stronger digital games revenue, also driven in part by its Sago Mini kids app subscription user base, was revealed as the company said its revenue grew 3.6 per cent compared with a year ago for the three months ended Dec. 31. The Toronto-based company said revenue for the quarter was US$490.6 million, up from US$473.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Spin Master's shares surged to a 52-week high and were up over 24 per cent, or $7.01, at $36.07 in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Yet its quarterly results also showed a decline in net sales to $434.3 million, from $441.6 million a year earlier. Mark Segal, Spin Master's chief financial officer, explained that the sales slump was in part due to retailers pulling promotions forward earlier in the fall as well as the company's decision to limit domestic inventory. "This affected our ability to fulfil some late-season replenishment and e-commerce orders, especially on hot items," he told analysts. "While this meant we did not maximize our sales, the position we took allowed us to achieve our best sell-through and cleanest retail and Spin Master inventory levels in many years." Meanwhile, the company will be releasing its feature-length Paw Patrol movie in August, expanding the reach of the company's popular kids entertainment franchise and opening up a new revenue stream. "In terms of increasing our output, you will see more films coming from Spin Master in the future and I think that gives us a whole new way to actually entertain kids," Harary told analysts. "It's really important for everybody to understand that we're actually producing the film, we didn't license the film out ... and take a royalty on it," he said. "Our team internally in Toronto produced the film, we hired the writers, we hired the directors, we did the whole casting with all that amazing voice talent." It's unclear whether there will be a theatrical release for the movie or a combination of theatrical and video on demand, Harary said. Meanwhile, although classic toys and game were a safe choice in 2020, he said consumers will "shift to newness" post-pandemic, he said. The company is preparing for this shift with a robust pipeline of new product development and the goal of greenlighting one to two new properties a year, Harary said. Harary and Anton Rabie, co-founders of the children's entertainment company, will step down from their co-chief executive roles next year. Max Rangel was appointed global president in January and adds the chief executive role to his title in April. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TOY) Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
GRANT APPLICATION Southgate will use the Grant Match service for a downtown revitalization project on Proton Street North through the Canada Health Community Initiative grant. It’s believed to be a better fit than the previously considered Rural Economic Development grant. This new grant opportunity is aimed at creating and adapting public spaces and programming to respond to needs from COVID-19. Project types include outdoor event and meeting spaces are one of the three areas, along with trails/transit and community digital projects. If successful, the company is paid 10 percent of the grant money. There are two intakes for the grant program and the plan would be to re-apply if rejected the first time, adapting the proposal based on what is successful in the first round. PUBLIC WORKS The furnace in the former Credit Union at the Holstein Depot stopped working and required replacement. Dromore Municipal Drain has been relocated in the area of the Dromore Park for lot creation, with work paid for by the property owner. Tree removal and brushing is starting on township right-of-ways. Residents will be given notice of work in their areas as road closures may be required. Council conveyed that they had received messages of appreciation about the increase to the amount of sidewalks being cleared in Dundalk this winter. Residents in those areas are reminded they can no longer leave collection bins for pickup on the sidewalk. PLANNING A zoning bylaw and site plan were updated because of a change in size of a planned shop since the original application was granted in 2019 to S. and V. Brubacher on Southgate Rd. 10. Construction is planned for this coming year. A site plan was approved for Port Welding on Southgate Side Road 73, who also owns land to the north and west of the property. The zoning for the powder coating and metal shop was approved in 2019. The site plan outlines measures to reduce effects on neighbouring parties such as tree planting for buffer. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
NEW YORK — When Eddie Murphy made the original “Coming to America,” he was, almost indisputably, the funniest man in America. Murphy was at the very height of his fame, coming off “Beverly Hills Cop II” and the stand-up special “Raw.” They were heady times. Arsenio Hall, Murphy’s longtime friend and co-star in “Coming to America,” remembers them sneaking out during the shoot to a Hollywood nightclub while still dressed as Prince Akeem and his loyal aide Semmi. “We were insane,” says Hall. The ’80s, Murphy says, are “all a blur.” “I was so young, all this stuff was happening. You take everything for granted when you’re young, how successful I was,” Murphy says, speaking by Zoom with a shelf of award statuettes behind him. “Now I take nothing for granted and appreciate everything.” Thirty-three years after “Coming to America,” Murphy and Hall have returned to Zamunda. The sequel, originally planned to hit theatres last year, was sold due of the pandemic by Paramount Pictures to Amazon, where it will begin streaming Friday. It’s an unlikely coda to a blockbuster comedy, one that belongs so completely to the late ’80s that even the sequel tries to keep some of that era’s spirit. (A few notable R&B and hip-hop groups make cameos.) “Coming 2 America,” directed by Craig Brewer, reverses the fish-out-water plot to bring Queens to Zamunda after Akeem learns he fathered a son (Jermaine Fowler) on his first visit to New York. Some elements have been updated. There’s a plot of female empowerment; KiKi Layne plays Akeem’s daughter. At the barbershop, where Murphy and Hall also reprise their characters, the conversation bounces from Teslas to transgender people. “We had a draft where they had on MAGA hats and they were Republicans,” says Murphy. “It was funny but it was like, eh, let’s not even go there.” Instead, Murphy and his collaborators — including writers Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield and Kenya Barris — felt the core appeal of “Coming to America” lies in its fairy tale premise. “This is the only movie I’ve ever done that had a cult following,” says Murphy. “We had totally forgot about ‘Coming to America.’ Then this movie took on this life in the culture. It became like a cult movie. Lines from the movie became catchphrases. People do the mic drop now. The very first mic drop is Randy Watson from ‘Coming to America.’” “Coming to America” has indeed played a unique role in culture since 1988. Real-life McDowell's fast-food restaurants — the McDonald's knockoff from the movie — have briefly popped up in Los Angeles and Chicago. Beyoncé and Jay-Z once dressed up as characters from the film for Halloween. But the John Landis-directed movie was also a massive success on release. It was the second-highest grossing film domestically in 1988 with $128.2 million in tickets sold — nearly double what “Die Hard” made that year. Globally, it grossed $288.8 million, or more than $630 million adjusted for inflation. To Murphy, that’s the movie’s legacy. “‘Coming to America’ is the first movie in the history of the movies that had an all-Black cast that travelled all around the world,” says Murphy. “They don’t give a s--- about Selma and Martin Luther King and civil injustice, whatever our story is in America. They don’t give a s--- about that around the world. “It’s not about being Black. It’s about love and family and tradition and doing the right thing,” Murphy adds. “If ‘Black Panther’ was about the hood, people wouldn’t have seen ‘Black Panther’ all around the world.” The connections between “Coming to America” and “Black Panther” — both rare depictions of Black royalty and a mythic Africa — are many. Before making “Black Panther,” Murphy has said Ryan Coogler approached him about a “Coming to America” sequel. During production on “Black Panther,” Lupita Nyong’o (once not a fan of “Coming to America” for its cliched depiction of Africans) and other cast members threw a “Coming to America” birthday party. Ruth E. Carter designed the costumes of both “Black Panther” and “Coming 2 America.” Both were shot in Atlanta. “I’ve had people say, ‘Now Zamunda isn’t a real place, right?’” says Brewer. “And I say, ‘No, it’s definitely a real place. I believe it’s just northeast of Wakanda.’” The script for “Coming 2 America” was worked on for four years but shooting started quickly. Murphy first suggested Brewer direct “Coming 2 America” during a dinner with John Singleton after a test screening of “My Name Is Dolemite,” the Rudy Ray Moore biopic that helped spur a revival for the 59-year-old Murphy. “‘Coming to America’ was one of my favourite movies as a teenager,” says Brewer, speaking from his home in Memphis, Tenn. “I couldn't help but just say ‘Yes!’ immediately. Then it became clear to me that this is going to go, like, now.” “Coming 2 America” also rekindles the great comedic chemistry between Murphy and Hall. Murphy estimates the close friends have seen each other two or three times a week for 40 years. But they went decades before talking about a sequel. “All of a sudden I’m reading this script that I love and I realize this movie that we thought we never were going to do a sequel to, we’re about to head to Atlanta — which is America’s Africa,” says Hall. The shoot took place on the Tyler Perry Studio sound stages, with Rick Ross’ nearby mansion serving as the Zamunda palace. The movie reunites most of the original cast — including James Earl Jones, John Amos and Shari Headley — and brings in many others, too, including Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan. Hall, who had been doing stand-up with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, sensed everyone wanted in. “One day in the dressing room, Dave is like, ‘I heard ya’ll are doing ‘Coming to America 2.’ I said, ‘Yeah, man.’ He said, ‘I want to be in that,’” recalls Hall. (A scheduling conflict interfered and the versatile Hall, who has four roles in the movie, ended up playing the witch doctor part Chappelle might have.) Some things have changed with time. This “Coming to America" is rated PG-13. Murphy was just 27 when he made “Coming to America.” Now, he has 10 children and a grandchild. His daughter, Bella, has a small role in the film. “He joked about it on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ about him versus Cosby and who’s America’s favourite dad now. But there’s something to that,” says Brewer. “If you’re ever around Eddie and his kids — and now his grandchild — you see that he’s truly a man who loves his family and does not need the public’s constant validation and appreciation to know who he is.” Family life figures prominently in Murphy’s newer stand-up material. A long-awaited return to performing in 2020 had been his intention before the pandemic hit. Those plans haven’t been cancelled; when live performance returns, Murphy says, “then we’ll do stand-up.” Until then, Murphy, a proud homebody, has found himself back where he started. “I had gotten off the couch to go to work. I said, ‘OK, let me get off this couch I’ve been on for eight years. Let me go do some work,’” Murphy says. “And we were rolling. We did everything we set out to do. The big thing was going back to ‘Saturday Night Live.’ We was on a high. ‘Coming 2 America’ was in the can. Then the whole world fell apart.” “I was all ready to go,” Murphy says, grinning, “and then I had to go sit back on the couch.” ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
Intel infringed two patents related to chip-making owned by VLSI Technology LLC the jury ruled. In a statement, Michael Stolarski, chief executive of VLSI Technology, said the firm was "pleased that the jury recognized the value of the innovations as reflected in the patents and are extremely happy with the jury verdict.”
Last August, Christine Mickeloff’s mother left her retirement home in Jarvis with her walker. Before anyone knew it, she was wandering down the highway. Fortunately, an off-duty worker from the home was driving nearby when she recognized the Leisure Living resident who has dementia. She alerted the home and staff walked her back to safety. Mickeloff says the incident shows how people with dementia — especially those living in retirement homes that are not equipped to offer the same level of care as a long-term-care facility — are falling through the cracks. “There are people like my mom who are ... stuck in a facility that is not meant to look after (them),” says the Caledonia resident. Her mother, who Mickeloff didn’t want to name, was already showing signs of dementia when she moved into Leisure Living three years ago. A year later, she was diagnosed and the disease continued to progress. Though she was on the wait list for long-term care, delays from the pandemic meant she wasn’t getting a bed any time soon. “Mom was forgotten,” Mickeloff said of the wait. The home says staff tried their best to care for her mother, but were caught in the middle of the resident’s worsening dementia and an absence of supports. When Leisure Living restricted access during the pandemic, Mickeloff mother’s symptoms worsened. Mickeloff couldn’t visit and there were no group activities to keep her mother engaged. She began to wander more and woke up in the middle of the night to look for her husband. After the “dangerous” and “scary” highway incident, Kristina Kasza, the home’s director of care, said she immediately contacted Mickeloff and members of the resident’s care team. “Multiple times, we were told to admit her (to hospital),” said Kasza, but the hospital “kept sending her back.” “We were put in a rock and a hard place,” she said. Jane Meadus, staff lawyer at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, says the government has left more and more people relying on retirement homes to provide health care in the pandemic. “They are treating retirement homes almost as quasi-long-term-care homes and as a way for seniors to get care without the government having to pay anything,” she said. Unlike long-term care, a retirement home doesn’t fall under the health-care sector. Instead, residents pay rent to stay in a home and can purchase care options on top. Mickeloff looked into hiring private care, but says at $37 per hour for 12 hours a day, it was too costly. “You can’t say to somebody, ‘Well, yeah, you could go to long-term care but there’s no bed, so you’re going to have to pay privately,’ because we have a publicly funded health-care system,” Meadus added, noting that even before COVID-19, hospitals often pressured patients to go to a retirement home instead of waiting for long-term care in order to clear up beds. While home care can help supplement care in a retirement home, Meadus says it can be “spotty” because there aren’t enough workers. That means people who can’t afford private care, like Mickeloff’s mother, are left with inadequate care while waiting for a long-term-care bed. Kasza says the LHIN requested more care for Mickeloff’s mother, but didn’t have enough staff to provide it since COVID-19 prevented workers from going into multiple homes. “It was just a hot mess,” she said. Kasza noted the whole home rallied to care for Mickeloff’s mother by alerting staff when they spotted her wandering or helping redirect her. “Everybody took care of her to the best of their abilities,” she said. By September, Mickeloff’s mother was on the crisis list, which prioritizes patients for long-term care. But COVID-19 outbreaks and precautions continued to cause delays. On top of that, she was competing with hospital patients also waiting in line. By January, she was accepted for a bed. She got a COVID-19 test before her move, but days later, the long-term-care home declared an outbreak, postponing her entry for two weeks. Another COVID-19 case was later suspected in the home, again delaying her move. In February, Mickeloff’s mother finally moved into long-term care, and her daughter says she seems happier. She has access to 24-7 care and staff to keep her stimulated. Mickeloff says more needs to be done for others in her mother’s shoes, especially with dementia increasing. “The government’s just not moving fast enough,” she says. “(My mom) got left behind and wasted away while she was waiting.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
SYDNEY – Danny Paul of Membertou First Nation has been wearing his hair long for 50 years. He remembers that at the Indian Day School he attended in Membertou as a child, he was forced to keep his hair short. Paul points out that for those who were removed from their families and communities to attend residential schools, “the hair would be the first thing to go. They’d cut their hair because they knew it was important to our people.” Residential schools were established by the Canadian government in the late 1800s, with the goal of assimilating Indigenous children by disconnecting them from their culture and traditions. In its 2015 report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asserted that forced hair cutting and other practices used by residential schools amounted to "cultural genocide." The attitude of the Canadian government in the early years of Confederation is summarized by this excerpt from a letter written by Duncan Campbell Scott, the deputy superintendent general of Indian Affairs in 1931: “It is the opinion of the writer that … the Government will in time reach the end of its responsibility as the Indians progress into civilization and finally disappear as a separate and distinct people, not by race extinction but by gradual assimilation with their fellow citizens." Stephen Augustine, a hereditary chief of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council and the associate vice-president of Indigenous Affairs at Unama'ki College at Cape Breton University, has had long hair for most of his life. He first grew it in the 1960s, “during Beatlemania and the civil rights movements in the United States with Malcolm X, and then immediately behind that was the red power movement, the Native America movement, the stand-off at Wounded Knee … so for most Native Americans and Canadians it was more a cultural thing than a hippie thing to grow their hair and I’m one of the ones that grew my hair to stand up against colonialism, that kind of ideology.” Augustine says he now wears his long hair proudly, and doesn’t often get negative comments about it but when he was younger it was sometimes an issue. “Every time I would get a job with the federal government they would say, ‘We require people with shorter hair than you have, can you cut it?’ and I’d say, ‘Yeah, I can cut it,’ but, I mean, it hurt. It hurt me but I also wanted to work.” As an elder advisor with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Augustine travelled the country between 2010 and 2015, hearing stories from residential school survivors. “One of the stories that stuck out for me was, when children ran away from residential schools, and they did that often enough, they would bring them back (and) they would literally cut their hair bald as a punishment for running away and it would discourage them from running (away) because they would embarrass them in front of the other kids.” Augustine says when he heard about eight-year-old Linden Lafford from Potlotek First Nation being bullied by a non-Indigenous man and a child for his long hair, it was disappointing but not surprising. “A lot of young kids in First Nations communities across Canada experience this in their lives and it’s become normalized, being taunted and made fun of for having long hair. He’s got every right to grow his hair long just like me and it shouldn’t make him feel any less valued in our society.” Lafford was visiting a public washroom alone at Lanes at Membertou when he was told by another patron to go to the women’s washroom because his hair made him look like a girl. Lafford received thousands of messages of support after his mother, Mary Lafford, made a public Facebook post expressing her anger and distress over the incident. Danny Paul, when discussing Lafford’s experience, says, “I wish that bully were here now. Not so that I could yell at him or berate him but so that we could teach him.” At Membertou Heritage Park, workshops are available to learn about Mi’kmaq culture and history, says general manager Jeff Ward. He also wears his hair long as his ancestors did. He says it is taught that long hair strengthens the spirit and that when the hair is braided the three strands represent the mind, body and soul. “Your hair, we’re taught from our elders and our teachings, your hair is sacred and it’s an extension of your spirit. Only my wife braids it because this is my spirit and not just anybody can touch my hair.” Ward says he’s shocked when visitors to Membertou Heritage Park or even strangers he meets out in the community touch his hair. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, I love your hair and I respect your hair and your culture so much,’ and they touch my hair not realizing what they did by touching my hair without permission. It hurts when someone does that but I forgive them because I know they don’t know the teaching.” Ward says everyone is welcome to visit Membertou Heritage Park and to attend their offering of cultural workshops that teach about Mi’kmaq protocols, perceptions and teachings, legends and stories and how to be an ally. Ward says it’s important to keep in mind that all Canadians have rights and responsibilities under the treaties signed by the federal government and Indigenous peoples. “It’s fine if people don’t believe in what we’re saying, don’t share these beliefs but what we’re asking for is respect necessarily given to people with long hair, especially men.” Ardelle Reynolds, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
Geotechnical engineers will begin drilling boreholes in the Drumheller Valley to help determine possible future berm alignments for ongoing flood mitigation efforts. Approximately 20 boreholes were drilled on publicly accessible land in fall 2020 to help engineers fill in gaps in historic records, and to provide initial information for proposals. “When designing dikes and berms, we need to get an idea of the foundation soil condition and soil type-whether it is silt, sand, or clay,” said Mark Brotherton, geotechnical engineer with Red Deer firm Parkland Geotechnical Consulting Ltd. Brotherton is one of the main consultants on the project, with 40 years experience as a geotechnical engineer, and the company is very familiar with the Red Deer River. He explained the boreholes will typically be drilled down to bedrock, which can range from only a few metres to 20 metres throughout the Drumheller Valley. The procedure will help provide data on the types of soils throughout the valley and determine whether a dike would be feasible based on whether the soil in the proposed alignment area will support the berm structure. The data will also help with completing detailed berm designs, such as determining stable side slope angles. Parkland Geotechnical is not the only company involved in this phase of the project, with most planning to conduct drilling beginning in March; drilling is anticipated to take place over the next three to four weeks. Some of the drilling may need to be conducted on privately owned land, and Scott Land and Lease will be in consultation with landowners to arrange for drilling on private properties. The berm designs will help protect residents from overland flooding. However, Brotherton notes seepage is a topic which often comes up when discussing flood mitigation efforts. While overland flooding can have worse impacts, seepage is still a cause for concern as responsibility falls onto the homeowner. Brotherton notes a good weeping tile system is the “first line of defence” against seepage in the basements of houses. “The purpose of dikes is to stop the overland flow,” he said. “We know, for the short flood period, the water rises on the river side of the dikes. If the berms are on permeable material (such as gravel or sand) it will likely have an impact on seepage in the protected area behind the dike.” He adds building berms on less permeable soils, such as clays, silt clay, and bedrock can reduce the impact of floods on the local groundwater table and seepage. Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools last spring, crosswalk guard and recent graduate Danny Thomson was encouraged by the Ottawa Safety Council to apply for the new COVID-19 emergency benefits. But after returning $3,000 in Canada Emergency Response Benefits last year after realizing he was ineligible, he was told by the Canada Revenue Agency that $2,000 has not been repaid and is being considered taxable income for 2020. The Canada Revenue Agency confirmed this week that some taxpayers who repaid COVID-19 related benefits in 2020 have received incorrect tax slips that wrongly list portions of the repaid benefits as taxable income.The CRA had previously informed CERB recipients that they must repay the benefit if they earned more income than expected during the four-week payment period, or if they applied and later realized they were ineligible. It also said duplicate CERB payments should be repaid — if recipients applied for and got the CERB from both the CRA and Employment Insurance or Service Canada for the same eligibility period.CERB recipients who repaid before Dec. 31, 2020, should not have to pay tax on those amounts on 2020 tax returns, the revenue agency's website notes, with the repaid amounts subtracted from the individual's benefit amount on T4A slips.But the tax agency said there is a rare error in which the repayments are credited to a taxpayer's T1 instalment account instead of their emergency benefits account. "These repayments can be properly and easily credited to the correct account," CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram said in a statement.The CRA said taxpayers should call 1-800-959-8281 to fix incorrect tax slips. It added that it is being proactive and moving the payments to the correct accounts, and that amended tax slips will be issued.Thomson said three calls to the CRA so far have been unsuccessful as all the agents have been busy each time he called. Edward Rajaratnam, executive director at EY Canada’s people advisory services, said a phone call to the CRA — preferably in the morning before a queue starts forming on the hotline — is still a better route than a letter, since the error might be difficult to dispute in an online portal."My first rule of thumb is, please reach out to the CRA — because if it was a genuine error, they would correct it," Rajaratnam said. "(A phone call is ) more personal in nature. Everybody's situation is different."Rajaratnam said he has seen the tax slip issues cropping up across his network, from friends to LinkedIn connections. The first question, he said, is whether the repayment of the emergency benefit was made before Dec. 31. If a taxpayer repaid the benefits in January or February, they'll have to wait until this time next year to get the adjustment in their 2021 tax filing. Before filing a complaint, Rajaratnam said it's also worth checking with your bank to ensure the repayment left your account and the relevant agency received it.He suggested anyone who repaid benefits before the new year check for errors as soon as the T-slip arrives, rather than leaving it until closer to the tax-filing deadline to catch a miscalculation. That way, Rajaratnam said, there will be time to get a corrected tax slip."I wouldn't suggest anybody to file your tax return without having that (amended T4 slip)," Rajaratnam said. Rajaratnam said that he's hopeful the CRA will provide detailed guidance on this issue before the end of April, so people know when to expect their corrected tax slips. If for some reason, someone notices the error right before the tax-filing deadline and cannot get through to the CRA, Rajaratnam said there is a last resort: Putting the correct amount on the tax filing and including a letter to the CRA explaining why the T4A doesn't match the tax filing.But Rajaratnam stressed that it is best not to wait, since the CRA has not yet said if it will offer extensions to deal with these issues."This has been a very fluid situation with all their the wage subsidies and CERB benefits," Rajaratnam said. "I think the CRA is, similar to all other governments, trying to do the best they can."The CRA could also be clearer in its instructions and on its website, Thomson says, noting that Reddit message boards on CERB and Employment Insurance are filled with similar anecdotes. "I know I'm not the only one who's had this issue, and it's scary getting a big government letter in the mail," Thomson said."I don't think I should have to pay taxes on this. Hopefully I can get through to someone to get this fixed."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press
Robinhood, the online brokerage used by many retail traders to pile in to heavily shorted stocks like GameStop Corp, has made an ambitious push into loaning out its clients' shares to short sellers as it expands its business. The size of the jump highlights Robinhood's rapid growth over the past year as the number of retail investors has soared in the work-from-home environment during the pandemic and as retail brokers have largely eliminated trading fees, a model Robinhood helped pioneer. Menlo Park, California-based Robinhood is expected to go public this year with a valuation of more than $20 billion.