This dog paves his own path through a thick layer of snow.
This dog paves his own path through a thick layer of snow.
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
An officer with the Queens District RCMP has been awarded with the prestigious Commanding Officer’s Commendation for Bravery. Cpl. Robert Frizzell was recognized for his courageous rescue of a woman from the Mersey River on the morning of May 10, 2020, after an accident landed her vehicle submerged in water. In a social media announcement of the award on February 25, the RCMP described how, when Frizzell arrived on scene, the vehicle was fully submerged in the Mersey. “An occupant of the vehicle was able to get out of the car but was floating downstream and unable to make it to shore. “Knowing that a water recovery unit would take time to arrive, Cpl. Frizzell chose to get in the water. He grabbed a PFD and a paddleboard, then tied a rope around himself harness style, with another member and volunteer firefighter remaining on shore to hold the other end of the rope. “He swam into the river, grabbed hold of the woman and continued to hold onto her while the on-shore member and firefighter pulled them to safety,” the post continued. It ended with, “Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition, Cpl. Frizzell.” RCMP Commanding Officer for Nova Scotia, Lee Bergerman, presented Frizzell with the award February 11. Frizzell declined to be interviewed by LighthouseNOW, preferring to deflect praise to all of the responders that were on the scene that day. In an email to the newspaper, he commented that he was “truly thankful” for being recognized for the award. Nonetheless, he added, although he was the one who went into the water, “there was a whole team of others that were instrumental in rescuing the woman. “From all the onlookers who provided support and the paddleboard, the other emergency personal both police and fire, who held the rope, and everyone who provided medical care after the woman was brought out of the water, it really was a team effort. It was really great to see a community come together and help someone in need,” said Frizzell. Staff Sergeant Daniel Archibald of the Queens District RCMP echoed the praise given to the officer. “We are all very proud of the actions of Cpl. Frizzell as well as actions of the other officers and firefighters that day. We are, of course, most happy with the fact that the victim in this incident was able to ‘walk away’ with no long-term injuries,” Archibald commented to LighthouseNOW in an email. “All too often, as first responders, we often see things go the other way, unfortunately. It’s great to see Cpl. Frizzell and others get recognized for single incidences like this one, as all too often these acts of bravery happen every day across this country and no one hears about it,” Archibald added. Hailing from Prince Edward Island, Frizzell has served in Airdrie, Alberta and in three communities in the Northwest Territories: Behchoko, Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik. He arrived in Liverpool in September 2019. In an article that appeared in LighthouseNOW following the event, Captain John Long of the Liverpool Fire Department, who was on the scene, was quoted saying he hoped there’s recognition in the future for the officer who jumped into action that morning. “He deserves kudos for that because that took guts, I’ll tell you,” said Long. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
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.
“I took some heat in my first term,” says Town of Minto Mayor George Bridge. “But I don’t any more.” The push-back was from some who questioned the town putting money into programs like CIP that offer grants to support private investors improving property. Southgate Township just approved its Community Improvement Plan, so there may be lessons in the experience from the Town of Minto. Minto now has three people in its economic development department. And yes, that’s for a municipality of 9,000 people, the Minto mayor said, reciting the numbers like someone who has heard some objections before. “What you really have to stress to your council and your communities is you can’t expect people to invest in these properties without an incentive,” he said in an interview with the Herald last fall. For every dollar the municipality has put in, the private sector investment now is more than four dollars. So how does he answer those who don’t see a role for municipalities in business? Well, actually, municipalities always have policies that affect business, he said. What’s new is the possibility under provincial rules that a township, city or county can provide legal incentives to businesses to invest. They do it through a CIP – a Community Improvement Plan. And that coincides with a new vision of economic development – “we’re not chasing smoke stacks any more,” Mayor Bridge told the Herald in an interview late last year. COMMUNITY GETS ON BOARD He listed a few other actions that helped forge the path to where they are today. Downtowns in Clifford, Harriston and Palmerston look better, more buildings are occupied, including some of the most deteriorated, and there is a team of residents in each town spearheading project such as projects like murals and benches. Each town has a community group (revitalization committee) with one council member assigned to it. The group is given a $5,000 budget each year by the municipality. A big factor in the success of the group is that those economic development staff members take care of the administration jobs like secretarial and financial duties. Those are the jobs no one can fill, and if you say yes, you’re in the job for 20 years, the mayor said. The municipality also brought in people from an Ontario organization called Small Town Rising, who helped with the committees, and with helping the communities identify their “brand.” “The Town’s not going to drive it,” he said, “the people are going to drive it.” There is a lot of social media posting of the downtown improvements and decorations. “That’s coming from the people, not me. It’s totally amazing what they’ve done.” There are now outside speakers in the downtown playing the local radio station, which will carry ads and promotions of local events. THE FIRST MINTO CIP A CIP is a toolbox of different approaches to use public money to encourage investment toward community goals – downtown improvement, re-use of industrial sites, attainable housing and ultimately growth that aligns with local priorities. The first Minto Community Improvement Plan started more than a decade ago, in 2008. At first, it provided incentive grants only for storefront (facade) and signage improvements. This created a catalyst that led to success in filling most buildings except those that had major issues. NEXT STEPS At that point, the Town recognized they needed a larger incentive to “really move the needle for our downtowns,” in the words of economic development manager Belinda Wick-Graham. Minto then started offering a structural grant of up to $40,000. Minto has budgeted $60,000 annually for the last several years. The grants are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. That resulted in at least five significant buildings being “massively transformed” - with a big investment by the owner. “These have created new apartments, allowed new businesses to open, created new jobs, and overall have added vibrancy to our downtowns again,” Belinda Wick-Graham wrote in response to an inquiry from the Herald. “I could go on all day about how this program has transformed our communities.” MEASURING THE CHANGE Across the province, a common way of assessing the program is by the ratio of municipal investment to private investment. The municipality uses tax dollars as in incentive to partner with the private sector to create more activity, first through construction, later in increased tax assessments and local business start-ups. The Town of Minto also looks at the number of new businesses, number of jobs, number of desperately-needed apartments and the assessment increase. Minto’s commercial assessment increased from 2008 by over 9 percent, and since 2010 more than $2.4 million in commercial construction value was added to the benefit of the community. PICTURING THE CHANGE Those involved on the municipal side, like the Mayor and staff talk about the impact on community pride, and the increased attraction to consumers and potential investors. A picture speaks a thousand words in telling the story of the transformation and the improvement so the department takes before and after photos to show the physical changes. DON’T JUST PASS THE PLAN, PROMOTE IT The Town of Minto makes sure local realtors know about it as it’s an incentive to someone looking to invest in property. Existing property owners and businesses are made aware of it Keeping the plan fresh is important, too. Minto has added grants to support outdoor patios or public art in downtowns, and grants to support projects to plant more trees as consistent with regulations, either to improve urban areas or reduce snow drift in rural areas. 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
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Health Tyler Shandro joined Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw during her regular COVID update on Monday, March 1 to announce the province is moving on to Step 2 of the phased relaunch. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions have declined since the first phase of restrictions eased in February; however, despite admissions below the threshold to enter Step 3 of the phased relaunch, the Alberta government is taking cautious steps towards a full reopen. “We are taking a cautious approach, recognizing active cases and hospitalizations have declined, but the threat of COVID-19 remains real,” Premier Kenney said during the press conference. “Thanks to the hard work of Albertans over the past few weeks, we’re taking this safe step forward.” Effective immediately, libraries will be permitted to reopen to the public at 15 per cent capacity--not including staff members. Adults will also be allowed to resume indoor low-intensity individual and group exercises, though masks and three metres physical distancing between each individual are mandatory. Fitness activity will be by appointment only, with no drop-ins permitted. Children’s sports and high-intensity activities, such as running, spin, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), are still prohibited unless done with a paid, professional trainer. The next phase of reopening will be considered, at the earliest, in three weeks on Monday, March 22. As of Monday, March 1 there are five active and 210 recovered cases of COVID-19 within the Town of Drumheller. This includes four active and 64 recovered cases at the Drumheller Institution. Starland County currently has zero active cases; Wheatland and Kneehill Counties each have five active cases. Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
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
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
OTTAWA — The federal government is telling an appeal court it had to provide U.S. authorities with customer information from Canadian banks to avoid possibly "catastrophic effects" on Canada's economy. The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as FATCA, requires banks and other institutions in countries outside the United States to report information about accounts held by U.S. individuals, including Canadians with dual citizenship. Among the information from Canada being shared with the U.S. are the names and addresses of account holders, account numbers, account balances, and details such as interest, dividends and other income. In a newly filed submission to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Canadian government says failure to comply would have had serious effects on Canada's financial sector, its customers and the broader economy. Two U.S.-born women who now live in Canada, Gwendolyn Louise Deegan and Kazia Highton, challenged the constitutionality of Canadian provisions implementing the 2014 agreement between the countries that makes the information-sharing possible. The two unsuccessfully argued in Federal Court that the provisions breach the Charter of Rights guarantee preventing unreasonable seizure, and they now want the Court of Appeal to overturn the ruling. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says the province is considering whether to follow British Columbia in extending the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses. Tyler Shandro says a committee of COVID-19 experts is analyzing emerging data and a decision is coming. The B.C. government announced Monday that it will extend the wait between first and second doses to four months to get more people vaccinated overall in a shorter time period. B.C. based its decision on data coming from the United Kingdom, Israel and Quebec that showst the first dose of vaccines is 90 per cent effective. When Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech began distributing their vaccines late last year, it was recommended the first and second shots be completed within about six weeks maximum to be fully effective. The Oxford-AstraZeneca has also been approved for use in Canada, but a national panel of vaccine experts is recommending it only be given to people under 65 – a guideline Shandro says Alberta will follow. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 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
The board of MLAs that manages the Northwest Territories legislature has hired the same company that investigated former Governor General Julie Payette's office to look into allegations of bullying in the clerk's office. "Current and former staff of the Office of the Clerk, since the beginning of the 19th Assembly, will have the opportunity to speak voluntarily to the independent third-party firm," stated the Board of Management in a press release issued Tuesday morning. The board has hired Ottawa-based Quintet Consulting Corporation, the same firm that investigated Payette's office last summer. That investigation included interviews with 92 current and former employees. That investigation concluded that the office was a terrible place to work due to "yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliations," from Payette and an aide. Payette resigned in January after receiving a copy of the report. Like that investigation, the one of the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly was triggered by allegations of bullying from current and former staff, many first reported by CBC News. The staff allege that clerk Tim Mercer bullies and intimidates subordinates he does not favour, and is unable to control his temper. They say that in group meetings, he has berated and humiliated staff to the point of tears. Investigation will look at events since October 2019 Though employees say bullying by the clerk has been going on for years, under the terms of reference set by the Board of Management, the Quintet investigation is limited to what has occurred in the clerk's office since Oct. 1, 2019, the start of this Legislative Assembly. Investigators are also restricted to talking only to staff who have worked in the office since the start of this assembly. Tim Mercer, the clerk for the legislative assembly, went on leave, following public allegations of bullying and harassment. He denies the allegations.(CBC) In the terms of reference, the board says investigators will look into three allegations of misconduct related to "an employee of the NTLA (Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly)." CBC News reported that one complaint was filed by current committee advisor April Taylor in a letter to the board last month. Another was filed by MLA Steve Norn. Taylor was suspended with pay the day after she submitted a letter to the board, a copy of which she provided to CBC News, outlining her allegations of bullying against Mercer. In a separate letter, deputy clerk Glen Rutland tells Taylor the suspension will continue to March, pending an investigation of allegations she violated her oath of confidentiality and other rules. Rutland later confirmed that Mercer himself is "on leave," but would not say why or for how long. Quintet is required to provide a report on its investigation to the Board of Management. The board gives no indication of any deadline for the report.
WARSAW, Poland — The European Union's top court ruled Tuesday that Poland’s new regulations for appointing judges to the Supreme Court could violate EU law, an opinion that was immediately contested by the justice minister and other judicial officials in Warsaw. The ruling obliges Poland’s right-wing government to have these regulations discontinued and to observe the principles of judicial independence and the right to judicial protection. The EU has been strongly criticizing Poland's conservative government for the changes it has introduced to the judiciary since it won power in 2015, saying they undermine the country's rule of law. In a decision that could have a powerful effect on future court verdicts regarding judicial appointments, the ruling also allows Poland's courts to refrain from applying the government regulations introduced in 2018 and 2019, if they deem them to be in conflict with EU law. The legislation in Poland strengthened political influence over courts and over a top judicial body, the National Council of the Judiciary, including the body's procedure of appointments to the Supreme Court. It also curbed the judges' right to appeal the council's decisions. The regulations “which have the effect of removing effective judicial review of that council’s decisions ... (proposing) candidates for the office of judge at the Supreme Court — are liable to infringe EU law," the European Court of Justice said in its ruling. The European Commission will be watching how Poland is implementing the ruling, said Christian Wigand, its official for the rule of law. Official reactions from Warsaw were hostile. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said the verdict was “unacceptable to us” because it “takes no account at all of the country's legal, constitutional order.” Also Judge Julia Przylebska, the head of Poland's top court vetting legislation, said the ruling constituted an “evident infringement on Poland's constitutional order” and undermined the "foundations of the European Union as a community of sovereign states.” Przylebska was among the very first judicial appointments made by the right-wing government. A member of the ruling Law and Justice party, lawyer Krystyna Pawlowicz, also criticized the verdict, saying it has “no legal basis and goes against Poland’s legal system.” But many others in Poland welcomed the decision. “The (EU) court has put limits on political power,” said attorney Marcjanna Debska. “It refers not only to the regulations but also to the political situation and that means that the court can clearly see what is going on in Poland." Opposition Civic Platform party leader Borys Budka said the verdict was the “triumph of law over lawlessness.” The ruling was in response to a query by Poland's top administrative court to the European court regarding a complaint by some judges. The Polish judges said the new regulations stripped them of the right to appeal a decision rejecting them as candidates for the Supreme Court. Based on Tuesday’s ruling, Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court can now decide to review the appeals by the five judges, who are not government loyalists. In the process, it might rule that the entire appointment procedure to the Supreme Court in 2018 was flawed and ineffective. Some said the court's decision backed up several previous warnings from EU bodies to Poland about following the bloc's rule of law. The ruling on the Polish government’s “political interference in the judiciary is concrete evidence that the government is blatantly flouting the rule of law, despite multiple warnings. It is also destroying Europe’s trust in the legal system there," said Jeroen Lenaers, a European Parliament member. ___ A previous version of this story was corrected to say Poland's top administrative court turned to the European Court of Justice, not the judges themselves. Monika Scislowska, The Associated Press
Voluntary asymptomatic testing at two Hamilton schools on Friday and Saturday found no positive cases of COVID-19 among more than 250 participants. Testing is being offered to asymptomatic students and staff on a voluntary basis as part of a provincial mandate that boards offer tests in five per cent of their schools — and at least two per cent of their students — each week. At the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, 142 people — 90 students and 52 staff — were tested on Friday at a clinic at Saltfleet District High School in Stoney Creek. About 3,600 in-person learners — plus educators and child-care workers — from Saltfleet and its eight elementary feeder schools were eligible. “The weather was better this time than the first one at (Orchard Park),” said spokesperson Shawn McKillop in an email to The Spectator. Fewer than 100 students and staff participated in Feb. 13 pilot clinics at Orchard Park Secondary School in Stoney Creek and Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School in Hannon on a snowy long weekend. Among the 86 participants — 65 students and 21 staff — no positive cases of the virus were detected. McKillop said the Saltfleet clinic was promoted to more HWDSB families and that there may be “more awareness in our community in general related to the testing.” Testing at Saltfleet exceeded the 130-test capacity indicated by the vendor last week. The board said on Monday the vendor likely had “additional supplies” to accommodate walk-ins. “There was no individual turned away,” he said. At the Catholic board, a total of 114 people — 62 students and 52 staff — were tested a St. John Henry Newman Catholic Secondary School in Stoney Creek on Friday and Saturday. Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board chair Pat Daly said the number of staff tested was “more aligned” with what they had anticipated. “With regard to students, I believe we had expected somewhat of a higher turnout,” he said. On Thursday, 29 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were conducted at St. Ann Catholic Elementary School in central Hamilton, which had been in outbreak until Sunday. The board said Monday the PCR test results have yet to be confirmed. Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah girl whose football skills won her fame online has lost her court bid to have school districts create football teams for girls. A federal judge ruled against Sam Gordon on Monday, finding that Utah school districts aren't legally required to create a separate team because girls who want to play football can play with the teams traditionally filled with boys. U.S. District Court Judge Howard Nielson acknowledged that schools and coaches could do more to encourage girls to play. But he also acknowledged concerns that without Gordon's star power there might not be enough girls to keep a league running that would have to be built from the ground up since no other high school in the U.S. has a similar program. Gordon's playing videos have racked up millions of views on YouTube since she was 9, but she and other female players argued they were worried about playing with physically larger boys as teenagers. The case also included testimony about the harassment girls have endured while playing with all-boy teams. Gordon argued plenty of girls were interested in playing, pointing to an all-female league she started with her father six years ago that’s drawn hundreds of girls from the Salt Lake City area. Those numbers show girls want to play and could fill a roster, her lawyers argued. But U.S. District Court Judge Howard Nielson disagreed. He found that no district policy had discouraged girls from playing, and that any harassment would violate athletic association rules. While schools and coaches could do more to accommodate girls, “the court is not convinced that it is required by the Constitution," he wrote. He also found the districts raised significant questions about whether there would truly be enough girls within the district boundaries to build up a large enough team without Gordon, who is now 17 and has appeared at the ESPN awards and in Super Bowl commercials. A smaller team could increase the risk of injury, he found. The districts were represented by Assistant Utah Attorney General Rachel Terry, who said she was pleased by the ruling and the finding that they did not violate the Equal Protection clause or Title IX. “The districts will continue to strive to expand opportunities for all students and to ensure equal opportunities for male and female students in athletics and activities," she said in a statement. Brent Gordon, Sam Gordon’s father who is also an attorney, said he and his daughter will continue their own work to expand football opportunities for girls in Utah. “We appreciate the Judge’s efforts to have this trial during the pandemic so that the girls’ stories could be told and voices heard,” Gordon wrote in a statement. “Those voices will continue until equality in athletics is reached in Utah and across the country.” ___ Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Lindsay Whitehurst And Sophia Eppolito, The Associated Press
Des intervenants du milieu culturel local, des citoyens et la société d’histoire régionale ont multiplié les sorties publiques depuis l’annonce de la Ville de Granby de mettre aux enchères une murale de St-Patrick signée Alfred Pellan. La mobilisation n’a cependant eu aucun effet sur la position du maire Pascal Bonin. Lors de la réunion mensuelle du conseil municipal, lundi soir, plusieurs questions ont été adressées au maire au sujet du sort réservé à la mosaïque datant de 1958. L’œuvre d’art ornant la façade du 142, rue Dufferin devait à l’origine être retirée dans le but d’être mise en valeur dans un autre lieu public en raison de la démolition de l’immeuble. Le conseil municipal a toutefois changé d’avis après avoir reçu un rapport d’expertise évaluant l’opération de retrait et de restauration à quelque 160 000 $. C’est la présence d’amiante dans les murs de cette ancienne école primaire accueillant la communauté irlandaise de Granby qui expliquerait le coût élevé de la démarche. Dans le camp de ceux qui se portent à la défense de l’œuvre, décrite comme un objet patrimonial, c’est l’absence de consultation du public qui fâche. «Nous proposons que, dans un premier temps, la murale d’Alfred Pellan soit retirée de la façade de l’édifice de la MRC et qu’elle soit entreposée en lieu sûr. Dans un deuxième temps, la Ville devrait mettre sur pied un comité regroupant des élu(e)s et des citoyen(ne)s qui détermineront ensemble la meilleure façon d’assurer la préservation de ce bien patrimonial», a suggéré le président du conseil d’administration de la Société d’histoire de la Haute-Yamaska (SHHY), Maxime Gilbert, dans une question écrite transmise au conseil en raison de la procédure imposée en temps de pandémie. Dans sa missive au conseil, M. Gilbert a souligné que «la précipitation serait bien mauvaise conseillère» et il a rappelé aux élus que la communauté regrette encore aujourd’hui la destruction d’autres éléments de valeur patrimoniale dans le passé. La semaine dernière, un autre groupe s’est manifesté, soit le comité «Ma ville, mon patrimoine» qui réunit des artisans du milieu culturel local. Ils ont interpellé les citoyens par l’entremise des réseaux sociaux en leur demandant d’écrire des courriels aux élus. Ils ont même préparé un modèle de lettre à personnaliser. «Sauver des édifices, des œuvres d’art et des sculptures, ce n’est pas juste pour les autres ailleurs au Québec. Nous pouvons ensemble demander à notre conseil municipal de revenir sur cette décision», peut-on lire dans la publication sur Facebook du comité. Face à cette réaction citoyenne, le maire de Granby, Pascal Bonin, a réagi en début de réunion du conseil avec l’intention de clore le débat. «Il y a des gens qui nous demandent d'enlever l'oeuvre et d'attendre ensuite voir ce qu'on va en faire. Ça fait partie intégrante de la problématique. C'est-à-dire qu'on ne peut pas enlever l'oeuvre à cause de l'amiante qui se trouve derrière dans l'édifice. Ce n'est pas possible de retirer l'oeuvre aussi simplement. Si ça avait été le cas, ça fait longtemps qu'on l'aurait fait», a-t-il répondu en insistant sur la qualité du rapport remis aux élus. «On peut se faire reprocher de ne pas avoir consulté, mais au final, c'est un dossier qui a été bien monté au conseil. Il n'y a rien de nouveau à part la divergence d'opinions», a-t-il poursuivi, en rejetant les attaques selon lesquelles Granby ne se soucie pas de son patrimoine. Le maire a rappelé qu’un projet de dix millions de dollars vient d’être réalisé pour préserver l’église Notre-Dame, la plus vieille église catholique de la municipalité. À la suite de la réponse du maire Bonin, le comité «Ma ville, mon patrimoine» a réagi sur sa page Facebook en reprochant au conseil municipal de faire «la sourde oreille aux citoyens». Les membres déplorent un manque d’ouverture aux «arguments valables» apportés par les citoyens. Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
City officials are warning residents to avoid contact with raccoons after an uptick in reported raccoon-related injuries. Between January 2020 and February 2021, Toronto Public Health saw a 62 per cent increase in reports of people bitten or scratched by raccoons compared to the two-year average between the years 2018 and 2019. Toronto Animal Services also received more service requests for sick and injured raccoons, the city said in a news release. In 2020, there were 13,712 requests compared to 4,172 requests in 2019. "This may be because residents are home more than usual or spending more time exercising outside in their neighbourhoods, thus encountering more raccoons in the city," Toronto Public Health said in a release. Brad Gates, the owner and president of AAA Gates' Wildlife Control, says his company received more calls in 2020 with residents spending more time at home. "If they were out of the house, they wouldn't hear the animal moving about during the daytime, but during COVID-19 they were hearing the animals at all times," he said. Gates said reports of other wild animals, such as coyotes and foxes, have also increased as more people see them in their backyards or parks. "Our call volume for non-service requests is through the roof," he said. "Prior to this past year they weren't around to see it and they didn't think to call." 'Homeowners should keep a safe distance' Raccoons can be infected with feline distemper, which affects their coordination and eyesight. "Those calls have certainly been up for us, people seeing animals during the day that have been acting peculiar," Gates said. He added that distemper can cause raccoons to become less afraid of people. In late stages of the disease, raccoons begin to stagger and can get blinded by a crusting over their eyes. "They're getting into situations they wouldn't normally get into." He said raccoons don't usually attack humans. "It's extremely rare that a raccoon without any provoking would come near a person or attack a person," he said. Gates said it could happen, though, if a homeowner tries to deal with a sick or injured raccoon on their own and put "their fingers somewhere they shouldn't." "Like with any wild animal, homeowners should keep a safe distance." Rabies is very rare but can be fatal if it is left untreated. Toronto Public Health said that residents should not pet or feed wild raccoons, and that anyone who has been bitten, scratched or exposed to a wild raccoon should see a health provider immediately to be assessed. There have been no reports of wildlife with rabies in Toronto since 1997, according to Toronto Public Health.
A week after Dustin Duthie slit his girlfriend's throat and then tucked her body into bed as if she was sleeping, he fatally stabbed his mother and stepfather as police were planning to question the killer about his partner's disappearance. These are some of the details contained in an agreed statement of facts filed in Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Tuesday as part of Duthie's guilty plea, which came unexpectedly just days before the jury trial was set to take place. Duthie, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of his girlfriend, Taylor Toller, and mother, Shawn Boshuck, and one count of first-degree murder for the planned killing of his stepfather, Alan Pennylegion. Toller, 25, was killed in her apartment in the southeast Calgary neighbourhood of Applewood Park on July 25, 2018. Boschuk and Pennylegion were murdered a week later, on July 31, at their home in Calgary's northwest. Duthie lived in their basement. Domestic violence 'can happen to anyone' Toller's family released a statement Tuesday, expressing their grief and condemning domestic violence. "We loved Taylor very much," said the family. "The opportunity to see her grow and thrive was taken from her family, and we are heartbroken. "Domestic violence is insidious, and it can happen to anyone. If you have a friend or loved one at risk, know that it can take many attempts to leave, and the most dangerous time can be after that decision is made." According to the agreed statement of facts, the day before Boschuk and her husband were killed, she messaged Toller's grandmother expressing concern about how her son would react to police contacting him about the young woman's disappearance. Duthie stabbed his mother six times by the back door of her home and then dragged her across the room and covered her with a plastic sheet. Police determined Pennylegion had gotten out of bed to find Duthie cleaning up blood in the kitchen. It was then he was attacked. Duthie has admitted to killing his girlfriend of five years, Taylor Toller, 25, his mother, Shawn Boshuck, and his stepfather, Alan Pennylegion.(From left: Taylor Toller's Facebook page/Shawn Boshuck's Facebook page/Supplied) Duthie stabbed Pennylegion repeatedly and dragged him into the main floor bathroom with his dog, Odie, which he also killed. Over the years, Duthie had threatened violence against his stepfather, and the two had a tense relationship, the statement of facts said. Duthie called 911 just before 11 a.m. MT on July 31 and confessed to the murders. That's when police discovered the three bodies in the two homes. Toller was found in her bed. Duthie and Toller had been together for five years. Toller crying hours before death: video Security video from Toller's apartment building gathered as part of the investigation shows Toller and Duthie together the day before and morning of her death. The couple were seen coming and going from Toller's Applewood Park apartment, at times holding hands. Just after midnight, Duthie pulled a knife on Toller and took her cellphone away. Still images captured from the video show Toller crying. Between midnight and 4 a.m., the two were seen coming and going from the condo four times. At 5:14 a.m. on July 26, Duthie left the apartment alone, carrying a black bag and pulling a "bed in a box." He locked the door behind him. Police eventually found a blood-stained towel in the "bed in a box" in the trunk of Duthie's car. Toller was killed hours after this still image shows her crying in her apartment hallway after Duthie pulled a knife on her. (Court Exhibit) Boschuk's last communication with anyone was a text message sent to a friend at 5:53 a.m. on July 31. Duthie killed his mother and Pennylegion some time between 6 a.m. and 10:40 a.m., when he stopped to buy alcohol near Toller's apartment. At 10:50 a.m., Duthie called 911 and confessed to all three murders. When police arrived, it became clear Duthie was contemplating "suicide by cop." He was taken into custody about 30 minutes after officers arrived. Inside Duthie's black satchel, police seized a six-inch knife with white hockey tape on the handle. It was covered in Pennylegion's blood. A date for sentencing will be set on Friday.
A group of Black parents have taken the problem of anti-Black racism in Ontario schools into their own hands, launching an anonymous racism reporting tool for educators and staff, saying they can no longer wait for school boards to act. At a virtual news conference Tuesday, mothers with the group Parents of Black Children (POBC) announced its school-racism reporting tool, with a plan to release aggregated data on a quarterly basis. The move is a response to what they say is a lack of accountability at Ontario boards and inaction on the part of province to institute random equity audits to properly gauge the scale of anti-Black racism in schools. "Despite years of reports, committees and recommendations, school boards are saying that they are unable to properly track incidents of anti-Black racism. This is unacceptable so we are going to do it for them," said mother-of-two Kearie Daniel, a founding member of the group. Parents who advocate for change are often told to prove racism is happening, but without proper reporting tools, sound data simply doesn't exist, Daniel said. Educators are often reluctant to report about such incidents, fearing reprisals, lack of promotion, sabotage or lack of support from their administrators, she added. That allows school boards "to feign innocence and do nothing more to fight against anti-Black racism than to put nice-sounding statements on their websites or maybe hold a training or two," Daniel said 'I don't forget those stories' On Tuesday alone, another of the group's cofounders, Charline Grant, said she had heard from four families with stories of anti-Black racism in schools. "I don't forget those stories. I don't forget those names. They stay with me," said Grant. "I see myself. I see my children in those phone calls and those intakes that come in." Policies and procedure can go out the door and things can happen very quickly when governments are motivated to do it — when other lives are in danger. - Charline Grant Grant experienced anti-Black racism herself when a York Region school board trustee was overheard calling her the n-word. The trustee, Nancy Elgie, ultimately resigned from the board following months of public pressure. In 2017, following a human rights complaint, Grant received an apology from the York Region District School Board. The board also agreed to establish a human rights office to collect equity-related data and conduct mandatory racism and anti-Black racism training among other commitments. Since then, she has heard from countless families and from Black educators with children in Ontario school boards who say they're afraid to speak out. It's a problem she says the provincial government has had months to act on — noting the group has been calling for random equity audits at boards since August 2020 — but to-date, it hasn't. "If there's one thing I personally have learned throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, it's that policies and procedure can go out the door and things can happen very quickly when governments are motivated to do it — when other lives are in danger," she said. "But our Black student lives are in danger and its been in danger for a very long time. And it's hurtful and harmful and traumatizing." In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he has "reaffirmed the mandate to all school boards to collect race-based data," though he did not respond to POBC's calls for random audits. "The Government will ensure school boards collect and publicize this data to create accountability, transparency and action to fix long-standing systemic barriers that hold back Black and other racialized children in Ontario," said spokesperson Caitlin Clark. The statement added "the status quo is indefensible," saying the government has moved to end discretionary suspensions for students Grade 3 and under, and end practices like "streaming" which saw Black students funnelled into applied programs below their ability. Province launching Black advocacy in schools program A day before the launch of the tool, the province also announced it will invest $6 million over the next three years to support Black students through a new program called the Student and Family Advocates Initiative in Ottawa, Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area. That support will include things like working with students to develop plans for achieving their goals and connecting students and families to resources like job-placements, scholarships and leadership opportunities, it said, as well as working alongside community partners to "amplify" the voices of Black students and families to make changes in the education system. "Since I started in the role of Advocate for Community Opportunities in December 2019, I've consistently heard from parents, youth, and grassroots community groups that we need to build community capacity to navigate the education system and hold schools accountable," said Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities. The launch of the Black parent group's reporting tool comes on the heels of a first-of-its kind report by the Toronto District School Board's human rights office that found "a serious racism problem" within the board, with reports of anti-Black racism exceeding all other hate incidents documented there in the past year. The report found race-related complaints made up 69 per cent of all reported hate incidents in the 2019-2020 school year, with anti-Black racism making up the biggest share.(Toronto District School Board) That report followed an unanimous vote by Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustees in 2019, out of which the board developed a formal policy requiring employees report any such incidents that they encounter to managerial staff. 'This is what courage looks like' Speaking to CBC News, TDSB spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz said the TDSB welcomes all new tools to gather more details on racist and hate incidents within the school board and their schools, and are also open to perfect the tool they already have in place. Parents and members of the Peel District School Board, meanwhile, can direct complaints to the board's human rights office, which board spokesperson Tiffany Gooch describes as an "arm's length, independent and neutral office that will confidentially receive, resolve and where appropriate, investigate complaints of racism and discrimination in a fair, just an equitable manner." That board says it will be implementing the first phase of a mandatory reporting system for staff this week, which will include instances of anti-Black racism. It also says it is working on transforming and strengthening its human rights office to "rebuilt trust" that complaints are taken seriously. But speaking to reporters Tuesday, educator and POBC group member Claudette Rutherford pointed out that when it comes to boards' own human rights offices, staff may well be underreporting out of concern for backlash. "Teachers as well as parents are far less likely to go that route because they're not trusting of, 'Is it arm's length?'" said Rutherford, who has been teaching for nearly two decades. "Even me coming here now, I understand the risk that it puts me at but I feel like I don't have a choice anymore," she added. "This is what courage looks like," said Grant. "Being afraid and still doing it." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)