Will Bears' Nick Foles throw over/under 0.5 interceptions in week 8? Yahoo Sports' Andy Behrens explain.
Will Bears' Nick Foles throw over/under 0.5 interceptions in week 8? Yahoo Sports' Andy Behrens explain.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after a man was hit during "an exchange of gunfire" with officers in Vaughan on Monday.The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. in a parking lot near Creditstone Road and Highway 7. The lot is shared by a banquet hall and an adjacent apartment building. According to a York Regional Police news release, the incident happened after an officer tried to stop a vehicle for a Highway Traffic Act offence. Police say "an interaction" occurred between officers and the driver of the vehicle, but makes no mention of any shooting.But a news release from the provincial police watchdog Special Investigations Unit (SIU) gives more details.According to the SIU, after police first tried to stop the vehicle, officers later spotted it, and saw a man get out near a condo building. Officers followed the man, and soon after there was "an exchange of gunfire" between five officers and the man, the SIU says.The man then ran off and the officers pursued him. That's when a second exchange of gunfire happened, according to the news release. The man was hit multiple times and subsequently taken to hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The man's injuries are "suspected to be non-life-threatening," according to the SIU. Police say he is in stable condition.Police taped off a large area of several city blocks around the scene overnight. A stretch of Highway 7 was also closed for a time.The SIU says five officers are subject to the investigation, with two witness officers also designated.The SIU is asking anyone with information about what happened to call its lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. The unit is also urging anyone who video related to the incident to upload it through the agency's website.
A Canadian police officer involved in the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou two years ago in a U.S. extradition case testified on Monday he did not plan to obtain her mobile phone passcodes or search her electronic devices. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Gurvinder Dhaliwal told a Canadian court that he and his partner were "discreet" about their contact with Canadian border officials on the eve of Meng's arrest on Dec. 1, 2018.
Health researchers say British Columbians need to find new ways to get active as the pandemic stretches into its tenth month and the province has implemented new limits on some activities.Last week, provincial health officials suspended some indoor group fitness classes until Dec. 7 to try to reduce COVID-19 infections.The continuing uncertainty around how to keep fit safely has thrown some people off exercising entirely, but health researchers in B.C. say it's important to fight against apathy."It's not something to sort of push off," said University of Victoria professor Ryan Rhodes, who studies health psychology and how people approach and do exercise."We have to accept that this is a new reality and find new routines to get our physical activity going," he said.National guidelines recommend Canadian adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, or what Rhodes describes as "huffing and puffing," to help prevent a range of diseases as well as bolster mental health.In the spring, both Rhodes and Guy Faulkner from the University of British Columbia worked on different studies looking at how Canadians were exercising during the initial response to the pandemic, which included the shutdown of gyms and recreation centres.Both found an expected reduction in activity, whether going to the gym or just getting outside. Moderate to vigorous physical activity declined on average by 46 minutes per week for adults, according the study Rhodes worked on.Of those who were active before COVID-19, around 20 per cent of them were not during the early days of the pandemic.Those who have stopped exercising and may still be trying to wait the pandemic out before returning are the people researchers like Rhodes and Faulkner are most concerned about."The consequences of inactivity are quite extreme," Rhodes said. Exercise for physical and mental well-beingFor 20 years, Faulkner has studied the effect of exercise on well-being and happiness.Now, in a pandemic with no known endpoint, he says exercise should be a tool to not only stay physically fit, but to bolster mental well-being."Mainly as a positive coping strategy for dealing with the stress of the situation that we find ourselves in," he said.Through their work, both Faulkner and Rhodes have uncovered some interesting trends that have helped people keep moving.Early in the pandemic, Rhodes found that people with dogs more easily kept up with exercise by walking their pets.He also found that people who had exercise equipment at home, bought new equipment, or even turned to YouTube for exercise videos fared better.Faulkner says routines do not need to be complicated. It could be as simple as trying to build in movement throughout the day to reduce sedentary activity.He takes a brisk walk in the morning and at the end of his working day as a sort of faux commute that many people like him have lost by working from home."I think we do need to make a conscious effort," he said.Pick something you likeTurning new routines into habits could be the toughest part, according to Rhodes.His research has shown that an activity needs to be repeated four times a week for six weeks before it becomes a part of someone's lifestyle. It's also important to choose an activity that you actually like doing to help make it stick.Rhodes has studied how cues, such as exercising at the same time each day, can be effective in turning exercise into a habit."Eventually the cue itself promotes the behaviour," he said.
Colourful cockatoos, amazons, and macaws in dozens of cages line the walls in each room of a rental house in Delta. A skeleton crew of workers and volunteers tend to the birds, unencumbered by the constant cacophony of chirps, songs and screeches."It's a lot of work," said Jan Robson, a spokesperson for the Greyhaven Bird Sanctuary. "We have 60 birds in there, and they have big cages — and big poop."And now, big problems. Greyhaven is among a long list of non-profits and registered charities in B.C. that are grappling with revenue losses due to COVID-19 and rethinking the traditional fundraising model.Greyhaven has been a refuge for exotic birds for decades. It runs shelters out of two homes and operates entirely on donations, fundraising, and adoption fees to find homes for countless birds, many of whom have been abandoned by past owners.This year, revenues have dropped, making it a challenge to operate on what had already been a tight budget. Marquee fundraising events like its biannual open house have been cancelled, in favour of virtual alternatives.There's been about a 15 per cent decrease in funding, Robson said. "We're trying to raise funds for six months rent for this particular facility," she added. "That's one of those things where we're like, 'How can we make this work?'""When you're caring for over 100 birds, and your money is 15 per cent down, it's a punch in the gut, for sure," she said.'These organizations touch all of our lives'There are more than a thousand non-profits and charities in B.C., a diverse sector that generates billions of dollars in GDP annually. They often fill gaps in under-served communities, providing services for the elderly, people with disabilities, and vulnerable animals.But many are feeling the squeeze. In May, a survey of more than 1,000 organizations found that 23 per cent of operators feared they wouldn't last six months."A lot of non-profits and charities have had to close their doors," said Alison Brewin, executive director of the non-profit Vantage Point."Across the board, for all organizations, they're seeing decreases in their earned incomes, their donations, and their other funding sources."A notable example is the Vancouver Aquarium, which is currently fighting bankruptcy."These organizations touch all of our lives," Brewin said. "We all connect with non-profits and charities across the province, and the vulnerability that's shown up is quite scary."Virtual events not as effective as in-person fundraisersIn the time since Vantage Point conducted the survey, Brewin said many organizations continue to rely on emergency measures, including the federal wage subsidy.Groups like Greyhaven have switched to virtual events to raise funding, but the events typically don't generate the same amount of money.It's a similar trend for larger organizations. The BC Cancer Foundation is down tens of millions of dollars in revenue this year, according to president and CEO Sarah Roth.The foundation's yeatrly headline event, the Ride to Conquer Cancer, would typically generate about $8 to 10 million. This year, the virtual event generated about $2 million.COVID-19 restrictions have also forced the foundation to stop door-to-door fundraising efforts as well, although it says its number of monthly donors has remained consistent.In all, it expects to end the year with about $40 million in revenue, compared to previous highs of around $70 million."Cancer doesn't stop, and neither can we," Roth said. "We just need to adjust, we're being very mindful of our costs."With a vaccine on the horizon, there's hope that traditional revenue streams could be restored. But mounting cases in B.C. means most groups aren't holding their breath quite yet.And with COVID-19 restrictions tightening, the sector isn't expected to rebound anytime soon.The BC Cancer Foundation is anticipating at least another year of its remote model."It's just changed," Roth said."I think there will be a huge appetite to go back to more in-person experiences for sure, and we'll get ready for that."
Lawyers for two former IWK Health Centre executives are still trying to get the most appropriate witnesses on the stand as part of an effort to obtain documents from the office of Nova Scotia's auditor general.Defence counsel for Stephen D'Arcy and Tracy Kitch questioned witnesses in Nova Scotia provincial court on Thursday and Friday but ended those days with little to show for their efforts.On Thursday, acting auditor general Terry Spicer was on the stand for several hours when it became apparent he couldn't answer any detailed questions related to the performance audit of the children's hospital his office completed in 2018. That's because Spicer, who was deputy auditor general at the time, recused himself from the work because his wife worked at the health centre.The revelation and lack of progress that day prompted Judge Elizabeth Buckle to question why Spicer was put forward as a witness in the first place. None of the lawyers were aware he'd recused himself from the work until Thursday.On Friday, Michael Pickup, the province's former auditor general, appeared for two hours via video link from British Columbia, where he now works as that province's auditor general.Although Jacqueline King, Kitch's lawyer, spent the time mainly cross-examining Pickup about the process of how and when audits are performed, how the topics are selected and record keeping for audit work, Pickup, like Spicer, had little direct involvement with the performance audit work.King and Christie Hunter, D'Arcy's lawyer, are hoping to get one or two people who were active in conducting the audit on the stand for upcoming dates in December.Kitch, the former CEO of the children's hospital, is facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust. D'Arcy, the hospital's former chief financial officer, is charged with breach of trust, unauthorized use of a computer and mischief to data.Both resigned from their posts in 2017 following an audit by Grant Thornton that showed Kitch billed about $47,000 in personal expenses to corporate accounts. She eventually repaid the money.Meanwhile, D'Arcy repaid $17,000 in expenses to the hospital just before resigning.Reporting by CBC first raised questions about Kitch's expenses and D'Arcy's involvement. At the time, both attributed the findings to unintended errors.Documents being soughtThe hospital's board then ordered the audit by Grant Thornton. The board chair at the time, Karen Hutt, then called in the auditor general and Halifax Regional Police.The application for access to records from the auditor general was made in June. It's not clear from court testimony so far what information defence lawyers are seeking, although a May 2020 letter from Crown attorney Peter Dostal to the auditor general provides possible insight."I recently received a request from defence counsel for Mr. D'Arcy to inquire for communications and meeting notes in your possession or control that relate to contact between your office and Karen Hutt and/or employees within the IWK concerning the review of the IWK CEO expenses of Tracy Kitch between 2014 and 2017 and any related involvement of Stephen D'Arcy," reads a portion of the letter, which was included as part of an affidavit by Spicer filed in court on Thursday.Part of what's at issue is whether the defence request trumps the privacy practices the office of the auditor general applies to its work. The office is not subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.Trial date could be in jeopardyWith Pickup scheduled to return to the stand on Dec. 3, and the defence still trying to secure other witnesses, there are also questions about whether the effort will affect the start of Kitch's trial.The trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 4.But with only two dates remaining before then, concerns were voiced Friday that if Buckle rules in favour of disclosing documents to the defence, there might not be enough time for lawyers to get those documents and prepare before the start of the trial.The issue would be moot, however, if Buckle rules against the defence.D'Arcy's trial is scheduled to begin next June.MORE TOP STORIES
Calgarians will have a chance Monday to speak their minds on the city's plan to cut $90 million in spending in order to bring in a tax freeze for 2021.Council has set aside a week for its annual budget debate and that includes a public hearing which allows residents to weigh in.The property tax picture for year three of the current four-year budget cycle is actually broken down by city officials this year in a somewhat complicated way.Administration is proposing an overall tax reduction of 1.66 per cent.That translates into an increase of 0.67 per cent for residential properties and a 0.55 per cent decrease for non-residential properties.To eliminate that small tax hike for homeowners, the city is asking council to approve a one-time rebate to bring about a tax freeze.Freeze means cutsMayor Naheed Nenshi said administration has followed council's direction to not raise taxes for 2021 instead of going with a previously approved 3.23 per cent increase.But that freeze would be achieved through $90 million in spending cuts.About $46.8 million in spending cuts are landing in administration, primarily by finding savings through more efficient ways of carrying out the business of government.But the cuts are also about axing the annual civic census (saving $1 million annually).The next biggest single savings will be to claw back a $10 million increase in the Calgary police budget for 2021. That money was to be used to hire 60 new officers.If the budget adjustments are approved, they would result in the loss of 162 city jobs. That would mean 574 city jobs will have been cut from the payroll since 2019.Nenshi said this would bring city staffing down to 2013 levels."Since 2013, we've added 200,000 people to Calgary. We've added two Red Deers and we are still having the same number of civil servants as we had then," said Nenshi."We have increased taxes by less than inflation plus growth in every year since the economic downturn and looking at a freeze this year."Some want to cut deeperSome councillors said in tough times, they want to cut deeper.Coun. Jeromy Farkas said Calgarians expect city hall to find more reductions."While this is a start, I think we need to be much, much more aggressive in terms of our spending reductions, to be able to respond to what every Calgary family and business has had to do: tighten their belts," said Farkas.He wants another $90 million cut from the budget and that could happen in what he calls non-essential areas that wouldn't affect Calgarians. He points to arts spending and communications as possible areas for further reductions.Coun. Ward Sutherland is also looking for additional cuts. But he said it is getting challenging to find significant areas to cut.The city has reduced spending by nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in recent years so the low-hanging fruit has already been picked."People need to be reminded that between police, fire, transit and roads, it's basically over 83 per cent of our entire operating budget. So the ability to cut big numbers is diminishing every year," said Sutherland.Balancing actNenshi is more blunt about the prospect of finding big cuts without affecting the services Calgarians expect from the city."We're already seeing concerns about roads maintenance, about parks maintenance," said Nenshi."You want the bigger cut to even below the lowest taxes in the country? Tell us where to cut and see if you can get eight votes."In past years, councillors have offered few specific ideas for additional reductions except for across the board cuts that administration would be forced to implement.Council has typically rejected those because of the impacts that would be felt in areas like transit, the police and the fire department.More rebates possibleOnce council settles the municipal tax rate and budget for 2021, it is expected to turn its attention to finding money for rebates to help property owners who will be adversely impacted by this year's land reassessments.Some downtown properties are expecting to see small drops in value while hotels and motels are projected to see a 30 per cent drop.Administration said those reductions will result in property taxes going up significantly for properties that have seen increases in values. These include some types of retail properties. Large warehouses are looking at a potential 25 per cent tax increase next year due to their higher assessments and that shift in the non-residential tax burden."I think that we're going to have to look at some sort of a rebate for those businesses in this year because you don't want to just pile on with what a difficult year they've had," said Nenshi. "But at some point, we actually have to let the market work."It's a line that's been used by several council members in recent years as one tax rebate after another have been handed out to blunt the impacts of what they call a broken tax and assessment system.The mayor said any changes to that system can only be made by the provincial government.
The 74th annual Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon is going ahead despite not being able to host live acts. Canadore College’s media arts students are compiling highlights of the past three events to produce a four-hour virtual broadcast Sunday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. “We suspect there will be a lot more families in need,” said Gary Verge, telethon committee chairman. He’s with the Bonfield Lions but the fundraiser involves 11 clubs, including Mattawa, Callander, Powassan, Trout Creek, Sundridge, South River, Burk’s Falls, Kearney, Arnstein and Restoule. “We could use $30,000,” Verge said of their target to receive from pledges and donations to buy turkeys, hams and gifts for kids for close to 400 families overall. Each club also adds in boxes of food to go with the initial basket “to help make it last a few meals.” In Bonfield for example, he said about 20 families each year get a little extra support heading into a holiday season that often strains already thin household budgets. Usually, the long-standing telethon runs nine hours lives with artists corralled in line as the performances are rotate through the stages, something that couldn’t be done this year due to COVID-19 pandemic health protocols. “We’re also trying to put together some Christmas entertainment featuring local talent,” Verge said of the dual mandate of igniting the spirit of the season. “But all those acts hanging around up at the college is not a good idea this year.” It’s also “excellent experience” for the Canadore students, he said, hoping they can return to the live show next year. The 2020 telethon can be seen on YourTV Channels 12 and 700, through the www.lionschildrenstelethon.com website; www.canadoretv.com or listen on Country 600 CKAT Radio. To donate, call 705-472-4420 or 1-844-888-4420. You can also make a pledge online or use PayPal at www.lionschldrenstelethon.com Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. NoneDave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Montrealers who plan to leave the house Monday morning might want to gear up with a tall pair of rain boots. It's a wet and slushy morning in Montreal, after the metropolitan region saw more than 10 centimetres of snow for the first time this year on Sunday. Rainfall that began overnight is expected to continue into the afternoon, Environment Canada says, with a high of 5 C. Several Quebec regions are under a snowfall warning Monday, including Quebec City, Lac-Saint-Jean, Mont-Tremblant and Saguenay."Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions," the weather agency says. The provincial capital region is also under a freezing rain warning this morning. Environment Canada says highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Authorities in the South Korean capital on Monday announced a tightening of social distancing regulations, including shutting nightclubs, limiting service hours at restaurants and reducing public transportation.The measures going into effect on Tuesday also include a ban on public rallies or demonstrations of more than 10 people. Restaurants can provide only take out and delivery after 9 p.m., and public transportation will be limited after 10 p.m.Acting Seoul Mayor Seo Jung-hyup told reporters one-third of city employees will work from home. He recommend churches convert to online worship services only.Earlier on Monday, the country reported 271 new cases of the coronavirus.South Korea has saw the virus spread faster after authorities eased social distancing restrictions to the lowest level in October amid concerns about a weak economy.Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said tightening guidelines was inevitable as a failure to slow transmissions now could “break the dam” in anti-virus efforts and result in a surge in infections nationwide that may overwhelm hospital systems.“We need to reduce people-to-people contact,” she said during a briefing Monday, pleading with people to cancel year-end meetings and other gatherings.In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:— Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week. As temperatures drop, large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli. Many experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater during the cold weather. On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday.— Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed half a million as the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation scrambles to procure vaccines to help it win the fight against the pandemic. The Health Ministry reported 4,442 new cases on Monday to bring the country’s total to 502,110, the highest toll in Southeast Asia and second in Asia only to India’s more than 9.1 million confirmed cases. The ministry said that the death toll from the virus is 16,002, and that it has been adding 3,000-5,000 daily cases since mid-September. President Joko Widodo said his administration is working on a mass vaccination program for the vast archipelago nation, home to more than 270 million people.— Sri Lanka has reopened some of the thousands of schools that have been closed for more than a month due to a surge of the coronavirus. Schools will remain closed in Colombo and it’s suburbs as the number of cases is still climbing in those parts. According to the government’s decision, schools were re-opened only for students in grades 6 to 13. The Education Ministry said there are 10,165 state-run schools in the country and arrangements were made to open 5,100 schools on Monday. Sri Lanka closed schools last month when two new clusters emerged in Colombo and it’s suburbs. The confirmed cases from the two clusters had grown to 16,639 by Monday.— India has registered 44,059 another new cases of the coronavirus and 511 deaths in the past 24 hours. New Delhi on Monday added 5,879 new cases 111 deaths and its rate of positive testing is more than three times the national average, authorities said. India has reported more than 9 million cases since the pandemic began, second behind the United States.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
The vice president of an Island trucking company says it's doing everything it can to keep everyone safe while continuing to follow the changing rules for rotational workers. "As an industry, we're going to do what we kind of have to do to keep the community around us safe," Andy Keith with Seafood Express Transport told Island Morning's Laura Chapin. "It does pose some additional challenges for us, but if we have to do it, we have to do it."Currently, there are around 900 Islanders who are considered rotational workers — including truckers. For them, special guidelines and testing routines are expected to be followed. 'Unprecedented times for everybody'Recently, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Heath office put out a reminder of those rules after a rotational worker visited a number of stores before testing positive for COVID-19.It remains unclear if that rotational worker was a truck driver. But currently, commercial truck drivers who are residents of P.E.I. must be tested three times to be exempt from isolation. There is, however, an exception for those who are only in the province for a few days. The rules "come out quickly and they change quite often unfortunately so that's been a challenge," said Keith. For his drivers, Keith said questions about the guidelines have ranged from do they need to self-isolate from their families to can they go to a doctor's appointment when they're home."With the new rules changes now, its been a little more clear and there's a little more clarity in what they can and can't do," he said. "I think it's unprecedented times for everybody so we're all kind of rolling with the punches at this point."'They should be proud'According to Keith, some drivers have also taken this as an opportunity to increase their workload since the options to socialize during their days off are limited. "A lot of cases our drivers are here and their families are back in their home countries," he said. "They have that optimistic viewpoint to say, 'Well maybe I'll just keep working and work a little harder make a little extra money.'"And for others, Keith said he can understand how it might be tough being a rotational worker during a time where travel isn't recommended. "We're telling our drivers that they're providing an essential service," he said. "They're really the heroes of ... bringing food products to Islanders and to Atlantic Canadian and Canadians as a whole.""They should be proud of what they're doing."More from CBC P.E.I.
MANILA, Philippines — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration provided precision-guided missiles and other weapons to help the Philippines battle Islamic State group-aligned militants and renewed a pledge to defend its treaty ally if it comes under attack in the disputed South China Sea.National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien represented Trump in Monday’s ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, where he announced the delivery of the missiles and bombs to the Philippine military. Trump pledged to provide the $18 million worth of missiles in a phone conversation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.O’Brien expressed condolences to the Philippines after back-to-back typhoons left a trail of death and devastation in the country and outlined U.S. help to the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic.The U.S. assistance projects normalcy in Washington’s foreign relations as Trump works to challenge the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election, claiming he was a victim of fraud. Duterte had asked Filipino Americans to vote for Trump but congratulated Joe Biden, through his spokesperson, for winning the election.Asked in an online news briefing if any of the officials he met in Vietnam and the Philippines voiced concern about the post-election situation in the U.S., O’Brien said nobody did. “There will be a transition if the courts don’t rule in President Trump’s favour,” he said.O’Brien represented Trump in a recent online summit between the U.S. and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and an expanded East Asia summit of heads of state attended by China and Russia that was also held by video and hosted by Vietnam.In his remarks at the turnover of the U.S. missiles in Manila, O’Brien cited the Trump administration’s role in the defeat of the Islamic State group in the Middle East and last year’s killing of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in Syria, and renewed its commitment to help defeat IS-linked militants in the southern Philippines.“President Trump is standing with President Duterte as we combat ISIS here in Southeast Asia,” O’Brien said. “This transfer underscores our strong and enduring commitment to our critical alliance.”He expressed hope for the continuance of a key security agreement that allows American forces to train in large-scale combat exercises in the Philippines. Duterte moved to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S. early this year but later delayed the effectivity of his decision to next year, a move welcomed by O’Brien.He said the U.S. stands with the Philippines in its effort to protect its sovereign rights in the South China Sea. The Philippines announced last month that it would resume oil and gas explorations in or near Reed Bank, which lies off the country’s western coast and is also claimed by China.“They belong to the Philippine people. They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be bigger than the Philippines they can come take away and convert the resources of the Philippine people. That’s just wrong,” O’Brien said.He repeated U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement early this year that “any armed attack on Philippine forces aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger our mutual defence obligations.” The allies have a 69-year-old mutual defence treaty.In July, Pompeo escalated the Trump administration’s attacks against China by declaring that Washington regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims in the disputed waterway as illegitimate. China reacted angrily by accusing the U.S. of sowing discord between Beijing and neighbouring Asian states.Jim Gomez, The Associated Press
Regina is welcoming a new mayor and ten council members at tonight's swearing in ceremony.Sandra Masters, the first woman to be voted to mayor's office in Regina, will be sworn in at Regina City Hall tonight at 7 p.m. CST.Five of the ten council members are new: Shanon Zachidniak for Ward 8, Landon Mohl for Ward 10, Cheryl Stadinchuk for Ward 1, Terina Shaw for Ward 7 and Daniel LeBlanc for Ward 6.COVID-19 protocols will be in place during the ceremony. All members will be wearing masks, sanitizing their hands and physically distancing.The ceremony will be live streamed on the City of Regina website.
Angelique Kidjo and Skip Marley are among several global artists performing social justice anthems for an online fundraising concert celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The Dec. 1 event on Facebook Live is called Peace Through Music: A Global Event for Social Justice. (Nov. 23)
Newfoundland and Labrador is withdrawing from the Atlantic bubble for a two-week break.Effective Wednesday, says Premier Andrew Furey, anyone arriving in the province from within the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14 days."The Atlantic bubble has been a source of pride … but the situation has changed," Furey said during Monday's COVID-19 briefing."I have made the tough decision to make a circuit break. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to self-isolate for 14 days."Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break will need to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons, he said. But people travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada will not have to file for a travel exemption, said the premier, and under extenuating circumstances may apply for earlier COVID-19 testing to shorten the self-isolation period.Restrictions on travel to Newfoundland and Labrador from outside Atlantic Canada remain unchanged. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said the province will monitor outbreaks in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for two weeks before making a decision to rejoin the bubble. She said Nova Scotia has confirmed cases of community transmission. "We will be looking at the levels of non-epidemiology cases that they have. We'll be looking at the trajectory of their case numbers … and looking at sort of a seven-day average," she said. "Those are all things we would consider with regard to whether or not to lift those isolation measures at that time."The province reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, both in the Western Health region. The province has 23 active cases.The province's total number of cases since March is now 321 with 294 recoveries. Both people who had recently been hospitalized with COVID-19 have been released.Elementary school student tests positive in Deer LakeA student at Elwood Elementary in Deer Lake is one of two new cases of COVID-19 being reported.It's the province's first case of COVID-19 in a school and is a close contact of a previous case, said Fitzgerald."As with any case, contact tracing starts with identifying close contacts of the child. This will include the school cohort, or class of the child," said Fitzgerald. "The parents of this class cohort have been notified, and the children have been self-isolating and testing has been arranged."The teacher is also self-isolating with testing arranged. Classes at Elwood Elementary have been suspended for Monday and Tuesday, according to the Department of Health.Watch the full Nov. 23 update:Fitzgerald, Education Minister Tom Osborne, and the head of the province's school district addressed the media on Monday as concerns around schools swirl.The second case reported on Monday is a man, also in the Western Health region, between 20 and 39 years old. The case is travel-related. The man returned to the province from work in Manitoba, and the case is unrelated to the previous cluster in the region. In a media release the Department of Health said the man is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.In an earlier media release, the Department of Health said it's asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 8880 from Halifax to Deer Lake that arrived on Thursday to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing, connected to a case of COVID-19 in the Western Health region announced Sunday.In total, 59,270 people have been tested as of Monday's update, an increase of 290 since Sunday.As the province is now seeing three small clusters, Fitzgerald said contact tracing is completed for the Grand Bank cluster. But, she added, identified contacts can develop symptoms until the 14-day mark, so the province will continue to monitor that cluster. Fitzgerald said all contacts have been identified in a small St. John's cluster but noted things can change within two weeks. She said there the contacts identified are in isolation so there should be "little onward future spread." In Deer Lake, "it's still in early days, really," Fitzgerald said."Certainly we're comfortable with where we are, now that we've been able to trace everybody in this cluster back to that origin."Towns and businesses tighten upMonday's news conference comes on the heels of daily increases of cases of COVID-19 in the province, and the Town of Deer Lake asking residents to limit contacts and non-essential businesses to close for the next 14 days.There are 10 active infections in the Western Health region of Newfoundland and Labrador, six of which are connected and believed to be centred in Deer Lake, as the town has said it's dealing with rising cases in the community. Dean Ball, the town's mayor, said the situation is being assessed hourly by his council, and they'll be shutting down town buildings until at least Dec. 7."People have really bought into this. We have no objections. When we look at Dec. 7, yes it's two weeks away. That won't be long going and I think will look back at this in a couple of weeks — I certainly hope so — and say for the information we had this was the best decision," Ball told CBC News. "We need to be kind. This is no time to be pointing fingers."Fitzgerald said more restrictive measures — such as a lockdown — aren't being recommended for the Deer Lake area right now. "We don't have evidence of widespread community transmission in Deer Lake. All of the cases that we've seen to date have been able to have been traced back to either travel or related to this cluster that was initially related to travel," she said. On Sunday, the Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill on Freshwater Road in St. John's closed its doors, announcing that a customer earlier in the week later tested positive for COVID-19. Staff are being tested, and the restaurant is awaiting guidance from public health officials.On Monday the city of St. John's announced it will not be going ahead with its Christmas market on Water Street or its different version of a Christmas parade planned to be held inside Mile One Centre. Breen told reporters city council felt it was in the best interests of keeping residents safe that the city not proceed with those events, following the changes to the province's participation in the Atlantic bubble. "We were concerned of moving forward when there's certainly a big concern on where we'd be in the pandemic at that time," he said. Asked if he had a message for business owners who might feel an economic squeeze during a break from the Atlantic bubble, Furey said the change is to protect them. "We're enjoying this level of freedom, and we're the envy of a lot of other places around the country. We want to keep it that way," he said. "This is an effort to protect their businesses, to protect the economy. The last thing we want is a full lockdown." Rotational workers facing backlashMeanwhile, the mayor of Grand Bank said the town is grappling with a great deal of anxiety, but now that contact tracing is complete, they're hoping to have turned the corner."The uncertainty — one day is great, the next day is not so great," said Rex Matthews.Matthews is hopeful the virus will be contained to the six cases already confirmed by public health officials. Two of those cases are senior citizens residing in the community's nursing home.Grand Bank has been a hotbed for rumours and speculation about the source of the infections. It's led to a flurry of online comments condemning rotational workers who travel back and forth from places like Alberta.In a social media group for rotational workers, some people report having the RCMP called on them for doing mundane tasks around their own property, like putting up Christmas lights."They do sacrifice," Matthews said. "You know they travel to other provinces of this country for employment, they leave their families, they leave their home, they leave their community, and it helps our economy. So under normal circumstances there's no issues, but these are extraordinary times."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of additional stress — whether it's financial strain, loneliness and isolation, or concern about the future — and a mental-health expert on P.E.I. says taking care of yourself is especially important to getting through it.Tayte Willows with the Canadian Mental Health Association, P.E.I. division says she likes to describe self-care as "the things that you do to find balance in your life, to maintain a good sense of well-being.""Some of these practices that we can do that are proactive and give us the ability to take control of our our mental well-being have been really crucial for folks," she says.1\. Follow your passionsWillows says a good place to start is with what you're passionate about."If you're really into sport or into art or into reading, taking time to do those things," she says.2\. Find ways to connectPhysical connection can be difficult in the pandemic, but Willows says connecting with those around you is still important."So finding ways to connect with the people who we care about and who make us feel like we're part of a community."3\. Step back from the chaosThe pandemic means a lot of unknowns and a lot that is out of our control.Willows says it's important to make "space for mindfulness and for gratitude, to be able to take a step back from the chaos that sometimes surrounds us and really ground ourselves in the present moment."4\. Keep a routineWillows says this one is the hardest for her to stick to, but it is really important.She says it can sometimes seem daunting to complete tasks such as doing the laundry or brushing your teeth, but once you get into the habit of them, they do help you feel like you're more in control of your life."When we hit a big point of stress or when something goes sideways in our lives, knowing that those things are done helps to reduce the stress that we might be feeling," she says."So if you've had a really hard day at work, going home and knowing that whatever choice you made for supper in the morning is actually already almost ready in the crockpot can be really helpful."5\. Start smallWillows acknowledges it can be daunting to make time for self-care so she recommends starting small.> "Sometimes those little things can also be indulgences that are necessary when we're going through stressful situations." — Tayte Willows"Sometimes it can be as much as saying, 'You know what? Three times a week I want to make sure that at lunch I go for a little walk around the block just to get some fresh air, give myself a break, some new scenery,'" she says. "Coming home at the end of the day and having a really nice warm bubble bath or having a really difficult conversation and then soothing that anxiety with a full tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream…. Sometimes those little things can also be indulgences that are necessary when we're going through stressful situations."6\. Stick with itWillows says it takes almost of month of daily practice to form a new habit."Within, you know, the first two or three days of trying something new and practising that new habit, it can be uncomfortable fitting into those new shoes. But we start to feel the effects pretty quickly," she says.She says people often know it's benefiting them when they're better able to deal with stressful situations."They're feeling more at ease and there's less stress that they're physically carrying in their body. So they might feel more relaxed in their shoulders, their jaw and their temple area," she says."Also when something does come up — they get a stressful phone call or they have a difficult encounter with someone who they work with — they feel like they're better able to navigate that because they're already taking care of themselves."7\. Get help when you need itA long walk or a bubble bath can go only so far and Willows says there are situations where additional mental-health care is needed."When we feel like we're having more bad days than good ones, when we're feeling like things are going wrong more frequently than they are going right, that's usually a time to reach out and talk to someone," she says.Another thing to look for, Willows says, is when self-soothing behaviours start to take over. She gave the example of drugs or alcohol. She said if that's numbing out the good things as well as the bad things, it may be time to reach out for help.Willows says another sign it's time to reach out is if you're doing self-care activities and still feeling overwhelmed and stressed.Anyone needing emotional support, crisis intervention or help with problem solving in P.E.I. can contact The Island Helpline at 1-800-218-2885, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about mental-health services on P.E.I., find resources from Health PEI here, or from the Canadian Mental Health Association P.E.I. Division here.Island Morning will be drawing three names to win a $50 Canada's Food Island gift card. To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our talkback line at 1-800-680-1898 and tell us what you're doing for self-care.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 23 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA -- Businesses struggling to pay the bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying today for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government. The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy replaces an earlier rent-support program for businesses introduced in the spring that saw little pickup because it relied on landlords to apply for help. The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25 per cent available to the hardest-hit firms. Federal cabinet ministers will highlight the program during a news conference this morning in which they will also open two initiatives designed to help businesses owned by Black Canadians. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents thousands of small companies across the country, is welcoming the new rent program as long overdue for firms hard hit by COVID-19. However, it is criticizing the government for not opening it to businesses that would have qualified for the previous rent-relief program, but could not access federal funds because their landlords chose not to apply. --- Also this ... OTTAWA -- N-D-P MP Laurel Collins is reviving a call for the environment commissioner to be a stand-alone officer of Parliament. Collins is pushing a motion at the environment committee to pull the position out of the Office of the Auditor General and make it a separate entity. The Victoria MP says the commissioner needs its own dedicated staff to ensure it can fulfil its mandate. She says the commissioner used to perform up to five environmental audits annually but has just one underway this year and two planned for 2021. The Liberal government of former prime minister Jean Chrétien created the position in 1995, but did not meet a campaign promise to make it an office independent from the auditor general. The motion from Collins is nearly identical to one passed by the same committee 13 years ago but the request was never fulfilled. --- ICYMI ... OTTAWA -- Canada and Britain struck a new trade deal on Saturday, allowing the long-standing partners to trumpet a commercial triumph in the face of the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The interim deal beat the looming Dec. 31 Brexit deadline, replacing Canada's current agreement with Britain under the European Union that covers trade between the two countries. Announced amid a virtual gathering of G-20 leaders, the interim pact is a placeholder that buys Canada and Britain another year to reach a more comprehensive agreement while also warding off a no-deal scenario that would have triggered new tariffs on a range of Canadian exports on Jan. 1 But few details were released about the new agreement. Breaking with past practice during trade negotiations, there were no pre-announcement briefings for journalists and no text was released. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON, D.C. — U-S President Donald Trump’s campaign has filed plenty of lawsuits in six states as he tries to upend an election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The strategy may have played well in front of TV cameras, but it’s proved a disaster in court, where judges uniformly have rejected claims of vote fraud. The latest case ended Saturday, when a federal judge in Pennsylvania said Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani presented only “speculative accusations” and no proof of rampant corruption in the vote. A law school professor says the suits threaten the future of elections because so many Americans believe the claims being made by Trump’s team. Meanwhile, Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning. If nominated and confirmed, Blinken would be a leading force in Biden’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which Trump questioned longtime alliances. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... LONDON -- AstraZeneca says late stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine developed with Oxford University were “highly effective’’ in preventing disease. The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. The drugmaker reported today that no hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in those receiving the vaccine. “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 per cent effective,’’ said Professor Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator for the trial. Two other drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna, last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing that their COVID-19 vaccines were almost 95 per cent effective. --- In entertainment ... LOS ANGELES -- Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at last night's American Music Awards. She beat out Canadians Justin Bieber and The Weeknd for the top award, while also winning favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist. Though The Weeknd lost artist of the year, he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, the pop star dominated the 2020 American Music Awards with multiple wins. The Toronto native won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless. The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout last night's three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears blooded and bruised. He was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others taped performances because of the pandemic. Bieber and fellow Canuck pop star Shawn Mendes opened the show with a performance of their new duet "Monster." --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020 The Canadian Press
This column is an opinion from Adam Legge, the president of the Business Council of Alberta.The recent news of the Cenovus/Husky merger, the Tourmaline purchases of Modern and Jupiter Resources, and the relocation of Suncor's downstream office function to Calgary have generated mixed feelings.Mergers of Canadian oil and gas companies are a sign of the times, as they need scale to compete in an ever more challenging market.Consolidation brings with it the good news that the merged firms will have a new ability to compete in a low-cost, low-carbon world; over the long term, the consolidation leads to scale and financial resilience. Relocations generate the potential for new jobs to be created here in Calgary. More announcements are coming. But the net result of these trends overall will be to the downside for both near-term jobs and office vacancy rates in Calgary.These impacts are real. My heart goes out to those who will not find a place in the newly constituted firms. And it goes out to those whose businesses — like restaurants, dry cleaners, coffee shops, etc. — need a flow of customers in the downtown to survive.Reality is hitting homeCalgary is now fully realizing the impacts and consequences of decisions that created hiring and office space numbers that were unsustainable.We built up for an oil price environment in the $100/barrel range. With $40-50/barrel oil, a global pandemic and long-term trends toward decarbonization and an increased use of automation and technology, the reality is it's highly unlikely the jobs being shed now will come back. It's equally unlikely the empty office space will be filled any time soon.But neither of those facts need define us. In fact, we must make sure that they don't.We must do two things: We must build on all our strengths; and we must take care of each other. Our strengths are our people, our location and our vast landscape and resource base. We have natural strengths in energy, agriculture, tourism, transportation and logistics. We have a dynamic and growing technology sector, our financial services expertise is world class, and we have niche strengths in areas of manufacturing and medical sciences.In my role, I live at the intersection of all these strengths. I say that we don't have the luxury of chasing rainbows, but we also don't have the luxury of dividing our community by pitting one sector or strength against another.I am a firm believer in the "and," not the "either/or." As a city, we can do oil and gas, and agriculture, and technology, and renewables, and more. We build on our strengths and assets.What's hard for us all to manage is that these changes don't happen quickly. We have to put the right building blocks in place now, that will pay dividends as the economic environment continues to evolve.Calgary Economic Development's Calgary In the New Economy provides an excellent roadmap and plan for Calgary to build on its strengths.It will take time. The strength of the oil and gas sector took decades to develop in Alberta and Calgary. Like reputations, economic sectors take time to build, but can shift very quickly. As a result of these shifts, tens of thousands of Calgarians and Albertans over the past five years have lost their jobs. Thousands of our neighbours have found themselves without a future in the sector they have spent years being educated about, building skills for and working hard to succeed in.Thousands more have built businesses to serve our growing population and workforce, only to see their dreams fall apart. Our people are our strength, and we must take care of them.A callousness has set inI am sad to say I find that there has been a callousness in our public discussion toward the jobs and livelihoods lost. Many suggest that Calgary and Alberta stop crying over spilled milk and move on.For those whose jobs have been lost, and can't easily transition to something else, this is just plain inconsiderate. I worry some of the rhetoric has lost sight of the impacts to real people and families.The attitude of "serves you right, you had it good for a long time, and this is just the way the world is going" is divisive, unhelpful and wrong. I ask us all to stop, and to work at helping, rather than critiquing.We cannot afford to discount the impacts on people. We must continue to invest in and support our community institutions that help those in need, like food banks, mental health services and counselling centres, as well as the programs, like post-secondary education and career transitioning, that will enable people to adapt their skills for the future.Whether it is someone who moves from oil and gas to a geothermal or hydrogen opportunity, or turns their passion for something into an innovative business venture, these investments in people are the most important ones we can make. Too often we are talking about this issue but not doing enough.What we need are purposeful investments in our people for the future, particularly those whose jobs are unlikely to come back, or whose businesses have been destroyed due to shifting economic sands. This is not a response driven just by COVID-19. This is a fundamental change in our economy and the nature of work. What particularly frustrates me is the lack of federal government support to help those whose jobs will be lost as our nation pursues its Paris climate commitments.In Ottawa's efforts to reduce emissions in Canada — a goal that should not be debated and is highly necessary — policy is being shaped and investments made in things like electric vehicles and hydrogen. Those are essential, but they are not reflective of the people-side of the equation.With each policy decision and each investment come job and employment related consequences that I fear have not been truly calculated. Nor has there been sufficient study done to determine how we help those displaced either transition into this new opportunity or find something else.More transition programs neededDespite recently adding $1.5 billion for workforce development agreements, I believe that employment transition policy and programs need to take up a greater amount of time in Ottawa.Some great work is being done in the community, such as the EDGE UP program at Calgary Economic Development, which works to retrain people displaced from the oil and gas sector into high growth digital technology opportunities. Demand is strong for this program — 1,300 applications for 100 spots — which means many people are thinking of their next chapter and trying to make a transition.The new AltaML program Applied AI Lab saw 500-plus applications for its first cohort of eight participants, many of them retraining from other careers. And the SAIT Polytechnic Digital Hub downtown will create opportunities for more people to look at alternative skills and career paths. For those who are critiquing government support or investment in oil and gas, or encouraging government to accelerate activity in new or emerging sectors, I ask you to turn your focus to calls for government to work with industry and invest in people who find themselves without a job and limited prospects for the future — to help them build opportunity and security.We can do both. Let's build up, not tear down. We must take care of each other.This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read our FAQ.
Ownership changes in New Brunswick apartment complexes that in some cases have been generating eviction notices for tenants in entire buildings is causing anxiety among those displaced.It has led to calls for the province to delay the practice, at least while COVID-19 is surging."We're in the orange zone now," said Tara Cripps, who was told last week by National Bank she, her partner and their five children were being put out of their Saint John home of seven years."We can't even say, 'Hey, can we stay at your house?' We're supposed to be all in one family bubble thing again."She said she's going to need friends to help her pack up."And I'm going to need their trucks and their cars and stuff to move. Is somebody going to call the police and be, like, 'There's multiple people going in and out of this house?'"National Bank recently foreclosed on the Saint John apartment building owned by Cripps's landlord and, on Nov. 12, sent a lawyer's letter to her and her partner ordering them and their children to get out two weeks after Christmas."National Bank requires immediate vacant possession of the above noted property," read the notice from its Fredericton lawyer, Paul White. "On behalf of our client we hereby demand vacant possession on or before Wednesday January 6, 2021."Should you not vacate … it will be necessary for us to make court application to have you evicted and we will be asking for costs on behalf of [National Bank].""I've been here seven years and I've never been late on my rent," said Cripps."I've come to the understanding I need to find a new home. OK. But wait until it's a safer time. Wait until we're not in the orange zone. Wait until it's a little bit warmer. I'm hoping someone at the bank has a heart."The eviction of tenants unable to pay rent was halted by the Higgs government in the early days of the pandemic in March but those restrictions were lifted June 1. Since then, a new type of eviction has emerged as large numbers of New Brunswick apartment buildings have changed hands with some of the new owners wanting current tenants out.Ron Blache-Fraser, a local property manager, said out-of-province investors have taken an interest in New Brunswick income properties as attractive real estate investment opportunities."There's a lot of interest from out-of-town buyers for all sorts of buildings in Saint John because the prices are lower, the returns are better," he said. "It's pretty straightforward."In October, two five-unit buildings on Sherbrooke Street in Saint John were purchased by a group of Vancouver-area investors who paid $470,000 for the properties — 35 per cent above their assessed value. The group then issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings so renovations can be done and rents increased.Blache-Fraser is managing those buildings and said they were in poor condition and needed significant work. He expects rents, which were between $475 and $650 per month prior to the purchase, will climb to $975 for a two-bedroom unit once renovations are complete."We issued notice that we would be doing major renovations and gave tenants three-months notice, which we did not have to do," said Blache-Fraser."They need to be out at the end of January. Some are already leaving and we're in the process of renovating because the buildings are in deteriorated condition." Across the city on Jack Street, an Ontario company bought a pair of 24-unit buildings. In September, it issued eviction notices to tenants in one of the buildings to be out by Nov. 30.That deadline is next week. Although most tenants have gone elsewhere, at least one woman remains. Dave Cormier is her son.He said she has been in the building for 10 years. He said finding a two-bedroom unit for her for the $750 per month she currently pays has been difficult with vacancy rates falling and rents increasing all over Saint John."It's almost impossible unless you've got $1,400, or $1,600 or $2,000 [for rent]," he said."Even $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment is a lot of money for low-income [people]."Cormier has been speaking with the province about public housing and is hopeful something is happening, but with the eviction deadline just a week away and COVID-19 suddenly spiking in the community, it has been a stressful experience."It's scary. You know, COVID-19 is not making this any easier at all. It might be a little bit easier if that wasn't going on, but it is. And because of that, things are difficult."Last week, a surge in COVID-19 infections across southern New Brunswick caused the province to downgrade communities from Sackville to St. Stephen, including Moncton and Saint John, from the yellow phase to the orange phase of pandemic recovery. That requires the public to limit contacts with people outside of their household bubble.Premier Blaine Higgs was asked Friday if there are any additional protections for tenants in orange-phase areas who are being put out of their buildings. His answer was no."No, not at all," said Higgs. "Not at this time."That causes worry for tenants like Cripps. Her landlord owns multiple buildings and she said the letter carrier who delivered her eviction notice told her he had several others to hand out.A spokesperson for National Bank said it was not involved in other evictions and has already contacted Cripps about allowing her family to stay where it is."Other cases were with other lenders," said Jean-Francois Cadieux. "Our legal external counsel has contacted the tenants. He presented them solutions and informed them that we will not be asking that they vacate their apartment."'Kids can't sleep in a car'But Cripps said the bank's solution involves her making an offer to buy the building. She said she doesn't have a down payment and doubts she could afford the building.She does not want to uproot her children before Christmas but is worried about what comes after, especially if large numbers of other evicted renters are suddenly in the market at the same time looking for a place to live."There are good tenants that are being penalized and now they're being put out," she said."All these families now need to find a home. We're all going to be fighting for an apartment. There are going to be people who are probably going to end up homeless. What are parents going to do? Kids can't sleep in a car."
In May, the City of Mississauga gnashed its teeth. At the time, it was knee-deep in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of long-term care homes in the city were in outbreak, with dozens of deaths recorded. Business owners were also hurting, their shuttered bars, restaurants and gyms collecting dust and debt. Inside City Hall, losses were mounting daily. Reluctantly, the City had been forced to let roughly 2,000 staff, mostly part-time, seasonal employees, go from its empty recreation facilities. Help eventually offered by the federal and provincial governments was still months away from materializing. Quietly, while the world was distracted, the Doug Ford PC government was forging ahead with its plans to seismically shift how developers pay for growth. Under the area of development subsidies known as a Community Benefits Charge (CBC), the Province was toying with new rules for planning. These fees are often paid by builders to create enhanced features such as green spaces or other amenities that are built using additional money charged to developers in exchange for project changes that generally create more profit, such as adding additional floors to a condo building. Changes were introduced as one of many initiatives in Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice) — legislation that was almost universally decried around municipal council tables when it received royal assent in 2019. The Province allowed consultation in May (when Mississauga was preoccupied with its pandemic response) which revolved around parks. Just how much greenspace developers needed to provide for even more new residents that would eventually be housed in expanded projects, was a question that created tension. According to staff reports in Brampton and Mississauga at the time, the proposed changes meant developers would pay less to cities, for the features they have for decades been expected to provide when building large residential projects. Municipalities, under the PC government’s plan, would be worse off, while developers would be further ahead. “At a time when we are grappling with the unprecedented financial impacts of COVID-19, the proposed Community Benefits Charge will leave Council [with] even more difficult decisions,” then City Manager, Janice Baker, told Mississauga Council. Under the current rules, developers have to offer a certain amount of parkland to cities and, if they want to reduce that amount, they have to pay a fee. The CBC proposals limited parkland related contributions to 10 percent of the land’s value for high-rise buildings, meaning the projects with the most residents would offer the least public space per capita. “The proposed CBC weakens the link between population growth and the increased need for services,” a Mississauga staff report earlier in the year stated. In Mississauga, under the current system, high and medium-density developments contribute 74 percent of parkland (either physically or in payments). The CBC proposals meant dense developments would cough up just 31 percent of the funding for the city’s new greenspace, with non-residential and low-density homes (which already have backyards) making up the difference. It seemed illogical. After a passionate response from Mississauga and other cities angered by the prospect of a revenue hit while they are reeling financially because of the pandemic, the PC government has rolled back its proposed changes. Under Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act) Queen’s Park rapidly back-peddled, returning parkland contributions by developers to the pre-pandemic levels. “The new community benefits charge authority provides local governments with the flexibility to collect funds for any growth-related services required due to higher density residential development, as long as those costs are not being recovered under other tools,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipalities and Housing explained to The Pointer. “A community benefits charge may enable municipalities to recover the capital costs of any service, as long as it is needed to support new growth … the types of services funded through community benefits charges could include parks, recreation centres, affordable housing, child care, cycling infrastructure and others.” “We were very pleased the Province listened to the feedback from municipalities and rolled back many of the proposed Bill 108 provisions around the Community Benefits Charge,” Jason Bevan, director, city planning strategies, told The Pointer. “We look forward to seeing the final CBC regulations on the percentage of land value cap.” The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) which advocates for the lowest tier of government, said it was “pleased to see the addition of eligible services for development charge recovery being restored” alongside “maintaining existing parkland provisions and the flexibility of CBCs as a tool to recover additional costs”. After a year of consternation for cities, the Province has largely walked back its plans for the CBC. The legislation, initially blasted as a developer freebie, has gradually been softened. Originally, the new legislative changes impacted a range of community features that municipalities have to provide for residents under the development proposals submitted by builders after assembling land for growth. Municipalities were concerned they would have to stretch the funds from the charge to cover features such as libraries, community centres, parks and playgrounds. Responding to feedback, the Province changed tack and protected a range of community features that will continue to be covered by development charges. Specific infrastructure, including libraries and other “soft” services, are covered under the Development Charges Act. Developers will continue to pay for the costs associated with growth. But, realistically, these charges are generally covered by buyers who pay for them through increased unit costs that developers charge when setting their sale prices. It seems much more fair to have the people in a particular new development pay for the surrounding features and services they will enjoy, rather than having property tax payers in general cover the expenses when municipalities have to fund them. At the beginning of October, further regulations were released which made the CBC picture a little clearer still. While the charge is designed to capture certain soft community services not always covered by traditional development charges, there are several areas explicitly excluded. Long-term care, universities, clubhouses or retirement homes cannot be funded using the latest form of CBCs. The new CBC mechanism, brought in to codify an element of development which previously operated as more of a negotiation, comes with strict rules. Cities are tasked, over the next two years, with creating a CBC strategy and bylaw to estimate the amount and type of development where the charge may be used. The strategy should also estimate the increased need for facilities and services as a direct result of developments and the associated growth-related costs. It must acknowledge any grants or subsidies made to help with such projects. A potential sticking point for municipal councils is a cap on the CBC, meaning the charge cannot exceed 4 percent of the value of the lands being developed. If developers disagree with the land valuation, they can dispute it. The likely outcome will see buyers cover any increased costs, as developers across the province won’t have to worry about unfair pricing competition because all builders will have to raise prices. In the end, it will be mostly young buyers who will absorb the additional financial burden for creating enhanced community features they will benefit from. Moving forward, municipalities will also produce an annual report showing how much money is in their CBC and parkland reserves. The reports will detail where money is spent and how projects not using CBC charges were funded. The concept behind the strategy and bylaw is to make costs more predictable for developers and reduce negotiations between individual builders and local politicians. Exactly what community features Mississauga will prioritize under the new CBC system will become clearer over the next two years, as the City draws together its bylaw for the charge. These community standards will best serve the public if they are directly involved and make clear what they want in their neighbourhoods. In essence, as long as cities don’t double charge through other parkland contributions or development charges, they can hit developers with a bill for any growth costs, other than the small list of features that are exempt. The amount is capped under the 4 percent limit, based on the land value. But it still gives high-growth municipalities such as Mississauga and Brampton welcome breathing room as they no longer have to worry about paying for a range of new community features while struggling with the financial damage caused by the pandemic. Smart decision making around the bylaw, with some elements still emerging, should help ensure that as new developments keep springing up across the city, growth will pay for growth in Mississauga. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer