It would be easy to look at The Bay's dispute with landlords across the country and make some assumptions: that it can't pay its bills, or that it's being crushed by the pandemic-sized wave crashing into retail everywhere. The truth is a bit more complicated. Retail experts say COVID is a crisis, but it's also an opportunity."Retail was changing drastically before COVID came along," said Avis Devine from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. "All COVID did was expedite it to warp speed."HBC went private just weeks before the pandemic started pummeling the economy, with retail one of the hardest-hit sectors. Sales fell off a cliff as stores were closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.To soften the blow to its bottom line, HBC says it tried to reach what it calls a "fair and mutually beneficial compromise with landlords."In many locations, deals were struck. In others, disputes over millions of dollars in unpaid rent boiled over. Courts were asked to weigh in. Eviction notices were dispatched.In a statement to CBC News, Ian Putnam, President and CEO of HBC Properties and Investments, said "HBC believes the burden posed by the pandemic should be shared fairly by both landlords and retailers."And that may be so, but retail analyst Mark Satov says there's more at play here than that. In his view, it's been clear for years that The Bay needs to shrink its foot print. About a year ago, as the company reeled from a $226 million quarterly loss, Satov said this:"I think if they could snap their fingers and say we have half the number of stores and all of them were half or three quarters the size, they'd be doing great."So, he's not at all surprised to see The Bay looking for ways out of less-than-ideal leases in less-than-perfect locations. And that willingness to walk away from some of these leases gives The Bay all the leverage in the dispute, says Satov."The landlords … are going to look at them and say 'Listen, if you don't pay your rent, we're going to evict you,'" he said. "And The Bay says, well, when are you going to scare me, because that's what I'm looking to do."Last of its kind in CanadaDepartment stores like The Bay are still an integral part of shopping malls. As a sort of "anchor tenant," department stores take up one giant corner of the property. Customers come to shop there and get drawn out into the rest of the mall. But two key forces are working against that trend. Retail is shifting online, a transition that's hastened dramatically under COVID. The other issue is department stores like The Bay just aren't the draw they used to be.Devine says customers used to go to one big store to buy everything, now they go to malls to get particular products. She says there's no better example of the new "anchor tenant" than the Apple Store."That's the new destination," said Devine, an associate professor of real estate. "And people are going to other stores in that mall because they've been drawn there for Apple."As that new reality set in, other big department stores like Target and Sears couldn't keep their heads above water. Now, in Canada, The Bay is the last of its kind. Devine says that's the best thing it has going for it now."I don't think department stores are ever going to— or in the next several decades, are ever going to completely disappear," she said. "And if they end up being the only real ... mainstream department store left in Canada, then because of that they will survive."Satov's business gives advice to companies trying to navigate tricky situations. He says The Bay appears to be tackling the core crisis, but keeping a keen eye on how to emerge as a healthier, stronger, leaner retailer. Is it a winning strategy? Satov hedges his bets."They have a shot at a winning strategy," he said. "They are struggling to survive and they're doing what it takes. And I think that's the right thing to do."
The Gwich'in are once again facing down a threat to their way of life, as outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump makes a late-game effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration before he leaves office.The refuge, known as ANWR, is just inside Alaska's border with Yukon. It is a vast, pristine area of wilderness. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates there each spring from The Northwest Territories, Yukon and other parts of Alaska to calve on its coastal plain over the summer.But the refuge also sits on top of an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil. Indigenous and conservation groups argue that opening the area to energy exploration would have a significant, negative impact on the herd.Dana Tizya-Tramm, the chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Yukon, said the survival of the Porcupine caribou is linked to the survival of his nation, its culture and identity."Our people have been intrinsically tied to this herd for millennia, our village being aligned with the traditional migratory routes," Tizya-Tramm said in an interview airing Saturday on a special co-production between The House and CBC North."To this day, our children are born and are fed caribou broth [and] teethe on the bones, as our elders are fed choice parts from the caribou. So in every way, shape and form, even our government and our way of life is informed by the Porcupine caribou herd."Trump isn't the first U.S. president to covet the jobs and tax revenue that would come from opening up the refuge to drilling. What he and proponents of the work fail to acknowledge, said Tizya-Tramm, is the staggering potential cost to the Gwich'in on both sides of the border.'A last-ditch effort'"It's all about development for development's sake. So at this time, we do find ourselves in a last-ditch effort, as David versus Goliath, to ensure the protection of these lands, the protection of our nation moving forward," he said."But unfortunately, that doesn't translate into Trump's lexicon and it does not find its way into legislation."The Gwich'in and conservation groups are leading a campaign to convince banks and insurance companies to refuse to take part in any energy projects in the refuge. So far, a number of Canadian and international banks have indicated they will not underwrite exploration in the area.Meanwhile, media reports suggest interest in bidding for drilling rights in the refuge might be modest, as oil prices drop and governments around the globe look for ways to reduce emissions.Opponents of drilling in the refuge hope that president-elect Joe Biden will follow through on his campaign commitment to permanently protect ANWR and other public lands from energy exploration."I feel now more than ever this opportunity is on the horizon for us to engage with this administration to levy the highest level of protections that can be designated from the U.S. government on these lands," Tizya-Tramm said.The wild card in all of this, as always, is Trump.His efforts to put in place lease agreements before his term expires on Jan. 20 underscore the difficulties involved in balancing the demands of those who want to exploit the oil and gas reserves with the interests of those intent on preserving the refuge, and of the people who depend on the animals there for survival.Seismic testing to scope out oil reserves in the ANWR might happen before the year is out. So the clock is ticking."We still may see seismic activity in this area, which in and of itself will lead to irreparable damage done to the tundra permafrost and the sensitive caribou calving grounds," Tizya-Tramm said.Without the herd to sustain the Gwich'in, the chief warned, it could fall to the federal government to keep his community afloat.Canada and the U.S. are supposed to be united in their efforts to protect the herd; the two countries struck a legally-binding agreement in 1987 to conserve the Porcupine caribou population and its habitat."Unfortunately, there are no provisions in this agreement for dispute resolution," Tizya-Tramm said.Canada 'actively working' to protect refugeIn a statement to CBC News, Global Affairs Canada said the government was "actively working" to respond to the Trump administration's move to sell oil leases in the refuge."We continue to work closely with the governments of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and affected Indigenous peoples to bring forward to the U.S. government our shared concerns," the department wrote.Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson also told CBC that he is working to convince the U.S. to protect the ANWR from exploration."I will be doing everything that I possibly can to advocate both to the existing Trump administration and the incoming Biden administration that this should not happen and this not the appropriate way to think about development in this day and age," he said.Tizya-Tramm said he also plans to get in touch with Biden's camp in the coming weeks. He said he applauds the Liberal government's efforts on the issue so far, and its recognition of the intimate connection between the Gwich'in and the Porcupine herd."As a young man, to have access to the upper echelons of the federal government, it goes a long way for me, bringing back successes to our people," he said.
He worked through the SARS outbreak in 2003, battling exhaustion and overtime on top of 12-hour shifts helping to save lives.But a veteran Toronto paramedic says that was nothing compared to the call volumes he and his co-workers are seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, he says, those who answer the calls for help need help themselves."Mentally, physiologically, emotionally, I'm definitely burnt out," he told CBC Toronto, but he also realizes he can't stop to rest — not when daily case counts of COVID-19 have spiked to the point that the province has put the city under a lockdown that will last at least 28 days. "I know I also have a duty to respond."CBC News has agreed to withhold the paramedic's identity to protect him from possible reprisals. The 20-year veteran says he's worried."I've seen paramedics doing calls at the end of their shift and their hands are trembling, and I don't know if that's hunger, exhaustion, or what," he said. "But they're still out there doing the calls because they know the citizens need them."System 'in dire straits right now'Mike Merriman, who heads the unit that represents Toronto paramedics as part of CUPE Local 416, spoke to CBC News at an ambulance bay in Scarborough as an emergency vehicle pulled in after a call. Five minutes later, it sped out again."The system is really in dire straits right now," he said. "We're running on overtime daily and something has to give."> We're running on overtime daily and something has to give. \- CUPE Local 416 president Mike MerrimanParamedics, Merriman added, are used to going above and beyond, but work at its current pace isn't sustainable and many, he said, are reaching a breaking point."They're calling me all the time, some in actual tears, because they just can't keep up the pace [and are] needing relief." "They're not getting their lunches. They're not getting any breaks," he said.Repeated deep cleaning between calls and the safe donning and removal of personal protective equipment add another layer to the already heavy workload, Merriman says.Another paramedic, speaking on CBC's Metro Morning on condition of anonymity because of concern about reprisals, added "every day I'm not at work, I check my phone and there will be an overtime call out for every single shift, sometimes up to a week in advance." Ontario Nurses Association also concernedOther front-line workers are also feeling the pressure. Ontario Nurses Association president Vicki McKenna is hearing from her members about burnout. "I can hear it in their voices," said McKenna."Nurses are telling me ... 'I just don't know how long I can keep this up.'"Burnout, therapist Amy Deacon explains, often presents itself as mental and physical exhaustion, but detachment is also a symptom. "We can't afford for these front-line workers to be detached from their work, but that's one of the most common signs of burnout," said Deacon, the founder of an organization called Toronto Wellness Counselling."It's been well researched that people are less effective.There's lower productivity because they are just so spent, they are so exhausted that they don't have the resources to show up at work and be their best selves."The union representing Toronto paramedics is calling for part-time staff to be made full-time to help ease some of the pressure.City to address fatigue and mental healthThis week, Toronto council adopted an amendment requesting the city's chief people officer and the chief of Toronto Paramedic Services, in collaboration and consultation with CUPE Local 416, address staff fatigue and mental health among front-line paramedics. They're expected to report back in February of next year.While they wait, Deacon says there are several things she would tell front-line workers to do."Put down your phones, put down your social media and do a 10-minute meditation, watch one less episode of Netflix and go for a walk outside."Sleep, she says, is vital. And if front-line workers are not sleeping well, she recommends connecting with a doctor."I think it's also incumbent on us as a community and as a collective to really show up for these front-line workers, people ... putting their lives and their families at risk to protect us."Protecting people is something the veteran paramedic says he wants to continue doing, but he doesn't know how much longer he can do it.."Being able to do the job well and properly needs to be a priority as well, and we're getting to a point where we are not able to do that."
When Russia announced this week that its much-hyped COVID-19 vaccine was up to 95 per cent effective, the news was met with a predictable cheer in Russia and uncertainty throughout much of Europe and North America."This is great news for Russia and great news for the world," gushed Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is pouring countless millions of Russian tax dollars into developing the vaccine it labelled early on as Sputnik V.Whether the V stands for "five" or simply the letter "V" has never been fully explained, but either way the association is obvious: the original Sputnik satellite won Russia the space race more than 60 years ago, and this new Sputnik will make Russia first in this new race to defeat the pandemic.With its hyperbolic announcements and an ambitious — some would say unattainable — timetable, the Putin government has attempted to demonstrate the development of Sputnik V has made Russia a vaccine superpower.WATCH | Russia claims its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective:Already, among the reputed "firsts" Russia is claiming: the first COVID vaccine in the world to be registered; the first vaccine anywhere to be announced as part of a national vaccination campaign; and trial results that rank it first in terms of effectiveness.Not to be outdone, when Pfizer and BioNTech became the first Western vaccine maker to announce promising results, with 90 per cent efficacy, days later Sputnik V's makers said their vaccine was even better — by two percentage points. Some Western experts have felt opaqueness about the Russian approval process, combined with a rush to get it registered even before trials started, damaged the vaccine's credibility from the outset.Russia licensed it based on early trials involving only 76 people, whereas usually most approvals come after Phase 3 studies involving tens of thousands of subjects. Even after those early results were published in the reputable medical journal The Lancet, a group of 37 scientists from 12 countries wrote the publication questioning the data.Russian officials and state media pundits have decried the skepticism as evidence of an inherent "Western bias" against anything Russian and have accused U.S. and U.K. media of staging a smear campaign to steal away potential international customers. Positive resultsFast forward to this week and news from Sputnik's developer, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, of very positive results from a much larger data sample. Russia's vaccine has 91.4 per cent efficacy from an analysis of more than 18,000 people, said a release on the Sputnik V website. The vaccine's efficacy rose to 95 per cent after 42 days. Plus, at roughly $20 US per person, Gamalyea says the Russian vaccine is one of the cheapest on the market, making it an attractive option for poorer countries with large populations.Like the vaccine developed by Oxford University and its partner AstraZeneca, the Russian vaccine uses human adenovirus vectors, or common cold genes, to trigger an immune response in the body. An initial shot is followed by a booster three weeks later.The news about the results prompted a change in tone from many Western vaccine experts. "The data [is] compatible with the vaccine being reasonably effective," said Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine."These results are consistent with what we see with other vaccines, because the really big message for global health scientists is that this disease [COVID-19] is able to be addressed by vaccines."Ian Jones, a professor of virology at the University of Reading, concurs."I see no reason to doubt it [the results]," Jones told CBC News in an interview. "I agree that their initial results caused consternation, but I don't think it's because they weren't valid. They were released a bit soon."I think it's going to be a useful vaccine."Their positive assessments are based on the knowledge that the adenovirus delivery method behind the Gamaleya-made vaccine has proven successful over and over again.What was unclear was whether the COVID-19 virus would be resistant, but Evans says the other drug companies' positive results strongly suggest the Russian vaccine will likely perform well, too."We now have four vaccines that have some efficacy [on COVID-19], which is way beyond what we have ever had for an HIV or a malaria vaccine," said Evans.Question of trustUltimately, he says whether a country chooses to buy the Russian-made vaccine comes down to a question of whether they have confidence in the science behind it and trust the regulators who approved it.The Russian vaccine gets treated more skeptically, said Evans, because the processes in the United States and Europe are far more open and transparent than they are in Russia."We do not know how carefully their trials are monitored and how carefully they are reported. We do not know that," he said. "But the countries that are buying it are buying it on trust that the Russians have produced something."Enrico Bucci, an Italian biologist who was part of the original group of scientists questioning the early Russian results, is among those who continue to believe that the Russian developers have not been sufficiently transparent about their data.For example, he says the claim of 91.4 per cent success is based on just 39 people in the 18,000-person sample contracting COVID-19."The sample is too low to claim any percentage of efficacy," Bucci told CBC News.Furthermore, he said, it's not clear where these 39 people came from, how old they were and whether the results from trials in one country were mixed with those from another location.The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine — which reported a roughly 70 per cent success rate — has been subjected to similar criticisms about how data from its trials was presented, and its developers have now agreed to run new studies.So far, Hungary is the only member of the European Union to sign up for the Russian vaccine, although Russian media reports that 50 nations have either already signed deals for the vaccine or are in the process of negotiating them. On Friday, Russia announced a partnership with Indian pharmaceutical company Hetero to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021.Canada has signed agreements with five vaccine manufacturers, but the list does not include Sputnik V.Gamalyea's initial estimates that Russia would be able to produce 200 million doses of Sputnik V by the end of next month turned out to be wildly optimistic. The health ministry now says it may be able produce two million doses, at best.Russians uncertainSince the summer, Russia's Health Ministry has been promising a national vaccination campaign was imminent, but it has been slow to roll out. President Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters was among the first to get the vaccine, although the Kremlin acknowledged this week that Putin himself has not. A spokesperson said it would be irresponsible for the head of state to take an "uncertified" vaccine, although the distinction the official was trying to make between a registered vaccine and a certified one was unclear. The mayor of Moscow has said authorities plan to set up 300 vaccination centres in the month of December and the plan is to get as many people in the capital inoculated as possible.Independent public opinion surveys suggest many Russians remain uncertain about the vaccine and whether they will actually take it. In early November, the polling group Levada Centre reported 59 per cent of Russians may refuse to get vaccinated.On Russian state TV, however, criticism or probing questions about any of the assumptions underlying the government's claims about Sputnik V have largely been absent. As is standard on TV talk shows, the discussion is framed in geopolitical terms.Their 60 Minutes program (no relation to the U.S. program of the same name) even cited a CBC News report by The National as purported proof of Western bias, with the host suggesting it was an example of "active propaganda" against Sputnik V. In fact, the report contained comments from Prof. Evans, the British expert, suggesting that the vaccine worked and was most likely effective. But his clips were cut from what was shown on Russian TV.
Recent developments: * A heated centre for homeless people is opening in Gatineau next week. * Ottawa reported 46 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. What's the latest?Ottawa reported 46 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, but public health officials have actually slightly reduced the city's overall death toll.Following an investigation, two deaths couldn't be confirmed to be related to the virus and were removed from Ottawa Public Health's (OPH) COVID-19 dashboard. Because OPH also reported one new death Saturday, the total number of deaths has only gone down by one. It now sits at 372.In western Quebec, public health officials recorded 33 new cases Saturday and one new death.The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has launched its Small Business Saturday campaign, which is running this Black Friday to Cyber Monday, encouraging people to shop local.The organization estimates one in seven independent businesses across Canada are at risk of shuttering their doors because of the pandemic.A heated, overnight homeless shelter is opening in Gatineau, Que., on Dec. 4, the local health authority says. A space at the Centre Robert Guertin arena will be available for overnight stays from 4:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. the next day.The area will be cleaned and disinfected during the hours the room is closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. How many cases are there?As of Saturday, 8,379 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 309 known active cases, 7,698 cases now considered resolved and 372 people who have died of COVID-19.Public health officials have reported more than 13,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 12,300 resolved cases.Ninety people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 80 in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch.What can I do?Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Ontario says this will apply through December's holidays, with people who live away from home such as post-secondary students asked to reduce close contacts for 10 to 14 days before going back.Quebec has shared what it will take to have at most two small holiday gatherings next month. Rules won't be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.Travel from one region to another discouraged throughout the Outaouais.Ontario says people shouldn't travel to a lower-level region from a higher one and some lower-level health units want residents to stay put to curb the spread.Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of the provincial pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches has said Ottawa's situation is stable and people should focus on managing risks and taking precautions, such as seeing a few friends outside at a distance, to bring the spread down further.Communities in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A), and Eastern Ontario health units are yellow. The Belleville area will join them on Monday.That means restaurant hours, capacity and table limits and other rules that are between orange Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario, which is green, the lowest level.The Hastings Prince Edward region was moved from the green zone to yellow on Friday, and stricter public health measures will be in effect in that area starting Monday at midnight.In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.There is no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — more in seated venues.What about schools?There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other site is in Napanee.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.In western Quebec:Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne has had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic this month, with 22 and counting in its Ontario portion and more on the American side of the border. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel.Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte reported its first confirmed case this month.People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.For more information
The Black Friday, Cyber Monday, pre-Christmas pandemic online shopping frenzy calls for huge fleets of trucks and vans to deliver those gadgets and gifts. But those road-clogging, polluting vehicles are starting to give way to a greener, more efficient option in many Canadian cities: e-cargo bikes and trikes.FedEx started delivering packages in downtown Toronto using e-bikes over the summer and is now looking to expand the program to other cities in Canada.Purolator and two smaller courier companies are part of a similar pilot called Project Colibri that launched in Montreal last year. Purolator has since expanded its bike fleet from one e-bike to six or seven, and Project Colibri has ramped up to 5,000 e-bike deliveries a week — nearly as many as it made over the last four months of 2019.They're some of the bigger companies trying a technology that smaller firms, such as Shift Delivery in Vancouver, have already pioneered in Canada. It's a trend that's already well underway in Europe and has also started in the United States.The problems that e-bikes solveWhy the move toward delivery e-bikes? Because as online shopping grows, the impact of deliveries by trucks and vans become bigger problems. Transportation is already the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, after oil and gas, accounting for 25 per cent.And it's the largest source in Ontario, where fossil fuel production isn't a major part of the economy. There, the freight sector already accounted for 10 per cent of emissions in 2019 and was expected to surpass passenger emissions by 2030, according to the Pembina Institute, a Canadian think-tank focused on clean energy.The COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced businesses and shoppers online, may have sped this up. Statistics Canada reported in September that e-commerce sales rose 74 per cent compared with the year before.But online deliveries also have other negative impacts, including: * Traffic congestion. * Air pollution. * Parking issues. * Threats to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists."We are really tackling all these problems at once," said Mickael Brard, project manager at Jalon Montreal, the city-funded non-profit organization behind Project Colibri.Those impacts don't just affect people who live in cities but delivery companies themselves."Parking tickets are a biggie for us," said Jeff Gilbert, senior manager of operations in downtown Toronto for FedEx. "And then greenhouse gases. So we're really looking for a new, innovative way for that last-mile delivery."More efficient than trucks "Last-mile" refers to the last leg of the delivery from a sorting centre to the customer's home or office. It's a logistically challenging step that can represent 30 to 60 per cent of the cost of delivery.But e-cargo bikes can overcome some of the challenges that narrow, congested urban streets and scarce parking pose for trucks."The bikes are very agile, very nimble, and so we can move throughout the city very quickly," Gilbert said. "The bike allows us to just jump right up and park right in front of the house."That leads to faster deliveries and higher productivity, he added.Now that Project Colibri has been running for more than a full year in Montreal, Brard said an analysis shows that an e-bike is 30 to 40 per cent more efficient than a truck in terms of deliveries per hour."It's one of the rarer sectors where we can [be] both more efficient and more sustainable," he said. "We want to prove it to other companies, and we also want to prove it to governments."Staff say it's also more fun.Yuri Mitroff, a FedEx courier in Toronto, recalled the first time he took one of the company's three e-bikes. The Danish-made Bullets require the rider to pedal to engage the motor, which helps haul heavy loads up hills."It was a really, really great experience," Mitroff said. "It did not feel like work to me, which was the biggest thing. And I got a lot of exercise and a lot of vitamin D, a lot of sunlight."Big expansion plansTheir success so far has prompted both FedEx and Project Colibri to plan for expansions.FedEx has already ordered 40 more e-cargo bikes for the spring and is looking to roll them out not just in Toronto but in Montreal, Vancouver and possibly Ottawa, Gilbert said.Project Colibri, which is using an old bus depot as a loading and distribution hub in Montreal, hopes to add two or three more mini-hubs and invite more companies to get involved. Brard estimates five to 10 mini-hubs could cover deliveries for the entire city.But both projects say they face challenges. For one thing, the pandemic has caused a worldwide bike shortage."One of the problems for us was actually getting the bikes for the expansion," Gilbert said.Sam Starr, a cycle logistics consultant based in Vancouver, said most e-cargo bikes are made in Europe."They are expensive to not just import, but also to service and maintain at this time," he said.He suggested a number of ways that governments could encourage the use of e-cargo bikes: * Incentives to encourage e-cargo bike manufacturing in Canada. * Regulations to enable their use; for example, speed and weight limits for e-cargo bikes vary by province and can be a barrier. * Infrastructure such as bike lanes and curbside loading zones.Hubs, such as the one used in Project Colibri, are also "critical" infrastructure, Starr said, and require partnerships between governments and businesses."It can't just be done by the private industry," he said. "It really needs public collaboration."
England needs tough restrictions after its current lockdown ends if hospitals are not to become overwhelmed, a senior minister said, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to lawmakers to say the measures would end in February to try to quell opposition. Britain upped preparations for a vaccine roll-out on Saturday as Johnson named Nadhim Zahawi as a new health minister to oversee its deployment and the Financial Times reported that the UK is set to approve the BioNTech Pfizer vaccine next week. Sky News reported that Johnson wrote to lawmakers ahead of their vote on the new measures on Tuesday to say that the tiered approach has "a sunset of 3 February" and they will be reviewed every two weeks before then.
It's been a huge return on a small investment: Mike Doehl turned a $5 poinsettia bought at a Montreal grocery store three years ago into a looming giant. His wife, Joanne Hill, describes the festive red and green plant she brought home as "a little, crappy half-dead plant from Maxi."But Doehl used the magic of his green thumb to help it grow into a behemoth that now takes up a good part of a room in the basement of their home in Mont Saint-Hilaire, a Montreal suburb."When things are really beautiful, I want to keep them and cherish them," Doehl said about the poinsettia."I just love this thing. The colours make me happy, especially during this COVID time."Besides constant watering and a bit of liquid fertilizer, Doehl said he doesn't do much else to coax the growth. With the help of his nephew, he's transferred the plant outside during the warm months and then back in over winter."Put some lights on it and we won't need a Christmas tree," Hill laughs."I'm just worried, will it get bigger?!"
A cash-stuffed purse that sat at the bottom of an eastern Ontario Lake for two years has been reunited with its astonished owner after a father-and-son diving team discovered it and made it their mission to return it.On a sweltering day in July 2018, Ashley Spencer and a friend spontaneously decided that they would cool off by bailing out of their rented canoe, midway across Charleston Lake.The hurried disembarkation upset the craft and sent Spencer's treasured purse containing a drawing by her young daughter and more than $200 in cash to the bottom.In all likelihood, the sunken treasure would have stayed there it weren't for the extraordinary efforts of two complete strangers.Yet, more than two years after her purse had settled to the murky bottom of Charleston Lake near Brockville, ON, Spencer got a call from provincial police telling her it had been found."I was floored," said Spencer this week. "I started laughing because I couldn't even believe it. Like— there's no possible way."A stroke of serendipity and a global pandemic made the unlikely happy ending possible.At about the same time as Spencer's purse was settling to the bottom of Charleston Lake in 2018, an Ottawa boy named Stephen Svarckopf was perfecting his snorkeling technique at a Key West, Florida hotel pool."My dad would throw pennies in, then I would dive down grab the pennies and come up," explained Svarckopf, now 11.But the COVID-19 pandemic grounded the Svarckopf family's normal vacation plans in 2020, so Stephen and his father, Todd, spent the summer snorkeling the waterways of eastern Ontario.During their dives, they have pulled hundreds of pounds of rusted bicycles, snowmobiles, tires, fishing lures and other trash from the bottom of lakes and rivers.The pair cleaned up a modern kayak seat they recovered from the bottom of the Rideau River and sold it on Kijiji donating the proceeds to help with the cancer care of a local hockey coach.It was in June, while staying at Charleston Lake Provincial Park, that the father and son brought up their most mysterious find yet — a small brown handbag containing more than $200 and belonging to a woman named Ashley Spencer.Todd Svarckopf and his girlfriend Allison Gougeon searched for months online. Gougeon reached out to women named Ashley Spencer as far away as Texas,"And just couldn't, couldn't come up with anything," said Svarckopf, who used a pressure washer to strip two years worth of zebra muscles from the small bag.The also took it open themselves to dry out the cash, and a water-logged piece of paper bearing a colourful drawing by Spencer's young daughter, which they then carefully pressed and framed.This week, after CBC's Ottawa Morning put out a call for feel-good stories, Svarckopf contacted CBC to say that he'd found a purse, but couldn't find the owner. With some help from CBC News and the Ontario Provincial Police, the purse was finally handed over to the right Ashley Spencer, a 29-year-old bar manager from Brockville. Before its long sleep at the bottom of Charleston Lake, the purse accompanied Spencer on trips across Canada and to El Salvador.Never expecting to get the bag back, Spencer says she's paying the Svarckopf's good deed forward, donating the long-lost $200 to a Christmas charity in Brockville."There are really good people out there and I'm really happy they came and found me."
For the last few years, Janice Wabie and her family have made a Christmas decoration of epic proportions.A giant dreamcatcher adorned with hundreds of Christmas lights stands on the front lawn of Wabie's aunt and uncle's house in Timiskaming First Nation, an Algonquin community in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec. With about a 3.5 metre diameter, it features over 900 lights."It's amazing how many people stop at night just to take pictures of this dreamcatcher," said Wabie.About four years ago, Wabie's uncle had the idea to upcycle an old trampoline."He spoke to my aunt and saw that they had this old trampoline in the yard and said 'Why don't we make it into a nice big dreamcatcher and put lights on it?'" said Wabie."Since I was little, I've been making dreamcatchers for everyone, so they gave me a call one day and I came up and I put together this big dreamcatcher."She's remade the decoration every Christmas since, with assistance from her family members throughout the entire process. Each year, they think of new ways to improve the design to withstand harsh Quebec winters."Every year so far, it's broken by the end of the season from the wind, snow and ice buildup. This year, they put wire to reinforce behind it to avoid the web from blowing in and out. Hopefully it works," said Wabie.This year, Wabie put another old trampoline frame to good use by making an additional dreamcatcher for her own yard. It's decorated with LED light strips that connect to an app that allows the colours to change in synchronization with music.Wabie said when she was younger, there were not a lot of cultural activities in Timiskaming. She was among the first people in her community to take up jingle dress dancing, and now teaches others and hosts regalia workshops.She's passed on that passion to sew, bead, and craft to her daughters and hopes her family's holiday decorations inspire others in her community to reconnect to their culture."Bringing things out like this, I want people to not be afraid to show who we are and just be proud of our culture," she said.
As the holiday season accelerates into full swing, local businesses are hoping to avoid ringing in the new year with for-lease signs hanging in store windows by encouraging customers to spend their dollars at the shop around the corner.While December is normally the time of year when many small businesses are able to switch from breaking even to turning a profit, business groups are warning that this year they're simply trying to survive.> We're asking consumers to really make a conscious choice this year to shop small because the big box stores and the online giants are doing fine. \- Laura Jones, executive VP, Canadian Federation of Independent Business"Without a doubt, they are worried," said Nathalie Carrier, executive director of the Vanier BIA."There is stress. Nobody's looking at a bright Christmas. Everybody's just hoping to get through and to have a business when the vaccine arrives."1 in 7 businesses expected to closeThe Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has launched its Small Business Saturday campaign, which is running this weekend Black Friday and Cyber Monday to encourage people to shop local."It's a time of year when sometimes consumers can default almost automatically without thinking about it to big box stores and online giants like Amazon," said Laura Jones CFIB's executive vice-president. "And we're asking consumers to really make a conscious choice this year to shop small because the big box stores and the online giants are doing fine."The places in trouble are the small, street-front shops that may not survive without a brisk holiday season."It's your local retailer, your local restaurant, your local independent business that is struggling and having a really tough time," said Jones. "If we don't support them today, they won't be with us tomorrow."The organization estimates one in seven independent businesses across Canada are at risk of shuttering their doors because of the pandemic.Many of those businesses aren't brand new ones, but those that have been around for decades, even generations, she said. "It's still very, very tough times. I mean, 2020 has been a year that we're hearing from our Ottawa members has been more difficult for many of them than any other year they've ever experienced in business."Beyond holidays also a worryEven small businesses who expect to make it through the holiday season are worried about what January will bring."Christmas will be fine — sales are always good at Christmas for me," said Molly van der Schee, who owns the niche gift and card shop, The Village Quire. "My real concern is come January and February when it's already slow in the store and on top of it I can't get product into the store."What she's worried about is making ends meet early next year, especially as overseas supply problems have meant dwindling stock.Even now, van der Schee is low on some stock, though she said her customers have been understanding."My customers are very forgiving. They want to see me succeed. They want to see the store succeed."
Inside of the Department of National Defence they are calling it "a whole of nation effort."And the tasking of Canada's top former NATO commander in Iraq, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, with the job of running the COVID-19 vaccine distribution campaign is inarguably a point of pride for an institution that often radiates a can-do attitude. It also, however, represents the second time the federal government has turned to the military in a significant way during the pandemic, leading some to question whether federal and provincial public health agencies should have better anticipated what is about to unfold.It is hard to forget how up to 1,700 military medics and ordinary troops had to rescue coronavirus-infested long-term care homes last spring in Ontario and Quebec in a widely acknowledged failure of public health policy.In terms of scale, the effort to run the national vaccine distribution centre is — at the moment — considerably smaller, but no less critical and significant.It involves 28 of the military's top planners and at least two generals, including Fortin, whose day job is keeping the military's joint operations command humming as chief of staff. The Ottawa-based headquarters directs all military moves at home and overseas.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan insisted on Friday that running the vaccine campaign will not be a distraction in a world, and a year, where crises erupt with unexpected and capricious ferocity. "We have never taken our eye off what's happening around the world," he told CBC News following Fortin's appointment as vice president, logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).One defence analyst says, in a military the size of Canada's, the secondment to PHAC will be felt, but it is in the national interest, and military's own interest, to pitch in."I think the military wants to see this whole pandemic in the rear-view mirror," as much as the rest of Canadians, said Dave Perry, vice president at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "In one sense, it would be potentially taking bandwidth away to do something else in the short term, but if their assistance means we get this behind us more quickly it also would free them up to take on additional tasks that the government might ask them to do."The involvement of the military "in one of the most significant logistical operations that Canada has engaged in in quite some time" should not be a surprise because it "has real critical, literally life and death implications for Canadians all across this country," Perry said.The military, however, is supposed to be the institution of last resort, the place where the federal government goes when it's out of other options.Co-ordinating the tangled logistics of getting tens of million of doses of coronavirus vaccine from seven different drugmakers — on different approval schedules, from different countries — and getting them to provinces in good condition is clearly a military-grade task.A cargo plane like a "C-17 or a C-130J Hercules could do that task," said Dan Ross, a retired brigadier-general who ran the defence department's purchasing branch during the Afghan war. It could also facilitate "the delivery to remote parts of the country, remote settlements, remote locations that don't have commercial direct access, particularly in winter," he said. Ross knows all about managing a crisis with life-and-death implications, as the senior official in charge of buying and moving equipment on an emergency basis into Kandahar at the height of major combat.It's a unique skill nested within the military."Most public servant departments are not trained or equipped to do that type of role," Ross said. "They don't do command-and-control communications. They are normally policy shops who deliver services to Canadians." And that is an important observation in the minds of public health policy professionals who question why other parts of the federal government — especially those charged with pandemic planning — have not adopted the planning and organizational mindset of the military."I don't know if this has ever happened before," said Mario Possamai, a health and safety expert, who sat on the commission that reviewed Ontario's handling of the SARS crisis in 2002.More than a decade before COVID-19, he said, the largest immunization program was for the H1N1 virus "and the military was not involved there."Having the military so heavily involved, and at such a late date, is, in Possamai's view, an "indictment" of federal and provincial health officials who've had two decades or more to get ready for a pandemic. "And we really need to ask the public health people: You spent a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of resources planning for this, planning for the pandemic and this is the best that you can do?" he asked.The Liberal government has faced similar, specific criticism for its handling of the pandemic early warning system and its failure to issue warnings about the impending COVID-19 catastrophe."PHAC has demonstrated that they just have not learned from H1N1, from SARS, from MERS, from Ebola," said Possamai.The U.S. appointed a senior military logistics general to run its vaccine rollout campaign, called Operation Warp Speed, in May, said Possamai, adding he believes there should be a Royal Commission after the pandemic has passed. Perry agrees and said the country "shouldn't be in a position where we need the military" to carry out some of the tasks that have been asked of it."I don't think that changes the fact — that at least from my vantage point — having the military involved in this right now would be a very good thing for every Canadian that's waiting to get a needle," said Perry.How much more involved the Canadian Armed Forces will get remains unclear because public health is still developing its plan.Sajjan left the door open Friday to further assistance, including the possibility of troops delivering vaccine directly to the public in some parts of Canada."I'm not going to leave anything outside that we won't do — because there is obviously a possibility of that," he said. "But what we want to do is use the existing systems that we have."The minister said he wants Canadians to have "absolute confidence that the CAF will be there where any gap that needs to be filled."
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases for the third straight day on Saturday, the fastest spread of infections the country has seen since the early days of the pandemic.The 504 cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention brought the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 33,375, including 522 deaths.Around 330 of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people, where health workers are struggling to stem transmissions linked to hospitals, schools, saunas, gyms and army units.Infections were also reported in other major cities including Daegu, which was the epicenter of the country’s previous major outbreak in late February and March.The recent spike in infections came after the government eased social distancing restrictions to the lowest levels in October to support a weak economy, allowing high-risk venues like nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and spectators to return to sports.Officials reimposed some of the restrictions this week and could be forced to clamp down on economic activities further if transmissions don’t slow.In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:— Health authorities in northern Thailand have traced and tested more than 300 people who were in contact with a Thai women who returned from Myanmar and tested positive for the coronavirus after somehow avoiding a mandatory quarantine. The director-general of the Department of Disease Control said Saturday it was the 10th case in the last two months where it could not be ascertained with certainty where the patient caught the virus. The 29-year-old woman had been in Myanmar for a month during a coronavirus surge before entering Thailand on Nov. 24. She then spent three days in Chiang Mai, including visits to a nightclub and department store, before going to a hospital. Health officials traced and tested 326 people who had been in contact with her and quarantined the 105 judged most at risk. Thailand since January has had 3,966 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 60 deaths.— India’s coronavirus infections dipped further with 41,322 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, and there was no signs of a resurgence as a result of a major festival two weeks ago. The high point of new infections this week was 44,739 on Wednesday. Single-day cases have remained below the 50,000-mark for three weeks. The Indian capital also saw a drop in daily cases with 5,482 after recording an all-time high on Nov. 11. The federal government blamed state authorities’ inability to ramp up testing and enforce social distancing for the surge in New Delhi. On Saturday, India’s death toll rose by 485 to to 136,200. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited three pharmaceutical facilities on Saturday to review development of potential COVID-19 vaccines. Five vaccines are under different phases of trial in India.— The number of people hospitalized in serious condition for COVID-19 in Japan reached a record 440 people, the Health Ministry said Saturday. New reported cases nationwide topped more than 2,600 people, according to tallies by local media. If confirmed by officials, that would be a record as well. In Tokyo, daily cases have totalled more than 500 recently, raising alarm as the number had been hovering at about half that for the last couple of months. Although Japan has never had a lockdown, restaurants and bars have periodically closed early, including in Tokyo starting Saturday. Japan has seen more than 2,000 virus deaths since the pandemic began.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
There was a glimmer of hope Burk's Falls council would have ice installed in the Armour Ryerson and Burk's Falls Memorial Arena early in the new year. However, that glimmer is all but extinguished. Acting on a report from arena manager Graham Smith, council will now consider putting ice in the arena next March for summer ice programs. COVID-19 remains the culprit for the ice not being installed because user groups are reluctant to commit to using the arena in a coronavirus environment. Mayor Cathy Still says the most hours the municipality has been able to secure from users is nine a week. And that's a far cry from what's needed to make it financially worthwhile to open the arena up to skating-related activities. “We've tried for six months to get more users,” she says. As a result, Still says the municipality is referring any inquiries from potential users to the arenas in Sundridge and South River since they have their ice in place. By doing so, both communities can at least bolster their ice time, she says. Still says money isn't the only reason why Burk's Falls isn't installing ice at this time. Enforcing COVID-19 protocols also is a factor. If a minor hockey group or association wants to use the ice, that group “would be in charge of the COVID rules and they would have to make sure those rules are put in place,” she explains. “But if we had public skating, the arena staff have to make sure COVID rules are followed and that becomes a logistical nightmare for them because we just have two employees. “The burden would fall on our staff and I'm not really comfortable with that.” The last thing the municipality needs is for someone to contract COVID as a result of municipal staff failing to enforce COVID rules, Still says. As an alternative, the municipality is making the arena surface available for non-ice activities such as pickle ball, archery, cadets and soccer. Still says social distancing is easy to accomplish with pickle ball and archery because there are only a small number of participants involved at one time. In the case of cadets and soccer, both groups are responsible for any COVID oversight. Still speculates the only way for the ice to go in early in 2021 is if the plant at one of the arenas in the surrounding communities breaks down and Burk's Falls is asked to take on minor hockey teams. With this being only a remote possibility, Still says the municipality is now turning its attention to March, when the winter ice would normally be taken out and replaced with summer ice. Winning Techniques of Emsdale has been renting the arena in June, July and August for about 10 years for camps focused on figure skating, coaching in general and hockey coaching. Still says COVID interrupted the camps last summer, but she hopes COVID rules are downgraded by the spring so the program can resume next June. Burk's Falls shares responsibility for the arena with Ryerson and Armour townships. Rod Ward, an Armour councillor, is disappointed the ice won't go in the arena this winter. He says Armour council has been of the opinion that the ice should be installed. While Ward acknowledges that only a handful of groups have committed to using the arena, he's wondering if there's a silent group of potential users no one knows about. “We may have people hiding and not bothering to (commit) because there's no ice in the arena,” Ward says. “But if the ice was in, they might pursue it.” Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
Making it in the music world is tough, but Elijah Bekk has already fought battles that would force a lot of people to give up."When I was 19, I got injured really bad," he said. "I actually lost the use of my hands for a couple of years. I was in my second year of school and I ended up having to move home because I couldn't open and close my hands at all and my family had to take care of me."Bekk says he suffered what is called a non-freezing cold injury, a repetitive stress injury he suffered while working in cold water."It affects the way your brain talks to your hands," he said. "When I get tests done, it says that my hands are completely fine, but my brain is telling my arms and hands that they're in pain all the time. It feels like my arms are on fire and I have a hard time feeling a couple of my fingers."Something like that would have ended the musical dreams of most people, but Bekk grew up wanting to be a musician and wasn't about to let that stop him.> One day I was told if I kept trying to play I would never be able to use my hands again. \- Elijah Bekk, Yukon musicianHe grew up in Faro, a small, tight-knit community in the central Yukon. Once home to a bustling mine, people in the town have to be resourceful when it comes to making a living and keeping busy.Bekk is from a large, musical family. They actually had a family band that would play at local music festivals and other events over the years.After being coerced into backing his older brother on drums, Bekk discovered the joys of playing guitar and singing. He decided that's what he wanted to do.Forced to put the guitar awayBekk left home in Grade 12 to finish high school in Alberta and take advantage of scholastic music programs. He was studying music at Selkirk College in B.C. when he was injured a little more than three years ago."One day I was told if I kept trying to play I would never be able to use my hands again," he said. "We actually put my guitars in their cases and put them away so I couldn't touch them."I never thought about anything else for a minute. I thought, 'This is what I'm going to do. We just have to find a different way to do it.'" One specialist suggested he could pick up the guitar again, but he had to limit his playing to brief periods."That was tough, having to put the guitar down even though it hurt," said Bekk. "But I never thought about doing anything else, and writing songs was a huge part of what helped me emotionally getting through all that."Now he spends his time rehabilitating his injured hands, playing music when he can, and writing and recording his own songs.Earlier this year, he decided to submit one of those tunes to the RBC Emerging Musician Program, run by Canada's Walk Of Fame.Bekk was one of of more than 1,400 people across the country to apply for the program, and was recently named a third-place finalist. That earned him a prize of $4,000 and mentorship sessions with industry professionals."[Bekk's] submitted track Be Alright impressed our judging panels with its distinct warmth, heartfelt melodies and a dreamy soundscape that perfectly encapsulates the Yukon," said Griffin Sokal, director of creative, brand marketing and partnerships with Canada's Walk of Fame."We couldn't be more thrilled that this ambitious and driven young performer was chosen. We look forward to working with him."Bekk said the awards and recognition are great, and a good boost for his career. But these days, nothing beats being able to simply play."It means more now," he said. "Before I kind of took it for granted.... [Now] it feels so good, you have no idea."
The Sahtú Renewable Resources Board has given Colville Lake, N.W.T., a seal of approval to move forward with its community-based caribou conservation plan.In a report released at the end of October, the board declared that "harvest regulation for all caribou populations must be subject to community conservation planning measures."The decision comes after N.W.T. leaders convened in Colville Lake in January for a three-day public "listening session" on how best to protect and regulate the harvest of three of the territory's caribou herds.David Codzi, who helped lead the charge for a local conservation plan, welcomed the board's decision. He said his people's way of life is centred around conservation."Our whole belief is to make sure that there's always caribou; it's not to over hunt. We only take what we need, and we can't just … allow somebody else that's just been here not too long just to put their way and say that's the right way," said Codzi, who is president of the Ayoni Keh Land Corporation in Colville Lake."We've been here thousands of years and this is the way we practice our way of life, and it's worked this long. You know, it's tried and true and it's our experience."8 decisions, 18 recommendationsThe board's report includes eight decisions and 18 recommendations on issues related to caribou harvesting regulations in the Sahtú region.Among them is a commitment from the board to remove the total allowable harvest — which limits how many animals can be harvested from the herd. Before that can be done, the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board says Colville Lake must submit the outstanding components of its conservation plan: an outline of caribou monitoring and harvest monitoring information, a caribou conservation and food security plan, and an evaluation framework.Once the plan is approved, it will replace the total allowable harvest system in the Sahtú region, and the Wildlife Act regulations would need to be updated to reflect that change, said Deborah Simmons, executive director of the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board.The board says it will regularly review conservation outcomes under the community plan, and that it reserves the right to reinstate the total allowable harvest if needed.Codzi said Colville Lake still needs to outline how it will execute its plan, but added, "we know that we're going to be using people that go out on the land."Since 2007, we've been working at this and we've been monitoring what people do, how they go hunting."The board also recommended that tagging requirements for Indigenous harvesters be scrapped, and that the environment minister grant the Colville Lake Renewable Resources Council the authority to issue authorizations to harvesters.Codzi said he doesn't believe tagging or quota systems are the best approach.Instead, Colville Lake's conservation plan would require people to inform the community of their hunting plans, so the community can give them permission, he said."People will take what they need. They don't have to feel like they have to take … all the tags," Codzi said. "Some people go hunting, some people don't. And the last couple years, we haven't hit the number that they set aside."Next stepsThe report also calls on Colville Lake to work with harvester groups in neighbouring regions so they can develop conservation plans that meet their shared goals.Youth will "be invited to play meaningful roles in the entire process for future public listening sessions," the board decided.Simmons said the board's report is now in the hands of the N.W.T.'s environment and natural resources minister. The minister has 60 days from the time of receiving the report on Oct. 31 to "vary, set aside, or accept" the board's decisions, Simmons said."If the minister agrees to the board's recommendations and decisions, then the minister would be required to follow up on those decisions and recommendations, in so far as it's within [Environment and Natural Resources's] mandate."
British and EU Brexit negotiators remain sceptical about the chances of a breakthrough in talks on a follow-on agreement, which are still stalled over fishing rights and fair trade rules.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's attempt to exclude people living in the country illegally from the population count used to divvy up congressional seats is headed for a post-Thanksgiving Supreme Court showdown.The administration's top lawyers are hoping the justices on a court that includes three Trump appointees will embrace the idea, rejected repeatedly by lower courts. It's the latest, and likely the last, Trump administration hard-line approach to immigration issues to reach the high court. Arguments will take place on Monday by telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic.Even as the justices weigh a bid to remove, for the first time, millions of noncitizens from the population count that determines how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives as well as the allocation of some federal funding, experts say other issues loom large for the 2020 census as it heads into unchartered territory over deadlines, data quality and politics.A host of novel questions outside of the court's eventual decision could determine the final product of the nation’s once-a-decade head count, including whether the incoming Biden administration would do anything to try to reverse decisions made under Trump.Among other questions: Will the Census Bureau be able to meet a year-end deadline for turning in the numbers used for apportionment, the process of dividing up congressional seats among the states? Will the quality of the census data be hurt by a shortened schedule, a pandemic and natural disasters? Could a Democratic-controlled House reject the numbers from the Republican administration if House leaders believe they are flawed? Will a lame-duck Senate pass legislation that could extend deadlines for turning in census numbers?“There are so many moving parts, it makes your head spin,” said Margo Anderson, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.How the Supreme Court will rule is the first unknown.Federal courts in California, Maryland and New York have ruled that Trump's plan violates federal law or the Constitution, which provides that "representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.” A fourth court, in Washington, D.C., held this past week that a similar challenge to the administration plan was premature, an argument that also has been made to the high court.“What Trump wants to do would be a radical break from that. The losers wouldn’t be individual people. It would be entire states and communities that would lose representation when undocumented members of those communities get cut out of the count used to apportion the House,” said Dale Ho, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who will argue on behalf of immigration advocates and civil rights groups in the Supreme Court case.The administration argues that both the Constitution and federal law allow the president to exclude “illegal aliens” from the apportionment count.“As history, precedent, and structure indicate, the President need not treat all illegal aliens as ‘inhabitants’ of the States and thereby allow their defiance of federal law to distort the allocation of the people’s Representatives,” acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote.By the administration’s estimate, California could lose two to three House seats if people living in the country illegally were excluded based on what the administration said are more than 2 million such California residents. But Ho noted that a change in the divvying up of House seats can turn on much smaller numbers.The Democratic-controlled House has weighed in to argue that Trump’s plan would result in an unfair distribution of seats for partisan political goals, the latest attempt “to manipulate the census in novel and troubling ways.” The House cast the president’s plan as part of a larger effort that included an attempt blocked by the Supreme Court to add a citizenship question to the census for the first time in 70 years.For the order to be carried out, the data processing of the apportionment numbers will have to take place while Trump is still in office, but an announcement this month that anomalies have been found in the data jeopardizes the Census Bureau's ability to hand in the numbers to the president by a Dec. 31 deadline. Trump, in turn, is supposed to transmit the numbers to Congress by Jan. 10.But if problems with the data force a delay of even three weeks, the Census Bureau would be turning in the numbers to a new president. President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.“The Biden administration will have to see what kind of damage the Trump administration left reapportionment and determine whether an accurate head count, including all persons regardless of citizenship, can be used,” said Jeffrey Wice, an adjunct professor at New York Law School who is an expert in census law and redistricting.A spokesman for the Biden campaign didn't respond to an email inquiry.Even if everything is done on time, the House, which will remain under Democratic control next year, might reject the apportionment numbers on the grounds that they aren't what Congress asked the Republican administration to provide, said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.“If the president turns over something that isn’t plausibly what they asked for, they don’t have to accept it and they don’t have to transmit to the states,” Levitt said.The Census Bureau's announcement about anomalies also underscores pandemic-related worries about the quality of the data. The time allotted for correcting errors and filling in gaps in data collection was cut in half by the administration's decision to stick to the year-end deadline and accommodate Trump's apportionment order. The Census Bureau also faced difficulties stemming from wildfires in the West and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.There's still a chance the Senate could quell some concerns by agreeing with the House on an extension for turning over the population numbers. As the coronavirus was spreading in the spring, the Census Bureau asked Congress for an extension until the end of April 2021. The House complied, but the legislation went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate after Trump issued his apportionment order in July.It's not out of the question that the Senate still could pass an extension, if either the Supreme Court rejects Trump's plan or Democrats take control of the Senate after two runoff elections in Georgia in January.One thing seems likely: The current court case won't be the last legal fight over the 2020 census. Final apportionment numbers have been litigated frequently in past decades.“What would a census be without a lot of litigation?” said Terri Ann Lowenthal, a former congressional aide who specializes in census issues.___Schneider reported from Orlando, Florida.___Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP and Mark Sherman at https://twitter.com/shermancourtMike Schneider And Mark Sherman, The Associated Press
A new initiative in Grand Falls-Windsor wants to get students thinking about healthcare. Early last week, the town, along with the Grand Falls-Windsor-based EXCITE Corporation, the Bounce Health Initiative and all of the town’s schools would begin a pilot partnership that would look to give students a better understanding of healthcare in their community This understanding would come from the use of technology and work with the students to foster innovative ideas when it comes to health. The program will be done in quarters as students from each grade will be allowed to learn and think about their community in a way they might not be used to. “This would engage our young students in health and technology and try to give them an opportunity to be exposed to that at a young age, so that their thinking is already around technology as it relates to health,” said Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Barry Manuel. “As they get older and go through their schooling, we hope it would have impact on the way they think and, certainly, the possibility of them forming career paths with regards to technology and health.” While the new project won’t take hold until 2021, the town recently ran its third annual High School Hack 3.0 as an introduction to what students can expect With that in mind, the Bounce Health Initiative’s Dr. Chandra Kavanagh presented the dozen or so students from Exploits Valley High was a medical problem with the aim being to present new ideas to solve it. They were asked to examine the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has had on medical services in the province. In particular, the students worked on humanizing healthcare during the pandemic. From there, the students would brainstorm ideas and present their solutions. “Our kids were engaged and coming up with ideas,” said Exploits Valley High principal Paul Lewis. Originally, the idea was to run the program for students in grades from elementary to high school. However, after some discussion with teachers in primary grades, the decision was made to include every grade. That means every four months, the Bounce Health Initiative would come to Grand Falls-Windsor and work with a group of students from each grade. The focus would be on health care, on innovation and on technology. “Let me tell you, all of these administrators were inspired, all of these principals showed so much forward-thinking, so much inspiration that it was beautiful to see,” said Kavanagh. In addition to opening the eyes of students when it comes to innovation and technology and how that can be applied, Kavanagh plans on taking the new ideas generated from the sessions and presenting them to provincial health officials. “We get access to brilliant young minds,” she said. “One of the things we’ve noticed, especially because of COVID-19, is that our healthcare system is not functioning. There are all of these ways where a small amount or even a large amount of pressure can paralyze that system. “That means we need to do things in a fundamentally different way and if you keep going to the same sources, you’re going to get the same ideas.” As an educator, Lewis sees the benefits of this sort of deep learning and the effects it has on students as they progress through school. He sees the program as a great opportunity, especially at the lower grades. “If you can get a sense of engagement at that level and if you can hit off on some of the deep learning at that level, boy, I’d be interested in seeing what that's going to look like when they come through a system that's been exposed to real-world problems, solutions, innovations and taking a different approach,” said Lewis. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
In a small multi-purpose room in a west Edmonton condo, Renee Vaugeois moves quickly, placing cans of food, bags of chips, juice, fruit, meat, whatever she has on hand into boxes. She dashes out the door, her dolly stacked precariously. Two volunteers are on their way to deliver the emergency hampers and she doesn't want to make them wait. The small room has become a food hub, created out of necessity nine months into the pandemic. It's one of many hubs that have come out of the YEG Community Response to COVID19 Facebook group, set up by Vaugeois at the beginning of the pandemic. "It's been like an emergency response effort ever since, constantly evolving and growing, Vaugeois told CBC News. "But it's really grown," she said. "I don't think we ever expected to be doing the amount of gap filling and support to the community that we are doing on this page." Wednesday was Cindy Walker's second night volunteering to deliver the hampers, loading her SUV for deliveries in three communities. Walker helped out a few times at the beginning of the pandemic, but after seeing the need grow online in recent weeks she decided it was time to step up again. "I've been out of work since really COVID hit and the lockdown started, so it feels good to give back and to be doing something productive and helping other people. It's incredibly rewarding." She takes off with a wave and a word of gratefulness from Vaugeois. Last week, 181 of the emergency hampers were dispatched from the room feeding dozens of desperate people. Food comes from the Edmonton Food Bank and from various donations from the community. "It's nourishment." Vaugeois says about the Facebook page. "It's not just about providing canned foods or pasta. Food is part of your heart and soul, it makes you feel human." Vaugeois tears up as she describes some of the people who have been helped: A single father who is visibly starving, his children so grateful for the box of food, an undocumented person who feels they have no other way to access what they need, a woman who began selling her body to be able to eat. "The more I think about it these people are in their homes and they're out of sight, out of mind. And yet they're so deeply in struggle." An army behind her Vaugeois is also the executive director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, so she is able to use her connections under the umbrella of the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights. Her partners, which include the Elizabeth Fry Society, Self Advocacy Federation, Voices of Albertans with Disabilities, the John Humphrey Centre and the Edmonton Food Bank help keep the movement going. Then there is an army of volunteers who not only help with deliveries, but also staff food hubs in different areas of the city. In the past month, a free food pantry was set up in the Bethel Gospel Chapel in the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood. Vaugeois, along with the neighbourhood empowerment team, the City of Edmonton and Arts of the Ave came up with the idea to address an area of the city that experiences more food insecurity. "We wanted to create a space that was really super accessible for people," Vaugeois said." "People can come in and pick what they want. It helps reduce waste, but it also gives a bit of dignity in that people actually access the food that they eat and that they want and that they need versus kind of just getting a hamper." It runs every Monday. This past week, 148 people came through the pantry in two hours. No ID is needed to access food. Several groups have begun using the Facebook page to let people know where they can access help such as the Glengarry Child Care Society, which operates a small food hub out of their space, or several postal workers, who have been handing out food hampers since the beginning of the pandemic. It's also become a place to mobilize. On a day when someone asked for volunteers to help make sandwiches to feed the homeless, 29 women stepped up. As Vaugeois talks about how the community has really come through, there's concern in her voice. "I think people's mental health and anxiety is increasing a lot. I can feel it on the page already. I don't know what to expect." She says she hopes that the pandemic will help to remove the barriers for basic human needs. "It's binding people and breaking down barriers," Vaugeois said. "How people are connecting and working with each other, and holding each other and supporting each other, it gives me a lot of hope that we can do this."