Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will announce new restrictions for COVID-19 hot spots on Friday. Ford says the case counts in Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region are very concerning and he will take "targeted" action.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will announce new restrictions for COVID-19 hot spots on Friday. Ford says the case counts in Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region are very concerning and he will take "targeted" action.
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.
MEMBERTOU — Membertou Lanes held a job fair Thursday to fast-track the reopening of the bowling alley, which has been closed since mid-March. The reopening was delayed because of major changes, and community members like Justin Gould are hoping to work again. “I’ve been off work for a while since COVID, because I was laid off and I have just been looking for a job ever since,” said the 19-year-old. “Once I heard of the job fair at Membertou Lanes, I thought it was a good opportunity for me.” He was laid off from his job at the Membertou Youth Centre and was hoping to land a position as a lane technician or dishwasher at Membertou Lanes. Gould was hoping to land a job to pay some bills. He said the safety measures at the job fair were organized and professional. “They did a really good job here and I’m looking forward to them opening,” said Gould. Job-seekers were required to wear a mask, sanitize upon entering the building and had to provide contact information and had their temperatures checked. They were then seated in a socially distanced waiting room before meeting with one of five interviewers. The bowling alley was hiring customer service representatives, hosts, bartenders, servers, cooks, dishwashers, janitors and lane technicians. Silas Baccouche was also laid off when the Membetou Youth Centre closed to the public. The 18-year-old hoped to hear good news. “I just hope I get hired,” said Baccouche. He said he hasn’t faced many hardships because of the layoffs but still wanted to work. Baccouche was hopeful all who attended could land employment. Recently hired general manager Marcel Cote says he hopes to hire 25-30 people. And the public should expect a lot of changes to Membertou Lanes. Membertou Lanes is adding a sports bar and more kid-friendly additions like a slushy machine and concessions. Cote said they’ll also be dropping the prices. The bowling alley at its launch will be reservation only to ensure proper spacing and contact tracing, they’ll also have dedicated cleaning staff for high touch areas, signage to ensure social distancing and hand sanitizer. Cote spent 25 years in the food and beverage industry and hopes with a complete rebranding the business can flourish even under the COVID-19 restrictions. He believes people are still looking to have fun in these uncertain times, but they need to be reassured they’re safe. And Membertou Lanes is hoping to meet those needs. “The challenge is we’re changing almost everything we did before,” said Cote. He also added that the candlestick replacement parts company they were working with folded because of the pandemic, which only added to the delays. Cote hopes to hire quickly to begin training soon. “I need everyone to understand and be patient with us,” said Cote. He said he hopes to reopen by December. -30-Oscar Baker III, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
Agriculture in Labrador has always been a bit of a hard go. While there is a huge amount of agricultural land in the region — far more than on the island portion of the province — the vast majority of it is uncleared and even getting access to some of it could take years. There is a bright side, though. In recent years, a few new farms have popped up and one is even planning to sell local beef. Food insecurity is a big issue in Labrador, with high prices and the area only producing one per cent of the food it consumes. The provincial government created a work sector plan for agriculture in the last few years and highlighted some concerns producers are having in Labrador, including the lack of an abattoir or the ability to sell large-scale commercial eggs in the region and the need for more Crown land to be made available for agriculture. On Nature’s Best Farm, Desmond Sellars has been growing produce such as carrots and potatoes in the region for about 20 years. He is a familiar face to many in Happy Valley-Goose Bay as the guy who sells vegetables in front of the courthouse, There is a huge amount of opportunity for farmers in Labrador, according to Sellars, but he feels the industry is still in its infancy stage and 'requires a lot of zeroes in your bank account.’ “Farmers here in Labrador can produce more but it always comes down to policy around agriculture. There’s no question about the soil, there’s no question about the land being able to produce, but we do not have the right policy and the right supports at the present time to support increased agriculture here in Labrador.” Things are moving in the right direction, he said, with the province recognizing the need for more locally produced food, but agriculture is a long game and that’s even more true in Labrador. It can take years to get leased land from the government, he said, and that’s just the first hurdle. Since all agricultural land in Labrador is leased, not granted, farmers don’t have access to any capital from it to go to banks, and so have to invest a lot of their own money up front. Even then, he said, the province still owns it and when a farmer retires, all the investments they made on the land can be lost. Freight costs are another barrier, he said. It costs just as much to ship things sometimes as the items themselves. That drives up his cost, which is a barrier to selling his produce to local stores. It’s cheaper for local stores in bring in food from outside the province than buy from him, he said, and that needs to be addressed. “Farmers don’t need a handout, they need a hand up,” he said. ‘If I could, for example, be able to expense freight on a subsidy basis I could compete with P.E.I., Ontario, New Brunswick, and I’d have that market, I know I would. That wouldn’t be a terrible cost to anyone, but it would be a big step for producers.” At the end of the day, he said, young people need to see that agriculture is something worthwhile to pursue and he doesn’t see a lot of that messaging out there. While farming is a long-term investment because of the large upfront capital costs, he said, it can be very profitable and there need to be more conversations around that. “The whole notion of farming as an important, viable business for this province and for people to engage in, there aren’t enough conversations around that. Farming is an underdeveloped part of this province, that’s self-evident. For that to change it requires ongoing conversations and I would argue some policy changes. “ Jim Purdy is one of the operators of Birch Lane Farm on Mud Lake Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which produces a wide variety of products, from produce to live chickens and live ducks to berries and jams. Purdy highlighted some of the same issues as Sellars, especially around the impact of freight costs and getting Crown land. “Our biggest competition isn’t here, it’s in Quebec and Ontario. They can sell their product cheaper here than we can produce it for. We have to depend on the local market, loyalty, to sell our products.” Purdy said people do recognize that locally grown food tastes better, but producers need to move into larger commercial markets to be able to grow and that isn’t possible right now. Other provinces have programs to assist with that, he said, and something needs to be done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Things that aren’t issues in less remote places, he said, like getting a tractor fixed or hiring someone to clear land, can be a real barrier in Labrador. “I would say that there’s less than 200 acres of cleared agricultural land in Labrador and in some places that’s a small farm,” he said. “It’s not like you can call someone and get them to do it. We don’t have the infrastructure here for agriculture, it’s as simple as that.” He said in his opinion other provinces have done a lot more to help with agricultural production and it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the government in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like Sellars, Purdy cites the rules around Crown land and the unwillingness of government to grant it to farmers. “They can but they won’t,” he said. “It took me a few years to get a lease and that was on land no one else wanted. Can you imagine how long it would take if someone else had wanted it? I don’t know why the process takes so long but it isn’t helping anything. If you want to farm here, you better be ready for a long investment,” he said. When asked what could be done to help the industry grow Purdy said he didn’t even know where to start, but government offering more support is a big part of it. When SaltWire Network contacted Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture Minister Elvis Loveless, who was given the portfolio three months ago, he said he hasn’t had a chance go to Labrador to meet with local producers yet and discuss the issues, but he’s committed to doing so. “Our goal, in terms of helping farmers, is opening up access to land,” Loveless said when asked about the concerns expressed over the inability to get granted agricultural land. “Farmers, in order to grow vegetables, or just around the culture of growing, need land, there’s no doubt. I won’t make a commitment on a timeframe, but I will commit to talking to farmers. I’m looking to get on the ground in Labrador and have those conversations with them; what are their priorities moving their industry forward in Labrador?” Loveless said in terms of issues, it’s “all on the table.” He referenced recent investments made by the provincial government in the central Labrador region for community gardens and a cold storage and packaging facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and said there are plans to make more agricultural land available in the region. “Having access to safe and healthy food is on everyone’s minds, and addressing those needs has never been more important than right now, especially in Labrador, where the residents rely heavily on food imported from other areas, and that’s something we’d like to change.” Tomorrow: a new beef farm is the only one of its kind in Labrador. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Toronto and Peel Region have officially moved into lockdown as Ontario tries to curb the province's steep rise in COVID-19 cases. The shutdown will last a minimum of 28 days.
This summer at Innisfil Beach Park was unlike any other because of the pandemic, and there might be some lessons there for the future. The Innisfil Beach Park ad hoc committee, which makes recommendations to council on park improvements, wants to see the town implement some of the methods used this summer to manage the park continue into 2021. The tow strategy, no visitor parking within one kilometre of the shoreline, and the boat launch app are among them. “This year, it was an opportunity to try out different things,” said Coun. Donna Orsatti, who chairs the committee. The pandemic required the town to do things differently to manage crowding in the interest of public safety. “It changes the way that you view everything,” she said. “Distancing and the way you use a park, the need for people to be able to walk, to get outdoors, to have space.” For James Roncone, citizen member and vice-chair of the committee, the pandemic was an opportunity to put into action ideas previously suggested, like the parking restrictions near the shoreline and the boat launch app. “We already had that in the works, so that's why they were able to launch very quickly,” he said. Looking back, Roncone said he thinks more technology and data will help the town manage the park even better. “Using technologies, you have control,” he said. “I've always said that you need to know how many people are in the park and how many parking spots you have available.” Roncone said he envisions an app where people can book their parking spot, boat launch time, and other amenities at the park. He said the committee has also asked council to look into parking technology to deal with congestion from people trying to enter the park. According to the Town of Innisfil, from the May long weekend to Sept. 20, a total of 32,514 resident vehicles were admitted to the park. Resident vehicles made up 73 per of all vehicles that attempted to enter the park during that time frame. Nicole Bowman, interim director of operations for the town, said better parking technology could help manage the park. “Is that the exact right solution for next summer? Well, that depends on what the COVID landscape looks like, but we still learned that there is a role for technology in there, in helping to provide balance at the park,” she said. One of the most effective strategies used this summer to manage the park was actually a low-tech one. “Our ‘beaches in motion’ concept was one of our biggest wins,” Bowman said. “We were able to have a safe place for people to visit.” Perhaps the biggest lesson from this summer is the importance of flexibility. “We were constantly adapting and we really learned this summer that sometimes we need to try something and then adjust and go forward again,” she said. If the pandemic continues next summer, Bowman said, the town is ready to use what it learned this year to ensure a safe place for residents. “We certainly have a playbook that's ready to open up again and pick up where we left off,” she said. Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has sent out a warning to anyone who visited Original Joe's Restaurant and Bar in Prince Albert, Sask., earlier this month.The authority says people who visited the restaurant from Nov. 12-16 are asked to self-isolate for 14 days and arrange for testing.The alert, which was issued Sunday, made it clear that parents and children were both asked to isolate.The restaurant posted on its Facebook page that it had closed its doors on Saturday after one of its workers tested positive. The post said the restaurant would be re-opening after given the green light from the health authority.While alerts like this were once commonplace, the health authority announced last week it would no longer be publishing the long list of possible COVID-19 transmission locations, as the virus was now everywhere in the province.The authority said it would now only notify the public if all contacts could not be notified within a 48-hour period and if there was an increased risk to the public.The notice reminded everyone that people could develop symptoms from two to 14 days after being exposed to COVID-19.Anyone who was at the restaurant is asked to call HealthLine 811 or a doctor and nurse practitioner and apply for testing.
Bishop's University has decided to suspend the majority of on-campus activities after a spike in COVID-19 cases.Fifteen members of the university community in Sherbrooke, Que., have tested positive for the coronavirus. Before Nov. 11, no cases had been detected, according to the university.At the end of the day on Friday, all in-person university activities were suspended until Wednesday morning, said university spokesperson Olivier Bouffard.Until Wednesday, all classes will be given remotely. Only essential activities, including certain research projects, will continue.While other Quebec universities chose to conduct much of the fall semester online, Bouffard said Bishop's has been in "hybrid mode," with some classes online, some in person and some a mix of both.More than half the university's courses were already being held online prior to Friday's decision, Bouffard said. The university intends to assess the risks by Wednesday to determine its plan for the final weeks of the semester.University monitoring residencesThe university intends to closely monitor the situation in its residences, which can accommodate more than 400 students this semester. At least two cases of COVID-19 have been detected in residences, according to the university."The majority of people who tested positive have returned to their homes outside of Bishop's. We have also identified spaces for people who have tested positive and who need to isolate," Bouffard said. Prevention measures have been put in place in the seven university residences. According to the spokesperson for the establishment, however, it's too early to close them.The university is urging all at-risk students to be tested for COVID-19, and says taxi vouchers are available for students who need to go to screening centres.
Noël-Ange Coderre, 76 ans, est une artiste sculpteure de Danville. Globetrotteuse curieuse, tant au sens propre qu’au figuré, elle est toujours en quête d’horizons nouveaux. Toujours prête à embarquer pour des aventures imprévisibles, même au grand large. Mais c’est dans le bronze et l’aluminium combinés à du bois ou de la pierre qu’elle a jetée l’ancre… « Lorsque j’étais petite, en solitaire, je bricolais avec des ciseaux, des crayons, du papier, des roches et des branches, se souvient-elle. À l’époque, les beaux-arts n’étaient pas considérés comme une avenue sérieuse. J’ai donc été du côté de l’enseignement au secondaire en me disant que lorsque je serais grande, je ferais ce que je veux! Ainsi, j’ai passé mon bac en arts à l’âge de 44 ans! Et je n’ai pas arrêté de créer depuis… » « Rien ne se perd, tout se recrée » Voilà sa philosophie, bonifiée par des expériences pittoresques. Son art et son intuition l’ont guidée partout dans le monde avec des expositions collectives et solos, notamment au Mexique et en France. Elle a également connu l’appel du large : « En 2000, j’ai traversé une partie du Pacifique avec un capitaine et un coéquipier. Un gros défi, une puissante rencontre avec moi-même! Ce genre d’expérience nous sort de notre zone de confort. J’ai réalisé que nos peurs nous empêchent de vivre. Surtout, il ne faut pas les laisser avoir de l’emprise sur nous! » En 2008, elle a aussi vécu des expériences humanitaires en Tanzanie (près du Rwanda) avec les enfants de la rue. « Mon conjoint enseignait l’anglais aux jeunes, et moi les arts plastiques, raconte-t-elle. Je n’avais aucun matériel! On dessinait sur des feuilles de bananier séchées. Ça a vraiment été enrichissant! » Sans doute était-elle comme un poisson dans l’eau puisque la récupération rythme sa vie. « À la fin des années 1970, j’ai eu la chance de connaitre Normand Maurice, le père de la récupération au Québec, précise-t-elle. À travers l’enseignement, il a même récupéré bon nombre d’élèves en difficulté comme les décrocheurs! Pour moi, il reste LE pédagogue par excellence. Et ma démarche artistique est toujours liée à la récupération, au jeu du jumelage des matières et des formes qui m’inspirent. » Échanger avec cette artiste chaleureuse et poétique donne l’impression d’échanger avec la femme qui murmure à l’oreille de la nature… Vous pouvez admirer ses œuvres dans le cadre d’une expo pour Noël du 20 novembre au 20 décembre à La Galerie Perkins, à Danville.Mireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
GENEVA — A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.The Japanese government denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country's legal process.In its opinion published Monday, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.While Ghosn is no longer in Japan, having fled in a dramatic operation that drew headlines worldwide, the opinion could weigh on minds in courtrooms in the country and beyond. It could affect, for example, the possible extradition of two Americans, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, whom Japanese prosecutors say helped the executive sneak out of Japan.Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, in misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.In December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.The five-member working group, which is made up of independent experts, called on Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Ghosn’s detention, and asked the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.”The working group said that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations."The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them up to their own human rights commitments. Among its past rulings involved the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was likewise deemed to have had his human rights violated.The panel, which is independent from the United Nations, noted a string of allegations from Ghosn and his representatives, such as that he was subjected to solitary confinement and long interrogations at day or night, and denied access to court pleadings. His team claimed that interrogations of Ghosn were aimed to extract a confession.Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s so-called “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation that relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had applied “appropriate procedures” in the case, and it could not provide full information to the working group before a trial had begun. For that reason, the ministry added, it would be inappropriate for the working group to make a decision on the Ghosn case “based on limited information and biased allegations” from him and his team.“The opinion is totally unacceptable, and is not legally binding,” the ministry statement said. It also warned that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent, and “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country.”"Japan can by no means accept the opinion of the Working Group regarding the case of the defendant Carlos Ghosn," it added.Ghosn lawyer Jessica Finelle welcomed the “brave” decision by the panel and said its members had been “hard on the Japanese legal system” and the way that Japanese authorities treated Mr. Ghosn, "specifically, violating numerous times his presumption of innocence, presenting him as guilty, orchestrating two of his arrests with the media...”Ghosn was “very happy” and “relieved” about the opinion, she said."He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” she said.Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.Ghosn's lawyers filed a petition with the working group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.Its members declined to speak to reporters about the opinion, the U.N. human rights office said.____Jeffrey Schaeffer reported from Paris.Jamey Keaten And Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press
MILAN — In a signal of rebirth, the Donizetti theatre in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened this weekend after three years of renovations.But the planned gala celebration had to be postponed, and new productions for an annual festival dedicated to the city's native composer Gaetano Donizetti had to be streamed online from an empty theatre.Festival musical director Riccardo Frizza said the autumn festival was envisioned as a life-affirming moment for the city and province, where 6,000 people died in a single month last spring. In the summer he conducted Donizett's Requiem, performed outside the city’s cemetery in tribute to the dead.“You have to know that in my festival orchestra and in the chorus there are people who lost two or three family members,’’ Frizza said. “We couldn’t do the festival without having done this tribute to those who aren’t with us anymore.”Plans for an audience had to be scrapped after the virus started to resurge in October, even if Bergamo itself is experiencing lighter contagion than the spring, when images of army trucks transporting the dead to other regions for cremation laid bare the pandemic's toll. The calendar was cut to three productions.All three weekend performances of Donizetti’s “Marino Faliero,” “Le Nozze in Villa” and “Belisario” are available online indefinitely for a subscription price of 59 euros ($70.) Frizza said the money is needed to help freelance singers and musicians recoup some income during a year in which classical music has been all but shutdown by the coronavirus.Italy shut all theatres in February, and there was a tentative reopening over the summer.While some other theatres are offering free online streaming of their archives, Frizza said few are offering new opera productions. The Donizetti theatre package includes extras like commentary, interviews and a virtual tour of the renovated theatre, its frescoed ceilings given a fresh vibrancy. Another Donizetti opera filmed last year, “L'Ange De Nisida," will be released on Wednesday.By comparison, Milan’s famed La Scala theatre will broadcast a Dec. 7 concert on state television, substituting its traditional gala season-opener.To ensure the health of the Donizetti Festival orchestra, singers and chorus, strict protocols were put into place, including weekly testing and separate rehearsals. During the weekend performances, the chorus, most of the orchestra and Frizza wore masks.At La Scala, more than 40 members of the chorus have tested positive for the virus, plus another 18 in the orchestra.Frizza, who suffered a mild bout with the virus during the March peak when Italy was in total lockdown, said no one in the festival contracted the virus during the rehearsals. That's critical to allowing the live performances to go ahead despite the partial lockdown in Lombardy.“No one can imagine the March lockdown without music, without books, without televised performances,” Frizza said. “The pandemic has taught those who hadn’t understood before, the importance of culture, arts and beauty in the world.”Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Boralex Inc. has signed a deal to buy controlling interests in seven solar power plants in the United States from Centaurus Renewable Energy LLC and other investors for $283 million.The deal includes five solar plants in California, one in Alabama and one in Indiana.CRE and other investors will retain certain non-controlling interests in the assets.The operations were commissioned between 2014 and 2017 and benefit from long-term power purchase agreements.Boralex chief executive Patrick Lemaire says the acquisition will mark the company's entry into the California, Alabama and Indiana markets and will be a springboard to further development.The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:BLX)The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at the American Music Awards, but she missed the show for a good reason: She said she's busy re-recording her early music after her catalogue was sold.In a video that aired during Sunday's awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing. And I can’t wait for you to hear it."Last year music manager Scooter Braun — who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums. This month Braun said he has sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment company; Swift acknowledged the sale on social media and said she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved.Instead, she headed back to the studio.Swift beat out Bieber, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch to win the top award. She also won favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist, winning three honours and tying Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd for most wins Sunday.The Weeknd lost artist of the year, but he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, he won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless” two days before the 2021 Grammy nominations are announced.“The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince," he said after winning favourite soul/R&B album. “And, you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B and yeah, I’d like to dedicate this to him."The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout the 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 accepted his awards and performed with his face wrapped in gauze.Kenny G joined the Weeknd for his performance, playing the sax in downtown Los Angeles as the Weeknd walked across a bridge singing “In Your Eyes.” He finished the performance singing “Save Your Tears.”The Weeknd was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others recently taped their performances because of the coronavirus pandemic, though host Taraji P. Henson — who appeared live from the venue — said the few audience members sitting in the mezzanine practiced social distancing, wore masks and were tested for the virus.Henson joked that A-list celebrities were in the audience, including Beyoncé, though cardboard cut-out of the singer, Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats.But a good number of chart-toppers were in the building. Breakthrough singer-rapper Doja Cat performed and won new artist of the year and favourite soul/R&B female artist. Grammy-winning country duo Dan + Shay beautifully performed “I Should Probably Go to Bed” and won favourite country duo or group, collaboration of the year and favourite country song for “10,000 Hours," the latter two shared with Bieber. And Megan Thee Stallion — won favourite rap/hip-hop songs for “WAP" with Cardi B — performed “Body" from her recently released debut album “Good News."Bieber and Shawn Mendes kicked off the AMAs with a pre-taped performance of their new duet “Monster," marking the first time they performed the song together. It began with a stripped-down Bieber singing his recent hit “Lonely," with songwriter-producer Benny Blanco on piano, and “Holy," where background dancers wearing masks joined him.Mendes, strumming his guitar, then appeared for “Monster," which featured the twentysomethings singing lyrics about about fame and growing up as celebrities who attracted massive public attention. Mendes later sang his song “Wonder" during the show, which aired on ABC.Katy Perry, in her first performance since giving birth to her first child, gave a strong performance of the emotional and hopeful song “Only Love,” which featured a surprise guest appearance from Darius Rucker, who sang and played guitar. With flaming red lights glaring behind her, Billie Eilish sang her new song “Therefore I Am,” as her brother-songwriter-producer Finneas backed her on guitar. Jennifer Lopez and Maluma teamed up to perform their new songs “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely” from the film “Marry Me,” which both of them star in, while Dua Lipa — who won favourite pop/rock song — floated in the air during her performance of “Levitating.”24kGoldn and Iann Dior — who currently have the country's No. 1 song with the smash hit “Mood," also performed. The multi-genre track is the rare song that has reached No. 1 on both the rap and rock charts.Other performers included BTS, Lewis Capaldi, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, Bell Biv DeVoe and Nelly, who performed hits from his diamond-certified debut album “Country Grammar," which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.This year the AMAs, which typically awards one Latin honour, launched more categories in the genre. Becky G — who burst on the music scene in 2014 with the pop hit “Shower" but has recently had success singing in Spanish and launching hits on the Latin charts — won favourite Latin female artist.She used her speech to honour immigrant families.“I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American. And like many, many children and grandchildren of immigrants, no matter where they’re from, we have learned from the ones before us what sacrifice and hard work looks like," she said. “And I dedicate this award to all of our immigrant workers in this pandemic; the students and immigrant families. It’s because of my family, my abuelitos, that I stand here today."Nominees for the AMAs were based on streaming, album and digital sales, radio airplay and social activity, and reflect the time period of Sept. 27, 2019, through Sept. 24, 2020.Mesfin Fekadu, The 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.
À notre époque, des élans de solidarité s’expriment de part et d’autre face à la pandémie. On le sait, la crise actuelle bouleverse le paysage culturel ainsi que celui de la restauration. Julie Tessier, 44 ans du Café du Couvent et Marie-Ève Bourdage, 33 ans, du Centre d’art de Richmond, ont convenu d’un partenariat. À chacun ses gestes, ses initiatives, pour composer une large palette solidaire. (Cette entrevue devait se passer en période de zone orange. Mais voilà que l’Estrie repasse au rouge.) « Covid oblige, la salle à manger du Café du Couvent se voyait amputée de plusieurs places, en raison des mesures de distanciation. Tandis que les activités du Centre d’art sont également ralenties par la situation, nous avons choisi de faire équipe !, expliquent-elles. Les clients du Café du Couvent ont pu s’installer dans le réfectoire du Centre d’art, ce qui ajoutait une quinzaine de places. Un bel exemple de l’entraide qui existe entre les différents locataires du Couvent Mont Saint-Patrice ! » Qualité et créativité Nouveaux bilans, nouvelles mesures, les cartes doivent être de nouveau brassées. Nos entrepreneures ne cessent d’échafauder des scénarios réalistes pour traverser ce dur moment. « Durant la première vague, le Café a été fermé de la mi-mars à la mi-juillet, précise Julie. On a en profité pour bonifier nos équipements, notamment pour ce qui est des présentoirs réfrigérés. La capacité d’offrir des mets préparés ainsi que congelés est dorénavant enrichie. De plus, jusqu’à Noël, nous avons mis sur pied une boutique éphémère qui offre des produits d’artisans régionaux. Le tout en respectant les directives sanitaires. » « Du côté du Centre d’art, ça s’est passé un peu différemment, précise Marie-Ève. L’été, nous sommes fermés de toute façon. Le couvent est un vieux bâtiment de 1884 non climatisé pour l’instant. Avec le retour de l’automne, les activités sont au ralenti. Sauf pour les cours individuels de musique, car notre école roule en ce moment à pleine capacité. Les gens ont ressenti un réel engouement pour les activités qui les font sortir de chez eux. » Il faut savoir que huit personnes travaillent au Café et que sept autres contractuels œuvrent au Centre d’art. Tous unis et résolus à se réinventer afin de maintenir le cap. « Avec cette crise, conclut Marie-Ève, j’espère que l’on prendra tous conscience de l’importance de faire preuve de loyauté envers les organismes qu’on aime ! De plus, des partenariats ont été créés pour rester. » facebook.com/cafeducouvent facebook.com/centredartrichmondMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
It’s been just over a year since Nalcor Energy impounded the reservoir at Muskrat Falls. How much methylmercury that would release into the water downstream and subsequently the impact it would have on the food chain in central Labrador has been the topic of much debate over the years, and that debate is still going on. Ryan Calder, an assistant professor of environmental health and policy in the department of population health science at Virginia Tech, and the lead author of the 2016 Harvard paper "Future Impacts of Hydroelectric Power Development on Methylmercury Exposures of Canadian Indigenous Communities," took to social media recently to express his concern over the methylmercury readings for the first year following impoundment. Calder said the increased levels showing at a station downstream from Muskrat Falls, N5, are more in line with what his group at Harvard estimated, and exceed the projections made on behalf of Nalcor Energy. He said he wishes they were wrong in their predictions, but based on what he’s seen so far it doesn’t appear to be so. “Nalcor and the government of Newfoundland claimed that there was no possibility for risk to people or the environment, spent years claiming up and down there was nothing to worry about, and now monitoring is coming out showing that the peak levels are still increasing and are within the range that was forecasted,” he said. Data from the last four years available online shows that the recorded levels in the water exceeded the Nalcor predicted peak of 0.1 namograms per litre a couple times in the last year and does show an increased overall level of methylmercury. Calder said it’s common for levels to increase in the first year after impoundment and stay higher for a few years before levelling off, but any increase corresponds to an increase in risk. “It’s known that when you flood a reservoir there are increased methylmercury levels. Nalcor doesn't deny that creation of the reservoir accelerates the production of methylmercury. They accept that there are impacts on water, they accept that people eat the fish, but they don’t accept there’s any risk to the people and that’s logically inconsistent.” It’s too early at this point to assess any risk to people, he said, and that would require more data on methylmercury in fish, which has not been released yet for 2019, but increased methylmercury levels in the water are the first signal. When asked by SaltWire Network about the levels, Nalcor Energy said the measured values in water are very similar to those predicted and are within safe limits. James McCarthy, senior associate biologist with Wood, the firm that handles the monitoring for Nalcor, said he doesn’t see anything in the levels that would cause concern from a human health perspective. “Ultimately, it’s the fish concentration that matters, that’s the interaction with people. Even though water is an early indication it’s really the fish that matter most to people. We just finished the sampling for 2019, so that’s a full year of flooding, but had three years of head pond formation, and we’ve seen nothing really in the fish.” McCarthy said the increased levels are in line with projections made for Nalcor in 2018, which did differ from lower predictions in previous years, and so far everything appears to be on track. The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities told SaltWire Network methylmercury levels are below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines for aquatic life and at no time have levels presented a risk to public health.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Janet Langdon and Roxanne Walsh-Seabright have always held a special place for their hometown of Gander. As first-generation Ganderites, the pair know the town has a unique place in provincial history and culture. “We love our town,” said Walsh-Seabright. When Langdon returned to the area in 2015 upon her retirement after living at various stops on the mainland, she and Walsh-Seabright started talking about ways they could showcase their beloved hometown. As many a Newfoundlander will tell you, you can live wherever you want, but nothing will ever replace the place you grew up. “It’s in your blood,” said Langdon. “It is a special place. It holds onto your identity.” Then, they got the idea to showcase Gander and its uniqueness through clothes. Langdon had studied textile design and has always had a love for fashion design, while Walsh-Seabright studied interior design. They both shared a love for design and being creative so it was only natural they settle on an outlet that would allow them to explore that side of themselves a bit more. They found that outlet with their Newfoundland Dog Company clothing line. “We’re both creative at heart,” said Walsh-Seabright. They also get some help from family members. Langdon’s partner has offered up designs for products while others model them. The Newfoundland Dog Company got its start in the wake of the popularity of the smash Broadway musical “Come From Away.” With its depiction of what Gander and the area did for the people stranded during the Sept. 9, 2001, terrorist attacks, the show captured the attention and imagination of the world. Its popularity undoubtedly meant that the region was going to see an influx of tourism as people sought to see the place and the people that helped so many during a trying time. That fact was not lost on either Langdon or Walsh-Seabright. They sought to offer unique tourism products that highlighted some of the unique parts of their hometown. After some back-and-forth, they decided on a clothing line that would showcase the history of Gander and eventually, the surrounding area. It was launched on June 04, 2017. “It is very exciting because Gander has such a unique history,” said Langdon. Even the name Newfoundland Dog is partly a referral to a piece of the town’s history. During the Second World War, there was a Newfoundland dog named Gander who was awarded the Dickin Medal, an animal’s Victoria Cross, for his heroics during the war. The other half of the Newfoundland Dog Company's name refers Humber, the Newfoundland dog that was a big part of Langdon's family growing up. A mixture of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, they have a number of different designs, from the propeller of a plane to the ‘Welcome to Gander’ sign at the Gander International Airport. There is one item featuring the likeness of the town’s mascot, Commander Gander, as well as an outline of the town in the 1970s One of their latest creations is an ode to Sidetracks, a bar in town that welcomed some high-profile acts during its day. The last couple of years has seen the line expand to ball caps, toques, mitten, throw pillows and dog bandanas. “It is basically what surrounds us,” said Walsh-Seabright. “What is unique to us that is different from anyone else.” Like other companies, the Newfoundland Dog Company has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A mostly online venture, they’re starting to see things start to come around and have several pop-up sales scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec.5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in Gander. “We’re excited for the popups and introducing some new things,” said Walsh-Seabright. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
These weren’t the piano lessons of my youth. Quite the opposite.Gone was the septuagenarian teacher crowding me on a piano bench at my grandmother’s house, extolling the importance of Christian hymns. “Old Rugged Cross,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “How Great Thou Art." Grandma finally accepted my resignation after a few solid years of protest.Then last spring, as the pandemic droned on, I’d lost my job, and our schools in the Boston area remained closed, I decided to start taking piano lessons again.It had been 30 years. The grand staff was a foreign language and the only key I could recognize was middle C.The first day, I propped up my phone, clicked a Zoom link for our lesson and found an energetic college student staring back at me.I’d been thinking about returning to piano for a while, but never had the free time required for learning a skill until the shutdown in March. It was rainy and frigid in New England, and I needed an antidote for the monotony of pandemic life. Some were tending sourdough starters, others binge-watched Netflix. I started piano lessons.I wasn’t the only one who chose music.NEW WAYS TO PASS TIME“I knew nothing about the ukulele community before COVID,” said Pat Adamson-Waitley, 64, of Edina, Minnesota.Adamson-Waitley had played the ukulele a handful of times, but in March, she said, “I started playing it every day.”She joined Zoom jams with other players, and bought two ukuleles and two songbooks. Summer's warm weather took her away from the ukulele a little, but she still averages 30 minutes of playing time a day.Clubs like the Twin Cities ukulele club, an informal group of about 300 people, have welcomed many people discovering music for the first time, or finding it again. Tom Ehlinger, 69, of Bloomington, Minnesota, leads the club’s weekly Zoom jams.“One thing that’s different about the Zoom jam is that it’s much easier to get to than an in-person jam,” he said. “There’s no traffic.”Since March, Ehlinger has received inquiries from people as far away as New York City wanting to join.“It brings people together solely for the purpose of doing something enjoyable,” he said.NEVER A BETTER TIMEAs for formal lessons, Andrew Geant, co-founder of Chicago-based Wyzant, an online marketplace for private tutors, said music has become one of the company’s fastest growing areas. Cello tutors in April experienced a 450 per cent increase in students and a 400 per cent rise in lessons from last year, he said. By October, the number had grown to a 4,500 per cent increase in students and a 4,730 per cent increase in lessons.The cost of online lessons is lower than in-person instruction, Geant noted. And if the student and teacher don’t match well, it’s easy to find a new instructor.“Online, you can find the right instructor because you’re no longer bound by geography,” he said.Rashida Bryant, 44, is an Atlanta-based voice instructor through Wyzant who saw her client roster double from April to June, when she had 30 students.Her students range in age from early teenagers to people in their late 60s.“Everybody has different reasons for doing it, but if you’re going to be at home, then this is a better time than any,” she said.A SENSE OF CONTROLTurning to music during bleak times has a long history, said Joy Allen, chair of Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston.“It gives us choice and control, and we don’t have a lot of that right now,” she said.Music also provides social connection, Allen said, and a link to the familiar.During lockdown, private piano lessons for Andrea Cordero Fage’s two teenage sons in Harrison, New York, stopped, but something new happened. The brothers, whose interest in music has waxed and waned over the years, “came into their own musically,” she said. “I would have never imagined it.”They started playing piano for hours a day. They researched movie soundtracks, like the one to the 2014 science fiction epic “Interstellar,” by Hans Zimmer, and learned the score on their own with the assistance of sites like YouTube.“After dinner, one would play and the other would watch. Then they’d switch,” Cordero Fage said. “I think they fed off each other, saw it as a challenge.”Studying or listening to music can harness our focus, said Melita Belgrave, associate dean and professor of music therapy at Arizona State University.Throughout the pandemic, many people have been watching concerts at home but retaining a semblance of the shared experience. The millions of people who streamed the movie version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is an example.“People are finding themselves drawn to the arts and crafts,” Belgrave said. “We are learning new ways to connect with each other.”I haven’t figured out whether my Zoom piano lessons will continue past the pandemic. I've gone from knowing middle C to playing cusp chords, eight-key scales and Mozart.But even if returning to regular life interrupts my lessons, piano will always be one of my best pandemic memories.Tracee M. Herbaugh, The Associated Press
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Ontario health minister Christine Elliott told Sudbury MPP Jamie West this past week that while many parts of Ontario do not have all the mental health resources that many people need right now, there is a plan in place to have provincewide mental health and addictions services. Elliott was responding to West's plea for the government to take action to immediately increase funding for mental health services in Sudbury. “Sudburians are suffering,” said West during question period at the Ontario Legislature. “Family members are mourning and local health resources are overwhelmed," he added. West described how he had met with Denise Sandul of Sudbury, the mother of 22-year-old Myles Keaney, who died of an opioid overdose earlier this year. He also told the legislature that a cross had been erected in downtown Sudbury close to where Keaney died, as a memoriam to a young life lost. West said the number of crosses had increased dramatically to the point where it is expected more than 50 crosses will be in place before too long. “Will the premier commit to immediate increased funding to help Sudburians like Denise and her family?” asked West in the legislature. Health Minister Elliott stood to respond and offered her sympathies. "First, let me express my condolences to Myles’s family and all of the other families who have lost anyone through an overdose, through addictions of any kind. That is something none of us want to see happen in the province of Ontario," said Elliott. She added that Ontario has a plan in place to address mental health concerns across the province. "That is why we brought forward our Roadmap to Wellness, to make sure that across Ontario — that includes Northern Ontario, southern, eastern and western Ontario — we can have that core basket of addictions and mental health treatments," said Elliott. The Roadmap to Wellness is a joint federal-provincial 10-year action plan to address several concerns that include too long wait times, barriers to access, fragmented services, uneven quality of services and lack of data. Elliott said the addictions and mental health crisis is similar to what existed several years ago with the shortfalls in cancer care in Ontario. Elliott said it took time and money before cancer care was improved significantly. She said work is underway, costing billions of dollars, to ensure that all parts of Ontario get better mental health and addictions support. In his comments in the Legislature, West also stated the opioid overdoses are involved in as many as 50 to 80 deaths per week in Ontario. In a study published earlier this year by Public Health Ontario (PHO), it was stated that opioid deaths were quickly outpacing the number of deaths that occurred in Ontario in 2019 and the increase might be as much as 50 per cent higher by the end of this year. "If the number of opioid-related deaths continues to increase at the weekly pandemic rate for the rest of 2020, it is anticipated that there will be 2,271 opioid-related deaths in the province by the end of the year. This would represent a 50-per-cent increase from the year prior (1,512 opioid-related deaths in 2019)," said the PHO report. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
There could be a stand-off at a Whitehorse construction site this week over the issue of outside workers.A contractor building a downtown mixed-use apartment building for the Challenge Disability Resource Group plans to bring in workers from Manitoba.Under a Yukon government program the workers will self-isolate while they're on the job. Rob Babcock, who works as a site supervisor for a Whitehorse electrical sub-contractor at the Challenge building, said he's sceptical the outside workers and local crews will be able to completely avoid each other on the project."You know, from my perspective, I just don't see how having people on site with us accounts as self isolation," Babcock said."It goes against everything that we've been doing and I don't know how it's fair if I were to leave the territory to come back. I would have to self isolate, not work for 14 days."The outside workers are coming from Manitoba, a COVID-19 hotspot, he said, and he wonders who will enforce their self-isolation on the job and during their off hours.He said other contractors have told him they won't stay on the site if the Manitobans show up."I myself have told my boss that I will probably do the same, and I imagine most of my guys will also follow me on that, you know, the risk is too much," Babcock said.The executive director of Challenge, Jillian Hardie, said she's confident the self-isolation plan can protect the workers."We're all responsible during this pandemic for ourselves. So with these crews that are coming in on the alternative self-isolation plan, they are responsible to maintain this plan," Hardie said.She said they will not be working in the same areas of the building and will have their own lunchroom and washroom.The out-of-town workers will wear armbands to identify themselves, she said.Hardie said the local sub-contractors also have the right to work elsewhere for the two week self-isolation period.The contractor, Edmonton-based Johnston Builders, asked the Yukon government for permission to use the alternative self-isolation plan at the site and it was approved by Community Services Minister John Streicker, she said.Streicker was questioned by Yukon NDP leader MLA Kate White about that decision in the legislature Thursday."Can the minister explain why he would allow a company to bring in workers from Manitoba with the highest Covid[-19] rate per capita in the country to fly into Whitehorse to work on a construction project?" White asked.Streicker said there have been about 400 applications in Yukon so far this year for the alternative self-isolation plan, but not all have been approved."They can apply for an alternative self-isolation, indicating that they self-isolate, but they can do so on the job site if they prove and can carry that out in such a way as to keep it safe and separate," Streicker said.The government gets an opinion from the chief medical officer of health before the plans are approved, he added.