Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package that would finally deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate the nation. The bill now goes to President Trump. (Dec. 22)
Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package that would finally deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate the nation. The bill now goes to President Trump. (Dec. 22)
A major Saint John employer is set to shut down this month, when Saputo Inc. wraps up milk processing at its north end plant, affecting 60 jobs. The former Baxter's Dairy plant opened in 1931 and was purchased by Saputo in 2001. Saputo offers products under a multitude of brands, including Baxter, Cracker Barrel and Scotsburn. Almost a year ago, the company announced its intention to close. John MacKenzie, a Saint John city councillor whose ward includes the plant, says the imminent closure will be difficult for the neighbourhood. "It's been around for 90 years," said MacKenzie. "A lot of people have gained employment through that facility. A lot of history … it's really heartbreaking, devastating, for families when a business closes its doors." Dairy farmers hurt too The closure will not only affect the employees at the plant but also local dairy farmers, who had milk processed at the plants. Paul Gaunce, chair of Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, said the producers will now have to send milk to Nova Scotia or Quebec for processing at their own expense. Gaunce said there won't be any changes to the price of milk because of the changes, but he's still not happy to see the plant shuttered. "I'm very, you know, disappointed because you need processing to keep your industry supported," said Gaunce. "When we lose processing, it just hurts everybody." Saputo earnings fell When the closure was announced last year Saputo said the move was made in an effort to "right size" operations after net earnings for the company dropped by 42 per cent. The company said employees not offered relocation would be given severance packages. MacKenzie said he's confident laid-off workers will find work in the city. "I was looking online this week and I noticed that there were over 290 jobs available," said MacKenzie. "There's opportunities there." MacKenzie said he hasn't heard about any plans for the soon-to-be unoccupied plant, the property is prime for development. "If they sold the property it would make a great spot for some affordable housing with the school right next door and a park behind them and grocery stores within a block," said MacKenzie.
Dans l’objectif de favoriser le développement de l’agriculture biologique sur le territoire grâce à de nouvelles connaissances scientifiques, l’Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), en collaboration avec la MRC de Témiscamingue, visent de mettre en place une démarche d’envergure visant à favoriser le développement de grandes cultures biologiques dans la région. Un projet significatif pour l’UQAT Pour faire l’annonce de cette initiative, l’UQAT a organisé une conférence de presse afin de présenter ce projet des grandes cultures biologiques, mais aussi de souligner le soutien financier majeur accordé par la MRC de Témiscamingue. « C’est dans l’ADN de l’UQAT d’explorer les possibilités de recherche audacieuses et structurantes dans les territoires où elle est ancrée. L’Abitibi-Témiscamingue doit pouvoir bénéficier des éventuelles retombées humaines et économiques de la filière biologique. Ce nouveau projet est significatif, tant pour le développement de connaissances que celui du secteur agricole en Abitibi-Témiscamingue », soutient la vice-rectrice à l’enseignement, à la recherche et à la création, madame Manon Champagne. Offrir des connaissances de pointe L’UQAT prévoit à ce que le projet se déroulera sur un horizon de 8 ans. « La phase 1, d’une durée de 3 ans, comprend les phases préparatoires. Le potentiel d’affaires en agriculture biologique sur le territoire de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue sera documenté. Un état des lieux sera dressé puis un plan de développement stratégique sera établi. Une programmation de recherche visant à assurer la productivité des grandes cultures biologiques sera aussi élaborée » a indiqué le service des communications et du recrutement de l’UQAT. « Je suis très fière du lancement de cette démarche mobilisatrice, dont la première phase se déroulera au Témiscamingue, mais qui, ultimement, permettra d’offrir des connaissances de pointe directement applicables aux champs à tous les producteurs de la région intéressés par les grandes cultures biologiques », précise la directrice du centre du Témiscamingue de l’UQAT, madame Isabelle Ouellet. Un pôle d’excellence pour la MRCT Le soutien de la MRC de Témiscamingue est très déterminant dans le cadre de ce projet. Or, celle-ci a accordé un appui financier de 390 000 $ pour les trois premières années du projet. L’UQAT souligne qu’un premier montant de 210 000 $, soit 70 000 $ par année pour 2020, 2021 et 2022, provient du Fonds Régions Ruralité - Volet 3. Puis, une enveloppe de 180 000 $, elle aussi répartie sur 3 ans, a été octroyée à partir du Fonds de développement des territoires – volet 2. Lors de la conférence de presse organisée par l’UQAT, la préfète de la MRC de Témiscamingue, Mme Claire Bolduc, a précisé que « Le Témiscamingue a identifié les agricultures innovantes, notamment l’agriculture biologique, comme un de ses pôles d’excellence. En ce sens, mieux connaître et mettre en valeur le remarquable potentiel agronomique de ce territoire nous apparaît essentiel et pour y arriver, nous misons sur notre Université, par le biais du développement du savoir, des expertises et des compétences. L’UQAT est un partenaire majeur pour ce pôle d’excellence ». Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
Depuis le 9 janvier 2021, les policiers de la Sûreté du Québec ont été présents sur l’ensemble du territoire, dès l’entrée en vigueur du couvre-feu de la santé publique. La sûreté du Québec a déployé des effectifs supplémentaires ont été déployés afin de faire respecter la Loi sur la santé publique. « Depuis la première journée de l’entrée en vigueur du couvre-feu nous étions très engagés afin de veiller au respect de cette nouvelle ordonnance partout sur le territoire » nous fait savoir l’agente d’information au service des communications et de la prévention à la Sûreté du Québec, madame Nancy Fournier. La collaboration des citoyens La Sûreté du Québec a annoncé que les policiers vont demeurer présents afin d’intervenir auprès des citoyens qui ne respectent pas le couvre-feu entre 20h et 5h le lendemain matin. Plusieurs patrouilles vont donc assurer une présence accrue au cours des prochains jours afin de faire respecter les nouvelles règles. « Plusieurs citoyens nous ont contacté afin de rapporter des actes de non-respect des nouvelles mesures sanitaires et les ordonnances du gouvernement » nous a-t-elle confié madame Fournier. Prévenir les infractions de la Loi À noter que des effectifs supplémentaires seront maintenus sur les quarts de travail ciblés par le couvre-feu. « Les interventions des policiers visent à encourager les citoyens à se conformer aux décrets en vigueur et à prévenir les infractions à la Loi sur la santé publique. S’ils le jugent nécessaire, les policiers donneront des constats d’infractions » souligne l’agente d’information au service des communications et de la prévention à la Sûreté du Québec. Les exceptions contrôlées Bien que des exceptions permettent de justifier une dérogation au couvre-feu, la Sûreté du Québec précise qu’il est de la responsabilité des citoyens d’en faire la démonstration. « Après 20h, nous procédons à des vérifications et des contrôles afin de s’assurer que la bonne justification portée par les citoyens en circulation ou en déplacements est valable ainsi qu’il respecte les décrets en vigueur » conclu madame Fournier. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
Norway has stressed that there was no established link between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the deaths of elderly people who had been vaccinated.View on euronews
The provincial government is opening a new hospital in Vaughan to help relieve pressure on other facilities in the Greater Toronto Area. The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital was originally scheduled to open in early February as the first brand new hospital — not a replacement of an older facility or a merger with an existing facility — in Ontario in almost three decades. Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at a Monday afternoon news conference, saying it would open in "a few short weeks." "It's like reinforcements coming over the hill," Ford said, adding that the province is also adding 500 additional surge capacity hospital beds in Toronto, Durham, Kingston and Ottawa. Health Minister Christine Elliott also said Monday that once the situation with COVID-19 has stabilized in the province, the hospital will open as originally planned. "The idea is this hospital is going to be used ... in order to take the load off of some other hospitals that are experiencing capacity challenges." Elliott said. The hospital will accept both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients "based on the system needs during this surge," a spokesperson for Mackenzie Health said in a statement to CBC Toronto. The news comes as Ontario reported 2,578 additional cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as the number of patients with the illness who required a ventilator to breathe climbed above 300 for the first time since the pandemic began. The new cases in today's update are the fewest logged on a single day in about two and a half weeks. They include 815 in Toronto, 507 in Peel Region, 151 in both York and Niagara regions, and 121 in Hamilton. New COVID-19 variant cases expected, Yaffe says "Our health-care system continues to be strained with elevated numbers of people in hospital," Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, said on Monday. Thirty-one new outbreaks were reported as of Monday, Yaffe said, which was slightly lower than Monday of the previous week. Yaffe said Ontario is reporting 15 new cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, with the most recent case detected in London, Ont. in a patient with no known travel history. "We do expect more cases to be identified in the weeks to follow as there is evidence of community transmission," Yaffe added. She said the data indicated that the new strain is 56 per cent more easily transmissible in comparison to other variants. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Windsor-Essex: 97 Ottawa: 92 Waterloo region: 85 Halton Region: 79 Durham Region: 76 Middlesex-London: 67 Simcoe Muskoka: 65 Lambton: 52 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 51 Eastern Ontario: 36 Southwestern: 31 Chatham-Kent: 29 Huron Perth: 15 Haldimand-Norfolk: 13 Brant County: 12 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) The additional infections come as the province's labs processed just 40,301 test samples for the novel coronavirus — tens of thousands fewer than there is capacity for in the system — and reported a test positivity rate of 6.6 per cent. The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 3,035. It reached a high of 3,555 on January 11. Yaffe said Monday's figures may have been low due to the number of tests processed Sunday, which was the lowest since Jan. 5. Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the current test positivity rate shows improvement from previous weeks when it would spike following weekends. "The numbers are dropping, I take that as a sign that Ontarians are doing what we're supposed to be doing," Williams said on Monday. But Williams said the province must cut its daily COVID-19 case counts to below 1,000 before lockdown measures can be lifted. He called the goal "achievable" and said the last time the province saw similar daily case counts was late October. Williams said he would also like to see the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units drop to 150 before lifting any restrictions. Another 2,826 cases were marked resolved in today's report. There are now 28,621 confirmed, active infections provincewide. The number of resolved cases have outpaced new cases on six of the last seven days in Ontario. There were 1,571 total patients with COVID-19 in Ontario's hospitals. Of those, 394 were being treated in intensive care units and 303 were on ventilators. Revised projections released last week by the province suggested that hospitals, especially those throughout southern Ontario, risk being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks. The influx could result in doctors having to triage emergency patients, running the risk that some will not get a hospital bed when needed. This morning, the Ontario NDP released a document they say is the province's triage protocol. However, a spokesperson for the Minister of Health later said in an email to CBC News Monday that it is not a triage protocol but rather "guidance that originated from experts in the sector, for use by the sector." Dated Jan. 13, the 32-page document outlines the details and critical elements of the triage process should there be a major surge in COVID-19 patients requiring hospital care. The documents say this should be considered only "as an option of last resort," prioritizes care for those "with the greatest likelihood of survival." It emphasizes the need for protection of individual human rights, non-discriminatory decision making and accountability. The spokesperson said as of Monday, nothing has been issued or approved by the Ministry of Health. "The expectation of the Ministry of Health is for the Bioethics Table to continue its engagement in consultations and discussions with various stakeholder groups," the statement from the ministry reads. In a news release, the NDP said the document "shows that the crisis in hospitals is out of control" while accusing Premier Doug Ford and his government of trying to keep it out of public view. "Had physicians not reached out to the Official Opposition and others, the directive that was written in secret, without consultation, would remain a secret," the NDP said. Public health units also reported another 24 deaths of people with the illness, pushing the official toll to 5,433. Vaccine clinic opens at Metro Toronto Convention Centre A clinic dedicated to administering COVID-19 vaccines opened in a Toronto convention centre on Monday. The same day, city officials announced the clinic will have to be paused as of Friday, due to a lack of access to vaccines. The clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is in the downtown core, aims to vaccinate 250 people per day, but the city noted that is entirely dependent upon vaccine supply. City officials said the "proof-of-concept" clinic will help Ontario's Ministry of Health test and adjust the setup of immunization clinics in non-hospital settings. The Ministry of Health said this morning that another 9,691 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Ontario yesterday. A total of 209,788 shots of vaccine have been given out so far, while 21,752 people have received both doses and are considered fully immunized to the illness. Pfizer-BioNTech, which manufactures one of the two Health Canada-approved vaccines, announced last week that it's temporarily delaying international shipments of the shots while it upgrades production facilities in Europe. The Ontario government has said that will affect the province's vaccine distribution plan, and some people will see their booster shots delayed by several weeks. Officials in Hamilton, meanwhile, said the province has directed it to temporarily cease administering the first dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to everyone except residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes and retirement facilities. A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott did not say how many regions of the province had received that directive.
BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s planning and development committee has approved a draft plan of subdivision in Lucknow, for Hellyn Development Inc. The plan calls for development of a 5.109-hectare parcel of land on the west side of Lucknow with 28 detached dwellings, four townhouse blocks and a stormwater management block. The number of townhouse units will be between 38 and 46, making the total number of residential units 66 to 74. New municipal streets will be constructed, with two connections to Montgomery Lane at Hamilton and Rose streets. According to the report presented to the county in December, “It is a logical infill project in the settlement area that makes efficient use of land and infrastructure. Therefore, the plan is strongly aligned with the ‘good growth’ guiding principle.” As discussed earlier in the fall by Huron-Kinloss council, the plan is good news for the Lucknow community and the wider area of both Bruce and Huron counties. The land is presently used for agriculture, but is designated primary urban communities in the Bruce County Official Plan, and residential in the township’s Official Plan. The property is within the village’s settlement area. Lands to the east and south are residential, with a mix of single-family dwellings, townhouses and vacant lots. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
After being "overwhelmed" with 911 calls on the latest pandemic restrictions, Windsor police have provided more information about how they will enforce the rules. The police service said officers won't enter homes, stop cars or people for the sole purpose of enforcing the stay-at-home order and provincial emergency. Further, no one is required to carry proof that they are going to work, the police service said in a statement Friday. If an officer has "reasonable grounds" to think that someone has violated the Reopening Ontario Act or the emergency declaration, officers can ask for ID in order to issue a fine or summons. Failing to properly identify yourself can lead to a fine or obstruction charges. "We will continue to monitor for COVID-19 compliance and respond to COVID-19-related complaints, as required. We will undertake enforcement actions, as necessary, under the legislation," the police service stated. New order sparks questions, criticism Under the stay-at-home order that took effect last Thursday, people can only leave their homes for essential reasons. There is a long list of exceptions, including going out for exercise or essential work, buying groceries and picking up prescriptions. Under the new order, officers can order people attending gatherings to go home, close any building where they believe an illegal event is taking place, and ask for the name and address of anyone they think is committing an offence. Charges can be laid through a ticket or summons to appear in court. The minimum fine for violating provincial gathering rules is $750. For those organizing illegal gatherings, there's a minimum fine of $10,000 and up to a year in jail. Within Windsor and across the province, the new rules have led to questions about how law enforcement will be ensuring compliance. They've also prompted concerns that people from visible minority groups could be disproportionately targeted by enforcement efforts. Police see uptick in 911 calls Windsor police have asked the public not to call 911 regarding the stay-at-home order, saying operators have been "overwhelmed" with calls. On Friday, the police service said it had received 200 non-emergency and 911 calls related to COVID-19 and the new order since Tuesday. "Any call to 911 that is not an emergency can take precious seconds away from a person trying to get through on 911 for a true emergency, where seconds may count for them," police said in an emailed statement.
Two phone apps are aiming to spark Cree and Dene language revitalization in Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) First Nations. Slated for release by the end of January, the MLTC initiative will be targeted for residents of Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN) and Canoe Lake Cree First Nation. More versions of the app will be developed for local language variants in MLTC's remaining communities by June, a Friday news release said. "Something like this was needed in our communities," said Abby Janvier, who led the Dene project with residents of CRDN and La Loche. The app teaches its users basic vocabulary that's tailored to their communities, Janvier said. Her community's app features words and phrases under 22 categories that include animals, clothing and common phrases. A typical entry also includes a photo, an English version of the word or phrase and an audio pronunciation in Cree or Dene. Janvier says the recorded component helps to communicate unique sounds that aren't shared with English. "Because our language is taught orally traditionally ... it's hard to teach it just with the written piece of it," she said. The applications use LifeSpark App Builder — a tool that developer Kevin Waddell says has its origins in Cumberland House in the early 2000s. Waddell was working as a computer teacher at the time and noticed many students couldn't speak their language. "That bothered me. I wanted to use my skills to help them learn their language again," he said. Waddell eventually developed the technology as a phone app, allowing other communities to use the tool for their own language needs. It's primarily geared toward Indigenous peoples, he said. Waddell's work has received interest from other groups in Africa and Australia looking to revitalize their languages. Roughly two decades since he began, Waddell said he's pleased to see his work reach students like the ones he worked with in Cumberland House. There are plans for local versions of the app in English River First Nation, Buffalo River Dene Nation, Birch Narrows Dene Nation, Flying Dust First Nation, Waterhen Lake First Nation, Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation and Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation. That's encouraging for Gwen Cubbon, who oversaw the Cree project. She's excited the community's unique blend of Michif, Cree, French and English is represented in the app and that other communities will have the same opportunity. "It's a sense of pride that it's our own," Cubbon said. Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
Calling an emergency responder. Accessing an affordable housing unit. Children learning inside school buildings, not portables. Patients receiving care in a hospital room, not a hallway. The services delivered in cities are the heartbeat of safe and comfortable communities, ones that attract residents, jobs, and investment opportunities for municipal and regional development. Municipalities own 60 percent of Canada’s infrastructure, according to StatsCan, and bear the corresponding duty to maintain its state of good repair with limited resources. Peel’s cities rely on funding from higher levels of government to provide key services to residents, including local children’s aid societies, healthcare, schools, and social services. A tacit feature of funding to Peel is – no matter the party colours at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill – the hyper-growth region is not getting its “fair share” of public dollars, despite the equal contribution of local income taxpayers. During the pandemic, the latest examples from Ottawa and Queen’s Park include the federal government’s initial decision to give Toronto $14 million for COVID-19 isolation centres and none to Peel, before local efforts to point out the higher infection rates in the region forced the feds to allocate $6.5 million to Peel. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, despite socio-economic conditions that drove higher case counts in Peel, gave Toronto 17 provincial testing centres, but funded only 4 in Peel, which advocates said was one of the reasons the viral spread was not properly contained in the hard hit region. “What the pandemic has done is put more of a spotlight on how we’re chronically underfunded,” said Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros, of Brampton. “The leader of any political party needs the 905 to win a majority, and we’ve delivered…But when it comes to getting love, we don’t get the love. Why is that?” Local leaders have struggled to glean an answer to this for more than three decades. But what was once a booming battle cry to put pressure on upper levels of government – most recently via a campaign called the Peel Fair Share Task Force – has been reduced like a diminuendo to a restless hum. Nine months shy of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2019, Brampton councillors began making some noise through demands for increased funding to address its healthcare emergency. They highlighted the dangerous lack of hospital beds in the city, which has less than half the per capita number of Ontario overall. The city receives $1,000 less in funding for healthcare, per person, about half the provincial average. These inequities have been magnified during the pandemic. The region has had the highest infection rates in the province, and residents were put at increased risk because of the chronic failure of healthcare funding, which has left local hospitals particularly vulnerable to capacity issues. Prior to the pandemic, the three full-service hospitals in Mississauga and Brampton were already among the worst in Ontario for performance, with average wait times to be admitted between two-and-a-half and three times higher than the provincial target of 8 hours. As part of its 2020 budget asks, the City launched a “Fair Deal for Brampton” campaign for immediate funding to expand Peel Memorial hospital’s urgent care capabilities, fund the second phase of its build, and create a third healthcare facility. A city of about 650,000 residents, Brampton currently has only one full-service hospital, Brampton Civic, operated by the William Osler Health System. More than one-third of Brampton’s population has at least one chronic condition, and the City says it is projected to have the highest rate of dementia between 2015 and 2025. According to a 2014 study by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in collaboration with Peel Public Health, the region was headed for a rate of one in six people having diabetes by 2025, largely due to the significant South Asian-Canadian population, which suffers much higher rates of the disease than the general population. At the time, it was one in ten, as reported by Peel’s former medical officer of health in 2018. According to the City’s pre-pandemic data, the emergency department at Brampton Civic was equipped for 90,000 visits a year, but received about 130,000, while Peel Memorial is funded for 10,000 visits a year and received 75,000. Patient-loads have skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic. As of January 15, Osler’s system was treating 109 COVID-19 patients, where about nine weeks ago, patient transfers were triggered around the time when it was treating just 64 people. In October, Premier Doug Ford announced funding to support the addition of 766 beds for 32 hospitals in the province, including 46 at Etobicoke General Hospital, which is also in the Osler system, and 41 beds in Brampton, which has about 60 percent more residents than Etobicoke. The smaller community was also given two testing facilities through Osler during the first half of the pandemic, among the total of 17 in Toronto, while Brampton only had one. The apparent differential treatment between funding the two hospitals under Osler’s management is a snapshot of the issues facing Brampton as it seeks its fair share from the province, Councillor Medeiros said. “They gave [funding] to Etobicoke without any ties. Notwithstanding, it’s the Premier’s riding,” Medeiros said. “Yet, when the City of Brampton is looking for more investment in healthcare, and we're looking to complete the second phase of Peel Memorial Hospital, they say that there’s provincial legislation requirements that we give 20 to 30 percent as a contribution.” A lack of commensurate allocation by the Province and federal governments has also affected Peel’s $1-billion Housing Master Plan, which has not yet been fully funded. The plan seeks to create 280 emergency shelter beds and another 5,300 affordable housing units by 2034. As previously reported by The Pointer, the federal government’s commitment of $276.5 million is on top of the Region’s $333.5 million, which has been criticized by Peel social services staff as being “significantly and disproportionately high.” Regional Councillor Annette Groves, of Caledon, said that local taxes and development charges are not sufficient to support the wealth of services offered by Peel. “I don't think it has anything to do with the current government. I think that it’s been such a long, outstanding battle,” Groves told The Pointer. “The Province has given us some funding to help with the pandemic, and so has the federal government, but again, it’s still not enough because we’re so far behind in terms of, for example, affordable housing.” Both Queen’s Park and Ottawa are guilty of a form of hypocrisy. The federal government sets immigration targets for the whole country, 401,000 for 2021 and growing to 421,000 in 2023. But it does not establish a funding formula for those municipalities that willingly accommodate newcomers. Brampton, over the past two decades, has welcomed more immigrants per capita than any other large city in Canada, but the federal government does little to provide adequate services and infrastructure for the hyper-growth community that openly supports the country’s immigration policies through its growth planning. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, relies desperately on Peel to accommodate the province’s largest share of population growth, but continues to ignore the funding needs it creates through provincial growth legislation, known as the Places To Grow Act. While Mississauga and Brampton rapidly expand, schools, for example, are not brought on line fast enough by the Province, forcing the use of portables, which have become a common feature in Peel’s education landscape. GO services are also glaringly under-funded, as more and more commuters move into the region without proper transportation infrastructure. The list of inadequate funding commitments for Peel grows every year. On top of education and healthcare, affordable housing, transportation, public health, settlement support, legal aid, children’s aid and almost every other funding area are all under-funded in Peel. For example, despite skyrocketing demand, Mississauga’s legal aid clinic receives far less funding per capita than Toronto. In 2019 the co-executive director of the city’s legal aid clinic, Douglas Kwan, said it receives the second lowest funding per capita of all legal aid clinics in Ontario: the lowest – Brampton. Led by Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish, Peel revived efforts in its Fair Share for Peel coalition about four years ago to address its municipalities receiving less than half of the per capita rate of others in Ontario. In the fall of 2017, the Region organized a $90,000 conference with neighbouring municipalities, called the Summit 4 Fair Funding, to encourage a dialogue surrounding funding needs ahead of the 2018 provincial election. According to the Brampton Guardian, the summit was later cancelled after staff were not able to obtain transparent formulas as to how funding transfers were calculated from the provincial and federal governments. The effort followed years of pressure, culminating in an earlier effort in 2011 to assess underfunding and service delivery obstacles including those for seniors, people with disabilities, and victims of violence and abuse. As Peel braces for what February brings during the pandemic, the Region’s Governance Committee continues to advocate for government dollars. After almost a year of neglect, which contributed to Peel’s designation as a COVID-19 hot spot, and its placement in the current lockdown on November 23, the Ontario Ministry of Health recently agreed to a one-time funding disbursement of $14-million to Peel Public Health, to “support extraordinary costs associated with monitoring, detecting, and containing COVID-19 in the province.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa 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. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
An old roadbed in Conception Bay North is getting a new lease on life. Up until the 1970s, the road between Old Perlican and Bay de Verde was the main thoroughfare that connected the two communities. That road was phased out in the 1970s as the current road was put in. Now, decades later, the old roadbed is getting a facelift as a group of volunteers is restoring the old road into a multi-use trailway. “We thought we could go all the way through to Old Perlican,” said organizer Carl Riggs, who is from Bay de Verde. The idea for the trailway started as a conversation between friends, and it ballooned from there. Riggs decided he would take the idea to the councils of Bay de Verde and Old Perlican. They were supportive of the idea and things took off from there. “The support has been tremendous,” said Riggs. It’s been a whirlwind six weeks between work starting and the idea coming to fruition. Since work got underway on Jan. 11, between 80 and 100 people have contributed to clearing brush, rocks and other debris from the trail. There have been significant contributions from the towns of Old Perlican and Bay de Verde, who have sent various pieces of heavy equipment to help with the job. The business community has also chipped in, and there have been donations of equipment, time and money from people all over the province. “It is amazing how much work has been done in a short period of time,” said Bay de Verde Mayor Gerard Murphy. While the original motivation for the restoration of the old road was for use by all-terrain vehicles, the group believes there is ample room for hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and others to use the trail. When finished, it will connect to Bay de Verde’s Lazy Rock Walking Trail. “It is a little bit of an attraction for the whole area,” said Old Perlican Mayor Clifford Morgan. “It is a very, very nice initiative.” The work being conducted this winter by the group is just the start of things for them. Riggs said they want to install gazebos, rest areas and signage along the route in the future. There are also plans to work with the CBN T’railway group to connect their projects. The CBN group is working to clear and maintain the old railbed in the region. The hope is they will be able to connect and provide all-terrain vehicle users with the chance to go from Brigus Junction to Bay de Verde. “This is just the tip of the iceberg for us,” said Riggs. “Excited is not the word.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Canada's economy will hit a major roadblock during the first quarter of 2021 before gaining momentum in the next quarter, according to economists in a Reuters poll who said the country's GDP would reach its pre-pandemic growth levels within a year. Although economic activity had recovered partially from a record drop - 7.5% in Q1 and 38.1% in Q2 - in the first half of 2020, it took another hit after a resurgence in coronavirus infections led to renewed tight containment measures. The Jan. 11-18 Reuters poll of over 40 economists predicted the economy, which grew a record annualized 40.5% in the third quarter of 2020, expanded 3.8% in the fourth quarter, a third consecutive downgrade.
A P.E.I. woman brought her new-found love of bread making over Christmas to the aid of an organization that helped her when she was a little girl. Rhyanne Beatty is relatively new to the art of making bread, having taken it up a little over a year ago. She told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier she was immediately caught up by the simplicity of it. "With four ingredients it's so simple, and yet creates something so wonderful," said Beatty. She made bread for Christmas presents in 2019, and the positive reactions she got prompted her to expand on the idea this year. She set up an Instagram account offering up her bread in exchange for donations to Anderson House, a Charlottetown shelter for women facing domestic violence, and Blooming House, a shelter for homeless women. "It really took off and everyone was so supportive. Everyone found me. It was a really great experience," said Beatty. Through the month of December Beatty made 75 loaves of bread for the project, and was able to leverage that into more than $2,000 for the two shelters. Half of that came from Jay's Plumbing and Heating, which answered the call when she asked for matching donations from local businesses. 'They've never left my thoughts' Beatty's choice of the shelters for the fundraiser reflects a personal connection. "I actually stayed at the Anderson House when I was a little girl and my family was going through a difficult experience," she said. "They've never left my thoughts. I think about them all the time." Danya O'Malley, executive director of P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services, said it was wonderful to receive the donation. Fundraising takes a lot of staff time, and outside initiatives not only ease that strain but introduce new supporters to the organization. O'Malley said it was a bonus to hear about Beatty's personal connection. "You often never find out how things turn out down the road," she said. "Getting this after-the-fact information about somebody who that made a positive impact for them, and now they remember that fondly and it was a helpful service, that's just terrific." Some of the staff who were at Anderson House when Beatty lived there would still be there now, O'Malley said. Islanders have rallied around Anderson House during the pandemic, O'Malley said. It has raised $92,000 in its current fundraising campaign, topping last year's $62,000, which was previously the best ever year for fundraising. More from CBC P.E.I.
MILAN — Stellantis, the car company combining PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler, was launched Monday on the Milan and Paris stock exchanges, giving life to the fourth-largest auto company in the world. Stellantis shares rallied 7.6% in Milan to 13.53 euros ($16.32). CEO Carlos Tavares said during a virtual bell-ringing ceremony that the merger creates 25 billion euros in shareholder value. “The focus from day one will be on value creation from synergies, which will increase competitiveness vis-a-vis its peers,” Tavares said. Stellantis has a new logo and will launch on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, due to the Monday U.S. bank holiday, followed by a press conference with Tavares. Chairman John Elkann, heir to the Fiat-founding Agnelli family, said that the new company has “the scale, the resources, the diversity and the knowledge to successfully capture the opportunities of this new era in transportation.” The technological shift includes electrified powertrains as well as moves toward greater autonomous driving. The merger is aimed at creating 5 billion euros in annual savings. The new company will have the capacity to produce 8.7 million cars a year, behind Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan. Fiat Chrysler, which was created from the merger of the Italian and U.S. car companies in 2014, closed Friday down 4.35% at 12.57 euros, having gained in previous days. Its closing market capitalization was under 20 billion euros, far off its 2018 highs of more than 30 billion euros. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
President Donald Trump never hid how he felt. For more than four years, Trump, a Republican, cultivated a political base by sharing his thoughts and emotions - pride, happiness, indignation, rage - on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, creating an omnipresence of sorts that completely dominated the news cycle. Like no U.S. president has done before, he made himself the center of attention, the star of a literal reality show that was his administration, always with an eye for the camera, a flair for the dramatic, an instinct for the outrageous.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A petition to recall the chair of the Anchorage Assembly for failing to cancel an August meeting because of pandemic emergency regulations is scheduled be put to district voters on the April ballot. The petition to recall chair Felix Rivera was certified by the city clerk Friday, Anchorage Daily News reported. The petition included the required 2,735 signatures of voters from Anchorage’s District 4, the clerk’s office said in a letter to sponsor Russell Biggs. The required number is 25% of the votes cast for the seat in the April 2020 election during which Rivera was elected. The decision on the recall petition can be appealed to Alaska Superior Court, the letter said. The certified petition is expected to be presented to the Anchorage Assembly at its Jan. 26 meeting. The next regular election is April 6, which is within the 75-day window required to hold a recall vote following the assembly’s receipt of the petition. The petition claims Rivera failed to perform his duties as chair when he did not halt an August assembly meeting after another member said the gathering may have exceeded capacity restrictions under a pandemic emergency order. Rivera maintains the recall is “frivolous” and said he believes the attempt will die in court. “I remain confident that it’s not even going to get on the ballot, but we will see,” Rivera said. A group supporting Rivera plans to file a lawsuit against the Municipality of Anchorage and Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones for approving the petition. The recall effort has support among a group of residents upset with the assembly’s recent actions involving pandemic management — including its backing of the acting mayor’s emergency orders and a vote to approve purchases of buildings for homeless and treatment services. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
BROCKTON – There’ll soon be a new outdoor recreation option for area residents – the skating trail in Lobies Park. The exact date the trail will be open for use – probably sometime this week – depends on the weather. However, Mark Coleman, Brockton’s director of community services, said with colder, more seasonal weather expected later this month, people should get at least a month or more of use out of the trail. The idea for the trail emerged when the municipality was looking for more outdoor recreation opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding was provided by Bruce Power. The concept has proved popular in other areas, although it’s relatively new around here. Coleman said the trail will be supervised to ensure safety, and public health protocols including those regarding numbers of users will be strictly adhered to. Users will have to register ahead of time. The trail will be open during specific daytime and evening hours. For the latter, lights are being installed. It should provide an active, new way to enjoy one of the area’s loveliest parks. People are urged to use the trail only when it’s open, for reasons of safety. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is "alarmed" over the alleged treatment of two elderly patients in Prince Albert's Victoria Hospital. FSIN Vice-Chief David Pratt is calling for more First Nations health supports after hearing "very disturbing" concerns from the families of two patients. One is an older adult woman who he says received rude and unprofessional treatment from staff members; the other is an 88-year-old man who Pratt says doesn't speak English and has been treated in isolation. Pratt said the woman preferred to remain anonymous because she feared sharing her concerns would lead to worse treatment. "Our elderly patients are too scared to speak out against poor treatment or can’t speak out at all because no one speaks the same language as them,” he said. In a prepared statement on Friday, Pratt called on the provincial government to "do something about all of the complaints that come in regarding First Nations patients at this hospital." He said the concerns illustrate the need for care from Indigenous doctors and nurses, in addition to translation and patient support services. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is aware of some of the concerns, noted Andrew McLetchie, vice-president for integrated northern health. In a prepared statement, he said the SHA "reached out to ensure the patient has the supports they require" and that he encourages anyone with concerns to contact the quality of care co-ordinators. "(SHA) is committed to providing the best possible care experience and we are always concerned when this does not occur," he said in the statement. For patients who don't speak English, he said SHA supports include staff members and partner organizations. He said the SHA arranges for family members to be present to support patient communication. If there are barriers to that service, he pointed patients and families to the SHA First Nations and Metis Health Services. He said work is ongoing on cultural responsiveness training and workforce representation, among other strategies, and First Nations and Métis communities "will continue to be an important component across all our initiatives, including the (Prince Albert) Victoria redevelopment project." Pratt said a language barrier contributes to the challenges facing Elders who may only speak Cree or Dene. While families would usually accompany them to hospital visits, many are unable to provide supports to Elders because of the pandemic. "These elderly patients need the help of translators and patient support services to understand what is happening to them and to be informed of the type of care they are receiving." Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
Timo Werner was the headline signing in Chelsea’s $300 million off-season spending spree, a player whose pace and composure in front of goal would supposedly help transform the team into a Premier League title contender. So how has it got to the point where, four months into his time in London, the Germany international has endured his longest scoring drought in nearly five years, is no closer to finding his best role in the team, and was the third and final striker called upon by manager Frank Lampard in a desperate bid to break the deadlock in Chelsea’s most recent game? Werner’s brief appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday was a snapshot into the problems of a player who looks bereft of confidence midway through his first season in English soccer. With Chelsea toiling at 0-0 against opponents down to 10 men at Craven Cottage, Werner was finally sent on as a substitute in the 75th minute. By then, Lampard, who started Olivier Giroud as the sole striker, had already brought on another striker in Tammy Abraham. Werner played like someone with one goal to his name in the last two months for club and country, particularly when he was played through on goal deep in injury time and handed the perfect chance to add a second goal for Chelsea. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Werner opened up his body and sent his finish wide. His body language, after that miss and moments later after the final whistle, spoke of an unhappy player, and he was consoled by Lampard as the teams left the field. “Being hard on himself isn't a problem. I hope he feels my support,” Lampard said. “The only way through a patch where things aren't quite going for you is to train and train, keep your attitude right, stay positive.” That must be hard for Werner. Since Nov. 14, the only goal he has scored in all competitions for Chelsea was a tap-in against fourth-division club Morecambe in a third-round match in the FA Cup. That came on Jan. 10 and ended his longest scoring drought — 13 games — since the end of the 2015-16 season, his final weeks at Stuttgart before he joined Leipzig. In four seasons at Leipzig, he never went more than five games without scoring and netted 35 times for club and country in the 2019-20 campaign, his last at the club. While Werner chiefly operated as a sole striker at Leipzig with the license to drift out wide or to drop into the No. 10 position, he has mostly been used on the left wing since his move to Chelsea for $68 million as Lampard dealt with injury issues to his wide midfielders. He has looked lost out wide in some matches, unable to use his pace against opponents often set up in a deep block against Chelsea. It’s no surprise that Werner’s best display of the season was at home against Southampton, when Werner played as a central striker and made the most of the high line to score two well-taken individual goals and set up another for Kai Havertz, another German who has struggled since his off-season switch to Chelsea. It was presumed Chelsea’s ideal front three this season would be Werner up front, flanked by wingers Hakim Ziyech — another of the new signings — and Christian Pulisic, but Lampard has rarely had that luxury. Even when he did, like in the 3-1 loss to Manchester City this month, it didn’t work out well. Lampard suggested recently that Werner, who has only four goals in the Premier League so far, may not have had as many games as he’d like as the sole striker because he didn’t press enough from the front. “It’s normal for Timo and others who came in the forward areas for us to take some time to get used to what my idea is, what their teammates’ idea is, because we haven’t had working time on the pitch,” Lampard said. Yet Werner said in his introductory media conference in September that he’d had a lot of conversations with Lampard — and been sent videos from the coach — about Chelsea’s style of play, and that he joined with the feeling that “the system he wants to play will fit me very well.” That doesn’t appear to be the case. And, when Chelsea heads to Leicester for a Premier League game on Tuesday, it's not obvious whether Werner will be starting on the left, up front, or if he'll be back on the bench. “When you're a top player, as Timo has shown he is, all eyes are on and it becomes magnified," Lampard said. "But the basics are the same and my job is to tell him that." ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
Calgary, Regina, Houston – One of the first acts of Donald Trump as president of the United States was to invite TransCanada, now TC Energy, to resubmit its Keystone XL pipeline application, and to then approve it. Now, it is looking like one of the first acts of President-elect Joe Biden, after his inauguration, may be to kill it, and revoke the Presidential Permit for the pipeline to cross the international border. Numerous media stories the evening of Jan. 17, including CBC, Reuters and CTV, reported that Biden may cancel the Presidential Permit as early as his first day in office. Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. The 830,0000 barrel per day pipeline is supposed to run from Hardisty, Alberta, past Shaunavon, to Steele City, Nebraska, eventually connecting to oil hub of Cushing, Oklahoma. The southern portion of the pipeline, which runs from Cushing to the U.S. Gulf Coast, was completed under the Obama administration. Up to 15 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity had been designated for North Dakota oil production. Current maps don’t show the lateral pipeline to North Dakota, but the specs for a recently completed Canadian pumping station list it at 700,000 barrels per day capacity, which would leave room for that American oil to be added downstream. Ironically, the most contentious portion of the pipeline – the international crossing which required a Presidential Permit, was one of the first things completed when construction got underway in 2020. That 2.2 kilometre long-section of pipeline crossed the border in May, 2020, in the RM of Val Marie, southeast of Shaunavon. Usually the border crossing is the ceremonial last weld, not the first, on such pipelines. The reason the pipeline was not completed within the four years of the Trump administration was due to multiple court delays, several from one particular judge in Montana. In one of those rulings in November, 2018, U.S. Federal Court Judge Brian Morris said the greenhouse gas emissions of the Enbridge Alberta Clipper pipeline, which ran on a different route and was owned and operated by a completely different company, should have been considered in the Keystone XL evaluation. But he did not mention anything about the recently completed and operational Dakota Access Pipeline, which handles North Dakota oil. As a result, the Keystone XL pipeline, which had been cancelled by the Barrack Obama/Joe Biden administration in 2015, is not anywhere near completion. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney bet heavily on the project – figuratively and literally, with Alberta investing $1.5 billion into it to get construction going in 2020. The announcement at the time noted, “This investment includes $1.5 billion in equity investment in 2020, followed by a $6 billion loan guarantee in 2021.” Construction work has already taken place within Alberta, including 145 kilometres of pipe already put in the ground, and the recent completion of the Bindloss Pump Station. Construction was supposed to get going through southwest Saskatchewan this year to the American border. Kenney posted on Facebook the evening of Jan. 17, “I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week. “Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-US relationship, and undermine US national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future. “In 2019, the United States imported 9.14 million barrels per day of petroleum, 3.7 million of which came from Canada. The rest comes from countries, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, none of whom share the commitment of Canada and the United States to environmental stewardship, combatting climate change, or North American energy security. “As President-elect Biden’s green jobs plan acknowledges, Americans will consume millions of barrels of oil per day for years to come. It is in perfect keeping with his plan that the United States energy needs should be met by a country that takes the challenges of climate change seriously. “The Keystone XL pipeline also represents tens of thousands of good paying jobs that the American economy needs right now. That is why major American labour unions who supported President-elect Biden’s campaign strongly back the project, as do First Nations who have signed partnership agreements, and all state governments along the pipeline route. “As the Government of Canada has said, building Keystone XL is ‘top of the agenda’ with the incoming Biden administration. Prime Minister Trudeau raised the issue with President-elect Biden on their November 9, 2020 telephone meeting, agreeing “to engage on key issues, including … energy cooperation such as Keystone XL. “We renew our call on the incoming administration to show respect for Canada as the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally by keeping that commitment to engage, and to allow Canada to make the case for strengthening cooperation on energy, the environment, and the economy through this project. “Should the incoming US Administration abrogate the Keystone XL permit, Alberta will work with TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.” Premier Scott Moe posted on Facebook the evening of Jan. 17, “It’s very disappointing to hear reports that President-elect Biden is planning to shut down the Keystone Pipeline expansion on his first day in office. “Construction of this project should be a top priority for Canadian-U.S. economic relations. It is critical to North American energy security, will have a tremendous employment impact north and south of the border and has garnered significant indigenous support. Environmentally, Keystone will reach net-zero emissions when it first turns on, and will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. “While I am urging the prime minister to leverage his relationship with Mr. Biden, Saskatchewan will continue exercising our contacts in Washington D.C. to advocate for the continuation of this project that clearly benefits both of our nations.” TC Energy responds with green announcement In an 11th hour move, TC Energy put out a press release from Houston on a Sunday evening, stating on Jan. 17, “Keystone XL commits to become the first pipeline to be fully powered by renewable energy.” “The company will achieve net zero emissions across the project operations when it is placed into service in 2023 and has committed the operations will be fully powered by renewable energy sources no later than 2030. This announcement comes after an extensive period of study and analysis, and as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, thoughtfully finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while providing communities with reliable energy needed today. “Since it was initially proposed more than 10 years ago, the Keystone XL project has evolved with the needs of North America, our communities and the environment,” said Richard Prior, president of Keystone XL. “We are confident that Keystone XL is not only the safest and most reliable method to transport oil to markets, but the initiatives announced today also ensures it will have the lowest environmental impact of an oil pipeline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Canada and the United States are among the most environmentally responsible countries in the world with some of the strictest standards for fossil fuel production.” The release added, “As part of its continued commitment to working with union labor in the U.S. and Canada, Keystone XL has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) to work together on the construction of TC Energy owned or sourced renewable energy projects.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
WOODBRIDGE, Ont. — A long-term care home in Woodbridge, Ont., and a local hospital have agreed to a voluntary management contract.Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill, Ont., will provide enhanced support to Villa Leonardo Gambin, according to the Ministry of Long-Term Care.The voluntary management contract will be in effect for 90 days as the facility grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak.Ontario's Ministry of Health says there are 15 confirmed cases of the virus among its residents and 13 staff members.Twenty-one residents at the home have died during the current outbreak.The Ministry of Long-Term Care says that if necessary, the voluntary management contract can be extended beyond its initial 90-day term.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press