Category "BBG"

7Oct

Driver arrested after Vancouver hit-and-run caught on camera

by admin

VANCOUVER –


A driver has been arrested in relation to a hit-and-run collision that was captured by a home security camera.


The video shows two people crossing East 43rd Avenue at Beatrice Street in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon. A blue SUV can then be seen driving into one of the pedestrians.


The driver initially stops before getting into an argument with some passersby who stopped to help.


“I didn’t even touch her,” the driver can be heard saying.


“Yes you did, you hit her,” replies a pedestrian.


“Where is her injury?” the driver asks while the victim is lying on the ground. “She just jump and then she fall down.”


The video then shows the driver getting back in the car and driving away.


Const. Tania Visintin with the Vancouver Police Department said police were called to the intersection just after 1 p.m. but the driver was gone by the time officers arrived.


“Thanks to a really heads-up witness they were able to take the licence plate of that vehicle, which allowed police to track down that driver later in the day,” Const. Visintin said.


A woman in her 40s was arrested for failure to stop at the scene of an accident. She has since been released pending an investigation by the VPD’s Collision Investigation Unit.


B.C. Emergency Health Services said one patient was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

15Sep

Human rights complaints against B.C. premier, top doctor over vaccine mandate dismissed

by admin

Vancouver –


Human rights complaints against B.C.’s premier and top doctor over COVID-19 vaccine rules have been dismissed by the province’s tribunal.


Only vague details about the complaints were shared by BC Human Rights Tribunal member Emily Ohler, who said she was sharing her screening process “in light of the volume of these types of complaints and public interest in this issue.”


Ohler said the tribunal “has received a large volume of inquiries and complaints alleging discrimination in connection with pending vaccination requirements.” The complainant wasn’t identified in either claim.


In the complaint against Premier John Horgan, which was filed on Aug. 24, the individual said they’d filed “on behalf of ‘people who are opposed to being forced into getting the COVID-19 vaccination and getting our basic human rights stripped from us.'” Ohler notes the complainant appears to be referring to the Aug. 23 announcement about vaccine cards, which came into effect on Monday.


“The British Columbia government has made a very aggressive and unjustified move that goes against our basic human right to bodily autonomy and medical freedoms,” an excerpt of the submitted complaint, included in Ohler’s decision, says.


“The government has no right to tell us what goes into our bodies or threatening us into getting this vaccination by taking away our basic rights and freedoms.”


Under B.C.’s mandate, proof-of-vaccination is required at some non-essential services and businesses like restaurants, movie theatres, clubs and casinos.


Proof that a person has had one or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine is not required at businesses deemed essential, such as on transit or at grocery stores. A card also doesn’t need to be shown when stopping at a restaurant just to pick up a takeout order.


The card will not be required in order to vote in the Sept. 20 federal election, nor is it be required to access government services.


Ohler’s decision says the person filed their complaint on the grounds of political belief in the area of employment.


“I stress that protection from discrimination based on political belief does not exempt a person from following provincial health orders or rules,” her decision says.


“Rather, it protects a person from adverse impacts in their employment based on their beliefs … the complainant alleges no facts related to any adverse impact in employment.”


Meanwhile, the complaint against provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry alleged discrimination in the area of services based on a physical disability. Ohler’s decision said that individual also failed to establish an adverse impact in accessing a service.


“The complainant says that he has asthma, had pneumonia as a child, and ‘does not want your experimental COVID vaccine,'” Ohler’s decision notes, adding that asthma could be a physical disability.


But Ohler says the complainant didn’t actually allege he experienced an adverse impact, but “references a prospective adverse impact.”


“Even if the complainant had outlined an adverse impact, such as being denied a service because he was not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, he would then have to allege facts that could establish a connection between having asthma and not being fully vaccinated,” Ohler’s decision says.


“An ideological opposition to or distrust of the vaccine would not be enough.”


At least one COVID-19 vaccine dose is required to access some discretionary businesses and events. By Oct. 24, proof of two vaccine doses will be required.  

15Sep

Luca Patuelli: Why do we still have to fight for basic accessibility?

by admin

Opinion: I live with a disability that requires me to use crutches to get around. I’ve learned first-hand that ‘accessibility’ is a word that is thrown around plenty but largely ignored in practice

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People with disabilities have to fight for basic accessibility every day — and it’s exhausting. I live with a disability that requires me to use crutches to get around. I work as a dance educator with students who have various disabilities. I’ve learned first-hand that “accessibility” is a word that is thrown around plenty but largely ignored in practice. It’s time this changed.

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We live in a society with so much abundance of knowledge and experience to create accessible spaces for all, yet we are still so far behind. Accessibility is a basic right, enshrined in the Accessible Canada Act , adopted in 2019 to create a barrier-free Canada and enable the full and equal participation of persons with disability in all aspects of life. Canada also joined the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to protect and promote the rights and dignities of persons with disabilities “without discrimination and on an equal basis with others.”

Yet still I encounter inaccessible spaces almost every day.

Canada should be a leader in accessibility. Our political leaders could help make it happen.

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It’s time for our political parties — vying for federal leadership — to put all this accessibility talk into action. Every party has plans for significant infrastructure spending post-pandemic. This must be tied to accessibility standards. There are no longer excuses for spaces that are designed to prevent the full participation of every Canadian — especially not with tax-payer dollars.

Let me give you a recent example. I attended a university sports complex in Montreal, but in order to access the elevator, I needed to go through a locked security entrance that requires a key card (which I don’t have). As an occasional user of this space, I needed a security guard to escort me to open the door.

When I was done my session, I had to come back up using the same elevator. But in order to get out of the space between the elevator and the building exit, I needed to wave down a security guard from the other side of the door. I was locked in.

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What if there was an emergency and we needed to exit in a hurry? What if the security guard was not available or didn’t see my frantic waving? How would I exit the building?

When I approached the university with my complaint, the immediate response was, “We’ve never had a situation before. And we don’t have many people with disabilities on campus using this space.” Gee, I wonder why.

There are so many more examples. The restaurants with an “accessible bathroom” located on the second floor, and in order to get to it, you need to leave the restaurant and use an elevator attached to the building.

Then there’s winter, when the snowplows clean the streets but leave huge piles of snow in the handicap parking spaces. Or how about the automatic door buttons that don’t work half the time. The list goes on and on.

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A recent Angus Reid poll in partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation found that 86 per cent of persons with disabilities report having their daily activities impacted by their condition. This is not a surprise to me.

What does come as a pleasant surprise is that four in five Canadians (those living with and without disabilities) believe Canada should implement a harmonized national standard of accessibility. And a whopping 92 per cent of Canadians believe that taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects should be held to the highest standards of accessibility. It’s time.

Let’s make sure our political leaders know accessibility is a priority issue for Canadians.

With this upcoming election, no matter what political party wins, I truly hope that we can come together as a society, united in working together to improve conditions for people with disabilities.

Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli has been dancing (B-boying) since he was 15 years old. He has been featured on Ellen, So You Think You Can Dance Canada, America’s got Talent, and many more. Luca is the founder and creator of the ILL-Abilities Crew, an international B-boy crew comprised of the world’s best “ILL-Abled” dancers, and he also co-founded Projet RAD which was Canada’s first inclusive urban dance program offering people of all ages, all abilities the possibility to participate in accessible dance studios.

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12Sep

Sexual interference suspect arrested, Abbotsford police seeking witnesses

by admin

Vancouver –


Police in Abbotsford are asking witnesses to come forward with information in an investigation into sexual interference involving a child.


The incident in question happened on Sept. 6 inside a public washroom at Grant Park, located at 31850 Madiera Pl., according to a news release issued by the Abbotsford Police Department on Friday.


The alleged sexual interference happened around 4 p.m., and the suspect fled the area on a bicycle, police said.


He was later located and arrested. Police said the suspect has since been released with several conditions, including a prohibition on commuting with people under age 16 and bans on visiting parks, swimming areas, community centres, theaters, schools, playgrounds or day care centres where people under age 16 might be present.


Police describe the suspect as a South Asian man in his 40s to 50s with a medium build. He was wearing “a white bucket hat” and carrying a Superstore cooler bag, according to police.


“As the victim is a youth, specific details of the investigation will not be released,” police said in the release. “If anyone believes they had contact with a male matching this description, they are encouraged to contact APD.”


Police also ask anyone who was in the area of Grant Park between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 6 and may have information to share to contact Abbotsford police at 604-859-5225.

12Sep

B.C. groups concerned over lack of compromise in COVID-19 vaccine card plan

by admin

Vancouver –


A group of British Columbia community organizations wants changes to the province’s COVID-19 vaccine card, saying it fails to account for the needs of people who face legitimate barriers to getting a vaccine or proof of immunization.


A joint letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the plan could restrict access to services for people who can’t get a shot for medical reasons, as well as people without government identification.


It was released by Vancouver-based Pivot Legal Society this month and says B.C. has failed to identify a workaround for people without ID, which could include women fleeing violence, people who are homeless and undocumented migrants.


The vaccine card system requires patrons to show proof of at least one vaccine dose by Monday and two doses by Oct. 24 to access certain indoor settings, including ticketed sports events, concerts, restaurants, gyms and movie theatres.


The card will not be required at grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies, fast food restaurants, salons, barbers, hotels, banks, retail stores, food banks and shelters.


B.C. residents need a personal health number to order a paper copy of their vaccine card or to download the card online for display on a smartphone. The card will be checked alongside government identification.


“If you’re homeless and living outside, carrying around a piece of paper is just not going to work out,” said Rowan Burdge, director of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and a signatory of the letter. “We’ve seen encampments where people’s belongings have been taken away.”


The letter says the province hasn’t done enough to follow the advice of organizations that understand how best to navigate public health guidelines for those living in poverty or with a disability, for example.


Disability Alliance BC, which also signed the letter, said in a separate statement that mandating so-called vaccine passports without accommodating people who cannot get vaccinated due to their medical condition is “blatant discrimination.”


The Health Ministry said in a statement it appreciates the groups’ feedback and it has “been doing what we can to address some of these challenges.”


Asked about accommodation for people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, the ministry said there will be an exemption process “for extremely rare circumstances.”


“Dr. Henry has said that if you are unvaccinated, for whatever reason, these kind of indoor settings with lots of people are high risk right now,” it said.


Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba have also introduced vaccine passport programs.


Burdge said she doesn’t want requests made in the letter to be conflated with anti-vaccination rhetoric.


“We absolutely are supporting people to get vaccinated. … But we’re worried about the systemic barriers that are going to come from this particular policy.”


A number of B.C. communities have seen protests against the vaccine card, including outside hospitals.


Dr. David Naylor, co-chair of Canada’s COVID-19 immunity task force, said there’s a widespread sense that COVID-19 has “hijacked our lives,” leading some people to scapegoat the public health measures adopted to protect the health-care system and those who are too young to receive a vaccine.


But Naylor said those measures, including achieving a higher rate of vaccination, are the “only way to restore normalcy in the months ahead,” particularly as the highly contagious Delta variant makes up the majority of Canada’s COVID-19 cases.


Vaccine passports have a role to play in curbing the fourth wave by encouraging immunization among people who may be late getting their first shot, but who aren’t staunchly opposed to vaccination, said Naylor, who led a review of Canada’s public health system after the outbreak of SARS in 2003.


Those opposed to vaccination or vaccine cards are “simply inviting continuation of some of the measures that everyone would like to avoid,” he said in an interview.


Naylor said even staunch libertarians, or those who believe in maximal freedom of choice and minimal government regulation, acknowledge that one person’s civil liberties stop when they lead to harm or encroach on the liberties of others.


“The notion here that you have people who could do harm to other people is relevant in considering the constraints on the civil liberties claim by people who choose to remain unvaccinated in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic.”


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 12, 2021.

11Sep

‘Technically, that’s fraud’: B.C. doctor outlines criteria for vaccine exemption letters

by admin

Vancouver –


Shortly after B.C.’s vaccine passport system was announced, Dr. Shane Barclay said, the requests for medical letters for vaccine exemptions started to come in.


“It took quite a bit of time to cover the reasons why and convince people they didn’t meet the criteria,” said Barclay, a general practitioner and medical director at Sun Peaks Community Health Centre.


In a letter to his patients this week, Barclay said no exemption letters will be written unless they met the criteria set out by health authorities.


“A medical legal exemption letter for COVID is a medical legal letter. If I’m writing it knowing it is not true, technically, that’s fraud,” Barclay explained.


The medical criteria for vaccine exemptions are being age 11 or younger, having received a vaccination for something else within two weeks (so you’d have to wait two weeks to get a COVID-19 vaccine), or having a documented history of severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or one of its main ingredients, according to Barclay.


“The two constituents that ‘may’ be responsible for COVID vaccine allergic reactions (which occur in two to three per million cases – which is less than the risk of being hit by lightning) are one of the products found in a laxative known as PEG and the other is a preservative found in ice cream,” Barclay’s letter reads. “Very rare occurrences indeed.”


Neither the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC nor Doctors of BC would confirm to CTV News Vancouver if all doctors in the province are following the criteria outlined by Dr. Barclay.


In a statement to CTV News, the Ministry of Health said there will be an exemption process in place for extremely rare circumstances, involving a person’s doctor and the office of the provincial health officer.


“However, these instances will be extremely rare,” added the Ministry of Health.


Currently, there are no medical exemptions in place for the B.C. vaccine card, which provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said is a temporary measure.


In addition to the medical criteria for vaccine exemptions, Barclay said his letter does offer some advice to those may be hesitant to get the vaccine.


“When speaking to my patients, I typically start with trying to be empathetic to where their concerns are, because there are a variety of reasons as to why people are hesitant to get the vaccine. Perhaps they’re worried it’s too new or potentially unsafe,” said Barclay.


“My truth is based on the statistics I get on the medical literature, so I try to explain that, and then I have to leave it in their court to see if they will accept that or not,” he added.


The other issue that has come up for Barclay is frustration from patients who say they are being mandated by their employers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.


“Here’s a thought,” Barclay’s letter reads. “When people get in a car, do they put on a seatbelt, follow the speed limit and stop at red lights? Those are things that are ‘mandated’ (actually laws) that were brought in to decrease the likelihood of the driver, their family, their neighbours and community from dying in a motor vehicle accident. COVID vaccine mandates decrease the likelihood of you, your family, your neighbours and community from dying from COVID. Simple.”


Sarah Forte, an employment lawyer at Forte Law, said whether someone can be fired based on their vaccination status is not a straightforward question.


“We have to look at the reason behind what the vaccination status is,” Forte said. “The law around disability, vaccinations, employment and the right to terminate is changing rapidly right now as the government releases new legislation.”


“Things that used to be very certain, even just a few weeks ago, about what people’s rights are, are a lot less certain. Employers and workers are really needing to rely heavily on doctors’ opinions to figure out what is the right thing to do here,” she added.


If Barclay is your doctor, you likely will not be receiving an exemption letter if you do not fall under the medical criteria listed above. If you do have a serious medical condition, however, Barclay said that’s all the more reason to get vaccinated.


“If you already have heart disease, lung disease or kidney disease and you get COVID, your risk of getting seriously ill is much higher,” said Barclay.


9Sep

B.C. opens door for medical exemptions to vaccine card in ‘extremely rare’ cases

by admin

Vancouver –


B.C. has now indicated medical exemptions to the incoming vaccine card requirement may be allowed, but only in “extremely rare” cases.


As of Wednesday evening, more than 700,000 people in B.C. had accessed their vaccine card, which will have to be shown as proof at certain non-essential businesses and activities as of Sept. 13. Proof of full vaccination, including being two weeks past a second shot, will be required as of Oct. 24.


When the measure was first announced last month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there would not be exemptions for people who are not able to get immunized for medical reasons.


“This is a temporary measure that’s getting us through a risky period where we know people who are unvaccinated are at a greater risk, both of contracting and spreading this virus,” she said at the time. “Those rare people who have a medical reason why they can’t be immunized…they will not be able to attend those events during this period.”


The lack of medical exemptions raised concerns for Disability Alliance BC. Co-executive director Helaine Boyd told CTV Vancouver Wednesday they’ve seen social isolation become exacerbated for people with disabilities throughout the pandemic, and “this is just another example.”


“We fully believe that anyone who can get vaccinated should get vaccinated. However, we do think that there is blatant discrimination being made,” she said. “We have heard from some individuals who have tried to get vaccinated, but cannot, because they have not gotten approval from their doctor or their medical professional.”


Boyd said they’d like to see the province work with them and other groups serving marginalized populations to help develop an exemption policy.


“I think it’s completely possible to find a way to navigate between protecting the overall safety of the population while also upholding and protecting the human rights of those affected by this,” she said.


“It is a small amount of people with disabilities who are affected, which in our mind, means that it wouldn’t affect the whole B.C. population and the B.C. government’s goal of protecting the wider population against COVID-19.”


Boyd added her group’s message is distinct from those who have staged protests against the vaccine card.


“We don’t really want our statement to be perverted by the anti-vax movement,” Boyd said. “There are people who have tried to get vaccinated and they can’t because of medical reasons and they don’t have a choice in the matter…whereas those who have been protesting, they do have a choice. They’re just choosing not to be vaccinated.”


In an email to CTV, the Ministry of Health indicated the province now seems to be opening the door to some exceptions.


“There will be an exemption process in place for extremely rare circumstances, involving a person’s doctor and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer,” the ministry said. “However, these instances will be extremely rare.”


The ministry added Dr. Bonnie Henry has said those who are currently unvaccinated, for any reason, the kinds of indoor settings eligible for the vaccine card are “high risk” right now.


The vaccine card measure will mean people will be required to produce proof of vaccination for activities like dining out at restaurants, going to the movies, attending indoor ticketed concerts and sporting events, or working out at a fitness centre or gym. It will not apply to retail or essential services including groceries and health care. The order will be in place until the end of January, with the possibility for an extension. 

8Sep

Allow vaccine passport exemptions or face legal challenge, group warns B.C. government

by admin

VANCOUVER —
A Calgary-based legal foundation has threatened to take the B.C. government to court if officials refuse to allow medical and religious exemptions to the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation, which previously supported a failed legal challenge of the province’s public health-care system, announced this week that it’s preparing litigation on behalf of individuals who will be temporarily excluded from non-essential activities such as dining in restaurants and going to the gym when the passport system takes effect later this month.

In an open letter sent to B.C. Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Attorney General David Eby on Tuesday, the group described the impact the system will have on unvaccinated individuals as “unwarranted and extreme.”

“The vaccine passport policy prevents people who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons or reasons of religion or conscience from participating in public life,” it reads. “A failure to create an exemption or accommodation for these individuals is a violation of their Section 15 Charter-protected right not to be discriminated against on the basis of disability or religion.”

The foundation, which is a registered charity in Canada and named as a partner of the U.S.-based Atlas Network, which supports hundreds of right-leaning think tanks around the world, also suggested the government should exempt everyone with a non-religious but “sincerely held” belief that prevents them from getting the vaccine.

It’s unclear how a passport system would function if those individuals were to exempted as well.

Christine Van Geyn, the group’s litigation director, told CTV News the foundation hasn’t decided what relief it will be seeking from the courts, and might request that the passport system be struck down entirely.

If the litigation does go forward, she said the CCF will likely be focusing on medical exemptions.

“Our preference is not to litigate. We would like to see the government make accommodations to people,” Van Geyn added, pointing to medical exemptions already being promised in other provinces. “If Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia can do it, why can’t B.C.?”

B.C. health officials have previously said there will be no exemptions to the proof-of-vaccination requirement, which is being phased in on Sept. 13 and expected to remain in place until the end of January. Officials hope that COVID-19 transmission, which surged over the summer as the highly contagious Delta variant spread across Canada, will be under control by then.

“This is a temporary measure that’s getting us through a risky period where we know people who are unvaccinated are at a greater risk, both of contracting and spreading this virus,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last month.

“Those rare people who have a medical reason why they can’t be immunized … they will not be able to attend those events during this period.”

While unveiling the details of the government’s plan on Tuesday, Henry stressed that grocery stores and essential services will remain available to everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated for any reason.

She also noted there will be some options for those who are temporarily impacted, such as ordering takeout from restaurants instead of dining in.

8Sep

Federal leaders face off in French-language debate

by admin

MONTREAL —
With leaders of the five major federal parties going head-to-head in Wednesday’s official French-language debate, CTVNews.ca is providing real-time analysis.

Topics include: Accessibility, climate, leadership and accountability, reconciliation with the Indigenous people, and post-pandemic recovery

Watch the debate live in our video player above from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, and follow our reporter blog below.

8Sep

Catch up on what happened during the French-language debate

by admin

MONTREAL —
Leaders of the five major federal parties went head-to-head in Wednesday’s official French-language debate, CTVNews.ca provided real-time analysis.

Topics included: Accessibility, climate, leadership and accountability, reconciliation with the Indigenous people, and post-pandemic recovery

Watch a recap of the debate in our video player above and read input from our reporter blog below.

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