Posts Tagged "Canada"


COVID-19 update for May 3 : Canada to receive 2m vaccine doses this week | Vaccine bookings continue for 50+ | Possible COVID-19 outbreak at Toronto quarantine hotel

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for May 3, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


As of the latest figures given on April 30:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 129,482 (7,886 active cases)
• New cases since April 26: 740
• Total deaths: 1,581 (4 new death)
• Hospitalized cases: 511
• Intensive care: 174
• Total vaccinations: 1,749,375 doses administered (90,296 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 11,727
• Recovered: 119,785
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 12


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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

On Friday, B.C. reported 740 new coronavirus cases as well as four additional deaths.

Out of 7,886 active cases, 511 people were in hospital with COVID-19, including 174 in intensive care.

The death toll from COVID-19 in B.C. was at 1,581.

6:30 a.m. – Seize on pandemic-fuelled enthusiasm for outdoors to expand protected wilderness, former parks chief urges

A former Parks Canada head says governments should look to expand protected wilderness in Canada, seizing on the enthusiasm for the outdoors that has emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it does help alleviate the potential impacts on existing parks and I think it creates new opportunities for people to connect with nature,” said Alan Latourelle, who headed the federal agency between 2002 and 2015. “We have a base of public support that we should seize at this time.”


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The pressures of urban sprawl makes it more difficult to protect spaces in urban areas, and, particularly in the north, competing land uses — mainly the desire for resource extraction — pose a challenge for additional protected spaces, said Latourelle.

“I think we’re the last generation that has the opportunity to make a significant expansion of our parks program,” he said.

In recent weeks, Alberta’s government has moved to add user fees to some of its protected areas, citing the conservation needs from increased visitors seeking to get out of the city. This includes a $90 annual pass for Kananaskis Country — an area just west of Calgary — and $30 fees for random camping on Crown lands.

— Postmedia News

6:10 a.m. – Toronto public health looking into possible COVID-19 outbreak at quarantine hotel

Toronto public health officials are investigating a possible COVID-19 outbreak at a hotel where travellers arriving in Canada by plane are expected to quarantine.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Toronto Public Health says it is aware of cases in people linked to the workplace at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

The agency says it has assigned staff to identify all cases connected to the facility and advise on any appropriate health and infection-control measures.

It says no further details will be provided at this time due to privacy concerns.

The Crowne Plaza is listed as one of the designated quarantine hotels for travellers arriving in Canada through Toronto.


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The federal government requires anyone flying into the country to isolate in a hotel for three nights to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

— The Canadian Press

5:20 a.m. – Canada to receive 2m vaccine doses this week as Pfizer-BioNTech ramp up deliveries

Canada is set to begin receiving more than two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine each week as the two pharmaceutical firms ramp up their deliveries and begin shipping shots from the United States.

Pfizer and BioNTech have been consistently delivering around one million doses from Brussels each week since mid-March, but those numbers will double over the next month before increasing further in June.

This week’s doses will also be the first to arrive from Pfizer’s plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., after the U.S. government previously restricted vaccine exports to inoculate its own citizens.

There was no immediate word, however, on progress in talks with the U.S. over the provision of more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is in high demand across the country.

Federal Public Service and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday that Ottawa was “being very aggressive, especially with the supplier.”

Demand for the shot has skyrocketed after several provinces dropped the eligible age for the vaccine to 40-plus, and Anand has said Canada will receive four million total doses by the end of June, but the government does not have a detailed schedule of when they will actually arrive.


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The Pfizer-BioNTech doses are the only shots scheduled for arrival in Canada over the next seven days, with Moderna slated to deliver its next shipment of more than one million doses next week.

The feds also haven’t said when they will release doses of the single-shot vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, after the first 300,000 jabs arrived in Canada last week.

More than 173,000 new vaccinations were reported across the country on Saturday, bringing the total number of doses given to 13,825,476.

Nationwide, 1,128,778 people or 3 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

— The Canadian Press

5 a.m. – Vaccine bookings to begin for 50+ over the next week

Everyone in the province 50 years and older (born 1971 or earlier) registered to get a COVID-19 vaccine will be receiving an email or text notification in the coming week inviting them to book an appointment, as the province’s age-based program moves ahead.

People must be registered through B.C.’s Get Vaccinated system to get an email or text notification prompting them to book an appointment when it is their turn. Anyone who is not registered should register in one of three ways:

People 50 and up can expect to start receiving the email and text notifications on the following days:


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  • Friday, April 30: 56 and up (1965 or earlier)
  • Sunday, May 2: 54 and up (1967 or earlier)
  • Tuesday, May 4: 52 and up (1969 or earlier
  • Thursday, May 6: 50 and up (1971 or earlier)

12 a.m. – Metro Vancouver hospitality’s front line still slammed by pandemic

Downtown Vancouver bartender Jamie Mah used to boast that hospitality was something close to recession-proof.

“Because when, you know, things go dour, people still want to eat and drink,” said Mah, who usually tends bar at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. “But I wasn’t expecting a pandemic. That was the one thing I wasn’t predicting.”

Over the last 13 months, it has been a roller coaster for Mah — from a high of business being the best he had seen just before COVID-19, to the low of a three-month lockdown last spring with the fear and uncertainty that came along with it.

Restaurants and bars have been slower to recover from last year’s pandemic-related shutdown than other sectors of the economy as venues adjusted to restrictions designed to limit direct contact between people.

Limited seating capacities and shorter operating hours require less staff, and leave fewer shifts available for servers and bartenders.

Industry insiders estimate that employment in restaurants and bars was down by about 30 per cent before the Dr. Henry’s March 29 “circuit-breaker,” said Ian Tostenson, CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, which represents about 60,000 workers.


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“It could be another 10,000 people higher than that, just because in-store dining has been shut,” he added.

— Derrick Penner


LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press


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Funding supports green infrastructure projects in Cavan Monaghan, Trent Hills, Minden, Haliburton

by admin

A combined $28 million in federal and provincial government funding will help support 20 green infrastructure projects throughout Ontario, including several in Peterborough and the surrounding area.

Peterborough-Kawartha Liberal MP Maryam Monsef and Laurie Scott, Ontario infrastructure minister and MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, were among the politicians to make the announcement on Thursday.

The federal government is providing $15.3 million, while Ontario is contributing $12.8 million through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream (CCRIS) and the Green Infrastructure Stream (GIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The recipients are responsible for the remainder of funding, with contributions of more than $16.1 million combined toward their respective projects.

Read more:
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More than $1.56 million combined will support three projects in Cavan-Monaghan Township:

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  • Old Millbrook School rehabilitation (federal: $204,700; provincial: $170,566; recipient: $136,484): Replacing the roof and windows with energy-efficient alternatives; repairing damaged walls, floors and doors; and installing a new ventilation and exchange system to the historically protected school built in 1889. “These improvements will provide year-round access to indoor space for various social groups and services, while improving access to quality community, cultural and recreational infrastructure.”
  • Millbrook Arena renovation to a multipurpose hub (federal $386,400; provincial $321,968; recipient $257,632): Rehabilitation of steel girders, beams, walls and floors; converting the concession stand into accessible washrooms; replacing the roof; and installing air ventilation system. “Once complete this facility will provide a space for year-round sports programming and community social activities.”
  • Revisioning the Bruce Johnston Library Branch as a Community Hub (federal $37,400; provincial $31,164; recipient $24,936): Renovate the existing library to create a more accessible, ergonomic, functional and energy-efficient space. “These renovations will provide a larger, more flexible space for clients and staff, improving the library experience and working environment.

In the Municipality of Trent Hills, more than $2.6 million combined will support the following project:

  • Replacement of the Hastings treated water standpipe (federal $1,043,700; provincial $869,663; recipient $695,887): Replace a standpipe along with 875 metres of water main to connect the new standpipe to the distribution system. “The replacement will improve water pressure, support better fire protection and ensure a safe, secure and reliable water supply.”

In Minden Hills Township, more than $2.38 million combined will support the following projects:

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  • Minden Hills Community Facilities for Accessibility rehabilitation (federal $358,800; provincial $298,970; recipient $239,230): Project will provide various structural and accessibility upgrades to the Minden Library/Cultural Centre, Lochlin Community Centre, Irondale Community Centre and Minden Curling Club building (install an elevator and air lock). “These improvements will provide the associated communities with safer and more accessible entrances to community spaces, meeting current Ontario Building Code standards, while extending the life of these facilities.”
  • Kinark Outdoor Centre rehabilitation (federal $595,320; provincial $496,051; recipient $396,930): Constructing an additional respite dorm and improving the safety and accessibility of indoor and outdoor spaces like trails, waterfront areas and classrooms; upgrading the dining hall and laundry facilities; and providing winterization and accessibility to sleeping cabins. “The project will increase the seasonal capacity of the facility, and provide greater access to preventative respite for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

In Haliburton County and the Municipality of Dysart et al, more than $568,000 combined will support the following projects:

  • Haliburton County Rail Trail Corridor upgrades (federal $107,250; provincial $89,366; recipient $71,509: Improving 30 kilometres of trail with granular overlay; installing 15 benches, 500 metres of barrier and informational signage to highlight trail history, the natural environment and trail accessibility. “This project will provide an improved recreational experience for users, while reducing annual maintenance costs.”
  • Rotary Beach Park rehabilitation (federal $120,000, provincial $99,990; recipient $80,010): Improving overall park infrastructure, which includes repairing the surface of tennis, basketball and pickleball courts; improving the accessibility of pathways, docks, courts and picnic areas; rehabilitating the storage building exterior; installing a play structure, rain garden and bike rack; and creating an off-leash dog park as well as a public wifi network. “These improvements will provide an accessible, modern, and safe recreation area for residents and visitors, while supporting various community, cultural and sporting events.”

“As the weather begins to get warmer, the need for sport and recreational infrastructure becomes even greater as it provides members of the community an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Scott. “That’s why our government’s investment into local community, culture and recreation infrastructure projects like sport arenas and play structures could not have come at a better time.”

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Monsef said recreation and community spaces are at the “heart” of Canadian towns and cities.

“The federal government’s investment of more than $15.3 million toward the 20 projects announced today will provide modern, accessible spaces where residents can come together to stay fit, and connect with friends and loved ones safely,” she said.

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes Brock Conservative MP Jamie Schmale applauded both governments’ commitment to projects in his riding.

“It is wonderful to be a part of the investments today from both the provincial and federal governments made into the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock,” he stated. “They will create local jobs and provide economic activity. I would like to congratulate all successful applicants that received funding through the ICIP program.”


Douglas Todd: ‘Silent crisis’ of male suicide getting worse across Canada

by admin

Analysis: The hidden epidemic of male suicide is growing worse, intersecting with opioid overdoses and the pandemic

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The hidden epidemic of male suicide is growing worse, intersecting with escalating deaths from opioid overdoses.

“There’s a silent crisis in men’s health that’s killing men in staggering numbers,” said Prof. John Ogrodniczuk, director of the psychotherapy program in the psychiatry department at UBC. “It’s not cancer, it’s not heart disease, it’s not liver disease — it’s suicide. When you look at the numbers, it’s like ‘Wow.’ ”

Male suicide rates in Canada are high and rising. Men are three times more likely to take their own lives than females, says Statistics Canada. Eight men die of suicide in Canada every day. Most common methods tend to be overdosing, firearms and hanging.

The suicide rate grows more shocking among certain male subgroups, particularly those who are Indigenous, homosexual, transgendered, in the military, middle-aged or going through divorce, according to peer-reviewed research by Ogrodniczuk, David Kiely and others.


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Climbing male suicide rates also intersect in many ways with the opioid crisis, in which deaths have risen during COVID in B.C. and across the country, said Ogrodniczuk, who directs a website for men struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, called Heads Up Guys.

“In a coarse kind of way, you can think of opioid use and other heavy substance abuse as kind of a slow suicide,” said Ogrodniczuk.

According to the B.C. Coroners Service, “during this pandemic there has been a statistically significant shift towards opioid-related deaths occurring among men.” Prior to COVID, males accounted for 69 per cent of B.C.’s opioid fatalities. That rate has jumped to 78 per cent of the more than 1,700 who have died since 2019. Such trend lines are consistent throughout Canada and the U.S.

Men who want to commit suicide often feel completely isolated, Ogrodniczuk has found.

“Men who are thinking about suicide feel they don’t belong, that they have no connection to others, that others don’t understand them, that they are literally alone in their experience. It’s a scary place to be — hopeless and helpless.”

The professor and his colleagues have talked to scores of men who have survived suicide attempts; finding “by and large they didn’t want to die. They just want the pain to end. They get to a desperate place where they can’t see any way out.”

Source: Statistics Canada
Source: Statistics Canada

That anguish can be particularly prevalent among people who become addicted to opioids, especially in B.C. where illicit drugs are often laced with fentanyl.


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Although some suggest males become heavy drug users because they’re predisposed to taking risks, Ogrodniczuk clarifies that they’re not seeking thrills.

“It’s more about how they don’t give a s*** anymore. They’re feeling, ‘Life sucks. I don’t care. I can walk in front of a bus. It doesn’t matter.’ That’s the kind of risk-taking that’s often associated with opioid use. It’s an attempt to numb pain, so you don’t feel anything anymore.”

Although he finds it “amazing we’re not talking about” suicide among males, he doesn’t necessarily think it’s because of a so-called “empathy gap” in North America, in which males are perceived as generally not warranting compassion.

Ogrodniczuk believes one reason the grim topic is mostly avoided is that many males are not adept at seeking help.

“Many men are socialized to tough it out, to not show their emotions, to be stoics,” Ogrodniczuk said. In the midst of their torment they feel shame, like failures. So they fear speaking to partners, family or professionals.

The other big barrier for men is the lack of resources. “There’s almost nothing out there for guys. There’s a big service gap.” Although Ogrodniczuk’s website gets 60,000 views a month, he said there needs to be much more for depressed and suicidal males.

Ogrodniczuk’s observations fit with those of a small cohort of thinkers appalled by the way many less-educated, working-class Americans and Canadians are dying rapidly from so-called “deaths of despair,” characterized by suicide and chronic alcohol and drug use. Their plight is captured by economists Anne Case and Angus Deacon in the book, Deaths of Despair and The Future of Capitalism.


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Certain sub-groups of males are extremely vulnerable to suicide, particularly during COVID, reveal studies by Ogrodniczuk and colleagues.

While Canadian men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women, the rate shoots up further among First Nations males. A recent Statistics Canada report found 30 First Nation males per 100,000 are killing themselves,  compared to 12 in 100,000 non-Indigenous males (and four in 100,000 non-Indigenous females).

In one of the dozens of studies Ogrodniczuk has taken part in, gay men were found to be six times more likely than heterosexual men to take their lives. Transgender men were five to eight times more likely. Rates were also exceptionally high among men in the military and in middle age. Canadian-born males are much more likely to suicide than immigrant males.

A new paper by Ogrodniczuk et al has found that COVID-19 has been devastating for many men, possibly increasing the likelihood of suicide. It discovered 30 per cent of Canadian males in relationships who have sought help admitted they were more likely during the pandemic to be perpetrators of abuse (primarily verbally), while 27 per cent said they had also been victims of such abuse.

The construction industry, in which men make up 19 out of 20 workers, is also being clobbered. Chris Gardner, president of the IACPA, recently wrote that “more than 50 per cent of employed people who have died of opioid overdoses in B.C. worked in construction … The risk of suicide for a construction worker is seven times the average.”


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With male suicide so elevated, Ogrodniczuk is disturbed by the absence of tailored services for struggling men and boys.

His website, Heads Up Guys, which has been accessed by two million viewers since 2015, is unique in the English-speaking world, he says. He wishes it wasn’t. Distressingly, men find it online because it’s one of the first sites that pops up when they Google the term, “I want to kill myself.”

The courageous men who do reach out for help find an array of material at Heads up Guys, which aids them in feeling “Hey, somebody gets me” and to start building a support team. But since the site runs solely on private donations, it can only direct men to therapists. It can’t provide one-on-one therapy.

That’s one of the reasons Ogrodniczuk supports the B.C. Psychological Association’s renewed effort to convince the B.C. government to join other provinces and include therapy by highly trained psychologists as part of the Medical Services Plan.

That, however, is just one of myriad things that could be done to ease the crisis. “The status quo is not working for a lot of guys,” he said. “We need to do something different.”

Phone 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) if you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be.

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

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Murray Sinclair named as Queen’s University’s 15th chancellor

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Former Senator Murray Sinclair has been appointed as Queen’s University‘s new chancellor.

As the chancellor, Sinclair will act as the “ceremonial head and highest officer” of the Kingston, Ont., university. He will sit on both the university council and its board of trustees, as well as a number of committees for each.

Read more:
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Sinclair recently retired from the Canadian Senate, was the former chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and acted as Manitoba’s first Indigenous judge. He currently serves as general counsel to Cochrane Saxberg LLP, Manitoba’s largest Indigenous law firm.

The chancellor position is an unpaid volunteer position. Sinclair will not move to Kingston to perform his duties, but will visit when necessary.

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Queen’s says Sinclair will be overseeing convocations in spring and fall, attending board and university council meetings and be available for committee work. He will stay in Benidickson House when on campus.

“Joining Queen’s University at this time is an important opportunity to recognize the change in this institution and the work we do together for future generations of students,” Sinclair said.

Read more:
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The school’s principal Patrick Deane said in a statement Wednesday that he was thrilled to have Sinclair on board as the school works to focus on its “social impact.”

“I cannot think of anyone better suited to advise us on that course than His Honour, one of Canada’s most significant advocates for Indigenous peoples. We feel privileged to work with him,” said Deane.

Sinclair is Anishinaabe and a member of the Peguis First Nation. He is also a fourth-degree Chief of the Midewiwin Society, a traditional healing and spiritual society of the Anishinaabe Nation.

Sinclair was selected through a nomination process by committee, led by Deane. The committee was tasked with selecting the chancellor based on several attributes, including “commitments to sustainability, and equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity.”

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Sinclair has an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University, which he obtained in 2019.

The current chancellor, Jim Leech, will remain in the position until June 30, and then will act as chancellor-emeritus, available to help with convocations in the fall.

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Queen’s University announces another COVID-19 outbreak at two residences

Queen’s University announces another COVID-19 outbreak at two residences

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Drivers essential to Saskatchewan’s road to recovery from COVID-19 keep trucking

by admin

The situation has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Saskatchewan, but semi drivers keep on trucking on the route to recovery.

When No. 1 Scoop owner Janis Entem heard back in March 2020 that truck drivers hauling trailers were having a hard time due to public health restrictions on restaurants, she made the decision to act.

Read more:
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The ice cream shop opened almost a month and a half early to become a makeshift truck stop in order help out members of the transportation industry along Highway 1 in the village of Tompkins, roughly 320 km west of Regina.

“It was really good … a lot of the truck drivers stopped and supported the business and I helped them out,” she said.

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“And then I had a lot of people that contacted me and said, ‘You know what? I want to send you some money and use it to buy some of the truck drivers a meal,’ so that was really awesome too.”

The owner of No. 1 Scoop in Tompkin, Sask., made adjustments in 2020 to help out semi drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Janis Entem / Supplied

Manager of policy and government relations at Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA), Jordan Ewart, said it was No. 1 Scoop that got the ball rolling last year.

“In hearing about some of the poor initial treatment of professional drivers once COVID came and it was so new to everyone. (Entem) really wanted to be able to provide some sort of solution or provide like a good deed,” he said.

“It really just kick-started (a trend) and we ended up being able … put together a really good list of all sorts of different deals and good deeds that were being offered.

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“You can’t just take a commercial vehicle through a drive-thru so certainly different businesses were opening up and having some exceptions to truck drivers coming into their businesses so they can eat and take a rest and just get off the road for a few minutes.”

Ewart said the act of kindness didn’t go unnoticed by drivers who have faced stigma during the pandemic.

“A bit of a negative image or stereotype around truck drivers … initially, there was a lot of individuals out there saying, ‘this is where a large part of COVID-19 cases were coming from’ and that’s just not the case,” Ewart said.

“Initially, I mean, drivers were being denied access to basic needs, such as washrooms. So as this word really got out, the amount of businesses that started reaching out with different deals, access to their facilities, to their bathrooms as well.”

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The national Thank a Trucker campaign was started last year by the Canadian Trucker Alliance as a way to highlight the drivers’ efforts on social media and generate kindness on highways. Fast-forwarding over a year to today through the ongoing pandemic and truckers have continued to transport cargo to Saskatchewan.

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“I think it’s fair to say that maybe professional drivers have lost some of that early glory that they were getting. So certainly the Thank a Trucker campaign is something that although it never really ended, it’s definitely something that probably could be improved on,” Ewart said.

“To really highlight the essential role that professional drivers have played during COVID-19 and even think about it now today, I mean, drivers are carrying the vaccine to hospitals and to different health centres.”

“They’ve continued to, well, keep trucking really and certainly that shouldn’t get lost on everyone … Grocery stores are still being filled, we have overflowing ICUs and important resources are being sent to these places by truck. So definitely their role in this pandemic has been important and shouldn’t fall by the wayside,” Ewart said.

Read more:
Ice cream shop becoming truck stop to help semi drivers working through COVID-19 pandemic

Besides around $400 in donations, Entem said she also received a lot of positive feedback.

“Oh my gosh … drivers in the (United) States that don’t even come into Canada contacted me and said, ‘Thanks, that’s a great thing you’re doing,’” Entem said.

“A couple of weeks ago I started getting calls from people wondering when I was going to be opening and one truck driver going through, he said, ‘I’m hungry’ and I said, ‘I’m not open yet.’”

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“The difference this year is last year the restaurants couldn’t be open in Saskatchewan (due to the COVID-19 lockdown) so now they can. That’s why I made the decision to go back to my regular dates (May 10 to Sept. 30).”

Ewart said there are roughly 150 trucking companies that have operations in the province and over 90 per cent of goods are moved by semi.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Vancouver buys Best Western hotel to add to social housing roster

by admin

The City of Vancouver has added another former hotel to its stock of housing for the city’s homeless.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced the purchase of the Best Western at 205 Kingsway for an undisclosed price on Friday.

The city says the building will provide housing for 68 people.

Read more:
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It follows the purchase of another hotel, the former Days Inn hotel, at 2075 Kingsway, in February. That facility is expected to provide housing for 65 people.

The purchases were made from a pool of $51.5 million of funding from the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative.

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The properties will be managed by non-profit operators, and the B.C. government has committed to funding their operating costs for 20 years.

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The new housing facilities will also provide services such as food, washrooms and laundry.

Read more:
City of Vancouver buys Days Inn hotel to house homeless people

Both properties will require renovations. The city is aiming to have the 205 Kingsway facility operating by summer, and the 2075 Kingsway facility by winter 2021.

The move comes ahead of the impending deadline to house all residents of the controversial Strathcona Park homeless encampment.

The province and BC Housing have committed to housing people living in the camp by the end of April.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


City of Kelowna announces new outdoor homeless sheltering site

by admin

The City of Kelowna is preparing to open a site near the Rail Trail to be a temporary outdoor sheltering site for people experiencing homelessness.

The location is near downtown on the south side of the Rail Trail, just east of its intersection with Richter Street.

Read more:
Temporary homeless shelters in downtown Kelowna receive extensions

The city said it will provide portable washrooms, waste receptacles and sharps containers — for discarding needles — at the new site, which will replace the current setup at 890 Baillie Ave.

It also said the area would be monitored by security personnel and video surveillance.

“The site will be closer to services, and landscape, tree and plant features will better separate it from the Rail Trail,” the City of Kelowna said in a news release.

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“Although the site is a temporary solution, permanent features and design elements of the site will be able to remain as landscape enhancements along the Rail Trail once the temporary sheltering site is no longer needed,” the city added.

People will be allowed to shelter at the site from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.

“Daily removal of overnight shelters will occur to balance the rights of people experiencing homelessness with those of the broader community, to enable continued availability of city lands for public use as applicable, and to prevent the inherent risks to public health, safety and security that entrenched encampments present, as seen in other cities,” the city said.

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A 2015 decision by the B.C. Supreme Court made it clear that the city cannot prohibit outdoor sheltering when emergency shelters are at capacity.

“Since fall 2019, the City has chosen to designate and service a public space in a way that balances the rights and humanitarian needs of people sheltering outside with those of the neighbouring community,” said Darren Caul, the City of Kelowna’s community safety director.

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The city said that by having a designated site, services like meals, sanitation, garbage collection and health and bylaw services can be focused in one area.

More than a dozen different locations were considered through the selection process, according to a news release.

The city said the site near Richter was largely chosen because it’s on city-owned land, close to services and a suitable size.

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“While every site presents challenges, this one will be an improvement compared to the existing site at 890 Baillie Avenue,” the city said.

The site is scheduled to open at the beginning of May.

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Business owner apologizes for poop tossing incident

Business owner apologizes for poop tossing incident – Apr 7, 2021

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Transgender boy bullied at Edmonton school speaks out: ‘They just need to learn’

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In March, Jasper Hicks received vile messages from some of his classmates, after using the boy’s washroom at J.J. Bowlen Junior High School in Edmonton.

The texts, which were sent in a lengthy group chat that included multiple other students and shared with Global News, expressed blatant transphobia and hateful comments towards the teen.

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“I could just switch genders mid-day,” reads one text. “So I could just walk into the girls bathroom whenever. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Jasper, do you have a penis or a vagina?” reads another. “Let me just break it down for you.”

“There was messages that said ‘Jasper, nobody loves you, nobody gets you,” Jasper’s mom, Amanda Hicks said. “They were vicious. It was hard to read.”

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“I just want to educate you,” Jasper responded to one student. “This is literally harassment.”

Jasper returned to school in January for the first time after transitioning. The group chat was his first experience with transphobia, but he said he wasn’t surprised.

“This sounds bad…but, it was kind of bound to happen,” Jasper told Global News. “I was mentally prepared for it anyway.”

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J.J Bowlen’s principal brought Jasper in to discuss the texts. His parents, Amanda and Corey Hicks, said the principal suggested Jasper use a gender neutral washroom or a staff bathroom instead. They said Jasper was told “boys will be boys” in response to his experience with the other students, while two of his friends were present inside the office.

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“It was unbelievably disappointing,” Amanda said. “This school has created a culture where these types of conversations are okay.”

In a statement to Global News, an Edmonton Catholic School Division (ECSD) spokesperson said “we are deeply saddened that the student had an ongoing negative experience during such a pivotal time in his life. We are committed to continuing to work with the family to make sure their son feels safe and welcome in the school.”

ECSD declined to comment on any specifics between staff or students, due to privacy legislation.

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A letter addressed to the Hicks family from the deputy superintendent, Tim Cusack, detailed that the J.J. Bowlen principal “expressed his genuine and profound remorse regarding the way this matter has unfolded.” It went on to say that he “fully acknowledges that despite the intent of his interactions in support of Jasper, the impact was not as intended.”

Under the direction of ECSD, All J.J. Bowlen staff, including its principal, are undergoing inclusivity training.

The Hicks are now calling on ECSD to provide mandatory training for all staff and students in the district.

“We need mandatory training of educators for everyone. Not just for transgender issues but all [LGBTQ+] issues,” Corey said.

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ECSD said it acknowledges “we have work to do with the school community to ensure all students, staff and families will be provided with an inclusive, welcoming, caring…environment.”

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CMHA highlights the obstacles people face when coming out as transgender

CMHA highlights the obstacles people face when coming out as transgender – Dec 3, 2020

Why Jasper is speaking out

The 14-year-old said he understands speaking about his experiences publicly could lead to more transphobia — both online and at school.

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But, he felt it was important to try to use his own experience as a teachable moment.

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“People that don’t understand me or don’t accept me, are just ignorant,” he explained. “They don’t know the facts. They just need to learn.”

Jasper said he is hopeful that other transgender kids may take comfort in hearing him share his story firsthand.

“So they know they aren’t alone. There are other people out there going through the same things,” Jasper said.

“We are very proud of the strength that Jasper has, but what about the other students that didn’t have that strength?” Amanda said. “Reading through that chat…through those horrible messages, the harassment…he was trying to educate. He was trying to make the world a better place.”

Amanda and Corey believe without further action, Jasper’s experience will continue to mirror the stories of other trans teens.

“Being an ally is an every day thing. It’s not a thing that happens one week in June,” Amanda said. “How do we stand up and protect our youth today?”

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Transgender Awareness Week: Margot’s Story

Transgender Awareness Week: Margot’s Story – Nov 17, 2020

How to support trans teens


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Dr. Kris Wells, a MacEwan University professor and leading national researcher on gender and youth, said Jasper’s story can be a learning opportunity for all of us.

“I really want to celebrate his courage and strength for speaking out,” Wells said during an interview on Global News at Noon. “That resiliency is amazing.”

Wells said there are four things a school can do to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth:

  1. Inclusive curriculum
  2. Finding supportive teachers
  3. Comprehensive sexual and gender identity policies
  4. Visibility and inclusion

Wells said if other students are uncomfortable with a trans student using the same washroom as them, they are the ones who should be getting an accommodation to use a private washroom.

“Because otherwise we are sending the wrong message.

“Trans youth are not the problem here, transphobia is.”

Though not all transgender teens will be ready to share their story openly like Jasper did, Wells said it’s essential to find a trusted adult to talk to.

“You don’t have to justify your existence. You are valid. You deserve to be safe and included in your school.”

Click to play video: 'Dr. Kris Wells shares 4 ways people can help transgender students in schools'

Dr. Kris Wells shares 4 ways people can help transgender students in schools

Dr. Kris Wells shares 4 ways people can help transgender students in schools – Apr 14, 2021

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


$6.1M to upgrade The Mount Community Centre in Peterborough, centres in Norwood, Havelock

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Joint federal, provincial and recipient funding will support four community, culture and recreational infrastructure projects in the city of Peterborough and Peterborough County, officials announced Friday.

The federal government is providing $3.3 million while Ontario is investing $2.8 million through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan. The recipients will be responsible for the remainder of the more than $2.2 million for their projects.

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The projects include:

  • The Mount Community Centre in Peterborough (which offers affordable housing units): Improve accessibility and operations. Interior work includes upgrading washrooms and installing an elevator to allow clients to move around the facility with greater ease. Exterior renovations include measures to improve stormwater management, replacement of sanitary lines and the addition of new accessible parking spaces. The $2.11-million project includes $846,285 in federal funding, $705,167 from Ontario and $564,261 in recipient/other funding.

Steve Kylie, The Mount’s board chair, says the investments from both governments will help the future of the community hub.

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“Over the next many years all these improvements will enhance the experiences of hundreds of people who live, work and visit The Mount Community Centre,” he said.


  • Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre in Norwood: 3,500-square-foot expansion to include a studio space, fitness area and accessible change rooms and showers. Federal: $465,600; Ontario: $387,961 and recipient/other funding: $310,439.
  • Havelock-Belmont-Methuen Community Centre in Havelock: Multiple upgrades, including the installation of an elevator and other access improvements, roof system replaced, the refrigeration system improved, the basement area repurposed to create new space for recreational events and programming, and the fire alarm and suppression systems will be replaced. Federal: $2,030,900; Ontario: $1,692,247 and recipient/other funding $1,354,103.
  • Trent Lakes trails (Central Eastern Area Snowmobile Region Association): Replacement of the existing culvert on Trail E108 with a new engineered steel bridge to create a multi-use trail system and more accessible experience for motorized and non-motorized trail users. Federal: $37,393; Ontario: $31,157 recipient/other funding $24,931

The announcements were made by Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef and MPP Dave Smith, and Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini during a virtual event at the Mount Community Centre on Monaghan Road.

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“Recreation and community spaces are essential to creating supportive and welcoming communities where people want to live, work and raise a family,” said Monsef.

“Improvements to the community centres announced today for Peterborough City and County will provide residents with greater opportunities to engage with one another, be more active, and enjoy events and activities safely. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

Smith, on behalf of Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott, said the announcements are an important investment for the city and county.

“These infrastructure upgrades for recreation and community facilitates will help provide accessible housing in the City of Peterborough and enhance community engagement in Trent Lakes and Havelock-Belmont-Methuen for years to come,” he said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our federal and municipal partners for their collaboration and recognition of the importance of these investments.”

Piccini noted the expansion of the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre will benefit not only the township, but also those from the neighbouring six municipalities that use the centre.

“This investment will help the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre expand its building to offer more services and provide improved access to recreational activities,” said Piccini. “This expansion will better meet the recreational and social needs of residents and the surrounding communities. I would like to thank Mayor Roger Bonneau, representatives from the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre and our federal partners for their contributions to this joint infrastructure project.”

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


N.B. volunteer basketball coach sentenced to 9 years in prison for child porn, voyeurism

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Warning: This story contains content that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

Shawn Nickerson has been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to 32 charges – including voyeurism, making and possessing child pornography and sexually touching a young person.

In a Moncton courtroom on Friday afternoon, the Crown painted a picture of crimes spanning as far back as 2016.

Through the years Nickerson used a handful of “spy cameras” hidden in washrooms and changerooms to record unsuspecting boys – often when naked.

There are 21 known victims.

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Thirty-two-year-old Nickerson took the images he captured to the dark web – where the Crown says the images where “traded like cards.”

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Crown prosecutor Malika Levesque said Nickerson was exchanging child pornography and tips for staying close to his victims with others online. He told these people he was “obsessed” with two of his victims, boys he’d known for years.

Sitting in the courtroom in all-orange, Nickerson spent most of Friday staring at the floor. He spoke briefly in the morning.

“I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done,” he told Judge Paul Duffie.

“As tough as it is for me to admit to, I know I have a problem. And it is one I’ve struggled with since I was young.”

Hardest part is knowing he’s a source of so much disappointment, heartbreak and anger, he said while crying. Nickerson said he’s lost so many people and he’ll never get them back.

“I’d do anything to undo what I’ve done, but I realize the damage has already been done,” he said.

Previous court documents suggested Nickerson was charged for incidents that occurred between June 20, 2016 and Oct. 25, 2020. The documents alleged there were more than 80 instances of Nickerson making child pornography of identified persons, and a least another eight of unknown individuals.

Nickerson was first charged with one count of making child pornography in October, but Crown prosecutors announced an additional 30 charges in early November, including making and possessing child pornography and making child pornography available. Those charges were replaced with new ones.

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Nickerson appeared in court in early December and was additionally charged with one count of sexual assault for incidents that allegedly occurred between December 2018 and June 2019.

He pleaded guilty to all 32 charges back in February.

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At 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Judge Duffie sentenced Nickerson to nearly a decade in prison. He will also spend the rest of his life on a sex offender registry and will have to submit DNA samples.
“He was right when he said that this is a harm that can not be reversed,” said Duffie in court.

His sentence starts Friday and is not retroactive to the time he’s been remanded since October.

After his time in in, Nickerson will face lifetime prohibition from places like playgrounds, parks, and anywhere where people under 16 is present. He’ll have to stay at least two kilometres away from his victims and their families, make no contact with them and only use internet access when approved by court.

Nickerson said he understood and had no questions.

The crown had said his young victims will have to live with shattered trust and feelings of violation for the rest of their lives.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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