Posts Tagged "Vancouver news"

13Jun

Vancouver Car Free Day organizers plan month of smaller events in place of usual festivals

by admin

VANCOUVER —
The organizers of Vancouver’s Car Free Day festivals are returning to in-person gatherings this fall, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them online last year.

The Car Free Vancouver Society says in a statement on its website that it is planning a month-long festival that will feature a series of smaller events, rather than the large street parties it has traditionally hosted.

The series of “markets, performances, parklets, bike rides, audio tours and more” will begin on Aug. 29 and run until Sept. 25.

“We want to safely engage with our supporters and partners and foster the community that is so important to us,” the society says in its statement.

The society has been organizing Car Free Day festivals in Vancouver since 2008, with events blocking off Commercial Drive, Main Street and the West End in non-pandemic years.

In 2020, the society held virtual concerts, scavenger hunts and audio tours, while not organizing any in-person events to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. The society says it wants to “safely engage” in person this year.

“We feel that this aligns with what our supporters are looking for in our events, and that’s a sense of community,” the society says. “By hosting a series of smaller events, we believe that the ‘car free’ vision can be experienced in neighbourhoods we have not reached before and provide more accessibility options, while also continuing to work with the partners that have supported us in previous years.”

B.C.’s restart plan allows for organized events like fairs and festivals in Step 3, as long as COVID-19 safety plans are in place. Step 3 is scheduled to begin on July 1 at the earliest. 

Step 4 of the plan, which is scheduled for Sept. 7 at the earliest, allows for increased capacity at large organized gatherings, such as concerts. 

10Jun

Fraser Health hopes to encourage more first doses with same-day COVID-19 vaccination clinics

by admin

VANCOUVER —
While the COVID-19 vaccination rate is climbing in B.C., there are still some parts of the province with lower overall coverage. In the Fraser Health region, health officials are hoping to reach more people who haven’t had their first vaccine yet by offering more accessible clinics with same-day shots.

Maha Sarraf recieved her first COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday at an immunization clinic on the King George Highway in Surrey.

“I feel good. I feel a bit nervous, but I feel good. I feel excited to get the vaccine. I feel a lot of hope,” she said, and added she moved to B.C. from Uganda not long ago and is looking forward to travelling internationally again. “I miss the connections, even on the streets. Even with strangers.”

The site is operating as a so-called EASI clinic, which stands for Easy Accessible Same-day Immunization, and will prioritize first doses. It’s open to anyone living in Fraser Health, including those without personal health numbers, and people who are not B.C. residents.

The health authority’s executive medical director for population and public health Dr. Ingrid Tyler said clinic staff can help with registration on site if needed, and vaccinations take place the same day.

“The EASI idea is a model for accessibility, so it can move around our various existing clinic sites based on our available supply of vaccine,” she said, and added this model of clinic will become available at different sites over the next several weeks and through the summer.

“We’re being as creative as possible to help people have opportunities for vaccination.”

Neighbourhood clinics will also be offered for first doses, targeting specific communities. Staff will check for proof of residence, and wristbands will be issued for same-day appointments to avoid long waits.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said sometimes complacency is a factor in more rural communities, where transmission rates are not high and it takes more effort to find a vaccine.

“We know that most people are doing the right thing and getting on board and coming to the clinics, but for some people, it’s more of a challenge,” she said. “We know we reach a certain level, and then we have to take different strategies to reach people.”

While the EASI clinics will prioritize first doses, second doses are still happening, too.

Andrea Brown and her husband John both got their second vaccines at the Surrey clinic Thursday.

“We can’t tell you how much we’ve been looking forward to this. We have family in Alberta that we haven’t seen since the end of 2019,” Andrea said. “And we miss them a lot.”

“It means that I can hug my daughters again,” John said.

For information on ongoing and upcoming EASI clinics, and planned neighbourhood clinics, a list of dates and locations is listed on the Fraser Health Authority website.

21May

COVID-19 sick pay: Workers in B.C. can soon apply for reimbursement for time off

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Workers who need to take time off for COVID-19 moving forward will soon be able to apply for wage reimbursement under B.C.’s sick-pay program.

The reimbursement program, which was announced earlier this month, will be applicable for time off taken between May 20 and Dec. 31, 2021.

“No worker should have to choose between going to work sick or losing pay to stay home. Effective May 20, workers can take up to three days of paid sick leave for circumstances related to COVID-19,” Harry Bains, B.C.’s labour minister, said in a news release Friday.

“This means that if a person is sick with COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate because of a public health order, has symptoms and is waiting for a test result, they are immediately supported to stay home from work without any gap in their paycheque, for up to three days.”

WorkSafeBC will administer that reimbursement on behalf of the province. The organization is currently in the process of setting up their system, but applications dating back to May 20 will be accepted once it launches.

Employers will be required to pay workers their full wages and the province will reimburse employers who don’t currently have a sick-leave program up to $200 per day to cover those costs.

“We know that to move past this pandemic we need to reduce transmission in the workplace and encourage people to stay home when they are sick. This leave helps do just that,” Bains said.

When the program was announced, the province said it was meant to “bridge the gap” for workers between when they first feel sick and when they can access the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. 

The federal benefit only kicks in when an employee works less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work week. The benefit gives $500 for a one-week period, and individuals must apply for renewal each week for a maximum of four weeks.

People who have already applied for the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, short-term disability or EI aren’t eligible for the federal program.

After the pandemic, B.C.’s legislation will create a permanent paid sick leave option for workers who can’t work because of any illness or injury, starting on Jan. 1, 2022. The number of paid sick days under that program will be determined after consultation with the business community, labour organizations and Indigenous partners. 

11May

B.C. premier, labour minister to make announcement about employment standards

by admin

VANCOUVER —
B.C.’s premier and labour minister will give an update Tuesday morning about employment standards in the province.

Few details were given ahead of John Horgan and Harry Bains’ joint announcement, except that it will follow “the introduction of legislative amendments to improve employment standards for workers, while supporting businesses.”

CTVNewsVancouver.ca is streaming the news conference LIVE @ 11:15 a.m.

The briefing comes as the premier has been promising more details on paid sick leave, meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.

While speaking to reporters two weeks ago, Horgan said his administration was planning to introduce a program to address gaps in the federal government’s Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit

That benefit only kicks in when an employee works less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work week. The benefit gives $500 for a one-week period, and individuals must apply for renewal each week for a maximum of four weeks. 

People who have already applied for the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, short-term disability or EI aren’t eligible.

Early on in the pandemic, widespread outbreaks in food processing facilities were blamed on workers facing financial pressure to come in sick because they wouldn’t be paid to stay home.

Since then, there have been countless instances of COVID-19 transmission in workplaces. More than 50 businesses in the Lower Mainland have been forced to temporarily close since the beginning of April because of on-site transmission that infected three or more people – though the government has not provided any details about how many of those incidents started because someone went to work while symptomatic.

“We’ve seen outbreaks in industries because people have not been able to make that hard choice, they’ve had to go to work to meet the needs of their families. So clearly this was a need throughout the pandemic,” Horgan said late last month.

“People shouldn’t have to make that choice. I believe it’s a responsibility of all us to fill that gap and we’re going to find a way to do that.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Andrew Weichel and Bhinder Sajan 

11May

COVID-19 sick pay: B.C. giving all workers up to 3 days of leave

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Workers in B.C. will soon be able to take three days of paid time off if they’re sick during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to new legislation tabled Tuesday.

The paid sick leave is available for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, who is self-isolating because of COVID-19 or who is waiting for a test result. Employers will be required to pay workers their full wages and the province will reimburse employers who don’t currently have a sick-leave program up to $200 per day to cover those costs. WorkSafeBC will administer that reimbursement on behalf of the province.

CTVNewsVancouver.ca is streaming a news conference with Premier John Horgan LIVE @ 11:15 a.m.

“The best way to protect workers, their families and co-workers during this pandemic is to have a paid sick leave program in place,” said Premier John Horgan in a news release.

“Our made-in-B.C. program will help cover the costs for hard-hit businesses so we can all get through this pandemic together and move to a strong economic recovery.”

The province says the COVID-related sick pay program is meant to “bridge the gap” for workers between when the first feel sick and when they can access the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

That benefit only kicks in when an employee works less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work week. The benefit gives $500 for a one-week period, and individuals must apply for renewal each week for a maximum of four weeks.

People who have already applied for the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, short-term disability or EI aren’t eligible.

Early on in the pandemic, widespread outbreaks in food processing facilities were blamed on workers facing financial pressure to come in sick because they wouldn’t be paid to stay home.

Since then, there have been countless instances of COVID-19 transmission in workplaces. More than 100 businesses in the Lower Mainland have been forced to temporarily close since the beginning of April because of on-site transmission that infected three or more people – though the government has not provided any details about how many of those incidents may have started because someone went to work while symptomatic.

After the pandemic, the legislation will create a permanent paid sick leave option for workers who can’t work because of any illness or injury, starting on Jan. 1, 2022. The number of paid sick days under that program will be determined after consultation with the business community, labour organizations and Indigenous partners. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Andrew Weichel and Bhinder Sajan 

7May

Stranger told teen girl ‘your mom sent me,’ police say of suspicious incident in Abbotsford

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Police are looking for witnesses and a suspect following what they’re calling a “suspicious incident” in Abbotsford.

Officers said a 14-year-old girl was waiting to be picked up Friday morning when a driver pulled up to her where she stood on Mouat Drive.

It was reported that the driver said to her, “Your mom sent me. I am here to pick you up.”

The high school student reported that she knew it was untrue, so she turned and walked away.

The driver parked nearby for a short time, Abbotsford police said in a statement later in the day, then drove off, heading east.

The man has been described as South Asian and in his 40s or 50s. He has short, dark hair with some grey, which was gelled back at the time, and his hairline is receding, police said.

They described his face as round and with no facial hair.

The teen told police he had some kind of accent and his English was poor.

The vehicle, which was captured on security camera video, has been described as a grey, four-door sedan with an “N” decal on the back, near the licence plate, suggesting a novice driver uses the vehicle at times.

Anyone in the area around 10:20 a.m. on Friday who may have witnessed the incident or captured dashcam video is asked to contact police. Officers are also looking to speak to anyone who recognizes the vehicle, or has CCTV video.

4May

‘They failed me’: High-profile Mountie walks away from B.C. RCMP after struggles with PTSD

by admin

VANCOUVER —
A high-profile Mountie is walking away from the RCMP after what she calls “unforgivable” neglect from the institution.

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound was the face of Integrated Homicide Investigation Team for years, a role that eventually left her suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.

After years of struggle, she has decided to retire early, saying she could no longer in good conscience, represent the organization.

Deep roots in the RCMP

Pound says she knew she wanted to be a police officer when she was 15, following in her father’s footsteps.

“He really did enjoy his work and came home and raved about how much he loved working every day,” she told CTV News Vancouver. “So, I kind of wanted to mimic that and have a career that you know, felt a part of a family to and really enjoy the camaraderie and a sense of purpose.”

Her brother, husband and many other family members also became members.

At 23, Pound began her career in the University detachment, before heading to North Vancouver.

“I went on to a legal gaming section, the missing women unit and then the Richmond detachment is where I really started to get into the media component of policing,” said Pound.

A slow burn

After years of commitment, Pound was brought onto the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team where she was promoted twice, eventually becoming a staff sergeant.

“People that want to go there want to see justice and they want to see people held accountable for the most horrific crime that you can encounter,” she explained.

As the unit’s spokesperson she worked closely with the families of victims, shouldering the burden of some of the province’s most brutal murders in a very public way.

She believes those interactions triggered the initial symptoms of PTSD.

“On camera, I can be stoic, and I can be whoever I need to be to get that message across. But at the end of the day, I’m walking in my own door to go home. And my family’s not getting the best of me.”

She began experiencing what she described as flu-like symptoms that she couldn’t seem to shake.

“Thankfully, it manifested itself physically or I don’t really know when I would have stopped to take a break and get myself well,” she said.

She was forced to seek medical attention and was put on a two-week medical leave.

“It was just slipping more into an abyss of illness and not being able to get out of bed and hitting just a really, really deep, dark depression within those two weeks,” she told CTV News.

Seeking treatment

Pound was diagnosed with PTSD by her family doctor and was put on another three-month leave.

“The crucial time for in my opinion for the RCMP to get involved with individuals that are off work are from the very, very initial stages,” she said. “You can’t have your people off work sick and not be checking in on them and not at least be acknowledging that you play a role in their recovery.”

She says her direct supervisors were supportive, but RCMP health services was not.

“The very first call that I received from the RCMP was from the graduated return to work people to say, ‘When are you going to get back to work?’ Which is really, really damaging when an individual is trying to figure out what’s wrong with them,” Pound said.

She says that call only exasperated the guilt and shame she was already feeling.

On top of that, she was faced with a six-month waitlist to see a psychologist.

“There’s a real pressure to get members back on the road. And that pressure can be dangerous when you’re dealing with first responders and policing you don’t want sick members on the road.”

It ended up taking her more than a year to see a psychologist that had experience working with first responders.

“What I needed is some from somebody health services to go, ‘Here’s the process. Here’s what you can expect,’ and offer up some psychologists, some doctors, something tangible and helpful for me to move forward in my healing process,” she explained.

RCMP health services

National Headquarters says RCMP health services operates through three programs:

  • Occupational health: which assesses an officer’s fitness to perform law enforcement duties.
  • Disability management and accommodation: which recommends limitations or restrictions to ill or injured members.
  • Health benefits: which determines whether illness or injuries are work-related.

“When you describe yourself as a health services unit, there’s an expectation from the members that they’re going to help you get healthy,” Pound said.

The RCMP says its members are covered for basic health care under provincial/territorial health care plans.

“The health and safety of our members is a top priority for the RCMP and is essential to public safety,” said the RCMP in a statement to CTV News.

“Although, we can’t comment on specific cases, we take work-related stress and mental health issues very seriously and are committed to enhancing the health, safety and resiliency of all our employees. Our work on mental health will never be done.”

Pound says the institution needs to play a bigger role in securing mental health support in a timely manner.

“Health services within the RCMP are ineffective,” she said.

“They failed me right out of the gate.”

‘Stay on the Line’

Pound has been blogging about her struggles with PTSD through a blog called “Stay on the Line,” referencing what 911 dispatchers often tell people in crisis before help is on the way.

She says she’s been inundated with responses from other first responders who have faced similar challenges accessing care.

Going forward she hopes to use the platform to let people with PTSD know they are not alone.

She says the decision to take an early retirement wasn’t an easy one, as she still had many things she wanted to accomplish in policing.

“I knew I couldn’t go back and feel good about myself and feel good about myself for working for an organization that I knew had forgotten me as soon as I stepped out the door.” 

This is part one of a three-part series. Check back for more this week.

1May

‘Targeted shooting’ in parking lot at shopping centre in North Delta

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Police say they are investigating after a man was shot in a parking lot at a shopping centre in North Delta near the Surrey border Saturday afternoon.

The shooting happened shortly before 5 p.m. at Scottsdale Centre near the intersection of Scott Road and 72 Avenue, according to a news release from the Delta Police Department.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a man who had been shot, police said, adding that they “are not in a position to confirm the identity of the victim or comment on his medical condition.”

“Right now, the initial evidence is indicating that this was a targeted shooting,” said Insp. Guy Leeson, DPD’s head of investigative services, in the release.

“Officers have been interviewing witnesses in the area, and we are also in possession of video that appears to have been filmed immediately after the incident,” Leeson said. “However, anyone who hasn’t yet spoken to police and was a witness (or) has dash cam or CCTV video, is asked to please call 604-946-4411.”

Leeson also acknowledged the “very public” nature of the shooting, saying police are “very much aware” of the risk to innocent bystanders.

“Fortunately it doesn’t appear there was anyone else injured during this incident,” he said.

Sujay Nazareth was inside the Walmart at Scottsdale Centre when he began hearing from staff and other customers that shots had been fired in the parking lot. He told CTV News he was initially skeptical, thinking there are lots of noises that can sound like gunshots.

Soon, though, he heard an announcement over the loudspeaker at Walmart, saying that the store was being locked down and asking people to remain calm.

Nazareth said customers in the store were initially not allowed to leave, as they watched police gather in the parking lot and put up yellow tape around the scene.

Eventually, people were allowed to leave through the shopping mall, but not through the direct exit to the parking lot, Nazareth said.

He said he lives nearby, but drove to the store Saturday afternoon. He left his car in the parking lot and walked home because it was unclear when people might be allowed to leave the Walmart and go back to their vehicles. 

1May

Fatal shooting in North Delta shopping centre parking lot was targeted, say police

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Police are investigating after a man was shot and killed in a parking lot at a shopping centre in North Delta near Surrey on Saturday afternoon.

The shooting happened shortly before 5 p.m. on Saturday at Scottsdale Centre near the intersection of Scott Road and 72 Avenue, according to a news release from the Delta Police Department.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a man who was in critical condition.

“Despite the best efforts of Emergency Health Services, unfortunately the victim in this incident did pass away,” said Inspector Guy Leeson, head of Investigative Services at Delta Police, in a news statement.

“Right now, the initial evidence is indicating that this was a targeted shooting,” he added.

“Officers have been interviewing witnesses in the area, and we are also in possession of video that appears to have been filmed immediately after the incident,” Leeson said. “However, anyone who hasn’t yet spoken to police and was a witness (or) has dash cam or CCTV video, is asked to please call 604-946-4411.”

Leeson also acknowledged the “very public” nature of the shooting, saying police are “very much aware” of the risk to innocent bystanders.

“Fortunately it doesn’t appear there was anyone else injured during this incident,” he said.

Sujay Nazareth was inside the Walmart at Scottsdale Centre when he began hearing from staff and other customers that shots had been fired in the parking lot. He told CTV News he was initially skeptical, thinking there are lots of noises that can sound like gunshots.

Soon, though, he heard an announcement over the loudspeaker at Walmart, saying that the store was being locked down and asking people to remain calm.

Nazareth said customers in the store were initially not allowed to leave, as they watched police gather in the parking lot and put up yellow tape around the scene.

Eventually, people were allowed to leave the Walmart through the shopping mall, but not through the direct exit to the parking lot, Nazareth said. Many peoples’ cars were behind police tape and they weren’t allowed to access their vehicles.

Nazareth, who lives nearby, said he walked home instead.

On Sunday morning, Delta police said in a statement that they had removed some of the crime tape, allowing many people to access their cars.

“Access to most cars caught in this crime scene is now available. Some cars remain behind crime scene tape and are not accessible,” reads a Delta Police Department tweet.

30Apr

‘Different is beautiful’: 2-year-old born without hands to get puppy without a paw to change perceptions

by admin

VANCOUVER —
A Chilliwack, B.C., mother is hoping a dog can help show her two-year-old daughter Ivy who was born without hands that being different makes her special.

What started out as a quest to find the perfect dog turned into a mission to change how others view disabilities.

When Vanessa McLeod was just 19 weeks pregnant she was told by doctors she should terminate.

“One doctor said you have to think about her quality of life she is going to have no hands. It still makes me a little bit sick thinking that she could have not been here if we had listened to those doctors,” said McLeod.

Now, little Ivy is two years old and she is thriving.

“Her favourite thing to do is colour and she just uses her toes to hold the markers so she has just learned to do things differently,” said McLeod.

McLeod says Ivy doesn’t really notice she is different yet but knows as she gets older she will start to question things.

“Why she doesn’t have hands and why she was born that way and why her and not other people,” said McLeod.

She wanted to find a way to make those conversations easier and thought a puppy that was also born with a limb difference could help Ivy embrace her differences.

“You know you were born that way but different is beautiful and this puppy was also born that way and that is also a beautiful thing and I just think it would be a magical bond,” said McLeod.

They expected a long search for the right dog but it was meant to be. A puppy they named Lucky was born a few weeks ago right in their home community.

“Missing her front paw so it just feels like fate,” said McLeod.

Now that their family has found the perfect pup. Her hope is that speaking out changes the way others view disabilities in the first place.

“She’s a happy rambunctious little toddler and I love everything that is different about her so I encourage people not to view disabilities as sad or something to be pitied but something to be celebrated,” said McLeod.

McLeod has since written a letter to the doctors that told her to abort telling them what she wished they would have told her instead.

“I wish you (they) would have told me that we would find support within the limb difference community, within the disability community,” said McLeod.

McLeod says the genetics counselor responded to her letter and invited her to talk to genetics medical students to help teach them how to deliver diagnoses in a way that is not so negative.

“I’m excited for that opportunity to kind of challenge the way doctors think and maybe teach the next generation of doctors that differences are beautiful and it’s ok and these parents will find support and make it through and they will love their babies,” said McLeod.  

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