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Ontario to spend millions on new seniors strategy

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 8th, 2017

Ontario plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next four years on a seniors health-care plan that will increase the number of long-term care beds in the province and hours of care provided by staff.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement on Tuesday laying out the government’s 20-point plan — called Aging with Confidence — to bolster services for seniors.

The province will spend $500 million over four years to create 5,000 new long-term care beds as part of the plan and is pledging to create 30,000 more over the next decade.

The government will also increase the hours of direct care residents in long-term care homes receive to four hours per day. The Ministry of Health could not say Tuesday how much it will spend to achieve that new care standard, saying its staff will need to consult care providers in the sector to arrive at a cost figure.

Wynne touted the plan as a way to keep Ontario seniors in their homes longer.

“Trying to navigate this phase of life can be a challenge,” she said. “And it is a navigation and so in order to remain independent and to stay healthy and connected there needs to be some level of support that’s provided.”

Wynne said the government will also spend $155 million over three years to keep seniors healthy including $17 million a year to provide a new “high dose” flu vaccine, starting in 2018. It will also spend $15 million over the next two years to provide more recreational resources and health-care support for buildings that already have clusters of seniors, she said.

“There’s not a single service that will work for everyone,” she said. “There’s not a single intervention that will work for everyone. There is a continuum of services and care and supports that we need. So, we’ve listened, we’ve heard that. Our plan will provide support in a wide array of areas.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government is only now spending to improve senior’s care in the province on the eve an election.

“Seniors and their families have been let down for 14 long years by Wynne and the Liberals, and with Wynne’s announcement on seniors care Tuesday, I wouldn’t blame them in the least if they believe they’ll be let down again,” Horwath said in a statement. “During their 14 years in power, the Liberals have amassed a wait list for seniors care that’s more than 32,000-people long.”

Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario secretary treasurer Candace Rennick said the province needs to increase it minimum care guarantees for seniors living in long-term care as the population ages and requires increasingly complex care.

“We are also concerned that the government has offered no timeline for it’s rollout and does not legislate a minimum standard of care,” Rennick said in a statement. “Without legislated care standards there is no guarantee that seniors will get the ongoing care they need and deserve.”

Ontario police forces receive more reports of objects in Halloween candy

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017

A sewing needle located in Halloween candy. HAMILTON POLICE SERVICES/Handout

BARRIE, Ont. — Police in Barrie say they’ve received another report of Halloween candy that was tampered with — this time a Tootsie Roll with a metal object in it.

Last week, Barrie police had said analysis of a pill found in a Tootsie Roll identified it as melatonin, a supplement to counter the effects of jet lag.

And police in Hamilton say they’re investigating after a child received a chocolate bar containing a sewing needle.

There have been other reports of tainted candy in Ontario this Halloween.

In the Waterloo region, police said on Friday that an 11-year-old Cambridge, Ont., girl underwent surgery after eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that contained a metal object.

And police in the southwestern Ontario communities of London, Windsor and Chatham say they’ve also received reports of needles in Halloween candy.

Use of dashcams on the rise as extra eyes for drivers, police

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017


Dashboard camera’s or dashcams have quickly become a reliable security blanket for drivers in Toronto and across Canada. So much so, that they are rapidly changing the way both police and the courts look at road accidents.

In recent years they’ve proven to be valuable extra eyes on the road that sometimes capture crucial evidence or even disturbing accidents.

“The driving culture in Toronto has become very aggressive and I’m just nervous, I want evidence if I need it” says Craig Michalowsky. His dashcam was rolling when a pothole took out one of his tires on the Gardiner Expressway, and he’s one of a growing number of Canadians who use them.

A recent survey found 35 per cent of Canadian drivers have a dashcam in their vehicles or think it’s a good idea. Toronto Police thinks so too – they’ve been using dashcams in police cruisers for at least 15 years.

Const. Clint Stibbe says dashcams are “invaluable” for the Toronto Police Service.

“A lot of people that are involved in collisions – dash camera is like a third witness which gives us another view into what exactly happened” he says.

Not only are they helpful to police, they’re also useful tools for those looking to go legal. Dashcam videos have quickly become the star witness for personal injury lawyers.

Stephanie Zwicker Slavens with Diamond and Diamond Lawyers says she’s seen the use of dashcam videos as evidence in cases increase exponentially in recent years.

“Probably an increase of 75 per cent in the last year,” she says.

Most major Canadian insurance companies do not offer discounts for drivers who install dashcams in their vehicles. But Pete Karageorgos from The Insurance Bureau of Canada says having one can help expedite the claims process.

“It really can help speed up the claims process when you have an unbiased witness or a visual like a dashcam video to indicate what exactly happened before the crash or at the time of impact … those can be invaluable to tell the story,” he says.

Michalowsky says he certainly plans to use dashcam video to tell his side of the story when it comes to the pothole versus his Mercedes.

“I’ll be contacting the city to see if they have pothole insurance I think and see what they can do” he says.

But a word of caution – don’t get carried away with the story telling. Dashcam videos must be submitted in full and unedited in order to be admissible in court.

Buses vs. streetcars: The debate continues

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017


“They don’t want these damn streetcars blocking up our city!” thundered the late Rob Ford in 2012.

The argument has raged in and out of City Hall for years – buses vs. streetcars. Which is more efficient for riders and drivers?

This summer, the 501 streetcars on Queen Street were replaced by buses during construction. CityNews heard from multiple commuters saying the bus was much faster.

Councillor Michael Ford says he’s even heard from first responders who echo those sentiments. When responding to a call where seconds could mean the difference between life and death, they said buses were the clear winner.

“A Toronto firefighter reached out to us and said … we are responding much quicker, it is easier for us to be getting to calls. And when you have that type of outreach from our first responders and from a variety of people … I think it was a win for everybody. Everyone was moving quicker … and I hope that we will continue to look at this”

Councillor Ford’s motion to conduct a study on whether buses or streetcars are more efficient on Queen Street was rejected by City Council this fall. It was considered redundant as streetcars were already back on that route in September.

The 501 Queen route is the TTC’s longest streetcar line, used by approximately 52,000 riders on a typical weekday. Ford believes some of his colleagues are choosing to remain willfully ignorant and do not want to see what the data might reveal. Having heavily invested in new streetcars, the TTC says they’ve already compiled their own numbers and claim buses are not quicker than streetcars.

Stuart Green from TTC media relations says the decision to use streetcars as the vehicle of choice in the downtown core was made a long time ago and the transit provider is moving forward accordingly. He adds that streetcars accommodate more people than buses and revisiting that decision is unnecessary.

“f you look at Spadina or down on Harbourfront, there are dedicated rights-of-way for the streetcars. Those are the kinds of things that allow streetcars to move even better in traffic, he says. “Certainly in terms of getting people around the city streetcars have proven to be very efficient. Fewer vehicles more people.”

However when it comes to volume, articulated accordion style buses move the same amount of people as a regular streetcar. Transit expert Murtaza Haider is calling on the city to let an independent body dissect the data to see which mode of transit is more efficient – though he says you don’t have to be an engineer to figure out which one keeps traffic moving quicker.

“TTC is looking at operating costs rather than the travel times to make this decision,” he says. “We are told again and again … that a large TTC streetcar carries more passengers than a smaller sized bus, but that’s stating the obvious. What we haven’t been told is that if we deploy the right kind of bus technology – what would be the through put capacity through those versus the streetcar. We already have determined, I believe, that buses would be faster.”

Professor Haider adds that one of the biggest issues with streetcars is the city’s romantic or nostalgic leanings towards the decades old mode of transportation. He questions how much the city and it’s population are willing to pay in terms of travel times and lost proficiency to keep them.

For his part, Councillor Ford says even though his motion was dropped, its a fight he’s looking at revisiting.


Dog owners warned after dead ducks found at Woodbine Beach

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017


A disturbing discovery at Woodbine Beach has some dog owner feeling uneasy.

Thirty ducks and a heron were found dead on the shoreline on Sunday morning.

The dead ducks were scattered across a couple hundred yards of shoreline and Toronto Animal Services were quick to remove the deceased wildlife.

An investigation to determine the cause of death is underway.

In a news release issued on Monday, the city said they are urging dog owners to keep their pets on-leash in the area.

It’s still not clear what happened to these ducks and officials say it will take at least another two weeks to find out.

The city is urging dog owners to contact their vet if their dog was at Woodbine beach on Sunday and is experiencing any signs of illness.


B.C. police officer shot and killed in Abbotsford

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017


A police officer in Abbotsford, B.C., has died following an exchange of gunfire with a suspect who had allegedly stolen a vehicle.

In video footage sent to NEWS 1130, police vehicles can be seen running into at least one other car.

Abbotsford police Chief Bob Rich says the department received a phone call about a stolen vehicle at about 11:30 a.m. PT today.

He says the caller remained at the scene and blocked the vehicle, but the suspect emerged and began shooting at him. Police officers were called and Rich says after an exchange of gunfire an officer was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Rich says he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The suspect fled in the vehicle and police officers pursued him to the intersection of Mt. Lehman Road and Fraser Highway. Rich says a man in his 60s from Alberta was apprehended and taken to hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The deceased officer’s name has not been released.

Woman in her 30s dead after shooting at Hamilton home

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017

Hamilton police (Dave Ritchie for CityNews)

A woman in her 30s is dead following a shooting in Hamilton on Monday evening.

Police received a 911 call just after 5 p.m. about shots being fired a residence on Lang Street and found the victim suffering from gunshot wounds.

The woman was pronounced dead on arrival at Hamilton General Hospital.

Police have not released her name, adding she did not live at the two-storey home.

Police also said no weapon has been found and they are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect.

They say the victim and shooter are believed to have known each other.



Jagmeet Singh wants opioid addiction declared a national crisis

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 6th, 2017

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh arrives to speak to delegates and supporters during the B.C. NDP Convention at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Saturday, November 4, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Jagmeet Singh says he’s witnessed the devastation of British Columbia’s opioid overdose epidemic and it breaks his heart.

The federal New Democrat Party leader said he visited an overdose prevention site in Vancouver this week where he saw people struggling with addiction and learned how to administer the overdose-busting medication Naloxone.

Singh told about two thousand delegates attending the B.C. NDP convention on Saturday that Canada’s drug laws should reflect that drug addiction is a social justice issue and not a criminal justice matter. He called on the federal government to declare opioid addiction a national crisis.

Singh drew a standing ovation when he said the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs, not just marijuana.

“I saw that people’s lives are being destroyed while the federal government does little or nothing and it breaks my heart,” he said. “I saw with my own eyes the devastation of the opioid crisis.”

Singh said addiction is rooted in issues of poverty and mental health.

“To me poverty, mental health and addictions don’t sound like criminal justice problems,” he said. “They sound to me like a social justice problem. That’s why I’m calling for the decriminalization of all personal possession offences when it comes to drugs to make a difference in the lives of people and actually bring real change.”

Singh, elected NDP leader last month, said the federal New Democrats must become the party that represents the lives and hopes of Canadians.

“We get it,” he said. “We are the party that hears the stories of people, the struggles. We must again be the party that inspires Canadians. That makes their hearts beat faster.”

Earlier, B.C. Premier John Horgan told delegates the provincial party is celebrating forming government after 16 years of Liberal administrations, but serious decisions about the Site C dam and Kinder Morgan pipeline are ahead.

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