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Toronto psychiatrist loses licence over relationship with former patient

PAOLA LORIGGIO, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 23rd, 2017

Two-day discipline hearing for psychiatrist Dr. Nagi Ghabbour on Feb. 21, 2017. TORONTO STAR/Getty Images/Steve Russell
A Toronto psychiatrist has lost his licence to practise after becoming romantically involved with a former patient less than a month after their professional relationship ended.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario says Dr. Nagi Ghabbour failed to respond to the woman’s escalating feelings for him while she was his patient and “clearly did not recognize his own part in it.”

The regulatory body says Ghabbour, 55, should have known how to manage the situation but instead chose to “pursue his own romantic needs.”

An agreed statement of facts shows the woman, who was married and had young children, sought treatment from him for anxiety and depression stemming from her work and marital difficulties.

The document says the woman announced she no longer wanted to be his patient about a year later amid concerns from her family over her relationship with — and her own romantic feelings for — the psychiatrist.

It says they started to date within a few weeks and began a sexual relationship the following month. They now live together and plan to marry once her divorce is finalized, the document says.

While licence revocation is a more severe penalty than typically imposed for this type of case, Ghabbour’s misconduct was egregious and a lengthy suspension would not address the public’s or the college’s concerns, the disciplinary committee wrote in its decision.

“While Dr. Ghabbour’s case is not a case of sexual abuse of a patient, rather, professional misconduct in that he started a sexual relationship too soon after termination, the very nature of the relationship, the profound vulnerability of this specific patient and Dr. Ghabbour’s lack of insight into the egregiousness of the misconduct, led the committee to decide that revocation is the only suitable penalty to fully protect the public,” it said.

Ghabbour can apply for reinstatement in a year, which the committee said should give him an opportunity to show that he has learned how to prevent the same issues from arising again.

He also faces a reprimand and has been ordered to pay $11,000 to cover the costs of the two-day hearing.

The college’s current guidelines say that when treatment involves significant psychotherapy, sexual involvement is likely inappropriate any time after the end of the patient-doctor relationship.

The agreed statement of facts says the woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, began to see Ghabbour at the suggestion of her uncle. It says Ghabbour, who worked in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, agreed to take her on as a patient.

He initially diagnosed her with adjustment disorder, with depressed mood and anxiety, and a high likelihood of depressive disorder, the document says. He later noted that she discussed suicidal ideation.

After roughly five months of treatment, the woman “began experiencing and expressing strong romantic feelings” towards Ghabbour, which was reflected in his notes, the document says.

Ghabbour documented that on separate occasions, she kissed him on the cheek, hugged him and mentioned that she wanted a physical bond with him, it says. Another note mentioned “transference,” a term that describes the unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another, often a therapist.

Meanwhile, the woman’s marriage was deteriorating and she told Ghabbour she wanted a separation while she considered filing for divorce, the statement of facts says.

The woman’s mother voiced concerns about their growing closeness and threatened to lodge a complaint with the college, the document says. Ghabbour’s notes suggest he was not worried about possible repercussions, it says.

“He testified, and had charted, that he did not feel he had anything to worry about should her family members complain about him as he was doing nothing wrong,” it reads.

Almost a year into treatment, the woman told Ghabbour she no longer wanted to be his patient due to her romantic feelings for him, the document says. His last note on her case was dated about a month later, saying the file should be closed.

The disciplinary committee found that note to be “self-serving and disingenuous,” saying it did not believe a psychotherapeutic relationship could be adequately severed in this fashion.

“When there is a deep intimate one-sided exchange of personal information as occurs in ongoing psychotherapy, this inherently sets up a deep trust in the doctor by the patient,” the committee wrote.

“This trust causes a great vulnerability in the patient and an exceptional power imbalance of lasting and enduring impact.”

One week into negotiations, Trump says he’ll ‘probably’ cancel NAFTA

ALEXANDER PANETTA, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 23rd, 2017

President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at Hagerstown Regional Airport in Hagerstown, Md., on Aug. 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Donald Trump has threatened to blow up NAFTA less than one week into the renegotiation of the trade agreement, providing an early indication that the upcoming talks might occur under a cloud of menace.

The president’s threat itself is no surprise. A common topic of hallway chatter at last week’s first round of talks last week was just when he might deploy that withdrawal threat, which many view as his principal source of negotiating leverage.

The only surprise is how quickly it came.

“Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal,” Trump told a campaign-style rally in Arizona late Tuesday night. “Because we have been so badly taken advantage of. They have made such great deals – both of the countries, but in particular Mexico – that I don’t think we can make a deal.”

“So I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point.”

He repeated it: “I told you from the first day, we will renegotiate NAFTA or we will terminate NAFTA. I personally don’t think you can make a deal without termination but we’ll see what happens. You’re in good hands, I can tell you.”

He’s made the threat numerous times, but this is the first time he’s done it since Canada, the U.S. and Mexico began talks last week.

Mexico’s foreign minister shrugged it off as a leverage play: “No surprise: we’re in a negotiation,” Luis Videgaray tweeted in response. “Mexico will remain at the table with calmness, firmness, and in the national interest.”

Related stories:

It was Canada’s big prize: Is Chapter 19 still worth fighting for in new NAFTA?

Great deal of negotiation’ still required after first round of NAFTA talks

Jobs, supply chain, growth: Why autos are such an important part of NAFTA

Insiders say they expect him to keep making these threats. It’s his main source of power to force the other countries to reach an agreement. One well-connected Washington lobbyist at last week’s talks said he was convinced the threat was coming: “Almost 100 per cent.”

The former deputy trade czar under Barack Obama said it’s an obvious move and he thinks the president made it too early. In an interview several weeks ago, Robert Holleyman said it was a serious tactical error when Trump made the threat in April.

He said Canada and Mexico gained valuable insight that will render Trump’s threats less powerful at the negotiating table: in April, the U.S. Congress pushed back against him, the business community fumed, and his own cabinet members pleaded against it.

“It was, at a minimum, terrible timing,” said Holleyman, Obama’s deputy United States Trade Representative.

“You do that at the 11th hour in the negotiation – not at the throat-clearing stage … I suspect President Trump will be unable to play that card again. And if he does play it, it won’t be as strong as it would’ve been… The Canadians and Mexicans will say, ‘You… will face a huge backlash in your own Congress.’”

That episode in April underscored the complexity of ending NAFTA.

Without the support of Congress, a president might withdraw the U.S. from the international agreement, but he could not singlehandedly wave away the law on the U.S. books that implemented NAFTA.

An international economic law professor and former State Department lawyer said he believes it would ultimately end up in court. And he said U.S. courts would ultimately conclude that the president can’t rip up NAFTA without congressional support.

That’s because the president can’t just erase the 1994 NAFTA Implementation Act passed by Congress. Only Congress can pass laws. In addition, the U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress has power over international commerce.

“If the president were to rip up NAFTA, and then sort of jack tariffs way up, I think somebody would be able to come in and say… ‘You’re actually violating U.S. domestic law,’” said Tim Meyer, a Vanderbilt professor, former government lawyer, and onetime clerk for Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed to the Supreme Court.

“I think courts are going to be sympathetic to the idea that the president can’t ignore the legislation that implements these trade agreements. Congress has not repealed that legislation, and they’ve given no indication they intend to.”

That being said, several observers suggest a presidential attempt to withdraw could set up a legal and political tug of war with Congress over the setting of new tariff schedules – and that would foster economic uncertainty.

Record $417M award in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

MICHAEL BALSAMO. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Aug 22nd, 2017

baby powder
In May, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay a multi- million dollar settlement to a South Dakota woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on years of baby powder use. PHOTO: The Associated Press
A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company’s iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

The verdict in the lawsuit brought by the California woman, Eva Echeverria, marks the largest sum awarded in a series of talcum powder lawsuit verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in courts around the U.S.

Echeverria alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks. She used the company’s baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, according to court papers.

Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder,” she said in her lawsuit.

Echeverria’s attorney, Mark Robinson, said his client is undergoing cancer treatment while hospitalized and told him she hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warnings on its products.

“Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years,” Robinson said.

“She really didn’t want sympathy,” he added. “She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women.”

The jury’s award included $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages, Robinson said. The evidence in the case included internal documents from several decades that “showed the jury that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer,” Robinson said.

“Johnson & Johnson had many warning bells over a 30 year period but failed to warn the women who were buying its product,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement that the company will appeal the jury’s decision. She says while the company sympathizes with women suffering from ovarian cancer that scientific evidence supports the safety of Johnson’s baby powder.

The verdict came after a St. Louis, Missouri jury in May awarded $110.5 million to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

She had blamed her illness on her use of the company’s talcum powder-containing products for more than 40 years.

Besides that case, three other trials in St. Louis had similar outcomes last year – with juries awarding damages of $72 million, $70.1 million and $55 million, for a combined total of $307.6 million.

Another St. Louis jury in March rejected the claims of a Tennessee woman with ovarian and uterine cancer who blamed talcum powder for her cancers.

Two similar cases in New Jersey were thrown out by a judge who said the plaintiffs’ lawyers did not presented reliable evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer.

More than 1,000 other people have filed similar lawsuits. Some who won their lawsuits won much lower amounts, illustrating how juries have wide latitude in awarding monetary damages.

Johnson & Johnson is preparing to defend itself and its baby powder at upcoming trials in the U.S., Goodrich said.

Associated Press writer Amanda Lee Myers contributed to this report.

International Space Station seen against ‘awesome’ solar eclipse

MARCIA DUNN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Aug 22nd, 2017


The stars came out in the middle of the day, zoo animals ran in agitated circles, crickets chirped, birds fell silent and a chilly darkness settled upon the land Monday as the U.S. witnessed its first full-blown, coast-to-coast solar eclipse since World War I.

Millions of Americans gazed in wonder at the cosmic spectacle, with the best seats along the so-called path of totality that raced 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometres) across the continent from Oregon to South Carolina.

“It was a very primal experience,” Julie Vigeland, of Portland, Oregon, said after she was moved to tears by the sight of the sun reduced to a silvery ring of light in Salem.

The International Space Station, with six people on board, was seen against the solar eclipse. NASA photographer Joel Kowsky, who was in Banner, Wyoming, captured the ‘tiny’ ISS.

Onboard as part of Expedition 52 are: NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer, and Randy Bresnik; Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli.


Missed Monday’s solar eclipse? Parts of Canada will see another in 2024

It took 90 minutes for the shadow of the moon to travel across the country. Along that path, the moon blotted out the midday sun for about two wondrous minutes at any one place, eliciting oohs, aahs, whoops and shouts from people gathered in stadiums, parks and backyards.

It was, by all accounts, the most-observed and most-photographed eclipse in history, documented by satellites and high-altitude balloons and watched on Earth through telescopes, cameras and cardboard-frame protective eyeglasses.

In Boise, Idaho, where the sun was more than 99 per cent blocked, the street lights flicked on briefly, while in Nashville, Tennessee, people craned their necks at the sky and knocked back longneck beers at Nudie’s Honky Tonk bar.

Passengers aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean watched it unfold as Bonnie Tyler sang her 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Several minor-league baseball teams – one of them, the Columbia Fireflies, outfitted for the day in glow-in-the-dark jerseys – briefly suspended play.

At the White House, despite all the warnings from experts about the risk of eye damage, President Donald Trump took off his eclipse glasses and looked directly at the sun.

The path of totality, where the sun was 100 per cent obscured by the moon, was just 60 to 70 miles (96 to 113 kilometres) wide. But the rest of North America was treated to a partial eclipse, as were Central America and the upper reaches of South America.

Skies were clear along most of the route, to the relief of those who feared cloud cover would spoil the moment.

“Oh, God, oh, that was amazing,” said Joe Dellinger, a Houston man who set up a telescope on the Capitol lawn in Jefferson City, Missouri. “That was better than any photo.”

For the youngest observers, it seemed like magic.

“It’s really, really, really, really awesome,” said 9-year-old Cami Smith as she gazed at the fully eclipsed sun in Beverly Beach, Oregon.

NASA reported 4.4 million people were watching its TV coverage midway through the eclipse, the biggest livestream event in the space agency’s history.

“It can be religious. It makes you feel insignificant, like you’re just a speck in the whole scheme of things,” said veteran eclipse-watcher Mike O’Leary of San Diego, who set up his camera along with among hundreds of other amateur astronomers in Casper, Wyoming.

John Hays drove up from Bishop, California, for the total eclipse in Salem, Oregon, and said the experience will stay with him forever.

“That silvery ring is so hypnotic and mesmerizing, it does remind you of wizardry or like magic,” he said.

More than one parent was amazed to see teenagers actually look up from their cellphones.

Patrick Schueck, a construction company president from Little Rock, Arkansas, brought his 10-year-old twin daughters Ava and Hayden to Bald Knob Cross of Peace in Alto Pass, Illinois, a more than 100-foot cross atop a mountain. Schueck said at first his girls weren’t very interested in the eclipse. One sat looking at her iPhone.

“Quickly that changed,” he said. “It went from them being aloof to being in total amazement.” Schueck called it a chance to “do something with my daughters that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

Astronomers, too, were giddy with excitement.

NASA solar physicist Alex Young said the last time earthlings had a connection like this to the heavens was during man’s first flight to the moon, on Apollo 8 in 1968. The first, famous Earthrise photo came from that mission and, like this eclipse, showed us “we are part of something bigger.”

NASA’s acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, watched with delight from a plane flying over the Oregon coast and joked about the space-agency official next to him, “I’m about to fight this man for a window seat.”

Hoping to learn more about the sun’s composition and the mysterious solar wind, NASA and other scientists watched and analyzed it all from the ground and the sky, including aboard the International Space Station.

Citizen scientists monitored animal and plant behaviour as day turned into twilight. About 7,000 people streamed into the Nashville Zoo just to see the animals’ reaction and noticed how they got noisier at it got darker.

The giraffes started running around crazily in circles when darkness fell, and the flamingos huddled together, though zookeepers aid it wasn’t clear whether it was the eclipse or the noisy, cheering crowd that spooked them.

“I didn’t expect to get so emotionally caught up with it. I literally had chill bumps,” said zoo volunteer Stephan Foust.

In Charleston, South Carolina, the eclipse’s last stop in the U.S., college junior Allie Stern, 20, said: “It was amazing. It looked like a banana peel, like a glowing banana peel which is kind of hard to describe and imagine but it was super cool.”

After the celestial spectacle, eclipse-watchers heading home in Tennessee and Wyoming spent hours stuck in traffic jams. In Kentucky, two women watching the eclipse while standing on a sidewalk were struck by a car, and one has died, authorities said.

The Earth, moon and sun line up perfectly every one to three years, briefly turning day into night for a sliver of the planet. But these sights normally are in no man’s land, like the vast Pacific or Earth’s poles. This is the first eclipse of the social media era to pass through such a heavily populated area.

The last coast-to-coast total eclipse in the U.S. was in 1918, when Woodrow Wilson was president. The last total solar eclipse in the U.S. was in 1979, but only five states in the Northwest experienced total darkness.

The next total eclipse in the U.S. will be in 2024. The next coast-to-coast one will not be until 2045.

Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus and Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon; Peter Banda in Casper, Wyoming; Caryn Rousseau in Chicago; Seth Borenstein in Nashville, Tennessee; Johnny Clark in Charleston, South Carolina; and Beth Harpaz in Madisonville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

Best fall travel destinations for 2017

Barry Choi, MoneySense | posted Tuesday, Aug 22nd, 2017


The summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your travel plans for the year. With fall comes fewer crowds and better prices if you plan on travelling. But where should you go? I’ve picked out some of the best destinations to head to this autumn.


With fewer crowds and the temperatures being a bit more bearable, it doesn’t matter where you go to in Florida. Orlando is ideal in September and October when the kids are back in school, and the lines for rides are shorter. November is the start of the dry season so head to Miami where you can lay on the beach or head a bit north to Ft. Lauderdale where you can take a river cruise. If you’re itching for a road trip, there’s the Florida Keys, but it’s also worth exploring Naples, Fort Myers, and Sarasota on the Gulf side. Regardless of where you end up, know that hotel prices will likely be lower.


Canada has already turned 150, but that doesn’t mean you should stop exploring our beautiful country. For a real Canadian experience, head to Churchill, Man. where polar bears come out to play. Okay, I don’t advise that you actually play with them, but it’s jaw dropping to see them wander through town. Don’t worry there are guided tours in tundra buggies where you and the bears will be safe from each other. If you’re lucky, timing will work out where you can catch the northern lights at the same time. One of the times they’re most visible is from late August to early September. Note that if you do plan on visiting Churchill at this time, you should be looking to make your bookings now.

Dublin, Ireland

September tends to see the fewest visitors in Dublin which makes it the perfect time to visit. Stroll down the River Liffey and just enjoy the city and its people. Dublin is full of culture with its museums, castle, and churches. One attraction that shouldn’t be missed is the Book of Kells, a famed medieval manuscript, which can be found in Trinity College’s beautiful library. September is also when the Dublin Fringe Festival takes place so you can catch some of the best performances the world has to offer. Of course, if you’re going to Ireland in the fall, you should take some time to explore the rest of the country. Some things you shouldn’t miss include the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher, and Donegal.


Most people try to visit Japan in April when it’s cherry blossom season but come in the fall for an explosion of autumn colours. Since Tokyo is a concrete jungle, you’ll have to head to the parks to see the foliage, but once you get out of the city, you’ll be blown away. The Fuji Five Lakes region is one of the best spots to view the fall colours, plus you can enjoy a dip in one of the many hot springs. Kyoto is also a great place since you can pretty much walk in any direction and find temples and trees to marvel at. Of particular note is the area of Arashiyama in Kyoto. During the fall, the famous bamboo forest plays second fiddle to the crimson maple trees found in the valley. Want to know the best thing about Japan? It’s surprisingly affordable.

San Francisco

There’s no bad time to visit San Francisco, but the fall is when hotel prices drop a touch which is great considering how expensive this city can be. There also tends to be less fog at this time of the year so you can grab that perfect picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. The major sites will naturally be on your radar, but it’s worth exploring a neighbourhood like The Mission where art and food meet. If you plan on making a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway, San Francisco is the perfect place to start since you’ll be right beside the ocean the entire time.

Hong Kong

There are a couple of reasons to visit Hong Kong in the fall. The Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day of the People’s Republic of China both take place in early October and spark celebrations across the city. Since typhoon season has wrapped up, now’s the perfect time to hike one of the many trails that Hong Kong has to offer. If you’re a foodie, you won’t be disappointed. Hong Kong’s street food is some of the best in the world! You can have dim sum at Tim Ho Wan, the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world or have some street food at one of the markets. Most people know to make a trip up the peak, but it’s also worth taking in the views from the upper deck of one of the trams that go across Hong Kong Island.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is another destination that’s great to visit year-round, but in November there’s a really unique opportunity to help the community. You see, this is when leatherback turtles nest, so you can sign up for a volunteer program to help protect them. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour to see the turtles. Now if you prefer to see the natural sites of Costa Rica, head to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park for stunning landscapes or Samara Beach for some downtime away from the crowds.


Did you know that Oktoberfest actually runs from mid-September until the first Sunday in October? Most visitors tend to time things for the end of this two-week festival, but it’s better to arrive earlier when things are just getting warmed up. Grab a pint —or litre —of beer and join the crowds in the tent city that’s set up just for this event. Even if beer isn’t your thing, there’s no denying the happy atmosphere at this time. As for sites, the city is packed with museums and churches, but you’ll want to try and make a day trip out to Neuschwanstein Castle which inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com


Missed Monday’s solar eclipse? Parts of Canada will see another in 2024

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Aug 22nd, 2017

Observers watch the solar eclipse at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto on Monday, August 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker
Observers watch the solar eclipse at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto on Monday, August 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker
Did you see it?

For Canadians with their eyes to the skies on Monday, the solar eclipse reached it’s peak at around 2:30 p.m., when 76 per cent of the sun was covered by the moon and a bright crescent of brilliant sunshine peeked through.

Most who saw it agree – you just had to be there!

Special eclipse viewing parties were held in Toronto including one at the Ontario Science Centre and another hosted by the University of Toronto at the CNE.

For those of you who missed it, CityNews streamed the awe inspiring phenomenon live on Facebook and the video can be watched here.


But if you’re kicking yourself for not seeing the solar eclipse with your own eyes, not to worry. Another one is on it’s way in seven years, when the path of totality crosses parts of central Canada, the Maritimes and Newfoundland.

Chris Weadick of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada says he expects many of the people who flocked to the central United States to experience the event this year will head to eastern Canada for April 8, 2024.

He says seeing the shadow, cast by the moon, move across the landscape and pass by you is something that needs to be experienced in person.

Weadick says the path in 2024 will cross the southern tips of Ontario and Quebec, central New Brunswick, western P.E.I. and central Newfoundland.

Catherine Lovekin, an astronomy professor at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., says people in those areas will have a unique opportunity.

Jennifer Gale, a science educator at Science East in Fredericton, says eclipses are exciting to young and old alike, and a great opportunity to get people interested in science – just ask the thousands of people who shared their experiences from across the country.

CityNews viewer Darlene Munro sent in this photo capturing sun spots, taken through an 8″ Mead telescope fitted with a solar filter on the lens.

Sun spots captured during Monday's eclipse. This photo was taken through an 8" Mead telescope fitted with a solar filter on the lens. CITYNEWS/ Darlene Munro

OPP to investigate drowning of Jeremiah Perry

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Aug 22nd, 2017

The entrance to Algonquin Provincial Park on May 11, 2009. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/Wladyslaw
The Ontario Provincial Police will investigate the death of 15-year-old Jeremiah Perry, who drowned while on a school trip to Algonquin Park last month.

Perry had been swimming with a group of students when he went underwater and didn’t resurface. His body was found a day later by search and rescue divers.

Last week, the Toronto District School Board announced that Perry hadn’t passed a mandatory swim test before the trip.

The board’s director of education, John Malloy, said that of the 32 students who went on the multi-day canoe trip to Algonquin Park in July, 15 had failed the swim test. There was no documentation for two of the students, he said.

Malloy said all students on the trip were required to pass a swim test set out by the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, which included a rolling entry into deep water, treading water for a minute and a 50-metre continuous swim.

“I’m deeply troubled by these findings, that such a critical safety requirement in our procedures appears not to have been followed,” said Malloy.

“On behalf of the TDSB, I offer our most sincere apology and regret. I also want to apologize to the families of the other students who went on the trip, even though they did not pass the swim test.”

“The information that we have is the students did not pass the test and should not have been on the trip,” Malloy said.

Two teachers who were on the trip have been placed on home assignment as a result of the incident, he added.

New procedures have already been put in place, according to Malloy, who said that school principals will now have to see a list of students who passed or failed a required swim test before the trip takes place, and that parents will be notified if their child passed or failed the test.

More to come

Police warn about fraudulent Ontario road test booking website

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 21st, 2017

Police warning about a fraudulent drive test website
Police are warning about a fraudulent road test booking website designed to get personal information from Ontario drivers.

Ottawa police say they’ve received several complaints from unsuspecting drivers who attempted to book a road test using the site bookyourroadtest.com.

Investigators say the website appears legitimate at first glance and shows up on top of a Google search for “road test” due to promotion by fraudsters.

The data collected via the site is considered very valuable, as it includes a credit card number, driver’s licence number, address, date of birth and phone number, which can be used for identity theft.

Those looking to book a road test are cautioned to take the time to verify that they are booking on the Ontario government’s official Drive Test Centre website.

Anyone who has been a victim of this scam is asked to notify their financial institutions and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

ontario drive test website

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