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Toronto considering regulating Airbnb rentals

Faiza Amin | posted Thursday, Oct 27th, 2016

The City of Toronto is taking steps to regulate the short-term rental market, including companies like Airbnb.

A vote passed for staff to report back with proposed regulations at Wednesday’s executive committee meeting.

“I view this with a sense of some concern, I won’t say urgency yet, but it’s rising in terms of the temperature,” Mayor John Tory said.

Staff will now begin the process of researching and consulting with residents and stakeholders, and will have until spring 2017 to present the proposed regulations. They will have to determine what regulations will apply, who they’ll apply to, and have a proper plan of enforcement in place.

“I think our obligation with Airbnb is that they’re brought into the regulatory fold, that it’s done in a responsible way that addresses the real problems,” the mayor added.

Nearly 10,000 Airbnb rooms were rented out last year alone, double the amount since 2014, according to the report presented Wednesday. Representatives from Airbnb Canada also told the committee to consider the economic impacts the company alone has had on the city.

“We’ve made a study that says guests coming here, have spent about $75 million in Toronto restaurants,” said Alex Dagg, public policy manager with Airbnb Canada.

Dagg was one of nearly a dozen speakers who made presentations to the committee. Following her speech, members from the hotel industry expressed concern over the lack of regulations policing short-term rental companies. That industry argued that companies like Airbnb are competing unfairly, because they aren’t faced with the same rules, regulations and taxes as the hotel industry.

“If you’re talking about commercial tax, you can’t compare the Sheraton Centre with a home or a resident’s who’s sharing their primary home from time to time,” Dagg countered. “Those aren’t the same.”

Housing and anti-poverty advocates also argued for more regulation, saying the short-term rental market is having an impact on affordable housing in Toronto.

Last month, Vancouver unveiled a plan that would only allow rentals lasting fewer than 30 days to happen in a home that’s also someone’s principle residence.  Tory has asked the city to come back with regulations similar to those recently implemented in other cities in Canada and the United States.

Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez was present at Wednesday’s meeting. In his presentation, he told the committee how regulations contributed to the betterment of his city.

“It just made it a level playing field, because what was happening before, is we had kind of a black market,” Vazquez told CityNews. “These folks were kicking up an operation without paying a business tax or complying with other regulations a hotel would have.”

When asked how regulations have changed the industry in the Californian city, Vazquez explained there are fewer hosts participating in short-term rentals after rules were put in place, going from 1,700 to 1,000.

The Santa Monica mayor says there are some challenges that his city is facing since introducing regulations, including two pending lawsuits; one from a home owner who claims the city is infringing on rights; the other from Airbnb.

Commuter alert: Yonge and Richmond closed for road, TTC work

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 27th, 2016

Drivers, take note: a major downtown intersection is closed to traffic for construction until Monday.

Starting at 6 a.m. on Thursday, the intersection of Yonge Street and Richmond Street West is closed to traffic as crews conduct road work, sidewalk repairs and TTC track replacement.

The closure is scheduled to be in place until 7 a.m. on Monday.

Westbound traffic on Richmond will have to detour at Victoria Street. Motorists heading south on Yonge will be diverted at Queen Street, while northbound traffic will have to turn at Adelaide.

Yonge will be closed from north of Queen to Dundas Street from 11 p.m. on Friday to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Construction hours have been extended to include some around-the-clock work in order to speed up the job.

CAMH tipped off police about eight nursing home deaths: source

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Oct 27th, 2016

TORONTO – The Canadian Press has learned that the investigation into the alleged murders of eight long-term care home residents was launched after police received a tip from a psychiatric hospital in Toronto.

A police source familiar with the investigation says officials from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health alerted the Toronto police that Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a nurse from Woodstock, Ont., had provided information to hospital staff that caused them “concern.”

Wettlaufer, 49, was charged Tuesday with eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of elderly residents at two nursing homes in Woodstock, Ont., and London, Ont.

Since the alleged crimes occurred outside of Toronto police’s jurisdiction, the source says officers informed three other police forces, including the Ontario Provincial Police.

Lawyers for Wettlaufer could not immediately be reached for comment.

CAMH said they did not disclose information about their clients due to patient confidentiality.

Related Stories:
Who is alleged serial killer Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer?
Video: Registered nurse leaves the courthouse after being charged with eight counts of first-degree murder
Who were the victims in alleged nursing home murders?

Just a few weeks ago, Wettlaufer gave away her beloved dog, Nashville, a spry Jack Russell terrier.

Her friends thought the move odd, but they now wonder if the 49-year-old nurse knew what was coming.

On Tuesday, Wettlaufer was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of seniors in her care — seven of them at a nursing home just a 15-minute walk from her apartment in Woodstock, Ont.

As news broke about her charges, her friends gathered outside the apartment building, trying to piece it all together.

“She was a happy-go-lucky lady,” said Nancy Gilbert, who lived downstairs from Wettlaufer’s fifth-floor apartment.

“It’s hard to believe, really, really hard to believe.”

Wettlaufer would often join their tight little group as they sat on the grass outside the apartment when the weather was nice, chatting the night away, Gilbert said.

She and Wettlaufer had dinner at Kelsey’s just a few weeks ago.

During that meal, Wettlaufer told her she had just gotten out of rehab at a facility in Toronto — it was the second such time, Gilbert said.

A Facebook page for a Bethe Wettlaufer, whose photo, education and employment records match that of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, makes reference to what appears to be a struggle with substance abuse.

“My own voice called to me in the darkness. Others hands lifted me when I chose the light. One year ago today I woke up not dead. 365 days clean and sober,” says a post from September 2015.

Amid police concerns that she would commit a “serious personal injury,” Wettlaufer was made subject of a peace bond earlier this month with 10 conditions, including that she live with her parents in Woodstock, observe a night-time curfew, and refrain from acting as a caregiver to anyone.

In addition, she was banned from possessing insulin or any other medication unless it was for her own use.

CityNews spoke with Dr. Vincent Marks, a UK-based expert in insulin use in murders who said an insulin overdoes will cause a person to slip into unconsciousness and never regain consciousness.

“They lose consciousness. They lie there in coma,” he said. “Eventually it destroys the brain. But it doesn’t kill you very rapidly.”

Dr. Marks said a post-mortem is almost impossible to detect insulin poisoning, except by collecting blood pretty soon after the patient has died and measuring the insulin in their blood.

“If you don’t do that there’s no way of determining insulin poisoning,” he said.

She was also barred by the court order from visiting any long-term care facility, nursing or retirement home, or hospital unless she needed medical treatment.

Wettlaufer was further required to “continue any treatment for mental health,” and stay away from alcohol.

Terms of 810.2 Elizabeth Wettlaufer Peace Bond Province of Ontario/Woodstock Police Service

Charlene Puffer said she lived down the hall from Wettlaufer’s apartment and described her neighbour as a decent person.

She said Wettlaufer was quiet and loved her pets, which also included two cats. Gilbert said Wettlaufer lived alone and court records indicate she filed for divorce in 2008.

Records from the College of Nurses of Ontario show Wettlaufer was first registered as a nurse in August 1995 but resigned Sept. 30 of this year and is no longer a registered nurse.

While police refused to provide details of their investigation, court documents show Wettlaufer had been on their radar for some time.

Her friends said they hadn’t seen the nurse much in recent weeks as she told them she was living with parents.

Gilbert said Wettlaufer had told her about a developmentally challenged child she had been helping take care of, which only furthered the friend’s disbelief at the charges.

Before she worked at Caressant Care, Wettlaufer worked at Christian Horizons, a faith-based charitable organization which works with people with developmental disabilities.

The organization said Wettlaufer left in June 2007 and noted that the allegations she now faces are not connected to her employment with Christian Horizons.

“We are shocked and saddened by these tragic deaths, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the Woodstock community,” the organization’s CEO, Janet Noel-Annable, said in a statement.

Wettlaufer appeared in court Tuesday morning and was remanded into custody until her next court hearing on Nov. 2. A lawyer for Wettlaufer could not immediately be reached.

Tragically Hip fan dressing toddler as Gord Downie for Halloween

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Oct 26th, 2016


An Ontario mom and Tragically Hip superfan gets top prize for creativity this Halloween.

According to BuzzFeed, Shannon White is dressing up her two-year-old son Bentley Davidson as Gord Downie this year.

She told BuzzFeed she came up with the idea while watching the Tragically Hip’s final concert and thought it would be a fitting tribute to a Canadian icon. She then posted a picture of Bentley in the costume on Facebook, where it was shared hundreds of times.

The article says she sourced the costume from Walmart, thrift shops, craft stores and a local fair, and she’s faithful to details like the feather in Downie’s hat and his Jaws T-shirt. She used an old sock for the scarf, as Downie himself does to keep his vocal chords warm during concerts.

A handkerchief Downie threw into the audience during a show in Belleville in 2008 will be tucked in Bentley’s back pocket on Oct. 31.




Who were the victims in alleged nursing home murders?

NEWS STAFF, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Oct 26th, 2016


Here’s what we know so far about the eight people Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer is accused of murdering while she worked as a registered nurse at long-term care homes in Woodstock and London, Ontario.

Maureen Pickering, 79

Pickering died at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock on Friday, March 28, 2014. She was formerly of Tillsonburg and was predeceased by her husband, Hubert Pickerting, who died in 2009. According to her obituary, she was very close with several cousins. She was described by a friend in an online condolence as “a wonderful and beautiful lady … We will miss her cheerfulness and lovely smile.”

Arpad Horvath, 75


Horvath was a resident at Meadow Park in London and died on August 31, 2014. He was married, had two children, three grandchildren, two sisters and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother who died in 2010. Horvath was an avid hunter and was president of the Hungarian Club of London for nearly three decades. According to his obituary, he was owner and Chief Engineer of Central Tool & Die Limited of London for 50 years.

Gladys Millard, 87


Millard died at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock on October 14, 2011, just days after her birthday. She was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Her husband, Henry H. Millard passed away in 1997. She had a son and daughter as well as five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. According to her obituary she was an active member of the Knox Presbyterian Church and was a member of several clubs in the Woodstock area. She was predeceased by a sister and four brothers.

Helen Matheson, 95

Matheson died at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock on October 27, 2011. She was formerly of Innerkip Ont. Her husband, Carl LeRoy Matheson, died in 1998. She has a son, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She was predeceased by a son who died in 2001. She was a longtime, active member of the Innerkip United Church UCW.

Maurice Granat, 84

Grant died at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock on Sunday December 23, 2007. According to his obituary friends called him “Moe.” He was formerly of Tillsonburg and was a father of two daughters. He also had five grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son.

James Silcox, 84

Silcox died at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock on August 17, 2007. He was a Second World War veteran of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. The former Standard Tube worker was a married father of six.

Mary Zurawinski, 96

Zurawinski died at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock on November 7, 2011.

Helen Young, 90

Young died at Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock on July 14, 2013.

Who is alleged serial killer Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer?

News staff and Alanna Kelly | posted Wednesday, Oct 26th, 2016

Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer of Woodstock, 49, is facing eight charges of first-degree murder and police allege she killed eight elderly people between 2007 and 2014.

Here is what we know about her.

She has been a Registered Nurse with the College of Nurses of Ontario since June 8, 1995 and resigned on September 30, 2016.

Work experience:

  • September 2016: Resigned as a Registered Nurse
  • 2014: Registered Nurse at Meadow Park in London, Ontario
  • At least from 2007 to 2014 – Registered Nurse at Caressant Care Nursing & Retirement Homes Limited in Woodstock, Ontario
    “Assessing patients Administering medications. Performing prescribed treatments. Communicating with patients, families and health care professionals. Supervising care staff. Generating and maintaining patient care plans. Updating patient charts. Processing Dr’s orders,” as posted on Linkedin.
  • Dates unknown: Lifeguard Homecare
  • 2007: Support Worker at Christian Horizons in Woodstock, Ontario
  • 1995: Registered Nurse with the College of Nurses of Ontario



The above information was gathered from Wettlaufer’s Facebook, which is under the name Bethe Wettlaufer, and Linkedin pages.


  • 1992 to 1995: Nursing at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario
    “Learned all aspects of nursing care and duties,” as posted on Linkedin
  • 1987 to 1991: Religious Education and counseling at London Baptist Bible College in London, Ontario
  • Dates unknown: Huron Park Secondary School in Woodstock, Ontario

Interests & Groups:

  • The Toronto Zoo
  • Praise 106.5 radio station
  • Justin Trudeau
  • Samaritan’s Purse
  • Nurse Community
  • Nursing Adventures
  • BibleStudyTools.com
  • Youth Suicide Prevention in Woodstock Ontario
  • Friends who like Son of God


Social media posts:

WETTLAUFER social post

WETTLAUFER social post 5

WETTLAUFER social post 2

WETTLAUFER social post 3

WETTLAUFER social post 4



Related Stories:
Registered nurse charged with eight counts of first-degree murder
Video: Registered nurse leaves the courthouse after being charged with eight counts of first-degree murder
Who were the victims in alleged nursing home murders?

Registered nurse charged with eight counts of first-degree murder

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 25th, 2016

A registered nurse is charged with murdering eight elderly people in southwestern Ontario.

Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer of Woodstock, 49, appeared in court on Tuesday to face eight charges of first-degree murder.

The killings took place between 2007 and 2014, Woodstock police chief William Renton said at a news conference on Tuesday. It’s a shockingly high number, for a town that is already coping with the high-profile death of Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford.

“We’re a resilient town,” Renton said.

“It’s very difficult for a community to have to endure these types of tragic incidents but the community is strong and the community will rally and work together to get through it again, just as we have in other major incidents.”

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, accused of murdering eight people, appears in a Woodstock court on Oct. 25, 2016. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher
Elizabeth Wettlaufer, accused of murdering eight people, appears in a Woodstock court on Oct. 25, 2016. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher


The multi-jurisdictional investigation began on Sept. 29 of this year. The next day, Wettlaufer gave up her nursing license.

The investigation eventually grew to include the London police and the Ontario provincial police. Police held a news conference about the case on Tuesday. It has ended but can be viewed below:

The victims are James Silcox, 84; Maurice Granat, 84; Gladys Millard, 87; Helen Matheson, 95; Mary Zurawinski, 96; Helen Young, 90; Maureen Pickering, 79; and Arpad Horvath, 75. Seven of the victims lived at Caressant Care home in Woodstock, while Horvath lived at Meadow Park in London.

Caressant Care did not identify the nurse, but said in a statement that a nurse who left their organization more than two years ago was under investigation.

Caressant Care is “cooperating fully” with the investigation and will not be releasing more information, communications manager Lee Griffi said in a statement.

“We are determined to avoid compromising the police investigation in any way and are therefore unable to provide any additional comment at this time.”

Police announced on Oct. 14 that they had identified a suspect and said they had taken all “reasonable measures” to ensure public safety, but did not say what those measures were, adding that the case is now before the courts.

The victims were given a drug, police said at the news conference, but didn’t say which one, again citing the ongoing court case. Police also wouldn’t say if Wettlaufer was known to police, what the suspected motive was, or if they were “mercy killings.”

Caressant Care statement about police investigation by CityNewsToronto on Scribd


Looming GTA school bus driver strike would affect thousands of students

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 25th, 2016

A potential school bus driver strike could affect thousands of Greater Toronto Area students.

Letters were sent home with students on Monday (see the letter below), warning parents that drivers with First Student Markham could walk off the job next month.

The union would have to give 72 hours notice before beginning any job action. The union will be in a legal strike position as of Nov. 3.

If a strike does happen, it would impact 2,500 public school students and almost 6,000 Catholic school students.

Negotiations are still ongoing.

The Toronto District School Board says in the event of a strike they will be unable to bring in another company to service the affected routes.

This comes after a chaotic start to the school year, where a school bus driver shortage left students stranded and parents fuming.

Related stories:

Video: School bus driver gets lost for an hour with kids on board
North York dad may take legal action after second school bus mishap
Ontario ombudsman to investigate chronic school bus driver shortage

List of schools that would be affected:


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