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WestJet to launch low-cost carrier late this year

CityNews | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

WestJet will launch a new ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) later this year, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“We have built WestJet from its low-cost, regional roots into a renowned, international airline with service to 21 countries and today it’s all about disrupting at the price-sensitive end of the market,” Clive Beddoe, co-founder of WestJet and chair of the board of the directors, said in the statement.

“Launching a ULCC will broaden WestJet’s growth opportunities and open new market segments by offering more choice to those Canadians looking for lower fares.”

The service will start with an initial fleet of 10 high-density Boeing 737-800s designed by the airline.

The deal still approval from pilots and regulators, 680 NEWS senior business editor Mike Eppel said.

Keeping your kids’ closet, toys + bathrooms organized

Janice Meredith | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

Organizing your kids and having them keep it that way!

First off you need to edit out and see what you have left to organize before you begin any system.

Kids are actually quite used to everything having a place and having to be a part of putting it back. They thrive on the success of getting things in the right place.  At school everything is labeled or has a place, so let’s keep that same action going at home.

  1. Closet:

Keeps things simple, clean and organized. But most importantly, at your child’s eye level and within arms reach. Try to keep out-of-season inventory out of the way.

Expandable Bar, Life At Home, Real Canadian Super Store, $19.99

More things are not helpful.  All their clothes should be able to fit in their room. If there is overflow, you have too much stuff.

Two baskets keep small things (that get passed on once it’s full) or bigger incoming items making rotating the items an ongoing practice.

Each child has its own type/colour of hanger and own laundry bin which makes it easier for distributing from the laundry room as kids should be putting away their own laundry.

Felt slim profile hangers, Homesense, $6.99

The third upper closet bin is for keepsakes. So they can dump/place/toss into the bin through out the school year and then at the end of the school year, this closet bin gets edited and emptied into the real keepsake bin. They make their own choices about what to keep.

There are also digital websites to host your child’s art projects that you can share with family once you have taken a picture of it. Artsomia or ArtKive

Morning and bedtime routines help solidify the actions so we keep to the organization. They can see everything they own. They are a part of putting it away If something is missing, we know quickly ie hat or mitts as it is not in it’s place.

Just like with adults, when we can see everything we have we are more inclined to use everything we have.  Also means we won’t ask for what we don’t need. Kids understand things have to be removed to get something new.

2. Toys:

I provide the storage container for toys and it’s their choice and in their control about which toys to keep in that limited space. It’s also good to reference back on when birthday’s or gift-receiving to know what they have and what they are using.

Divide toys based on the use – common – keep low and easily accessible, less frequent – move higher.

Easy access baskets, Homesense, $12.99 –small, $16.99 – large

With everything in a bin, you can rotate out and in toys to keep them fresh. 2-3 bins accessible at a time, the others in a cupboard.

Underbed storage is a great place for toys, games and books. Especially for those sharing bedrooms. It’s their sacred place.

Skubb soft side small storage bins, Ikea, $9.99

Stuffies have one spot to go. Anymore and some need to be edited out and donated.

Woven basket, Real Canadian Super Store, $23.37

Back of door shoe organizers are the best for sorting game figures, keep sakes, hair accessories and so much more.

Life At Home over the door organizer Real Canadian Super Store, $24.99

Papers get collected and organized in one spot.

Grundtal magnetic knife strip, Ikea, $14.99

Magnetic bulldog clips, Staples, $5.43

Wood wall storage with wire bins, Homesense, $59.99

3. Bathroom:

They each have a hook and a drawer  for their own product. My boys are all so different that it’s an easier time for them to simply use their own toothpaste in their own way. Meaning one is messy, one is so proper, etc. Instead of buying three tubes of toothpaste through the year, I buy three for them each that all last that same time but without fighting.

Towels and robes get hung on their own hooks which means they aren’t laying on the floor in a wet puddle.

Kitchy fish hooks Homesense $1.99

Blecka hooks Ikea, $6.99

My kids know with me if it isn’t done correctly, they can’t move on to what they want – snack, play until things are put back in their spot. Obviously you have to be a gate keeper but soon it does become more effortless on their part. We have fewer missing items when things are organized. Fewer chaotic starts or finishes to our day. It’s taught on the premise that it’s to be respectful way for us all to live and get along.

Toronto police union wants Pride funding pulled after floats banned

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

The union representing Toronto’s police officers is urging the city to pull an annual grant to Canada’s largest Pride parade after the event banned police floats.

In an open letter released by the union Wednesday, a committee representing LGBTQ officers in the force said it would be unacceptable for the city to give the roughly $260,000 grant to an event that excludes certain municipal employees.

The committee said officers would feel completely devalued and unsupported by the city if the funding continued.

The plea comes weeks after a similar call from a Toronto city councillor, who said the grant should be voted down until the city’s Pride parade returns to its “core principals of equity and inclusivity.”

In January, Pride Toronto adopted a list of demands issued by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, including banning police floats from the parade.

Members of the anti-racism group held a sit-in part way through the parade last July, stopping it from moving forward for about a half hour, until Pride organizers signed the list of demands.

Black Lives Matter said it opposed police presence in the parade because it could discourage marginalized communities from participating.

About a month after Pride Toronto’s ruling, Toronto’s police chief announced the force would not be participating in the annual event this year, citing divisions within the LGBTQ community as a key motivator.

The city still provides policing, transportation and other services for the Pride parade, which would not be affected even if the grant is revoked.

Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, read the open letter Wednesday at city hall, where he was set to deliver it to Mayor John Tory.

“When any city employee, regardless of their job function, is disinvited from an event hosted in the city of Toronto, we feel it is simply a conflict of interest and unacceptable that the City of Toronto remain a sponsor,” he read.

“We can think of no example in Canada where either a public or private employer has been a lead sponsor for an event their employees were asked not to participate in.”

Pride Toronto said although the city’s police service will not be participating this year, individual LGBTQ officers were welcome to march in the parade.

“Toronto city council has provided valuable support to Pride through funding and support services. In turn, we provide the largest economic impact of any festival in the city,” the organization said in statement Wednesday night. “We hope this reality will be front of mind for council as they consider our funding this year.”

The issue of police participation in Pride parades has also emerged in other Canadian cities in recent months.

The Vancouver Pride Society has asked officers in that city to show up in fewer numbers and without their uniforms at the request of the local chapter of Black Lives Matter.

Halifax police have also announced they would pull out of the city’s Pride parade this year in light of the “national debate” about law enforcement participation in such events.

High Park Zoo seeks public’s help naming baby capybaras, lambs born at Riverdale

CityNews | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

Their parents were aptly named Bonnie and Clyde after a daring escape from captivity that made international headlines last summer.

But life on the lam would soon be replaced by the domestic responsibilities of parenthood for High Park Zoo’s infamous capybaras.

The fury rebels recently had triplets, but unlike their parents, the “capybabies” remain nameless.

That’s where you can help.

High Park Zoo wants the public’s suggestions when it comes to naming the three babies.

Of course, it won’t be easy as their sexes remain undetermined. So, think Pat from Saturday Night Live, or a similarly androgynous moniker.

A short list of names will be determined by zoo staff. Then the public will be able to vote starting May 8.

You can submit your names here

Meanwhile in the east end, Riverdale Farm is welcoming three little lambs.

The City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation department tweeted out a photo of one of the new arrivals on Wednesday.

Capitals beat Leafs 5-4 in Game 4 to tie series

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

The Toronto Maple Leafs got their toughest test yet from the best team in hockey.

Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie both scored twice and Alex Ovechkin notched his third goal of the playoffs as the Washington Capitals evened the best-of-seven first round series at two games apiece, dropping the Leafs 5-4 in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

Zach Hyman, James van Riemsdyk, Auston Matthews and Tyler Bozak all scored in defeat for Toronto, which made a late charge, while Frederik Andersen surrendered five goals on 27 shots.

Braden Holtby made 30 saves at the other end as the favoured Caps regained momentum with the series shifting back to Washington for Game 5 on Friday night.

Leafs coach Mike Babcock saw the Oilers get throttled 7-0 by the Sharks on Tuesday night and was wary of such an outcome for his team in Game 4. It was apparent that it might just go that way early with Washington popping for a pair of goals in the first five minutes and four before the opening period was done.

Oshie got the first one for the Caps when he capitalized on a Nate Schmidt point shot sent purposefully wide of the net. Ovechkin added the next one when he was left wide open for a one-time blast on a Washington power play.

The script was familiar to Game 3 when the Leafs also went down 2-0 in the first five minutes, but unlike that game — an overtime victory — the club never did recover. While they pulled back within one on Hyman’s first career playoff goal 42 seconds after the Ovechkin marker, the Caps struck again for two more in a span of less than three minutes — both by Wilson, a Toronto native.

The 23-year-old was everywhere on both goals.

Moved up in the lineup for Game 4 as head coach Barry Trotz looked for a spark, Wilson first pulled back a Morgan Rielly shot from the goal-line after it snuck through the pads of Holtby. He then raced the other way and deflected Lars Eller’s harmless shot from the sideboards past Andersen.

On his next shift, Wilson barreled over Rielly near the Washington blue line and then finished off a two-on-one sequence with Andre Burakovsky.

Before the series Babcock was asked about the pest-potential of Wilson, who also scored the Game 1 overtime winner, and said: “Nothing against Wilson because he works hard and all that, but he’s not as big a concern as lots of people on their team.”

The Leafs were outshot 15-6 in the first by a Caps opponent that looked far more like the Presidents’ Trophy-winning team most expected. It was Washington that won the majority of battles and races, those in white sweaters often hogging the puck for long stints in the Toronto zone.

Trotz was expecting his team’s best game yet, describing them as “pretty focused” and in a “real good, confident mood” on Wednesday morning.

“I think we know it’s a crucial game for us,” Capitals defenceman Brooks Orpik said before the game. “Win this one and it’s best-of-three with home ice.”

For the Leafs conversely, the game proceeded much as Babcock feared it would.

Citing the example of Edmonton and San Jose on Wednesday morning, Babcock said: “One team relaxes and feels pretty good about themselves, talks to everybody and they all tell you how great they’re doing and the other team gets prepared.”

Whether that was indeed the case on Wednesday night, his team simply looked nothing like the speedy, skilled group which swiped two of the first three games. They struggled to complete a pass, gave up more quality chances than usual, were sloppy with the puck or simply pushed off it when they did have it by a hungrier opponent.

The Leafs had only five offensive zone faceoffs at even-strength through two periods compared to 14 for the Caps.

Van Riemsdyk brought Toronto within two when he scored early in the second on a power play, but chances otherwise were minimal against Holtby.

Puck possession stood at 65 per cent in Washington’s favour through 40 minutes.

The Leafs did catch a break in the waning seconds of the middle period when Eller was called for putting his hand on the puck. Orpik was bounced three seconds later for slashing Mitch Marner.

Toronto pelted Holtby with five shots with nearly two full minutes of a five-on-three advantage, but couldn’t score.

Washington then appeared to go up 5-2 with just under 12 minutes to go, but that apparent goal from Schmidt was waved off immediately on goalie interference. The Caps challenged the play, which saw Nicklas Backstrom get tangled up with Andersen, but the initial call was confirmed.

Matthews pulled the Leafs back within one about four minutes later with his second of the playoffs, but Oshie increased the deficit back to two when he beat Andersen 59 seconds after that.

Bozak brought Toronto back within one with 26 seconds left, but that was as close as they would come.

Pharmacy distributors want in on Canada’s legalized marijuana regime

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

The federal government’s plans for legalizing recreational marijuana has many would-be players looking to carve out a role for themselves in the emerging market, including pharmaceutical distributors who already ship drugs across the country.

The Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management – a supplier of medicine for pharmacies and hospitals – says it has a ready-made system for marijuana distribution that they say is far superior to mail-order pot.

Pharmaceutical distributors offer a more appropriate vehicle for the recreational marijuana market, CEO David Johnston said in an interview Wednesday, noting they already have the infrastructure in place to handle potential recalls, be it in downtown Toronto or remote northern Ontario.

“Pharmaceutical products (are) being shipped across this country and being delivered by the pharmaceutical distributors, so we feel like we are a natural partner in the movement of marijuana, both medical and recreational, to whatever its final access point is,” Johnston said.

“That’s a detail that’s not known yet.”

The federal government plans to have an established regime for legalized marijuana by July 2018, but will require provincial and territorial governments to play a critical role on issues including licensing, distribution and retail sales.

More discussions can unfold with federal and provincial officials now that the Liberal government fired up the process last week when it tabled its long-awaited marijuana legislation, Johnston added.

“There are … difficult and complicated questions that need to be answered around the legalization of marijuana both medically and recreationally,” he said.

“What we are suggesting is: here is a very complex section where you already have a … proven solution.”

On Thursday, hundreds are expected to flock to Parliament Hill to take part in so-called 4-20 celebrations – an annual, highly visible display of support for legal marijuana that takes place in various locales around the world.

The celebration is expected to take on new meaning now the federal government has set in motion its legalization process including sweeping legal, health and justice policy shifts.

Health Minister Jane Philpott, who first signalled the timing of the landmark legislation on 4-20 last year at a UN special session on drugs, did not strike a celebratory tone when asked Wednesday about the upcoming demonstrations.

“We are pleased that we were able to get this bill tabled in the House,” she said in an interview.

“It is a transformative piece of policy that is, I think, a strong response to the realities that we are facing in Canada with high rates of cannabis use.”

The Liberal government will also ensure Canadians who need cannabis for medical purposes can do so through the existing regime, Philpott said, noting a federally appointed task force recommended a separate system alongside the recreational one.

In a 2016 decision, the Federal Court of Canada declared a previous medical marijuana system unconstitutional on the basis it did not provide patients with reasonable access to cannabis.

The government subsequently introduced new regulations – the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations – in August 2016 so patients could access marijuana through licensed producers, produce their own, or designate someone to do so.

The issue of personal cultivation is also popping up in the recreational pot debate, with the government’s proposed legislation allowing for up to four plants per residence, with no plant to exceed one metre in height.

Before the bill was tabled, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police urged the Liberal government to exclude personal cultivation from its plans to legalize marijuana, saying it’s impossible to ensure such marijuana isn’t being cultivated for the black market.

Province to unveil housing package to cool GTA market

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

The Ontario government is unveiling a much-anticipated package of housing measures Thursday, aimed at cooling a red-hot market.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa have signalled that the measures will take aim at speculators, expedite more supply, tackle rental affordability and look at realtor practices.

The average price of detached houses in the GTA rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4 per cent from a year ago, but Wynne says the issue extends throughout the Golden Horseshoe area.

Sousa says investing in real estate is not a bad thing, but he wants speculators to pay their fair share.

He says the measures will also look at how to expedite housing supply, and he has appeared receptive to Toronto Mayor John Tory’s talk of a vacant homes tax.

Sousa has also raised the issue of bidding wars, and has suggested realtor practices will be dealt with in the housing package.

Ontario Housing Minister Chris Ballard has also said the provincial government has been developing “substantive rent control reform” amid calls to end a rule that sees annual rent increase caps only apply to residential buildings or units constructed before November 1991.

6 simple ways to get a handle on your kids’ screen time

Bryan Borzykowski | posted Wednesday, Apr 19th, 2017

One morning last year, at 5 a.m., Patti Barnes woke to a strange rustling noise coming from the main floor of her house. She got out of bed to investigate. Downstairs, she made a startling discovery: Her then five-year-old was sneakily playing Minecraft on the family’s iPad.

Barnes couldn’t believe it. “I asked her what she was doing,” says the Vancouver mother of five. “And she told me this wasn’t her first time.” Then and there, Barnes began setting new rules for her kids’ screen time—the first of which was no tablets, TV or phones before school.

Managing screen time is becoming an increasingly difficult task for parents. Phones and tablets are always within arm’s reach, streaming services let you watch what you want when you want it, and even things we used to do at a table, like chess or arithmetic, can be done on a device.

“The amount of screen time tends to creep up on you slowly, and kids are very adept at noticing when you’re distracted,” says Barnes. “You’re busy working or there’s something else you need to do without being badgered every two minutes, so it’s easy to let screens be a babysitter.”

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is revisiting its screen-time recommendations, acknowledging that we live in a world full of screens. Still, every hour your kid is watching TV or on an iPhone playing video games is an hour he’s not running outside, playing with friends or reading a book.

“If you spend time watching TV, then you’re cancelling out other parts of your day when your child could be enriched,” says Janice Heard, a paediatrician and member of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s public education advisory committee. So how can you get a handle on your kids’ screen time?

1. Budget it Edmonton mom Sharla Madsen allows her kids, ages seven and four, 45 minutes of tablet or Wii U a day and about half an hour of TV watching. They can bank those minutes if they don’t use them, which she says gives them a sense of control.

2. Cut it If you don’t want to be the screen police all week long, Heard suggests banning it altogether on school days. “It’s much easier to monitor screen time if there is none,” she says. You can always record movies or sports games and watch them on the weekend.

3. Move it Zoning out in front of Monster High is one thing, but playing an active video game, like Dance Dance Revolution, is different, says Heard (although it still shouldn’t replace outdoor activity). Things like chatting with family members via Skype and doing homework are also valid reasons to be in front of a monitor.

4. Compromise on it When coming up with limits, have a family meeting, suggests Heard, to ask for the kids’ input. When Madsen talked to her son about what would be an appropriate amount of time to spend on his tablet, she suggested 45 minutes, and he countered by asking for an extra 10 to 15 minutes on the weekend. “I made his day when I agreed,” she says.

5. Enforce it Once the rules are set, going cold turkey rather than slowly reducing screen time is better, says Heard, if only because it’s easier to enforce. However, you’ll need to think of things for your kids to do to fill the time, and expect to hear the inevitable “I’m bored.” (Which might just force them to figure out a way to have fun on their own.)

6. Schedule it Plan screen time for when you need them to be occupied, like when you’re making dinner. But be prepared to spend more time with your kids, too. “Parents often use the screen to babysit, so they’re going to have to adjust their own schedules,” Heard says.

Whatever rules you make, the hardest part is sticking to them, admits Barnes. The other big challenge is cutting back your own screen time. If you can’t put your phone away, then why would your kids? “Parents need to be the role models,” says Heard.

Expert tip
To further reduce your kids’ reliance on tech, set aside designated no-screen times, like during meals, says paediatrician Janice Heard. (This means no tablets or phones at the table for grown-ups, too.) Don’t let your kids eat snacks or meals in front of the TV.

A version of this article appeared in our January 2016 issue with the headline, “Zoned out,” p. 48.

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