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Sportsnet fires analyst Gregg Zaun after complaints of ‘inappropriate behaviour’

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 30th, 2017

Sportsnet has terminated baseball analyst Gregg Zaun’s contract effective immediately.

This follows an investigation into complaints made by multiple female employees of “inappropriate behaviour and comments” in the workplace.

In a statement, Rogers Media President Rick Brace says Zaun’s “behaviour completely contradicts our standards and our core values. We believe in a professional workplace where all employees feel comfortable and respected. We are grateful to our employees who spoke with us and we will take every measure to protect their privacy.”

There were no allegations of physical or sexual assault.

Zaun, a former Blue Jays catcher, began a part-time broadcasting career with Sportsnet following the 2006 season. He initially signed a two-year deal as a MLB studio analyst with Sportsnet following his retirement in 2011 and continued working with the network until his termination.

Zaun, 46, played 16 major league seasons, including five years in Toronto from 2004 to 2008. He captured a World Series win with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

Sportsnet is owned by Rogers Media, which is also the parent company of CityNews and 680 NEWS.

With files from The Canadian Press and Sportsnet

Altidore perseveres to send TFC back to MLS Cup final

Sportsnet | posted Thursday, Nov 30th, 2017

Major League Soccer now has its Bobby Baun moment.

Hobbled by an ankle injury suffered just minutes earlier, a limping Jozy Altidore emerged as the hero on Wednesday night when he scored the lone goal in Toronto FC’s 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew in the second leg of the Eastern Conference final.

With the victory, TFC advances to the league championship final for a second consecutive year, and will host the MLS Cup on Dec. 9 at BMO Field..

After nearly having to be subbed out following a painful collision, Altidore took his chance brilliantly on the hour mark, fighting through the discomfort and latching onto a perfectly weighted pass from Victor Vazquez before firing home to clinch the aggregate series for the Reds.

In the post-match press conference, Altidore said that he couldn’t really move and was just hobbling around the pitch after getting his ankle taped up on the sidelines. When he came back in, he knew he couldn’t last long, so he was simply trying to stay on the field long enough to give his potential replacement enough time to warm up. He ended up scoring the winner.

“I knew that’d I have trouble continuing at the level that would be needed for a game like that. But I also wanted to give whoever was coming on potentially a little bit of time to get ready. I knew if there was a chance I could make a play, I wanted to be on the field for it. It all worked out in the end,” Altidore said.

TFC coach Greg Vanney gave Altidore a simple set of instructions when he re-entered the game.

“When he went back in after he taped it up, I said, go hard for as long as you feel like you can go and let me know where you’re at. The only way to test it is to push it. If you can’t go, then just tell me,” Vanney explained.

“He didn’t tell me, so I figured he was going to gut it out for as long as he could. The moment when he scored, it was like Keyser Soze — he went from limping to a perfect sprint and finished it beautifully.”

“In a moment when nobody would have thought twice if he had been subbed out, he found a way to keep going and make a big play for us. I’m so proud of him, so happy for him,” Bradley said.

Played out before 30,392 spectators, this second leg was a tightly contested match between two sides who engaged in a cat-and-mouse contest in last week’s 0-0 draw in Ohio. Altidore and fellow forward Sebastian Giovinco were suspended for the first leg, but both had a hand in Wednesday’s lone goal, with the Italian serving as the setup man and the American finishing it off.

Toronto is now 90 minutes away from completing what would surely go down as the single greatest campaign in MLS history. The Reds repeated as Canadian club champions in 2017, and set a new record for most points in a single regular season with 69. All that remains is hoisting the MLS Cup trophy.

TFC will have that chance in large part thanks to Altidore. The American has scored some important goals during his time in Toronto. This was the biggest, though.

“This city means a lot to me. I came here [in 2015], and I didn’t know what to expect. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know what to expect from me. We were feeling each other out. It’s a beautiful love story, because I fell in love with this city, and I think the fans have fallen in love with me. I hope [TFC] is the last club I play for,” Altidore said.


Sustainable transportation on the rise across the GTA, census finds

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 30th, 2017

Although the car still reigns supreme, more people across the GTA are turning to sustainable transportation for their commute into work.

According to recent data from Statistics Canada, 42.5 per cent of commuters living in the GTA commonly used a form of sustainable transportation as their main mode of commuting. That number is largely due to  the high proportion of people taking public transit to work.

The new data also shows that both biking and walking to work has increased since 2011 – when the last data was collected.

“No matter where you are in Canada, pretty much, car is the most popular. However it’s been going down in the GTA over the past 20 years,” Jason Gilmore with Statistics Canada explained.

“Fewer than 70 per cent of people who live in the GTA are commuting by car, and public transit has been increasing over time, as has walking and cycling.”

Gilmore said increase infrastructure has helped these form of sustainable transportation rise in population.

“Obviously there’s not only expansions in public transit but also, in a lot of urban areas, increased opportunities for cycling within the city … same with walking paths.”

But regardless of how you get to work in the GTA, it’s taking you longer.

“(The average commute) was 32.8 minutes in 2011 and it’s 34 minutes in 2016,” Gilmore explained.

That’s eight minutes longer than the average commute time in Canada, which is just over 26 minutes.

Gilmore said part of the reason behind that is the vast size of the GTA and immense about of people who live in the area, compared to the rest of the country.Sheet 2

“It’s a challenge getting around the region. The region has the most people in Canada and there are about a thousand people living in every square kilometre of the GTA,” he said.

The average car commute in the GTA is just over 24 minutes and for people using public transit it’s almost 45 minutes.

While that may seem like a huge difference, Gilmore pointed out that commute time was calculated from the time you leave your house to the time you walk into work — not specifically how long you’re on public transit.

“If you’re driving you just get out of your house or apartment, you get into your car and you go and usually you can park somewhere close to where you work,” he said.

“For public transit you don’t always have that luxury. You usually have to walk or drive to your starting point, get on your public transit … and then your final stop may not be exactly where your work is so you might have to walk to your place of work.”

Gilmore said the data collected can now be used by urban planners to improve their communities.

“They are our biggest users and I think they’ll be very excited to dig into this data in the coming days and months.”Sheet 1


A company’s size could determine on how it deals with sexual harassment

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 30th, 2017

Sexual harassment isn’t something that just happens in Hollywood or political quarters — it happens in most workplaces across Canada.

Recent data suggests that more than 50 per cent of working women have experienced unwanted sexual pressure.

New rules put in place by the Ontario government require provincially-mandated companies to have had a policy in place since September of last year to try to prevent harassment.

However, very little protections exist for individuals who may be innocent of harassment but still stand accused.

According to Muneeza Sheikh, a senior partner with Levitt LLP, there is far more pressure on large-scale employers with a public persona to deal with the incident “quickly and efficiently” because every step they take will be scrutinized by the public.

“I think the larger (employers) are facing a lot of pressure to protect their brand, their public image and to issue a termination quickly,” she explained.

Sheikh said smaller or medium-sized employers, who do not have those public relations concerns, may be more inclined to investigate the claim fully before taking action to discipline the employee, which may not mean termination.

“I think they are more inclined to take a step back and say ‘look, these allegations have been made but we haven’t done much to investigate them. We want to talk to the complainant, we want to talk to the person who the complaint is about and we want to potentially talk to other witnesses as well and get the full story,’” she said.

Sheikh added that employers have a duty to not only have concrete anti-harassment policies in place, but to ensure that their staff are well-versed and formally trained in the procedures.

Man killed in Brampton crash involving tractor-trailer

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 30th, 2017

One man is dead after a two-vehicle crash in Brampton.

The crash happened on Mayfield Drive, in The Gore Road and Countryside Drive area, around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Police said the crash involved a car and a tractor-trailer.

The driver of the car, believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, died of his injuries at the scene. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not hurt.

The cause of the crash is not yet known.

Police continue to investigate.

Late-minute deal averts school bus strike in Durham Region

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 30th, 2017

A school bus strike that could have impacted about 10,000 students at 103 schools in parts of Durham Region and east-end Toronto was averted late Wednesday night.

Unifor and First Student Canada signed a tentative agreement for 260 drivers just ahead of strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Details will be released after a ratification vote to be held in the coming days.

Naureen Rizvi, Unifor’s Ontario regional director, said unpaid hours and low wages were keys issues at the bargaining table.

Under the previous contract, drivers are only paid from the point they pick up the first student to the moment they drop off the last child off and were unpaid for time in between for travelling from home to the first pick-up or performing vehicle maintenance.

“When you count up all the hours worked and the pay they receive, they are working for less than minimum wage,” Rizvi said in a statement.

“It’s a full time commitment for part time pay.”

Unifor Local 4268 president Debbie Montgomery said the unpaid hours makes it difficult for bus companies to recruit new drivers, which leads to shortages like one that affected Toronto school boards last year.

“The best way to recruit new drivers is to treat them fairly,” Montgomery said.

“We love driving buses, and deserve to be paid for all the hours we work. That’s only fair.”

A walkout would have impacted students within the Durham Public District School Board and at the Durham Catholic School Board in Ajax, Brock, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge and Whitby plus a number of students in east-end Toronto.

Matt Lauer fired by NBC News over inappropriate sexual workplace behaviour

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 29th, 2017

NBC News has fired Matt Lauer after allegations of inappropriate sexual workplace behaviour were brought forward.

The announcement was made at the start of The Today Show, which Lauer has co-hosted since 1998.

A statement by NBC News Chairman Andy Lack reads:

“On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”

The statement goes on to say that there is a “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

“We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization -– and do it in as transparent a manner as we can.”

Lauer is the highest paid journalist in the United States, making a salary this year of US$28 million.

He has not released a statement on the allegations or the termination.

Massachusetts police pull over driver hauling massive Christmas tree

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Nov 29th, 2017

When it comes to Christmas trees, many adopt the Clark Griswold philosophy that ‘size matters.’

Some take things a bit too far.

That was the case last Friday when police in Sudbury, Mass., pulled over a driver who was transporting a mammoth tree.

The local police department posted a photo of the giant tree being hauled by a barely visible vehicle, along with some friendly advice.

“Sudbury PD would like to remind you to transport your holiday trees responsibly,” the department wrote on its Facebook page.

The vehicle was stopped about 40 kilometres west of Boston. It’s not clear if the driver was handed a ticket.

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