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2 dead in Hwy. 401 accident

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2018

Two people are dead after a single-vehicle crash in Scarborough on Wednesday morning.

Paramedics were called to a scene on Hwy. 401 eastbound near Warden Avenue at around 4 a.m.

They say an SUV crashed into a pole on the median between the express and collector lanes on the 401. The vehicle was reportedly completely wrapped around a sign supporting pole.

Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Details about the victims have not been released at this time. OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says speed may have been a factor in the crash.

The eastbound 401 is closed between Warden Avenue and Kennedy Road for the investigation.

The TTC is also being affected by the crash with delays on all routes along the Warden and 401 area.

Mayor Tory says shelter system can accommodate homeless without opening armouries

News staff and The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jan 2nd, 2018

Toronto Mayor John Tory has responded to a growing online chorus that’s demanding the city open armouries to temporarily shelter the homeless during a stretch of bitter cold weather.

In a statement released just before 5 p.m. Sunday, Tory’s office said the city’s decision to open more than 100 new spaces at the Better Living Centre makes more sense than opening the armouries.

“Our expert staff continue to believe the Better Living Centre is a better option for a winter respite than the armouries,” Tory said. “The Better Living Centre can accommodate 110 people right now, it is open 24/7, and it is a city-owned site.  I continue to support our hard working shelter staff in deciding when and if extra capacity is required.”

Earlier this month city council also voted in favour of creating 400 additional spaces for vulnerable people.

But many took to Twitter to try and pressure the city into opening the armouries. The hashtag #openthearmouries is one of the top trending hashtags in Toronto.

While Tory said he appreciated the “advocacy and outpouring of emotion” from concerned citizens, he maintained that the city is equipped to handle the situation.

“City staff advise me that our shelter system continues to experience demand – shelter occupancy was at 95% last night which is consistent with other nights over the past month – but the system is coping with that demand,” Tory said. “I share the desire to make sure we are doing everything possible to help people who find themselves homeless in Toronto.”

“I want to thank City shelter staff and everyone who works across the shelter system for the work they have done dealing with the unprecedented demand we have seen over the last year. Their work is saving lives and will continue to save lives.”

Toronto is currently under an extreme cold warning, with temperatures expected to dip near -30 with the wind chill on Sunday night.

Toronto street nurse Cathy Crowe called the situation with Toronto’s shelter system a “catastrophe.”

“It’s pretty desperate,” she said. “Very crowded. People are in rough shape. Mostly people are sleeping on the floor… I’m actually sitting inside and I’m shaking with cold.”

On the phone from the temporary shelter at the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place, Coun. Joe Mihevc described a very different scene.

“The service is very good. The food is good,” said Mihevc. “I just talked to some of the clients here, and they are quite content here.”

Crowe says the location of the Better Living Centre, near the south end of the city, by Lake Ontario, makes it inaccessible for much of the downtown population.

There used to be street outreach vans to transport homeless people to shelters, but those systems were dismantled, she said. Instead, the TTC has said it is redirecting buses to stop outside the shelter.

Its relative isolation was compounded Saturday night, when due to what the city has characterized a “miscommunication,” prospective clients were turned away. People were told the shelter was full, when in fact only 71 of its 110 cots were in use.

Crowe is one of many asking the city to open its two armouries to provide additional relief in the cold weather.

“You’d have a large, spacious (building) that people trust, because it’s worked in the past,” she says. “It would be immediate relief so that people who are in overflow places such as the one I was just in could go in and there could be cots, hot food, blankets. It could be really operationalized as a good centre.”

First Canadian New Year’s babies delivered in Toronto at stroke of midnight

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jan 2nd, 2018

Two Toronto hospitals say the first babies of 2018 were born at the stroke of midnight.

Both St. Michael’s Hospital and Humber River Hospital say they each welcomed new babies at exactly 12 a.m. on Jan. 1.

St. Michael’s spokesman James Wysotski says a 7-pound, 11-ounce baby girl was born at the hospital as fireworks were going off in nearby Nathan Phillips Square.

In a tweet, Humber River Hospital said a baby named Phillip was born at midnight, closely followed by his twin sister Victoria, who arrived seven seconds later.

In Quebec, a baby was born in Montreal two seconds after midnight, while a baby girl was delivered in Surrey, B.C. nine seconds into the New Year.

All the newest Canadians and their mothers are said to be doing well.

Lockdown lifted at Brantford General Hospital after fatal shooting nearby

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jan 2nd, 2018

Brantford General Hospital was locked down for about an hour-and-a-half on Monday after a fatal shooting nearby.

In a release, the hospital said the shooting did not occur on its property, but it was close enough to spark a lockdown that started around 5:40 p.m. and ended at 7:10 p.m.

The victim died from a gunshot wound.

The Brantford police said they do not believe that there was any risk to the public as a result of this incident.

Homicide is investigating.

No further details have been released at this time.

What are you owed if an airline misplaces your luggage?

Adrian Ghobrial | posted Tuesday, Jan 2nd, 2018

Almost all of us have been there. Standing at a baggage carousel at an airport, hoping, praying our bags come down that little slide and into our waiting hands. Sadly, delayed bags are a reality of flying. It happens.

So when you arrive at an airport but your bags don’t, what are you entitled to? One air passenger rights advocate claims domestic travelers in this country are being stiffed out of hundreds of dollars — that we’re being misled by some Canadian airlines when it comes to compensation.

According to Gabor Lukacs, the founder of airpassengerrights.ca, when you take a domestic flight with WestJet you’re entitled to up to $2,000 within reason and with proof of purchase, when your checked bag is delayed. “The rules already exist but they’re not being enforced,” according to Gabor.

“You sit there and you wait and wait and it goes around and around. Eventually the carousal stops and you realize hmmm the carousal has stopped but you’re still missing two bags.”

Paula Cziranka says that was the reality for her and her family when they arrived at Pearson International early in the morning on December 15th for the holidays from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Two of their three bags were missing in action.

The bags were delivered after 7 p.m. the following day. Though Cziranka says she had to buy some medication for her son and essential toiletries for her family while they waited. They also had an event to attend so they had to purchase some clothing all before the bags arrived. However, WestJet told Cziranka that they “were only entitled to $100 per bag” or $200 in total.

According to Lukacs, WestJet’s reply to Cziranka “is not simply misrepresentation, this is fraudulent misrepresentation. The airline has been told by the regulator what it has to do. It is binding. It’s an order.”

The case Lukacs is referencing is a November 2010 ruling by the Canadian Transportation Agency. The complaint was filed by Lukacs against WestJet alleging at the time “that WestJet’s limit of liability of $250 per passenger, per incident, for damage to, or loss or delay of baggage carried between domestic points is unreasonable.”

The CTA sided with Lukacs and ordered WestJet to “revise its tariff applicable to domestic services to provide for a limit of liability for the carriage of baggage” to up to $2000 dollars per person, under current Canadian currency rates.

WestJet’s own domestic Tariff states online if your “Baggage does not arrive on the same Flight as the Guest, the Carrier will:” in part, “cover basic liability” for any “lost item”  up to about $2000 Canadian, “including incidental expenses.”

CityNews reached out to WestJet for clarity, using Paula Cziranka’s current baggage situation as an example. According to Lauren Stewart with WestJet “The information these guests (Paula Cziranka) received was correct. We offer $100 per bag for the purchase of incidental items when bags are delayed while we offer, as per the CTA, up to $1800 for lost or damaged baggage. This is for bags that are not located after at least 20 days.”

Lukacs disagrees telling CityNews: “The airline does this in order to dissuade passengers from pursuing their rights. That is the fraudulent element here. They do this not simply by stupidity, they do it for financial gain.”

CityNews asked the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) what their 2010 ruling against WestJet means for passengers. They didn’t answer our specific question but did reply saying, “if passengers are not satisfied with how an airline has handled their issue or feel that it has not applied its tariff, they can file a complaint” with the CTA.

Every airline has their own tariff. For example, Air Canada’s domestic tariff clearly states: “Liability for the loss of, damage to, or the delay in delivery of, baggage or other personal property shall not be more than $1,500 per passenger.”

These are limits and a passenger must present a valid reason and proof of purchase for expenses. If your bag is delayed while travelling it doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to $1500 or more.

Though Lukacs adds there are lots of valid examples where you may need to buy items when your bag is delayed. “You may be going to a one-day business meeting and you may legitimately incur $800 because you need to buy a suit for your meeting or you’re flying to a golf course vacation and you need to rent golf clubs.”

Though when it comes to WestJet and the policy they quoted to customer Paula Cziranka, air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs isn’t holding back. Claiming “What WestJet has done here is called fraud. I would like to be clear if WestJet has a problem with it, I challenge them to sue me with defamation. I know I’m going to win. The evidence is clear here they’re welcome to take me to court.”

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