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Man killed in Yonge-Dundas Square shooting

News Staff | posted Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Toronto police are searching for as many as four armed suspects after a man was shot dead at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Police were called to the square, on Yonge Street near Dundas Street, after gunshots rang out just after 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, they found a man with critical injuries. He was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An off-duty supervisor with Toronto Paramedics heard the shots and was one of the first on the scene.

Police say there was some sort of dispute before the shooting, and three to four suspects fled the scene. So far, there is no update on suspect descriptions.

CityNews reporter Ginella Massa witnessed the aftermath of the the shooting from CityNews headquarters and said she heard a series of shots that sounded like fireworks.

“We saw people running away from Yonge Dundas Square and a few minutes later I saw security running towards the victim,” she said. “We saw a man on the ground and people started crowding around him. It looked like security guards were performing CPR on him before paramedics arrived”

Emergency task force officers along with K-9 units were called to the scene and were seen walking north on Victoria Street.

Leaders campaign across southern Ontario a week before voting day

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, May 31st, 2018

A week before Ontario residents head to the polls, the three main party leaders are looking for votes across the southern regions of the province Thursday.

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne takes her campaign to eastern Ontario, making an announcement in Orleans, visiting a cheese factory in St-Albert, and attending an evening barbecue in Belleville.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is stumping for votes in the GTA, where she’s scheduled an announcement and a campaign event in Toronto, before heading to Mississauga tonight where she’ll attend an Iftar dinner.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford’s schedule has him in the southwest for a morning announcement in London and an evening rally in Windsor.

After vowing for weeks to deliver a fully costed platform, the Tories quietly released a compilation of their campaign promises on Wednesday without saying how they would pay for them. Ford has promised to find billions in “efficiencies” if his party forms the government after June 7.

Both Horwath and Wynne heaped scorn on the notion that Wednesday’s release by the Tories was a full plan, with Horwath saying people should know what Ford is going to cut.

Canada Post confirms ‘processing issue’ led to delay in voter card delivery

Adrian Ghobrial and Dilshad Burman | posted Thursday, May 31st, 2018

If you’re still waiting for your voter information card in the mail, you’re not alone – in fact you’re among 500,000 Ontarians who have been affected by a Canada Post “processing issue.”

The postal agency tells CityNews that it has been working with Elections Ontario to deliver over nine million voter cards province wide. It says most of them were delivered successfully, but they’ve hit a snag with the last half million.

“Unfortunately, we experienced an issue processing approximately 500,000 from the last batch of the cards,” says Canada Post in an emailed statement. They added that the issue was a “mechanized process failure” and have put additional resources in place to sort the cards manually.

Canada Post has not officially commented on the nature of the processing problem, but an employee tells CityNews it might have something to do with the new voter information cards introduced this year. He says the cards have a different texture and are also perforated.

The worker says the new cards have a tendency to stick together, and he adds that employees were finding cards from completely different parts of the province stuck together. He claims the large number of cards attached to each other caused an extensive backlog.

However, Elections Ontario tells CityNews the cards were designed as per Canada Post’s specifications.

“We made every effort to ensure that our voter information cards meet Canada Post’s specifications,” says Jessica Pellerin, Bilingual Communications Officer for Elections Ontario.

“In fact, through our vendor we provided several thousand test cards in advance and received a pass grade from Canada Post each time. So from our understanding the cards were up to their standards.”

In addition, on Wednesday, Elections Ontario issued an official news release advising voters of a Canada Post delivery delay. They added that they were “disappointed” with the level of service this year but are working with Canada Post to rectify the situation.

In addition, the release said registered voters were supposed to receive the cards by May 25 at the latest, with advance polling beginning May 26. They also reminded voters that they can still vote without a voter information card as long as they bring in a piece of identification that indicates their name and current residential address.

Canada Post says all the cards in their system should be out for delivery by end of day Monday.

“We apologize to Elections Ontario and to anyone who has yet to receive their Voter ID card for any delay,” they said.

Doc in your pocket: would you pay for a healthcare app?

Amanda Ferguson | posted Thursday, May 31st, 2018

You can order your dinner online. And a ride. Well how about an app that replaces going to a doctor’s office?

That’s what Maple is all about — an online service where you can pay to see a doctor online and even get a prescription. The app’s Toronto-based creator says it’s the future, while others say it’s another example of two-tier healthcare.

“The total wait time, from the time you decide you want to see a doctor to that prescription in your hand, is often less than an hour,” said ER doctor and Maple co-founder Brett Belchetz. “What I see is about half of the patients in the emergency room they don’t actually have an emergency, they just have nowhere else to go.”

So Belchetz created Maple, a website and app where — with just a tap of the finger — you can see a doctor online, have an examination by phone or by video, and even get a prescription sent to your pharmacy. The fees: $49 per visit on a weekday and $79 for weekends and holidays.

Belchetz says that Maple can conduct about 70 per cent of exams online, without having to touch you. He says they would still refer patients to a doctor’s office if it’s an ailment they can’t diagnose virtually.

Health Canada says telemedicine is not something it regulates — rather it pointed us to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). They told us they govern the physicians, not the service.

In a statement, CPSO says it “has robust policies governing the practice of telemedicine. Physicians are expected to comply with the expectations set out in these policies and utilize their own professional judgment when determining both the course of care and the modality for a patient interaction. If we receive a complaint about the conduct of a specific physician, we will investigate.”

Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), does not support the way Maple operates. “Overall it’s not a good thing. It’s not the technology that’s the bad thing, it’s really the fees that are the dangerous thing.”

The Canada Health Act guarantees all Canadians access to medically necessary physician and hospital services, free of financial or other barriers. OHIP, meanwhile, does not view telemedicine as a medically necessary service.

Mehra says the method of care shouldn’t matter. “They are delivered to everyone equally, the rich don’t get to jump the queue, so if you say you just change a little piece of technology and you’re allowed to charge fees then there will be no public health care in Canada,” she said.

Dr. Belchetz says it’s his hope that the government will bring virtual health care into the fold.

Toronto police investigating music video that takes aim at TTC

Ginella Massa | posted Thursday, May 31st, 2018

The TTC said it has filed a complaint with Toronto police over a controversial music video that appears to take aim at transit workers.

The video, posted earlier this month by GTA-based 6ixreacts, appears to be shot on subway cars and platforms. The rapper makes gunshot gestures and references TTC fare collectors while saying “two-shots to your dome” and “I’ll shoot you in your chin.”

The TTC said the video was brought to their attention by employees and customers.

“The TTC condemns this video and lyrics in the strongest possible terms,” it said in a statement. “The content threatens extreme violence against TTC employees, which is a criminal act. This is completely unacceptable.

“The individuals depicted in the video did not seek authorization to film on the TTC, nor would they have been granted permission based on the violence promoted in the video.”

The TTC said it has asked YouTube to remove the video from its platform.

“At least once a day TTC employees are assaulted or threatened for simply doing their jobs. The courts and police take these matters very seriously, as does the TTC.”

The 6ixreacts Instagram page, which has over 6,700 followers, includes mostly comedic videos meant to provoke a reaction.

“6ixreacts is fictional parody character influenced by the various cultures and languages seen throughout urban locations across the city,” the man behind the account said. “6ixreacts does not reflect the views and opinions of myself, nor do I advocate any form of assault against TTC workers. The song was nothing but a joke and parody, and shouldn’t be taken as a serious immediate threat to TTC workers.”

Toronto police confirmed they are investigating, but said it’s too early to say what charges, if any, could result.

1 dead, 3 injured in Scarborough house fire

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

One person is dead and three others were taken to hospital following a two-alarm fire at a home in Scarborough.

Crews were called to Haida Court and Lash Court, near Morningside Avenue and Ellesmere Road, around 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Fire officials are not sure what caused the fire but say they believe it started in the basement.

The body of a woman, believed to be in her 20s, was found in a bedroom on the second floor of the home. Officials had originally classified her as unaccounted for.

Fire officials said all four people in the home are believed to be tenants and are students who went to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

One of the four people living in the home had to jump from a second floor window to escape the fire.

Paramedics said a woman in her 20s suffered serious burns and two others were taken to hospital for minor smoke inhalation.

Motorcyclist killed after bike collides with tractor-trailer in Rexdale

News Staff | posted Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

A 22-year-old man is dead after his motorcycle collided with a tractor-trailer in Rexdale.

Emergency crews were called to Martin Grove Road just north of Highway 409 around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Toronto police say the motorcycle was travelling south on Martin Grove when it struck the tractor-trailer, which was heading north on Martin Grove.

The truck was making a left-hand turn when it was struck by the motorcycle.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

Martin Grove is closed between Belfield and Bethridge roads for the police investigation.

CP Rail train operators on strike; signal workers reach agreement

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Canadian Pacific Rail’s more than 3,000 train operators walked off the job late Tuesday night while a second group of workers reached a tentative contract settlement with the rail company.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said its workers walked out at 10 p.m. EDT as negotiations continued with the company with the assistance of federal mediators.

That announcement came just minutes after CP Rail announced a tentative deal had been reached with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for 360 signalling workers who were also poised to walk off the job at 10 p.m.

The Teamsters said the strike by its members began despite “best efforts to reach a negotiated settlement,” adding it is “willing to remain at the bargaining table during the strike.”

It also said commuter train services in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are operated by Bombardier, not Canadian Pacific, and Teamster members who operate trains in those cities are Bombardier employees and will not go on strike.

As a result, said the Teamsters, commuter train services would not be affected by the strike.

Via, however, had already cancelled passenger rail service starting Tuesday morning in Ontario between Sudbury and White River.

CP Rail has said it will use qualified management staff to handle signalling and switching tasks so trains can continue to operate.

However, the strike could force the railroad to shut down its freight service at a particularly bad time for grain farmers. Shippers had said they expected talks would fail, resulting in the third CP Rail strike since 2012.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier in the day that the federal government would not be rushed into introducing back-to-work legislation, preferring instead to employ various levers to motivate both sides to reach a settlement.

Trudeau also said his government would not do as the Conservatives did and favour employers.

“Quite frankly, we have companies that have gotten used to the fact that in certain industries, the government in the past was very quick to legislate against unions,” Trudeau said during a conference in Toronto.

“We are not going to do that.”

If eventually forced to intervene, said Trudeau, the Liberal government won’t be giving the advantage to employers.

Even before the strike began, the livelihoods of Canadian grain farmers were already threatened because shipping was severely disrupted over the past winter due to extreme cold.

“You always hope for a miracle but we’re pretty sure there’s going to be a stoppage,” said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association, which represents the country’s largest exporters.

He said there was little that could be done to prepare other than to notify farmers that deliveries will have to be rescheduled and tell overseas customers they could receive late shipments.

“We’re just coming off of a year where we had poor rail service even though we didn’t have a work stoppage and we are trying to maintain relationships with our customers,” he added.

The train operators voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action to back their contract demands in early April and voted 98 per cent to reject CP’s final offer last Friday.

Both unions gave the railway notice over the weekend that they plan to walk off the job to support contract demands.

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