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Another busy day for Ontario’s main party leaders as election draws closer

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

It’s another busy day Tuesday for Ontario’s main party leaders with the provincial election a little more than a week away.

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne will be in Oakville for a morning announcement, and will then head to Toronto to meet with the Globe and Mail editorial board before visiting a children’s play centre in the city’s east end.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford is scheduled to visit a retirement home in Port Colborne in morning before attending an evening rally in nearby Welland.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will visit a co-op building in northern Toronto, then has local campaign events planned in Brantford, Stratford and Chatham-Kent later in the day.

Ford and Horwath are in a virtual tie atop most opinion polls, with Wynne a distant third.

Ontario voters heads to the polls on June 7.

Stratford Festival reopens after bomb threat

News Staff | posted Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

The areas around the Stratford Festival and Avon Theatres have been reopened after a bomb threat forced the closure of the official opening night of its 2018 season.

Police in Stratford, Ont., say on Twitter that at about 6:45 p.m. Monday, they received a call that explosives had been placed at the theatre festival.

They say festival officials were immediately advised and the Avon and Festival theatres were evacuated as a precaution.

Officers conducted searches for suspicious items or packages.

Just after 6 a.m. on Tuesday, police tweeted that the area had been cleared and that all buildings had been turned back over to the Stratford Festival staff.

There has been no word on if officers located anything suspicious.

On Monday, Ann Swerdfager, publicity director at Stratford Festival, said in a statement that patrons, staff and artists for a performance of “The Tempest” left the theatre quickly.

She said all ticket purchases would be honoured and ticket holders for Monday’s performance would be contacted by festival staff.

Swerdfager said all of Tuesday’s performances, including the opening of “The Music Man,” will go on as scheduled with increased security.

Construction season ramps up in Toronto

Stella Acquisto and News Staff | posted Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

As the weather warms up, construction in Toronto does as well.

“In Toronto, we really have two seasons: winter and construction,” said city councillor Jaye Robinson, who is also chair of the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

Currently, there are 60 major construction zones across the city, including 181 major road restrictions.

In addition, there are 166 moderate road restrictions and 206 minor road restrictions.

A few of the spots expected to cause major traffic delays include Gerrard Street East and Parliament for TTC track repairs, construction at Eglinton Avenue West between Islington and Jane Street, and Jarvis Street from Dundas Street East to Queen Street East.

All the roadblocks you may run into in the next few months can be found here.

If it seems like road work has increased this year in comparison to last, Robinson says it hasn’t.

“We have the same level of construction for major road repairs and watermain work this year as we did last year, but the kicker is that we haven’t had more complaints about potholes like we did this year. We had a very long, very difficult winter,” Robinson said.

“A lot of freeze and thaws cycles and that creates a perfect culture for potholes. So, as of today, we’ve repaired in 2018 already 166 thousand potholes. So, this year we do anticipate breaking records on the pothole front.”

Robinson says the city has committed $720 million to road and watermain repairs this year alone.

Golden Knights top Capitals in Game 1 of Stanley Cup final

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Tomas Nosek scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and then added an empty netter as the expansion Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Washington Capitals 6-4 on Monday in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

Reilly Smith, with a goal and an assist, Colin Miller, William Karlsson and Ryan Reaves also scored for the Knights, who got 24 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury. Deryk Engelland chipped in with two assists.

Nicklas Backstrom, with a goal and an assist, Brett Connolly, John Carlson and Tom Wilson replied for the Capitals. T.J. Oshie added two assists.

Braden Holtby made 28 saves for the visitors.

Game 2 goes Wednesday in Sin City before the series switches to Washington for Games 3 and 4.

Nosek’s winner at 9:44 of the final period came after Vegas defenceman Shea Theodore moved down the sideboards and fed the wide-open winger for his second goal of the playoffs.

The Capitals pressed late with Holtby on the bench, with Lars Eller flubbing on a wide-open net, but were unable to find an equalizer before Nosek sealed it.

Washington went up 4-3 just 70 seconds into the third when Fleury accidentally kicked Wilson’s deflection into his own net for the big winger’s fourth.

But Vegas came right back 1:31 later when Reaves, who scored the series clincher in the Western Conference final against the Winnipeg Jets, banged home his second.

Carlson hit his second post of the night a few minutes on Fleury, who entered with a .947 save percentage in the playoffs, before Smith came right back and hit the post at the other end.

Wilson delivered a blindside hit on Jonathan Marchessault with the puck nowhere near the Vegas centre in the immediate aftermath. But the teams played 4 on 4 for the next two minutes, with Wilson getting whistled for interference, while David Perron went off for cross checking in the ensuing scuffle.

Tied 2-2 after a back-and-forth first, Smith swatted home his third of the post-season off an Engelland feed from behind the net at 3:21 of the second with Holtby swimming in his crease after Marchessault grazed the crossbar seconds earlier.

The Capitals responded with Carlson’s fourth at 8:29 after a nice pass from Oshie in the slot left the defenceman with a yawning cage.

Carlson nearly made it 4-3 on a power play later in the period, but Fleury got the shaft of his stick on the puck before it caromed off the part of the net where post meets crossbar.

The electric atmosphere around T-Mobile Arena started two hours prior to the late-afternoon start time, with rapper Lil Jon revving up the crowd in a packed plaza outside the rink before a pre-game spectacle on the ice with actors portraying a knight and his archers defeating an invading army _ in this case, the Capitals.

Famed ring announcer Michael Buffer then provided his patented “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!” call prior to introducing the starting lineups.

Buffer, however, struggled with some of the names, and Washington captain Alex Ovechkin seemed annoyed with how long it went on, skating in circles along the blue line to stay warm.

A drum line with flashing lights pumped up the crowd during breaks, while Canadian-born professional fan Cameron Hughes danced and hurled t-shirts into the stands.

The Knights then honoured military veterans in the first intermission, marking Memorial Day with a rendition of “God Bless America” by seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gladys Knight before an abbreviated Cirque de Soleil performance during a TV timeout in the second period.

Vegas opened the scoring at 7:15 of the first period when Miller scored his first of the playoffs with blast from the point on a power play that beat a screened Holtby.

Washington tied it up at 14:14 when Connolly tipped his fifth between his own legs, off Miller’s skate and beyond Fleury.

The Capitals then went ahead for the first time just 42 seconds later when Backstrom, who suffered a hand injury in the second round that forced him to miss four games, scored his fifth.

But Karlsson jammed in his seventh shortside with 1:41 to send the teams to the locker rooms tied 2-2 following a frenetic opening 20 minutes.

Monday marked the first game for the Capitals in the final since their only other appearance in 1998 when they were swept in four straight by the Detroit Red Wings.

Washington had failed to get beyond the second round of the playoffs in the 20 years since, including Ovechkin’s entire career, before beating the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this spring to advance to the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Golden Knights, who beat the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and the Jets to improbably advance to the final in a stunning first season, played just their 98th game in franchise history.

CIBC’s Simplii and BMO investigating hacks that may have leaked customer data

Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Two of Canada’s largest financial institutions warn that data breaches may have leaked the banking information of thousands of customers.

Simplii Financial said Monday a hack may have compromised the personal and account information of about 40,000 customers.

The company issued a statement advising clients that it has “implemented additional online security measures” after it received a claim on Sunday that fraudsters may have electronically accessed certain personal and account information.

“We’re taking this claim seriously and have taken action to further enhance our monitoring and security procedures,” Michael Martin, senior vice-president of Simplii Financial, said in a statement.

“We feel that it is important to inform clients so that they can also take additional steps to safeguard their information.”

One listener named Jennifer told 680 NEWS $2,889 was taken out of her CIBC Simplii account last week and the money is still missing. She also said her personal information was changed. She said she also reported this incident to the RCMP.

“It’s pretty scary … this [person] knows my home address, does he know my birth date? Does he know other things that I have provided to Simplii?,” Jennifer said. “I feel very violated.”

The company said there’s “currently no indication that clients who bank through CIBC have been affected.”

Simplii Financial is also reminding customers to use a complex password and pin.

Just like Simplii, The Bank of Montreal said hackers contacted the bank on Sunday claiming to be in possession of the personal information of fewer than 50,000 customers and threatened to make it public.

“We took steps immediately when the incident occurred and we are confident that exposures identified related to customer data have been closed off. We have notified and are working with relevant authorities as we continue to assess the situation,” BMO said in a statement.

The bank said it believes the attack came from outside the country.

Both banks are asking their clients to monitor their accounts for any signs of unusual or suspicious activity, and to report such activity to them.

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau has spoken to the chief executives of the affected institutions, ministry spokeswoman Jocelyn Sweet said.

“We are monitoring the situation closely with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions,” she said in an emailed statement. “The situation is being investigated by the institutions in collaboration with law enforcement.”

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner said Monday that both financial institutions have notified it about the issue.

“We are working with the organizations to better understand what occurred and what they are doing to mitigate the situation,” said spokeswoman Valerie Lawton in an email.

“At this point in time, we are in contact with the companies; we have not opened a formal investigation.”

Simplii said Monday that clients who are victims of fraud because of the issue will receive 100 per cent of the money lost from the affected bank account. It added that there is no indication that clients who bank through CIBC have been affected.

CIBC launched Simplii in November and absorbed the accounts of some two million President’s Choice Financial account holders. CIBC had provided the back-end banking services for PC Financial for nearly 20 years, but last August the bank struck a deal with PC’s parent company Loblaw to go their separate ways.

The potential data breaches reported by Simplii and BMO on Monday are the latest cybersecurity incidents involving Canadians.

Last fall, credit reporting service Equifax notified the public that hackers accessed or stole the personal data of 145.5 million U.S. customers and 19,000 Canadians. In January, Bell Canada warned some of its customers that their information, such as names and email addresses, had been illegally accessed in a data breach.

In November, ride-sharing company Uber said hackers stole names, email addresses and cellphone numbers of millions of riders. Uber in December said that 815,000 Canadian riders and drivers may have been affected as part of the worldwide data breach.

New federal data breach regulations which would require mandatory reporting of security breaches are set to take effect on Nov. 1.

The regulations require organizations to determine if a data breach poses a risk to any individual whose information was involved and then to notify the federal privacy commissioner and affected individuals “as soon as feasible.” Previously, companies that had been hacked had been alerting the public on their own timeline.

Canadian Transportation Agency wants public input on air passenger rights

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

The Canadian Transportation Agency is asking Canadians to help it develop regulations about the rights of air passengers, including how best to deal with tarmac delays, bumped seats and lost luggage.

Under legislation given final approval last week, the agency is charged with drafting rules and, in most cases, setting minimum standards of treatment in order to establish a bill of rights for air travellers.

Those interested in offering their thoughts can attend one of eight public sessions to be held across the country, fill in a questionnaire, or provide a written submission. One will be held in Toronto on June 14.

The agency will also survey air travellers at selected airports.

The consultations will continue until Aug. 28.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says the new rules will ensure that passengers are treated with respect and that airlines live up to their commitments.

“These regulations will establish clear and consistent standards of treatment for all flights operating in Canada,” Garneau told a news conference.

“In certain circumstances, they will include compensation for air travellers when things do not go as planned, when a flight is delayed, cancelled or overbooked and it is considered to be within the airline’s control.”

NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

Paul Newberry, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

NFL owners approved a new policy Thursday aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests sparked by Colin Kaepernick and polarized by President Trump, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by the owners at their spring meeting in Atlanta, but it was met with immediate skepticism by the players’ union.

“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand,” Goodell said. “That’s all personnel, and to make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something that we think we owe. We’ve been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on.”



New plan aims to preserve sunlight in downtown core

Adrian Ghobrial | posted Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Getting some sun on your face in the park is one of the few escapes for many living in the urban jungle.

But the much sought-after sun is sometimes cast in the shadows of high-rise apartment buildings especially with all the booming construction currently ongoing in the downtown core.

Now, 40 parks in Toronto’s core could be protected by the city from any potential development that might cast shade over Toronto’s green space thanks to a plan being voted on by city council. It’s all part of TOCore, a study four years in the making.

Toronto hasn’t had a new master plan since the 1970s. The boundaries of the TOCore plan span from Bathurst Street to the West, the DVP to the East, Dupont Street to the North and the lake to the south. It includes new setback for sidewalks of at least six metres at the base of mixed-use buildings.

It will also push some new condo towers to use the first five floors of a building for office space, schools, daycares, community centres and other mixed spaces other than residential units.

“One of the things we’re doing as we grow up as a city is reimaging how we grow up to make sure it’s liveable,” says councillor Joe Cressy. “Downtown Toronto has reached a tipping point in that we can handle more development in that only if it’s developed in a liveable way for the people that live and work here.”

Clara Romero, one of the authors of the proposal council is voting on, believes its vital to hold onto the sun we currently have shining down on our parks.

“We have a lot of opportunity here,” says Romero, who is a senior urban designer with Perkins & Will. “I think downtown is doing really well. Most of the streets are meeting the four and five hour target.”

There are others who believe the wording of the report may leave the door open for interpretation.

“I think what they’re trying to achieve is a good thing,” says Ralph Bouwmeester, who has a civil engineering firm that measures sun positions. “There has never been a mechanism by which to prevent a cumulative effect of shadows for multiple buildings and each addition of a little more new shadow results in a lot of shadow. This plan will go a long ways to prevent that but the way it’s worded could be seen to be over-restricted. It doesn’t look at how the park is used and in what areas and for how long.”

As for parks and playgrounds at city schools, they’re not part of the shade ban. The report recommends a further study of those areas. The city is expected to vote on the plan this week.

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