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Airport pet zone gone to the dogs

FAIZA AMIN | posted Thursday, Jan 3rd, 2019

Pearson Airport may be one of the top-ranked airports in Canada, but some travellers say the dog park there is anything but world class.

The pet zone, located by the departure gates in Terminal 1, is often the last stop for many animals before they board a plane. But for dog owners who use this park, they say the facility doesn’t befit an airport that was recently named North America’s best large airport for customer service.

Laura Tamblyn Watts last used the dog park before Christmas, describing it as a hazardous environment for her pup Remy. The Toronto woman says there were piles of garbage throughout the area, and it was littered with items that could pose a danger to pets.

“When I got there, I couldn’t believe what I saw,” Tamblyn Watts said. “It was filthy, it had cigarette butts everywhere, there were piles of garbage throughout. There really wasn’t a single place for an animal to be. For that matter, it really wasn’t a safe place for a person to be. There was even broken glass on the ground.”

Sonia Stortini and her two-year-old pooch were at Pearson Airport on Wednesday during a layover on their trip from Sault Ste Saint Marie and Calgary, and use the pet zone area near Terminal 1 at least four times a year. Stortini says this is the worst she’s ever seen the area — it was filled with feces, pieces of debris and cigarette butts.

“It’s pretty dirty, there’s a lot of debris around and not that great today,” Stortini said. “It’s a long day when they do a cross-country flight so they [pets] need a place to relive themselves and walk around, so it’s highly important or else they end up staying in their little carrier for eight to 10 hours which I think is unfair to them.

Tamblyn Watts said her concerns aren’t only for the safety of her pup, but for travellers with accessibility issues who depend on their working dogs.

“People with disabilities, particularly people with seeing-eye dogs would have extra problems, because they wouldn’t know necessarily how dangerous and filthy that environment was,” she explains. “So their dogs and they could be at real risk.”

Minutes after CityNews alerted Pearson Airport about these concerns, staff members were sent to clean up the area, even refilling the waste bin with scoop-up bags.

“The pet zones are cleaned regularly, however, it’s clear that an oversight lead to unsatisfactory conditions in this particular pet zone. We’re grateful that the problem was brought to attention so that it could be solved,” said Robin Smith, an airport spokesperson. “Staff have already finished cleaning the area and we have confirmed that high standards are being maintained at both other areas on airport grounds.”

Tamblyn Watts who has used pet zone facilities at several airports in North America, calls this response unacceptable, claiming it was a major, two week oversight.

“For no change to happen between Dec. 21 and today — we’re in a new year and nothing has changed,” she said. “It has to change quickly, this isn’t appropriate anywhere.”

The airport adds that it isn’t mandated to have these pet zones, but does so in an effort to make travel more comfortable for pets.

Pearson currently has three pet zones, two at Terminal 1 and one at Terminal 3.

Earthquake rattles southwest Japan, no damage reported

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 3rd, 2019

TOKYO — An earthquake has shaken southwestern Japan but there are no immediate reports of damage or risk of tsunami.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the quake measured a preliminary magnitude 5.0, rattling the Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Kumamoto areas in the southwest of the main island of Kyushu. It hit early Thursday evening.

National broadcaster NHK TV warned people to stay calm and watch against dangers such as shaking, mudslides and items falling from shelves.

TV news footage showed that traffic lights and other lights the buildings were working, and pedestrians on city streets were walking about as usual. It was unclear there was any damage, including to two nuclear plants in the region.

Japan is one of the most earthquake- and tsunami-prone areas in the world.

The Associated Press

Proposed class action against Uber can proceed, appeal court rules

PAOLA LORIGGIO, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 3rd, 2019

A proposed class-action lawsuit against the ride-hailing company Uber filed by one of its drivers will go ahead after Ontario’s top court reversed a lower court decision that would have sent the matter to arbitration overseas.

In a ruling released Wednesday, the Court of Appeal for Ontario says a clause in Uber’s services agreement that requires all disputes to go through arbitration in the Netherlands amounts to illegally outsourcing an employment standard and therefore cannot stand.

It further concludes that the clause takes advantage of the significant power and financial disparity between Uber and its drivers, who would bear up to US$14,500 in filing fees just to begin the arbitration process, no matter the amount at stake in the dispute.

“I believe that it can be safely concluded that Uber chose this arbitration clause in order to favour itself and thus take advantage of its drivers, who are clearly vulnerable to the market strength of Uber,” the appeal court said. “It is a reasonable inference that Uber did so knowingly and intentionally.”

The lawsuit, which claims Uber drivers are employees rather than contractors and thus subject to Ontario’s labour legislation, had been stayed earlier this year by a motion judge who found Uber drivers were bound by the arbitration clause.

The three-judge appeal panel says the motion judge erred on several points, including in considering the arbitration clause like the kind seen in “normal commercial contracts” where the parties are relatively equal in power and sophistication.

A spokesman for Uber Canada says the company will be reviewing the appeal ruling.

The appeal court ruling does not deal with the claims made in the lawsuit, which will be tested in civil court. Nor does it rule on whether the suit qualifies as a class action.

The man behind the suit, David Heller, is a 35-year-old driver for UberEats, a service that calls on drivers to deliver food from restaurants to Uber customers. He argues that Uber drivers are employees, which makes them entitled to a minimum wage, vacation pay and other protections under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.

The appeal court said the law prohibits employers from contracting out employment standards.

It also found that a provision that allows workers to file complaints against an employer with the Ministry of Labour constitutes an employment standard. And so, in requiring disputes to go to arbitration, Uber’s services agreement is illegally contracting out the employment standard that establishes a mechanism to deal with complaints, and depriving Heller of the right to have the ministry investigate his complaint, the ruling said.

“This is of some importance for, among other reasons, if a complaint is made then the Ministry of Labour bears the burden of investigating the complaint. That burden does not fall on the appellant. Under the arbitration clause, of course, the appellant would bear the entire burden of proving his claim,” the decision read.

The fact that Heller chose to file a lawsuit rather than complain to the ministry doesn’t change that finding, the appeal court said.

The arbitration clause is invalid regardless of his decision, it said, and both a complaint to the ministry and a proposed class-action would rule on the issue publicly and for all Uber drivers — unlike arbitration, which would affect only him and do so privately.

The court also found that the arbitration clause “represents a substantially improvident or unfair bargain” in that it disproportionately favours Uber in any dispute brought by its drivers.

“It requires an individual with a small claim to incur the significant costs of arbitrating that claim … the fees for which are out of all proportion to the amount that may be involved. And the individual has to incur those costs upfront,” the court said.

The evidence showed that starting arbitration costs the applicant roughly US$14,500, which does not include the costs of travel, accommodation or counsel, the appeal panel said.

“These costs are to be contrasted with the appellant’s claim for minimum wage, overtime, vacation pay and the like brought by a person earning $400-$600 per week,” it said.

“Additionally, the arbitration clause requires each claimant to individually arbitrate his/her claim and to do so in Uber’s home jurisdiction, which is otherwise completely unconnected to where the drivers live, and to where they perform their duties. Still further, it requires the rights of the drivers to be determined in accordance with the laws of the Netherlands, not the laws of Ontario, and the drivers are given no information as to what the laws of the Netherlands are,” it said.

The court has ordered Uber to pay Heller his costs for the appeal, a total of $20,000.

Canada’s offence disappears when needed most at world juniors

MARK SPECTOR, SPORTSNET | posted Thursday, Jan 3rd, 2019

There is no question that this was not an elite edition of Team Canada at the world juniors, or that they didn’t have their hands full with a Finnish team that was every bit their equal — maybe even better — in Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

Look — the Canadians scored one goal in their final Preliminary Round game against Russia, and then one goal against Finland in this 2-1 quarterfinal loss. Sure, they had goaltending and defence, but in the end, they call it a scoreboard.

Not a defendboard.

So, when we call this Finnish victory the luckiest win we’ve seen, perhaps ever, in 30 years as a sports writer, we’re not saying that Canada deserved better. You score just once in 60 minutes; you don’t deserve a darned thing.

OK?

But sheesh, the string of events that left Canada packing their bags on Wednesday? Like, if Finland can get that much luck in one night at Rogers Arena, then why can’t a poor scribe win a 50/50 draw once in a while?

“Lucky goals,” said Finnish forward Jesse Ylonen. “We were so unlucky in the first two periods. I think we deserved it.”

“This is what sport’s about,” said Canadian head coach Tim Hunter. “It’s a game of inches, a game of small little breaks. We just didn’t manufacture that break tonight. Somehow, they did.”

Here’s what went down in this unforgettable quarterfinal, a Canadian loss that left them without a medal for the first time ever when hosting this tournament.

• With 47 seconds left in a 1-0 game, Eeli Tolvanen flipped a puck onto the outside of the net from behind the goal. The puck rebounded from the net, off of the foot of teammate Aleksi Heponiemi, off of Canadian goalie Michael DiPietro’s stick, rolled up his blocker and landed in the Canadian net. We’ve seen Pachinko balls go more north-south than that puck did. It was the “Foot of God” goal.

• After a failed Canadian penalty shot in four-on-four OT, Noah Dobson had three-quarters of a wide open net to win the game. He turned his hips, cocked his stick, and … (wait for it) … the stick snapped on the shot. The puck went the other way, where Toni Utunen — who had not scored a goal all season long — fired a wrist shot.

The puck hit the shaft of Cody Glass’s stick and went top shelf past DiPietro, who had been brilliant.

“It feels so amazing,” said Utunen, who like DiPietro is a Vancouver Canucks draft pick. “It is the first goal of my season. A huge goal for me.

“That was the luck what we needed. Usually, that is how it goes in.”

“We earned that bounce,” declared Finnish head coach Jussi Ahokas. “In front of full stands, 19,000 people, on Canadian soil, a penalty shot in overtime … What more can you ask for?”

The confluence of breaks — not one, not two, but three — left the Canadians in disbelief. They’d let Finland hang around…

No, check that. They were not good enough offensively to put Finland away; to be in a position where a late, bad break wasn’t going to matter either way.

“It’s brutal,” said Canada’s lone goal scorer, defenceman Ian Mitchell. “In the second period they had us on our heels a bit, but in the third period when we needed to play our hardest defensively, we did that. To have two goals like that happen to us? It’s something that will stay with me for a long time.

“Just brutal. A brutal way to lose a game.”

The Hockey Gods, they don’t get it wrong very often. Canada didn’t do itself any favours, scoring just 10 goals in its final four games here, with a powerplay that didn’t score in its last two games (0-for-8).

The coach of a team that did not hold a practice since Christmas Day, then lacked polish when crunch time arrived, is going to face criticism. Nobody who wears the maple leaf and loses out in a quarterfinal game comes away unscathed. Not in this country.

We asked Hunter how it was he couldn’t find a way to squeeze a second goal out of his charges in each of the last two games.

“Oh, I wish I could (have).” he said. “I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you.”

It’s never fun to stand in a mixed zone full of devastated teenagers and pry into just how truly devastated they are. They all dream of this chance, to wear the maple leaf at a world junior tournament at Chrismastime just once in their lives.

But the dream, it never ends like this.

“No, definitely not,” said Mitchell, a well-spoken Calahoo, Alta., kid who plays and studies at Denver University. “I remember when Canada lost in the quarters a few years ago, how devastating it was for everyone. You don’t want to be the team that does that.

“It’s just heart breaking, for us and all of the country. You just wish that, at the end of the day, you’re putting on a gold medal. We weren’t able to do that, so …”

So, the tournament moves on, and a bunch of crushed Canadian kids head home.

Anyone want tickets for Finland-Switzerland on Friday night? I’ll give you a deal.

5 teens injured in Vaughan crash

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jan 2nd, 2019

Five teenagers are in hospital after a single-vehicle crash in Vaughan.

Emergency crews were called to the area of King Vaughan Road near Kipling Avenue just before midnight on Tuesday.

Police said the vehicle was heading westbound on King Vaughan when, for an unknown reason, it left the road and struck a tree.

At least three of the five teens inside the vehicle had to be freed by first responders.

Police said the injuries range from minor to life threatening.

King Vaughn Road is closed between Kipling and Mill Road for police investigation

Ripley’s Aquarium welcomes New Year’s Day water-babies

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Wednesday, Jan 2nd, 2019

While most of us were busy saying goodbye to 2018, Ripley’s Aquarium staff were saying hello to the newest members of their aquatic family.

Ripley’s Aquarium Canada proudly announced the birth of a herd of lined seahorses Tuesday – the aquarium’s own New Year’s Day babies.

Eagerly watched over by the facility’s husbandry team, Ripley’s said the jelly bean sized babies were born at the aquarium early in the morning as part of their ongoing conservation and education program.

Seahorses are one of the few species where the males bear the unborn young, carrying up to 2000 babies in a pouch on their stomachs. Pregnancy can last between 10 to 25 days depending on the species.

Ripley’s breeds a variety of animals including cownose rays, seahorses, moon jellyfish and bamboo sharks, with the breeding programs contributing to scientific research. Currently the aquarium has several in-house bred species on display including spot prawns, chain cat sharks and clownfish.

The new baby seahorses will be on public display later this month.

The new laws that will affect the lives of Ontarians in 2019

STEVE BREARTON, MACLEAN'S, NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jan 2nd, 2019

From a minimum wage freeze, to expanded marijuana sales — changes are in store for Ontarians in 2019.

A slew of new Canada-wide and provincial laws are set to come into effect on January 1, and throughout the year.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key changes that could affect your life.

January 1, 2019

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada)

  • For provinces that either did not adopt Prime Minister Trudeau’s carbon pricing system or failed to develop their own pricing plan—that’s Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan—the legislation institutes a fee on carbon pollution beyond a certain threshold for larger industrial facilities.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018 (Canada)

  • The small business tax rate is reduced from 10 per cent to 9 per cent.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada)

  • Requires organizations to obtain “meaningful consent” for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has detailed necessary practices including making information collection easily understandable and allowing consumers to opt-in or opt-out.

Ministry of Transportation (Ontario)

Changes to the Highway Traffic Act include:

  • Increasing penalties to $250 (first offence), $350 (second offence) and $450 (third and subsequent offence) for having a blood alcohol concentration that is 0.05 or higher, failing a roadside sobriety test or violating the zero tolerance requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers.
  • Introducing a $550 penalty for refusing to take a drug or alcohol test if you register a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 or if a drug recognition evaluator determines that you are impaired.
  • Increasing the Driver’s Licence Reinstatement fee from $198 to $275 when getting a suspended licence back.
  • Setting higher fines and increasing demerit points for repeat offences, and driver’s licence suspensions for distracted driving offences to ensure road safety. (Source: Province of Ontario)

Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act (Canada)

  • Anyone convicted of distracted driving will automatically have their driver’s licence suspended for three or 30 days. ‘Distraction’ ranges from holding an electronic device in your hands to eating.

Ministry of Labour (Ontario)

  • Under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act key amendments to the Employment Standards Act will come into force including repealing Personal Emergency Leave and replacing it with three unpaid days for personal illness; two unpaid bereavement leave days; and three unpaid days for family responsibility leave and maintaining the minimum wage rate at $14 per hour until 2020, and then increasing it by the rate of inflation.

Safer Ontario Act (Ontario)

  • Recognizes police forces in Ontario First Nations’ territory as fully-fledged and guarantees support, standards and resources to undertake their work.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (Ontario)

  • Requires hunters to report hunting activity and “harvests” and allows the on-line purchase of hunting dog licenses.

Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act (Ontario)

  • Requires collection agencies with ten or more collectors to record certain calls relating to their activities; those not in compliance subject to fine.

Employment Standards Act (Ontario)

  • Excludes those working in the film and television industry from compensation for work shifts cancelled within 48 hours and also denies those employees the right to refuse unscheduled work with less than four days notice.

Child and Family Services Act (Ontario)

  • Requires new complaint and licensing procedures for child welfare residences as well as clinical oversight and approval of mechanical restraints in secure treatment programs.

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (Ontario)

  • Amendments to the Coroner Act will require the Chief Coroner to publicly explain why a discretionary inquest was not held, for incidents that were investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). A regulation under the act has been amended to set out what information must be included in the Chief Coroner’s explanation of why a discretionary inquest was not necessary, e.g., gender, race, approximate location of incident.

Ministry of Finance (Ontario)

  • The new Low-Income Individuals and Families (LIFT) tax credit will be effective January 1, 2019. It will provide low-income and minimum wage workers up to $850 in Ontario Personal Income Tax relief and couples up to $1,700 when they file their 2019 tax returns.

January 15, 2019

Safe Food for Canadians Act (Canada)

  • Significantly expands the list of individuals and firms required to hold a Canadian Food Inspection Agency license, a ‘food safety preventive control plan’ as well as a food tracking and tracing process.

March 1, 2019

Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act (Ontario)

  • Among various changes, makes codes of conduct mandatory for members of council and local boards. The Act also expands the role of Integrity Commissioners to advise and educate politicians and board members regarding conduct and conflict of interest.

April 1, 2019

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act (Canada)

  • Allows Canada Health Transfer deductions to be reimbursed when provinces and territories have taken the steps necessary to eliminate extra-billing and user fees in the delivery of public health care.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017 (Canada)

  • Eligible veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members will begin to receive Pension for Life, a monthly payment to compensate ill or injured soldiers for pain and suffering resulting from service-related disabilities.

An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act and the Income Tax Act (Canada)

  • Annual CPP contributions will increase over the next seven years. An individual with earnings of $54,900 will contribute about an additional $75 per year in 2019.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada)

  • Under federal legislation, a charge on fossil fuels paid by producers and distributors goes into effect for provinces that haven’t passed their own legislation. In Yukon and Nunavut fuel charges begins July 2019

An Act to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership(Canada)

  • Among the impacts of this trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam is a lowering of the Japanese tariff on Canadian fresh beef to 26.6 per cent from a pre-pact level of 38.5 per cent.

Cannabis Act (Ontario)

  • Private retailers can now sell marijuana in bricks-and-mortar shops.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario)

  • Harassment and violence are now defined as workplace hazard that affect health and safety. Workplaces with 20 or more employees must develop a code of practice on managing violence in the workplace.

June 21 or September 30, 2019

An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Indigenous Peoples Day) (Canada)

  • Federal NDP member Georgina Jolibois’ private members bill will create a statutory holiday marking Canada’s residential school legacy. Federal government expected to announce choose between the two dates in time for 2019.

July 1, 2019

Canada Business Corporations Act (Canada)

  • The elimination of bearer shares and bearer share warrants or options. Bearer shares allow for complete anonymity of share ownership and transfer. Changes won’t impact existing bearer shares.

Environmental Protection Act (Canada)

  • Sale of toiletries containing microbeads – miniature manufactured solid plastic particles – prohibited except in natural health products or non-prescription drugs. Microbeads, often used in skin cleansers, are characterized as toxic and can harm aquatic organisms

August 1, 2019

Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada)

  • Expands requirements for truck tractors manufactured in Canada to have electronic stability control systems. The technology is designed to reduce rollover and loss-of-control crashes.

October 1, 2019

Construction Lien Amendment Act (Ontario)

  • The legislation sets out timelines for payment to building contractors and subcontractors in order to significantly reduce payment delays. Owners will have 28 days to pay a contractor, while contractors must pay subcontractors within seven days of receiving their payment.

October 17, 2019

Cannabis Act (Canada)

  • The sale of cannabis edible products and concentrates are legal “no later than 12 months following” Canada’s Cannabis Act coming into force on October 17, 2018.

TBD 2019

Trademarks Act (Canada)

  • Among amendments are the registration term for trademarks to be reduced from 15 years to 10 years and the definition of a trademark broadened to include nontraditional items like smells, tastes, textures, and moving images

Transportation Modernization Act (Canada)

  • Expected to come into force Summer 2019, will approve an air passenger ‘bill of rights’ guaranteeing consistent protections expected to include minimum compensation for flight delays and lost luggage as well as clear guidelines for tarmac delays.

Consider making some criminal pardons automatic, MPs recommend

JIM BRONSKILL, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 2nd, 2019

A panel of MPs wants the federal government to look at making criminal pardons automatic for some offenders who have served their sentences.

The House of Commons public safety committee also suggests lowering the $631 fee for a pardon and simplifying the often complex process for applicants.

A criminal record can hinder a person’s ability to get a job, find housing, go to school or travel, committee members say in a report tabled without fanfare just before the parliamentary holiday break.

Under changes brought in by the former Conservative government, lesser offenders — those with a summary conviction — must wait five years instead of three before they can apply to the Parole Board of Canada for a pardon.

Offenders who have served a sentence for a more serious crime — an indictable offence — must wait 10 years instead of five.

In addition, the application fee quadrupled to $631 from $150 to ensure full cost recovery, and the name for a pardon was changed to the more neutral-sounding term “record suspension.”

Wayne Long, the New Brunswick Liberal MP whose motion prompted the committee review, told the MPs that sometimes, often early in life, mistakes lead to criminal records.

“As a society, we need to be able to provide deserving citizens with a second chance,” he said. “Unfortunately, for many Canadians, especially those in low-income situations, the criminal justice system often fails to provide a second chance.”

He spoke of a single mother with an excellent work record who was offered five well-paying jobs over a six-month period.

“These offers were all rescinded when it was revealed she had a summary offence on her record. She stole a pair of jeans in 1998 — her one and only offence. Now Susan cannot find quality employment, and she cannot afford the cost of a criminal record suspension,” Long said.

“To somebody living in poverty, $631 is an insurmountable amount of money.”

Conservative MP Jim Eglinski, a committee member, questioned the notion of the government absorbing all costs of pardon processing, suggesting instead that only people of limited means receive assistance.

Ultimately, the committee recommended the government review the fee structure. It also called for consideration of measures to make the process “more accessible,” as well as another look at the term “record suspension,” given that some offenders appreciate the significance of being pardoned by society.

The MPs also recommended the government examine “a mechanism to make record suspensions automatic in specific and appropriate circumstances.”

They did not provide examples of such circumstances. However, during the committee hearings, the John Howard Society of Canada proposed the idea of automatically closing a criminal record once an offender had completed their sentence and a crime-free period had passed.

Such a system would eliminate the costs and unfairness of the current system, said Catherine Latimer, executive director of the charitable organization, which presses for criminal justice reforms.

The Liberal government said two years ago it would review the Conservative changes that made people wait longer and pay more to obtain a pardon.

In response to a federal consultation, a large majority said the $631 fee posed a substantial hurdle for people trying to turn their lives around. Most respondents also felt the application process was long and complicated.

The government has already taken a step toward streamlining the process for certain offenders.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale promised in October it would soon be quicker — and less expensive — to obtain a pardon for a previous conviction of simple marijuana possession, now that recreational pot use is legal.

Coming legislation will waive the waiting period and fee for those seeking a pardon for possession offences.

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