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Feds to give provinces $2B to bolster safe reopening of schools this fall

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 26th, 2020

OTTAWA — The federal government is giving $2 billion more to provinces and territories to help them ensure kids can safely go back to school next month.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to make the announcement Wednesday at a school in Toronto.

The money is on top of the $19 billion Trudeau has already promised provinces and territories to help them cope with the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their economies and health care systems.

He informed the premiers of his plan during a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

Sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details before the announcement, confirmed some details to The Canadian Press.

The funding is to be allocated based on each province and territory’s number of students.

Education is a provincial jurisdiction and the sources said Trudeau will fully respect that. Provinces and territories will be able to spend the money as they see fit to bolster their efforts to ensure schools can reopen this fall as safely as possible.

Schools have been shut down across the country since COVID-19 started sweeping across the country in mid-March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2020.

 

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Pedestrian struck by vehicle on Westney Road in Ajax

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 25th, 2020

A pedestrian is in hospital after being struck by a vehicle in Ajax on Monday night.

Emergency crews were called to the scene on Westney Road near Highway 401 around 9:30 p.m.

Police say it appears the pedestrian was trying to cross the street on a red light, when he was struck by the vehicle.

The pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries.

Police said the driver remained at the scene.

There has been no word on charges.

 

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Durham school board to hold special meeting Tuesday for back-to-school plans

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 25th, 2020

With September just around the corner, the Durham District School Board will meet Tuesday night for a special meeting to go over its back-to-school plans.

Heading into the meeting, the board said a high number of parents have signed their children up for the virtual learning option.

Because of that, the board will be hiring additional school administrators.

The board said it hopes to have a schedule finalized by the end of August.

Durham’s medical officer of health will be among those expected to take part in the board meeting.

The meeting is being livestreamed and it gets underway at 6:30 p.m.

 

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School bus drivers ask for COVID-19 safety protocols ahead of start of new year

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 25th, 2020

Some school bus drivers say they have not received COVID-19 safety protocols with just weeks to go before the start of class.

The drivers, who are represented by Unifor, will hold a press conference Tuesday morning to discuss their request for information on safety measures on their vehicles.

The union says many of its drivers are senior citizens and are more vulnerable to the virus.

Ontario released a school reopening plan weeks ago which will see students return to class in early September.

School boards have been given permission to stagger the start of classes over the first two weeks of the academic year if they need more time to prepare.

Teachers’ unions and parents have expressed concern that the Ontario government’s approach has not done enough to lower class sizes and encourage physical distancing.

 

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Sunnybrook hospital confirms COVID-19 outbreak in one of its units

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 25th, 2020

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre says they are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in one of its units.

Officials say a patient at the hospital was diagnosed with the virus on Friday.

They say they have identified four other cases since then, and two of those patients remain at the hospital. All of the other patients on the unit have tested negative for the virus.

The affected unit is currently closed to admissions, they said.

According to hospital officials, when an outbreak is declared, affected patients are isolated immediately, and control measures are put in place. This includes the staff in the unit. Strict precautions, increased surveillance, testing and enhanced cleaning measures have also been put in place.

Toronto Public Health confirmed outbreak control measures are in place at the health centre.

Dr. Jerome Leis with the hospital’s infectious diseases unit says they are on top of it.

The hospital remains open, and clinics and procedures will continue, as usual, they said.

 

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Ontario business schools foster ‘hostile environment,’ racialized students say

OSOBE WABERI THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 24th, 2020

Business school students in Ontario are sounding the alarm about what they call outright racism from fellow students and a lack of equity and diversity training among faculty.

A number of social media accounts have popped up in recent months, anonymously recounting stories of racism happening in universities across the province.

Schools such as Queen’s University in Kingston and York University in Toronto are among those that have come under fire.

Kelly Weiling Zou, a 20-year-old Singaporean-Chinese student studying commerce at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s, said the racism she witnessed pushed her to create a platform for students to vent about their experiences.

“There is no denying that these issues regarding Black and Indigenous people are clear and present.”

Zou created the Instagram account “Stolenbysmith,” which has amassed more than 12,000 followers and shared more 300 stories, ranging from tales about barriers to career opportunities, social ostracization based on students’ backgrounds and encounters with discrimination from faculty.

“The Smith administration has historically failed to respond to students’ call to action in addressing issues of discrimination within the school,” Zou said in an interview. “We can’t change systemic barriers, only they can as they have the power.”

Meena Waseema, a second-year business student at Queen’s, said her first brush with racism at the school came on just her second day of orientation week last fall.

The 19-year-old said one student leader, also in the business program, used the “N-word” in a song to a room full of students.

“Witnessing this was disappointing and it made me feel unsafe,” Waseema said. “This was the first of many experiences which made it clear that racism is normalized here.

“For me personally, being a visibly Muslim brown woman at this school is exhausting. Being a lower-income student doubles that exhaustion. I have to consistently advocate for my needs.”

Brenda Brouwer, interim dean at the Smith School of Business, said the university is working on addressing concerns raised by its students. She called the incident detailed by Waseema “completely unacceptable and deeply troubling” and said it would be a clear violation of the school’s code of conduct.

“The professor implied to a class of 50 students that she thinks (Islam) is oppressive to women.”

“Improving diversity and increasing inclusion is an urgent priority,” Brouwer said. “While progress has been made, we know there is more work to be done, and we will continue to actively foster a culture of inclusion, dignity and respect.”

Aba Mortley, co-chair of the council of anti-racism and equity at Queen’s, said she works as a bridge between faculty and students in order to bring about discussions on campus and in the wider Kingston community.

“There is no denying that these issues regarding Black and Indigenous people are clear and present,” Mortley said.

“No one can say that racism isn’t happening when it is out in the open.”

She said the school is in a better position to work on these discussions now, thanks to the recent momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“With all these stories coming out, it is forcing the school to take action,” Mortley said.

Sara Reza, a student at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said discrimination and racism are also present on her campus.

Reza is the founder of a social media account called “Silencedatschulich,” which, like Zou’s account, highlights stories of racialized students’ experiences at York’s business school.

“Business programs rarely integrate diversity and inclusion, which fails to address the persistent inequality that exists in our communities and worldwide,” she said.

Reza said business university programs foster a “hostile environment” in which topics of privilege, inequality and race are rarely brought up in the classroom.

Humera Dasu, a third-year student at York, said she was left feeling uneasy when a white professor and group of students allegedly made inappropriate comments when discussing Islam.

“The professor implied to a class of 50 students that she thinks the religion is oppressive to women,” Dasu, 20, said.

“I was deeply offended and hurt…. Islamophobia has been normalized to the point that such a comment can be made in a classroom environment.”

“With all these stories coming out, it is forcing the school to take action.”

Detlev Zwick, interim dean at Schulich School of Business, said the school is aware of concerns brought forward recently by students and graduates.

“The Schulich School of Business does not tolerate or excuse discrimination and racism of any kind. As one of the most diverse business schools in North America, Schulich has a long tradition of actively encouraging and supporting inclusivity and diversity,” he said.

“Obviously, more needs to be done and we have already begun taking action in various ways to ensure greater awareness surrounding issues of racism, especially anti-Black racism, as well as sexism and discrimination.”

Zwick said the school is also currently in talks with other leading business schools in Ontario regarding several joint initiatives to tackle barriers for Black and Indigenous students, particularly from high schools in economically disadvantaged communities.

 

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Woman critically injured after hit by vehicle in Mississauga

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Aug 24th, 2020

A woman is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a vehicle in Mississauga.

Emergency crews were called to the area of Winston Churchill Boulevard and The Collegeway around 9:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Police say the vehicle involved remained at the scene.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has dash-cam footage is asked to contact police.

Three suspects sought after man stabbed multiple times in midtown attack

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Aug 24th, 2020

Police are searching for three suspects wanted in a midtown stabbing on Saturday night.

Police say three men approached a 44-year-old man in the area of Mt. Pleasant Avenue and Eglinton at around 10 p.m. A dispute erupted between the men and the victim was attacked and stabbed multiple times. The three men then fled the scene.

Police say the victim was a resident of the nearby Roehampton Hotel, which has been repurposed to house the homeless and has been the subject of a simmering dispute within the community.

Police have identified two of the attackers – 27-year-old Colin Defreitas and Reese Morris, who are both wanted for aggravated assault.

Defreitas is described as six-foot-one, 150 pounds with brown hair and a beard. He was last seen wearing light blue jeans, a dark jacket and a baseball hat worn backwards.

Morris is described as between 20 to 30 years of age, with medium length black hair twists. He was last seen wearing black track pants with a white vertical stripe on the side, a white ‘addidas’ t-shirt and white running shoes.

The third suspect is described as being between 20 and 25 years of age, approximately five-foot-nine, 150 to 170 pounds with a large afro. He was last seen wearing black track pants with a vertical stripe down the side, a white ‘addidas’ t-shirt and white running shoes. He was also armed with a machete.

Police say the three men are considered armed, violent and dangerous and should not be approached.

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