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COVID-19 vaccine certificate app available to download, Premier Ford to reveal new details

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Oct 15th, 2021

Premier Doug Ford is set to reveal details this morning about Ontario’s vaccine certificate QR code and app. It comes as the app has become available for download Friday.

Details were posted on the Ontario website this morning that the app will making the “enhanced vaccine certificate” available to residents by birth month over a period of three days.

Starting Friday, anyone born between January and April is able to download the app. On Saturday, those born from May to August will be able to access the app and finally, those born in September to December can access it on Sunday.

The app also already available for download for businesses and organizations to scan people’s QR codes.

As of Monday morning at 8 a.m., it will available for everyone to download. All you will need to access your vaccine certificate in the app is your green photo health card.

The Ontario government is also expected announce the loosening of some COVID-19 restrictions.

A source has told CityNews capacity limits at restaurants and gyms are expected to be lifted. Mask mandates and other public health measures will remain in effect.

CityNews will be streaming the announcement LIVE on our website at 11 a.m.

RELATED: Ontario’s digital vaccine certificate available for businesses

RELATED: Ontario planning to lift more COVID-19 restrictions next week

CityNews has learned that a prototype of the app, which will be used by businesses to verify a

Under Ontario’s vaccine certificate program, only those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — or have a valid medical exemption from a doctor — can access certain settings, such as theatres, nightclubs and restaurant dining rooms.

As it stands, residents must show their vaccine receipt and photo ID to enter those facilities, but the province plans to replace that system with the black-and-white barcodes and an app-based scanner.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment played a key role in the development of the app to deliver it in near record time to Ontario businesses.

MLSE partners with Ford government to build vaccine verification app for Ontario businesses

ADRIAN GHOBRIAL | posted Friday, Oct 15th, 2021

It’s being billed as a side-by-side collaboration to deliver an app in near record time to Ontario businesses.

Two highly skilled digital departments, one public, the other from the private sector, coming together with a shared goal — to build an app for Ontario companies to scan and verify vaccine QR codes, and do it fast.

CityNews spoke exclusively with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainments (MLSE) Chief Technology and Digital Officer Humza Teherany about the conglomerate’s involvement. They told us they helped with everything from building the app to testing, and everything in between.

“It’s been a true collaboration,” Teherany says. “It just was a logical partnership opportunity for us to tag team with the Ontario Digital Service (ODS), lend a hand really, because they were already working on this, but we have a ton of experience launching mobile products to millions of people.”

Ryerson University Public Health Professor Thomas Tenkate points out that it makes sense that a large corporation like MLSE would want to lend its expertise to the province for this high-stakes project.

“You have to say, well, if the assistance is about running a trial of the app in a pressure cooker situation, it’s really good for the progression of the app. The question is are there other aspects to what that assistance is?”

RELATED: Ontario’s digital vaccine certificate available for businesses, Ford to speak Friday

RELATED: Ontario planning to lift more COVID-19 restrictions next week

CityNews has learned that a prototype of the app, which will be used by businesses to verify a citizen’s unique QR code, was already in the works before MLSE came on board. However, when MLSE reached out to the ODS team, the two came to an agreement on a partnership and pooled their resources to build the app. The digital teams worked together, to write and test code. MLSE app engineers worked with ODS engineers and the province to deliver the app just weeks after Ontario’s Associate Minister of Digital Government made the announcement that an application for business was on the way.

“The government has to work on assuring people of what data will actually be collected and what will be housed with the vendor and what it’s tracking,” said professor Tenkate.

Associate Minister Kaleed Rasheed was not made available by his office for this story, nor was a member of the province’s digital services department, however the Ontario government has been clear that the app doesn’t collect and cannot share personal information. No organization, including MLSE, will have access to any user data.

Teherany notes that “the app is completely offline, the actual QR code is stored on a (personal) device, there’s no online retrieval of it” by any business.

Some in the restaurant industry who spoke with CityNews expressed concern that MLSE may have received preferential treatment for their services, with the government now allowing a capacity crowd at Scotiabank arena and other venues while bars and restaurants are still limited.

Speaking on background, government staff told CityNews that’s not the case at all, stating that MLSE simply offered their assistance free of cost to help the province as a whole.

The Ford Government will officially announce their partnership with MLSE as well as the details of the app and QR code rollout on Friday.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton hospitalized with infection

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Oct 15th, 2021

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is in a California hospital for what his spokesman says is a “non-Covid-related infection.”

The 75-year-old was admitted back on Tuesday, according to spokesperson Angel Urena.

“He is on the mend, in good spirits,” read the brief statement.

A second statement from Clinton’s spokesman quoted physicians Dr. Alpesh Amin and Dr. Lisa Bardack, who said the former president has been “administered IV antibiotics and fluids.”

In the years since Clinton left the White House in 2001, the former president has faced health scares. In 2004, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery after experiencing prolonged chest pains and shortness of breath. He returned to the hospital for surgery for a partially collapsed lung in 2005, and in 2010 had a pair of stents implanted in a coronary artery.

He responded by embracing a largely vegan diet that saw him lose weight and report improved health.

He repeatedly returned to the stump, campaigning for Democratic candidates, mostly notably his wife, Hillary, during her failed 2008 bid for the presidential nomination. And in 2016, as his wife sought the White House as the Democratic nominee, Clinton _ by then a grandfather and nearing 70 _ returned to the campaign trail.

The UCI Medical Center is in Orange County, about 40 miles (64 km) southeast of Los Angeles. It wasn’t immediately clear why Clinton was in Southern California.

Man found with stab wound in Scarborough

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Oct 15th, 2021

Officers were called to Sheppard Avenue East and Hedge End Road just before 1 a.m. to reports of a man stabbed.

The victim reportedly stood in front of a bus so the bus driver stopped until police arrived. The stabbing appears to occurred somewhere else.

When emergency services arrived, the man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police are now working to determine where the stabbing happened. There has been no suspect information released.

Ontario planning to lift more COVID-19 restrictions next week: reports

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 14th, 2021

The Ford government is reportedly planning to loosen more COVID-19 restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to trend down, according to multiple reports.

It comes nearly a week after Ontario lifted capacity limits in sports venues, concerts halls and movie theatres.

The province had planned to eventually exit the Step 3 phase of their reopening plan, but increasing case numbers and the delta variant forced them to pause.

Reports say the announcement is expected to come next week and will end the capacity limits in most public places including restaurants, bars and gyms.

Masking indoors and other public health restrictions are expected to remain in effect.

COVID-19 case numbers have been slowly decreasing with just over 300 new cases reported on Wednesday. The seven-day average also continues to trend downwards with it dropping to 500, reaching the lowest point since Aug. 19.

Vaccination numbers also continue to increase and have surpassed the province’s original metrics for exiting Step 3 with 87 per cent of the population eligible to be vaccinated having one dose and 82.5 per cent fully vaccinated.

The vaccine certificate verification app is expected to launch next Friday that will allow Ontarians to upload their information to a QR code for establishments to verify their vaccination status.

Proof-of-vaccination is currently required in most indoor settings including dine-in restaurants, gyms, indoor events and sports facilities.

Incoming Canadian army commander under military police investigation

CARYN CEOLIN | posted Thursday, Oct 14th, 2021

The Department of National Defence has confirmed the incoming commander of the Canadian army is under military police investigation “into historical allegations.”

In its statement, the department did not specify the nature of those allegations, but the Ottawa Citizen reports Lt.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu is accused of sexual misconduct.

In his own statement, Cadieu denied any wrongdoing, but said he has asked the acting Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre, to consider selecting another leader.

“While I have devoted every day of my career to making fellow members feel respected and included, Canadian Army soldiers deserve a leader who is unencumbered by allegations and can lead at this important time when culture change, addressing systemic misconduct and preparing tactical teams for operations must remain the priority effort,” Cadieu said.

A previously-planned Change of Command ceremony scheduled to take place last month was postponed due to the investigation.

“The postponement of the ceremony is not an indictment of LGen Cadieu,” the statement from National Defence reads. “However, in light of the ongoing investigation, a decision was made to allow the justice system to pursue the matter in accordance with the rule of law.”

Cadieu said the allegations are false, “but they must be investigated thoroughly to expose the truth,” adding he has provided “detailed information and correspondence” to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, and has “taken other measures to prove my truthfulness and innocence.”

Conservative national council suspends member after bid to recall O’Toole as leader

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 14th, 2021

A member of the Conservative Party of Canada’s national council has been suspended after spearheading an effort to trigger an early review of Erin O’Toole’s leadership.

Bert Chen sat as a representative from Ontario when he started an online petition to collect signatures in hopes the council would hold a referendum before 2023.

He launched it within 24-hours of the Conservative’s election defeat on Sept. 20, making it the first open question of O’Toole’s tenure.

Chen says members feel O’Toole has betrayed the party’s values when it comes to spending and a consumer carbon price on fuel.

Party president Rob Batherson says in a statement that the up to 60-day suspension follows complaints it received about Chen’s conduct, which will be investigated.

O’Toole tried putting a more moderate stamp on the party in hopes it would gain them more voters, but doing so has irked some Conservatives because he billed himself as the “true blue” candidate to win over the party base in last year’s leadership race.

In a Facebook post, Chen calls his suspension a way “to silence Conservative members that have lost confidence in the leadership of Erin O’Toole.”

He says many want him removed “for selling out their beliefs for a failed attempt at power.”

“I look forward to continue to represent the members that elected me in their wishes for a new leader after this 60 day period.”

Batherson says a committee will look into the complaints against Chen and recommend to national council whether he acted in a way that could negatively impact its reputation or that of the leader or party.

Last week, O’Toole’s caucus voted in favour of giving itself the power to oust him as leader, although for that to happen at least 20 per cent would first have to sign a written notice to force a secret ballot vote.

The Conservative leader said he believes he has the support of his 118 elected members to stay in the job and that he supports caucus having the power to review his leadership because it creates transparency.

Many MPs have offered a public show of support for O’Toole with statements on social media cautioning against rushing to replace him as leader out of concern about the message it could send to voters.

Alberta MP Shannon Stubbs is the lone voice of the group to publicly call for the party’s grassroots to be able to vote on his leadership within the next six months instead of having to wait until the next national convention in 2023.

Stubbs has said she wants to know from O’Toole what he meant when he said on election night that Conservatives needed the courage to change. She said members should have a direct say on amending party policies and values.

O’Toole has not directly answered when asked whether he would try and bump up the members’ planned review.

Woman dies after being struck by a vehicle in North York

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 14th, 2021

A woman in her 60’s has been pronounced dead after being struck by a vehicle.

It happened just after 8 p.m. near Don Mills and The Donway. She was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries where she was pronounced dead.

Toronto Police say the driver of the vehicle did remain on scene. It’s not clear if they will face any charges.

Traffic Services is now investigating.

The Donway is closed in both directions between Don Mills Road and Burdock Lane

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