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Capacity limits for restaurants, gyms to lift Monday: sources

Dilshad Burman and Lucas Casaletto | posted Friday, Oct 22nd, 2021

CityNews has learned that capacity limits for restaurants and gyms in Ontario will be lifted next week.

According to sources, as of Monday, the social distancing measures that had restaurants and gyms running at only a percentage of their full capacity will be removed.

Capacity limits will also be lifted at event spaces where proof of vaccination is required.

The official announcement is expected Friday, once approved by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore.

Earlier this week, Ford confirmed that he would meet with his cabinet to discuss a plan for moving beyond the province’s current reopening framework.

“We want to make sure we have a plan to stand the test of time moving forward,” Ford said in Windsor on Monday. “We never, ever want to shut down this economy again.”

The province paused plans in mid-August to exit Step 3 of its reopening framework as fourth wave cases were rising. Now, daily COVID-19 case counts are stable, and more than 87 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

The province says it’s making the changes based on high vaccination rates, stable public health indicators and the vaccine certificate policy, noting there have been few outbreaks in the selected settings.

RELATED: Restaurants disappointed after being left behind as capacity limits loosened in Ontario

Business groups have expressed frustration and anger since the government announced late last week that it was lifting capacity limits for some settings that require patrons to be fully vaccinated, but not others.

Customer capacity is 50 per cent in most restaurants and in gyms.

Cinemas, theatres, concert venues, meeting and event spaces, and spectator sports venues were allowed to open with 100 per cent capacity, and physical distancing mostly isn’t required. Restaurants don’t have a percentage capacity cap but are limited by distancing requirements between tables.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce said they didn’t understand why capacity limits could be lifted on those large venues, but not at small businesses such as restaurants and fitness studios.

The CFIB said small business owners are wondering why the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators can pack in fans at full capacity, while a bowling alley can’t open more than half of its lanes.

For much of the summer, the province’s top doctor warned of a September surge, followed by a bleak fall and winter. That has not materialized as the daily case counts remain under 1,000 and the graph of Ontario’s seven-day average roughly shows a plateau since the beginning of October.

Wonderful to see Ontario doing so well at keeping COVID-19 rates low. This is probably due to a slow and methodical reopening plan coupled with maintaining public health measures,” Infectious Diseases physician Dr. Isaac Bogoch said on Thursday.

“It’s still way too soon for the ‘mission accomplished’ banner, but by most metrics, October is very good.”

Bogoch said last week that if Ontario decides to further lift COVID-19 measures and restrictions, they should “not be shy to scale things back if and when metrics start heading in the wrong direction,” and before hospitalization and ICU capacity is an issue.

“Been there, done that,” he said. “Pandemic is not over (yet).”

Ontario reported 413 new COVID-19 cases today, 273 of them in people who are not fully vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown.

The province is also logging four more deaths from the virus.

The province says 87 per cent of Ontario residents aged 12 and older have one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 83 per cent have received both shots.

With files from Richard Southern of CityNews and The Canadian Press

Sheriff: Alec Baldwin fired shot on movie set that killed woman

Morgan Lee And Walter Berry, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Oct 22nd, 2021

A prop firearm discharged by veteran actor Alec Baldwin, who is starring and producing a Western movie, killed his director of photography and injured the director Thursday on the movie set outside Santa Fe, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Sheriff’s officials said Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for the movie “Rust,” and director Joel Souza were shot.

Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, authorities said.

Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he’s undergoing treatment for his injuries.

Production has been halted on the film.

A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the 68-year-old Baldwin was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful.

The International Cinematographers Guild confirmed that the woman fatally shot was Hutchins, a cinematographer.

“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement.

Hutchins, 42, was director of photography on the 2020 action film “Archenemy,” starring Joe Manganiello. A 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, she was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.

“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said “Archenemy” director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

Baldwin was a producer on Souza’s 2019 film, “Crown Vic,” which starred Thomas Jane as a veteran Los Angeles police officer on a manhunt for two violent bank robbers. His first credited film, 2010’s “Hanna’s Gold,” was a treasure hunt adventure featuring Luke Perry.

Deputies responded about 2 p.m. to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls came in of a person being shot on set, sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said.

He said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.

“This investigation remains open and active,” Rios said in a statement. “No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”

Filming for “Rust” was set to continue into early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office.

The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the late martial-arts star Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie “The Crow.” The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum on the set of the television series “Cover Up.”

Ontario’s enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate goes into effect today

Carl Hanstke and Patricia D'Cunha | posted Friday, Oct 22nd, 2021

Ontario’s new enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate, which includes a QR code, goes into effect Friday for non-essential businesses like restaurants and gyms.

The provincial government has said the enhanced vaccine certificate will allow for easier and faster entry into settings that require proof of vaccination. As of Thursday, data shows just over four million Ontarians downloaded the QR code.

Ontarians can save the electronic version of their vaccine certificate to their phone or print a paper copy. The province said businesses must accept both electronic and paper versions.

Those who don’t have a smartphone or access to a printer can also call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have their enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to them.

The certificate, which includes a QR code, became available to download on Monday for anyone, regardless of their birth month. The Friday before and until Sunday, the province staggered the download rollout by birth month to prevent a system crash.

However, with many people attempting to download the certificate on Monday morning, it led to technical problem, which province said has since been resolved.

The province also said that current vaccine receipt, which doesn’t have a QR code, is still valid. However, they are “encouraging individuals to download their enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code as an easier, more secure and convenient way to have their proof of vaccination verified.”

Ontarians still need to show identification with their name and date of birth when presenting their proof of vaccination.

With files from Michael Ranger and Michael Talbot of CityNews

Edward Rogers removed as chairman of Rogers Communications

John Marchesan and The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Oct 22nd, 2021

Edward Rogers has been removed as chairman of the board at Rogers Communications Inc., following recent boardroom drama that prompted the departure of a senior executive and the launch of an executive oversight committee.

John MacDonald has assumed the role of Chairman while Rogers, who has served on the board since 2012, will remain on the board as a company director.

MacDonald has been a member of the Rogers Board of Directors since 2012 and holds the role of Lead Director and Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee.

“This has been a challenging time for the Corporation and I want to reaffirm on behalf of the majority of the Board our support for and total confidence in the management team and CEO of Rogers Communications,” said MacDonald.

The move comes in the wake of reports Rogers attempted to have president and chief executive Joe Natale ousted. The attempt was blocked by other members of the board, including Rogers’ sisters and mother, multiple reports say.

The executive power struggle came after Edward Rogers tried to put former chief financial officer Tony Staffieri into the role of CEO and replace other members of the leadership team, according to media reports. Staffieri left the company effective Sept. 29, with Paulina Molnar named interim CFO.

On Thursday, the board announced it has formed an executive oversight committee “to establish clear protocols for interactions between the chair and members of management” and said it would undertake a comprehensive corporate governance review.

Rogers Communications is the parent company of this website.

Man dead following North York shooting

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 21st, 2021

A man is dead following an early morning shooting in North York.

Police were called to Bakersfield Street, in the area of Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue, shortly before 3:30 a.m.

A victim was found at the scene suffering from gunshot rounds and was rushed to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The investigation is ongoing and there is a heavy police presence in the area.

There is no word on any suspects.

Canada set to reveal plans for COVID-19 vaccine passport for international travel: reports

Lisa Steacy | posted Thursday, Oct 21st, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil plans for an international vaccine passport for Canadians Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Trudeau will speak to media at 10 a.m. EST following a briefing with federal departments including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada, and the Canada Border Service Agency

On Aug. 11, the feds announced they were working with provinces and territories on a “pan-Canadian, secure, and standardized proof of vaccination for international travel,” and that it would be an “easily recognized” trusted” digital document.

“For Canadians who decide to travel, using a proof of vaccination will provide foreign border officials with the vaccination history needed to assess whether a traveller meets their public health requirements and provide a trusted and verifiable credential for when they return home,” says the announcement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

“The Government of Canada encourages everyone who is able to do so, regardless of travel plans, to get vaccinated. Vaccination with a complete series of approved COVID-19 vaccines provides individuals with substantial protection against the virus. Destination countries determine if or what type of proof of vaccination is required and the related benefits that may be provided such as reduced or no testing or quarantine requirements.”

RELATED:COVID-19 vaccine required for most travellers within Canada

Currently, Canadians are required to upload proof of immunization, such as a provincial vaccine passport, into the ArriveCAN app. Travellers need to show they received both doses of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson at least 14 days prior to travel. A combination of these approved vaccines is also acceptable.  A negative COVID-19 test is also required.

Those who are not fully vaccinated can still travel internationally, however, they will be subjected to mandatory testing and quarantine upon their return to Canada.

Starting Oct. 30, travellers departing from Canadian airports and travelling on Canadian trains will need to prove they are fully vaccinated. Those under 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine will be exempt, but for adults, there will be very few exceptions granted. A mandate for employees of federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors comes into effect the same day.

Ford government to remove barriers for internationally trained workers

Richard Southern | posted Thursday, Oct 21st, 2021

Not being able to work in the jobs they qualified for in their native countries is a common issue many immigrants face in Canada.

Only one-quarter of internationally trained immigrants in regulated professions are working in jobs that match their level of qualification in Ontario.

CityNews has learned the Ford government is planning to introduce legislation to help alleviate this issue.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton will table a bill that will remove barriers immigrants face, such as the requirement for Canadian work experience, when attempting to get licensed in regulated professions and trades such as law, accounting, architecture, engineering, electrical and plumbing.


“These are folks who have the training, experience, and qualifications to work in booming industries where Ontario desperately needs help, but are being denied a chance to contribute,” McNaughton said. “If these changes are approved and passed, Ontario would become the first province in Canada to level the playing field so that any person coming here has the opportunity to build a better life.”

The new legislation would eliminate Canadian work experience requirements for professional registration and licensing, unless an exemption is granted based on demonstrated public health or safety risk.

The government says it would also reduce duplication of language proficiency testing, so people do not have to complete multiple tests for purposes of immigration and professional licensing, and allow applicants to register faster in their professions when there are emergencies such as a pandemic. The bill would also see that the licensing process is completed in a timely manner so internationally-trained immigrants can start working in careers that match their skillset sooner rather than later.

The changes do not apply to the medical field, minister McNaughton says

“We are working with the Ministry of Health right now to push this forward and hopefully in the time ahead we’ll have more to say,” he said.

The government hopes to have the legislation passed before the end of the year, however it will take between 20 and 24 months to implement the changes.

The sectors that would ultimately be impacted by the legislation will be determined in regulation, however some are listed below:

  1. Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario
  2. Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario
  3. Association of Ontario Land Surveyors
  4. Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario
  5. College of Early Childhood Educators
  6. College of Veterinarians of Ontario
  7. Law Society of Ontario
  8. Ontario Association of Architects
  9. Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists
  10. Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
  11. Ontario College of Teachers
  12. Ontario  Professional Foresters Association
  13. Human Resources Professionals Association
  14. Ontario College of Trades, which covers:
  • Electricians – Domestic and Rural
  • Hoisting Engineers – Mobile Crane Operator 1
  • Hoisting Engineers – Mobile Crane Operator 2
  • Hoisting Engineers – Tower Crane Operator
  • Plumbers
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems Mechanics
  • Residential (Low Rise) Sheet Metal Installers
  • Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanics
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Sprinkler and Fire Protection Installer
  • Steamfitters
  • Alignment and Brakes Technicians
  • Auto Body and Collision Damage Repairers
  • Auto Body Repairers
  • Automotive Electronic Accessory Technicians
  • Automotive Service Technicians
  • Fuel and Electrical Systems Technicians
  • Motorcycle Technicians
  • Transmission Technicians
  • Truck and Coach Technicians
  • Truck-Trailer Service Technicians
  • Hairstylist

Network outage resulting in delays for some passport services

Erick Espinosa | posted Thursday, Oct 21st, 2021

As Canadians begin packing their bags following the easing of international travel restrictions, some looking to urgently renew their passports may have to wait a little longer.

A network outage at some Service Canada Centres is preventing a few locations across the country from providing urgent, express and pick-up services.

In an email to CityNews, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirms the outage began last Friday, but could not provide a timeline of when the issue is expected to be resolved.

“Every effort is being made to resolve the issue in a timely manner,” says communication officer, Jeffery MacDonald, “We apologize for any impacts to our clients”.

According to MacDonald, regular passport services are not directly impacted. But you’re advised to check the government of Canada’s website for a list of locations that continue to offer urgent and express services.

“The Government of Canada understands that Canadians continue to require passports for urgent travel. We are committed to providing service for clients with pressing needs for travel documents.”

While walk-in services are available, it’s recommend you book an in-person appointment rather than walking in to avoid long wait times.

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