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Ford, under fire for attending wedding, wants police to crack down on prohibited parties

FIL MARTINO, CARYN CEOLIN | posted Wednesday, Sep 9th, 2020

Premier Doug Ford is calling on police to crack down on large gatherings, as he himself is facing some criticism for attending an MPP’s wedding.

On Tuesday, Ford encouraged people who see their neighbours having a prohibited party to call police. And Ford said he wants police to lay charges.

“We have to bring the hammer down,” the premier said, recalling an incident over the weekend in which some 170 people, including visitors from outside of Canada, partied at a Muskoka cottage.

Ford said now is not the time to host big gatherings

“I can’t emphasize it enough that we can’t have these big parties, we can’t have the big weddings. I understand a lot of cultures have massive weddings, they’re bringing families from all over the world. You just can’t do it. Simple postpone your wedding, get married in a small group,” the premier said. “It’s frustrating because it affects the rest of the province.”

But some view Ford’s comments as hypocritical, after he recently attended MPP Stan Cho’s wedding.

Under the province’s Stage Three reopening guidelines, indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed. In all cases, individuals must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres with people from outside their households or social circles.

Metrolinx increases GO train service on several lines

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2020

In anticipation of more people heading back to work and with the return to school, Metrolinx is getting ready for more passengers.

Service was greatly reduced earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lakeshore East and West lines will see service increase to every 15 to 30 minutes for the morning and afternoon rush, and hourly or better in the midday and evenings.

More trips have also been added on the Richmond Hill, Milton, Stouffville, Barrie, and Kitchener lines.

  • Milton line: Two more trips with eight trips each weekday
  • Kitchener line: Five more trips with 35 trips each weekday
  • Barrie line: Resuming most train service with 29 trips each weekday
  • Stouffville line: 20 more trips with 32 trips each weekday
  • Richmond Hill line: One morning and one afternoon train trip with eight trips each weekday

For a compete list of GO Train changes, click here.

Photo radar cameras go into effect Tuesday in some Durham school zones

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2020

Automated speed enforcement cameras will be going into effect in some school zones and designated community safety zones throughout Durham Region on Tuesday.

The cameras will take photos of vehicles that are detected going over the speed limit.

The images will then be reviewed by a provincial offences officer and a notice of offence will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

No demerit points will be issued.

Some cameras were already deployed in ‘data collection mode’ at some zones in June.

The initiative is in support of ‘Durham Vision Zero’ — which is a long-term plan to prevent death and serious injury on Durham roads.

Tam urges caution as daily cases of COVID-19 rise 25 per cent in last week

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2020

Canada’s chief public health doctor says a slow but steady increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is a cause for concern.

Dr. Theresa Tam says today the average daily number of people testing positive over the last week is 545 — a 25 per cent increase over the previous week which saw a daily average of 435, and 390 a week before that.

That number increased every day over the last week prompting Tam to remind Canadians not to get complacent about their risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

Overall, in the last week, 3,955 people tested positive across Canada, and 28 people died of COVID-19.
That compares to 3,044 positive tests and 44 deaths in the week prior.

Tam says most Canadians are following public health advice and that has allowed Canada to keep the COVID-19 pandemic “under manageable control” but says she is concerned about the uptick in positive cases.

“This is a concern and a reminder that we all need to maintain public health measures to keep COVID-19 on the slow-burn path that we need,” she said in a statement.

“As we enter the fall, Canadians will need to be even more vigilant about following public health guidance, particularly as the cold weather shifts activities indoors.”

She said people need to assess both their personal risk if they contract COVID-19, and the risk of severe illness in people in their household or their COVID-19 bubble.

Any event people want to attend should be assessed to determine what COVID-19 precautions are in place and if the event can allow for social distancing or the use of masks, she added.

As of today, 131,895 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Canada, and 9,145 people have died. Almost nine in 10 people diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered.

Ontario students begin return to class today as some boards reopen schools

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2020

Students in Ontario will begin returning to the classroom in-person Tuesday for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province shuttered all schools on March 13 cases of coronavirus disease began to rise.

Some boards in different parts of the province will reopen schools Tuesday, while others will begin to restart over the next two weeks.

Boards will offer a mix of in-person classes and online learning for students who opt to stay home.

Last month, Education Minister Stephen Lecce gave boards permission to stagger school reopenings if they required more time to put pandemic safety protocols in place.

High school students will start orientation at the Peel District School Board on Tuesday, with elementary students beginning Wednesday, while Toronto District School Board students will not begin returning to class until Sept. 15.

Premier Doug Ford’s government has been under increasing pressure over its back-to-school plan, which has changed several times in the lead-up to reopening.

Lecce says the province’s plan puts safety first and the government will move quickly to address outbreaks in Ontario’s schools.

He said he understands students, parents and teachers are concerned about the reopening.

“I think all citizens and all parents around the world on the eve of students going back face that angst in their heart,” Lecce said in an interview. “But if we continue to follow public health advice … I do believe that students can return to a safe and positive environment.”

The government recently released new guidance on how to deal with potential COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.

It emphasizes prevention and at-home screening, while teachers and principals will be asked to isolate any child that develops symptoms at school.

Public health officials will be given discretion to send entire cohorts of students home from school, or potentially close schools, if they feel that is the best way to manage an outbreak.

School boards, teachers’ unions and some parents have called on the government to mandate smaller class sizes to ensure physical distancing is possible in the classroom — and provide funding to make it happen.

Ontario’s four major teachers’ unions have appealed to the province’s labour board alleging the school reopening plan violates workplace safety laws.

NDP education critic Marit Stiles said as schools begin to reopen on Tuesday, she will be watching how students and teachers are able to physically distance in class.

Stiles said despite the pressure to cut elementary class sizes, the government has pushed ahead with its strategy.

“I think we’ve all been hoping that the government would get the message that the parents have been shouting pretty loudly,” she said. “I think the government really believes that they can lay the blame at the feet of the education workers and the boards and shrug their shoulders.”

Statistics Canada to unveil August job numbers, expected to show gains

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Sep 4th, 2020

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada will report this morning how well the country’s job market fared in August.

After seeing a historic drop of some three million jobs over March and April at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has since recovered just over half of what was lost.

Expectations are for a gain again in August, but at a slower pace than previous months.

Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate is for a gain of 275,000 jobs in August and an unemployment rate of 10.1 per cent.

Canada’s labour market gained 418,500 jobs in July, a slowing from the 953,000 jobs gained in June, and the unemployment rate dropped to 10.9 per cent as part of a continuing slide down from the record-high 13.7 per cent in May.

Economists have noted faster gains in part-time versus full-time work, and an increasing share of part-time workers who prefer full-time work compared with July 2019.

Brendon Bernard, an economist with job-posting website Indeed.com, wrote this week that August job numbers could yield a few more quick wins with more parts of the country open for business, such as the return of indoor dining across parts of Ontario after July’s survey week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press

O-m-G! Raptors defeat Celtics with buzzer-beating 3-pointer

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Sep 4th, 2020

OG Anunoby hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Toronto Raptors new life in the NBA playoffs.

Kyle Lowry had 31 points and found Anunoby with a precision crosscourt pass with 0.5 seconds on the clock to lift the Raptors to a thrilling 104-103 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

The victory sliced the Celtics’ lead to 2-1 in their best-of-seven series.

Fred VanVleet had 25 points, Pascal Siakam, who’s struggled in the NBA restart, had 11 of his 16 points in the third quarter, and Anunoby, who missed all of Toronto’s historic post-season run last year after an appendectomy, finished with 12 points.

Kemba Walker poured in 29 points to top Boston, while Jaylen Brown had 19 and Jayson Tatum finished with 15.

The Raptors dodged a massive bullet, as no team has ever come back from being down three games to win a series.

Game 4 is Saturday.

Lowry played like he had no intention of leaving Disney World yet, carrying Toronto with little support through a first half that saw a seven-point lead evaporate into a 10-point deficit at halftime.

But the Raptors locked down on the defensive end after the break, and six consecutive stops sparked a 21-9 run, capped by a Siakam three-pointer, that finally had the Raptors back on top with 3:40 to play in the third.

The quarter closed on a controversial call when Brad Wanamaker kneed Lowry in the groin while driving to the hoop late in the third quarter, leaving Lowry curled on the court in pain. Both he and coach Nick Nurse were livid, but after the officials reviewed the play Lowry was called for a defensive foul, and Wanamaker’s basket and free throw put Boston up 80-76 with one quarter left.

The Raptors were finally moving the ball well in the fourth quarter, and when Norm Powell drilled a three with 6:29 to play, Toronto took a two-point lead.

A cutting dunk by Brown capped an 8-0 Celtics run for a four-point Boston lead with 3:02 left. Lowry muscled to the hoop to make it a one-possession game heading into the final two minutes. The Raptors’ six-time all-star answered a Brown dunk with another hard-fought lay-in with a minute left, then VanVleet drove to the hoop to tie it up, but Walker found a wide-open Daniel Theis under the hoop for an uncontested dunk with 0.5 on the clock.

It looked like game over until Anunoby took the pass from Lowry to score.

Only six per cent of teams had ever come back from 0-2 to win a series, including the Raptors last season. With Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, they lost their first two to Milwaukee in the conference finals but then won four straight to advance to the Finals.

The big difference in bubble basketball though is that Toronto would have played this game and Saturday’s on the parquet floor of Boston’s TD Garden having given up homecourt advantage. But in the NBA bubble, homecourt advantage means 300 virtual fans, and little else.

No matter which venue, Boston has had the answer for the NBA champions all season, losing just once in the previous six meetings, including three previous wins in the NBA bubble.

Lowry, who’d scored 30 points in Toronto’s lone win over Boston this season, pushed the pace from the tipoff, scoring 15 points in a first quarter that saw the Raptors lead by seven. Walker hit a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Celtics led 33-28 to end the quarter.

The woeful shooting that’s plagued the Raptors throughout this series continued in the second quarter. They shot 3-for-13 from distance, and trailed by as many as 10 points in the quarter, and Walker again hit a buzzer-beater to end the quarter and Boston went into the locker-room up 57-47.

The Celtics led wire to wire to easily win the series opener 112-94. Boston edged the Raptors 102-99 in Game 2.

Staff member at Brampton elementary school tests positive for COVID-19

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Sep 4th, 2020

Less than two weeks before the start of the new school year, the Peel District School Board says a staff member at one of its schools has tested positive for COVID-19.

The principal of Ross Drive Public School in Brampton has confirmed in a letter sent to staff that an individual who was in the building setting up a classroom last week has since tested positive for the coronavirus.

A spokesperson for PDSB confirmed to 680 NEWS that the teacher in question wore a mask and maintained social distancing while they were in the building. They added that there is no risk to the school as the teacher did not work at the school during the period of communicability.

“While Peel Public Health cannot comment on specific cases, they confirmed that they are investigating and will determine the places the person went while infectious (e.g., to work or public places) and who their close contacts were,” reads a portion of the letter from principal Greg Harris which 680 NEWS has obtained.

“We know that news of COVID-19 can create feelings of anxiousness, and so we wanted to make sure you had this information as soon as possible to help alleviate concerns.”

The letter goes on to say that the school has already been cleaned since Aug. 27 and has undergone additional enhanced cleaning on Sept. 2.

“The building will remain open and no further action has been suggested by Peel Public Health at this point,” said Harris.

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