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Ontario elementary school teachers to release results of strike vote

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Nov 1st, 2019

The union representing Ontario’s elementary school teachers says it plans to announce Friday morning whether or not its members are willing to go on strike.

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario has been holding strike votes across the province for the past several weeks as it tries to negotiate a new labour deal with the provincial government.

The union said it will release the results of those votes at a 10:30 a.m. news conference. Watch it live on this website.

The Progressive Conservative government has been in tense contract talks with all the province’s education workers, who have been without contracts since the end of August.

Last month it reached a deal with the Canadian Union of Public Employees hours before its members were to walk off the job.

Both the federation and the union representing public high school teachers have applied for conciliation in their ongoing talks with the province.

Toronto sets Hallowe’en rainfall record

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 1st, 2019

A Hallowe’en rainfall record has been set in the city.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said 18.8 millimetres of rain fell at Pearson Airport on Thursday.

“The record for rainfall for an October 31st was 16.2 (millimetres), actually set last year,” she explained.

“The difference though last year was that all the rain was in the morning and it ended by noon, so it really didn’t affect the trick-or-treaters.”

Gusty winds overnight are expected to die down throughout the day on Friday.

Taylor said it’s going to be a cool weekend, with highs ranging from five-to-eight degrees, and a few showers possible on Saturday.

2 teens seriously wounded in East York shooting

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 1st, 2019

Two teens have been seriously injured following reports of a shooting in East York.

Police say they responded to reports of multiple gunshots fired at the rear of a building on Cosburn Avenue just east of Pape Avenue around 9 p.m.

Police say they located two victims, a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, suffering from gunshot wounds to the torso.

Paramedics say they transported the victims to a trauma centre in serious but non-life threatening condition.

One of the victims was shot in the chest. The other was shot in the stomach. Both are expected to live.

No word yet on what may have led to the shooting but police say a while male suspect, likely in his late teens or early 20s, was seen fleeing the area on foot.

7 injured after stabbing at house party in the Annex

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 1st, 2019

Seven people are in hospital — two of them with life-threatening injuries — after a stabbing at a house party in the Annex.

Toronto police were called to the home on Madison Avenue near Bloor Street West and Spadina Avenue just after midnight on Friday. Police said a fight broke out at the party.

Paramedics said two males have serious to life-threatening injuries, while the other two males have serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Two other males have minor injuries. A seventh male, whom police believe had been at the same party, made his own way to hospital with serious stab wounds.

A male, believed to be between 18-20 years old, has been taken into police custody.

5 teens injured in targeted shooting in northwest Toronto

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

Five teens are injured and three suspects remain at-large in what police are calling a targeted shooting that occurred in Toronto’s northwest end.

Toronto police were called to an apartment complex on Clearview Heights Road in the area of Trethewey Drive and Black Creek Drive just after 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police said the victims were all in the hallway of the complex when three suspects showed up and two of them opened fire on the group.

Four people were transported to hospital, three of them via emergency run. Their injuries ranged from serious to critical.

Police said a fifth person showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound.

On Thursday, police said all five victims are expected to recover. One of the teens — a male — is still listed in critical condition but he is expected to survive.

Police said the victims, two females aged 16 and 17 and three males aged 16 to 18, were targeted.

“It was specific, that group was targeted by the suspects,” police Chief Mark Saunders said. “They came in and within a short period of time of coming into the building, they opened that door and fired directly at those people who were standing in the hallway.”

Police recovered more than 20 bullet casings at the scene and are asking the public’s help in locating the suspects, who fled the scene in a black sedan eastbound on Clearview Heights towards Trethewey.

“There is the concern of retribution and so if there is going to be any type of retribution, then that would add to our count and that is something that is concerning,” Saunders said.

“So that’s why we’re making this appeal to hope that we can apprehend these people before any future gun violence happens in our city.”

Ontario autism expert panel recommends some caps on services

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

Ontario’s autism program should emphasize early intervention but also include funding caps on services for children and youth to ensure it survives into the future, an expert panel recommended Wednesday.

The province’s Progressive Conservative government went back to the drawing board earlier this year after its original plan for autism services sparked waves of protests. One of the most contentious aspects of that plan was a service funding cap that families said offered too little money to provide meaningful amounts of therapy.

Panelists reluctantly included annual limits on the amount of service kids could receive in their report, describing those limits as unavoidable for the foreseeable future and calling them necessary to ensure the province’s autism program remains sustainable.

“We struggled with that,” said Laura Kirby-McIntosh, the president of the Ontario Autism Coalition who sat on the panel.

The caps envisioned by the panel would be a far cry from the previous, income-based maximum of $20,000 a year for kids under six and $5,000 per year until they were 18. But the panel recommended that the exact amounts should be determined later by an implementation committee and by a child’s care providers, Kirby-McIntosh said.

“What they gave was sub-clinical therapy amounts to everybody,” she said. “This puts the clinicians in the driver’s seat.”

Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith said the panel’s recommendations will provide a “strong foundation” for the new program. He has already promised the government’s next effort will be based on the needs of children and their families, and will come with a $600 million budget – nearly double the old funding envelope – but said he requires time to review the report before finalizing the program’s details.

“Every government over the last 30 years really have not quite landed in the right place when it comes to autism and that includes our government,” Smith said. “One of the commitments that we made was, let’s work directly with the community.”

The panel, which included parents, autistic adults, psychologists and behavioural analysts, recommends some time-limited early intervention for kids under six when they register for aid. Currently, children wait months or potentially years to qualify for full core services.

Smith said the early years are key, and the push for prompt intervention is one recommendation the government could enact quickly.

Lisa MacLeod, the previous minister responsible for the autism portfolio, was demoted after a disastrous roll-out of the government’s initial plan earlier this year. Members of the autism community said Smith has helped the relationship turn a corner.

The move took a page from the playbook of the previous Liberal government, which also shuffled ministers to put a friendly new face on a new autism program after protests forced it to backtrack on its plan.

Families had largely said they were happy with the Liberals’ second attempt, which allowed them to access any services their children needed on the government’s dime. But the wait list grew, and that meant some kids were waiting years to get in treatment.

The Progressive Conservative government justified its plan under MacLeod by repeatedly saying it needed to clear a backlog of 23,000 children on the wait list. But the panel said that evidence-based and clinically appropriate care should not be sacrificed at the expense of addressing the wait list.

The panel also recommended that:

– Kids who need it should receive short-term mental health services before they reach the top of the wait list for core services.

– Core services should include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology services, occupational therapy, mental health services, and technological aids.

– Service caps should be loosened once wait times have eased.

– An independent care co-ordinator should help families navigate services.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the report tells the government the same thing the official opposition was saying a year ago.

“We need a needs-based program,” she said. “That’s what families deserve, that’s what children deserve. Instead, the government cruelly ripped away services from families. They made things so bad. It was a horrifying thing to watch.”

Late goal by substitute Nick DeLeon sends Toronto FC to MLS Cup final

NEIL DAVIDSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

Substitute Nick DeLeon scored in the 78th minute as Toronto FC rallied to beat defending champion Atlanta United FC 2-1 Wednesday and advance to the MLS Cup final for the third time in four years.

DeLeon took a pass from Alejandro Pozuelo, pivoted at the edge of the penalty box to make room for his shot and curled the ball high into the Atlanta goal over a diving Brad Guzan. Atlanta, which had controlled most of the second half, was furious believing DeLeon had fouled a player in the buildup to the goal.

Atlanta pressed in the final minutes but Toronto held out for five nerve-wracking minutes of stoppage time with Quentin Westberg making a key reflex save at the near post to preserve the win. Guzan came up for the ensuing corner but Toronto cleared the danger.

Toronto advances to face the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final Nov. 10, this time in the Pacific Northwest. Second-seeded Seattle upset league-leading Los Angeles FC 3-1 on Tuesday in the Western Conference final at Banc of California Stadium.

Toronto lost to the Sounders in a penalty shootout in 2016, avenging that loss with a 2-0 win in the 2017 championship game. Both matches were at BMO Field.

Julian Gressel scored in the fourth minute for Atlanta, which looked for an early knockdown in the matchup of last two MLS Cup winners. Westberg threw Toronto a lifeline when he saved a Josef Martinez penalty in the 11th minute, preventing the home side from doubling the lead.

Nicolas Benezet then scored three minutes later for Toronto to restore order.

The wild opening turned into a tense, cagey second half. Tied at 1-1, Atlanta dominated possession with Toronto willing to foul to snuff out the threats.

Wednesday’s game was played before an announced crowd of 44,055 under the dome at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the retractable roof closed thanks to a downpour outside.

It proved to be a wild opening. Toronto stroked the ball around for the opening minutes from kickoff only to see things suddenly go south.

Ezequiel Barco opened up the Toronto defence with a seeing-eye diagonal ball that bypassed Josef Martinez and found Pity Martinez all alone with only Westberg to beat. With three Toronto defenders racing to catch up, Pity Martinez unselfishly sent the ball over to an unmarked Gressel for an easy tap-in.

It went from bad to worse when a penalty was awarded to Atlanta after Michael Bradley took down Pity Martinez, who had been sent in alone by Jeff Larentowicz. The penalty call survived a video review and then Westberg dove to his right and got a hand on the Josef Martinez spot kick. Bradley was cautioned on the play.

Toronto responded in the 14th minute when a fine long ball from centre back Laurent Ciman found Benezet cutting in on the left flank. The French winger slashed towards the edge of the penalty box and curled in a marvellous shot that beat a diving Guzan.

Atlanta had not allowed a goal in 419 post-season minutes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Westberg made back-to-back fine saves in the 37th and 38th minutes, parrying a hard Gressel shot from a sharp angle before getting a hand to a curling long-range Pity Martinez effort.

TFC changed formation, shifting to a back three flanked by wingbacks, with Richie Laryea coming in for Tsubasa Endoh at the half. Atlanta controlled the game early in the second half with Toronto offering some hard-noise defence in response.

DeLeon came on in the 54th minute for Benezet as Toronto rang in the changes.

Still Atlanta came on with Josef Martinez hitting the side netting in the 58th minute. Westberg stopped Josef Martinez again with another fine save in the 66th minute, although the play was called for offside.

Patrick Mullins came in for the injured Auro in the 68th minute as Toronto coach Greg Vanney, wearing a scarf indoors perhaps for luck, used his last sub. Toronto reverted to a back four.

Toronto was without striker Jozy Altidore (quad) for the third playoff game in a row. The big man was deemed a game-time decision after arriving late in Atlanta because of a second MRI back home. Clearly the news was not good.

Centre back Omar Gonzalez, who missed the playoff opener against D.C. United, started on the bench for the second game in a row.

Still Toronto fielded the same starting lineup for the third straight time in the post-season.

The injury news was better for Atlanta, which had captain Michael Parkhurst back at the heart of its defence after dislocating his shoulder Oct. 19 against New England. Defender Miles Robinson (hamstring) remains out.

Toronto is now unbeaten in its last 13 games (7-0-6) with its last loss a 2-0 setback Aug. 3 at the New York Red Bulls. TFC has still never lost a playoff game outside of Canada.

Atlanta was unbeaten in its last four outings (3-0-1) and had lost just once in its last seven outings (5-1-1).

Atlanta had also won its last five home playoff games. And it had conceded just one goal in six home playoff games all-time.

TFC, which finished eight points behind Atlanta in the regular season, came into the game with a career 2-1-3 record against the Five Stripes but had never won at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (0-1-2).

Second-seeded Atlanta defeated No. 7 New England 1-0 and No. 3 Philadelphia 2-0 to reach the Eastern final. Fourth-seeded Toronto downed No. 5 D.C. United 5-1 after extra time and No. 1 NYCFC 2-1 on a stoppage-time penalty.

One dead, two others seriously injured in separate collisions

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Oct 31st, 2019

One man is dead and two women have been taken to hospital after three separate collisions involving pedestrians.

Police were called to the area near Birchmount Road and Lawrence Avenue around 8:15 p.m. to reports a man had been struck by a vehicle. A police officer attempted life-saving measures but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

At around the same time, police responded to a call near McNicoll Avenue and McCowan Road where a woman suffered serious head injuries after being struck by a vehicle.

Police say around 9 p.m., another woman suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck on Ellesmere Road just east of Scarborough Golf Club Road.

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