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Piece of scaffolding falls on girl at Toronto school

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 18th, 2018

The Toronto District School Board has halted a construction project at a school in the Annex after a piece of scaffolding fell on a student earlier this week.



The incident happened Monday outside of Palmerston Avenue Junior Public School, near Bloor Street and Bathurst Street, when a piece of construction material fell and hit a young girl.

The student was taken for a medical assessment and will be fine, according to TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird.

School staff moved students to a separate building as a precaution until the scaffolding could be checked, Bird said in a statement. “An inspection by the contractor followed and when the school received assurances that the scaffolding was safe, students were permitted to return.”

Work on the project has been paused until the board is certain “it can resume safely.”

Family of Toronto girl who claimed her hijab was cut apologizes: reports

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jan 18th, 2018


Media reports say the family of an 11-year-old Toronto girl whose story of having her hijab cut in an attack last week turned out to be untrue has apologized.

Several news outlets cite a statement from the girl’s family that was released on Wednesday.

Police began investigating last Friday, after the girl said she was attacked twice on the way to school by a man who cut her hijab with scissors.

The alleged attack received widespread media attention, and several prominent figures denounced it while expressing solidarity with the girl and the Muslim community.

On Monday, Toronto police said their investigation revealed that the incident did not happen.

Media reports Wednesday evening quote the family as saying they are “deeply sorry” for the “pain and anger” the story has caused.

Bag containing live eels found in Toronto mall washroom

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 17th, 2018


A bag of live eels isn’t something you see expect to find in a public washroom, but that’s what happened Sunday evening at a mall in east-end Toronto.

Scarborough Town Centre Mall marketing director Jai Lee says a customer reported seeing two eels in the washroom and security staff went in to collect the slithery fish.

She says one of the eels had escaped from a bag, but was quickly captured and the pair of eels was taken to a nearby pet shop that specializes in fish.

Lee says they don’t believe it was a prank.

She says the eels were a variety that is sold as food and it’s believed a customer simply forgot the bag in the washroom.

Lee says nobody has come forward to claim the eels.

Wynne to shuffle cabinet less than five months before election

Allison Jones The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 17th, 2018


Premier Kathleen Wynne is shuffling several senior portfolios in her cabinet, less than five months before the Ontario election, The Canadian Press has learned.

Deputy Premier and Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews, Treasury Board President Liz Sandals and Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid have all said they’re not running in the June election, and Wynne is filling those jobs with politicians who are up for re-election.

Mitzie Hunter is moving from her current post as education minister to advanced education, Eleanor McMahon is leaving her role as tourism, culture and sport minister for treasury board, and Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca will become economic development minister, sources say.

In this shuffle, many of the ministers involved also represent ridings in the Greater Toronto Area, which will be a key battleground in the June election.

Indira Naidoo-Harris, who is currently the status of women minister and minister responsible for early years and child care, will fill the job of education minister, a source said.

And backbencher Harinder Malhi will take on the status of women post, the source said.

In all, there are eight politicians involved in the shuffle, the source said, but Wynne’s office would not confirm any details other than that a shuffle would be taking place. Her itinerary for Wednesday shows a swearing-in ceremony in the afternoon.

Wynne last shuffled her cabinet in July, with a few moves to replace Glen Murray, who left as environment minister to become executive director of the Pembina Institute.

At that time, Chris Ballard became environment minister and Peter Milczyn was promoted to take over Ballard’s former post as housing minister.

Wynne has previously downplayed the effect of several senior cabinet members not running again, saying people sacrifice a lot to enter politics.

Speaker Dave Levac, the Liberal representative for Brant, and Monte Kwinter, Ontario’s oldest MPP, have also announced they won’t seek re-election.

New TTC report shows staggering extent of rush hour overcrowding

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jan 17th, 2018


Overcrowding during rush hour on Line 1 is the worst it’s ever been and a new report shows some startling numbers.


About 30,000 people travel southbound from Bloor station per hour and Line 1 is near or exceeding capacity for a 90 minute period during the morning rush hour.

In fact, Line 1, from Finch to Union Station is the busiest section, carrying 450,000 customer trips per day.

“I was coming home from work the other day and it was closed between Union and Bloor both directions, both lines” said TTC commuter Carly Churchill. “I had to take the streetcar, it was a nightmare.”

Little more than a decade ago it was a much smaller problem, with over capacity issues only existing at Bloor-Yonge, Wellesley and College stations.

The problem has nearly tripled, with the list growing to the following stations:

  • Eglinton
  • Davisville
  • St. Clair
  • Summerhill
  • Rosedale
  • Bloor-Yonge
  • Wellesley
  • College

For one advocacy group, the ultimate solution is the completion of one of the city’s most anticipated transit projects

“We know that what we need to do to fix this is to fund and build the relief line as soon as possible” said TTCriders spokesperson Shelagh Pizey-Allen.

TTCriders will be handing out “Overcrowding Relief Kits” to commuters starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning to raise awareness about subway crowding on Line 1, and asking people to contact Mayor Tory and Premiere Wynne and tweeting out pictures of their commute using the hashtag #can’tgeton.

One of the solutions the TTC is looking at is potentially changing the fare during off peak hours

“If they reduce the fare we think that can be good for some riders” said Pizey-Allen

“If they increase the fare, that’s going to be really bad news, not everybody can choose when they travel to work and not everyone can afford a fare hike”

The report will be presented to the TTC board Thursday when some of the recommendations will be reviewed. As for the timeline for the relief line, that won’t be ready until 2031.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh engaged to clothing designer Gurkiran Kaur

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jan 17th, 2018


Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh pulled back the curtain on his closely guarded private life, letting Canadians know Tuesday night that he is engaged.

Singh, 38, proposed to girlfriend Gurkiran Kaur, 27, at a private party Tuesday night just blocks away from the Ontario legislature in Toronto where he served as a provincial legislator for six years.

Singh surprised Kaur, an entrepreneur and fashion designer, with the proposal in front of several dozen friends and family members at a vegetarian restaurant where they had their first date.

Singh was elected federal NDP leader last fall and had been guarded about his personal life, but social media posts in December made headlines after it was reported he and Kaur were engaged.

The couple shot down the rumours, saying it was instead a “rokha” – a traditional Punjabi ceremony held ahead of a wedding and usually attended by close family.

Until December, Singh had declined to confirm or deny that he was in a relationship.

Along with friends and family, Singh invited several members of the media, including The Canadian Press, to witness the surprise proposal Tuesday night.

Friends cheered as Singh and Kaur arrived. Singh pulled a ring out of his jacket pocket and got down on one knee to propose to Kaur, who accepted.

A few moments later, the couple waded into the crowd and Kaur shouted, raising one hand in the air, “Every one, I’m engaged!”

Asked why he decided to make this news public and what he wants Canadians to know about it, Singh said he was excited about the engagement.

“I’m super excited to take this step forward – to have a life and future together with my partner,” he said.

Police say Brighton, Ont., fire that killed 2 people was homicide

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jan 16th, 2018

OPP Police officers on security detail walk past a cruiser outside the London, Ont. courthouse during the Bandidos biker trial on Thursday April 2, 2009. The trial is hearing about the first discovery of eight bodies in what prosecutors allege was an internal cleansing of the Bandidos outlaw motorcyle gang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Dave Chidley

Provincial police say a house fire that killed two people last week in Brighton, Ont., is being investigated as a homicide.

Police say the home was engulfed in flames when the Brighton Fire Department responded Wednesday morning.

They say the building was significantly damaged and investigators located the bodies of two adults.

They have been identified as 62-year-old Louise Earle and 67-year-old Wayne Earle, both of Brighton.

OPP say the investigation continues with the assistance of the Office of the Fire Marshal and the local fire department, but say there is no public safety concern at this time.

They say more information will be provided as it becomes available.

Somali-born refugee to spend rest of jail sentence in halfway house

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jan 16th, 2018


Abdoul Abdi, the Somali-born refugee seemingly forgotten by the Nova Scotia child care system has been given a major victory.

He will be allowed to spend the remainder of his five-year jail sentence in a Toronto halfway house, instead of locked up in an immigration detention centre or jail.

The 24-year-old was scheduled to be released from a New Brunswick prison earlier this month, so he could serve the remainder of his sentence in a community residential facility, commonly known as a halfway house. But Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials intervened, saying they would be deporting Abdi because his criminal record now made him inadmissible to Canada.

He arrived in Canada from Somalia as a convention refugee with this sisters and aunt, and grew up in the Nova Scotia child care system, living in more than 20 foster homes during his youth. No one applied for his Canadian citizenship.

Convicted of aggravated assault, assault against a peace officer, theft of a vehicle and dangerous driving as a result of a police chase, Abdi was to be held in custody pending a deportation hearing. He could lose his permanent residency and be forced to return to a country he hasn’t seen in nearly 20 years, where he doesn’t know the language and has few ties.

On Monday, he was granted a reprieve. While immigration determines whether or not he can stay in Canada, he will be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in the community. Once that sentence is complete in 2019, he will be bound by a strict curfew, required to live with his aunt, and report to CBSA every two months.

His aunt must also pay a $3000 bond — money she will lose if he breaks any of his conditions of release.

A deportation admissibility hearing date has not yet been set.

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