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St. Mike’s assessment centre data shows spike in recent positivity rates

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

Toronto continues to be one of the hot spots when it comes to the recent spike in new cases of COVID-19 across the province and data from a downtown assessment centre shows just how profound the increase has been with recent positivity rates three-times the provincial average.

St. Michael’s Hospital’s assessment centre has seen a 60 per cent increase in people showing up to be tested the past couple of weeks on its peak days. The positivity rates of people getting tested has also increased significantly.

During the period of Sept. 6 to 12, the positivity rate of tests conducted jumped up to 2.2 per cent after sitting at 0.4 per cent over the past two months.

For comparison, the positivity rate across the province of Ontario was at 0.7 per cent over the same time period.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, says the increase in case numbers is a clear sign that we are entering a resurgence.

“Our reproductive number is 1.2 – that means that each new case of COVID-19 infection is creating 1.2 further cases. That’s why we want to see that reproductive number below 1,” Dr. de Villa said at her daily briefing on Wednesday.

“We’re now six weeks into reopening in Toronto and a picture is emerging of infections in our city. In these last six weeks, approximately 50 per cent of COVID-19 infections are categorized as close contact, meaning as a result of exposure to someone whose infection is known – although it may not have been evident when they infected someone else.”

De Villa says they are also seeing patterns emerge that point to infections from smaller gatherings such as play dates and extended family get-togethers.

“We’re in a transition period as we approach the fall and winter months. We’re at a crossroads too. No one person will decide what happens next. It’s what we do together and what happens as a result.”

The recent spike in daily new cases has also prompted the Ontario government to pledge to lower the limits on social gatherings in an attempt to slow the increases.

Provincial health officials have attributed the spike in cases largely to people not following public health guidelines at social gatherings.

Premier Doug Ford’s office has confirmed the move but won’t say when those new guidelines will be released.

The current limit on social gatherings is 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.

Toronto top doctor says multiple weddings led to 22 COVID-19 infections

LUCAS CASALETTO | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

Local weddings continue to be a culprit behind the spread of COVID-19 as Toronto reports yet another high daily increase of new infections.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is reporting 86 new COVID-19 cases across the city with six of them confirmed as staff at local schools.

Dr. Eileen de Villa says in the last six weeks, 50 per cent of infections have been categorized as close contact.

“It’s happening particularly at events where your guard is down,” de Villa said alongside Mayor John Tory at their daily COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

“My team is currently investigating and tracking four separate weddings that have so far generated 22 infections. Remember, prior to their positive test, these 22 people would have been contagious possibly without knowing it for a period of time.”

She says there have also been infections from smaller gatherings including play dates and gatherings of extended family.

The update from health officials comes as the topic of large gatherings continues to be debated by the Ford government. The Premier said on Wednesday a decision on limiting social gatherings is coming soon as the province deals with three COVID-19 hot spots in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.

The trend of positive infections at weddings is a troubling and contentious one being felt across the GTA. In early September, York Region Public Health said 23 attendees tested positive for coronavirus.

Funeral for four slain Traynor family members set for today in Oshawa

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

Mourners will gather in Oshawa today to remember the four members of the Traynor family who were killed in a shooting earlier this month.

The funeral, which is to get underway later this morning, is by invitation only for family and close friends, but members of the public were able to participate yesterday in a drive-past visitation.

Fifty-year-old Chris Traynor and his children, 20-year-old Bradley Traynor, 15-year-old Adelaide Traynor and 11-year-old Joseph Traynor were killed in their home on Sept. 4.

Loretta Traynor,  50, who is also a family member was injured in the shooting and a fourth child, Sam Traynor was not at home at the time of the incident.

Durham regional police have identified the shooter as 48-year-old Mitchell Lapa, who is also related to the family.

Police say he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

High school in Pembroke first in Ontario to be closed due to coronavirus outbreak

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

A high school in Pembroke, Ontario has been closed after three cases of COVID-19 were detected at the school.

The latest case at Fellowes High School was confirmed Wednesday and was linked to two previously announced cases, all among staff members at the school located northwest of Ottawa. That prompted the acting Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) to order an immediate shutdown.

The school will remain closed until further notice and reopen only with the approval of public health.

In a release, the Renfrew County District School Board said any students or staff who may have been exposed will be contacted directly by public health.

Fellowes High School is the first school in the province to be closed due to COVID-19.

According to provincial data updated on Wednesday morning, 35 out of more than 4,800 schools in Ontario have reported at least one case of COVID-19.

TDSB delays start date for majority of secondary school students

Lucas Casaletto | posted Thursday, Sep 10th, 2020

The Toronto District School Board says it has postponed the back-to-school start date for most high school students to Thursday, September 17.

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Students attending Special Education Congregated Sites, as well as other support programs, will begin on Tuesday, September 15.

“Given the complexities of the staffing and timetable process, we have adjusted the start dates of secondary school, in-person and virtual,” the school board said in a statement.

The board says if there are further changes to start dates schools will contact families directly.

The Toronto District School Board says it is the largest in Canada serving 247,000 students in 583 schools.

Toronto District School Board trustee Shelley Laskin said on Twitter the health screening process has also changed leading up to the return to class.

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As for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, classes for all students are still expected to begin on Monday, September 14.

2020 GTA Staggered Return To School Schedule

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Sep 9th, 2020

With this year’s back to school schedule looking a little different, we’ve broken down which school boards across the GTA are resuming classes on each day over the next week and a half, by age group:

Thursday, September 10th

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Kindergarten to Grade 8: Students with last names H-O

Secondary: Morning Orientation

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

FDK to Grade 8: Students with last names G-N

Secondary: Grades 10, 11 & 12 Cohort A

 

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 2 students

Elementary: Grades 1 – 8, divided alphabetically by last name

Grade 9: Cohort A

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: Grades 1-3

Secondary:  Grade 9 cohort A

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Last names N-S

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Orientation Day for one-quarter of each class

 

Halton District School Board

Elementary: Optional Orientation, divided alphabetically

 

Halton Catholic District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 2

Elementary: Grades 1-8, last names G-N

Secondary: Grades 9-12 Cohort B

 

Friday, September 11th

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Kindergarten to Grade 8: Full day for students with last names P-Z

Secondary: Morning Orientation

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8: Students with last names O-Z

Secondary: Grades 10, 11, 12 Cohort B

 

York Region District School Board

Grade 9: Cohort B

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: JK/SK

Secondary:  Grade 9 cohort B

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names T-Z

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Orientation Day for one-quarter of each class

 

Halton District School Board

Elementary: Optional Orientation, divided alphabetically

 

Halton Catholic District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1

Elementary: Grades 1-8, last names 0-Z

 

Monday, September 14th

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-quarter of each class

Secondary: Grade 9 students

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Full-day, last names A-K

Secondary: Full return to school

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8, last names A-L

Secondary: Grades 9-12 regular schedule based on cohorts

 

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1 based on name

Secondary: Grades 9-12 Full schedule

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: Grades 7 & 8

Secondary:  Grade 9 -12 Cohort A

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names A-M

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Halton District School Board

First day of school for all students

 

Halton Catholic District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1

Elementary: Grades 1-8 all students

 

Tuesday, September 15th

Toronto District School Board

Kindergarten to Grade 5 schools: SK, Grade 5

Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools: SK, Grade 6

Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools: SK, Grades 4 & 8

Grade 6, 7, 8 schools: Grade 6

Grade 7, 8 schools: Grade 7

 

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-quarter of each class

Secondary: Grade 9 students

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Full-day last names L-Z

Secondary: Full return to school

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8, students with last names M-Z

 

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1 based on name

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: Grades 4 & 6

Secondary:  Grades 9 -12 Cohort B

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names N-Z

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Halton District School Board

First day of school for all students

 

Wednesday, September 16th

Toronto District School Board

Kindergarten to Grade 5 schools: JK, Grades 1 & 4

Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools: JK, Grades 1 & 5

Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools: JK, Grades 1 & 7

Grade 6, 7, 8 schools: Grade 7

Grade 7, 8 schools: Grade 8

 

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-quarter of each class

Secondary: Grade 10, 11 & 12

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: All students Return

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8 all students return

 

York Region District School Board

All elementary students return

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names A-M

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Thursday, September 17th

Toronto District School Board

Kindergarten to Grade 5 schools: Grades 2 & 3

Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools: Grades 2, 3 & 4

Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools: Grades 2, 3, 5 & 6

Grade 6, 7, 8 schools: Grade 8

Secondary: Full Return

 

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

York District School Board

All elementary students return

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names N-Z

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Friday, September 18th

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1 begin classes

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: All students return

School boards announce school opening dates

Kyle Mack | posted Friday, Sep 4th, 2020

With schools preparing to go back into session, students, educators, and parents prep for the unknown.

To help with the transition, we compiled a list of key dates for school boards across Ontario.

SEPTEMBER 8th START DATE:

  • HWDSB (staggered start)
  • PEEL
  • DUFFERIN PEEL CATHOLIC
  • Durham (staggered until the 18th)
  • YORK CATHOLIC – staggered

SEPTEMBER 9th

  • HALTON CATHOLIC

SEPTEMBER 10TH

  • YORK REGION

SEPTEMBER 14TH

  • HALTON
  • TCDSB (STAGGERED)

SEPTEMBER 15TH START DATE:

  • TDSB – staggered
Have something to say about school re-opening? Email us at feedback@breakfasttelevision.ca for the chance to have your message broadcasted LIVE on Breakfast Television Toronto.

Several people found dead in Oshawa home

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

Durham police say several people have been found dead in a home in Oshawa after reports of shots being fired overnight.

Emergency crews were called to a home on Parklane Avenue, near Harmony Road north of King Street, just before 1 a.m. Friday.

Police said at least four people have died. A fifth person was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries.

Police say they are not looking for any suspects and there are no safety concerns at this time.

The homicide unit has been advised.

Mayor John Tory considers TikTok to reach younger generation with COVID-19 messaging

Talia Knezic | posted Thursday, Aug 20th, 2020

The City of Toronto may communicate warnings about coronavirus to the younger generation via TikTok.
Mayor John Tory said he is considering the use of TikTok as COVID-19 case numbers in younger demographics continue to rise.
An update released Wednesday from the City of Toronto says the average age of cases for the last two weeks is 39 years old. It has been 52 years overall for the entire pandemic.
“Young people are of the view that they are invincible from the virus,” Tory said in an interview with Breakfast Television’s Melanie Ng on Thursday. “The fact is, they do suffer less cases of hospitalizations and deaths.”
He noted that young people often carry the virus home to multi-generational family members who suffer greater consequences than they do.
“Right now, I’m not sure they’re watching all-news programs and they have to be reached in a different way,” Tory said about young people and reaching them via TikTok. “We’re going to do everything we can to get the message across that they have to follow the same health protocols as everyone else.”
This comes on the heels of the impending return to school, which leaves many parents, staff and students concerned about the potential of future outbreaks.
According to a Hootsuite report published in May 2020, TikTok hosts 800-million monthly users, with 69 per cent being in the 13-24-year-old demographic.

St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation – Urban Angel Golf Classic Auction

Kyle Mack | posted Thursday, Aug 6th, 2020

St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto is globally renowned for its research and treatment in some of the world’s toughest health challenges and for its work with the most marginalized members of our community.

Now, to raise crucial COVID-19 funding for the hospital, they are taking the golf tournament virtual and launching an online auction offering one-of-a-kind prizes and experiences that all Ontarians can bid on!

St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation is introducing its first-ever Urban Angel Golf Classic Auction: a virtual auction of one-of-a-kind prizes and experiences that all Ontarians can bid on.

When COVID-19 struck, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation cancelled its annual Urban Angel Golf Classic tournament, Canada’s premier golf tournament, and one of its highest-grossing fundraisers.

The auction will be running online from August 5th-August 19th, and is open to all residents of Ontario. Click the link below for more info! www.urbanangelauction.ca

Funds raised with the UAGC auction will go towards the hospital’s highest COVID-19 priorities – such as ensuring their frontline health-care workers have what they need to battle the crisis, making sure no member of society is left behind, and powering cutting-edge research to end the pandemic.

The fundraiser was made possible by the support of Middlefield Funds, MasterCard, BMO Capital Markets, and ISCA.

#UrbanAngelGolfAuction

 

 

 

 

Nature’s calling but there’s nowhere to answer. Why we need to make public toilets a number one issue.

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Jul 15th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, we can joke as much as we want about it, but the reality is that we all go to the bathroom, every single day. It’s a basic human need. Yet many cities are failing at providing accessible public toilets for everyone. What will it take for politicians and city planners to take the issue seriously and address the underlying discrimination and inequality? Which cities are doing it right? How has the pandemic highlighted the need for accessible public washrooms? Could this be a turning point?

GUEST: Lezlie Lowe, author of No Place to Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Some Ontario businesses allowed to reopen Tuesday as coronavirus restrictions loosen

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Some Ontario businesses will be allowed to open their doors Tuesday after being closed for two months in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The province is starting the first stage of its economic reopening, giving the green light to retailers, some sports centres, vehicle dealerships and other businesses to resume.

But the provincial government stresses those businesses still have to comply with public health guidelines such as physical distancing as they welcome customers.

Some business owners have expressed relief and excitement at the prospect of reopening, while others say they feel it’s too early to do so safely.

The province ordered the closure of all businesses deemed non-essential in mid-March and recently allowed those with street entrances to offer curbside pickup.

Ontario reported 304 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 22,957.

There have been 1,904 deaths related to the virus so far, including 23 that were reported Monday.

Detailed List of Stage 1 Openings

Kyle Mack | posted Friday, May 15th, 2020

This list is effective May 19, 2020, and may be updated when the corresponding emergency
orders are amended.

Construction
• All construction to resume and essential workplace limits lifted
• Includes land surveyors

Retail
• In addition to retail operating online, or with curbside pickup and delivery, all retail can
open under the following restrictions and guidelines:
• No indoor malls.
• Must have a street-front entrance (i.e., stores with dedicated street access/storefront).
• Open in-store by appointment and/or by limiting the number of people in the store at
any one time. Retailers would need to restrict the number of customers per square
metre — for example, one customer per 4 square metres (43 square feet) — to ensure
physical distancing of 2 metres at all times.
• Only fitting rooms with doors would be used, not curtains, to facilitate disinfecting.
Retailers would restrict use to every second fitting room at any one time to allow for
cleaning after use and ensure physical distancing.
• For further guidance on this sector, please refer to resources to prevent COVID-19 in
the workplace.

Vehicle dealerships and retailers
• Vehicle dealerships and retailers, including:
• New and used car, truck, and motorcycle dealers
• Recreational vehicle (RV) dealers (e.g., campers, motor homes, trailers, travel trailers)
• Boat, watercraft and marine supply dealers
• Other vehicle dealers of motorized bicycles, golf carts, scooters, snowmobiles, ATVs,
utility trailers, etc.
• Prior to Stage 1, motor vehicles dealerships were restricted to appointments only.

Media operations
• Office-based media operations involving equipment that does not allow for remote
working. For example:
• Sound recording, such as production, distribution, publishing, studios.
2
• Film and television post-production, film and television animation studios.
• Publishing: periodical, book, directory, software, video games.
• Interactive digital media, such as computer systems design and related services (e.g.,
programming, video game design and development).
• Media activities that can be completed while working remotely have been encouraged to
continue during the Restart phase.
• Filming or other on-site activities, especially those that require the gathering of workers,
performers or others are not permitted to resume in Stage 1.

Scheduled surgeries (public and private facilities)
• Non-emergency diagnostic imaging and surgeries in public hospitals, private hospitals
and independent health facilities, clinics, and private practices to resume based on ability
to meet specified pre-conditions including the MOH framework: A Measured Approach to
Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, contains clear
criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries.
• Scheduled surgical and procedural work to resume once “Directive #2 for Health Care
Providers (Regulated Health Professionals or Persons who operate a Group Practice of
Regulated Health Professionals)” is amended or revoked, which relies on hospitals
meeting criteria outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures
During the COVID-19.

Health services
• Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling
and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined
in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19
Pandemic, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment
Centres from virtual to in-person.
• In-person counselling to resume including psychotherapy and other mental health and
support services. Some of these services were available in-person for urgent needs.
For example:
• Addiction counselling
• Crisis intervention
• Family counselling
• Offender rehabilitation
• Palliative care counselling
• Parenting services
• Rape crisis centres
• Refugee services

Community services
Outdoor recreational amenities
• Marinas can resume recreational services
• Pools will remain closed

Individual recreational sports
• Outdoor recreational sports centres for sports not played in teams will open with limited
access to facilities (e.g., no clubhouse, no change rooms, washrooms and emergency aid
only). Examples of sports centres include:
• Tennis courts
• Rod and gun clubs
• Cycling tracks (including BMX)
• Horse riding facilities
• Indoor rod and gun clubs and indoor golf driving ranges

Individual sports competitions without spectators
• Professional and amateur sport activity for individual/single competitors, including
training and competition conducted by a recognized Provincial Sport Organization,
National Sport Organization, or recognized national Provincial training centres (e.g.,
Canadian Sport Institute Ontario) with return to play protocols in place and no spectators,
except for an accompanying guardian for a person under the age of 18 years.
• This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played under
physical distancing measures. This includes:
• Water sports on lakes and outdoor bodies of water
• Racquet sports such as tennis, ping pong, badminton
• Animal-related sports such as dog racing, agility, horse racing
• Other sports such as: track and field, car and motorcycle racing, figure skating,
fencing, rock climbing, gymnastics, etc.
• Swimming pools will remain closed. As a result, water-based sports competitions are
excluded if not conducted on lakes or outdoor bodies of water.
• High-contact sports are not allowed even if they are non-team. These include sports
where physical distancing cannot be practiced such as:
• Racquetball, squash, boxing, wrestling sports, martial arts, etc

Professional services related to research and development
• Professional services related to conducting research and experimental development in
physical, engineering and life sciences including electronics, computers, chemistry,
oceanography, geology, mathematics, physics, environmental, medicine, health, biology,
botany, biotechnology, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, pharmacy, veterinary and other
allied subjects. For example:
• Agriculture, food research, horticulture or botany, entomological, forestry, livestock,
veterinary research and development laboratories.
• Bacteriological, biotechnology, chemical, nanobiotechnology, pharmacy, genetics,
genomics, computational biology, research and development laboratories.
• Computer and related hardware, electronic, telecommunication research and
development services.
• Geology, oceanographic, pollution research and development, and astronomical
observatories.
• Mathematics research and development.
• Industrial research and development laboratories.
• These examples are listed for clarity. Most if not all these services are already permitted
under the “Research” section of the List of Essential Workplaces.

Emissions inspection facilities
• All emissions inspection facilities for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles, including
mobile inspection facilities.

Veterinary services
• Veterinary services can resume all services by appointment.
Animal services
• Pet grooming services
• Pet sitting services
• Dog walking services
• Pet training services
• Training and provision of service animals
• Effective May 16, 2020, businesses that board animals (e.g., stables) may allow boarders
to visit, care for, or ride their animal

Emissions inspection facilities
• All emissions inspection facilities for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles, including
mobile inspection facilities.
Veterinary services
• Veterinary services can resume all services by appointment.

Animal services
• Pet grooming services
• Pet sitting services
• Dog walking services
• Pet training services
• Training and provision of service animals
• Effective May 16, 2020, businesses that board animals (e.g., stables) may allow boarders
to visit, care for, or ride their animal.

Man connected to 2006 Brampton homicide extradited from Mexico, Peel police say

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

A man that has been on the run after allegedly killing his wife nearly 14 years ago has been extradited from Mexico and charged, Peel police said Tuesday.

On July 13, 2006, police said they found the body of a woman in an apartment building in the Steeles Avenue and McMurchy Avenue area in Brampton.

The victim, 31-year-old Malena Morales, was a mother of two children, police said.

On July 14, 2006,  police issued a Canada-wide warrant for the victim’s husband, Henry Morales, who was 30-years-old at the time of the alleged incident.

It was discovered that Morales had fled to Mexico after the alleged homicide, but his exact location was unknown, police said.

Investigators continued to search for Morales over the course of 14 years, even getting the case profiled on “America’s Most Wanted” in 2009.

In 2019, Morales was found in an undisclosed location in Mexico, police said.  With the help of Mexican authorities, Morales was arrested and extradited back to Canada.

Morales, now 44-years-old, is charged with murder and is being held for a bail hearing on Sept. 16, police said.

“This case is a shining example of the level of determination by our officers, in their relentless pursuit of justice and to secure closure for the family of Malena Morales. It also serves as a reminder that intimate partner violence is a real threat for some members of our community” said Deputy Chief Nick Milinovich in a news release.

 

Toronto convention centre to serve as backup location for jury selection

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

Some prospective jurors will be summoned to a downtown Toronto convention centre as the province resumes jury selection following a six-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a notice issued Tuesday to those in the legal field, the Ministry of the Attorney General says the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is “prepared to host jury events” on its targeted date of Sept. 16.

The ministry says the centre will be used as a backup location for the Superior Court of Justice and the Civil Superior Court of Justice.

The Ontario Superior Court temporarily halted in-person operations in mid-March due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, with all criminal and civil matters suspended or adjourned until June.

Dozens of courthouses reopened in July, with more doing so this week.

However, Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz previously said jury selection and jury trials would remain on hold until September at the earliest.

Jury selection brings together large groups of prospective jurors, which raised concerns about the possibility of maintaining proper physical distancing and other health measures.

In another document issued last week, the ministry said government staff visited the convention centre and conducted a risk assessment to identify any further controls that could help curb the spread of the virus during jury selection.

It called for, among other things, a staggered arrival for prospective jurors, mandatory face masks for the public and staff, and a deferral for any members of the public unable to wear a mask for medical reasons.

Toronto mosque urges calm, vigilance in wake of caretaker’s fatal stabbing

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

A Toronto mosque urged worshippers Tuesday to be vigilant of their surroundings after a volunteer caretaker was stabbed to death.

But the International Muslim Organization of Toronto said the incident should not discourage congregants from attending service, despite the fear it has created in the community.

Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, 58, was outside the mosque controlling entry to the building when he was fatally stabbed. The suspect took off and remains at large.

“At this point, we still cannot say definitively what the motive of the attacker was,” said the board of the mosque in a statement.

Insp. Hank Idsinga, the head of Toronto’s homicide unit, said Monday the death may be linked to another homicide after a homeless man who lived under a bridge several kilometres away was stabbed to death five days earlier.

Idsinga said both victims were men with brown skin and stabbed in “blitz-type attacks.” He did not discount that it could be the work of a serial killer.

He said no evidence currently suggests the incidents were hate-motivated, but it remains a possibility.

But the mosque urged caution about those theories.

“Toronto Police Service is entertaining multiple theories – and that means that nothing has been ruled out, including the potential for a hate crime, or even that this is a part of a series of targeted killings,” the mosque said.

“However, we must be clear – the fact that theories have not been ruled out should not lead us to spreading news that a hate crime was committed or that a serial killer is on the loose, as has been shared by some sources.”

The mosque said there have been sleepless nights for many in the community since the stabbing.

“We urge our congregants to keep our brother in your prayers and to of course continue to be vigilant about any suspicious activity in the area,” the mosque said.

“At this point, we are not encouraging mosques in the Greater Toronto Area to shut down or to discourage worshipers, as there is insufficient evidence to make such a recommendation at this point.”

Police said they have increased patrols in the area.

A funeral will be held for Zafis on Wednesday.

7 TDSB schools report COVID-19 cases as kids return to class

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

Seven Toronto District School Board (TDSB) schools are among the 27 in the province that have reported COVID-19 cases.

All seven of the cases have been attributed to staff members, three of them at high schools — Earl Haig Secondary School, York Mills Collegiate Institute and the School of Experiential Education.

Earl Haig is one of the schools that was identified by the TDSB as having a potential classroom shortfall as 78 per cent of the student body or 1,423 students will be returning when classes start on Thursday.

Bloordale Middle School, Don Mills Middle School, Brookhaven Public School and Charles G. Fraser Junior Public School also all reported cases on Tuesday.

Elementary schools began a staggered start to the school year on Tuesday with the return to class happening over three days.
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