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Previously friendly Ford sinks teeth into Adamson BBQ: ‘You need to shut down’

MICHAEL TALBOT | posted Thursday, Nov 26th, 2020

Toronto police and bylaws officers were back at Adamson Barbecue Wednesday but it wasn’t for the ribs.

For the second straight day the Etobicoke restaurant drew the attention of the authorities — and a motley crew of supporters — for defying the province’s lockdown orders that forbid indoor dining.

Owner Adam Skelly is now facing a total of nine charges over the last two days.

Municipal Licencing and Standards and Toronto Public Health both laid new charges Wednesday, as did the province under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Skelly is scheduled to appear in court on March 19, 2021. Police say nobody in the large crowd that congregated at the restaurant was charged.

No more Mr. Nice Guy for Ford

Premier Doug Ford was criticized on Tuesday for what some considered a lenient stance on Skelly’s defiance.

“I can’t get angry at any businessperson, they’re hurting right now,” he said.

But a day later he changed his tone.

“People are dying because of COVID-19 and he just wants to say forget it and have everyone down there? It is absolutely irresponsible and ridiculous,” Ford fumed.

“I was nice to the guy yesterday,” he added. “But buddy, let me tell you something, you need to shut down. You’re putting people’s lives in jeopardy.”

Police vow action

Skelly’s Etobicoke BBQ joint did close later Wednesday afternoon, but it’s not yet clear if it did so out of compliance with orders, or simply because for the second straight day it ran out of food. Either way, Toronto police Supt. Domenic Sinopoli said the closure made their jobs easier.

“Police did contemplate dispersing the large crowd but they came to an understanding with the owner that he would close down the business.”

“At the end of the day this a public health crisis,” he added. “The fact that there were so many people congregated in one location, particularly without any facial coverings, is of concern to us.”

Skelly hasn’t confirmed reports that he plans to open again on Thursday, but Sinopoli said if he did, action would be taken.

“We are in a position to stop him if he opens tomorrow, the next day and so forth. The strategy will change from day-to-day depending on what we’re faced with.”

When earlier asked who would have the authority to shutter the restaurant for its flagrant flouting of lockdown rules, Toronto councillor Mark Grimes, who represents Etobicoke-Lakeshore, seemed unsure.

“Probably the Toronto police I would say, but again, that’s a legal issue we are looking at now … this may go to the Supreme Court,” he said.

The slow-cooked drama began on Monday night when Skelly posted a message on his business’ Instagram page saying he would open for full-service Tuesday.

He followed through on that vow, drawing dozens of maskless patrons who dined on his fare inside the restaurant at 7 Queen Elizabeth Blvd.

Adrian Ghobrial reported live from the chaotic scene on Wednesday afternoon. Watch as he’s confronted by store owner Adam Skelly below:

Police and city bylaw officers attended the scene Tuesday, but allowed the restaurant to remain open, with police saying dispersing the large crowds would have posed a public safety risk.

Later Tuesday, the restaurant was ordered to close by Toronto’s medical officer of health. “Investigations require the gathering of all the facts before enforcement action can be taken,” the City said in a release. “The City has now taken enforcement action, and the restaurant is closed.”

But Skelly took to Instagram again on Tuesday night, saying he would open on Wednesday from 11 a.m. until his food sells out.

About half a dozen officers headed back at the location Wednesday morning. Upon entering the premises, a flood of Skelly’s supporters began chanting “Freedom! Freedom!”

A few hours later, several city bylaw officers arrived.

The restaurant has become somewhat of a mecca for anti-maskers, conspiracy theorists and COVID-19 deniers.

Indoor dining was banned in Toronto and Peel on Monday as part of provincial lockdown orders for the two COVID-19 hotspots.

Restaurants are still allowed to offer take-out and delivery

Psychiatrist set to testify for defence as Toronto’s van attack trial resumes

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 26th, 2020

A psychiatrist is expected to testify for the defence Thursday in the murder trial for the man who drove a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk killing 10 people.

CityNews reporter Adrian Ghobrial is covering the trial, follow his tweets below:

 

Alek Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

The defence argues the 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., should be found not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, due to autism spectrum disorder.

On Monday, the judge gave the Crown and its experts a few days to review a number of interviews a psychiatrist hired by the defence did with Minassian.

Another psychiatrist has testified that Minassian’s autism spectrum disorder left him fixated on mass killings and vulnerable to the ramblings of an American mass murderer.

Court has heard that Minassian told various doctors his motivation for the attacks ranged from notoriety to revenge against society for years of rejection by women to anxiety over starting a new job.

Toronto police confirm person of interest in deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman

ROB GILLIES, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 26th, 2020

Toronto police said Wednesday that they have identified a person of interest in the killing of Canadian drug company billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife nearly three years ago.

Police Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu confirmed a report by the Toronto Star that a person of interest had been identified but not arrested.

Sherman, who founded generic drugmaker Apotex Inc., and his wife, Honey, were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Dec. 15, 2017. The two were hanging by belts from a railing that surrounds their indoor pool and were in a semi-seated position on the pool deck.

Sherman, 75, was known for litigiousness and aggressive business practices as he developed Apotex, which had a global work force of about 11,000. In “Prescription Games,” a 2001 book about the industry, he mused that a rival might want to kill him.

The couple was among Canada’s most generous philanthropists, and their deaths shocked Canadian high society and the country’s Jewish community. They made numerous multimillion-dollar donations to hospitals, schools and charities and had buildings named in their honour. They hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Liberal Party fundraiser in 2015.

The day after the bodies were found, some prominent news media outlets quoted unidentified police officials as saying the deaths appeared to be a murder-suicide. That upset the couple’s four adult children, who then hired their own team of investigators and a pathologist, who conducted second autopsies on the Shermans.

Police later said publicly they believed the Shermans were murdered.

Friends and family say the couple had been making plans for the future. They had recently listed their home in Toronto for 6.9 million Canadian dollars and they were building a new home in the city.

Sherman faced legal action from cousins who said they had been cut out of the company over the years. A judge dismissed the claim just months before the couple was found dead.

Ontario to release updated COVID-19 projections after locking down Toronto, Peel

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Nov 26th, 2020

Ontario health officials are expected to release new COVID-19 projections on Thursday.

It will be the first time they have released such data since sending the province’s two biggest virus hot spots — Toronto and Peel Region — into lockdown earlier this week.

Two weeks ago, the province unveiled modelling that showed Ontario could see as many as 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December unless steps are taken to limit the spread of the virus.

It said the province would reach 2,500 new daily cases by that time if the growth rate was at three per cent, or 6,500 if the growth rate was at five per cent.

At the time, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, one of the experts behind the projections, said a five per cent growth rate was “slightly optimistic.”

Premier Doug Ford announced he would lower thresholds for imposing stricter COVID-19 measures under the province’s colour-coded restrictions system the following day.

RECIPE: Breakfast Better with Adrian Forte

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, Nov 16th, 2020

A nourishing breakfast with high-quality dairy protein is key to setting your foundation for the day, giving your body the energy and protein it needs to fuel the morning and prevent the mid-morning crash. TODAY: We’ve invited board member chef Adrian Forte to help us breakfast better and to demonstrate a nutritious, simple and (most importantly) delicious breakfast recipe that you can introduce to your morning routine.

For more information about the Breakfast Better Board guidelines and the complete breakfast recipes, ​check out www.breakfastbetter.ca

 

 

Chef Adrian’s Spiced Cornmeal Porridge

(21 grams of Protein per serving)

Prep Time: 5min  Cook Time 20min

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup fine cornmeal (22gs)
  • 1 can condensed milk (30gs)
  • 4 cups 3% Milk (32gs)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp pimento berry, ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract Materials
  • Whisk
  • Sauce pan

Instructions:

  • In a medium pot, add milk, salt, pimento, nutmeg, and cinnamon stalk and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the cornmeal along with pineapple juice, using a whisk keep stirring, to avoid the cornmeal from clumping.
  • Cook the cornmeal until it thickens and has a porridge consistency (for around 10 minutes).
  • Add condensed milk and vanilla extract and cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Remove from heat, and serve in bowls topped with diced pineapple and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Anna Olson’s Thanksgiving Recipes!

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, Oct 5th, 2020

Baked Chicken (Turkey) Katsu with Cucumber Salad & Ginger Cabbage

“Katsu” is Japanese for “cutlet” and these crispy, panko-crusted chicken cutlets make for a delightfully comforting meal.  The comfort comes from the contrast of the crunch of the cutlet’s crust against the sweet-salty taste of the katsu sauce and the ice-cold refreshing nature of the cabbage, but also in the virtue of this dish.  If ordered in a restaurant, your chicken katsu would be deep-fried, but here the cutlets are oven-baked, minimizing the fat used.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

 

Ingredients:

Cucumber Salad & Cabbage:

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced on a mandolin

2 Tbsp (30 mL) rice wine vinegar

1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil

½ tsp (2 mL) table salt

4 cups (1 L) finely sliced green cabbage (sliced on a mandolin)

1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely grated fresh ginger

2 lemons

 

Katsu Sauce:

1/3 cup (80 mL) ketchup

2 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce

8–10 dashes Worcestershire sauce

 

Chicken Katsu:

2 cups (500 mL) panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb/450 g)

2/3 cup (100 g) all-purpose flour

2 large eggs + 2 Tbsp (30 mL) water

Salt and pepper

6 cups (1.5 L) cooked Japanese sticky rice

3 Tbsp (45 mL) toasted sesame seeds

 

  1. For the cucumber salad, toss the cucumber with the rice vinegar, sesame oil and salt, and chill until ready to eat. Chill the thinly sliced cabbage in ice-water to crisp for 20 minutes, then drain and pat dry with kitchen towels just before serving, then toss with the ginger and juice of 1 lemon. Cut the lemon into 6 wedges and chill.

 

  1. For the sauce, whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and pour into 6 little serving dishes.

 

  1. Toast the panko in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes, then stir in the butter until melted. Set aside to cool.

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place a wire rack over top.

 

  1. Slice the chicken breasts into ¾-inch (18 mm) slices against the grain. Place 1 to 2 slices in a cut-open resealable plastic bag and pound with a meat mallet (or the bottom of a pot) until it is just under ½-inch (12 mm) thick and chill until ready to cook.

 

  1. Set up 3 flat bowls —the first for the flour, the second for the egg wash, and the third for the toasted panko breadcrumbs. Add a little salt and pepper to each bowl and stir in. Dip each of the chicken cutlets into the flour, shake off the excess, then into the egg and, finally, into the panko, coating it thoroughly. Set the breaded cutlets on the wire rack set over the baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 18 minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked through by cutting into a cutlet. If the juices run clear, it’s done.

 

  1. To serve, slice each cutlet into 5 strips and serve with cooked Japanese rice, the Tonkatsu sauce, cucumber salad, and a mound of the drained cabbage. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the cutlets, cucumber salad and cabbage and serve with a wedge of lemon.

 

 

MAE’S BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SALAD

 

Serves 6

Prep Time: Under 15 minutes

Cook Time:

 

1/4 cup (40 g)           raisins

1/4 cup (40 g)           dried cranberries

3 cups (750 mL)       broccoli florets, cut into very small pieces

4 strips                       cooked bacon, chopped

1                                  green onion, sliced

1/3 cup (80 mL)        mayonnaise

3 tbsp (45 mL)          sour cream

1 tbsp (15 mL)          lemon juice

1 cup (110 g)            coarsely grated medium Cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

 

  1. Soak raisins and dried cranberries in hot tap water for a minute or two, to soften. Drain and reserve.

 

  1. Toss broccoli**, bacon and green onion together. In a separate bowl, stir mayonnaise, sour cream and lemon juice and stir into broccoli mixture. Add cheddar cheese, raisins and dried cranberries and season to taste.

 

Chill until ready to serve.

 

 

**To make the broccoli easier to digest and brighten its colour, it can be blanched in boiling, salted water for 30 seconds and then shocked in an ice bath before draining well.

Missing man Chandulal Gandhi found dead in Brampton conservation area: police

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Sep 21st, 2020

Police say an elderly man that went missing in Rexdale last week has been found dead in a Brampton conservation area.

Chandulal Gandhi, 83, went missing from the Kipling Avenue and Steeles Avenue West area on Sept. 15th.

Investigators said they found his body in the Claireville Conservation Area on Sunday afternoon.

Police Supt. Ron Taverner said the body was found in a remote area of the park.

He added that the coroner believes Gandhi likely died of exposure.

“it’s a very very sad situation,” he said.

Investigators are unsure how Gandhi got to that location, but the investigation continues.

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.

Image

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.

Auditor general to release report on Ontario’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 25th, 2020

Ontario’s auditor general is set to release a report today on how the province has handled the COVID-19 pandemic so far, including how it has made decisions during the global health crisis.

The special report issued by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk will look at emergency management in the context of the pandemic, as well as outbreak planning and decision-making.

It will also include an audit of government processes related to COVID-19 testing, case management and contact tracing.

The report is set to be made public this morning.

The report comes a week after Lysyk released a series of environmental value-for-money audits.

In those documents, she found the province may not meet its greenhouse gas emission targets because reducing fossil fuel use has not been a “cross-government priority.”

1 in 3 Toronto schools, nearly half of Brampton schools, have active COVID-19 cases

CYNTHIA MULLIGAN AND JESSICA BRUNO | posted Wednesday, Nov 25th, 2020

One in three Toronto public schools have an active case of COVID-19 – more than double the provincial average being touted by Ontario’s education minister as he promotes the government’s school safety strategy and the picture worsens at other boards in pandemic hot spots.

In Toronto’s public board, 35 per cent of schools, some 206 facilities, have at least one student or staff member who are reported as actively sick with COVID-19. Of Toronto’s Catholic schools, 40 per cent – or 79 institutions — have active cases. In Brampton, 48 per cent of all schools, both public and Catholic, have active cases.

Toronto and Peel are in lockdown so it’s no surprise they have more cases than the provincial average, but the premier has acknowledged it’s concerning.

“It is definitely setting off alarm bells,” Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference Tuesday.

The government has consistently said it is safer for students to be in school, and that the priority is to keep them open. It has never mentioned that cases in locked-down regions are significantly higher than the provincial average, which is 14.6 percent. Four schools are currently closed due to outbreaks.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce stood in the legislature Monday and insisted schools were safe.

“Parents want the facts. Here’s a fact that I think would instill a level of confidence: if they knew that 99.95% of students are COVID-19-free, that 99.92% of staff are COVID-19-free, that 99.7% of staff have never had COVID-19,” said Lecce. “Our leadership in public health and our school boards are working together to flatten this curve, to reduce the risk and to keep our kids safe, and that is a good thing we should celebrate in this province”

In Brampton, 61 public schools and 28 Catholic schools are reporting 122 and 89 cases, respectively. In the public board, 51 schools beyond Brampton are reporting a further 78 cases. Of those, 46 schools are in Mississauga, four schools are in Caledon, and one is in Bolton.

In the Dufferin-Peel Catholic board, 37 schools outside of Brampton are reporting a total of 61 cases. All but one of those schools is in Mississauga, with the lone other location in Caledon.

Brampton’s percentage of schools with active COVID-19 cases exceeds the proportion in its school boards in large.

The rate across Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board, which includes Mississauga, Caledon, Bolton and Orangeville, is 43 per cent, with a total 65 of its 151 elementary and secondary schools reporting active cases. In Peel’s public board, which serves Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, the rate is 44 per cent, or 112 of the boards 257 schools.

CityNews has used the latest information posted on all the boards’ own websites to compile this data.

The premier said today that he was not downplaying cases at schools: “numbers don’t lie, they are out there.”

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has said several times it is important to keep schools open for children’s mental health, and while students and staff are bringing COVID-19 into schools, it’s not being spread inside them. Provincial Minister of Health Christine Elliott echoed that today, adding she would re-evaluate the situation if needed.

“If the circumstances change and there’s a huge increase in the number of cases in schools, we might have to take another look at it,” Elliott said.

Ontario has started deploying rapid testing in long-term care homes and rural communities. Ford called it a game-changer and suggested if schools needed testing, it could happen. University of Toronto epidemiologist Colin Furness says he doesn’t believe schools need to close, but he says those inside should be tested regularly.

“We should be doing surveillance testing broadly in the province, we should have been doing that since April. By surveillance testing, I mean you don’t test people who show up at hospital looking sick, that’s diagnostic testing. Surveillance testing means you go and test people at risk,” he explained.

“We should be testing teachers because they are also in high-risk positions, and if want to know what’s going on with COVID in schools, test teachers,” he added, “But Ontario has been very resolutely committed to not doing surveillance testing. We are not trying to control transmission with testing, we are controlling with lockdowns. I think that’s unfortunate.”

City shuts down Adamson BBQ in Etobicoke after it flouted lockdown rules

MICHAEL TALBOT AND MICHAEL RANGER | posted Wednesday, Nov 25th, 2020

After a full day of flouting COVID-19 lockdown rules by serving diners indoors, the City of Toronto says it has now closed Adamson Barbecue in Etobicoke.

In a release, the City said bylaw officers, public health inspectors and police attended the restaurant at 7 Queen Elizabeth Blvd., earlier Tuesday to conduct an investigation after learning it had advertised that it would open to diners.

“Investigations require the gathering of all the facts before enforcement action can be taken,” the City said in a release. “The City has now taken enforcement action, and the restaurant is closed.”

Police and city officials arrived at the restaurant on Tuesday morning after owner Adam Skelly posted a message to his business’ Instagram page on Monday night saying he would open the Etobicoke location at 11 a.m. on Tuesday for full dine-in services.

He followed through, opening the doors to dozens of customers, many without masks.

At the time, police said they couldn’t shut the restaurant down, fearing for public safety.

“By the sheer number of people that are here right now, we don’t have the ability to go and physically remove everyone at this point and it would be unsafe to do so,” Toronto police Insp. Tim Crone said.

“We understand the level of frustration (about another lockdown), however, the overriding consideration always has to be public safety.”

Toronto and Peel Region entered the lockdown stage of the province’s COVID-19 response framework on Monday.

The new restrictions mean all indoor and outdoor dine-in services at restaurants and bars are prohibited. Establishments can still offer take out or delivery services.

Premier Doug Ford was asked about the restaurant’s defiance on Tuesday.

“They have to follow the rules,” he said. “There can’t be rules for one group and not the other … If we let everyone open we’re going to be in worse shape.”

He then added: “I can’t get angry at any businessperson right now, they’re hurting.”

Meanwhile, tempers began to flare out front of the restaurant between people on seemingly opposite sides of the mask debate.

“Top to bottom this thing stinks, it reeks of corruption.”
– Adam Skelly, Adamson BBQ

Skelly feels that small businesses and restaurants are being unfairly targeted by the provincial government’s new lockdown restrictions.

Comments on Skelly’s anti-lockdown post were mixed, with some criticizing the move of going against restrictions while others voicing their support. In the video Skelly said messages from those who back his stance gave him motivation to go forward with the plan of opening.

“This is a risky move and you guys gave me the gas to do it.”
– Adam Skelly, Adamson BBQ

An increased number of officers have been deployed in recent weeks to crack down on businesses found not to be compliant with pandemic regulations.

If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the act.

Where prosecuted without issuing a ticket and on conviction, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000.

Any individual convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act could also receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year.

The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000.

RELATED: Hudson’s Bay will keep Queen Street location closed during lockdown

Adamson Barbecue operates three locations in the GTA, two in Toronto, though the Instagram post only mentioned the intention to open the Etobicoke location on Tuesday.

The Etobicoke location is located in the Gardiner and Royal York Road area and according to the Adamson Barbecue website is normally only open Thursday to Sunday during lunch hours.

Ontario expected to release guidelines for celebrating holidays amid COVID-19

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 25th, 2020

The Ontario government is expected to spell out its guidelines Wednesday for celebrating the upcoming holidays as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Toronto and Peel Region are currently under the grey or lockdown level in the province’s tiered COVID-19 alert system, with those restrictions to stay in place at least until the week of Christmas.

Public health measures under the lockdown level include a ban on indoor gatherings except with those in the same household, as well as closing down restaurants for all but takeout and delivery.

The province’s top doctor said earlier this week it seemed unlikely the situation would improve in those regions enough over 28 days to warrant moving them to the red alert level, which is one level lower.

Five other regions — Hamilton, Durham, Halton, York and Waterloo — are currently classified as red zones, which caps social gatherings at five people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Ontario’s most recent modelling showed the province is on track to see up to 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December, though those projections are expected to be updated Thursday.

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