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Toronto Public Health issues new order limiting in-person attendance at all schools

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 7th, 2021

Health officials in Toronto have issued an order requiring schools and other educational settings to limit in-person attendance for most purposes, not just classes, in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Toronto Public Health says the order is meant to supplement the provincially mandated school closures and will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The agency says the new rule applies to all educational settings, not just those designated as schools or private schools under the Education Act.

And it says in-person attendance by students is restricted “as much as possible” regardless of whether it’s for teaching or other instruction.

It says there are some exceptions, such as day care services and instruction for children with special needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning.

The order comes in the wake of concerns raised by residents who reached out to CityNews, describing hundreds of students and staff going in and out of private schools in the Bathurst and Lawrence area. The schools claim that they were closed for in-person learning but are operating as a place of worship and hold religious services for children.

The City said it was aware of the situation and commenced an investigation, noting that enforcement may have been due to ambiguity around the wording of regulations.

The order is aimed at education providers, and the agency says parents cannot be charged under the new rule, though they are encouraged to comply.

Toronto Public Health says the move is necessary because the city continues to see extensive community spread of COVID-19 variants of concern, and the risk of transmission is highest indoors.

It says the provincial order halting in-person classes only applies to institutions deemed a “school or private school” under the Education Act, and does not prohibit children from attending schools for purposes other than attending classes.

The agency says its order is aimed at “supplementing the schools closure in order to stop school-aged children from congregating indoors, in enclosed spaces, for extended periods, on a regular basis.”

NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse

MIA RABSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 7th, 2021

The chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says people who already got the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should not feel they made a bad choice.

Dr. Caroline Quach and the other 15 members of NACI were accused of sowing seeds of confusion and vaccine hesitancy when they recommended for a second time that Canadians who aren’t at high risk from COVID-19 may want to wait to get immunized until a dose of Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna is available.

Those two vaccines, which use mRNA technology and haven’t been linked in any way to blood clots, are the “preferred” vaccines, they said, leading some medical experts to worry NACI was grading the vaccines and Canadians would wonder if that means AstraZeneca is substandard and should therefore be avoided.

Some of the 1.7 million Canadians who had been vaccinated with it already questioned whether they should have waited instead.

Quach said people who took AstraZeneca did not get a “second-best shot.”

“The recommendation is not a retrospective one,” said Quach. “That means that everyone who has received the AstraZeneca vaccine has been protected against COVID-19.”

Quach said a single dose of AstraZeneca has proven to be as good at preventing hospitalizations or deaths from COVID-19 as a single dose of Pfizer or Moderna. That includes against both the original SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, and the B.1.1.7 variant of it.

That variant is the dominant one in Canada.

“People who did get their AstraZeneca vaccine, mainly when COVID-19 was being transmitted in their community, actually did the right thing,” she wrote. “They protected themselves and their families against COVID-19 complications.”

They also got it at a time when it wasn’t entirely clear when they might be able to get a dose of Pfizer or Moderna. Most people going forward won’t have to choose between AstraZeneca now or an mRNA later, because more than 80 per cent of the doses coming to Canada in the next two months are mRNA.

Almost all the 2.3 million doses of AstraZeneca already delivered have been used, and only 655,000 doses are scheduled to arrive this month. Another million are expected in June.

Quach said NACI was only saying that with shorter waits for Moderna or Pfizer, younger people living in regions where COVID-19 infections are low, should look at whether they want to wait a bit longer for a vaccine.

That does not hold for people who live in places with high infection rates, or who are at high risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.

“If your risk of COVID is moderate to high, get the first vaccine available now,” she said.

“If not, then one needs to balance out the risk of COVID complications against the risk of VITT that, although rare, does exist and may lead to severe complications.”

Dr. Fahad Razak, a general internist who treats COVID-19 patients at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said NACI’s communication of its advice was more problematic than the advice itself.

He said the doctors, nurses and other vaccine experts on NACI are “incredibly smart and well-meaning” but that they, like he and other scientists and medical experts, aren’t experts in communications.

“I think the challenge that you saw this week is in the messaging, of how to talk about a very serious but rare side effect, and how to say that in a way that doesn’t lead to people worrying about vaccines in general,” he said.

Razak said all the vaccines approved in Canada, including AstraZeneca, are good vaccines to take.

Canada has confirmed 12 cases of VITT — vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia. Three women have died.

The blood clot risk did not surface during clinical trials but was picked up in Europe after widespread use of AstraZeneca began. Health regulators in Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe rapidly investigated and concluded the risk is somewhere between one case in every 100,000 doses and one in 250,000.

But they said the risks of COVID-19 are much greater, VITT is generally treatable if it is diagnosed on time, and therefore the benefits of getting vaccinated still outweigh the risks.

Ontario NDP calls on OPP to investigate deaths in long-term care settings

BT Toronto | posted Friday, May 7th, 2021

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath is asking provincial police to investigate if criminal charges are warranted in the wake of reports into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in long-term care settings.

A 322-page report released late last week by the independent Long-Term Care Commission, along with the Auditor General’s report released several days earlier, both concluded the Ford government was slow in responding to COVID-19 in long-term care settings while calling for sweeping reforms in a sector that had long been neglected by past and present governments.

In a letter to OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique, Horwath says the deaths of many long-term care residents were not due to COVID-19, but the “callous, documented neglect of their basic necessities of life.” She pointed to at least 26 seniors who died, not from COVID-19, but from a lack of water and personal care.

“Ontarians have learned that their loved ones perished in long-term care homes from the Ontario government’s failure to protect our most vulnerable seniors in their most critical moments of need, and these seniors and their families are owed justice,” writes Horwath.

“I am asking for the Ontario Provincial Police to evaluate whether a criminal investigation is warranted into these deaths.”

The Long-Term Care Commission report noted that when the military was called in to assist at several long-term care facilities struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks, “they found deplorable conditions” and that 26 residents died due to dehydration prior to the arrival of the CAF team due to the lack of staff to care for them.

“They died when all they need was ‘water and a wipe down,’” they were quoted as saying in the report.

The military team also reported that there had been resident deaths due to dehydration and malnourishment, according to the commission which noted staff were “struggling to maintain fundamental standards of care which, in some cases, expose[d] patients to elevated risks.”

At the time when the military’s disturbing allegations were presented, Premier Ford said they would be launching a “full investigation” into the allegations and would be sharing those results with police so they can look into any possible criminal charges. However, on Wednesday, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones indicated no such investigation had been carried out by her ministry.

“Investigations would not happen at a provincial level or a ministry level, they would be the responsibility of either local police departments, or in some cases, they would refer it to another division or another police operation,” said Jones. “There was no Solicitor General led investigation, nor would there ever be, frankly.”

Opposition leaders have called for the resignation of Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton, but Premier Doug Ford staunchly defended her in the legislature saying he has “full confidence” in her and that the blame should fall on him instead.

“I know it’s easy for the Leader of the Opposition to blame my great minister, but the buck stops with me. It stops with me and I’ll take responsibility,” Ford said.

Delays in COVID tests resulting in longer stays at quarantine hotels

ERICK ESPINOSA | posted Friday, May 7th, 2021

Some travellers who recently arrived in Canada can expect delays in receiving their COVID-19 test results, requiring them to pay for extra nights at a government mandated quarantine hotel.

“I have already spent the three nights in a hotel and fourth night booking is not in my budget,” Tahir told CityNews. “We do not want to break the quarantine rule, so I extended the hotel stay. This is very stressful for me and my family”

Tahir arrived with his wife and son at Pearson Airport on May 1. Upon arrival, his family was tested before heading to their quarantine hotel. He was expecting to return home on May 4, but was disappointed that he and his wife had not yet received their results.

“Switch Health told me on the phone that they are lagging in testing and told me that it may take up to five days.”

Switch Health, a company hired by the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct the mandatory testing for air travellers upon arrival, confirmed the delay with CityNews.

“There may be a slight delay for a small number of travellers arriving in Toronto” Jordan Paquet, Director of Public Affairs, explained.

“On Sunday, one of our lab partners encountered a problem with some of their processing machines which temporarily decreased the number of tests they could run on that day.”

Paquet said the issue has since been resolved and they are working closely to assist those who have been affected.

“I have called so many times to the Government Authorized Accommodation Information line,” Tahir said.

On day three of his stay, they advised him to continue to wait for his results.

“When I asked who is going to pay for an extra night of hotel, she did not have an answer.”

Switch Health has been trying to keep up with the influx of tweets they have been receiving from frustrated travellers.

“@SwitchHealthCA I would like to know what happened with our samples. It’s been past 72hrs and we still did not receive our test result. GAA hotel is expensive already. We don’t have the luxury to pay for another night. I contacted you any platform possible but i get no reply,” another tweet read.

The issue not only impacts travellers waiting to leave their hotels, but those isolating in their own homes. Switch Health has also been hired to manage all Day-8 COVID-19 test kits for air travellers who leave the hotel after day three to complete their 14 day quarantine at home.

“Our 14 day quarantine was completed on May 3, however the test kits were still in the sorting facility in Toronto according to the tracking system online” Brenda Hutson-Dean wrote to CityNews.

“We are required by law to remain in quarantine until the we receive a negative test result from the test.”

On day 16 Hutson-Dean received their negative results even though the tracking system indicating the tests were still in a Toronto storage facility.

“I am a bit suspicious of the test results being authentic since both test kits which were received in the sorting facility at different times on May 1 remain in Toronto according to the tracking system available to me.”

Paquet said “samples are sent to a sorting facility or “deconstruction” facility first, which is where they are logged, arranged in a rack, and sent to one of our lab partners for analysis.”

While this helps their team catch any issues early, Paquet said it’s the “last place a person would see it scanned if they were tracking with their Purolator number.”

4 of our favourite May The 4th recipes

Matt Basile | posted Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

May The 4th be with you! To celebrate Star Wars Day, chef Matt Basile from Fidel Gastro’s is sharing some of his favourite, out of this world recipes:

1. Light Saber Corn Dogs 

What you’ll need:

  • 8 all-beef hot dogs
  • 8 sturdy popsicle sticks or skewers
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1.5 cups 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter, cooled to room temperature
  • Red food colouring
  • blue or green food colouring


In a large mixing bowl, mix all your dry ingredients together, whisking the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tbsp salt, until fully combined. Roll your hot dogs in the dry mix and set aside. This ensures the batter adheres to the hot dog when you fry it. In a separate bowl whisk your egg with room temperature melted butter. Add the buttermilk and 2% milk to the egg mixture and mix to combine. Slowly pour the wet mixture into your dry ingredients, whisking simultaneously until you have a smooth cornmeal batter. Split the batter in half and add red food colouring to one side and green to the other (for Sith and Jedi)

Preheat your frying oil to 375F

Using tongs, fully submerge and roll the hot dogs in your cornmeal batter until fully coated. One by one, carefully add them to the hot oil, moving them around slowly to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom of your heavy bottom pot. Fry the corn dogs for 3-4 minutes then flip them in the oil for another 2-3 minutes. When they have reached a golden brown colour (or the Jedi / Sith colour), remove them carefully from the oil with tongs onto a dish or tray layered with paper towel. Skewer each corn dog with a large stick.


2. Turkey Wings

What you’ll need:

  • 4 large whole turkey wings
  • 1L chicken or veg stock
  • 2 onions cut in half
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups flour
  • Brown coloured BBQ sauce
  • Side Hot sauce
  • Oil for frying pan optional


Lightly season wings in salt and pepper. Add the cut onions and fresh thyme, lemon and stock to a braising pan and place the wings in the stock. Cover the pan with parchment paper and tin foil wrapped tightly. Set in oven at 275F and cook for 2 hours. Remove from pan and let cool to room temp then toss in flour. Lightly fry the floured wings at 375F until crispy then brush with BBQ and add side hot sauce to make chewbacca noises.


3. Death Star Scotch Egg 

What you’ll need:

  • 2 eggs + 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • Chives or green onion for garnish
  • Oil for frying


Place 2 eggs in pot of warm water and bring to boil. Eggs should be in water from start to finish for 10 minutes total (not just once boiling). Remove from water and immediately run under cold water for a few minutes until the eggs feel cool in the han and remove sell.

Season pork with salt, pepper, 5 spice, ginger, and onion powder and wrap meat around egg. Place in fridge for 1 hour and then roll meat covered egg in flour, then whisked egg mixed with 1/4 cup water, then panko. Set frying oil to 325F and let cook for 12-15 minutes. paint scotch egg with hoisin and garnish with cut green onions.


4. Sith Margarita (makes 2)

What you’ll need:

  • 1.5 oz tequila blanco
  • 1.5 oz triple sec
  • 1.5 oz hounds black vodka
  • 3 oz lime juice
  • 1 tbsp egg white
  • Ice
  • 2 maraschino cherries


Add ice, tequila, vodka, tripe sec, lime juice and and egg white in a shaker and shake until cold. Pour into a glass and add 2 cherries

*Bonus if you can find black or or red sugar rim  – add it in!

Teachers, some residents aged 18+ to be vaccinated in Toronto, Peel’s hotspot neighbourhoods

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Apr 8th, 2021

Teachers who live or work in Toronto and Peel Region’s high-risk neighbourhoods will be eligible to be receive the COVID-19 vaccination during the April break, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

WATCH: https://toronto.citynews.ca/2021/04/07/covid-19-ontario-vaccine-update-april-7/

Both Toronto and Peel closed schools this week until April 19 due to a spike in COVID-19 outbreaks.

Education workers who provide direct daily support to students with special education needs across the province will also be eligible for the vaccine.

This initiative will be expanded to York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham when vaccine supply increases.

“We continue to work in partnership with Ministry of Health to get these vaccines into the arms as many staff as possible,” Lecce said.

“I just want to assure every worker in the province in our schools, driving our buses and helping to protect our kids: You are going to get access to the vaccine, full stop.”

He said how people will be able to book appointments was still being worked out.

Lecce also announced additional safety measures including mandatory cleaning of schools during the spring break, offering asymptomatic COVID-19 tests at assessment centres from April 12 to 18, refresher training on safety protocols, broadening mandatory screening requirements before entering schools and encouraging outdoor education.

The province will also be organizing mobile vaccination teams and pop-up clinics to administer vaccines in hot spot neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region.

These will get COVID-19 vaccines to individuals aged 18 and older in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers.

Regions will be selected based on patterns of transmission, severe illness and mortality from COVID-19.

Ontario announced a provincewide stay-at-home order starting Thursday that will force most non-essential retailers to close.

Premier Doug Ford says if there is a vaccine supply, 40 per cent of Ontarian adults could be vaccinated by the end of the stay-at-home order.


Ontario enters second stay-at-home order

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Apr 8th, 2021

Four days after applying the ’emergency brake’, Premier Doug Ford has issued a provincewide stay-at-home order as Ontario grapples with how to get surging COVID-19 cases under control.

WATCH: https://toronto.citynews.ca/2021/04/06/ontario-announcing-provincewide-stay-at-home-order-sources/

Under the emergency stay-at-home order, non-essential retail stores will be restricted to curbside pickup between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., while big-box stores will be restricted to sales of groceries, household cleaning supplies and pharmacy items — the first time that such a restriction has been imposed on them since the pandemic began.

Shopping malls will be closed except for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the mall, and any number of designated locations outside the mall.

Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open under current health measures and restrictions.

Outdoor garden centres and nurseries, along with indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, will be allowed to remain open with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation.

The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and remain in place for four weeks.

Ontario’s previous stay-at-home order went into effect on Jan. 14 and was lifted nearly two months later on March 8.

Premier Doug Ford said a surge in COVID-19 cases fuelled by more transmissible variants of concern and a sudden rise in intensive care unit admissions prompted the new restrictions.

“These variants have taken off,” Ford told a news conference. “This is moving rapidly, every single hour-by-hour, day-by-day, and a decision last week, doesn’t represent a decision today.”

“The reality is, despite everything we’ve done so far, the COVID-19 situation in Ontario is getting worse as these new variants continue to spread and hospitals are reaching capacity.”

Ford said that by the end of the four-week period of the stay-at-home order, about 40 per cent of Ontarians – or five million people – will have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. About 2.7 million people had received at least one dose as of Wednesday.

The stay-at-home order will not affect schools, which will remain open for the time being.

In addition, during the April break, education workers who provide direct daily support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers living or working in high-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel, will be eligible for vaccination.

Under the stay-at-home order, the following businesses will be allowed to remain open for in-person shopping by appointment only and with a 25 per cent capacity restriction during the hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.:

  • Safety supply stores;
  • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
  • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
  • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
  • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
  • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services;
  • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support

The province says it will also be increasing health and safety inspections and enforcement at essential businesses in regional hot zones.

GRAMMY GRUB: MC Hammer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Trevor Lui | posted Friday, Mar 12th, 2021

MC Hammer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Recipe by: Trevor Lui

Instagram: @trevorlui

Prep: 5 Minutes, plus 8 hour marinating time

Cook: 5 – 10 minutes


  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 8 Thai basil leaves
  • Chilli sauce or plum sauce to serve

Customers always asked about the name of this dish. When I was growing up in the eighties and nineties, MC Hammer was a popular music artist and, at one point, a brand celebrity for a fried chicken company. I recalled his Hammertimne dance promoting popcorn chicken, and hence the name MC Hammer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken. the dish, derived from Japanese Karaage and makes for a great party snack or side dish.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine garlic, mirin, sesame oil, soy sauce (or tamari), and sugar. Add chicken to the marinade, stirring to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Put potato starch in a medium bowl. Add chicken and stir well to ensure all pieces are thoroughly covered.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Using a metal slotted spoon, slowly lower chicken into the oil and deep-fry for 5-6 minutes until golden, crispy brown and internal temperature is 180ºf. Transfer chicken to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, salt and pepper.

using a metal slotted spoon, lower basil leaves into the hot oil and deep-fry for 6-8 seconds. Transfer leaves to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

Garnish popcorn chicken with the basil leaves and serve immediately with chilli or plum sauce.


GRAMMY GRUB: 10,000 hour BBQ RIBS!

Matt Dean Pettit | posted Thursday, Mar 11th, 2021


10,000 hour BBQ RIBS!

Recipe by: Matt Dean Pettit

Instagram: @mattdeanpettit

Well I know it’s the winter here in Canada but that doesn’t mean that we need to put away our Grills! BBQing in the snow should be a Canadian sport in my opinion! 

This recipe great recipe is a classic but with a fun twist at the end just like country music band Dan & Shay collaborating with our Canadian superstar Justin Bieber with their Grammy-nominated “10,000 Hours”


*You can cook these on the BBQ or in the oven as per the recipe below. 


  • 2 racks pork ribs, silver lining membrane removed. 
  • 1 bottle of Budweiser Beer
  • 1 tspb ground cumin
  • 1 grated orange peel
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated 
  • 3 tbps ketchup 
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco Chipotle sauce 
  • 1/2 cup of crusted pistachios (garnish)
  • Orange zest (garnish) 



  1. Cut the 2 racks into halves giving you 4 pieces. Place into a dish 
  2. Mix all the ingredients minus the pistachios in a medium sized mixing bowl. 
  3. Pour marinade all over the ribs fully covering them. Cover with tin foil and place into refrigerator for minimum 12 hours. 
  4. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator still

While covered and let sit at room temp for 30-45 mins 

  1. In the meantime pre-heat the oven to 275f and 137c. 
  2. Place ribs on a baking sheet, ensure ribs are well sauced, cover with tin foil and place in the oven. 

7.Cook the ribs for approx 2 hours. 

8.Remove the time foil and place back in to the oven for another 15-20 mins max. 

  1. Remove from heat and let the ribs rest for 5 mins, sprinkle with crushed pistachios and more orange zest, dip and dunk into more KC BBQ sauce and enjoy!


GRAMMY GRUB: Circles Crab Cakes with Dijon Aioli 

Chef Devan Rajkumar | posted Wednesday, Mar 10th, 2021

Circles Crab Cakes with Dijon Aioli 

Recipe by: Chef Devan Rajkumar

Instagram: @chefdevan

Crab Cakes

  • 1lb ready to eat, Crab meat
  • 2 tbsp Red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1 Scallion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Hot sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs 
  • Salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup High smoke point, neutral flavoured oil (Grapeseed, Avocado, Canola or Light Olive Oil), for shallow frying

Dijon Aioli 

  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Lemon zest
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  1. In a bowl, add red onion, jalapeno, scallion, red pepper and garlic. Add whole-grain Dijon, mayonnaise, Old Bay, hot sauce and lemon juice. Fold the egg through the mixture, then season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Add crab meat and panko breadcrumbs. Taste the mix, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  3. Using a tablespoon, form the crab cakes, packing lightly. Roll in panko and place on a tray lined with parchment paper to avoid sticking. Place in the refrigerator to firm up, about 10 – 30 minutes. 
  4. Add mayonnaise, Dijon, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic. Season and mix well to form Dijon aioli.
  5. Pre-heat a pan with oil, ensuring that the oil does not smoke. Gently place the crab cake into the pan. Avoid crowding the pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Serve warm with drizzled with Dijon aioli. 

Equipment required 

  • 1 skillet or frying pan
  • 1 large bowl (Crab cake)
  • 1 medium bowl (Dijon Aioli)
  • 2 spatulas or mixing utensils 
  • 2 tablespoons (one for tasting and one for spooning out the crab cake mixture)
  • Tray or plate lined with parchment paper (to refrigerate crab cakes)
  • Plate lined with paper towel or wire rack (to allow crab cakes to rest)

GRAMMY GRUB: Future Nostalgia Cocktail

Julia Grieve | posted Tuesday, Mar 9th, 2021

Julia Grieve the Accidental Environmentalist

Instagram: @prelovedjules


Future Nostalgia—

A trash twist on the classic Tom Collins, this cocktail calls for a syrup made from citrus scraps!

The Tom Collins recipe was first printed in the 1876 bartender book, it’s a nostalgic cocktail, fresh, fruity and I gave it a sustainable twist because the future is green.


(Example Recipe)

1kg Mixed fresh off cuts

1L Water

240g Granulated sugar

24g Citric acid powder

12g Malic acid powder


  1. Weigh your off cuts and add the same amount of water
  2. Cover and leave to soak over night at room temperature
  3. Strain out and weigh infused liquid
  4. (Assuming new weight is 1.2kg) add all powders and stir till dissolved
  5. Bottle and store cold

Future Nostalgia-

  • 1 ½ cups ice
  • 2 oz gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz chopping board citrus cordial
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 oz club soda
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Fill a glass with ½ cup ice and set aside in the freezer to chill. Combine the gin, lemon juice and cordial in a cocktail shaker with 1 cup of ice, cover and shake until chilled.

Strain into the chilled glass, top with club soda and garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy!





99 additional people in Simcoe Muskoka likely have COVID-19 U.K. variant

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 27th, 2021

Public health officials say 99 more people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Simcoe-Muskoka region likely have the U.K. variant of the virus — which is more contagious and transmissible.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) says most of the cases are linked to a deadly outbreak at Roberta Place Long-Term Care home in Barrie, that has killed 46 people and infected more than 200. The U.K. variant has already been identified in some of those infected in that outbreak.

But two of the new cases have no known link, including one that’s part of a small outbreak at a regional hospital.

“This certainly makes us concerned that the variant may be more widespread, and that in turn means that we need to really take public health measures that prevent spread of the virus much more to heart,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the SMDHU, in a release on Tuesday. He said if the variant isn’t already spreading in the community, it likely will be soon.

These probable cases are in addition to seven cases of the U.K. variant in the region, confirmed earlier via genome testing.

Six of those cases are people associated with the outbreak at Roberta Place. One case is a person who had close contact with someone who is also part of the outbreak at Bradford Valley Care Community, a long-term care home (LTCH) in Bradford West Gwillimbury.

The health unit is currently investigating if that outbreak is also due to the U.K. variant of COVID-19.

The latest data came from an ongoing study by Public Health Ontario that’s screening all positive COVID-19 tests from Jan. 20 for three new variants of the virus.

Local health officials say they are still waiting for results that will identify which variant of the virus has infected the 99 people, but note that they expect it to be a variant first identified in the U.K.

Recipes for the holiday season!

Kyle Mack | posted Thursday, Dec 10th, 2020

Celebrating the Holiday season with a collection of recipes that are sure to impress! Whether you’re hosting a pandemic friendly gathering of your bubble or on your own, these easy recipes will add some cheer to your holiday spirit.

Pistachio crusted lamb lollipop with pomegranate and mint salad

By: Chef Randy Feltis




Serves 8 appetizers
Cook time 10 minutes
Rest time 6 minutes
Special tools butcher twine, cast iron pan

  1. Trim the fat down to the top of the eye of the rack. Scrap off excess fat with a knife or pull off with butcher twine.
  2. Season heavy with salt and pepper and sear backside down in hot cast iron pan. When golden turn onto fat cap and place in oven at 450 degrees. Roast for 7-9 minutes, when the eye starts to push back remove and let rest for 6 minutes.
  3. Brush with mustard and crust with pistachio.
  4. Carve between the bones and place on platter.
  5. For the salad toss fresh pomegranate with herbs and olive oil. A squeeze of lime and salt and pepper.
    Place on lamb lollipop and serve.

Herb, apple apricot & lemon zest stuffing


This stuffing is packed with fall flavour and fresh herbs. Cook and mix your stuffing in advance or even the night before. Simply bake when ready to serve! This recipe will become a family favourite and all around staple at every Thanksgiving dinner.



  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Melt butter on medium heat in a large sauté pan or pot. Add white onions, Spanish onions, fennel, salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 10-15 seconds. Tip all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  3. To the bowl add chopped apricots, granny smith apples, honey crisp apples, chicken stock, sage, parsley, bread cubes and eggs. Mix well to combine. Transfer stuffing mixture to prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and bread is tender. Let cool slightly. Sprinkle with chives before serving.

Apricot-almond rugelach

By: Amy Rosen





For the dough,

  1. Place the flour, butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until uniform large ball forms.
  2. Divide into three equal balls and wrap each in plastic wrap.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or, even better, overnight.

For the filling

  1. To prepare the filling, warm the jam in a small pot over low heat or in the microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, crush the toasted almonds with your hands, or place them in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

For the topping

  1. Mix the sugar with cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.


  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge about 30 minutes before using. On a well-floured surface, roll out one of the dough balls into a large circle, about 12 inches in circumference and about ⅛ inch thick. Repeat with the remaining two dough ball
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Using a knife or pizza cutter, slice each circle into 16 wedges and separate them slightly. Evenly divide the jam and almonds among the three circles (this comes out to about ½ teaspoon jam and a pinch of nuts per rugelach), leaving ½ inch clean at the outer edge.
  4. Roll the wedges into crescents by rolling the wider outer edge in toward the point.
  5. Place on the baking sheets, at least 1 inch apart, with the point sides dow Brush the tops of the rugelach with beaten egg and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20–22 minutes, or until golden brow These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Excerpted from Kosher Style: Over 100 Jewish Recipes for the Modern Cook by Amy Rosen. Copyright © 2019 Amy Rosen. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Lacy Latkes & Applesauce

By: Amy Rosen




  1. Using a food processor or box grater, grate the potatoes (no need to peel them). Transfer the potatoes to a clean tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out the potato liquid, getting the shreds as dry as possible.
  2. Place the potatoes in a very large bowl and mix together with the chopped onions, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. The acid in the onions will stop the potatoes from browning.
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed skillet), heat ½ inch of oil over medium heat. Add heaping tablespoons of latke mixture, frying four or five at a time, for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Smoosh them down with the spatula a bit and add more oil as needed.
  4. When the latkes are cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. You can serve these immediately or cook them ahead and reheat in the oven when guests arrive. Serve with applesauce, sour cream or Greek yogurt.
    Note: If you garnish with sour cream or yogurt, this recipe will become dairy.
    SERVES 6-8 S
  5. Homemade Applesauce: In a medium pot, bring the apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt and water to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, stirring often, until the apples are cooked and start falling apart, about 15 minutes. Blitz in the pot with an immersion blender until the desired consistency is achieved. Serve with latkes.

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


  • 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


  • 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



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.





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.


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.


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.


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








  • 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.






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.

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

• 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.
• 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
• 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.

ICU survivors at higher risk of suicide, research finds; implications for COVID

COLIN PERKEL, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, May 6th, 2021

This article has references to suicide and self-harm

Patients discharged from intensive care are at higher risk of suicide, according to new research, suggesting that people who survive a serious COVID-19 infection could also be more likely to harm themselves.

The study was based on pre-pandemic data, but the researchers say its findings take on added significance given the unprecedented surge in critical care admissions due to the novel coronavirus.

“In light of the pandemic, our findings have far more importance now that we know that ICU survivors are going to be at higher risk (of suicide),” said Dr. Shannon Fernando, lead author and critical care physician affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

The study, said to be the first of its kind, was published Wednesday in The BMJ, a British-based peer-reviewed medical journal. Researchers looked at the health records of hundreds of thousands of adult ICU admissions in Ontario between 2009 and 2017.

During the study period, 423,000 patients survived intensive care. Of those, 750 killed themselves, a significantly higher rate than among non-ICU hospital survivors, and far higher than among the general population.

Overall, when adjusted for “confounding” variables, patients who made it through ICU had a 22 per cent higher risk of suicide compared with non-ICU hospital survivors and a 15 per cent higher risk of self-harm. The more invasive the life-saving procedures, such as mechanical ventilation or kidney dialysis, the more pronounced the effect.

The findings make sense to Christine Caron, who was an active 49-year-old mother and runner who loved dancing when her dog nipped her hand during play. Caron, of Ottawa, developed sepsis and ended up in a coma for a month of her six weeks in ICU.

By the time she was discharged to rehab, doctors had amputated both legs below the knee, her left arm below the elbow, and much of her right hand.

“They’re always celebrating that you’re still alive,” Caron said. “And when you say, ‘This sucks and I want to die,’ people go: ‘What the hell’s the matter with you? You’re alive’.”

Five months into rehab, her hair began falling out in chunks. She started having nightmares and anxiety attacks.

“A lot of people are at home when that hits,” said Caron, now 57. “They are not getting the mental health supports they require.”

Caron said she was astounded when a student psychologist was initially assigned to her rather than a seasoned professional. Ultimately, she said, peer support — others who had been through similar trauma — became her lifeline, even though the subsequent suicide of one of them was devastating.

The research also showed that younger people surviving ICU — those aged 18 to 34 — appear at highest risk of harming themselves.

“If you asked me before about the young person who goes home on their own from the ICU, I would have said that’s my greatest win,” Fernando said in an interview.

“But we’ve identified now that these patients are uniquely at risk of death by suicide (and) that population is exactly the population, especially now in the third wave, that we’re seeing with COVID.”

Normally, ICU doctors focus on saving a patient’s life but the study suggests identifying those at risk of what is dubbed post-intensive care syndrome is crucial to self-harm prevention.

What’s become clear in recent years is that many patients who survive ICU are unable to get back to their pre-ICU lives. They may have to deal with life-altering physical realities, an inability to work, and monumental stresses on families and relationships.

Even the previously well adjusted develop mental illness as a result, bringing the higher risk of suicide or self-harm.

“It’s never been demonstrated before but (this study) shows the toll of ICU survivorship,” Fernando said.

A substantial number of patients who recover from serious COVID-19 infection, regardless of whether they need ICU or even a hospital, develop ongoing health problems known as “long COVID.” This, too, could pose a mental health risk.

“You’re going to see a lot more of this when COVID patients start to recover more,” Caron said. “When they say ‘recovered,’ they’ve not even touched on it yet.”

But exactly what needs to be done to mitigate the elevated suicide risk is not clear.

For Fernando, the study underscores the need for mental health supports. More research will have to be done, he said, into how best to provide them.

“We also have to face the possibility that our current system has failed a lot of these patients,” Fernando said.

The study researchers are affiliated with the Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa and the non-profit research institutes, Institut du Savoir Montfort and ICES.

TDSB suing City of Toronto, fire department and province for $90M over devastating York Memorial fire

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, May 6th, 2021

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is launching a lawsuit against the City of Toronto and Toronto Fire Service (TFS) for $90 million over the York Memorial Collegiate Institute fire that severely damaged the school in May of 2019.

The Ontario government, Ontario Fire Marshall and the Toronto Police Services Board are also named in the statement of claim.

The statement of claim says the scene was not put under a proper fire watch, leading to a second and much larger fire over 24 hours after the first blaze started. It also claims the TFS “failed to undertake reasonable, or any, steps, to ensure that the fire had been extinguished, with no possibility of rekindling.”

It says an overhaul of the building, which is defined in the lawsuit as the activity that makes sure the fire is completely out, was inadequate, including that only one thermal imaging camera (TIC) was used to look for heat signatures despite access to more than 20.

The Ontario Fire Marshall on the scene also noted the classroom below the auditorium, where the fire began, was “unusually warm.”

“No thermal imaging scanning of this room was undertaken at any time, nor was any overhaul or further investigation undertaken in this room by any of the Toronto Police Service (TPS), TFS or the OFM,” claimed the lawsuit.

Another claim in the lawsuit is that there was a July 15, 2019 meeting between Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg and the Ontario Fire Marshall (OFM), which is headed by his brother Jon Pegg, amid concerns of the potential liability for the OFM and TFS.

“The final report of the OFM Report was drafted so as to downplay, mislead, conceal and suppress evidence of negligence and gross negligence on the part of the TFS and OFM,” reads the statement of claim.

Emergency crews were first called to the school for a two-alarm fire around 2:15 p.m. on May 6 and found flames visible from the second floor.

The fire was extinguished and two people, including a firefighter, were taken to hospital with minor injuries, according to paramedics.

Following the incident, a fire watch was put into effect. TDSB security services were called in to guard the area until Fire Marshal officers could arrive to do a preliminary assessment in the morning.

The person left to conduct a “fire watch” was TDSB security detail who the lawsuit claims did not have proper training. The security guard was instructed by the OFM to sit outside in his vehicle and “pay attention to the windows directly below the auditorium,” for any signs of smoke, claimed the lawsuit.

“None of the TFS, TPS or OFM personnel made inquiries of the security guard as to whether he had any training or the equipment necessary to conduct a proper fire watch,” read the statement of claim.

A new security guard took over for him around 10:30 p.m. and the first security guard reiterated the instructions from the OFM.

The new security guard entered the building to use the washroom between 1 and 1:30 a.m. when he noticed a “bit of a ‘haze’ inside the hallway leading to the auditorium,” but assumed it was due to lack of ventilation. At around 3:15 a.m., he saw a flicker of light and immediately called TFS.

Firefighters arrived on the scene around 3:30 a.m. and by that time, flames and heavy smoke began once again billowing out of the auditorium. It took over 24 hours to completely extinguish the six-alarm blaze.

The fire caused much of the roof to collapse, along with some of the exterior brick facade along the upper portion of the building. The damage was estimated to be approximately $90 million.

The Ontario Fire Marshal determined the fires, which were considered to be the same event, were “accidental.” The cause of the blaze was never determined, but it was confirmed it wasn’t deliberately set.

Shortly after the Fire Marshall’s report was released in August of 2019, Mayor John Tory said there were still questions left unanswered surrounding the fire watch.

Tory said, according to the report, the individual placed on fire watch saw smoke at 1:24 a.m., but the fire department wasn’t called until 3:24 a.m.

“By the time the two hours had passed, according to the report, a huge amount of fire had taken root underneath the floor and the auditorium and then became the major fire that we saw in the ‘second episode’,” the mayor said at the time.

Tory also said they don’t have a plan in place to conduct a review of the Fire Marshal’s report, but “clearly, there are questions even arising out of a thick, and a professional report of this, that are unanswered at this time.”

TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said they were left with no choice, but to take legal action.

“The TDSB will continue to rebuild York Memorial Collegiate Institute regardless of the outcome of this legal proceeding,” read the statement from Bird. “In the meantime, our focus remains on supporting the 900 students and staff that were sadly displaced by the fire two years ago.”

The City of Toronto released a statement saying city staff fully cooperated in the investigation of the fires and they took all appropriate steps to preserve evidence.

“Allegations in the claim that suggest otherwise are patently untrue and irresponsible,” read the statement.

“It is unconscionable that the TDSB and its insurers would impugn the integrity of Fire Chief Matthew Pegg and other Toronto Fire Services staff in this manner.”

The city says they plan to file a statement of defence with the courts and “looks forward to vigorously defending against these allegations.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Ontario to expand workplace vaccinations, offer Moderna in select pharmacies

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Ontario will begin offering the Moderna vaccine in select pharmacies across the province as it continues to focus its attention on COVID-19 hotspot communities for the next two weeks.

In an update provided on Wednesday, provincial officials say the option to get the Moderna vaccine will be available in up to 60 per cent of pharmacies in hotspot postal codes in Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex and York. An exact number was not provided by the province, however the locations will be updated on the province’s website.

By the end of the week more than 2,500 pharmacies will be ready to administer vaccines.

Ontario expects to receive more than 786,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week and expects to have more than four million doses delivered by the end of the month. An additional 3.7 million doses are scheduled to arrive in June. Provincial officials say they don’t have any plans yet to offer the vaccine to kids aged 12-15 despite Health Canada’s approval announced Wednesday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott added the announcement could see children aged 12 and older offered their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in schools, with a second dose given before the new school year begins in September.

She added that the province was also working to ensure education workers are able to get a second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine before September.

“We want to make sure that our young people are protected from COVID as well,” Elliott said. “We’ve already been in conversations, discussions with the Minister of Education, to make sure that we can start as soon as possible.”

All schools are currently teaching classes online as the province remains under a stay-at-home order imposed due to high COVID-19 rates.

Moderna is scheduled to deliver 388,100 doses this week but no further projections were issued. The province is scheduled to receive 116,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, no delivery date has been confirmed. Ontario is currently reviewing the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendation that it be offered to anyone 30 plus.

There was no additional information on AstraZeneca vaccine deliveries.

Health officials say they will continue to focus on hotspot communities for the next two weeks with 50 per cent of allocated doses going to those areas for weeks of May 3 and May 10. As of this week, anyone 18 plus in hotspot communities are eligible to book an appointment through the provincial booking system.

Ontario is also expanding efforts to vaccinate employees at workplaces in Toronto and Peel. Employees at the Ontario Food Terminal will start receiving vaccines the week of May 10 while employer-led workplace vaccination clinics are already underway at Maple Lodge Farms, Maple Leaf Foods and Amazon Canada in Peel. There are plans to hold additional workplace clinics in Peel at Walmart Canada, Loblaws companies, Air Canada, Purolator, Magna and HelloFresh sometime in the middle of the month

Mobile clinics are also planned in Peel, Toronto and York to vaccinate workers at small to medium-sized workplaces who cannot work from home starting May 7

The province says it is also on track to offer a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 65 per cent of Ontarians 18-years and older by the end of May.

“The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter with every vaccine administered, and together we can stop the spread of COVID-19,” Elliott said.

Provincial officials say they are carefully monitoring research underway in England regarding the mixing of different vaccines between the first and second doses, meaning people could get a second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna if they have received a first dose of AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.

Officials continue to say that the best vaccine “is the first vaccine you can get,” noting that the risk of getting COVID-19 and the serious complications from it are greater than any potential risk from vaccines such as AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.

More than 5.5 million COVID-19 doses have been administered across Ontario with over 381,000 people having been fully vaccinated with two doses.

Health Canada approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 12-15

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old.

The vaccine was initially approved for use in those aged 16 and older in December, and Health Canada received an application from Pfizer to expand the age threshold on April 16 of this year.

“After completing a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, the department determined that this vaccine is safe and effective when used in this younger age group,” Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said on Wednesday.

A trial of more than 2,200 youth in that age group in the United States recorded no cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated kids. The trial used the same size doses, and the same two-doses requirement, as the vaccine for adults.

Sharma said the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group was 100 per cent after the second dose.

“This is the first vaccine authorized in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19 in children and marks a significant milestone in Canada’s fight against the pandemic,” she said.

Sharma said about one-fifth of all cases of COVID-19 in Canada have occurred in children and teenagers, and having a vaccine for them is a critical part of Canada’s plan.

“While younger people are less likely to experience serious cases of COVID-19, having access to a safe and effective vaccine will help control the disease’s spread to their family and friends, some of whom may be at higher risk of complications,” she said.

Health Canada said Wednesday that the updated approval is effective immediately, so if provinces choose to, they could start giving the shot to kids as young as 12.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was the first to announce that starting on Monday, his hard-hit province would make vaccines available to everyone aged 12 and up.

The news comes the day after high COVID-19 transmission rates forced the closure of schools in Alberta.

Manitoba followed suit shortly afterward on Wednesday, saying it aims to have those 12 and up eligible to book a vaccine by May 21.

Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott said the province was also “actively” working on a plan to vaccinate children aged 12 and older, but she did not provide a firm timeline for that plan.

“We want to make sure that our young people are protected from COVID as well,” Elliott said. “We’ve already been in conversations, discussions with the Minister of Education, to make sure that we can start as soon as possible.”

Elliott said the plan could see children aged 12 and older offered their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in schools, with a second dose given before the new school year begins in September.

She added that the province was also working to ensure education workers are able to get a second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine before September.

All schools are currently teaching classes online as the province remains under a stay-at-home order imposed due to high COVID-19 rates.

While now authorized for use for those aged 12-plus, Sharma notes trials are underway from numerous drug-makers to have COVID-19 vaccines approved for children as young as six months.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Wednesday the company expects to have data on trials in kids between two and 11 years old in time to apply for authorization in the United States in September.

The company has generally applied to Canada for approval around the same time but in this case Canada is ahead of the U.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expects to authorize the vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds next week.

Health Canada maintains advice on taking offered vaccine

Earlier this week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said given the risk of blood clots from AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson, people who are at lower risk of contracting COVID-19, or low risk of severe illness from it, can choose to wait for one of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.

Sharma did not directly comment on NACI’s advice, but said every vaccine in Canada has been authorized because it is safe and effective.

She also said she still stands behind the advice to take the first vaccine you’re offered, as soon as you’re offered it.

Sharma said the risk of a new vaccine-induced blood clotting syndrome is extremely low, and for many Canadians there is a big benefit to getting vaccinated as soon as they can.

She said if you have access to any of the vaccine options at the same time, “absolutely there may be an advantage” to going with the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna because they don’t carry any risk of blood clots.

But if you have to wait for Pfizer or Moderna and can get AstraZeneca now, getting immunized now is a good choice, she said, noting it takes at least two weeks for a vaccine’s full effect to take place.

More than a third of Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and Canada is on track to receive at least 10-million doses this month alone.

With files from Cormac Mac Sweeney

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