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Ryerson University must transfer withheld funding to student union: judge

SHAWN JEFFORDS AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 11th, 2020

Ryerson University has been ordered by an Ontario judge to transfer millions of dollars it has been withholding from the school’s student union.

Justice Markus Koehnen says in a decision released Monday that if he did not grant an injunction requested by the student union, it would be forced to shut down.

The justice says while on balance not granting the injunction would have relatively little impact on the university, it would have a serious impact on services provided by the student union.

The court battle came after Ryerson’s student newspaper reported last January that student union credit card statements apparently showed expenditures of more than $250,000 over eight months.

The Canadian Press has not seen the credit card statements and the union’s financial controller declined to comment on the matter at the time of the allegations.

The school subsequently told the student union it would withhold the fees it collects from students for the union until a forensic audit was conducted and the results shared with the university, and a new operating agreement was negotiated.

Trudeau to announce COVID-19 aid measures Wednesday

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 11th, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to announce federal funding to help provincial health-care systems cope with the increasing numbers of Canadians infected with the new coronavirus and to help workers who are forced to isolate themselves.

Government sources, not authorized to discuss the plans publicly, said Trudeau will announce the new measures Wednesday.

The immediate objective is to try to contain the spread of the virus as much as possible, while also helping individuals hurt financially by COVID-19, such as by being forced to take time off work while under mandatory quarantine or self-imposed isolation.

Business and labour groups alike have called specifically for the federal government to loosen restrictions on employment insurance payments for people who are off work due to illness. This would also make it easier for people with more precarious jobs to stay home and avoid infecting others.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Monday that the government was “looking at taking some initiatives this week” to help workers, employers and provincial health systems.

There are few confirmed instances of community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Canada, but the number of cases continued to grow Tuesday. The illness has afflicted more than 100,000 people in 100 countries around the world.

Seven new people in British Columbia tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 39.

The number includes a second and third community case, meaning the person has had no known contact with any other cases and has not travelled recently.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said two of the new cases are health-care workers at the same long-term care facility where a small outbreak has already been identified.

A total of eight cases are now linked to the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, including two family members or close contacts of a health-care worker.

Henry said the initial health-care worker who tested positive at the seniors facility has been admitted to hospital for monitoring, adding that no more residents of the facility tested positive on Tuesday.

In Alberta, the number of cases doubled to 14. Alberta’s chief medical officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the new cases involve four people from the Calgary region and three from the Edmonton area. All the cases are travel-related.

She said the patients visited a number of countries, including France, the Netherlands, Germany, the Philippines and the United States. Two patients were also on the MS Braemar of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in the Caribbean.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick’s education minister ordered all preschoolers and students returning from travel abroad to stay out of school for two weeks. School trips are also cancelled for the rest of the year.

Dominic Cardy sent a letter to parents Monday that said the precautionary measure – among the most aggressive taken by any province – also applies to school and early learning centre staff, volunteers and students’ family members.

In Montreal, Sainte-Justine hospital asked its staff to avoid all personal travel unless absolutely necessary – a move the Quebec government is considering extending to the entire heath network.

Quebec’s Health Minister Danielle McCann said that in addition to limiting the spread of the virus, hospitals need to minimize the number of workers in isolation or off sick during a possible outbreak.

“We have to preserve our workforce because we’ll need it more and more,” she said.

The hospital also asked staff to stay home from work for two weeks if they’ve visited certain regions, including China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, India, Egypt, Japan and parts of Italy and France as well as the Seattle area.

Canadians from the Grand Princess cruise ship docked off the coast of northern California were taken by government plane to the Trenton base early Tuesday, although not all of the 237 Canadians from the ship were on board.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said a “handful” of crew members tested positive for the virus that causes the illness COVID-19, although he declined to give specific numbers.

“We have … a very limited number of crew members, which tested positive which are Canadian on the ship, and they will remain on the ship,” Champagne said in Ottawa outside a cabinet meeting.

Some other Canadians remained in California for health reasons unrelated to the virus, he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump described the effort of returning people home as “very dignified.”

“We appreciate all the help we’ve had in that, and that’s working out very well.”

Trudeau took to Twitter to thank the Canadian consular staff and American officials who helped the travellers to return to Canada.

There were 3,500 passengers and crew aboard the Grand Princess. It docked Monday at the Port of Oakland after days of forced idleness off the coast amid evidence it was the breeding ground for more than 20 COVID-19 cases.

Canada’s top doctor has urged Canadians to avoid all cruise travel, because confined quarters and frequent interactions can foster the spread of the illness.

Air Canada announced it was suspending flights to and from Italy as a result of Italian regulations and “ongoing health and safety concerns” related to the outbreak.

The airline’s last flight to Rome was to take off from Toronto on Tuesday, with the final return flight departing Rome for Montreal on Wednesday.

Air Canada said affected customers would be notified and offered full refunds. It hopes to restart service May 1.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has written the provinces and territories asking them to inform the federal government of their state of readiness and any shortages they’re facing.

The first ministers meeting of Trudeau and provincial and territorial leaders on Friday is to include discussions on the potential impact of the spreading virus on the country’s health-care system and its economy.

Canada had at least 93 cases of the respiratory illness as of Tuesday afternoon: 39 in British Columbia, 36 in Ontario, 14 in Alberta and four in Quebec.

Canada reported its first death from COVID-19 on Monday. A man in his 80s died at the North Vancouver long-term care centre.

Sudbury confirms first case of coronavirus, patient attended convention in Toronto

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 11th, 2020

Health officials in northern Ontario have confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus in the Sudbury area.

In an online statement, Sudbury public health says a man in his 50s tested positive for COVID-19 after he went to the emergency department at Health Sciences North on Saturday.

It says the investigation is ongoing, but adds that the man attended a convention by Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada in Toronto on March 2 and 3.

The public health agency says the man was sent home after being diagnosed, where he remains in isolation.

First COVID-19 death in Canada

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 10th, 2020

VANCOUVER — British Columbia health officials say a man has died of the new coronavirus at a seniors care home in North Vancouver.

The death at Lynn Valley Care Centre is believed to be the first COVID-19 death in Canada.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced on the weekend that two elderly residents of the facility had been diagnosed with the virus.

Henry says the diagnoses followed an earlier diagnosis of a worker at the care home, making the cases especially concerning as examples of community transmission.

The two health officials described the situation at the care centre as an “outbreak.”

There are now 32 cases of the new coronavirus in B.C.

Police identify suspect wanted in Brampton bus shooting

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Mar 10th, 2020

Peel police have identified a man wanted in connection with a shooting on a Brampton bus last week.

Emergency crews were called to the area of Dixie Road and Howden Boulevard just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police say a 60-year-old man was shot during the incident. He was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The suspect fled the scene on foot. There has been no word on what prompted the incident.

Daniel Larizza, 18, is wanted for attempted murder in connection with the shooting. He is believed to be armed and dangerous.

Police are advising him to contact a lawyer and turn himself in.

The public is being advised not to approach Larizza if they see him, but instead to contact authorities.

Prosecutors expected to cross-examine Kalen Schlatter at his murder trial today

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 10th, 2020

Prosecutors are expected today to cross-examine a Toronto man accused of sexually assaulting and strangling a young woman.

Kalen Schlatter began testifying in his murder trial on Monday, telling the court Tess Richey was alive when the two parted ways and he only later learned of her death.

Schlatter has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the killing of the 22-year-old Richey, who went missing after a night out with a friend in November 2017.

He told the court he met Richey after they left the same club, and the two had a consensual sexual encounter in a stairwell on the night she disappeared.

Richey’s body was found days after she vanished, in a stairwell a short distance from where she had last been seen.

The Crown alleges Schlatter strangled Richey after she refused to have sex with him.

1 more new case of COVID-19 confirmed in Ontario; provincial total now 35

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Mar 10th, 2020

The government’s website tracking novel coronavirus cases says one more case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Ontario, bringing the total in the province to 35.

The latest patient is a woman in her 30s who is believed to have contracted the virus via close contact.

She went to Brampton Civic Hospital and is now self-isolating at home.

Earlier in the day, Ontario health officials announced two new cases in the province – a man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s who were recently in Iran and upon returning to Canada went to North York General Hospital. They are also both self-isolating at home.

Four of the people previously diagnosed with COVID-19 have since been cleared of the virus.

Stocks, oil prices plunge as coronavirus closes sites around world

MATT SEDENSKY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 9th, 2020

The world’s largest economies delivered more worrisome cues Monday as anxiety over the virus outbreak sent stock and oil prices plunging and closed sites from the Sistine Chapel to Saudi Arabian schools.

Shares in Asia and the Mideast and U.S. futures were down sharply, reports on the health of the economies of Japan and China stirred more unease, and the downturn was being felt by people around the world.

“Our business is one-fifth of what it was before,” said Cheng Sheng, who helps run a food stand in Beijing that sells sausages and noodles. “There’s much less foot traffic. There are no people.”

As the weakening economy was blamed at least in part on the virus that has infected more than 110,000 people, cases were reported in more than half the world’s countries and flash points were erupting around the globe.

In the United States, where more than 500 infections have been reported, eyes were fixed on cruise ships on opposite sides of the country that were kept at bay over fears of virus threats.

Passengers were disembarking the Regal Princess early Monday after it received clearance to dock in Florida. Tests of two crew members eyed as possible carriers of the virus came back negative.

The Grand Princess, meantime, was expected to dock in California with 21 people who tested positive for the coronavirus on board. Passengers were to be placed under quarantines.

In Saudi Arabia, falling oil prices led to steep drops on Riyadh’s stock exchange. The country cut off air and sea travel to and from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates after earlier closing off its land borders.

All Saudi Arabian schools and universities were closing beginning Monday.

In Italy, the government took a page from China’s playbook, issuing a quarantine order attempting to lock down 16 million people across a swath of the country’s north. Italy’s financial hub of Milan and its popular tourist city of Venice were among the places under the order, and across the country, museums and archaeological sites were closed, weddings were cancelled, and restaurants were told to keep patrons a meter (3.3 feet) apart. The country has counted 7,375 cases of COVID-19.

China reported 40 new cases of the virus Monday, its lowest number since Jan. 20. More than three-quarters of the country’s surviving virus patients have been released, according to government figures.

South Korea reported 69 more cases Monday, bringing its total to 7,382.

Contributing to this report were Ken Moritsugu in Beijing; Tong-hyung Kim in Seoul, South Korea; and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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