1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

News

Masks now mandatory in common areas of Toronto apartments, condos

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Aug 5th, 2020

Apartment and condo dwellers will now have to mask up when they leave their unit, as a new bylaw takes effect on Wednesday making face coverings mandatory in the common areas of residential buildings.

Last week, city council passed a bylaw requiring masks or face coverings in common areas like lobbies, elevators and laundry rooms.

The bylaw puts the onus on building owners and property managers to adopt a policy to ensure masks are worn by their residents.

Children and those who cannot wear a mask for a medical reason are exempt from the rule.

City council approved this and other new bylaws related to COVID-19 measures a week ago, as the city prepared to enter Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.

Why do some people keep testing positive for Covid-19?

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, in casual discussion of the virus, the term “Long Haulers” is, generally, used to describe people for whom symptoms of Covid-19 can linger for weeks and months, long after the worst seems to be over. And that can be debilitating.

But that’s not the only kind of ‘long-hauler’. There are also people, we’re learning, who recover, but continue to test positive weeks later. Even without any symptoms. How long can this virus linger inside people? What can other diseases that stay with people for years and even lifetimes tell us about what we’re seeing in these cases with Covid? What do we still not know about how all this works?

Tech sector drives U.S. markets higher after best four months in a decade

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2020

TORONTO — The continuing strength of the tech sector powered U.S. stock markets higher in the start of trading in August after they concluded the best four months in a decade.

The S&P 500 reached its loftiest level since February while the Nasdaq composite set another all-time record.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 236.08 points at 26,664.40. The S&P 500 index gained 23.49 points to reach 3,294.61 after hitting an intraday high of 3,302.73. Nasdaq rose 157.52 points to 10,902.80 after reaching a record 10.927.56 in earlier trading.

The three factors driving the markets on Monday were momentum in technology after last week’s blowout earnings, a further rise in manufacturing activity in the U.S. and Europe and hopes that U.S. lawmakers will agree to another round of fiscal relief.

Economic data has consistently surprised to the upside, but it’s going to be increasingly difficult to beat expectations this month, said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategy analyst at Edward Jones.

“I think it’s going to be a little more of a bumpy ride than we’ve experienced in the last four (months),” he said in an interview.

The Toronto Stock Exchange was closed for a provincial holiday.

Microsoft and Apple, which together account for about 12.5 per cent of the S&P500, saw their shares gain. Microsoft started the week up 5.6 per cent after confirming it was in talks to buy social video app TikTok in the U.S. after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to ban the China-based app over security concerns.

Apple was up 2.5 per cent on the day while other names also did well after beating earnings expectations last week. Amazon earnings rose 77 per cent, Apple was up three per cent, Microsoft nine per cent and Facebook seven per cent. Only Google declined.

About 85 per cent of companies on the S&P 500 have beat expectations, the highest rate for a second quarter since 1992.

“You can clearly see who is winning in this environment,” Kourkafas said.

As a whole, companies in the index saw earnings decline 40 per cent, compared with the 44 per cent decline forecast by analysts, he said.

“So the negative 40 per cent, even though it’s a horrible number, it’s better than expectations.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.72 US compared with 74.60 on Friday.

The September crude contract was up 74 cents at US$41.01 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was 30.2 cents at US$2.10 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract, which had the highest trading volume, was up 40 cents at US$1,986.30 an ounce after peaking at a record US$2,009.50. The September copper contract was up 4.4 cents at nearly US$2.91 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

8 more city-run child care centres reopen Tuesday

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2020

More city-run child care centres will be back up and running today in Toronto, nearly two months after the province gave their reopening the green light.

The reopening of eight more buildings means that close to half of all centres are now operational, and the city expects all 47 to be ready by the end of September.

“A phased approach to reopening child care programs is the right move,” Mayor John Tory said in a release.

“It will allow operators the time to make their spaces safe for children, their families as well as for child care operators and their staff. As we continue to reopen child care centres, we must do everything possible to protect our children so that we can provide safe child care options to parents who are eager to get back to work.”

Families are being advised to contact their child care providers directly to find out the reopening status in their neighbourhood.

TDSB’s reopening plan could implement quadmesters, no sports

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2020

Trustees with the Toronto District School Board will receive a report on Tuesday outlining the plan for the safe reopening of high schools in September.

Last week Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that it would be back to class full time for elementary school in the fall, but things will look different for teens.

Lecce confirmed public high schools in the GTA will use an adapted model, meaning class sized will be limited to 15 students each in a cohort, and face coverings will be mandatory while on school property.

But the biggest change could be the implementation of a quadmester – meaning instead of two semesters a year, there will be four. In this new format, students would learn two subjects at a time for a nine-week period.

In this model, students would be in class Monday through Friday for half days and spend the other half of the day learning remotely.

“We look forward to welcoming students back to our schools and classrooms in September but will continue to remain flexible and recognize that circumstances may change depending on the evolution of COVID-19.,” Interim Director of Education Carlene Jackson said in the report.

“Regardless of the format school takes at the elementary and secondary level, we are committed to providing students with regular and meaningful learning opportunities as well as connectivity to staff while also maintaining a safe environment for the entire school community.

As well, the TDSB said sports will not be played when school returns in the fall and students will have to bring and all their school supplies with them to class, as they won’t be allowed to use lockers.

Floor signage, much like in grocery stores, will also be used in hallways to help with social distancing.

The TDSB said the guideline was created with consultations with union and federation partners, students, staff, parents/guardians, Toronto Public Health and the Ministry of Education.

Students will be expected to monitor their own health for any symptoms of COVID-19. Parents will continue to be allowed to opt their child out of in-person classes in favour of remote learning.

Park drinking over indoor gatherings? Experts say finding risk mitigation is key

MELISSA COUTO ZUBER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 31st, 2020

As bars, restaurants and house parties continue to play significant roles in spreading COVID-19, some infectious disease experts in Canada think it’s time to offer a safer alternative to drinking in public.

Cracking a cold one in a park may be a good substitution, they say, if only it wasn’t illegal throughout most of the country.

Drinking among friends in sprawling green spaces – where there’s much more room to physically distance – can keep people away from dangerously crowded indoor gatherings, says Dr. Zain Chagla, an associate professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.

“There’s all these reports of transmission in bars and house parties. So why don’t we mitigate that risk?” he said. “Let’s use the outdoors rather than forcing people indoors for their gatherings.”

Chagla likens the debate to sexual health scenarios.

While abstinence is the best way to avoid sexually-transmitted infections, asking people to refrain from sex doesn’t work. Making sex safer by wearing a condom is more realistic.

“Drinking in public isn’t by any means a perfect solution, but people want to drink with their friends,” he said. “Why can’t we do it in a way that’s less risky?”

While drinking in public parks is commonplace in many European cities, Canada has been slower to adopt those laws.

Some areas seem to be moving in that direction – or at least crawling towards it.

Park board commissioners in Vancouver this week voted in favour of allowing alcohol consumption in 22 parks around the city, though actual implementation of legal park drinking likely won’t happen until next summer.

Steven Taylor, a professor and clinical psychologist at UBC, doesn’t see the public drinking option as an either-or scenario where people will choose between enjoying beer in a bar or pilsner in a park.

They’ll likely imbibe in both, he says, adding that alcohol’s disinhibiting properties will lead people to pay less attention to safety precautions.

People are getting increasingly tired of the rules, Taylor said.

“And the longer social distancing drags out, the worse compliance becomes.”

Toronto and Peel Region moved into Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan Friday, allowing bars and restaurants to operate. Patios within the province had reopened during Stage 2.

But indoor eateries and watering holes, as well as private parties, have proven risky environments for COVID-19 spread.

A sudden surge in B.C. cases led the province to announce stricter measures for restaurants, bars and nightclubs. And large clusters of cases were also traced back to parties in the Kelowna area.

Edmonton had 41 cases traced to restaurants last month, and a downtown Calgary establishment shut its doors two weeks ago after six cases originated there.

While Chagla agrees alcohol can cause people to relax or ignore physical distancing, indoor environments makes those settings especially dangerous.

“That transmission is happening not just because of the drinking, it’s all the things people do in bars – they get up close and personal, they interact with a bunch of different people,” Chagla said.

“We go to bars for a social experience.”

Being allowed to drink outdoors will take care of some of the risk, but not all.

The dangers associated with public drinking such as reckless behaviour, public drunkenness and the potential for drunk driving, make the topic controversial.

Taylor doesn’t think it’s worth it.

“Inevitably, there’ll be some bad actors who egregiously violate social distancing under the influence of alcohol,” he said. “My concern is that this could well precipitate a second round of lockdown.

“We’ve seen bored, stressed out people congregating in large groups and partying, and that’s leading to spikes in outbreaks. And alcohol is just going to fuel that, unfortunately.”

Dr. Ilan Schwartz, an infectious disease expert with the University of Alberta, says being able to drink in public doesn’t mean people will drink in excess.

The Winnipeg native has lived in areas with loosened public drinking laws in Texas and South Africa and said issues were minimal there.

“We don’t want to outlaw all behaviour just because taken to the extreme there can be problematic examples,” he said.

Schwartz says easing up on public drinking laws would be useful right now, during the short summer months of a lengthy global pandemic.

“We need to realize that we’re in this for the long haul and we need to make concessions so people buy into the program that this isn’t just a big conspiracy to suppress any joy in life,” he said.

“Anything that is outdoors – as long as people aren’t shoulder to shoulder – we should be encouraging.”

Public drinking rules differ from province to province, and municipalities often have their own bylaws. Drinking or holding an open container of alcohol in a Toronto park, for example, carries a $300 fine.

Chagla says people would need to be mindful of distance if public drinking laws were passed in their municipalities. Higher-risk individuals should still avoid those scenarios, he added.

“It would be low risk, but not zero-risk,” he said.

BLM protest arrest of Black trans woman charged with assault

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Jul 31st, 2020

Protesters from Black Lives Matter Toronto and Not Another Black Life gathered outside 14 Division Thursday night to protest the arrest of a Black trans woman who Toronto police have charged with assault.

In a release, police say the charges stem from an incident on Thursday in a residence in the College and Bathurst streets area.

Police responded to an assault call at the home around 1:35 p.m. They say what began as a dispute in the home escalated and an “assault and threats took place between two individuals.”

Moka Dawkins, 30, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with one count each of assault, uttering threats of bodily harm and failure to comply with probation.

Police say she has been given access to legal counsel and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Posts on social media began calling for support for Dawkins on Thursday evening and protesters were heard chanting “let her go” outside 14 Division later that night.

WE fallout expected to continue as MPs seek more info, witnesses

TERESA WRIGHT THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 31st, 2020

OTTAWA — The WE controversy that has been dogging the Liberals is expected to continue to follow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government after Trudeau’s appearance before a House of Commons committee Thursday.

Opposition MPs on the Commons finance committee are now pushing to hear from more junior staffers in the prime minister’s office, and demanding access to cabinet documents.

They want more detailed answers about why WE Charity began working on and incurring expenses for the now-abandoned student-volunteering program on May 5, when it had not yet been approved by cabinet.

Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford told the committee that another Trudeau aide talked to WE that same day, though she said he referred WE to the public service to talk about anything substantial.

WE’s Craig and Marc Kielburger have said those permanent officials told WE it could incur expenses before being awarded the agreement.

They said they wanted to get the program going quickly, and started work knowing they could lose money if cabinet said no.

In the rare appearance by the prime minister at the committee Thursday, Trudeau said he had initially pushed back when he learned the public service had chosen WE Charity to run the Canada Student Service Grant in early May.

He said he knew his own and his family’s long-standing ties to the WE organization would lead to significant scrutiny and wanted to ensure all due diligence was done.

The prime minister testified that he didn’t learn WE had been chosen by the public service to run the program until May 8, which was just hours before the arrangement was to be taken to cabinet for approval.

That’s when, Trudeau said, he put the brakes on the deal.

“WE knew that the selection of WE Charity would be closely scrutinized. We wanted to make sure that the process and decision were the best possible in the circumstances, so I decided to pull the CSSG proposal from the cabinet agenda for May 8 so that further work could be done,” Trudeau told the committee.

“We pulled the item from the agenda so that we could be doing the right thing, the way.”

The public service later came back on May 21 to reaffirm its recommendation that WE was the only organization that could run the student-volunteer program, Trudeau said.

Telford testified that the civil servants presented it as a “binary choice” — either they moved ahead with WE Charity to deliver the program or they wouldn’t go ahead with it at all.

Trudeau acknowledged his family’s involvement with WE: his mother, brother and wife have participated in and spoken at WE events, and have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and expenses, although he testified the amounts were not previously known to him.

He stressed that he did not have any conversations with the Kielburger brothers during this time and that WE Charity did not receive any preferential treatment by him or anyone else in the government.

He also says he didn’t talk to his staff about WE Charity or its proposed involvement in the volunteering program until May 8, although he has since learned policy staff in his office had been working with the Privy Council Office and other departments, and they knew that WE Charity was under consideration to run the effort.

The prime minister and Telford also both noted that Sophie Gregoire Trudeau’s work with WE, including a podcast on mental wellness, has been unpaid except for expenses covered by the organization, all of which had been cleared by the ethics commissioner.

The Conservatives and NDP have called on federal ethics watchdog Mario Dion to widen his probe of Trudeau to include these expenses.

Dion is already investigating Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau for possible violations of the Conflict of Interest Act for not recusing themselves during cabinet discussions about the WE deal.

Meanwhile, the Canada Student Service Grant is now unlikely to be part of the $9-billion student aid program Ottawa is rolling out this summer, Trudeau said, adding that he regrets how the whole affair has unfolded.

Page 3 of 74612345...102030...Last »