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Trudeau in Quebec, O’Toole in N.B., N.S., Singh in Ontario

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Sep 16th, 2021

With less than a week to go before Monday’s federal election, the three main party leaders are continuing their tour of Eastern and Central Canada.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is back home in Montreal, where he will make an announcement in the morning.

Conservative boss Erin O’Toole is visiting two Atlantic provinces, starting with an announcement in Saint John, N.B., and ending with an evening event with supporters in Truro, N.S.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is staying in Ontario, with an affordable housing announcement in Toronto in the morning, followed by visits with supporters in Oshawa and Kingston.

Affordability was the hot topic yesterday after Statistics Canada reported prices increased by 4.1 per cent in August compared with the same month one year earlier, fuelled by rising consumer demand and supply-chain constraints for many goods.

Singh and O’Toole blamed rising prices on what they called Trudeau’s inaction on multiple fronts, including the country’s hot housing sector.

TTC union calls for CEO’s resignation alleging near subway train collision cover up

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Sep 16th, 2021

The Toronto Transit Commission’s largest union is calling for the removal of CEO Rick Leary, alleging the transit system covered-up a near miss collision involving two subway cars more than a year ago.

The incident occurred in June last year when two subway trains almost collided near Osgoode Station. A train had been given the go-ahead to move onto the main track, but a guard on the train spotted an oncoming northbound train and made a frantic radio call in time to stop.

ATU Local 113 president Carlos Santos says an independent report on what happened has been published, but Leary redacted critical information.

“This happened over a year ago, and we only got word of this in May or June when we got it as evidence,” Santos said. “The disaster was averted at the last second by an alert Subway Guard and Operator.”

Santos confirms the union only found out about the near-miss when it came up as evidence in a legal fight over the TTC’s plans to move to a “one-person train operation” system.

He alleges TTC management did not report the incident to anyone.

A report, titled “Osgoode Interlocking Incident Report” was tabled at its July 7 board meeting. It says on June 12, 2020, “there was an operational incident near Osgoode Station. This report provides the initial findings from the investigation into the incident.”

However, it was recommended that the TTC Board keep the findings confidential “until such time as the litigation matters have concluded.”

“Someone is responsible for that cover-up attempt,” says Santos. “That someone could only be the CEO. Who else would have the authority to keep such a major incident under wraps?”

“This is not the first time Leary has failed a public accountability test. Frankly, it is amazing what was missed by the Commission when they hired him to run North America’s third-largest transit system.”

He says the union was denied a chance to speak at Wednesday’s board meeting, so now they’re calling for Leary to get the boot.

A media rep for the TTC tells 680 NEWS Leary will stay in his job as CEO.

“We’re not going to dignify the union’s statement with a response except to say that the evidence shows the facts of how this incident occurred,” TTC Senior Communications Specialist Stuart Green said on Wednesday.

“Mr. Leary looks forward to continuing to serve as the TTC’s CEO and working with the 16,000 incredible employees of this organization to safely provide our customers with the best service possible.”

Councillor Jaye Robinson, the chair of the TTC, also reconfirmed her support for Leary.

“I fully support Rick Leary as he continues to lead the TTC through one of the most challenging periods in our history,” she said in a statement. “A detailed presentation on the June 2020 incident was presented to the Board in-camera and subsequently to the public.”

Alberta to bring in COVID-19 passport, declares health emergency

JOSH RITCHIE | posted Thursday, Sep 16th, 2021

Summary

The first wave of public health restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. MT on Sept. 16.


Beginning Sept. 20, restrictions focused on restaurants, retail services and adult sports will go into effect.


The Restrictions Exemption Program will allow vaccinated people, those with negative tests to access certain services.


CALGARY — As the COVID situation continues to get worse in Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney says the province is adopting a proof of vaccination program for certain discretionary services.

“No one will be compelled to get vaccinated against their wishes and a negative test option will be offered as an alternative,” said Kenney. “But, with unvaccinated patients overwhelming our hospitals, this is now the only responsible choice that we have.”

On top of the proof of vaccination program, the province has reinstated public health restrictions and declared a state of public health emergency.

WATCH: Premier Jason Kenney is joined by Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw to provide an update on COVID-19 in Alberta. 

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Restrictions beginning Sept. 16:

 

Workplaces:

  • A mandatory work from home order will be put in place unless a physical presence is required.

 

Private social gatherings:

  • Indoor private gatherings for vaccine eligible, fully vaccinated people are now limited to a single household pulse one other household to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Attendance at any indoor private event is not permitted for vaccine eligible people who are unvaccinated.
  • Outdoor private gatherings are permitted to a maximum of 200 people.

 

Schools:

  • Mandatory masking for students in grades 4 and up, including all teachers and staff in all grades.
  • Elementary schools to implement class cohorting.

 

Children’s sport/performance/recreation:

  • Indoor activities are permitted, with requirements for two-metre physical distancing and masking where possible, and symptom screening for participants.
  • Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain physical distancing during a physical activity, such as a team sport.
  • Spectator attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity. Attendees must be masked and ensure physical distancing between different households or an individual who lives alone and their two close contacts.
  • There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.

 

Restrictions coming Sept. 20:

 

Restaurants:

    • Outdoor dining only with a maximum of six individuals per table (one household or two close contacts for those living alone).
    • Liquor sales and consumption restrictions (10 p.m. sales and 11 p.m. consumption) apply.
    • Restaurants are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program.

 

Weddings and funerals:

  • All indoor ceremonies and services are limited to 50 attendees or 50 per cent fire code capacity, whichever is less.
  • No indoor receptions are permitted.
  • All outdoor ceremonies and services for weddings and funerals must be limited to 200 attendees. Outdoor receptions are required to follow liquor sales and consumption restrictions (i.e., sales end at 10 p.m. and consumption ends by 11 p.m.).

 

Retail, entertainment and recreation facilities:

  • Attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity and attendees are only permitted to attend with their household or two close contacts for those living alone. Attendees must be masked and have two-metre physical distancing between households.

 

Adult sport, fitness, performance, and recreation:

  • Indoor activities:
    – No indoor group classes or activities are permitted.
    – One-on-one training or individual workouts are permitted but three-metre physical distancing is required.
    – No contact between players; indoor competitions are paused except where vaccine exemptions have been granted.
    – These facilities and programs are eligible to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program. Specific exemptions may also be granted on a case-by-case basis.
  • There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.

 

Restrictions Exemption Program

 

Beginning on Sept. 20, those who are vaccinated and those who can provide a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours will be able to access a number of events and services throughout Alberta.

Businesses that implement the Restrictions Exemption Program will be able to operate as usual, as long as they only serve those who have provided proof that they are either fully vaccinated or have tested negative within the last three days.

The province says as they work through the transitional period, a proof of a single vaccine dose will be accepted from Sept. 20 to Oct. 25 as long as that single dose was from more than two weeks prior.

WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces the implementation of a vaccine passport and apologizes for claiming the pandemic was coming to an end.

 

An overwhelmed healthcare system

 

As of Wednesday afternoon, 24 more people had died from COVID-19 in the province, with 218 people currently being treated in the province’s ICUs.

Not only are ICU admissions at an all-time high, but the number of deaths reported come close to matching the highest single-day death tally, which was seen on Jan. 8 when 31 people died.

“At a time when most of us had hoped that this pandemic would be close to over, our healthcare system continues to experience severe capacity challenges, greater than we have faced throughout this long and exhausting pandemic,” said Alberta Health Services President Dr. Verna Yiu.

“(Tuesday), we reached 270 patients in the ICU. That is the highest number of ICU patients that we’ve ever seen. At any time during the pandemic, or ever in our provincialized health care system.”

Yiu says the province reached 88 per cent ICU capacity, and that includes the 132 surge spaces that were opened to meet demand.

“Without those spaces, we would be at 156 per cent of our normal capacity, there would not be enough ICU beds for those who need them,” said Yiu.

Yiu says due to this surging capacity, Alberta will be reaching out to other provinces to see if they have any available ICU space where Albertans can get the care they need.

Alberta will also ask other provinces if they have skilled frontline staff who may be willing to come to Alberta to help.

1 critically injured in motorcycle crash in Mississauga

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Sep 16th, 2021

A motorcyclist has been critically injured following a crash with another vehicle in Mississauga.

Peel police say they were called to the area of North Service Road and Stanfield Road just after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Paramedics say one person was taken to a trauma centre with critical injuries while a second person suffered serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital.

Police would not confirm the age or genders of the injured but an eyewitness tells 680 NEWS that a male rider appeared to have suffered arm and leg injuries while his female passenger was not seriously injured.

Police would not comment on the cause of the crash but the female driver of a van tells 680 NEWS she was turning into the plaza when the motorcycle broadsided her at a high rate of speed.

Recipe: NIKKEI SASHIMI

BT Staff | posted Wednesday, Sep 15th, 2021

NIKKEI SASHIMI

Ingredients (1portion):

 

Yellowtail sashimi 60g/6slices

Serano chilli 4g

Red onion 6g

Red cherry tomato 5g

Yellow cherry tomato 5g

Micro cilantro 1g

Yuzu juice and soy sauce mix 30g

Purple potato chips 5g

Truffle oil 5g

 

 

Method:

  1. Slice and wash the red onion.
  2. Chop the chilli and wash for 20minutes under cold water.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in thin slices.
  4. Take the yellowtail sashimi slices and place into a small mixing bowl.
  5. Add yuzu juice and soy sauce, and mix using chopsticks.
  6. Add the red onion, chilli, tomatoes and truffle oil.
  7. Lightly mix again using chopsticks – Be careful not to break the fish.
  1. Garnish with purple potato chips and micro cilantro.

 

 

Campaign has Trudeau in Halifax, O’Toole in Quebec and Singh in Ontario

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 15th, 2021

The three main party leaders are in Eastern and Central Canada on Wednesday, a day after a new poll suggested the already close race is getting even tighter.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau gets his day started with a morning announcement in Halifax.

Erin O’Toole of the Conservatives is spending his day in Quebec, starting with a morning announcement in Jonquière, followed by an evening supporter event in Orford.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is in Ontario, first with a morning announcement in Essex on long-term care, then visiting with supporters in a number of communities before taking part in a Twitch stream event in the evening.

On Tuesday, a poll conducted by Leger in collaboration with The Canadian Press indicated the Liberals and Tories are tied with the support of 32 per cent of decided voters ahead of the election on Monday.

A similar poll conducted two weeks ago had the Conservatives ahead with 34 per cent compared with 30 per cent for the Liberals.

The Leger poll suggested New Democrats support was at 20 per cent of decided voters, down from the 24 per cent of respondents from the earlier poll.

TDSB announces mandatory vaccine policy for all education staff

MICHELLE MORTON | posted Wednesday, Sep 15th, 2021

To keep education workers, students, and families safe, the Toronto District School Board has announced mandatory vaccine requirements for all staff.

Releasing details Tuesday evening in a release, the TDSB said all employees, trustees, and those who have direct contact with staff and students at its workplace, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1 of this year — adding “subject to approved requests for exemptions under the Human Rights Code.”

In the meantime, it said those who are not vaccinated or have chosen not to disclose their vaccine status must continue to undergo testing and provide a negative result twice a week, and those who do not have a medical or disability exemption will be required to participate in an education session on the benefits of vaccination.

On Tuesday, Toronto Public Health said it’s investigating and contacting tracing at nearly two dozen schools.

The TDSB is collecting vaccination disclosure information from its 40,000 staff members, it said, and around 94 per cent of the staff who have provided that information, which is about 83 per cent, have indicated they have rolled up their sleeves.

Near the end of August, the TDSB said the board provided direction to staff to begin creating a mandatory vaccine procedure.

“This is an important step in the TDSB’s direction to keep students and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic. By requiring staff, Trustees and others to be vaccinated, we reduce the impact that COVID cases have on our classrooms, schools and communities,” TDSB Chair, Alexander Brown, said in a statement.

More than 150,000 people in Canada experience ‘long COVID’ symptoms: report

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 15th, 2021

More research is needed to understand the so-called “long COVID” condition and the burden it poses on the health-care system, a science advisory group said in a report Tuesday.

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, a group that provides guidance to the province on the pandemic, said the post-COVID-19 symptoms affect about 10 per cent of those infected and can last from weeks to months.

“There is under-recognition both for the public but also among clinicians of this condition because it is hard to define and quantify and because we don’t have a lot of information around it,” said Fahad Razak, the lead author of the report.

A conservative estimate suggests about 150,000 Canadians who contract the novel coronavirus experience long COVID-19 symptoms, Razak said. In Ontario, between 57,000 and 78,000 people are affected.

The most common of more than 200 different symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, general pain or discomfort, anxiety and depression.

Razak said individuals experiencing such symptoms have difficulty performing daily activities and require increased health-care resources.

“The burden will not only be on the health system, it will also be on other parts of society because a lot of the disabilities are not just about medical care, it’s about the fact that individuals can’t go back to work, it’s that they need a supportive home, it’s difficulty with work and family life,” he added.

The World Health Organization has reported that approximately one in four individuals who were infected with the virus experience symptoms of long COVID for at least one month. Meanwhile, one in 10 people experience symptoms that last beyond 12 weeks.

The Ontario science advisory group said more research is needed on risk factors for long COVID. Vaccination reduces the chance of developing the post-COVID-19 condition, Razak said.

To date, nearly 84.5 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 78.2 per cent have two doses.

Razak said the latest report from the science advisory group looked at data from the earlier waves of the pandemic and did not take variants of the virus — like Delta and Alpha — into account.

“We don’t have the data yet to know the impact,” he said. “The worry is that those variants are clearly more infectious so we’re potentially running into a problem where we’re going to see even higher rates of the post-COVID condition.”

There is limited Canadian data on health-care use patterns for patients with long COVID, including emergency department visits and hospital admissions, the science group said. A pan-Canadian study is currently being done to examine these patterns for long COVID-19 patients.

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